Checking In & Some Changes

Hello everyone. I know it’s been a few weeks, but I had some personal matters to attend to. I hope to be back soon with regular reviews, though there will be some changes to how I do things in the future. One of my goals is to have some of my reviews be shorter, less detailed, and a bit more of an overview in nature. Not all of them, but enough to ease my reviewing schedule and to make things a little simpler for me.

I will also substantially cut down the number of retail links that I provide at the end of each review, particularly for Europe. Up to now, many reviews have had between 20 to 30 direct links to a specific perfume’s purchase page. For the U.K. alone, I would cover all the major department stores, as well as the niche ones. Then, there would be links to stores in numerous other countries, including the Middle East when applicable, as well as extensive discount information for some brands. All of that will change. I will provide one or two retail links for America, and a handful for Europe, limited primarily to the major sites, especially those who ship world-wide. I realise the section will not be quite as helpful as before for a few of you, but I suspect many people skipped it entirely anyway. What most people don’t realise is that it would often take me at least two hours, if not more, to find and input all that information, not to mention fixing the formatting problems that frequently ensued. Two to three hours is a lot to spend each time on a mere purchasing section that isn’t a core part of the review and isn’t used or necessarily appreciated by every reader.

When I started the blog, I would frequently post six reviews a week. Given the growing length of the posts, the retail links, the time to find the photos and more, that number dropped to about four. It may drop further still. I’ve written 517 posts in just under two years, and I’d estimate that at least 450 of those have been reviews, many of which exceed 3,000 words in length. It’s obviously quite a lot, on all counts.

However, another reason for reducing the frequency of my posts is that I’d love to wear fragrances for myself a little more often. My reviewing schedule has taken some of the joy out of perfume, because I’m always analysing, for hours and hours on end, taking notes, and going straight from one review into preparations for the next. Plus, as you may have noticed, there aren’t a ton of fragrances that get rave reviews. Quite frequently, I either really dislike what I’m wearing or feel wholly apathetic about it. Yet, I’m stuck wafting the bloody thing for at least half a day. I rarely scrub a scent, so to go from one fragrance that I dislike to another that I’m indifferent to, then to the next one that is just merely “fine,” and so on, day after day — it takes a toll. So, bottom-line, I’ll be cutting back on some of the reviews so that I can have more than just a handful of nights a month to wear something I love from my own collection.

My approach to the comparative assessments from other sites may also potentially change. Right now, my thought is that discussion of other reviews will be reduced, sometimes briefly summarized, or occasionally skipped entirely. I will provide links to places like Fragrantica or another blog, but I will not go into so much detail on how other people’s experiences may vary from my own.

In truth, I’m not quite sure how I will manage this one. For one thing, my core belief has always been that perfume is a highly individual, personal experience that depends on a whole host of factors, and my experience may not be like that of someone else. Surely it matters if someone has a polar opposite view, just as it does if others have something extremely similar? Moreover, I’ve always wanted each review to be a launching pad from which you could go to learn as much as possible about a particular scent, particularly other people’s opinions of it, and to have all that information in one place.

Nevertheless, I’m not sure that my goal of comprehensive coverage requires me to elaborate in depth on all the similarities or differences in views. Personally, I think it helps to have it spelled out, with full details, but not everyone shares my love of specifics. More importantly, there are definite downsides in terms of the length of each review, and in the amount of time that it adds on my end in terms of research, links, quoting, formatting, and so much more. So, I’m mulling this part over, and I’ll probably decide on a case-by-case basis or as I see fit.

As a whole, I don’t know if I’ll manage to meet these goals, with the exception of the curtailment of the retail section links which is pretty definite. Everything else is going to come crashing straight into the very big wall of my obsessive-compulsive love of details, specifics, and need to weigh every side of an argument. I’ve always said that I don’t have a succinct bone in my body, and I highly doubt that is going to change at this point in my life. So I suspect that my definition of a “cursory, generalized overview” will hardly be the same as most people’s, not by a thousand words at least. Plus, it’s pretty much a sure thing that the perfumes I really love passionately will come with the usual treatise length. Still, if you suddenly see a sharp change in the style of some of the other reviews, you’ll know why.

Obviously, a lot of these issues pertain to time-management, but they’re also intended to bring back some of the joy I initially felt at writing about perfume to begin with. Certain things in the last six months have really taken impacted my feelings about blogging, as well as the perfume world in general, and I’ve almost walked away from the whole thing. Plus, I am not someone who feels the yearning to write for the sake of writing, and perfume is actually not at the top on my list of passions in life. The bottom line is that the negatives have started to outweigh the positives for me. These new measures may only pertain to the process of writing but, if they make things a little easier, it’s a start.

109 thoughts on “Checking In & Some Changes

  1. Comment rarely but read often. I love your reviews and will continue to read them after your changes. Better for you to go back to just really loving the scents and sharing…not trying to get to all that present themselves.
    I do love your (long) descriptions however! But will survive with the shorter ones!!!

    • Thank you, my dear, I appreciate that. We’ll see how I manage with my goals, especially the one about shorter reviews. LOL

  2. Dear Kafka,
    I’ve missed you and your reviews! I will be looking forward for your next posts, in whichever style you like to write them. I totally understand how time consuming blogging is (reason why I never got into it). This should be a fun thing to do. If it starts feeling like a chore, it’s too hard to keep it up.
    I for one love your prose and will keep on reading you.
    Take care.

