INSPIRED! + Surrender To Chance

Hey there APJers,

Life is happily hectic and the house has most of my attention. There just does not seem to be enough time in the day, though fortunately I am managing to stay afloat. Hopefully you all are coping, if not take a moment to be still and listen to yourself in this moment. You really do know what’s best for you.


Not so very long ago though I was reading one of my all time favourite blogs and the piece was so involving and interesting. How your head can work while trying to be involving and engaging. We at APJ are verystructured because I really like that format and it means you can drop in at any time (day or night, ballgown or suit, bus, work, home, in between courses at dinner, just about any time you have 5 minutes) and get a quick fragrant fix from a wealth of voices across the globe.

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Here though is a piece that really made me think about what we do. I will need some more percolation time but it has caught my attention.

Jump across to I Smell Therefore I Am and have a read, I’d LOVE to know what you think about the piece and how YOU feel it relates to APJ. We are all good for constructive criticism and I want this to be a place everyone feels welcome and has something here to capture and hold their attention.

Surrender To Chance GIVEAWAY

One lucky commenter will receive a $50 Surrender To Chance GIFT VOUCHER to be drawn on Sunday night 10pm Australia EST and they will be chosen by

Go for it crew,
Portia xx

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27 comments on “INSPIRED! + Surrender To Chance

  1. Despina Veneti says:

    As a film reviewer myself, believe it or not, I’ve had to face a similar crisis concerning my reviews, especially when I had to cover several films per week.
    It’s an everyday bet with oneself to avoid falling into the habit/routine trap concerning reviewing, and to always try to remember you’re doing this fundamentally because of your love and passion for the subject/field you’re working on.
    After speaking with numerous readers, I’ve found that most of them deeply appreciate the personal, true (not pretentious or phony) sentimental element to the review they’re reading, in addition to the purely informative and technical part of it.
    My opinion is that your blog has achieved a nice balance between these elements, and I wouldn’t mind at all even more personal pieces about your experiences, memories and feelings triggered by/connected with fragrance.
    Thank you,

  2. Greennote2 says:

    For me, some of the best reviews transcend being a perfume review and somehow either allow you into the reviewer’s world or enlarge your own world by introducing you to new concepts, way of thinking, approaches, etc. Yes I like to have the notes in there somewhere and some idea about the journey the perfume takes, but I’m happy to have other things interwoven. I particularly like reviewers that are brave enough to let us into their lives, either their daily lives or their inner lives and journeys life has taken them on.

  3. Patty Pong says:

    When I can connect with a reviewer I understand it’s wonderful. Whether it be perfume, movies, music or anything else. We don’t have to agree, but there is a connection of using the same language, and having some overlapping tastes. I’ve never written a review or a blog. It must be difficult to balance the truth. Time and time again perfume reviews are fully positive or nearly so, then I get a sample and scratch my head. I’ve often wondered how a reviewer can be totally objective when they make friends with houses, perfumers and online stores. How would they keep getting those samples to review if the tell the negative aspects of the perfumes? It’s always refreshing to read something and see a glimpse of honest negativity by the reviewer. We all know all perfumes aren’t perfect. They sure do read that way. 🙂

  4. Bernadette Winfield-Gray says:

    Interesting, to my mind more about a writer and their writing, although the proprietress of my favourite perfume shop insists customers should experience perfume’s sensual pleasure and connotations rather than over analyse it. I am a relative newbie to this scented fraternity, yet for me one appeal of APJ is that this site has many voices speaking about and sharing their love of scent. I agree with Greennote about feeling privileged when a writer allows you inside their world. Portia, I am looking at you here. Thank you.

  5. Jackie b says:

    For me the best part of a perfume review is the personal reaction of the reviewer to the fragrances. Not so much the narratives that describe the perfumes, but more the personal experience. And the reason I keep reading is that I love the opportunity to enter into a dialogue about it. It is a wonderful feeling of connection.

  6. Azar says:

    Hello Portia,
    I think it works so well that everyone who posts here on APJ has a different and original voice. Rarely do I feel that a review is “phoned in”. While we occasionally wax very eloquent about something we like, I feel it is from our honest experience and not from someone’s press release. That being said I think we sometimes err on the side of “niceness”. Personally I would like to see a little bit more controversy…stir it up just a little. I suppose there is a fine line to walk with that approach, though. So if it works why change it at all!
    Azar xxx

  7. JanLast says:

    As an avid collector of smells from my life which I keep jumbled in my brain, I am as interested in why you like or dislike a fragrance as I am in the notes of the fragrance. What or where did it remind you of? I can go to Fragrantica for the notes, but not for the snippets of your life. How did you feel when you wore it? Where were you in your mind?

