15 Top Perfume Blogs: the Olentium Edit
I’ve personally been blogging on various topics and platforms since the early noughties, and I never cease to be amazed by the longevity of the medium despite prophets claiming ‘the blog is dead’. Far from it. And what is more incredible is that there are bloggers burning the midnight oil on every topic, however niche. Perfumery is no exception. There are top perfume blogs making waves as niches of this niche; each finding its own special tribe.
We come across perfume blogs active in natural perfumery, scents for men, and celebrity as well as nostalgic vintage fragrances. Others cover new releases and trial spritz them giving us their review wisdoms. On the other end of the perfume blog spectrum, you’ll find aroma chemists weighing in from their labs.
I can’t do justice to all these niches of perfume blogs here. Instead, I’ve highlighted those I find myself visiting regularly for news, sound views, a bit of lighthearted head-nodding and serious industry insights. These are my mainstays and ones I read every week. They make me review my own work in progress and let me decide whether to go with or buck trends. They have very different writing styles and agendas and make for an ideal overview of this strange, opaque, obtuse world we call perfumery. All of them, in the true spirit of pen democracy, reduce the mystique and smoke and daggers surrounding all things scent.
I hope you enjoy their serendipity as much as I do and perhaps feel inspired to start your own fragrant blogging journey.
Top Perfume Blogs
Boisdejasmine – an eclectic, superbly well-written and informative blog by professional perfume industry analyst and award-winning writer Victoria Frovlova who is a frequent contributor to HuffPost, The Financial Times and the New York Times. Based in Belgium, Victoria has kept Boisdejasmine going for well over 10 years, so her blog provide a mine of info and research. I particularly like her find a ‘house, note, fragrance or mood’ search function to bring up just what you need, and her ‘recommend me a perfume’ posts each month that encourage readers to do a Q&A. It’s a blog that gets community going. Victoria is wonderful at replying personally to each and every comment.
CaFleureBon – This is a heavy-weight perfume blog that has garnered all the awards going, so expect to be in for a long read. It has serious credentials and ranks as the number one perfume blog for natural, niche and artisan perfumes. Editor-in-Chief Michelyn Camen created ÇaFleureBon in 2010 (translated from French, this phrase means ‘that smells good’) as a ‘scented salon’, where natural and traditional perfumers and owners of fragrance companies, poets, chefs, painters, students, writers, bloggers, posters, dancers, and retailers can gather and share their thoughts about the world of the fifth sense…”. The blog gathers its info direct from source – the perfumers, creative directors and company PRs themselves – so is an accurate reflection of what’s going on inside the niche, artisan perfumery business. ÇaFleureBon posts original content 365 days a year, which is some feat, and includes among its regular contributors renowned perfume bloggers like The Silver Fox. Editor Michelyn let me know a while back that the site is undergoing a redesign right now so it will be an even more beautiful place to hang out.
Chemist in a Bottle – Fragrance chemist Lucas shares his day job in sniffing and chemical sourcery in a very approachable and layman-accessible read. I particularly appreciate his ‘Chemistry in a Flash’ and ‘Know it Better’ series of articles dissecting compounds like aldehydes or coumarin. A clean, clear, easy navigable site that has a wealth of research there for the taking. A good place to gen up to keep abreast of the industry from an industry insider’s point of view.
EspritdeParfums – the blog (in French) of industry insider Sylvaine Delacourte, who is director of development and evaluation at Guerlain. Among the obvious posts about Guerlain scents and news. the blog offers up personal insights into a perfumed world. Posts entitled ‘Rituel du Parfum’ for example, give us the philosophy, plus tips, on the why and how to wear perfume every day, appreciating it ourselves and what it does for those around us. Nose around to find a host of practical tips buried in prose such as this, asking us to consider, ie, ‘le parfum comme un tableau’. If you can read French, it’s worth following Sylvaine.
Goodsmellas – Wonderful title for a brash and big Brooklyn blog from guys (Carlos & Igor) who are ‘not your average smelling Joes’ as they subtitle the blog, but who are prolific video reviewers. Bald as a coot and all smiles, Carlos gives it as it is on big brands and smaller names in the perfume world on his channel ‘Brooklyn Fragrance Lover’. Men’s or unisex fragrances of course, but there’s a lot to learn from these guys. Compelling viewing and ideal for late night wilfing before bed.
Graindemusc – With a Ph.D on the Maquis de Sade, Denyse Beaulieu is a formidable, yet accessible nose and perfumery writer. She runs an excellent bilingual blog in French and English and is a writer and translator as well as author of ‘The Perfume Lover: A Personal History of Scent‘ and another book in French only so far ‘Parfums: Une Histoire Intime’, which is about the creation of ‘a’ perfume not perfumes in general. The blog is a little less useful as an accessible resource (so not the format of boisdejasmine) but a good read if you just go with the flow and delve into the archives at will meandering through blog posts. Great for those downtime moments in your perfumery education.