    • It is time-consuming, Cath, but I really create my own problems with my obsessive-compulsive character and need to talk about all the issues. 🙂 Hopefully, I’ll manage to get over that, to a small extent at least.

  3. Daily reader but first time commenter. I’ve always loved the blog and the way you describe scent. I’ve discovered many perfumes thanks to you dear Kafka, so if these changes are necessary for you, I’m very happy. Blogging about perfume should be fun, not life consuming. I hope all is well personally, and I will continue reading your reviews, be they shorter or sparser in between. Best regards, Alex.

    • I’m very touched that you decided to comment after all this time, Alex, so thank you. It means a lot to me, perhaps more than you can know. I hope you will come out of lurkerdom a little, so that I can get to know you and your perfume tastes better.

  4. You have my complete sympathies…I can’t believe I used to review 5 fragrances a week. It really can suck the joy out of the whole thing. Good luck!

    • Robin, it is such a wonderful surprise to see you here, and it means a lot to me. Thank you, for the kindness of commenting and for your support. If I may, I have to say that I’ve always been in utter awe of how much you manage each day. All those Upcoming Releases, one after another. It all adds up, perhaps more than any one single review, and I’ve wanted to tell you for a long time how much I admire your efforts. You’re like the Energizer Bunny! (How do you do it and not go completely mad after a while??!)

      Anyway, thank you again. Coming here and posting was really sweet. *hugs*

      • Well thank you, that is kind…when the new releases were fewer, it was doable. Now the only way to do it is to have reliable contributors, otherwise you could not do both new releases and reviews. When my contributors give up, I may too.

        And I have been in awe at how intensely detailed your reviews are. I hope you will find the right pace that allows you to keep going.

  5. I look forward to reading your reviews every day. I have missed you and will look forward to future reviews in whatever form they need to take so that you may also have a life. I understand how important that is and how work and passion can take over and you lose some of yourself. I wish you well and know that you are appreciated.

    • Awww, John, thank you. You rarely comment, but you’re always so kind when you do. I’m really touched to know that I was missed, and that I’m appreciated. I honestly didn’t expect that — from you or anyone — so thank you for letting me know. I send you a big hug.

  6. I have missed your reviews badly and am so glad that you’re back! I am sure I speak for all the regular readers when I say that any changes that keep you writing and happy are fine with me. And if we can’t do our own retail searches, that’s our problem ;-). You deserve pleasure in your life, and if perfume isn’t fun, why bother? In your multi-reviews like the one on favorite florals, I’ve been very impressed by how much you can convey about a perfume in a paragraph, so do it any way that you see fit and we will just be glad that you’re back.

    • I never feel as though I’m conveying much about a perfume in one paragragh, perhaps because I think the nuances, the pros/cons, and the flaws matter as much as the feel. I don’t know, I’ve always been very dubious about brief descriptions having substantial value or conveying the real character of something. When I was applying to university and had to face 500 word limitations in the personal essays, I was almost in despair. LOL.

      So, you see, it’s always been a personal flaw and limitation. I started this whole thing because I thought the details mattered so, so much — but then I trapped myself a little. Fingers crossed that I can manage more of a birds-eye view, though judging by my next post, I’ve failed completely there, too. (In my defense, though, it *is* about 11 products!)

  7. I’m glad to see you planning these changes dear Kafka. You’ll still be the best at what you do.

  8. I am a relatively recent reader and really enjoy your reviews. I think making them shorter should not be a problem for most readers. I either know or can find stores that have the perfume or samples. When I become interested in a fragrance that I read about, I check out other reviews myself anyway. You shouldn’t have to do everything. We are adults. Perfume is one of those things in life that should bring you joy and pleasure, not be a
    chore………and if you find a perfume love and write a long, exuberant review, I’m sure no one will complain. 🙂

    • Thank you, Maya, and welcome to the blog. 🙂 Hearing the perspective of a new reader is extremely helpful, and reassures me that it’s okay to work on some changes in style, so thank you for your comment. It was very sweet, and I greatly appreciate it.

  9. Dearest Kafka, you at any length is a joy to have back. I have enough catching up to do with commenting and reading. You’re constantly top of mind because you’ve created so many lemmings that got satisfied and I’m not just referring to the perfumes you love! That said, I am sitting here looking at my little freebie sample of SL L’Incendiaire and scheming to see how I can replicate it without giving up an arm

    • My sweets, I’ve missed you, and hope that you have been well. Thank you for letting me know that I’ve managed to create some lemmings for you. I’d love to hear which ones got satisfied, other than the Khol de Bahrein as I think that was the last one you really posted about here. With regard to L’Incendiaire, you’d need an arm *AND* a kidney perhaps, but I’m sure you’ll figure out some way. LOL. I bet it’s that plummy base from Boxeuses which got to you, huh? 🙂

      • Khol de Bahrein was a partial bottle and that is old news!

        In the past 3 months, among other perfumes, I acquired FBs of Cuir Beluga (it made your top 25!), Anubis and Angelique. Ah, and of course, come to think of it, I could have almost “saved” what I spent on these three for one measley 50 mL bottle of L’Incendiaire.

