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  1. #1

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    Arrow My new obsession - sample purchasing

    Now that the wonderful world of niche has been opened to me, I've gone off the deep end buying samples and decants. I've amassed about 200 samples in the last 2 months or so. The problem is that I'm ordering far more then I can ever really appreciate or wear... for example when I returned home from being away for two weeks I had 40 samples and decants waiting in my mailbox. Even though I haven't opened them all yet I ordered another 10 samples from luckyscent and 7 expensive TPC decants.

    Does anyone else do this? Am I off the deep end as I suspect?

    It's a great way to learn about the niche world without spending thousands on bottles, and for the stronger fragrances you can get a wear or two from a sample vial, but it's also costing quite a bit. Should I really have spent $70 on 7 TPC decants or should I have bought a bottle (or two)? Of course the decants, including LeLabo Aldehyde 44 and Vanille 44, are obscure and expensive, but am I being ridiculous?

    One very positive thing I have learned through this process is that when I like something I can buy a large decant instead of a bottle. With a large rotation a 15ml decant will last at least a few months. I just did this with 4 Chanel Exclusifs (Coromandel, 31 Rue Cambon, Sycomore, and No.22) and for about $140 got a decent amount of all 4 instead of $200 each. Down the road I'll buy Coromandel because it's so beautiful and I love dousing myself with it.

    Any other sample-crazed folks out there?

  2. #2

    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    I can fully relate to that bbBD although I ain't much of a sample freak, but I've been tempted.. yes


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  3. #3


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    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    Realizing you have a problem is the first step, one day at a time bud.

  4. #4

    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    You are far from alone, I suspect. I was afflicted with perfume mania in January of this year and since then have been placing two $40+ purchases a month from TPC approx, and maybe one from Luckyscent of a similar value. On Ebay I must have spent the equivalent of several hundred UK on samples, minis and some full bottles. I haven't counted my collection, but there has got to be 250-300 different scents there now in some shape or form - excluding the 40 men's frags I gave away to my brother, when getting him interested in this hobby! And I have upwards of 20 FBs now, which I know is not the subject of your inquiry.

    I do plan to stop at some point and enjoy what I have got. I am just not quite there yet, haha!
    "So many scents, so little skin"...

    http://bonkersaboutperfume.blogspot.com/

  5. #5

    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    I completely sympathize. I get probably 2-3 sample packages from TPC a month. However, if the alternative is impulsive FB purchases that you will later regret (and I have determined that I already have far too many FBs to ever fully enjoy), I think samples & decants are the better way to go. You're limiting the damage, in a way.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    I just spent almost ninety dollars on samples. Yikes!

  7. #7

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    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    i have about 20 samples in my closet....from Lutens to Frederic Malle...and to be honest, i'm not really a fan of having alot of samples....they have only a couple full uses in each of em...and the majority of them i don't really like. The only time where i actually enjoy using them, is when i'm bored and at home working on some projects...and put a couple random ones on each arm just to see how they progress.

    Sure it's entertaining, but its nothing like the pleasure of having a full bottle of stuff to wear the whole day...and to refresh with in the evening...

    for exploring fragrances, it is OBVIOUSLY the best thing to do.....buying bottles blind is basically pretty silly.......but it always annoys me to get these samples which i don't like.....these days, i just throw away the ones i don't like.....so i don't have to deal with them sitting around!

    another thing is: i can't really get myself to buy samples....the only one i've ever bought was Musc Ravageur....the rest of em, i've gotten from Aedes OR with another order....i can't really get myself to blow $5 on a dinky sample....it really does add up!

  8. #8

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    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    Quote Originally Posted by everso View Post
    i have about 20 samples in my closet....from Lutens to Frederic Malle...and to be honest, i'm not really a fan of having alot of samples....they have only a couple full uses in each of em...and the majority of them i don't really like. The only time where i actually enjoy using them, is when i'm bored and at home working on some projects...and put a couple random ones on each arm just to see how they progress.

