Profile of a Perfumista: Diane

Caron Pois de Senteur perfumeYou might know Diane as "Dragonfly00" on MakeupAlley, or as the owner of Dragonfly Scent Me, an ebay store selling perfume samples and decants. Either way, if you know of her at all, you know her as a real perfumista — or, as she calls it, "perfume junkie". She's a native New Yorker and former therapist now living in Georgia, and she laughs easily as she talks. Here is a little more about her:

Getting Started. Diane played around with perfumed oils in college, but she credits hormones with kickstarting her serious interest in perfume about four years ago. She'd just had a baby, and when she stopped breast feeding she was struck with a sudden and strong urge to find a scent of her own. She pushed away her bottles of Molyneux Quartz, Mariel Hemingway H20, and Ferre, and started investigating perfume in department stores and on the web. She stumbled onto MakeupAlley and then started swapping and buying samples in earnest.

Vintage Fragrances. Diane is a self-described "vintage freak". She loves old perfumes because of their history, and because their florals aren’t "screechy" but are blended and subtle. She says that Caron was the gateway to her love of vintage scents. She started with En Avion, French Can Can, Poivre, and Nuit de Noel, which she calls "essentially vintage scents that are still made today". Then she bought an old bottle of Narcisse Noir on the internet and opened it to find almost inky-black juice and the richest, most delicious incense scent she could imagine. She took the bottle to the Caron store in Manhattan to compare it to new Narcisse Noir and was surprised to find how different they were. Diane says that some vintage scents age beautifully, and like wine their aroma can become more lush and deep with time. Plus, she says, she enjoys the chase.

Family History. When her grandmother died, Diane found piles of fragrance samples and minis at her house. In fact, the police, who came since the grandmother died at home, asked if her grandmother was in the perfume business. Diane speculates that her grandmother may have been a compulsive collector since despite being a teetotaler she also had stacks of mini liquor bottles. Diane wonders how much of her own perfume mania is love of scent and how much is the desire to collect.

Dragonfly Scent Me. Diane wanted to work from home, where she could be with her young son and disabled husband. She had sold baby clothes and other things on ebay, and realized that certain brands of perfume seemed to be selling well online, too. So she started selling Clean and Child, even though she detested the scents to the point of getting hives from decanting them. Before long, she branched out to sell niche and vintage scents.

Most Popular, Least Appreciated, and Favorite Scents. Caron Tabac Blond and Serge Lutens Musc Koublai Khan and Fumerie Turque are among the most often requested samples at her store these days. Diane says that Caron Pois de Senteur, a floral that is "amber-y and comforting, sweet but not sickly sweet" deserves to be more popular, and Cherigan Fleurs de Tabac is a gorgeous but relatively unknown vintage scent. As for her own favorites, Diane refuses to be pinned down. She said that a friend once asked her what her favorite perfume was, and she sent a list of her "hundred signature scents". But, if you specify a note, she does have a few favorites. Among iris scents, she likes Divine L’Homme de Coeur, Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, and The Different Company Bois d’Iris. For incense, she likes old Narcisse Noir, Creed Angélique Encens, Lorenzo Villoresi Incensi, Donna Karan Chaos, and Houbigant Idéal.

What’s Next. Diane is developing an interest in perfume bottles and is starting to stalk particular bottles online. She’s also written a post on factices for Perfume Posse and would like to write about aouds, one of her newest loves. In the meantime, she’s keeping an eye out for that rare Guerlain or magically affordable bottle of Weil Zibéline Secret de Venus.

Note: image via Parfum de Pub.

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28 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    When I was a nascent scent slut, sniffing around on eBay, Diane's store was an excellent browse — still is. For people who aren't quite sure what they're looking for, the way she sorts her samples by note is hugely helpful and informative. She's also a wonderful person to deal with — exactly the sort of friend behind many a fragrance addiction@

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am so slad that I stopped by. I love reading stories like this. My current project (one of them) is a collection of early 20th century inspired scents. It is always nice to have one foot in the past. And how our personal experience shape us can be magical. I love the part about the grandmother too.
    Best, Zz…

  3. Anonymous says:

    She was terrific to talk to, and I have a burning desire to see her perfume collection now! I can see where she'd be a great resource for someone wanting to start sampling the classics.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I'm glad you liked it. I always love hearing stories about people, and I'm really curious about how people got their starts in perfume.

    What kind of project are you doing? Are you collecting the scents then writing about them? Whatever it is, it sounds really interesting!