        • I knew about the Anubis, but Ha, so you fell for Angelique after all! I told you so! It had your name written all over it. 😀 As for Cuir Beluga, all that lovely heliotriope…. mmmm. Delicious. Given your work environment, its subtlety must be absolutely ideal, too. Hopefully, the rest of your lemmings will be satisfied as well, even if it’s not a full bottle of L’Incendiaire. Did you ever end up getting the L’Orpheline? I think you mentioned it in passing in a Papillon thread, though I don’t think you ever commented on the review itself about how it smells like on you.

  10. Girl, you do your thing in life and whatever is more important to you! I’ve come to realize that olfactory Nirvana can never be reached, and it’s literally `chasing the dragon`… perfume is a passion and a drug that consumes you, and frankly, sometimes it stresses me out so bad from continually being on my mind and the hunt of finding `the one ` (which will never happen by the way), it ruins the fun part, and I just wanna walk away as well. I understand that your reasons are slightly different from mine, but hey, same concept. Do your thing, your fans will still be here for you! Warmest Regards- Poboijosh

    • Heh, “Chasing the Dragon.” My God, that’s an apt comparison. It’s very true, Poboijosh. I’ve always used the comparison of a hamster on a wheel, going faster and faster, but somehow always running in place. I had a hamster as a kid who was so frenetic on his wheel, his little feet would bleed — and I’ve sometimes felt that way with blogging, the need to stay ahead of the curve, the focus on the next new thing, and so much more. You’re also right that the compulsiveness of the act (whether perfume hunting or blogging, etc.) does end up stressing one out. I hope that we can both manage to find a better balance in things! *hugs*

  11. Well, Hell. Late to the party again. I just signed up to follow you and you’re shooing the guests out the door to get some sleep… : )

    Reading your post, I can’t blame you. There’s NOTHING I wanna have to do everyday for two years, or probably even for two weeks.

    Live your life well; I’ll look forward to what you do write.

    • First, welcome to the blog, DDJ! I always appreciate someone with a wry, dry sense of humour, and your comment made me grin quite a bit. Second, I wouldn’t worry too much about me shooing guests out the door to get some sleep. (lol!) I’m a bit too OCD and Type-A to manage a proper silence or posting limitation. That said, it will be nice to get some of the aforementioned sleep. I’m an insomniac but the schedule of the last two years has been rough even for me, and there were some weeks where I’d be lucky to get 12 hours in 7 days. Still, we’ll see how well I manage in terms of keeping things in a better balance. I look forward to getting to know you and your perfume tastes better in the days to come. 🙂

  12. I will read, happily, a 500 words review written by you since I know that even briefly you will manage to get to the core and still have time to pepper the whole thing with some amazing details.
    It makes sense to write about perfumes while still loving and enjoying what you do. If that is not the case, there is something seriously wrong with the process and it makes absolute sense to change it. Besides, things evolve and change, including one’s own words so it is only natural for your blog to change as well as it will your readership, your audience, your scope. Do as you see fit. Those who care will follow. It may attract some new moths to your light.
    We just miss you, my darling. I am pretty sure you know that 😉

    • I highly doubt that I’ll *EVER* manage a 500 word review! The mere sight of that number made me shudder, reminding me of college application essays and their hideous word limitations. LOL. Still, I do need to make things a little easier on myself, because there have been days where writing has felt like a huge ordeal because of all the background stuff that I had to do even BEFORE I started on the actual fragrance. (Bloody retail links, for one. Research and photos, for another.)

      It’s been hardest in cases where I really loathe the fragrances in question. Summarizing their core gist will make the process less of an ordeal because it’s extremely hard to write in detail about something one dislikes. There has been a new trio from a very popular house, for example, that I’ve put off writing about simply because the thought of covering all three properly filled me with dread. So, hopefully, the new changes will make things easier.

      Thank you, by the way, for your prior note in the Army of Lovers thread. It touched me that you were concerned about my absence.

  13. Hi….I totally understand – life is precious and life is short – your reviews are wonderful but I wondered how you managed to put that much time aside for a review. Your opinion will still be valued and a shorter article will still be loved:)))
    Time is tight for everyone these days – so do only what gives you Joy, only what inspires you and only what feels good for your soul.
    Much love from Katie xx

    • Thank you, dear Katie. I’ve wondered how I put aside the time, too. For one thing, I slept even less than I normally did. Even for an insomniac, it did end up taking a toll in the long run. lol

  14. I missed you, too!!!
    Your time-management decisions sound very good to me, I’ll for sure keep on reading. Vanessa from Bonkers about Perfume describes her blogging as “slow-blogging” which I think is good to keep the enjoyment factor alive. I was sometimes wondering how many people are behind that “Kafkaesque” because I can’t imagine how one single person can write so much in depth and comparatistic, scientific-style reviews. And even more, look for and choose all the wonderful pictures, which really makes the whole thing a feast for the senses.
    Take care!

    • Definitely just little old me, Anka, and no-one else. It definitely was a lot to manage, but I didn’t mind it for the longest time because I enjoyed the process, even when a review would take me 16 to 18 hours of nonstop work. There were other things, however, which started to taint the fun, and it also doesn’t help that I am not a huge fan of everything that I test. Constantly wearing, testing, and analysing perfumes that one doesn’t enjoy tends to be really exhausting in the long run, especially when one has to write about them in detail. It really affects my mood and spirits when I wear perfumes I dislike.

