When I started writing about perfume first at Fragrantica, then CaFleureBon, before starting Colognoisseur I was always focused on the perfume. The bottle can be a selling point but I very rarely comment upon it. Mainly because it has no impact on how I view the perfume. The other part of a perfume that I almost never comment upon is the price. I’ve received some e-mails and a couple of recent comments have mentioned the price of the perfume reviewed. I thought I might go through some of the reasons why I have chosen not to mention price as part of the writing I do on Colognoisseur.
Just as I mentioned above with bottles the price is irrelevant to me when it comes to what I think of a perfume. I think we are in a pretty diverse age with top-notch perfumes available at almost every price point. My focus has always been trying as many new perfumes in each year because that is what I enjoy writing about. If I like it enough to wear it for a couple days I am writing about it, I don’t care how much it costs.
Yet as I’ve learned price is not irrelevant to some of you. I’ve received communication on both sides. The joy of finding a $10 perfume that you adore. The disappointment on looking up a perfume after reading a review to see a $500+ price tag. While I am understanding of the last scenario there is a semantic issue at play. When I get that e-mail somewhere in there is the phrase “it’s not worth it”. Which for the correspondent is entirely true. But that is a single data point relevant only for that person. In their mind, there is a line below which a perfume is “worth it” and above where it is not. That line is not universal. It is up to each person to decide where they draw it. I have thought if I started commenting on price and whether a perfume is “worth it” I am arbitrarily imposing my concept upon the readers.
This is not to say that I don’t share the concern that perfume brands are applying some aspirational pricing on to their fragrances. The perfume companies also should be wary of how they draw their pricing line. If too many of their consumers fall on the wrong side of the “worth it” line it is difficult to come back from that kind of error. I will admit it is perplexing to me to see the ultra-luxe pricing from a new brand fresh on the market. I presume the business people behind the brand have done their research but there are times when I hit the pricing part of a press release for a new brand and think, “Seriously?” There seems to be more of it over the last year than it appears the market can tolerate. My concern is that those who back new brands might not be so ready to back another if they have a high-priced flame out. The true success of niche brands has been the slow build from both a price and consumer standpoint. Like in most businesses slow and steady yields consistent results if not flashy ones.
Despite the understanding of what the cost of a perfume plays in how one views it for themselves I am still going to continue writing my reviews without mentioning it. Thankfully we live in an age where the answer to that question for whom it is important is a but a few seconds, and a search engine, away. For me the cost of being a Colognoisseur has nothing to do with the price tag.