  8. Holly says:

    Hiya Portia!

    Well, I guess what I really want to know is how do YOU feel it relates? In other words, I’m the kid in the class who raises her hand and says “teacher, what’s the question?” Maybe you can do a Part 2 after this percolates for a while?

    Anyway, I love Brian’s piece. I have sensed a certain ennui in the perfume blogosphere in general for the last few months. Perhaps it’s my imagination, but I believe I’m seeing fewer reviews overall and comments have dropped off as well.

    I agree with Azar regarding the APJ contributors. The different writing styles and approaches that everyone has is refreshing. I’d like to hear more of people’s personal journeys with fragrance. I enjoy the stories, and they help me center myself and reflect upon my own journey. I’d also be open to controversy if anyone wants to share that or rant 🙂

    It’s also difficult to please everyone. My goodness, there are newbies and hags and everything in between! I think the thing I appreciate most about APJ is that it’s an open, supportive and kind community with a phenomenal sense of humor. It’s fun, frequently bawdy and nothing’s off limits. But hell, you know all that.

    You can also sporadically do a suggestion box kinda thing where readers ask questions, offer criticism and make requests for certain topics and the like. Another nice feature may be to have bios of your contributors and yourself, or brief interviews with them.

    I hope this is helpful!

    Holly xo

  9. Janice says:

    I like the format of APJ—you call it structured but as Azar said, there really are a lot of separate voices who all bring something different. I completely understand what Brian is saying in his blog and I understand that feeling of needing a break, but I think it’s also important to remember that there are always readers at different stages of discovery—the elements of a review that might seem routine to someone who’s been writing on fragrance for a long time are completely new to a lot of people out here. So while I like reading everyone’s personal experience of a perfume, I wouldn’t want you to completely skip the “basics” either—the notes, the perfumer, the historical references, how long it lasts…

  10. gina tabasso says:

    The blog post made me think about fragrance reviews in a different way and wish I had a memiry of mom or grandma like that. I hated mom’s perfume (Jovan musk). My journey started with Love’s Baby Soft and then graduated to Opium and Obsession in high school. Now, the niche and indie perfumers are my mainstay with some vintage thrown in. I have no children or partner. Scent wraps me as I take care of me.

  11. Connie says:

    I think I can see just what Brian means here- there is a formula, I’ve noticed, when it comes to writing perfume reviews. Some bloggers do fall into it more than others, and I haven’t noticed it particularly on APJ, but you see on every site once in a overdrawn references to what the scent supposedly conjures. And we spend so much time complaining about ad copy, but at the same time we have our own exaggerated language. Bloggers want to have something impressive and influential to say. Readers want to believe in the power of the newest fragrance to be a transformative discovery. What’s the answer?

  12. Maya says:

    DNEM The piece was wonderful and echos my sentiments exactly! Dissecting notes doesn’t help me at all except to see if there are notes I like or dislike, which can influence whether I want to try the perfume or not. I have lost interest in reading about notes and when they appear. I do enjoy an occasional blog that says in essence – this perfume stinks. I will add that most of the perfumes that I really like or love I have found on my own and read about later.

  13. Tiffanie says:

    Like others I enjoy the dependable structure of posts at APJ which create a familiar and fun vibe. And I love that there are many voices to keep things interesting and fresh.

    Making order from chaos is a good thing, especially in the world of fragrance where the options feel boundless. It’s another realm where it is easy to see that life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death. 😀

    So if reading or writing about perfume is (or isn’t) your favorite dish at the moment, that’s great, time to keep moving along. There’s so much more to explore.

  14. Julie F says:

    What I appreciate most is the wide variety of individual experiences with scents. Also the memories that are shared and the opportunity to peek into another person’s life experience that may be much different than mine. It broadens my world & makes it richer. Thanks.

