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  1. #1

    Default if you could only buy at "sephora"

    hello all,

    There is so much talk here about all the elite brand names in the fragrance world that it is a bit discouraging, i feel like all the scents that i have enjoyed over the years would be considered pure garbage by the masses on here , its quite funny.

    I do have what i consider high end brand names , and by high end i dont mean creed or what have you, not that i have a problem with paying that much, but i just havent had the means to test them out, anyways, it seems like some of the hermes and gucci offerings are some of the only fragrances that seem fairly respectable on this board that are readily available at your middle of the road department stores or sephora equivalents.

    my question for you all is, if your stash purchasing was limited to say sephora or macy's or the like what would you consider some of the best fragrances out there,

    i had no idea that most of the well known designer brand names were considered pure garbage by the experts , it seems like if it doesnt have a french name to it or have something exotic like idk lets say pancreatic juices from a monkey it isnt shiek enough for the majority on here

    wow i had no idea this fragrance stuff was exactly like the wine and beer community

  2. #2

    Post Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    You can't just disregard the fact, that often designer scents are often made with different intentions than niche fragrances. Designer fragrances are nowadays easy and safe; the point is to please big crowds and do it right away on first testing. If this is the main goal, these fragrances are not very likely to be truly special. If it is enough for a person to smell nice, there might be no reason to go further from here.

    I don't want to smell nice. From a fragrance, I want to find beauty, balance and clarity of notes. Smelling weird or exotic is not a value on it's own, it can add an interesting element to fragrance, but the sheer quality of ingredients and balance of blending is always the most important thing. I don't like or dislike fragrances like Dzing!, Nostalgia or Messe de Minuit because of intriguing theme. It's what's inside the frame that matters. Just like in other art forms, the shock value only takes you so far. Timeless masterpieces are much more than this. My point in saying this is, that it's not right to say, that we love exclusive fragrances because they are excusive.
    Last edited by Johnny_Ludlow; 23rd December 2007 at 09:40 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Lets not get too intimidated and jump to conclusions.

    Many here are huge fans of houses like Guerlain, Hermes, Chanel, YSL, etc whose fragrances you can buy at Sephora. Sure theres discussion of many other lesser known niche houses as well but thats to be expected from a hardcore fragrance crowd.

    You should buy what works for you and what you like .. to hell with what some other Basenoter thinks of it.
    -

  4. #4
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    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp View Post
    Lets not get too intimidated and jump to conclusions.

    Many here are huge fans of houses like Guerlain, Hermes, Chanel, YSL, etc whose fragrances you can buy at Sephora. Sure theres discussion of many other lesser known niche houses as well but thats to be expected from a hardcore fragrance crowd.

    You should buy what works for you and what you like .. to hell with what some other Basenoter thinks of it.
    I must agree with zztopp. Wear what you like - Basenotes is a forum for fragrance discussion NOT fragrance peer pressure.

    To answer your original question, you might want to check out this thread where this question was similarly explored: http://community.basenotes.net/showthread.php?t=201607

  5. #5
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    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    I've gotten to the point where I spend at least a hundred bucks or so on a bottle, and one inexpensive scent that I think really holds its own amongst all these others is Dunhill 2003. If you like the idea of a "barbershop" scent (that is, clean, traditional, a bit citrusy and powdery, more "gentlemanly" than sexy club guy) it can be found for only about $25.

    I really like Burbury London as well, but it isn't quite that cheap (still only $60 or so). Hugh Parson's Traditional cologne is another that I highly recommend, and it can be found at Nordstrom. It is a a bright citrus/wood fragrance that seems to work anytime and anywhere. Kind of barbershop, but kind of sexy too. (I get a lot of female compliments with it anyway)

    If you think we're snooty fragrance snobs, check out the guys talking about suits over at askandyaboutclothes.com! I bought half a dozen suits last year, all designer labels (Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Bachrach, Nautica), all about $500-$900 retail, then found that forum. Apparently, I'm poorly dressed and all my suits are crap! They aren't interested in talking about suits that cost any less than $2000.

