Originally Posted by Bigsly
I just wonder how many of you who have obviously done a lot of sampling think that you may be missing out on actually enjoying frags.
why I sample a lot! Something I may not like on first skin test I may like a month or two down the road, perhaps once I'm able to put that fragrance in proper context. I used to not like any white florals, and the various such samples I acquired would just get filed away. I'm constantly going through my samples and picking out fragrances I haven't tried in a while, and now I'm going through and finding all these great white florals I didn't used to like but now really appreciate. Similarly there's a value into holding on to some bottles, if you can afford to, that you don't like at first because you may end up liking them as your nose develops and tastes change. I almost never give or trade away my samples because I never know when I'm going to want them later (I swap decants, not samples), thus they are never 'sniffed once and discarded'.
My SOTDs are never my tester-samples (1.5ml or less), but rather my bottles and large decants. If I have a bottle or decant it means I've already sampled the fragrance to the point I know I'm going to like wearing it. I don't want to waste a SOTD on something I don't like.
The other sampling 'raison d'etre' so to speak is precisely because I enjoy fragrance, and the only way to really expand knowledge is via experience. If you want to learn about say.... the chypre genre.... you can buy one chypre and wear it, OR you can get samples of 20-30 chypres and come to understand the parameters and subtlety of the genre. While Bisgly brings up the anecdote by Turin that he word PdN NY for years, he obviously also spent a lot of time sampling and learning as well, whether it be on paper strips or on his arms or whatever. Ultimately knowledge - as with any interest or hobby - comes via experience, and in perfumery that experience is smelling different things (sampling).
Where I think people may be missing out on enjoyment of fragrances are those who may pre-judge a fragrance because of its origin, its notes, cost, gender-marketing etc. and decide something isn't worth trying. Sometimes it may be worth trying some random cheap drug store release - or conversely it may be worth spending $10 on a 1ml sample... who's to say? It's all about trying new things. The only way to find out is to try! Two fragrances with identical pyramids could smell completely different, but you'd never know until you sample them - plus the more fragrances from the same genre one samples the better you can wrap your head around the genre and grasp subtle differences between perfumers, materials, houses, time periods, etc... two 'similar' fragrances can teach you a lot in the aspects that aren't similar.
To sum up my approach so that I don't fall into the trap Bigsly describes: SOTD is for enjoyment, sampling is for learning.