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  1. #1
    Basenotes Member IainCD's Avatar
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    Default Advice On Sampling

    Hi there! I've been enjoying myself these last couple of months following your advice and doing lots of sampling. I've been very cautious with my 'full bottle' buying as you'll see from my wardrobe (my only wild buy was Micallef 'Yellow Sea' and, fortunately, I don't regret that at all - its lovely!).

    Anyway, I've been a bit like a kid in a sweetshop so far and just grabbing samples of anything that appeals from all over the place but I was wondering if I should perhaps start to try and be a bit more methodical now - especially as there's still so much out there that I still want to sniff.

    So my question is, do you think I should perhaps start to concentrate on a particular group of fragrances at a time (eg sample a lot of different ambers at once) or perhaps start concentrating on one house at a time or would you still continue scattershooting at I am doing at present? I've done a little of the 'house' thing already but only those that offer sample packs by post (I've had four from Maison Francis Kurkdjian and now the whole range of Parfums d'Empire - really looking forward to getting stuck into those!)

    I don't suppose it really matters all that much but I wondered if there might be some benefit in being a little more ordered in what I'm doing. Thanks very much in advance and either way, I'll let you know what my next sample order will be

  2. #2
    Basenotes Junkie Teach13's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice On Sampling

    I would say to sample what you want, when you want. I don't know how some of these BN vets do it now (after being in the game for years and years), but when I started a few months ago, I was like you: I grabbed anything that was appealing. Soon, I created a Word document to keep track of everything.

    I have a Maybe list, a Buy list, and a No list. For each sample, I jot down my impression of it. Nothing long, just 2-3 sentences. Pretty soon, I began to notice patterns. For example: I've learned that frags with heavy tonka bean in them appeal to me, but those that are vetiver-heavy or animalic are not for me. Knowing this helps me refine my search when I go out looking for more samples.

    If I like a frag, but read on here that THIS frag or THAT frag smell just like, only better...or cheaper...or last longer...etc, then I'll collect ALL of those samples and compare them to each other to find the one (or two) I like best.

    Maybe that's more intense than others here do it...maybe that's less than some do it...but that's what works for me right now. Ultimately, you find what works for you.
    "We don't fail because we aim too high and miss, but because we aim too low and hit" - Les Brown

    "When you're all alone, when no one is watching, and there's no one around to impress, that is who you are" - Greg Laurie

  3. #3

    Default Re: Advice On Sampling

    My opinion: don't get stuck on only exploring one note. I think it's a good idea to cast the net wide, and to expand in many directions at once.

    One way of doing that, without being completely overwhelmed, is exploring a couple of houses as you are doing now. For instance, if you happen to like a couple of fragrances from Hermes, keep exploring more from Hermes; they have a house-signature and if you happen to like it, great, you will probably find more things you'll like in their inventory.

    On the other hand, if you don't like the airy minimalism of Hermes, skip the line, move on to something like Lutens; a house with a completely different signature and approach.

  4. #4
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice On Sampling

    Quote Originally Posted by IainCD View Post
    So my question is, do you think I should perhaps start to concentrate on a particular group of fragrances at a time (eg sample a lot of different ambers at once) or perhaps start concentrating on one house at a time or would you still continue scattershooting at I am doing at present?
    IMO the last method.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Advice On Sampling

    If you are keen on notes exploration by all means sample by note. At the very least you'll get a good idea of how a particular note comes across, as well as notes that are complimentary.

    Sampling by house could give you a feel of a house signature.

    Sampling by perfumers might highlight the style or accords the perfumer is particularly good at.

    The scattergun approach is adequate if you're just curious about certain fragrances. It's like going to a buffet spread when you are ravenous.

    There is no single best approach. Believe me, I've tried them all. Deciding on which is part of the fun!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Advice On Sampling

    I'm also new to sampling and enjoying fragrances, so I sympathize with the random testing. I think that it really does depend on what you want out of it. If you're looking for more organization, by all means go for ordering scents with similar notes to see the diverse aspects of a single note/if you're particular or not to a note. But I don't think there's anything wrong with random trial and error. It's more disorganized, but it lets you focus on the ones you're most intrigued by. Or mix it up and combine the two!

    Additionally, I had a question somewhat relevant to this one: Which online sources have you experienced basenoters found to have the greatest selection and timely shipping?

  7. #7
    Basenotes Member IainCD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice On Sampling

    Thanks for the responses guys - its good to get some opinions.

    Teach13 - I too have been keeping a word document up to date with impressions and thoughts. Its interesting to return too, especially when you sample something else with similar qualities - another bit of advice I got when starting here

    kab33 - I'm in the UK so not sure how relevant this is to you but I've used a German company called First In Fragrance (or Aus Liebe Zum Duft) and they are excellent, good service and speedy delivery - also a recommendation from a BNr! I also plan to try the sample service offered by Les Senteurs, based in London. Both are mainly niche but FiF in particular have some designers in there too. I also enjoy getting samples direct from the perfume houses who offer such a thing - its rather nice getting a package through the post from Paris (or wherever)

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