Many of my favorite perfumes were love at first sniff, but not all. Some took a bit of courting before I succumbed. But the most interesting thing is looking at the ones that required a real change of heart before becoming staples. Here are my "acquired taste" perfumes:
1-3) Shalimar, Samsara, Chanel No. 5. All three were perfumes I've known forever (or close to that, in the case of Samsara which was released in the 80s). Shalimar and No.5 were so ubiquitous I didn't pay attention to them, and Samsara rubbed me the wrong way for years. The first two only required actually wearing them purposefully to fall in love (I can't picture my life without vintage Shalimar). With Samsara it was more about concentration (extrait and edp vs. edt) and nose experience.
4) Bandit (Robert Piguet). Hemp, smoke, scorched leather- the very first time was difficult and unsettling. Bandit challenged a lot of my perfume prejudices and won.
5) Vetiver Dance (Tauer). Between the green oiliness and my well-known muguet issues, it took months before I managed to wrap my mind around Vetiver Dance. I also think that the actual juice I had needed to age a little more to reach its full potential.
6) Cabaret de Gres. I thought it was nothing but a rosy soap and ended up going through bottles of the stuff. What a sneaky little chypre!
7) Fracas (Robert Piguet). This was another case of concentration. I still won't touch the eau de parfum with its explosive sillage that covers the world in a buttery tuberose-gardenia haze, but a dab of extrait de parfum is incredibly sexy.
8) Loulou (Cacharel). It's hard to form a real opinion on a perfume one's sister used as a nuclear weapon, but decades later I found myself an owner of a vintage bottle, and the rest was simply a matter of finding the courage to spray.
9) Zagorsk (CdG). The first time I wore it wasn't pretty. It involved a hot summer night and one mojito too many. I refused to retest it for several months after that incident, but once I did I bought a bottle.
10) Eau d'Elide (Diptyque). One day I woke up with a craving for this and all previous doubts were forgotten. I can't even try to explain the process.
Did you ever do a 180 degrees on a perfume? What were your acquired tastes?
Photo of a 1944 beauty device that reshapes the nose via myvintagevogue.com.