    Seriously, though don't feel overwhelmed! I "got into" fragrances about two years ago and I started out buying lots of designer scents from perfumania, "fragrance-depot", and the like. Scentiments.com is your best bet for most fragrances less than $100 or so.

    If I had a piece of advice, it would be to experience fragrances by extensively testing them first, and not buying a whole bottle until you are absolutely sure you love the scent. It will save you lots of money and effort, trying to resell or trade them. (however, selling and trading IS really fun!) Get your hands on as many samples and decants as you possibly can. Resist the urge to buy!
    Lately I've been wearing:
    Windsor, Bois de Santal, Original Santal, Elixir, Douro, Endymion, Reflection, Arcus, Marwah

  6. #6

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    This is an excellent question, as I sort of am faced with this dilemma!

    I live in Fort Wayne, where niche fragrances can't be found at all... the closest place for niche is the Saks Fifth Avenue in Indianapolis, a 2 hour drive away. Heck, we don't even have a Sephora here yet (but I hear that we will be getting one next year). However, we do have a decent Macy's, and a Von Maur (a Midwestern chain similar to Nordstrom).

    Still, here's a few scents that rival niche fragrances in terms of innovation and uniqueness that can be found locally.
    -A*Men/Angel Men by Thierry Mugler
    -Burberry London (2006)
    -Narciso Rodriguez for Him (I think that Macy's is now carrying this)
    -Viktor & Rolf Antidote (Von Maur carries this)

    At the same time, there's a bunch of other scents that I like that are available locally. Sometimes, you just have to sniff long and hard to find something new that you like.
    Celebrating 10 years on Basenotes - and smelling better than ever

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  7. #7

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Quote Originally Posted by Scentronic View Post

    If you think we're snooty fragrance snobs, check out the guys talking about suits over at askandyaboutclothes.com! I bought half a dozen suits last year, all designer labels (Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Bachrach, Nautica), all about $500-$900 retail, then found that forum. Apparently, I'm poorly dressed and all my suits are crap! They aren't interested in talking about suits that cost any less than $2000.
    lol, I think there are quite a few overlapping members from AAAC and BN. Me being one of them, but what you say is true. Same with Timezone... you almost believe that you can only smell good if you've got Serge Lutens, I only look good if I'm wearing Kiton, and my watch is only appropriate if it costs more than 3x my suit.

    I realized I couldn't afford all my interests, so I do my research on these sites, but know full well I'll probably never run into someone who could discern an Oxxford vs Brioni, is going to care if my fragrance came from some boutique in France or the shelf of Macy's. Wear what looks or smells good according to you and your lifestyle, not what a bunch of people on the internet think.

  8. #8

    Cool Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Quote Originally Posted by chuckpolzin View Post
    i had no idea that most of the well known designer brand names were considered pure garbage by the experts , it seems like if it doesnt have a french name to it or have something exotic like idk lets say pancreatic juices from a monkey it isnt shiek enough for the majority on here
    0.) Good spelling and proper capitalization are very chic. They are highly compelling and generate hormones all around. Women love it. Especially the slightly older ones who are in full touch with their sexuality.

    1.) Ignore any percived fragrance snobbery here. Half those people are talking about stuff they don't own and haven't smelled.

    2.) The core issue with sephora/macy's and other mass market retailers is that they carry only a small sample of what's out there, and that sample is biased towards new releases and popular best selling fragrances.

    From the retailers perspective this makes sense, as you want inventory to turn over quickly.

    3.) According to the Store listing of the glenbrook square mall in Ft Wayne, there is a perfumania.

    4.) Saks is going to have maybe 75% overlap with what sephora/macy's has. The seriosuly high end stuff, is found at places like Barney's which is for people who consider SKS to be a discount store.

