When is a fragrance collection “big enough”?
I just spent the better part of a Sunday morning organizing a closet and installing yet another shelf to house my already large fragrance collection. The picture in this post shows the relative size of much of that collection…but not all of it. I have others hanging out in my wife’s closets, a few more in their original boxes in storage, and a host of decants and other samples I’m in the process of organizing. If I include all of those, it’s difficult to estimate exactly how many scents I actually have.
As for the closet, the smallest container is about 30ml, the largest is a 250ml flacon. Most are somewhere between, and you can see they’re layered between a couple racks of loafers. At the present rate of fragrance collection growth, the loafers don’t have much time left before those give way to more shelf space for bottles. I did the picture to try to get everything into one place to look at it.
I suspect doing that will create a problem in the morning in making a decision. Again, this isn’t even considering samples, and I’m running out of room to store the various storage bags of those.
This isn’t funny. The only thing I’ve seen men collect in this quantity is baseball cards, wine bottles or whiskey. Most people would look at the amount of cologne I’m storing and think, “he has a problem“. This brings me to the question for the day: When is a fragrance collection big enough?
Unless kept in very controlled conditions — climate, moisture, handling, etc. — fragrances break down over time. Now I’ve had some fragrances for well over 10 years and haven’t noticed any degradation in quality, but your experience will depend on care and storage. I’m not the most fastidious about the aspect either (some of my fellow enthusiasts actually have modified wine chillers to store their collection — that’s probably a next step). But consider this: Most men will only use one or two colognes, and the bottle will last them around a year or so.
You don’t need to say it: I’m not most men. There are about 75+ bottles on the shelves in here, and that isn’t everything. When you consider daily wearing, these will likely take…never mind saying that either, I won’t live that long. It’ll take a long time to deplete these if I stop collecting today. Which is not out of the question. It takes a lot for me to like something enough to add it to this collection, as you’ll see if you look closely at the bottles in the picture.
But to the question of “how much is enough”, my answer is “it depends”. It depends on how much of an enthusiast you are, how much you want to vary your wearing habits, how much your share, and how much you use.
- I’m a big enthusiast. Not as big as others, but I’d venture I’m in the top 1% of people who collect just in terms of the sheer volume. A reminder, this doesn’t include the samples.
- I vary my wearings. I have various items that are pushed to the back of the closet in summer, and others pulled out in the colder months. Rarely will I wear the same thing on two consecutive days *it happens, though not often).
- And I share. My wife is one recipient, friends are another, and usually if someone asks about a fragrance, I’m happy to lend out a sample to try. We enthusiasts are usually pretty generous, especially with each other. Even still?
Yes, I admit that my fragrance collection is more than enough. And that’s probably why I’m less and less inclined to spring for my next scent only because I’ve found a lot of what I like and acquired it. Anything new? You need to impress me quite a bit, and even then, I’m not purchasing the large size for the small chance I’ll use all of it. I have enough. And I have enough to perhaps share at gatherings or with family and friends who share some interest. As for the recommendations to others, here are a few things I’d suggest.
- Find your likes and dislikes. What scents thrill you? What offends you?
- Look for scents you’re likely to wear in warm weather as well as cool weather, your habits are likely to change.
- Don’t be immediately inclined to purchase the massive size because it’s only a few dollars more, unless this is something you feel will be a daily-wearing fragrance.
If you figure that you’ll have a couple for warm weather, the same for cold weather, some for casual wear and some more formal, and perhaps two or three that are your “go-to” scents for confidence when attracting someone else, you should probably settle on around ten or so scents that you’ll repeatedly use and enjoy. For most people, that’s probably an optimal top-end number that doesn’t lend itself to a crazy set of decisions in the morning.