Original banner of The Scented Salamander blog
Today is the blog's 7th birthday and to mark the occasion we thought we might list 7 things that were firsts by this blog within the fragrance blogosphere. In March of 2006, the perfume blogosphere landscape was a much more different place. There were few references and it was a much more sedate and even sometimes, it felt, sleepy place. As a perfume blogger, you went on not knowing the value of your work and felt like you were in front of a New Frontier of digital self-expression. You tried to make your input be both whimsical and qualitative but really you weren't sure where it all led. You had to have faith in what you were doing: making perfume be better loved and understood. Meanwhile you enjoyed doing "creative writing" and called the blog your "creative workshop". It was a time when you could be made aware sometimes that people from the classical media were looking at you askance. There was even a period of strife between journalists and bloggers before today's era of symbiosis...
7 years later in 2013, it's desirable to be a blogger. We had to smile when we read recently that an ex-parliamentary from the UK had started fulfilling her dream of becoming a beauty blogger, and even more recently when Women's Wear Daily used the phrase "wannabe blogger" for an event centering on a blogger attracting would-be colleagues. It's been a long way and there have been quite a few shifts in perception of the medium called perfume blog. Here are 7 moments we recall almost off the top of our head that were firsts by The Scented Salamader blog and helped define the perfume blogosphere. Those are very much Before and After moments.
1 - When we started out, weekend postings did not exist. Perfume bloggers tuned out and came back on Mondays. By posting on the weekends for the first time, it had the effect of pushing other perfume blogs to become weekenders as well. The result? The perfume blogosphere became much more active and competitive.
2 - In March of 2006, you could read perfume reviews but perfume blogs had not felt the need to encompass the wider breadth of the olfactory world. The Scented Salamander was the first perfume blog to open a section dedicated to food with "Fragrant Recipes and Taste Notes" originally called "Fragrant Recipes", making a link with cuisine. We were the first blog also to dedicate a section to perfume as linked to special places, spaces and addresses with "Scented Paths & Fragrant Addresses". Other perfume blogs followed suit.
3 - Hard as it might be to realize the change, in 2006 blogs did not feel that indie perfume labels were news-worthy because at that time perfume blogs thought they might gain better legitimacy by paying attention to "serious fragrance news". The Scented Salamander was the first perfume blog to feature an indie label as being newsworthy; it was Ava-Luxe in June of 2006. Other blogs followed suit. We also did a feature onNorth-American Originals in 4 parts in 2009 which contributed to giving a sense of identity to this branch of perfumery and inspired other blogs to hightlight the personality of this perfumery. Today, indie labels are thriving and even the Fragrance Foundation in the USA created a prize in 2011 for the category of indie perfume brands, a great change since the beginnings of the perfume blogosphere.
4 - We remember vividly how we were the first blog to be offered an interview in 2008 with near-mystical fragrance designer Serge Lutens who could be both adored and loathed by the blogosphere. At a time when sometimes verbal violence prevailed across camps of lovers and haters of his perfumes, we attempted for our part to develop a style of nuanced reviewing. As this first took place at a time when perfume blogs were still looked at with some suspicion, the ensuing reaction was mixed. People took note yet some felt puzzled by the fact that such a famous and rarefied personality could be "blogging" with a blogger. Well, there it happened and it was a great first!
5 - When we started out, perfume reviews were much more restricted in scope. It was about the perfume mostly. And it was a lot about personal taste. The Scented Salamander have been promoting a style that was interested in broader sociological analysis, conceptual thinking and poetry as well as linkages to the visual culture. Other perfume blogs followed suit. Some perfume brands followed suit as for instance when we dreamt of a perfume for the nation in My National Parfum and guess what, a few years later this science-fiction came true for Lithuania, Korea and Great Britain.
6 - Believe it or not, we were the first blog to our knowledge to receive a death threat due to the fact that some people thought our reviews were overly "pretentious" and apparently migraine-inducing. Who knew perfume reviews could push people's buttons in such an extreme way? Well, we experienced it first hand and it was part of the experience called "blogging", like a free woman.
7 - In 2013 we were the first perfume blog to make an explicit theoretical, systematic linkage with not only visual culture and colors but beauty categories. We've already seen people pick up on that trend.
So thank you all for being such great readers of The Scented Salamander perfume blog. And here's to many more years of perfume blogging with your help and feedback!