    5.) Go to sephora and try out different things, and see how you like them. Don't let BN spoil your opinion. Try out Dior Homme and Burberry London.
    Last edited by Nitromusk; 23rd December 2007 at 05:24 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  9. #9

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    I haven't been on BN that long, but I think most of us here love fragrance and don't really put up the niche vs designer vs drugstore divisions in terms of what we sniff and try and ultimately wear. It's all up to you and what your nose and thoughts and experiences integrate as meaningful or beautiful or interesting for you. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

    Basenoters disagree all the time about fragrances. It's part of the fun. Go experiment and see how your reactions compare to others'! You'll be amazed!

  10. #10

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Quote Originally Posted by chuckpolzin View Post
    my question for you all is, if your stash purchasing was limited to say sephora or macy's or the like what would you consider some of the best fragrances out there?
    I live in NYC, there are 3 Sephoras within walking distance of my home. Every time I pass one, I pop in for a look. The reality is, Sephora is giving the once prominent fragrance real estate over to the much more lucrative beauty and skin care segment. Just a few years ago Sephora had more than a few Carons and Comme des Garcons on offer - I bought my first CdG 2 in Houston's Sephora. It seems they are also shrinking the LVMH (Sephoras parent company) offerings down, too. I've noticed this shifting of emphasis away from fragrance to treatment products in Saks Fifth Avenue also. That said, for the time being at least, you can still find some of the greats that ZZ mentioned in his post.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 23rd December 2007 at 05:56 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    I find Sephora quite high, actually. (eBay's much better.)

    One of my favorite frags of all time (That Man, by Revlon) was a strictly drugstore fragrance throughout its life span. So are two faves that are still made: Monsieur Musk and Tabac.

    We talk about good cheapies and readily available frags all the time here on the board. The fact that we discuss niches too is simply proof that we talk about everything. Read the recent post on Clive Christian frags for more proof of how much most Basenoters despise pretentiousness and frags for appearance's sake.
    Last edited by tvlampboy; 23rd December 2007 at 06:19 PM.

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  12. #12

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    My nearby Sephora stores carry such gems as Dior's Eau Sauvage and Fahrenheit; Hermès's Bel Ami, Equipage, and Terre d'Hermès; and Guerlain's Vetiver, L'Instant Pour Homme, and many of the Aqua Allegoiria series.

    Too bad they stopped carrying Robert Piquet's Bandit though. That stuff is killer, and they had edt and edp too.
    --Chris
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  13. #13

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Quote Originally Posted by Nitromusk View Post
    0.) Good spelling and proper capitalization are very chic. They are highly compelling and generate hormones all around. Women love it. Especially the slightly older ones who are in full touch with their sexuality.
    Thanks for the tidbit there, Pluran....i mean Nitromusk .
    Are you not entertained??? Is this not why you are here??

  14. #14

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Hey chukpolzin...first off, WELCOME TO BASENOTES!

    Now...like you, around this time a couple years ago, I was (and still am in many ways) the newbie here trying to find THE scent for me for the moment, and everyone in here was talking in code and going gaga over Serge Lutens (who?), Creed and the anticipation of smelling Dior Homme. Intimidating and dizzying to say the least at times.

    Niche fragrances opened my eyes, the approach was different, and you could certainly smell its artisanship.

    Designer frags are not crap, but they, as you may notice, come out smelling a bit cookie cutter and similar to the scent next to it as the current "smell of the moment", much like clothes and the current look of the moment--similar, just different embellishments.

    I regard Sephora as one of the best places to test fragrances because you can do it on your own, at your own speed, and you can test as many as you want without an SA looking at you and losing patience. And kudos to you if you can actually walk into one without any intimidation because nine-tenths of the stuff is women's stuff!

    So relax, and hope you have fun in learning a lot of things mentioned here and there in all parts of this forum. You've enjoyed scents in the past, and I'm sure you have an idea what smells get you going. Niche frags get everyone drooling here, but it's hard to to acquire most of the time locally to test, especially if it's only available on the other side of the world at the moment. So consider purchasing decants available here in the forum or from other websites. Niche scents smell "different" but not always "understood" by the general public, but who cares if it expresses your own individuality, and chances are most of the general public's noses are broken and malfunctioning.