Kafkaesque – A quiet, beautifully crafted and literary perfume blog that is home to not only personal reviews but also a depth and breadth of background on perfumery, from industry (IFRA/EU regs and what they mean) to perfume history in a nutshell, a glossary of terms and fragrance families and how to learn about the great ‘classics’. A good place to start out learning about perfume from an anonymous but nonetheless honest and heartfelt blogger.
Karen Gilbert – is an independent perfumery trainer and evaluator who runs courses both online and as three-day, week-long and weekend training sessions. Karen is a seasoned industry professional with a career that spans natural and synthetic perfumery and skincare businesses. Early in her career, she worked for IFF, one of the industry’s big name fragrance manufacturers and has also been at Neals’ Yard and with leading skincare names. Karen Gilbert’s blog is a valuable resource on all things perfumery and a great place to start for an introduction to the subject.
KatiePuckrikSmells – an irreverent review and perfume babble blogo by a perfumehead performer, TV & radio presenter and journalist. I love Katie’s reviews for their shoot-from-the-hip, non nonsense style. She says what we’d all say rather than uses high-faluting terms of the industry or pre-possessing cognoscenti. Katie amazingly finds time to reply to commenters, so expect some chit-chat. A good place to read an alternative review on the latest launch.
NowSmellThis – a long-running magazine style perfume blog based in the States that’s a ‘we’ voice with contributors to various sections such as new launches, names, brands, reviews etc. I particularly grativate to its ‘Perfumista’ posts where you’ll find lists such as ‘100 Fragrances every Perfumista should try’ or ’25 Rose Fragrances every Perfumista should try’. Nothing beats scanning those list posts before starting a Monday morning’s emails!
Odettetoilette – aka Lizzie Olstrom started this blog around 8 years ago while in events and PR. It turned her amateur, aficionado love of perfume into a full-time job. Reviews and general perfume chit-chat aside, Odettetoilette also hosts events on some weird and wonderful aspects of perfume – ie. Scent & Fear. Her regular ‘Scratch n’ Sniff’ events are legendary in London. Lizzie is doing a lot for the perfume world, helping even in classrooms, teaching children how to use their sense of smell! Her first book ‘Perfume: A Century of Scent‘ appeared a couple of years back.
Persolaise – another household blogger name is three-time Jasmine Award winning writer and amateur perfumer Dariush Alavi, aka Persolaise. Alavi is prolific and his authoritative and well-regarded blog a good mix of reviews, interviews and opinions (saying it ‘as it is’). He wrote ‘Le Snob: Perfume‘, perfume guide which is available on Amazon at a perfumed price point.
Tauer Perfumes Blog – The rambling diary home of Andy Tauer, he of artisan perfumery Tauer Perfumes and of artistry. Andy has a charming and disarmingly chatty mode of perfume blogging that makes him a ‘bloke in the bar’ kind of perfumer rather than a ‘nez’ scretively and furtively working in some hidden lab. Love or hate Tauer perfumers – he had some that have taken a severe bashing, but I love most of them – particularly his best seller L’Air du Desert Marocain, his blog is worth the quick daily flick. His posts are frequent and diary like and are good view into the working life of a self-starter artisan perfumer. He also has interesting insights into the industry, from his maverick perspective.
The Silver Fox – Writing on perfume in a higher echelon under the Twitter handle of @ScentofElegance, The Silver Fox is a more intellectual and poetic style of perfumery criticism. This is not for those seeking oodles of resources but for those seeking moments of reflective thought on the perfumery world. Fro example, one post talks about ‘syneasthesia’, which is about the meeting and mingling of senses that some people experience ie. tasting a smell, visualising a smell, hearing a smell. Suffice to say that The Silver Fox deals elegantly with current perfumery cults and trends and does a good job of explaining them in a way that the newcomer can grasp without once lowering the tone of his elegant prose.
What Men Should Smell Like – A quiet, insightful personal blog of antipodean perfume collector and aficionado Clayton Ilolahia, this blog does men’s fragrance reviews in effortless prose and with calm, collected thoughtfulness. I just like it! A complete contrast to Goodsmellas I mention above.
Hi. Thanks for this comprehensive list which offers new avenues for my perfume hobby. I’m already hooked on a few of the blogs you have listed. Persolaise has recently recommended Black Narcissus as a good blog to follow, too.
Bois de jasmin was one of the first guiding influences for me, also another blogger I can’t now find.
I don’t remember her name but she published on huffpost, was living in State College, Pennsylvania & I loved her articles. I think her site was called Perfume diary or Perfume journal. Any chance you may know about this wonderful fragrance writer & why I can’t find her now??? Any leads would be welcome.
Thanks for the tip Claire, I’ll go and check out Black Narcissus which I’ve not yet come across. I will also ask around about the Huff post writer you mention. Victoria at Bois de Jasmine is just incredible and also suffering terribly now as grew up in and has family in Ukraine. I follow her on Instragram and admire her work, artistic prose, feeling, sensitivity and amazing cultured perspective on life, not only on perfumes.