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Thread: How to Sample

  1. #1
    Dependent danieq's Avatar
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    Default How to Sample

    I have a question regarding sampling. I am still refining my process for doing this effectively and have noticed just recently that someeople mention testing on skin, paper and fabric. I am wondering if someone might care to elaborate on what each surface is meant to test and how you would use these varying tests to make final purchase decisions.

    Thank you in advance for your insights.

  2. #2

    Default Re: How to Sample

    Hi, danieq. Forgot to close Basenotes window while I'm working. As you know, I'm also new at this, but here's my self-developed process:

    1) Sniff from vial
    2) If good, dab on paper, sniff
    3) If good, apply to back of hand and monitor thru full drydown, noting projection and longevity
    4) If good, consider a buy; if tremendous, buy asap

    I'd be interested to learn how others approach sampling, too.

    p.s. By the way, here's a great video on the subject that I found recently. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jf2ftYa-TE
    Last edited by ScentFan; 31st December 2013 at 05:34 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to Sample

    Everyone I guess has their own method. If it's a dab vial I simply turn it over on my wrist and drag it. Then I rub both wrists together and then touch my neck with both wrists.

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  4. #4

    Default Re: How to Sample

    This thread may be worth a read
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/183...de-amp-Summary

    I'm totally not any kind of expert or collector, just someone who enjoys different scents, but find that the outside of the fore-arm is a good place to apply samples, preferably from a spray vial as dabbing produces markedly different results for scent intended to be used from a sprayer (obviously not parfum extraits or oils).

    I wouldn't personally make any decisions from sniffing a vial, but my samples are only obtained because they might be potential purchases or out of an interest to explore one that has been discussed/released.

    Also, wearing outside & 'living with' a product will reveal different facets.

    Some take me days, or even weeks, to really 'get into' , although my environment is subject to constant interruption so others with more experience & a more conducive environment may not find this such an issue.
    Getting to know a fragrance properly before purchase certainly avoids costly mistakes.

    I don't personally like samples of less than 2ml capacity because it takes me a good few wears to decide if they're going to be a purchase & partly because they're a useful reference if not purchased (or passed on).

    It would be interesting to hear other members' methods, although the purpose for sampling presumably has a massive bearing on the method and paper strips are useful for various reasons.

    For example, our pros & reviewers are looking at things from an extremely different perspective compared to mere consumers like me!
    Last edited by lpp; 31st December 2013 at 09:44 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How to Sample

    Quote Originally Posted by ScentFan View Post

    1) Sniff from vial
    2) If good, dab on paper, sniff
    3) If good, apply to back of hand and monitor thru full drydown, noting projection and longevity
    4) If good, consider a buy; if tremendous, buy asap
    This is pretty much what I do.

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    Default Re: How to Sample

    l rarely bother testing on paper, unless l'm smelling a whole bunch of things in a shop. Paper rarely gives a true picture of how something will smell on your skin.

    With sample vials, l usually put a few dabs on my outer forearm, & make sure l've got a few hours to see how the scent develops, lasts, etc. l always test one at a time, so that nothing interferes with my concentration on that particular scent. lf l like it, l'll decant it into a spray vial & give it as many wears as possible in different situations or seasons, before deciding whether to buy. lf l'm neutral on it, l'll put it aside & come back to it another time. lf l really dislike it, it goes into the swap/giveaway pile. And l try to use up my samples rather than keep them for years on end, as l've noticed they can evaporate or go off, even when stored carefully away from light & heat.

    The only time l spray on fabric is when l spray my sheets with something that l find relaxing.
    "What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to Sample

    I spray on the back of my hand or arm and wait for about 30 minutes. If I like it after those 30 minutes it's a go.

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to Sample

    I apply to my forearm and usually give the fragrance at least two wears before making a decision about whether or not to buy. This method applies to samples I own. In store sampling involves testing on a paper strip (which I find unreliable), then if I like it, I'll spray some on my arm. I prefer not to sample in stores, as the perfume cloud hanging over the perfume counters really distorts my nose. Finally, I prefer sampling from spray vials. I seem to lose the top notes with the dab on vials.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to Sample

    When I go to the store, I use the paper slips, mostly because I usually sample a few at a time. This works very well for me. If I like it I ask for a sample to wear at another time. If it wears well I will most likely buy it, maybe. If I'm only sampling one product I will spray on my wrist and wear it for the rest of the day, then make my decision to buy.

