February 17, 2010

Studying New Perfumes and Sourcing Perfume Samples

Exploring new perfumes in a department store might be an exciting experience or … it can turn into a frustrating one. Here are some tips how to make the most out of your perfume exploration trip:
  1. Use blotters; don’t spray anything on your body.
  2. Clearly mark blotters (do not rely on your memory to recall which perfume is on which blotter).
  3. Record your first impression on a scale 1-10 on the other side of the blotter (so that you can later test it again without being influenced by an earlier rating).
  4. Keep all blotters even if you didn’t like some perfumes at first site.
  5. Test again in an hour or two by sorting blotters by how you liked perfumes. Now you can assign your final rank on the scale 1-10.
  6. Sometimes you may wish to revisit blotters in half a day to study perfume dry out (base notes). Majority of modern perfumes would not change much though.
From my personal experience I find it rather difficult to study more than 5-7 new perfumes at a time.

Studying perfumes in a department store might be a good start, but more often than not I feel intimidated by proactive sales people (especially if I don’t plan to make a purchase at the time). Also at a later time I might want to revisit particular perfume (or particular type of perfumes) in search for new discoveries and inspiration.

For these and other reasons I prefer to actually get perfume samples (1-2 ml vials) and study perfumes in the comfort of my home. Some stores would give you samples generously, but for the most part I would simply source them online (priced $1-$5/sample).

Here are some starting points:

FragranceX (samples)

FragranceNet (vial on card)

Scent Monkey (1ml samples)

Beauty Encounter (women’s / men's

Parfums Raffy (women'smen’s

eBay (samples)

Please feel free to add other sources as comments to the post.

1 comment:

  1. For rarer samples (for example Guerlain doesn't do samples of their classic fragrances) I suggest a visit to The Perfumed Court http://theperfumedcourt.com who do decants of a huge range of fragrances from 1ml to 8ml