      Hopefully, having the chance to wear a few things of my own that I love will balance all that out. It’s been a pretty rare thing up to now, as infrequently as 2 or 3 times in an entire month, if even that! I’m looking forward to changing that. 🙂

  15. The other day I wondered if I’d stopped receiving email notifications for your blog. Alas, that wasn’t the case.

    I’m glad to learn that you’re not gravely ill. I was surprised to learn that you neither yearn to write nor consider perfume one of the greatest pleasures in life. Neither thing showed, to say the least.

    If making these changes helps you (regain?) your love of perfume, I say “hurrah!” Perfume should be a joy, not a job, as this is indeed your hobby.

    I will enjoy your reviews, whatever their length. It matters not to me if you include blurbs from Fragrantica et al because I’ll go look at them if I’m interested. The same for information on where to buy. You readers are adults and can do their own research if they want. And if they don’t want, then there’s no use wasting your time!

    I hope these changes help you continue writing this blog, as I’ve missed you quite a bit. It’s mostly a selfish wish, of course. I love this blog! It’s the only place I can come to see a totally honest assessment. I may not always agree with you, but that’s great!

    So, I hope you can regain your enjoyment, do what’s right for you, and I look forward to future reviews.

    Feral Jasmine put this all so much more succintly, I’m sure.

    • Thank you, my dear Julie. Your comment was very sweet, but also helpful with regard to the things that you won’t miss in a review if I cut back on them. In truth, it’s not only the time issue which has very much impacted my love of perfume, but some other things as well. And I’m not always very well-served by my honesty. Rarely so, it seems. But I can’t do it any other way, as it’s simply not me. So, hopefully, the time-management changes will alleviate some of the more technical downsides, even if it doesn’t do so for the rest. Cheers, my dear! 🙂

  16. I too agree with Feral Jasmine and look forward to reading your reviews in the future even if they are shorter. For some of us that may be better as we all have time constraints. I am just happy that you will be continuing with it. Good luck!

  17. Good, you’re back. I’ve wanted to reach out but I thought you’d think I was being nosy again. I think your readers would understand your wanting to live a life. Even short reviews take a lot of time. Keep it fun. Spend more time with the Hairy German. Wear Alahine more.

  18. Everything you’ve said is completely understandable and I hope you can manage to find a level that is a joy for you and not a chore.

    I also want to say that I really appreciate all the thought, research, and detail that you have put into your posts and I missed your reviews while you were away. I hope all is well in your real life!

    • Thank you, Gigi. I’m very touched by the comment on the research, detail, and work, because it lets me know it’s noticed and appreciated. I’ve sometimes felt as though it’s taken for granted, so hearing that really makes a difference. Thank you!

  19. Good for you! I think one of the core reasons that we all love perfume so much is precisely that it takes us out of the daily grind to enjoy beauty for beauty’s sake. If you lose that, then what’s the point? I shall look forward to reading whatever you want to write, when you want to write it!

  20. My dearest blog writer,please do whatever keeps you sane and happy.I’m glad you have a plan of action and hopefully us,your loyal and grateful readers, will help you to regain some trust back in the perfume world.Most of all,I hope perfume will be again a source of joy and pleasure.Whatever you will write or how often,I’m going to enjoy every bit of it.Thank you!

    • I’m going to email you a proper reply as soon as I get a moment, Ana, but just wanted to say thank you here. For everything — and that goes far beyond your very sweet comment here. xoxox

  21. Dear Kafka, I’m so glad that you are back. Do what you have to and cut corners, I will enjoy it anyway. As long as we have the comment section and you kindly reply to all comments.

    • I’ll always try to make time to reply to comments, Pipette, even if I may be a bit slower these days and even if it takes a day or so on occasion. 🙂 Interacting with readers has always been one of the nicest part of the blog. And thank you for always being a loyal reader, my dear.

  22. Writing isn’t exactly the healthiest lifestyle either. But misery loves company so don’t stop. My eldest son does an excellent impersonation of, is it Marvin the Android from Red Dwarf? “My brain hurts”
    I’m sorry to be flippant but your readers are there as much for the sense of belonging as the excellent reviews. Cheers my dear, wearing Bal a Versailles today.

    • Heh, my brain HAS hurt to a huge degree on occasion, so your son’s comment and reference are quite apt. 🙂 As for readers having or enjoying a sense of belonging to a little community, I’m very touched by that. Thank you, Omni.

  23. Dearest Kafka, fret not!!! Bottom line, please find your path back to your own personal enjoyment of scent!!! Those of us who adore you, only want that for you as well! I am sorry things became burdensome for you. Many enjoyable whiffs to you on your return journey!!! <3 <3 <3

  24. As I read all the wonderful comments trickling into my email inbox, I just wish I’d been simpler and said, “Do what you need to do! Enjoy life!” I love your blog, love perfume, and love the folks who comment on your blog.

    Maybe you needn’t respond to each and every comment left? I have always wondered how you can find the time and energy to do that!! I’m sick in bed, so I can hang out on the web all day. . .

    I don’t expect a response to this, my second comment. And y’know, I don’t re-read and edit what I write (much to my chagrin, at times), but it sure saves me time! Anyway, bottom line: Cheers! Glad you’re back in whatever form you choose. And. . .Enjoy life! I enjoy perfume unabashedly, and sometimes I loathe perfumes unabashedly, but it’s all fun for me, and like I said before, if it’s not your job, “fuggetaboutit.”

    See? I’m no good at terseness myself!! 🙂 Love ya!