    Sure it's entertaining, but its nothing like the pleasure of having a full bottle of stuff to wear the whole day...and to refresh with in the evening...

    for exploring fragrances, it is OBVIOUSLY the best thing to do.....buying bottles blind is basically pretty silly.......but it always annoys me to get these samples which i don't like.....these days, i just throw away the ones i don't like.....so i don't have to deal with them sitting around!

    another thing is: i can't really get myself to buy samples....the only one i've ever bought was Musc Ravageur....the rest of em, i've gotten from Aedes OR with another order....i can't really get myself to blow $5 on a dinky sample....it really does add up!
    I've found I rarely give a 'full wear' to a sample, usually because 1ml is just enough for a 'wear', and by the time I've sprayed a little on my skin there's not enough for a meaningful full application. 1ml is, however, enough for 2-3 full skin tests depending on the strength of the juice, which is enough to figure out whether I want to buy something.

    Everso - if you find yourself throwing samples away just PM me and I'll pay to ship them to me


    What I'm finding very helpful about having so many samples is having reference points for the discussions on BN. As I've been trying to not only try the frequently-discussed frags, I've also been ordering a few from each line so I have a breadth of knowledge. It's sort of a BN 'cultural literacy' in addition to figuring out what I want to buy. Of course it's also nice to be able to toss samples in with trades and the like as well.

    While on the topic, I ordered 2 more sets of samples yesterday (13 samples/$30). One pack from Beautyhabit and the other from Aedes. This will bring my sample total to around 200 (not including the giant pile of designer samples I have in a box in my desk). The illness continues.


    You probably already know this if you're reading here, but here's what I've found in terms of sample deals:

    Retailers:

    Aedes - 7 samples for $15 (including shipping), 7 samples free with purchase

    Beautyhabit - 6 samples for $15 (incl. shipping) CANCELLED

    Luckyscent - $3-$5+ per sample, shipping not incl. 2-3 free samples with purchase

    Perfumeshoppe (canadian) - 6 samples for $15, shipping incl.

    Beautyencounter - large selection of factory carded samples, anywhere from $1 - $6

    Lusciouscargo - $21 for 8 samples

    Houses

    L'Artisan - 5 free samples via internet - $7 shipping (includes catalog)

    Bond No. 9 - 6 free samples via phone only - $10 shipping UPDATE - samples are now $15, and from what I hear purchase is required

    Frederic Malle - 3 free samples via internet - 12 euros shipping to US (ouch!)

    Hermes - 2 free Hermessence (4ml) samples per fragrance, in boutique only. Will mail regular line samples on request for free.

    Chanel - occasionally has 4ml or 1.5ml samples in boutiques. May not offer samples depending on SA and whether you look like you'll actually buy something.

    Ineke - 5 samples/ $25 which is applied to first purchase.

    The Different Company - 2ml samples of all available fragrances for $30 (but if you ask very nicely they may send you some individual samples)



    Department Stores

    Nordstrom's - the best... will happily decant fragrance samples for you

    Sephora - will decant samples, not always so happily

    Saks 5th Ave - have the means to decant samples but, depending on the SA, you may have to butter them up.

    - Saks 5th Ave/ Neiman Marcus Creed counters - have samples and decanting supplies, but may or may not refuse to decant for you.

    Macys - no decanting, will not let you decant your own (unless you know the SA, do not attempt otherwise)

    Dillards - some stores have decanting supplies, but will rarely offer decants (it's for preferred customers)



    I will update as I learn more....
    Last edited by bbBD; 23rd February 2009 at 09:39 AM. Reason: info

  9. #9
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    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    bbBD--

    Thank you for posting all that! I didn't realize I could get samples from several of these places and have just placed an order with L'Artisan and am checking out Aedes' fragrances to decide which samples to order!

    Very useful info!

  10. #10

    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    Sample purchasing my be expensive in the long run but it's the only way to sample some of these perfumes. For those that are nowhere near the niche perfume shops, there's no other option than paying for them.

    I do feel let down by most of the niche stuff I smell. I paid how much to be disappointed? Bah! Well, same argument can be applied to a movie you've never seen or an album you've never heard of.

  11. #11

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    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    Quote Originally Posted by 30 Roses View Post
    bbBD--

    Thank you for posting all that! I didn't realize I could get samples from several of these places and have just placed an order with L'Artisan and am checking out Aedes' fragrances to decide which samples to order!

    Very useful info!
    Glad to help! I edited my post and added some info. Between Aedes, Beautyhabit, and Luckyscent you can get a 1ml sample of pretty much anything available in the US. For more obscure, discontinued, or non-export items, theperfumedcourt is king. There is a large discussion about TPC in another forum, and I'm looking to duplicate that here.

