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  1. #1

    Default When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    I have difficulty in deciding what I like and what I don't like if I sample more than 3 fragrances one after the other. I have sampled several during my shopping and ended up purchasing scents that I otherwise would not have bought if I were to sample them one per day.

    How do you decide on what to purchase if you are going to be sampling many scents at one time?

  2. #2

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    Trite, in a store, I try not to try more than four at a time. It gets too complicated after that--maybe dogs can sort out hundreds of scents at a time. Pity me--only four.

    OTOH, at home I sample only one per day. I give each a full-wearing to decide whether or not I like it.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  3. #3

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    I agree there is a limit as to how many I can sample in one day. I can try more when I am wearing short sleeves (more skin available), but that does not address the olfactory issues. The ideal thing would be to get decants to take home, but in most cases you can't get them (as freebies) unless you buy something. So I keep coming back, for at least more than one test before buying. Or swap/buy decants on BN, or buy from on-line decant shops (some of which are run by BNers). Economically, it is better to spend a few bucks on a decant, than to buy a whole bottle under a mistaken impression.

  4. #4

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    2 or 3 is fine.

  5. #5

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    Primrose: I agree, one per day full wearing is ideal.

    Tsuzumi: Decants are okay for scents that I am interested in but this eliminates many scents that I might love if I were to sample them randomly.

    I spend most of my time sampling at airports. After 3 samples it gets complicated. I use the blot paper and label them. Hours later I try to smell them. But many scents smell differently on my skin (eg, Mkk smells repulsive on paper but beautiful on my skin).

    Do smelling on coffee beans help?

  6. #6
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    Quote Originally Posted by cannotavoidtrite View Post
    How do you decide on what to purchase if you are going to be sampling many scents at one time?
    I only buy ones I know will become part of my collection, so they will eventually all be purchased sooner or later.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    I like to do preliminary, process-of-elimination type sampling in stores. Sometimes this involves just a few perfumes, but on days when we take a trip to Boston or NYC, where we have access to perfumes we normally do not see, it can be quite a number. This means weeding out the ones that do not interest me further at the time, and deciding which to get samples of. However it is not a sufficient basis for buying a bottle.

    There is no substitute for testing further at home, and one fragrance per day is best-- or two at most, the second only after a shower or hours after the first one is truly gone from the skin.


  8. #8

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    As little as possible.

  9. #9

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    This is one of the big reasons why I like to purchase samples, or try and swap them, or get them through companies gratis. If you sample too many out in a store, you may get an entirely different perspective of them. That's why first impressions with me tend to stay when I sample them at home.

    Needless to say.. if that's not your bag and you would rather go to the store, I would say sample as many as you please. If ya go to a place like Sephora, or Ulta, they have dishes of coffee beans.. they're not there for decoration. It's been proven (as ridiculous as it might sound) that fresh coffee beans will reset your sense of smell. I have a feeling it has to do with how strong the coffee beans are.. smelling the strongest thing possible, that is still natural, before switching back to your next choice to smell. Makes sense if ya think about it, but it's hard to word it.

    Personally.. I prefer Sephora and Ulta, because I can go there and smell what I please, and not be under pressure, plus I know they have coffee beans there. You can also go to Macy's, Dillard's, etc.. bring a little bag with your own fresh coffee beans, and do it that way. If you looks ridiculous, then so be it, at least your first impressions will be more on the spot. You can always just go outside for some fresh air to neutralize the nose. I tend to sample no more than 4 fragrances on my skin though. 1 on the top of each arm, and 1 on the inner side of each arm. None too close side by side. Either way, whether like this, or using coffee beans, or other ways to temporarily neutralize your nose.. the more stuff ya smell, the worse your nose is gonna be.Just like working out, you can only do so many reps before ya can't do any more.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    You can also sniff your own sleeve to clear your nose, if coffee beans are not handy.


  11. #11

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    Thanks for the replies.

    I find it difficult to go back to the store to sample them one by one. The sales people, even at Sephora, are always there trying to make you buy stuff and if they see your face a few times it becomes a very unpleasant experience. I always end up buying one perfume if I sample a few and a sales person is present. I have made some lousy purchases like this from niche houses even. The sales staff look at you with disdain and irritation if you smell and leave and then come back to sample more.

  12. #12

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    I can't really shop the fragrance without wearing it for a full day. Need to see how it reacts to your skin, how it develops over time, and how long it lasts for.

    I only spray on a card to see what the top notes smell like. If I don't like it, I won't bother with the rest.

    I'll spray one each each wrist maximum. So, I can only sample two at a time. Plus however many vials they're willing to give me haha.

  13. #13

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    Quote Originally Posted by cannotavoidtrite View Post
    Thanks for the replies.

    I find it difficult to go back to the store to sample them one by one. The sales people, even at Sephora, are always there trying to make you buy stuff and if they see your face a few times it becomes a very unpleasant experience. I always end up buying one perfume if I sample a few and a sales person is present. I have made some lousy purchases like this from niche houses even. The sales staff look at you with disdain and irritation if you smell and leave and then come back to sample more.
    You can actually go into Sephora and be like "I'd like to take some samples home with me, so I can see how they develop on my skin before buying them". Sephora's policy is 3 samples per person/per visit. Depending on who's filling your samples, and perhaps whether or not she's attracted to you or not - will be how much juice they put in each sample.

  14. #14

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Cologneist View Post
    You can actually go into Sephora and be like "I'd like to take some samples home with me, so I can see how they develop on my skin before buying them". Sephora's policy is 3 samples per person/per visit. Depending on who's filling your samples, and perhaps whether or not she's attracted to you or not - will be how much juice they put in each sample.
    Really, eh? I am not attractive so I cannot pull that off. I have received samples only after a purchase.