  25. I missed you! Just appreciate all you do and am glad that you can find a way to carry on and most important of all find a way to enjoy perfume again. Much love. Looking forward to your next post

  26. First, let me say that it’s clear from reading your replies that you have many devoted readers, who, like myself, enjoy your writing, but don’t comment, (as well as the ones that do). Speaking for myself, I don’t comment because I feel that I generally don’t have anything to add from my little knowledge of the fragrance world. There is a general consensus that your reviews are really very much liked, and that you will be respected and appreciated for whatever gifts come our way.

    Many thanks for the devoted and wonderful articles.

    • Welcome to the blog, Jeri, and thank you for taking the time to comment. It actually means a lot to me that you did so for the first time, and I hope that you will feel comfortable enough to comment in the future. I really believe that perfume can be more fun, enjoyable, or meaningful if one shares the joy with others, so knowledge of the fragrance world doesn’t matter much, imo. You don’t have to “add” anything at all, but sharing your thoughts (even about something you haven’t tried) can be fun. I’m not trying to pressure you, though, so I hope you won’t think that. But I would welcome any participation that you may want to provide, regardless of whether you knew a lot about perfume or very little. 🙂

      As for your sweet comments on my reviews, they mean a lot to me. One doesn’t always know how one is perceived elsewhere and, frankly, I’ve gotten so much grief over my candid opinions that it certainly is lovely to hear some of the positives for once. LOL. So, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  27. My dear K – I was wondering where you had gone off to. I was hoping that you were having a wonderful month long vacation. I’m so glad that you’re back and that you will continue to do the incredible things that you do…no matter what form or manner in which you continue, I’ll always be there because you rock this perfume community with your thoughtful, insightful and always well thought out and researched reviews. We all need a breather now and then and you certainly deserve it! Welcome back Love!

    • Awww, thank you, my darling Hound. I really appreciate your sweetness and your eternal kindness to me. I send you the hugest, biggest hug imaginable.

  28. Kafka! Glad to see you came back.
    I hope you can implement the changes you planned and get back some enjoyment from the perfumes you love (I was actually wondering how you managed to do such detailed reviews and still wear anything but what you were reviewing).
    As to the retail section, I think you should find an intern (or a couple) and make them do it for you! 🙂

    • Most of the time, I was ONLY wearing what I was reviewing because even when I wasn’t writing, I was still testing or re-testing. Being unable to wear things I liked from my own collection more than twice a month was taking a definite strain. It would seriously impact my mood to test/wear things I disliked — and I am not moved by many of the things I try. So, having that happen day after day or several times a week would always get to me. Even harder still was writing about them, because I would rarely be inspired in any way. (The flatness of my tone should always be a dead give-away, as well as whether a review starts poetically or not. lol). But I think there is enormous value and need for negative reviews as a counterbalance to all the good ones out there, so that couldn’t be helped much. Still, it will be nice to have a breather from all that. Nothing gets one down faster than a bad perfume! 🙂

  29. Another voice in the chorus of appreciation here! Please do whatever is necessary to keep your pleasure and passion as vivid as they have always been. If you take requests, I’d love to hear your reaction/prognostication re: the Frédéric Malle acquisition — if you yourself feel you have a take on it at this point.

    • First, welcome to the blog, La Faustin. It’s always nice to meet another reader, and I hope you will feel comfortable stopping by more often in the future. 🙂

      Second, I’m actually planning on writing something about the Malle situation, though not purely on him and with a focus that is just as much on on Estee Lauder and corporate changes in the perfume industry. (Elizabeth Arden, for example, as the complete flipside of the equation.) With regard to Malle himself, it’s something that I have wanted or, rather, needed to mull over. His situation is different in so many ways than Le Labo, or most other people in the industry apart from perhaps Serge Lutens, so it requires more thought than a purely reflexive, emotional outburst. I see a number of different sides to it, but still haven’t reached any one, set, particular conclusion. Honestly, I’m not sure I ever will because I’m not sure there is such a singular answer. But I will write about all that, most probably next week. As I said, I am interested in the corporate aspect of things just as much because I think it reveals some shifts in larger context, regarding the perfume industry as a whole. So, I want to research a few more things with regard to a few companies. My post may be more financially related than some other people’s takes on the Malle situation, but I don’t think one can really talk about one without talking about the other. At least, not without resorting purely to speculation and emotion. 🙂

  30. I am so glad to see you back! I was honestly worried. I love to read what you write (however long or short) and enjoy your stunning choices of illustration. Thank you!

    • Awww, I’m so touched. Thank you. I have had a lot on my mind and some personal issues that I needed to deal with, so I wasn’t really motivated to post much. Or at all, really. lol. Hopefully, some of the new changes will facilitate things on the writing end. 🙂

  31. Avid reader but seldom comment but your post today compels me to do so.
    Honestly, to find a retailer or other reviews, I can use Google. So I don’t find the list of retailers of use, personally. I enjoy your inclusion of other reviews / opinions but don’t find it essential and sometimes skip that if I am pressed for time. What I really enjoy and value is YOUR opinion, your thoughts and feeling about a given scent, your experience with it, your analysis. So if you leave out the opinions of others, I will be fine with that – but if it is essential to your analysis or your enjoyment of your writing, then so be it. I would rather read a good review of yours , but less often, if, for you, that takes more time and requires inclusion of time consuming research. In other words, love to read your blog and would rather do so once a week if that is all you have time for, than read something that is no longer giving you joy to do.
    I hope that all makes sense! And thanks so much for your writing – it truly is a pleasure.

