Thursday, June 21, 2012


Pretty soon, it will be “OlfactaRama’s” fourth birthday. 

When I started, I didn’t think anybody would ever read it. I was a newbie and wrote as one, and made mistakes, and learned some things, and became part of a great community. Nobody can be a newbie for four years, though. So for the last couple, I’ve just been an enthusiast.

When I started the blog, I was obsessed. It seemed as though I just couldn’t learn enough about the subject. I devoted a significant part of each day to reading all the other perfume blogs I could find, and the fora, and the books. My perfume collection grew and grew, as I learned how to buy fragrance the smart way, how to identify a bargain, win an auction, how to do splits and swaps and decants. Ultimately I had to get a new cabinet as the collection outgrew a smaller one, then dresser-top space, then all of the above plus shoe boxes and drawers. That cabinet is full now.

All obsessions end. 

“OlfactaRama” is what I guess I’d call a personal experience blog. That’s why I’ve always written it first-person. It’s not informational — God knows there are several perfume blogs who do that better than I ever could — although there is information in it. It’s not a perfume review site, although I’ve done them. It’s not p.r. or stealth marketing. I’ve never made a cent from it, although I have received a few books and a few handfuls of samples and some truly mind-blowing gifts from readers. It’s not about trends —I could hardly care less. I guess it’s been a way of communicating with the like-minded, and exploring something I love. I’ve made some great pals, too, and plan to keep them.

But I look back at my roughly 275 posts, and even I can see that the level of enthusiasm in them has waned. It’s not because perfumes are less interesting than they used to be (although many are). There are enough niche perfumers and artisans and vintage finds and the occasional interesting mainstream release to keep a perfume reviewer going indefinitely. It’s not because there are more perfume bloggers than ever before (although there are). It’s that I’ve said what I want to say, and I feel like keeping on just for the sake of keeping on would be, well, jumping the shark.

I’m not going to disappear from the perfume blogosphere, though. I’ll be around, commenting and contributing to fora and so on. 

So, to all of you who have read me and commented and entered my drawings and sent me samples and decants and even bottles — thank you so much! I’ll always be astounded by the generosity of the perfume community.

For four years now, I’ve made and kept a weekly deadline. I think not having the pressure of that deadline will free me to keep playing around with my oils and absolutes, trying perfumes that interest me, and especially to keep delving into the general olfactory and sensory world. I’m keeping the domain name, for that reason. The “Rama” part of “OlfactaRama” is a take on “Cinerama” — the early wide-view movie projection system.

 I see from my stats that many readers are subscribers now, so don’t take me off your feeds — I’ll use the name to write about a more general aesthetic: smell, taste, books, art, life. 

Photo by Pat Hall Borow.

The photo is of my empty Un Jardin Sur Le Nil (Hermes; perfumer: Jean-Claude Ellena) bottle. It was the first full bottle I bought online after becoming a fragrance blogger. I finished it a couple of months ago.


Natalie said...

I can't say that you won't be missed, but I understand your reasons and wish you the best with the transition. I will "watch this space" as you take the site in new directions. Best wishes, and thank you for the posts. I've enjoyed reading.

olenska said...

I, too, will keep my eyes peeled for your posts. Your unique voice is cherished no matter what subject matter you choose. Thank you for years of amazement, stretching back into the past and forward into the future....

Patty said...

Oh, no!!! I'm sorry to see that, but I totally understand.

Writing for four years straight about the same subject sorta talks you out.


queen_cupcake said...

You'll be missed! I have enjoyed reading your posts and will stay subscribed. Best wishes and many thanks.

Lucy said...

I love this blog and your writing and insights. I think it's one of the best and most inspiring to me personally. I understand how much time it takes from your other work, but I do hope to see your words here and elsewhere and will also stay subscribed.

Anonymous said...

You are my first star that's gone super nova. If and when you want to write again I'll read, Very patient at this end,
Good luck
Portia xx

Brian said...


Blacknall Allen said...

Well darn and too bad, and I will miss your writing about perfume because I have been reading this blog for years. Do please keep us abreast of your perfume experimentations, I for one, would really like to smell them. Your New York Cabbie is still something I chuckle over from time to time and wish that I'd sniffed. Also your take on perfume is one of the more concise and interesting ones. Do stay in touch.

Carol said...

Oh I'm gonna miss you, but also good that you'll still be around in other ways. Thanks for your blog - you learned me much! :)

Vanessa said...

You were one of the first blogs I discovered and read regularly when I was struck down with perfume mania, so I guess I have been following you for two and a half of your four years. Your articulate and insightful prose will be much missed, but as Bloody Frida says, it is good that you are still going to be "around" the community at large. All the best with your other ventures!