    Once I asked if I could just have a small vial because I would like to give it a full wearing before deciding on a bottle and this is what happened :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZClg-tE1-h0

    Yeah, sucks not being attractive.

  15. #15
    DeepSilence
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    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    When i go to purchase, usually i chose what i want before. Rarely i sample new fragrances in the store. Maybe sometime i see new fragrances, i sample them and i keep them in my mind for next time that i would like to buy something different. 3 or 4 sampling is enough IMO. And if you confused with many scents, you can clear your nose by sniffing dry bitter coffee in the store. If they don't have, carry a bit coffee with yourself.
    Last edited by DeepSilence; 22nd May 2011 at 02:25 PM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    I spray on test strips, 5 max. And walk around with them. I play to try and identifying each one without reading the names. I then discard the ones that don't tell me anything new or excite me. The last one or two may go on my skin, but I still keep the paper strips separated in different places at home. This way I can see how they develop and how long they last.

    If I like it on paper I'll ask for a sample vial. The secret I think is connect with the SA, talk to them ask them questions, let them show you, it's ok they are doing their job. But talk with them about the fragrance and exchange coments. You are showing respect and they'll b happy to provide samples. If you buy one fragrance every now and then, they will respect you. Ofcourse everyone knows you are not buying every time you show up and they'll be waiting to hear your opinion and views on whatever new scent they are pushing.
    Build relations, you have a comon interest (passion, obsession etc.) and people love to talk about what they/we like. Yes

  17. #17

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    I would never purchase anything after smelling something solely off a test strip. So when I go fragrance smelling, I'm not afraid to smell 50 things if I think I can handle it. Basically I go smell stuff at stores to see what is on the market, figure out what I want to acquire samples vials of, and maybe score some samples. Building a collection should be a slow process. Sample sample sample all sorts of fragrances and take notes before deciding on purchases. It will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

  18. #18

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    Quote Originally Posted by 30 Roses View Post
    You can also sniff your own sleeve to clear your nose
    It works!


    Discover my Guest Reviewer Of The Day here

  19. #19

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    3 or 4 is about right.
    After that I cant make head nor tail of a thing.

  20. #20

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    I know it is a well-established concept that one should only try a handful of perfumes in any given sitting, but I beg to differ.
    In the fragrance sales industry, I've received specialised training many times where entire portfolios of perfume have been introduced to my nose over, for example, an 8 hour period. (Think: every scent under the L'Oreal umbrella for example).
    Not once did I have trouble distinguishing one from another, and with a short break outside every 90 minutes or so, did not become fatigued in the slightest.

    I think it is up to the individual to determine how many he/she can comfortably smell in the one day.

    **This being said, admittedly, trying to distinguish one from another *on skin*, when all your arm, wrist, elbow, hand and neck 'real estate' has been used to capacity, can be very gruelling and confusing.

  21. #21

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sorcery of Scent View Post
    I know it is a well-established concept that one should only try a handful of perfumes in any given sitting, but I beg to differ.
    In the fragrance sales industry, I've received specialised training many times where entire portfolios of perfume have been introduced to my nose over, for example, an 8 hour period. (Think: every scent under the L'Oreal umbrella for example).
    Not once did I have trouble distinguishing one from another, and with a short break outside every 90 minutes or so, did not become fatigued in the slightest.

    I think it is up to the individual to determine how many he/she can comfortably smell in the one day.
    I agree with Dimitri. It is up to you. I also have a pretty good nose for distinguishing fragrances as well as good olfactory memory. I often test 10-20 at a time and can almost always remember which one is which. The SAs are always shoving coffee in my face, but I find that it does nothing to help. Just a waste of good coffee.

    But I do strongly suggest trying on your skin, or better yet, giving a fragrance a full wearing before buying. I do often buy after testing on paper strips, but that doesn't really tell the whole story of a fragrance. I am a collector and I often buy fragrances for reasons other than wearing them or sometimes even liking them, and can afford to do so. But for a person interested in establishing a versatile wardrobe of fragrances they like without wasting a lot of money, sampling by wearing rather than testing briefly on paper strips is the only way to go.

    So my advice is to test as many as you feel comfortable with in the shop. If you get confused, then stop with that number and perhaps even try fewer the next time. But refrain from buying until after you wear the fragrance. Try to wear it for a full day or evening as you go about your normal routine. If you cannot get a sample, at least spray it on your skin while at the shop and let it dry down for several hours before judging the fragrance.

  22. #22
    Super Member daccpa's Avatar
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    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    I am on a quest to sample them all !
    "There's another old saying, Senator: Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining."

  23. #23

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    I use multiple sampling (5-15 at one time) at stores as an elimination process -- the few that seem interesting will then get some full wearings from samples.

  24. #24

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    Thanks for all the great advice.

    I think my other problem is also going crazy wild to sample everything when I am at a perfume shop and not having the patience and wanting something there and then.

    This might sound silly, I often try to smell the cap or the bottle itself thinking this will not hasten nasal fatigue.

  25. #25

    Default Re: When shopping for fragrance, how many to sample at one time?

    The ritual goes:

    1. scent strips to get a general idea of what the fragrance is
    2. spray on forearms - one on each arm, anything more than that gives me a layering effect
    3. walk around for a couple hours....every 20 minutes, wave my forearm across my face to catch a scent trail


    Unlike department stores, the SA's at Sephora usually don't give me trouble (I guess they train the SA's at department stores to resist flirting).

    If the SA's start to annoy me, I manipulate them questions until they feel inadequate and realize they know next to nothing about the products they're trying to sell, then I offer my insights with "give me a sample, I'll test it out and I'll tell you all about it"


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