    • It means a lot to me that you took the time to comment for the first or second time, Kim. Thank you, because it really helps to know what sorts of things matter to readers, what parts they don’t find to be critical, and what they see as more essential. It also reassures me that some of the things (like minimizing the comparative opinions) won’t impact what you like in a review.

      Putting my own opinion in a wider context or baseline has always seemed like something that would matter or be quite informative or significant, but it really does take a huge amount of time and essentially tacks on another (secondary) part onto each review. So, minimizing or at least shortening that section will make a huge difference. (It will also, thankfully, make the reviews shorter! Believe me, I know full well that some of them are too long! LOL.)

      Most of all, though, it really helps to know from someone who ISN’T a frequent commentator that what you value is my own opinion. I also find it very touching, and it means a lot to me. Thank you for taking the time to leave a note, Kim, and for letting me know. When people don’t comment, it’s easy to think that what one does doesn’t really matter, so thank you truly.

  32. I will continue to be a fan and avid reader. I, for one, dont think it is necessary for you to list all the sites at which a fume can be purchased, nor what so-and-so thinks of a frag. Most of the time, i read so-and-so’s opinion about a fragrance on his or her blog anyway. It made me sad to read that all this took some of the joy out of perfumes for you. Blogging isn’t worth that. Kiss your hairy German for me.

    • Awwww, the Hairy German is here now, and I have been hugging him more than ever lately. It’s been a rough few weeks, for a variety of different reasons. You don’t comment much or frequently, Patrick, but it always touches me when you do. So, thank you for your kind comments here today. *hugs*

  33. I’m just glad you’re ok and going to continue writing. I agree with the others; I will be happy to read your reviews even if they are very brief. I don’t need the links and shopping info. (although, I have used them) as my browser does a fine job of searching out retailers. I do like that you reference other reviewer’s opinions but can always read them for myself on other sites. I would hate to think you don’t enjoy writing what is such a pleasure for me to read, so please make all the adjustments you need!

  34. Dear Kafka, I totally understand your need to write less and to wear what you love. I only write reviews for Fragrantica and sometimes it feels like a burden to wear and write about scents I don’t love and that’s only maybe 3 reviews of 2 or 3 paragraphs each! I have wondered how you find the time to prepare such comprehensive reviews although I love them all!

    Your loyal readers will follow you and love your reviews whether there is one review a week or 3 or whatever works for you! Be happy and enjoy your own lovely perfumes.

    • It’s the perfumes one doesn’t love that always get to one, isn’t it? Unfortunately, I come across a lot of those — far more than I ever, ever write about. *sigh* I wore something for myself last night and from my own collection. It was such a joy, and I think doing that more often will make a difference.

  35. Hello, Kafka. I’ve been reading you for quite a while now, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever left a comment. While I had always thought the world of perfume seemed rather fascinating, I knew next to nothing about it.Your blog and wonderful review played a big part in getting me to dig into it, and I truly am thankful for that. Whatever the form they take, I’m sure that your reviews will always delight your readers. I hope that you’ll manage to find joy in perfume again through these changes!

    • First, welcome to the blog, Anne. Second, it means a lot to me to hear from people like you who have never commented before, more than perhaps you realise. It’s very easy for one (or me) to think that what one does has no impact or doesn’t matter. Or, perhaps, that’s just me. Comments like yours really make a huge difference and I’m really touched. Honestly, I had really no idea. So, thank you. I do hope that you will feel free to stop by more often in the future and give me the chance to know you and your perfume tastes better. How much or how little you know doesn’t matter to me. Perfume is a lot more fun when shared or talked about, and we can all learn from each other. 🙂

      • In that case, I’ll try to comment more in the future. 🙂 It is indeed a lot of fun, and it’d be unfair for you not to get your share anymore. I very much look forward to reading your new reviews, in their revised state!

        • I’m just glad to meet a long-time reader. Really, it means so much, and I’m just SO happy that you came out of lurkerdom! By the way, the sleek, furry one in your avatar looks beautiful. What is his or her name?

          • Ha -her name is Alizée! It’s a French word for a kind of wind (though I chose this name mostly because I thought it was cute – I was eight when I got her, she’s thirteen now). She’s so sweet. Your German shepherd also looks quite handsome. Dogs make great companions too! I used to have a golden retriever, he was a fantastic dog.
            Anyway, it’s always nice to meet other animal lovers, isn’t it?

          • Alizée! MOI LOLITA!!! 😀 Il fut un temps où je écouté cette chanson sans cesse. Mylène Farmer aussi. Alizee est un nom de super pour un chat, très orientale et sensuelle.

  36. Add me to the long list of people who appreciate what you do. And congratulations on making your self-assessment and planning your next moves. Sometimes we all just keep going in the same track because it is easier than making changes. As much as I enjoyed reading your descriptions and comparisons, I often found myself short on time for reading the whole post. Best of luck; enjoy wearing your fragrances. I look forward to reading you in future.

    • Gosh, I’m going to need luck in terms of being brief or shorter. lol. 😀 My next review is already ridiculously long and a complete mockery of my goal, though in my defense it does cover 11 different products. Still, I hope for some other ones to involve less detail and I hope it will be easier on all of us, all around! Please give some scritches and a kiss to the gorgeous furry one in your avatar from me.