    I've fine tuned my sample strategy: First I use luckyscent, aedes, or beautyhabit (or a trade or personal paid decant) to obtain a 1ml sample. I rarely get a full wear from a 1ml sample, but rather skin test it 1-2 times and then either trade or give it away. For those samples I want to explore more fully by wearing, I'll then go to TPC and order a larger decant (2.5 to 15ml, depending on cost). If I've enjoyed wearing it then I'll move up to the bottle expenditure. As I said before, with a large rotation even a 5ml decant will last long enough to forestall buying a bottle for a while.

    My most recent large decant purchases are 3 Montales*. These Montales are so strong and last so long I have a feeling 5ml will last quite a while.... plus I just don't know if any of them are worth $125-$200/bottle.

    * Oud Cuir d'Arabie, Sweet Oriental Dream and Chypre Vanille

  12. #12

    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    I am in mid-mania, having plunked down several hundred in recent samples, both classic and niche. I can relate/sympathize/commiserate, but oh, what exquisite misery.

  13. #13

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    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    I have now reached the 300+ mark with niche samples (I have a box of designer samples as well, but those are not organized). Some things I've come to understand:

    Having all of these samples is a great way to learn about the hobby, learn about different houses, accords, perfumers, etc. I've created what is essentially a 'library' of samples. When something is mentioned on the board I can check it out and know what the discussion is about.

    Some samples - those of high-quality fragrances (Mazzolari, Profumum, Malle, Parfumerie Generale, Montale, Farmacia 1561) - can be used for a full wear plus sampling. I hang onto these for special occasions when I want to wear them.

    If I like a sample a lot, I buy a larger decant from TPC or elsewhere - between 5-15ml depending on cost. This is usually all I need. It's pretty rare that I feel compelled to buy a whole bottle, especially when I might wear the fragrance once in 1-2 months. My latest interests have been some of the obscure Guerlains and then the Italian houses (Mazzolari, Farmacia, Profumum). These are all $150+, and the Profumums and Guerlains are $240+. I'd love to own a bottle but darn it's hard to justify spending that much when two spritzes is all I need for an entire day. Of these, I'm most likely to buy the Guerlains. There's something about these - perhaps because they're limited edition, perhaps because I'm so taken with some of them, that I might just buy the bottles anyway.

  14. #14

    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    VERY interesting reading. I think I may have found a way to spend LESS money than I am at present. Thanks for all the good info. I think I have found the right place to be for my frag frenzy.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    I'll add that Les Parfums de Rosine sells their entire set of fragrances as a sample kit for 18 euros which includes shipping at
    les-parfums-de-rosine.com

    Andy Tauer sells all of his fragrances as samples for a good price on his website

    Also, Hampton Court sells samples (very tiny, like 0.5 ml) for $1 each at hamptonct.com

    Finally, La Creme Beauty offers 8 samples for $16 at lacremebeauty.com

    To add bbBD's list!

  16. #16

    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    Thanks for all of the sample sources info - I had only used Aedes and LuckyScents. My first set of samples from Aedes yielded somthting of an HG scent for me, which turned out to be beginner's luck. I now have over 200 samples (just organized and counted them - yikes). Of the thirty or so I've tried, there are none that I would buy a bottle of. It's still a fun hobby, though. Now that it's autumn in Wisconsin, there are going to be a lot more nights curled up reading, and trying a new frag adds another dimension to the evening. If I get through the 200 and find four or five absolute must-haves, it will have been a worthwhile expenditure, IMHO. I'm still reading reviews and buying samples. Even if I try a new one each morning and evening, it will take most of the winter to get through them. Cool!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    Quote Originally Posted by lizzie_j View Post
    I'll add that Les Parfums de Rosine sells their entire set of fragrances as a sample kit for 18 euros which includes shipping at
    les-parfums-de-rosine.com
    Rosine samples:
    http://www.les-parfums-de-rosine.com...php?id_prod=67

    I ordered this set in October and am very glad I did. It took 11 days to arrive from France. They are not big on communication-- they did not acknowledge my order or send shipping information-- and didn't respond to emails either!-- but they DID send the samples. (When you go through secure checkout, you do get an order confirmation number.)

    The samples are 1.5ml each.
    Last edited by 30 Roses; 8th November 2008 at 03:59 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    Buying samples is so expensive, especially when you consider how much a full bottle of perfume costs vs. a fraction of an ounce you get in a sample.

