I'm deviating from my normal format with this post, but I feel I need to make an exception at this time.
Have any of you read yesterday's post on From Pyrgos entitled "The Slow Death of Basenotes and the End of the Perfume Renaissance"? If you haven't, you should. Basically his thesis is that the fragrance boom that started around 2006 is coming to an end, and as a result, perfume bloggers are slowing down or closing up shop, due to a lack of interest.
I tend to agree. I see a few culprits for this phenomenon, the first being the inane volume of niche fragrances that have flooded the market during the past five years, as well as new niche companies popping up every five minutes. It seems like any Johnny-come-lately that has any interest in perfume can throw together a couple of mediocre fragrances, give them Arabic-sounding names, charge $250 US for a half ounce bottle, and market them as exclusive niche products that can only the most discerning perfume lover can appreciate. It's ridiculous, and the market is saturated. Look at Montale a couple of years ago - how many freaking oud fragrances were they releasing? Two a day? Does the world really need more oud perfumes? How about patchouli frags? Clearly the answer is NO. The whole point of niche fragrances was to provide an alternative to the sameness of designer perfumes, but now niche releases seem to far outnumber designer ones. I wouldn't be surprised if people turn to designer and drugstore scents as an alternative to these dumb niche things. Is there a secret competition among niche brands on who can produce the most number of unwearable fragrances in the shortest amount of time?
The From Pyrgos article also talks a lot about the downfall of Basenotes.net. If there really is a decline in interest in perfume (and I believe there is), I cannot doubt that the fall of this once very influential website as being a major cause. For years, it seemed like Basenotes was the hip place for fragrance enthusiasts (especially male ones) to go for reviews and engage in discussions about perfume. Basenotes turned me, and I assume thousands of other fans, on to hundreds of new perfumes, and purchases inevitably followed. I can only imagine how many online perfume retailers directly profited from Basenotes' existence.
Basenotes deserves to go down the shitter, due to the way its creator, Grant Osborne, has run the place. As the From Pyrgos article notes, this guy has managed to lure in fragrance snobs from around the world, and then pit them against everyone else using the site, particularly by charging users (who are called "BN PLUS Members") for the "privilege" of posting reviews immediately and being able to engage in discussions in the "Secret Dependents Discussion Board", which is a forum only open to paying customers. I used to be a paying "Basenotes PLUS" member, I'm now embarrassed to admit, simply so I wouldn't have to wait six months for my reviews to post. I had access to this "secret" forum, and it was nothing more than a bunch of disgruntled perfume snobs bitching about all the other members who weren't part of their clique. It was disgusting, and I refused to participate. And Grant Osborne, being the catalyst of all this snobbery, would occasionally pipe in with a post trying to make it look like he wasn't participating in all the noob-bashing. And he was charging members money for the privilege of acting like an asshole.
However, if Basenotes ultimately bites it, it's due to the fact that the site doesn't work. It seems that at least half the time you can't even access most of the site, and it locks up when you try. The site is bogged down with annyong pop-up ads that interfere with your access, and often bring it to a grinding halt, at least on my computer. This is inexcusable, and is a key reason why I stopped my "Plus" membership. Let's face it - when your website is unusable for as long as Basenotes is, people are going to get sick of it and look somewhere else. Once you lose those people, it's hard to get them back, and this is why I expect Basenotes to bite the dust. Plus, I'm sure people are as sick of Grant Osborne's bullshit excuses for his site always being down as I am.
The reason I'm going on and on about Basenotes here is because I know a lot of you know me from when I was moderating the Powerhouse Fragrance Users Group on Basenotes. Your enthusiasm for the Powerhouse group has helped me build my blog here, and I thank you for that. And this brings me, finally, to my main point of this article - are you losing interest in perfume?
I want you all to know that I haven't. I say this because some of you are probably wondering why I haven't posted anything in the Powerhouse Fragrance Users Group in almost a year. It has nothing to do with my losing interest in powerhouse fragrances or, for that matter, any fragrances. It's simply because I'm only one person, and the time I've been spending writing this blog has prevented me from being involved in the Powerhouse group. I thought I could handle both, but I can't.
Most importantly, my own tastes in fragrances - classic and old school frags - have prevented me from losing interest. And I suspect most of you are of the same mind set, or at least I hope you are! Oud fragrances, niche fragrances, etc., have come, and they will pass. But old classics like Azzaro Pour Homme, Eau Sauvage and Quorum are eternal. They were created a long time ago, and they're still around for a reason. I still wear them, and always will. And that's why my interest in perfume has never faltered. I plan to keep the spirit alive with Pour Monsieur, and I hope From Pyrgos will continue on as well. I'm fortunate in that I feel like I'm unaffected by the waning in perfume interest. I hope you feel the same way.
I encourage you all to post your comments below, because I really am interested in gauging the enthusiasm level amongst you all at this moment in time.