    Lastly, don't be surprised if your wallet loses a lot of weight when your self-driven frenzy and obsession over acquiring frags kicks in. But don't worry, once you get your collection going, offloading the ones that don't speak to you anymore are easily done by swapping here in the forum as well.

    GOOD LUCK!
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  15. #15

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Sephora's selection is actually pretty top notch compared with a lot of department stores. They carry Fresh, Comptoir Sud Pacifique and I think maybe even Acqua di Parma? Don't quote me on the last one though, I may have remembered incorrectly. But yea, it's a really great place for fragrances I think.

  16. #16

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Sephora used to be a decent perfume store. I went to the Michigan Ave. store in Chicago about five years ago, and it was wall-to-wall on both sides, A to Z fragrances.
    Now it is overrun by cosmetics.
    Many brands have been pushed out for floor space.
    At the present time, all I would buy from there is Bulgari Omnia.

  17. #17

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggles View Post
    The reality is, Sephora is giving the once prominent fragrance real estate over to the much more lucrative beauty and skin care segment.
    The issue is inventory turnover. Women burn through cosmetics much faster than men burn through fragrances.

  18. #18

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Quote Originally Posted by knightowl View Post
    Thanks for the tidbit there, Pluran....i mean Nitromusk .
    Ha ha .. I was thinking the exact the same thing !
    -

  19. #19

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    This is one of the most open and non-judgmental affinity communities you are likely to find, but it does reward those who arrive with minimal baggage. Answering the question, I suppose I would end up with Hermes, Guerlain, Chanel, Eau Sauvage. If the universe of possibilities was confined to Sephora's stock, I don't think the enterprise would hold my interest for all that long.
    “They aren't connected . . . they aren't mafia. Not with names like Tuner Watson” - Jim Rockford

  20. #20

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    I could be quite satisfied with shopping at Sephora only.
    Of course, now that I'm aware of many other fragrances that Sephora
    doesn't carry, I enjoy shopping elsewhere too, but Sephora carries
    top notch fragrances, as many have mentioned already, such as

    Chanel Pour Monsieur Concentree
    Guerlain Vetiver
    Guerlain Heritage
    Gucci Pour Homme
    Gucci Envy
    Hanae Mori HM
    Hermes fragrances
    etc....

  21. #21

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    I bought CdG 2man at Sephora about three years ago...they haven't carried it since. I too have noticed their dwindling fragrance selections. Hopefully it won't get worse.
    Last edited by knightowl; 24th December 2007 at 08:33 AM.
    Are you not entertained??? Is this not why you are here??

  22. #22

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Thank you all for the intro to this forum.

    I appreciate the patient comments to a newbie. I can totally understand the boredom suffered by so many of you including myself with so many of the scents out there. However I do really love many of the ones readily available at mid level shops, some of my favorite ones i purchased recently were

    terre d'hermes, gucci ph, dunhill (signature?), and YSL PH----did this one get reformulated recently ? mines in a tall rectangle with burnt red sprayer ? ......and old school favorite i like nicole miller anyways....

    i would love to try and develop my nasal palate and learn all the subtle notes to pick up, im thinking about buying a bunch of small sample essential vials to know what some of teh exotics smell like.......i

    I know there is a fragrance wheel out there with the various family breakdowns, i thought i remember seeing a wheel that had examples of each family layed out for you as well ??? where could i find something like this?

    thanks again.

  23. #23

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Well, you should probably get The Dreamer since it can't be had in other mainstream department stores. I would most definately look at TDH and a few others as well.

  24. #24

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Quote Originally Posted by chuckpolzin View Post

    I know there is a fragrance wheel out there with the various family breakdowns, i thought i remember seeing a wheel that had examples of each family layed out for you as well ??? where could i find something like this?

    thanks again.
    Grant's Michael Edwards Interview might be of some help.

