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  1. #1
    Hoos's Avatar
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    Default Questions or a Primer about Samples/Decants and Quality

    Good day. I've poked around and searched (with very limited results) before posting this. It looks like there may have been stickies in the previous version of the forum that address these questions, but I could not locate them. As someone who is new to scents and fragrance, I've already run into some things that raised questions.

    While I understand scent is very personal and can vary greatly from person to person (and assuming that the seller is reputable and the buyer has no experience with the scent), I'm wondering if there are any guidelines or rules of thumb for the following:

    Decants/Samples - Is it possible to tell if the decant/sample you receive is "bad" or going "bad"? I've seen notes on a couple of scents that seem to turn quickly in the bottle (Guerlain Vetiver is one, I believe, that seems to have a comparatively short bottle life). Or, recipients have no way of knowing if a package of samples/decants might have been exposed to extreme heat/cold during transport that might affect the scent's performance. I received a sample of Penhaligon's Castile as a decant from a sample vendor that is quite different from the sample I just received from Penhaligon's (initial scent is the slightly different, but dry down is very different). How can one know which one is most likely to be what you get from an actual bottle?

    Decant vs. Atomizer - My limited experience has shown that a sample tube of cologne can be remarkably different applied as a liquid from a sample tube than when it's sprayed on from a full bottle. (Floris Vetiver comes immediately to mind. Not just volume of the scent - the scent of the sample tube was more muted and gentle compared to the bottle.) Is it possible to predict (more or less) how a liquid decant/sample will perform as a spray? For example: stronger, more floral, different dry down, etc. Since not all samples can be requested in atomizers, it has been a bit tricky figuring out, for example, how Penhaligon's scents would perform when sprayed.

    Again, I recognize that there are no hard and fast rules (except, perhaps, that body chemistry and my nose are the final arbiters) but any suggested reading or guidance would be greatly appreciated. Or if there's a good "introduction to scent" kind of thing, that would be great.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by Hoos; 5th March 2008 at 04:37 AM.
    Brent

    Catherine Deneuve: "You should put scent where you like to be kissed."


  2. #2

    Default Re: Questions or a Primer about Samples/Decants and Quality

    There are no rules that I know of, as you have stated.

    You will never really know if you are getting a quality sample from any retailer unless you ask them to make it for you. I've been to stores that will make samples for you on the spot by spraying their testers into a 2ml vial. I love that. Otherwise I wouldn't really know how "safe" it is.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Questions or a Primer about Samples/Decants and Quality

    I think you're safe with decant sprays, but as far as decant vials or splashes go, I'm sure the skin and bacteria from testing it will quickly alter the scent and make it go "bad".
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Questions or a Primer about Samples/Decants and Quality

    Since I have been a member of Basenotes I have sampled fragrances from tester vials atleast a hundred times. I have not once tested a fragrance that smells 'off' or 'different' from a full bottle. Maybe this is just good luck - but I think your fears of testing samples that might be spoiled is a little far fetched. Likewise how do you know that the actuall full bottles that you buy online or in department stores haven't been subjected to the same conditions as samples (heat and/or cold, etc)?

    I agree with you that sampling from a spray sample atomizer vs. a splash vial does yield different results. That's why I buy empty 2 ml plastic atomizers (from accessoriesforfragrance.com) and when I get vial samples I decant them into the atomizers to spray them on. This works great for me.

  5. #5
    Hoos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Questions or a Primer about Samples/Decants and Quality

    Thank you for all the replies. My concern was not with samples from fellow Noters, but from a sample vendor that is apparently well-respected on this site and elsewhere. It was not meant to be accusatory at all. Simply seeking education.

    My experience with this specific vendor:

    1. I purchased full bottles of frags after sampling the samples from the vendor. The scent was not bad or completely different. But the frag from the atomizer bottle was different in some minor ways than the same frag applied from the sample with a Q-tip. I did not notice this same effect between sample vials from Penhaligon's and bottles of Penhaligon's. The scent from the samples smelled and behaved exactly the same as the bottled product.

    2. A second set of samples from this same vendor all pretty much smelled the same, as though the decant process might have been contaminated and several labels came loose from the sample vials. Even after a month, most of the frags smell nearly identical (not just identical notes, but like variations of the same frag). The samples were different (aouds, Tom Ford vanilla/tobacco, Lonestar, some fougeres that I can't recall) so it doesn't seem like it's just different versions of the same scent groups.

    Those experiences led to me asking for guidance. I'm new to this and thought "Well, maybe there's some way for me to figure this out." But maybe there isn't.

    I'm not at home, so don't have the frags in front of me. I don't wish to name the vendor since I'm an amateur and could be way off.
    Brent

    Catherine Deneuve: "You should put scent where you like to be kissed."


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