  15. Jaybee says:

    I enjoy APJ’s format – it’s fun, and positive (not that I’m against negative reviews, but I get tired of too much negativity). If you’re having a great time, and being sincere, that’s all I can ask for. If you want to try something different, that’s all good too. 🙂 xx

  16. Ems says:

    To me, it all comes down to what you want to do with APJ and how you want your readers to see it. I first found this site through google and a search for Iris Nazarena. And, to be 100% honest, I then subscribed to updates for one of the giveaways (and your generosity in that respect is amazing). And I like reading the updates as new posts come up. But for me, this site is for reading posts as they are published, not so much for going back through the archives. There are some other sites which I use more for references or to discover new perfumes by looking through old posts, because of the way I can search for a certain house or perfumer or note etc. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, APJ just catches my attention in a different way.

  17. Fazal Cheema says:

    When it comes to reviews, i usually prefer less emphasis on notes since that information is widely available and more focus on what perfume reminds..i also appreciate creativity and references and I am talking about Luca Turin style addition, i also like it when the reviewer uses the opportunity to provide education..the education may be any kind such as a different era, a piece of literature, an artist, or something about pop culture, literally anything….moreover, i also like Kafkaesque style in that he focuses on both positives and negatives..

  18. Roslyn says:

    I really enjoy the varied reading personal reactions to scents on APJ, as well as (of course) the generous giveaways. In fact there is a generosity in general about the way reviewers here are prepared to give personal responses. I do appreciate it when reviewers are honest rather than blindly positive or ‘poetic’ or formulaic.

    On the whole I’m happy with APJ as it is and trust you to make any changes you think would make it even better or to decide it’s fine just the way it is.

  19. Laurels says:

    Interesting. I’ve recently been spending less time reading and commenting on perfume blogs, I think for two reasons: one, my personal sea of samples is overflowing, and I want to spend a bit more time smelling things for myself and less time hankering after whatever’s new and hot. Two, I have a habit of turning things I enjoy into a chore, and I was doing that with blogs. (Keep up! Catch up! Don’t click on that link, you’re falling behind! You haven’t commented there for a week–will you hurt someone’s feelings? Why do you think they care if you comment, or what you have to say? It’s a different kind of rabbit hole, frankly.)

    As for what makes a perfume blog valuable enough to me to add it to my Bloglovin feed, that varies. I have to enjoy the writing itself (although one blog I keep reading is often so carelessly proofread that I consider deleting it every few months). Two of my very favorites, I Scent You a Day and Kafkaesque, could not be more different, except that both clearly take a great deal of care with their writing, and both (usually) smell what I smell, which is a factor completely out of the blogger’s control. (Not that we have the same tastes, necessarily; Sam at IScent likes a soapy floral, and I don’t, but we tend to agree on which florals smell soapy.) One blog might have a lot of giveaways, another might have great archives with plenty of “10 best” lists, which I cannot resist. NST has a lot of community interaction.

    What makes APJ so appealing to me is the warmth you in particular bring to it, and the fact that you and the other writers have strong personalities that are very evident in your writing. That makes your structured approach a framework, rather than a straitjacket, in my opinion. I think that if you are finding yourself dissatisfied with the blog, then change is warranted, but I for one have no complaints. Sorry for going on and on, but that I Smell Therefore I Am piece did indeed get me thinking. xxx

  20. flowergirlbee! says:

    i really enjoy reading apj and feel that your reviews are personal and enjoyable.i enjoy all the different guest posts and i think it should just be about how you are feeling about your own writing.there is no problem as far as how it reads.
    happy thinking : ) and thanks for the giveaway..i really want me some vero profumo!!

  21. Aelfrik says:

    As an indie perfumer, it can be a bit tricky.
    Big, faceless, corporate-produced fragrances can, (and often are), ripped to shreds by people who don’t like them. It can be difficult for us to get honest reviews simply because on such a small scale the reviewer more than likely knows us – and is worried about offending us.

    Whilst no-one really enjoys seeing their work resolutely dismissed, it is at the end of the day, only one person’s opinion. One man’s pleasure is another man’s poison and so on…
    I guess what I’m getting at is that there’s an absolute miasma of wank within the entire perfume industry, from producers to reviewers – and I enjoy APJ because I find decidedly less of said wank here.
    I suspect it’s in part cultural, Australians seem to have a much lower tolerance for brown-nosing wank parades than most, and I for one, love it.

