To put this in context, on March 1st I emailed L'Artisan Parfumeur in New York, to enquire how I might get samples of a few of their scents not stocked at a wonderful local boutique (note to Seattle; Essenza is a very nice little place indeed.) I have not yet received any response and it's not my poor typing, I popped up the address directly from their website.

On March 6th I emailed Barneys in Seattle. I had heard they were a smaller store so I wanted to find out what they stocked in Frederic Malle's Editions de Parfums. No one has answered as yet.

Compare and contrast: Very late on the night of March 16th I ordered a sample set from Ormonde Jayne. I had a confirmation e-mail the next afternoon and on the 23rd I had an elegant little parcel (black tissue hand tied with their signature satin ribbon) with 10 very generous samples, I'd say 2-2.5 ml each. 20 pounds for the set including very speedy shipment from London to the 'burbs east of Seattle.

Also on March 15th I sent a first enquiry to Parfums MDCI. I had a positive response from the head of the company by the next day and placed my sample order immediately. I have since them received two confirmations, one each from M. et Mme. Marchal I now have my mitts on 5 graciously huge 10 ml samples. At 55 eu for all 5, it's quite the bargain and while I might splurge on a full bottle if I fall hard, I surely couldn't buy these cold.

To conclude, I have not yet succumbed to a L'artisan and they are not really encouraging me. I am in lust with a few FM's, but I'll look for them at somewhere other than Barneys. And any hesitation I had about braving international shipping is seriously outweighed by the prompt professional and personal service I have experienced not to mention the extra charm in a packet from Paris or London instead of, say, Florida or New York.

As to OJ and MDCI, I hope to find a few to succumb to. I expect M. Sands does not entirely share this wish, perhaps he does not care as much about good service?