Fragrance fanatic Gail Cherowbrier has spent thousands of pounds amassing a collection of 3,000 bottles of perfume – and doesn’t wear a single one of them.
Gail, aged 56, spends hours a day trawling the internet for rare bottles to display in cabinets which fill her home.
She has spent as much as 1,000 dollars on a bottle of Christian Dior Crystal 1956, and her collection ranges from a 14ft high Dior J’Adore bottle to an inch high Chanel.
But despite spending four years building her collection she does not wear any of the scents .
Ex-civil servant Gail said: “Occasionally I’ll walk past and one will catch my eye and I’ll put a spritz on. But a lot of the bottles that have perfume in them are too old to wear – perfume loses its fragrance after a couple of years, it doesn’t smell as sweet as it would when it’s fresh and goes darker in colour.
“I just love the bottles, they’re beautiful. I know a lot of people won’t understand it. Until you have a fascination with them, perfume bottles are quite disposable.”
The South Yorkshire grandma-of-three said: “A lot of the bottles don’t even have perfume in them, they’re empty bottles I’ve been given by friends, or a ‘factice’ which is a large model of the bottle used in shop displays.
“There are also a lot of bottles which are designed by glass-makers but never have perfume in them.”
Gail caught the bug from her mum, who’s been collecting bottles for years – the pair are part of the UK Perfume Association, and are planning to attend a perfume conference later this year where they can swap stories with other fanatics.
She said: “It’s not just the way they look – I’m really interested in the history behind them.
“Designers like Jean Paul Gaultier bring out a new bottle with new fashions, so you can look at the bottle and tell when it comes from.”
Joiner husband Terry, 57, has made wooden cabinets in their dining room which Gail uses for her precious perfumes.
“Every so often he’ll come home from work and I’ll have taken over another of the cabinets with my collection! He doesn’t mind really.
“Sometimes he will ask how much I’ve spent on a bottle – but then he’ll buy me one for Christmas or a birthday if it’s something I’ve been looking at for ages.”
Gail said the most she has spent was 1,000 dollars on eBay for the Christian Dior bottle bought from a seller in Uruguay.
But even that doesn’t compare with what some collectors will spend. “There’s a really big market for bottles, especially in America,” she said.
“People out there will pay huge sums for these bottles. In auctions sometimes collectors’ bottles will go for as much as £30,000. It’s incredible.”