Of course, I know that the above is not a real saying. But "as far as the eye can see" is, and I thought my adaption of it quite fitting as the headline for this post, because it is about perfume.
Until not that long ago, although I was well aware of how scents can affect us (see this post about everyone's very own time machine), I did not know much about perfume. Since I often use scented shower gels and body lotions, I used to wear perfume very rarely, thinking the result of combining the two would be too strong. The only perfumes I owned were two tiny sample bottles which I had been given from a cosmetics supplier.
Then, RJ started to become interested in perfumes. Whenever something hits his curiosity button, he goes about it in a very thorough manner. Having a Ph.D. in natural sciences and a diploma in physics, he uses an almost scientific approach to all his favourite subjects, and perfumes are no exception.
From a mere two or three bottles of scent, he is now the proud owner of a collection of just over 300 perfumes, all stored in an in-built cupboard at his small bachelor pad - even his stock of food had to make room for that.
Apart from simply enjoying a well-composed perfume, RJ can tell you everything you want to know about what elements it is composed of and in what way the "scent pyramid" works, showing its head note in the first few seconds, and revealing its heart and base in the course of several hours.
He loves choosing his perfume for the day according to his outfit and matching the occasion. He can discern many different types of scent now, and many of the single elements a scent is composed of. Many perfumes have a history; some have been reformulated after their original recipe, such as "Bois du Portugal", which was apparently Napoleon's favourite scent.
Like clothes, food, hairstyles and a lot of other things, perfumes follow trends and fashions. The 1980s had very different popular perfumes from what most people prefer now. Sadly, many let themselves be fooled into buying a scent that does not fit them (and is not particularly well done) simply because some celebrity or other lend their faces (and bodies) to its promotional campaign.
There is a whole world of knowledge connected with perfumes, and of course I can only scratch the surface here. RJ has given talks about his scented hobby several times already, to different groups, from a semi-business environment to the totally private "Perfume Party" we threw the other Saturday:
We invited some of our friends, shared a meal with them, and RJ talked about perfumes. He had brought a small collection of scents from his vast stock, to illustrate the various types of scent and to advise our friends on what they should know before making an informed decision next time they intend to buy a bottle of perfume.
It was interesting and entertaining, and I think all our guests had as much fun as we did in preparing and hosting the event.
By the way, ever since RJ embarked on this new hobby of his, my meagre stock of perfumes has risen to about 7 or 8 normal sized bottles (not counting dozens of samples). Some of them are better suited for spring and summer, others are proper winter scents; I choose a different perfume for going out than for a day at the office. I will never spend as much money on them as RJ does, and don't want to give so much space over to hundreds of bottles, but it certainly is an interesting hobby, and well worth taking a closer look (or sniff?) at.