    Why not organize a sample swap ring as a way to save money. There are different ways you could do it. One swap I was involved in on another forum had a person initially put 10 samples in a box and mail it to the first person that responded. Then that person could sniff them all, take any or no samples, but whatever they took had to be replaced by the same quantity that they removed. Then the sample box moved on to the next person who responded, and so on, until it was returned to the originator after the box had made so many rounds.

  19. #19

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    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    That's an interesting idea, but I generally like keeping my samples as a 'library'. My other new source for samples and decants - LOT OF DECANTS - has been some off-BN websites where people can post their decant lists. I've been pleasantly surprised by the number of people selling at cost.... hell I bough nearly 1/3 of a Guerlain Chypre Fatale bottle at cost from one of these sites.

    Since I last checked in, my sample collection has just about reached 450! This has really taken on a life of its own and is no longer just a means to decide what bottles to buy. I'm going to add some info below, but one of the things I've been doing is collecting whole lines - in one swoop when possible. Sometimes I find myself just giving one spray of a sample then filing it away, which is where the 'problem' part of it comes to play... especially with decants. I very much want to own a couple wears worth of a fragrance, but rarely do I bust out the decant box to wear anything! I've tried to remedy this by making Fridays 'decant-wear' day and Sundays 'sample-wear' day, but at this rate I'm set for the next few years worth of fridays and sundats. Oh well - it's all part of the fun, right?

    Here's some more info - I will edit and incorporate this into the above post when I've collected more:

    Jalaine Fragrances - these are high end oils (6ml for $90!) - order .25ml samples of their entire line for $19 via their website. They actually sent more than .25ml, and since you literally only need one drop per wear, it's a great deal.

    Histoire de Parfumes - order samples of the entire line for $20 from beautycafe.com DEAL NO LONGER AVAILABLE

    Etat Libre d'Orange - order samples of the entire line for 17 Euros (the problem is shipping to the US is $30 Euros.)

    Sonoma Scent Studio - order samples for $3 from their website. Great, little-known house.
    Last edited by bbBD; 21st February 2009 at 02:25 PM. Reason: info

  20. #20

    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    you rock! although you are feeding my obsession ... but we can all rationalize by saying, well, at LEAST we are not buying full bottles ... *cough* ... right?????

    I just spent $77.87, and I work at a HOMELESS SHELTER, for god's sake! But I appreciate someone's point -- that samples are a way to participate in this community ... such a great point.

    love you people --

  21. #21

    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    I think of samples as a sort of library. Sure, they don't last the way books do, but that is the nature of perfume.

    So would that mean I'm in the denial stage?

    And at the risk of being an enabler, I'd love to know how you store your samples.
    I tried many unsuccessful means and then fell upon boxes called "stackables" (for jewelry) at BB&B. These are working well for me!

  22. #22

    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    I, too, think of owning samples as a means of education and reference point for BN discussions. I may not have amassed the amount some of you have, but I'll get there, no doubt. I'm a hoarder.

    Adding to the list:
    Ormonde Jayne has a sampler available on their website - all of their fragrances for 28 pounds if I'm not mistaken. Asking nicely might result in receiving a few separate samples free of cost. Great customer service, by the way.

    I store my samples in a container I got in a craft store; clear plastic with compartments. You know, the type you'd store nails and screws and bolts in.
    bbBD: can you list the off-BN websites or would that be breaking the no-decant rule?
    Last edited by Morgaine; 12th December 2008 at 08:53 PM.
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    Quote Originally Posted by veuve amiot View Post
    I, too, think of owning samples as a means of education and reference point for BN discussions.
    I agree. I like to try to understand what others are smelling when they speak of certain fragrances.

    By the way, on the Addicted to Sampling Basenotes group, Profumo has offered to send samples, and recommended starting a sample-sending rotation group. If you are interested, please join the group, and add to the discussion!

    Dear members of this group and BN brothers, L'aventurier has been asking me for samples of "the scents of the soul" smaller than my 5,5 ml bottles.
    Following his trail I found this group of addicted samplers.
    I would be very happy to provide samples to basenoters in order that they may try and discuss my perfumes, the problem is that there is not yet a system devised by perfumistas that could make it easy for the sample sender. If it was posiible for me to send samples for 12 people (all of you) to a single address, I would gladly send them to you completely free, and I could do this several times a year.
    The one who receives them would send the samples to the 11 others.
    Next time I would send other samples to an other member of the group who would send to the 11 others.
    Do you think it is workable?
    AbdesSalaam Attar
    www.profumo.it

  24. #24
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    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    I'm hopelessly addicted to sampling.