  25. #25

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    I went to a Sephora in Washington DC for the first time, and it was kinda disappointing. No Carons, no CdG, nothing I wouldn't be able to find in a department store or an airport duty-free store.

  26. #26

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    If I were restricted to only Sephora for fragrance purchases I would consider purchasing the following:

    Hanae Mori HM EDP
    Givenchy Pi
    Rochas Man
    Chanel Pour Monsieur
    Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta
    Sean John Unforgivable
    Narcisco Rodriguez for Him
    Carolina Herrera Herrera for Men
    Valentino V Pour Homme
    Fresh Cannabis Santal
    Cartier Santos

    Plenty selection.
    Last edited by jeffrey; 25th December 2007 at 06:00 PM.
    Top 6: Amerigo Vespucci, by Kilian A Taste of Heaven, Serge Lutens Borneo 1834, Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta, Creed Bois du Portugal, Barney's New York Route du The

  27. #27

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Quote Originally Posted by heythatslife View Post
    I went to a Sephora in Washington DC for the first time, and it was kinda disappointing. No Carons, no CdG, nothing I wouldn't be able to find in a department store or an airport duty-free store.
    Most Duty Free Shops and Department Stores are better than Sephora at offering classics like Kouros, Habit Rouge, Jaipur, Chanel 19, Aramis 900, Devin, Aromatics Elixir, White Linen, Eau Dynamiste, need I go on?.
    The Hermes offerings are one of the things that really saves the US Sephoras from being a total waste land, IMHO.
    Who on earth are they selling all that Matt Very Male to?
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 25th December 2007 at 04:16 AM.

  28. #28

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggles View Post
    Most Duty Free Shops and Department Stores are better than Sephora at offering classics like Kouros, Habit Rouge, Jaipur, Chanel 19, Aramis 900, Devin, Aromatics Elixir, White Linen, Eau Dynamiste, need I go on?.
    The Hermes offerings are one of the things that really saves the US Sephoras from being a total waste land, IMHO.
    Who on earth are they selling all that Matt Very Male to?
    Duty free shops are going to carry a wider selection since the turnover is much faster *and* you are dealing with a wider audience thus you tend to see a more global selection. US Sephora's are pretty much a wasteland.

    However it seems that LTD is going to ramp up their Co Bigelow concept which could result in a much wider selection of fragrances (assuming LTD targets malls with similar/slightly higher demographics as Sephora)

    http://www.bigelowchemists.com/index.php/cPath/1

    Also its important to remember that not all fragrances are found at the fragrance counter, e.g an Estee Lauder cosmetics counter may carry much of the line. This is most useful if you find a Guerlain counter.

  29. #29

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    The Hermes offerings are one of the things that really saves the US Sephoras from being a total waste land, IMHO.
    Couldn't agree more. And the few Guerlains and YSL they did have in stock.

  30. #30

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    Quote Originally Posted by Nitromusk View Post
    The issue is inventory turnover. Women burn through cosmetics much faster than men burn through fragrances.
    Hee, Hee, Hee, You are on the mark Nitromusk.
    Green Dragon

    Aliquando et insanire iucundum est.

  31. #31

    Default Re: if you could only buy at "sephora"

    The Sephora I usually stop in at is in the same mall as a Hermes and a Cartier boutique and so they don't carry those things. However, the great thing about them is that they will decant a sample for you if they don't have a factory sample on hand. I even had an incident where I couldn't get anyone to help me at the Sak's counter (deserted, not too busy), went back to Sephora and asked nicely and they gave me a empty vial w/spray top and I went back to Saks and made my own decant. I was *hoping* someone would come up and say something so I could tell them about the terrible service. Instead no one did and I probably could have just walked off with the tester.

    Just for getting that bit of service right puts them in a good place in my book.

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