  37. I am a daily reader and missed your reviews these last weeks. If you feel you need to make some changes then you should go forward. I am sure your reviews will always be fun and interesting, whatever format you choose. I look forward to keep reading your blog

  38. Kafka – I have learnt a lot about perfume from your blog and have tried many perfumes thanks to your reviews. So thank you for that. Definitely do whatever works best for you. I was always gobsmacked by the amount of work you put into your reviews and wondered how you did it. I for one won’t at all have a problem with the removal of shopping lists, comparative reviews etc. We can all do that bit ourselves. Just do whatever makes you feel better about writing your blog so you can enjoy perfume again.

    • Megan, it’s so nice to see you again. I hope you’ve been well. 🙂 Thank you for your kind comments about the blog, and your support in terms of my proposed changes. We’ll see how well I manage to actually achieve them. I hope it won’t be like my New Year’s goals which rarely come to fruition! 😀

  39. I’ll give you this; I share your love for Fracas and whopping orientals. And I’ll try to comment more, not just read! Welcome back 🙂

    • My word, if you’re a guy who likes Fracas, I’m so impressed, you have no idea! If you’re not (and I am not prying into your gender or asking about it), I’m glad to hear that Fracas has another fan. Somehow, there don’t seem to be too many of us these days, perhaps because it’s such a forceful fragrance and modern tastes prefer things that are quieter. The Fracas club seems to be a rather lonely one. lol. Regardless, Fracas and whopping orientals… we’re off to an excellent start! 🙂

      • I think that Fracas will always have its passionate admirers. My favorite version will always be the vintage parfum, which I can only afford in tiny bottles, but I love it enough to be unwilling to do without it. I have other tuberoses that I love, but Fracas is unique.

        • I’ve run out of my vintage Fracas parfum. I must remedy that immediately. Thank you for reminding me, dearest, because it really *is* unique.

      • One of the loveliest things about your new direction is that so many lurkers unlurked to encourage you to keep writing in whatever length worked for you. I’m delighted to meet fellow readers, and it is clear that you, Kafkaesque, will have a great group of readers for as long as it means anything to you to write about perfume.

        • You’re completely right, meeting the lurkers has been the absolute best thing about my return and the new direction. It’s really been wonderful. Now we just have to guilt-trip them not to go back into hiding. lol

  40. To be honest, I found your blog because a large number of people on a certain forum/group about perfume (name redacted) were complaining about how “unnecessarily mean” your reviews were, and I was curious about what all the fuss was about. I really enjoyed your reviews and have since been visiting your blog regularly. Personally, I don’t get offended when people dislike my favorite books, music, etc. … so I can’t see why people get so hurt about someone’s opinion about a perfume. There are many perfumes I like that you have completely destroyed in your review, but it’s even more interesting to read negative reviews about perfumes I like than good ones, because it’s interesting to see how things that appeal to me can be so loathed by other people.

    Anyway, I understand your desire to stick to shorter reviews, but I just wanted to say that you should ignore the nay-sayers. Your reviews have been extremely interesting and helpful and I always look forward to new ones.

    • First, welcome to the blog, T.C. Second, thank you for your kind comments, and I’m glad that you’ve the reviews to be both interesting and helpful. It means a lot to me that you would do so even for fragrances that you love and I don’t. Thank you for understanding that it’s nothing personal, and only reflects what is happening on MY skin, in my opinion, in the context of my tastes and decades of perfume-wearing.

      As for the issue of the critics, I have my own views on the subject, as well as on the current state of perfume blogging, but I prefer not to talk about it. All I’ll say is that, like you, I don’t get offended when someone doesn’t like my favorite perfume, books, shows, or anything else for that matter. (I make an exception for German shepherds. There, I do get a little offended. LOL. 😉 )

      I am glad you found the blog, whatever the reason, and I look forward to getting to know you and your perfume tastes better. I have one or two readers with whom I’m “Evil Scent Twins” and we often have a good time laughing about our polarized reactions to the exact same note or perfume. Hopefully, though, you and I will find we share a few things in common. 🙂

  41. Shorter reviews work for me! However, I’ll take you anyway I can get you! We all have times in our lives when change is necessary. Now is one of those times for me, I simply don’t have the time to indulge myself in all my many interests, so I have to put a few on the back burner! Follow your instincts, your head and heart, and we will be here reading as long as you are writing!

    • The next two reviews (Aftelier) will not be short ones, alas, but I am trying to manage the lengths better in general (or for things I don’t like). We’ll see how much luck I have with it, because I want to do it for readers as much as myself. I know it’s hard on some of them as well. I hope that your own situation becomes easier in terms of time, and that you manage the balancing act. Hopefully, we’ll both we successful in that regard. 🙂 But thank you for your support, Judith. You’ve been here with me almost from the very, very start, and I’ve always appreciated it enormously! *hugs*

  42. Kafka, it has always amazed me … the blood, sweat and tears you have put into your blog, as I know that’s what it must have involved to do such amazingly thorough reviews with such frequency, and to have them read so flowingly and gracefully, such that the aforementioned blood, sweat and tears never shows.