    After a TPC order a few days ago I promised I WOULD NOT make any more orders there till next month. And I won't.

    ...

    But then I remembered The Perfume Shoppe has a sample program...

  25. #25

    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    Oh, Aiona - missed your post. Total enabling, that. I'll just scoot over to that page, now...
    It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely products of a deranged imagination.

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  26. #26

    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    I want to purchase samples too.

    Does anyone have websites for me where I can order with Paypal and where they ship to the Netherlands?

  27. #27
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    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    In looking back over 2008, I must admit that I think I am addicted to sampling also. I completely agree that it is better than being addicted to buying FB's (which I used to do). I also agree that buying a small sample, then a larger decant before a FB is the best way to go for the most part. There have been a few exceptions if I find a fragrance to be outstanding in only one wearing (eg, Habit Rouge), but for the most part, using up at least 5ml has been good proof of a long-term fragrance love. And if it is not love, then a small decant is easy to trade, even as smaller samples.

    I do not know how many samples I have, but I think it is probably somewhere in the hundreds. I use a tea caddy to store my fragrances by house, but it is completely full, plus I have bags, bowls, boxes of more...sigh. I usually try them briefly, but there are some I have never used. I started writing reviews recently, so I want to hang on to the ones that didn't get a full wearing yet (which is most of them). So, I am hoarding too. :P

  28. #28

    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    Hi
    This is Ernie and my fragrance abuse clinic fully supports your obsession!
    I am still collecting samples and will never stop. I've purchased several hundreds over the years, from all over the world.
    My obsession is that when I love a scent I must acquire at least one dozen samples, preferably the original retail, vial on card samples.
    My stock is enormous and I do give many away to friends as new scents and desires come my way.
    There is no cure! This addiction is harmless, save for the pocketbook. I look forward to packages in the mail and consider myself lucky that my obsession is well founded and shared by many.
    Enjoy...keep spritzin'...and don't stop till you get enough!

  29. #29

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    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    I haven't checked in for a while... hello sampling addicts. How pissed are you that beautyhabit no longer has their sampling program? I tried for a week to get a straight answer out of customer service as to why they did this, and finally I gave up after they wanted to talk by phone. From what I can tell it just wasn't worth it financially. I tried to explain there's no way I'm buying an expensive bottle without sampling it first, unless I can return used bottles, to which I got no coherent response. Oh well... it's that many more orders to other places. Aedes got two such orders from me yesterday.

    I've reached another milestone, namely 600 samples/decants. I've imposed a loose organization system for small samples (under 2ml) that's helped quite a bit, but if a sample is an 'orphan' (the only one from it's house), it can get a little lost since I'm organizing by house.

    I've got to post a picture of my 'larger decant' organization system, which is a giant freezer bag. It's literally busting at the seams, and finding anything requires spilling the contents onto my bed. Luckily my brain's memory works such that I almost always remember what the decant looked like (what type of atomizer) thus finding things doesn't take too long.

    I use my 'test list' in my wardrobe to track my samples. If I didn't do this, I'd order doubles because I forgot that I already own a sample.... well, sometimes. Sometimes I order doubles anyway. When samples come in the door they sit right on my desk and I won't open them until they're added to the BN database.... if I didn't do this all hell would break loose. I never tracked designer samples, which admittedly get unceremoniously dumped into a large box, never to be heard from again unless they are actually carded and are not crap, in which case I usually re-gift them.

    How does everyone else track their samples?

    Thanks for letting me vent... it always feel good.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: My new obsession - sample purchasing

    I'm totally addicted! And this thread is such an enabler! I ordered $125 worth of samples/decants from TCP yesterday, and today (as I searched for 'Aedes free shipping') I came across this thread, and just ordered Rosine and Jalaine samples. TCP adds up fast! At least Rosine and Jalaine combined are just $45.

    I look at samples as a way to experience a variety of fragrances and even try fragrances that I did not know I would like. Or some I had high hopes for, but they do not suite me. So it's always a discovery and a way to learn about perfume. Even though some I did not quite like, but I've not been disappointed yet with a sample I ordered.

    PS -- I think the wardrobe feature is great, I can track what I tried and what I still want to try (or is it an enabler as well? :-) )
    Last edited by kess; 19th February 2009 at 06:44 PM.

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