  22. mim says:

    Comment from Janice said it best, I think: ” it’s also important to remember that there are always readers at different stages of discovery—the elements of a review that might seem routine to someone who’s been writing on fragrance for a long time are completely new to a lot of people out here. So while I like reading everyone’s personal experience of a perfume, I wouldn’t want you to completely skip the “basics” either—the notes, the perfumer, the historical references, how long it lasts…”

    I like the formula because it works. I like learning about the materials, notes, creative process etc behind the perfume, and then from the other end I like reading about the experience of the perfume–the parade of notes and associations, both broad and personal, that the wearer lives out during the scent.

    Especially at APJ I appreciate the honesty of that description, and a particular exuberance. If a writer is tired of the format then by all means mix it up! But as a reader, when I get fatigued it is usually because of too much focus on the hype, marketing, and perfumer and/or brand. Not because of the way people write about their experience of scent. And APJ is pretty good about keepin it real. ;D

  23. Lena says:

    The personal experience of bloggers – especially here on APJ, where we have a myriad of perspectives – is what I’m interested in as a reader. I understand where Brian is coming from, and I imagine that his experience as both a producer and consumer of perfume writing means that he engages with what’s out there in a way that is different to me (as a consumer only).

    For me, perfume writing on blogs has the wonderful ability to connect, evoke and engage with its readers; yes there are instances of ‘pro forma’ reviewing, but given there is so much out there, it is always possible to find something that appeals.

    If I want to read a list of the notes, there are plenty of places that provide a dry, factual overview. But that’s not what I want. With its many contributors, APJ provides a range of voices in one place, and is informative while also being *interesting*, which is no easy feat.

    Perhaps my opinion is due to the fact that I don’t follow a huge number of perfume blogs and the like, and so don’t feel overwhelmed and inundated by a mass of information. However, those I do subscribe to and look out for have not, fortunately, elicited a response in me similar to Brian’s. And that reflects, I think, the advantages that a forum like APJ provides – different voices, different opinions, different styles, all in one place.

  24. Undina says:


    I didn’t like that post when I read it back when it was written and I don’t like it now. My comment isn’t directed at you, Portia – I hope you understand it. But since you sent me there and asked my opinion, here it is 😉

    From the years of experience in chat groups and then forums I developed a strong dislike towards announced exits. All these avenues are not jobs: do it while you enjoy doing it and then just stop. Who do you think will care to read that outcry? Probably not the same people who might be interested in the actual reviews. So, most likely, it was written for the loyal readers. But those usually do not really care for the review itself. For G-d’s sake, who can be so vain to think that people come month after month after month to get one’s description of some random perfume?! Don’t they have their own noses? At best they might decide based on your emotions if they are curious enough to look for a sample. But most likely they want to read about your grandmother’s dresser, your dad’s scented handkerchief or your first lover’s aftershave… well, I mean, about your emotions about those bits of your past fragrant memories. So, you’re telling them that you do not want to talk to them any longer because of what? Because you cannot come up with something novel and original – just in case there is somebody who read the previous 300 of your reviews and remembers them all? C’mon. You don’t want to do it any longer – fine, go away. But do it quietly because most people do not care and for those who does your “explanations” do not explain anything really but sound rather offensive: you don’t want to spend time with them any longer.
    Undina recently posted…In the Search for the Perfect LavenderMy Profile

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey there Undina,
      WOW! I didn’t really get any of that from the piece. More than anything I thought it was a challenge, a call to re-examine myself and APJ and also to ask what our loyal readers think of both the blog and the point of view from the I Smell Therefore I Am post.
      I love your passion and also that you remind me in the end that it’s our lives and us that are interesting as viewed through our noses. Timely and exactly what I needed to read.
      Undina you were one of my first followers and someone whose posts I love to read. Thank you for still being around and offering a helping hand.
      Portia xx

  25. Katherine Mittas says:

    ” if there is one thing that is guaranteed in life is change “.. its necessary and natural . The longer we try and hold onto something the harder we work at it and unnatural it feels . For years as I grew up in my teens, 20s and 30s I was so sure there was something so inherently wrong with me .. I just jumped around seeking experiences and a time where it was encouraged to choose a profession and settle I just could not do it. This also refers to my fashion sense, perfumes choice..etc it all just keeps evolving.Thank god I grew into myself and embraced and accepted my constant seeking. The amazing experiences and growth that comes with change has been what has created me.

    Portia. I get it.. be yourself and make your choices as you see fit . People will either get it or not.

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