  5. Anonymous says:

    No, no. I create them. Just this morning I posted a new blog entry on the Evolution of Scent. How things are so tied together is the most amazing thing.

    Anyway you can find me at: lizzorn.com

    Z…..

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ditto on Diane. She is a true perfume friend and funny and smart and a great person to talk to about anything.

    she is also one of my chief fragrance enablers, especially of the vintage kind. :)

  7. Anonymous says:

    Angela, I can't seem to find your contact info in the About section … can you pop over to PPosse at your leisure and email me via “Contact Us”? I have a question…

  8. Anonymous says:

    You bet.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Facinating! I'll definitely read it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    She is pretty great, and I'd love to know her better. My brief acquaintance with her has left me more joyful and poorer (she introduced me to Alpona and the dear, departed Scandal…).

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is wonderful! I love to read about how true perfumeistas, like Diane, got interested in fragrance and began their own businesses.

    She brings a lot of knowledge, passion and intelligence to the perfume community.

    Hugs!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think it would be fun to post an occasional profile of a perfume lover, so I'm glad you like this one! It was a pleasure to talk to Diane, and I'm always really curious about how a person starts his or her love for perfume.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I've bought many decants from Diane from Dragonfly. She's so great to deal with! Thank you for the profile…it's interesting to see what inspires people to collect perfume. I've loved perfume since I was a kid…I remember throwing up because I wore too much Orange Blossom perfume I'd bought on vacation in Florida. Ha. There was Skin musk (which I still love), Love's Baby Soft. Perfume is the only thing I collect, and man, has my credit card suffered for it.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Ach, aren't we all dying to find that magically affordable bottle of SdV oil. Sigh. It's enough to make a gal cry.

    She's just a superb eBayer, and sounds like her taste is even better than her eBay store reflects in its breadth of selection. Excellent article, Angela.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Throwing up from too much perfume! Now there's a dedicated fragrance lover. I remember Love's Baby Soft. Ever wear Babe? I can picture the bottle perfectly, but I can't remember what it smells like at all.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Diane says she has lots more perfume than is listed on her site. And I definitely agree about the Zibeline Secret de Venus. I have fantasies of walking into an estate sale and finding stacks of unopened boxes of vintage perfume. Well, a girl can dream.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Angela

    You are pretty great too! Talking with you was so enjoyable & an immense pleasure!

    Thank you so much for interviewing me & seeking me out. I hope we talk more & do more swapping!!

    I also hope this article was just a first among many different perfume junkies out there…..just waiting to have their stories told. & you tell them so well!

    Bowing to you :)

  18. Anonymous says:

    Really, the pleasure was mine. Judging from the comments here, you sure are popular. And I'd love to do more swapping and talking!

  19. Anonymous says:

    I never wore Babe, but I had an aunt who did. I remember the bottle, but only have a faint memory of the cloud of scent around my aunt. I can't really describe it. Oh man, did I throw up from too much perfume. To this day I do like the way orange blossom smells, but I can't wear it. I have to appreciate it from afar…though I know there's a big difference between the cheap tourist-shop orange blossom perfume sold in Florida and an orange blossom perfume from a real perfumer.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this lovely profile, Angela! Diane has been so kind and generous to me personally. I loved reading about her grandmother!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Diane is my hero! (and her vintage scents are my heroin:) It's great to learn more about her! Thank you, Angela, for the wonderful profile.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Yep Grandma was a trip.

    She saved every medicine bottle she ever got. There were bottles with pills in them with a perscription dates as early as 1920. She just couldn't throw anything out ~ a real pack rat (I, by the way, have no problem tossing things out) but since she just couldn't let go of things ~ i think the result of living through the depression, she used to bring things to my dad's house that she didn't want as “gifts” LOL….My dad would walk the whole bag over to the trash & toss it in.

    Either way….Grandma was r\elieved she didn't have to throw it out!! LOL

  23. Anonymous says:

    Huge hug J! You are my go to woman for my vintage fixes!!! you are my vintage guru……

  24. Anonymous says:

    I think all the SdV Zibeline hopefuls should ban together & wait for a huge 2 oz bottle bid as high as we have to, to win & split it. I need this oil!!!! LOL

  25. Anonymous says:

    At least you didn't have to suffer thinking about the astronomical price of last year's L'Artisan Fleur d'Oranger! It's a great story, thanks.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Great idea!

  27. Anonymous says:

    I'm so glad you liked the profile!

  28. Anonymous says:

    You're so welcome! Yes, Diane is a really personable crack-monger, and it was wonderful to talk to her. (Luckily perfume is so much better for our health than drugs.)

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