    I think the changes you mentioned are good ones and will lead to a more enjoyable experience for you. Wishing you the best, always. <3

    • Dearest Suzanne, thank you for seeing, really seeing. You’re right, it’s often been quite a hard, long process with, yes, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. The fact that it hasn’t shown (thank you!), and yet you saw it nevertheless and noticed…. that means so much to me. Quite apart from blogging, I’ve missed you, think of you often, and always hope that you are doing well. I shall have to send you an email with more YouTube links to crazy Euro music. Perhaps some more disco? 😉 😛 xoxoxoxo

      • Dear K, how about if I be the proactive one, for a change, and send you an email sometime this weekend? And you can respond to it at your convenience, when you have a moment of downtime. In the meantime, yes, I’d love it (!!) if you’d mentally compose a list of YouTube links to your favorite Euro disco music (or non-disco) that you can send me later in reply. Until then, cheers and many fragrant hugs! <3

        • Ha ha, me and my Euro music…. I know exactly where I will start in terms of my list, too. “Moi Lolita” by Alizée. I still think of you whenever I hear “Rasputin,” by the way, and it makes me laugh. We had just started to get to know each other, and THAT was the song I chose to send you?! Heh. You poor, poor thing. What a shock, and how you must have laughed as well. The Rammstein was perhaps even more of a shock, but you put up with it with such grace. ROFL. I promise to spare you the more… er…. hardcore genre for the new list. *grin* If I remember correctly, I’ve already subjected you to Dalida, Joe Dassin, Toto Cutugno and Eros Ramazotti, so I think I shall go more for the fun stuff this time. The totally trashy, truly pop-disco things that would make everyone else (but you) roll their eyes. Heh. 😀

  43. I hope you take whichever path gives you the most joy. If the reviews are a burden, ditch them. (Selfishly, I hope you are able to manage the trimmed down versions, as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your knowledge, experience, and evocative writing as I’ve read through your site.)

    Also, many thanks (though my bank manager may now hate you). You pointed me towards the Oriza Legrand lily. I love it! (though I do wish it had a bit more lasting power). AND the chypre mousse. It’s extraordinary. Having read your review after trying it, I couldn’t agree more with your enthusiasm for it. And that one has persistence and a half. It was still hovering around me, eighteen hours later. I’m also rather taken with one of the carnations, and the Reve d’Ossian… see what you have wrought!

    • HA, Chypre Mousse has struck again! You have no idea how that makes me smile, though I’m perhaps even happier to hear about the Relique d’Amour lily. That said, it definitely could do with more staying power, not to mention projection as well. I had tried to warn you about that, because I myself found it a bit frustrating. Reve d’Ossian is lovely too, but none of them (alas) have the sheer power of the Chypre Mousse. “Persistance and a half”… LOL. That is definitely one way to put it.

      I shall be reviewing the upcoming latest release soon (or whenever it gets past Customs and arrives on my doorstep), and you may want to keep an eye out for that review. It’s called Violettes du Czar, and it’s the fragrance worn by several generations of Romanov tsars starting with Alexander II. Same formula, if I recall correctly, or replicated as closely as possible. I cannot wait to try it for historical reasons alone, never mind the whole violet issue. 🙂

  44. Kafka – you are unique and more precious than any jewel. Life has a way of imprinting it’s priority needs – hence my temporary disappearance – but, like everyone else here, I will gladly take you as I find you. You have taught me so much and I trust you like no other when it comes to ‘fumes. Bless you and your German and all power to your mojo, my dear.

    • Gaia, you made me sniff, and I was so touched. I know I’m saying that quite a bit, but I really was. (And it takes a lot to make me sniffly with emotion.) So, thank you, my sweet. I send you a huge hug, and His Royal German Highness extends you his paw as well. 😉 xoxo

  45. Sorry I’m a bit late, but I still wanted to comment. Your changes make alot of sense, especially about rediscovering the joys of perfume. The level of detail you have put in is phenomenal and I never could understand how you manage to do that (and we aren’t even paying you!). Many days I won’t even try a sample because I can’t handle the thought of wearing something I don’t like much less wait for an hour or so to let it settle – and you wear fragrances for hours that you don’t like so you can share your thoughts with us. I appreciate everything you do and look forward to reading whatever you write.
    p.s. I bought Mitzah and Anubis because of your reviews and love them both (along with Coromandel which I already had).

    • Awww, you’re so sweet. Thank you for appreciating the level of detail and for understanding that the whole reviewing process can be quite draining. I’m happy, though, that I could point you towards some fragrances that you love because that’s really what this is all about. 🙂

  46. When I’m interested in a fragrance, I always come here first for your reviews. 🙂 I really enjoy your very detailled and well documented style, and I learned a lot about perfumes and other cultural or historical things.

    I recently started a blog to bubbling about perfumes as well (in Chinese by the way), and your style is definitely one of the strongest inspirations to me. And I have to admit, it’s quite a time-consuming process. 😛 It’s really amazing how you managed all that! (⊙o⊙)

    It’s really fun reading your reviews, but the most important is that you feel comfortable about the pace. Hope you’ll feel better. 🙂 and Happy New Year!

    • Hi Yinghao, welcome to the blog! Thank you for your kind comment about my writing, but also for your sweetness in letting me know that it has influenced your own approach. That’s such an enormous compliment! I’m so touched and flattered. You’re right, it’s a very time-consuming approach, but hopefully you’ll find a balance that works well for you. I’m still working on that part. LOL. 😉

      I hope to see more of you in 2015 but, even if I don’t, Happy New Year and all the best with your own blogging. I think it’s fantastic that there is a Chinese-language fragrance blog out there. I wish you enormous success with it, and many fragrant adventures. 🙂

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