  10. #10

    Default Re: How to Sample

    Since most of my smelling is during smelling trips in stores, I mostly use paperstrips. Paperstrips can be brought back home and smelled at leisure, avoiding nose fatigue. Fabric is similar to paper (if any, it lasts even longer on fabric);.

    But I agree that they are really no substitute for skin, because on skin the progression happens very quickly (especially on perfume eating skin). The beautiful note lingering on paper could be gone in minutes on skin.

    That said, paper for me gives a pretty good idea of the perfume (in slow motion), so it usually works, though there are exceptions. Also, I spray under my clothes, so my shirt ends up emitting perfume too, which means that my smelling is actually a mix of skin and fabric-which perhaps explains why paper works well for me.

    cacio

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    Default Re: How to Sample

    I never use strips..
    I apply like a FB.
    wists-inner elbows and neck

  12. #12
    Basenotes Junkie Curly11's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Sample

    I prefer at least 2ml in a spray vial. Dabbing gives a different impression, but anyway, I like to wear something at least 3 times. Normally I start out wearing the fragrance on the back of my hand and then progress to applying it to my neck. Sniffing from a tester or paper is deceiving; I wouldn't buy anything based on impressions from those 2 sampling methods.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How to Sample

    If I have a tester to use, I use paper strips to get a rough idea; if it's revolting to me on paper, it's not going on my skin! If I like it even a little, I'll go ahead and put it on skin.

    If I only have a little sample vial, I don't bother with paper-- it goes onto skin. Tentatively, in small amounts, until I'm sure it won't be a scrubber.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: How to Sample

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    Since most of my smelling is during smelling trips in stores, I mostly use paperstrips. Paperstrips can be brought back home and smelled at leisure, avoiding nose fatigue. Fabric is similar to paper (if any, it lasts even longer on fabric);.

    But I agree that they are really no substitute for skin, because on skin the progression happens very quickly (especially on perfume eating skin). The beautiful note lingering on paper could be gone in minutes on skin.

    That said, paper for me gives a pretty good idea of the perfume (in slow motion), so it usually works, though there are exceptions. Also, I spray under my clothes, so my shirt ends up emitting perfume too, which means that my smelling is actually a mix of skin and fabric-which perhaps explains why paper works well for me.

    cacio
    This is new info, I didn't realize that paper/fabric causes the progression to slow down. That really could end up quite deceiving couldn't it.

    And it appears very few use fabric for sampling purposes. I was wondering if sometimes people use fabric in order to tell if wearing scent on their clothing might give a more satisfactory result, particularly if the scent tends to be fleeting.

  15. #15

    Default Re: How to Sample

    Spraying on clothes is indeed a trick to increase longevity. Somewhat related, a traditional way to use extrait for women was to apply to a cotton ball and then put the cotton ball in the cleavage.

    cacio

  16. #16

    Default Re: How to Sample

    My primary method of sampling is the classic method, walk in to the store and start spraying on the cards
    and then come back and smell them few minutes later and see what appeals to you and how the fragrances develop

  17. #17
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    Default Re: How to Sample

    1 ml should be enough to do three separate applications, if daubed on a forearm. I find it takes three tries over three days to really "get" a fragrance, especially if it is out of my note range. I like the forearm for application in general, since the hair one one's forearm holds the scent well.
    What do insomniac perfumers do to fall asleep? They count chypres!

  18. #18
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    Default Re: How to Sample

    Several tests on paper. If I still like it, transfer from vial to small sprayer and give it 3 good wearings. I'll then know if it's full bottle worthy.

  19. #19

    Default Re: How to Sample

    Quote Originally Posted by danieq View Post
    This is new info, I didn't realize that paper/fabric causes the progression to slow down. That really could end up quite deceiving couldn't it.
    Testing strips can be extraordinarily ineffective in this sense -- which I've found to be the case with a number of naturals especially. Where it's useful is revealing the individual facets by slowing things down, but skin and body temperature play a key role is a scents performance, so a testing strip can oftentimes give a very false impression.

  20. #20

    Default Re: How to Sample

    Quote Originally Posted by Oproust View Post
    I apply to my forearm and usually give the fragrance at least two wears before making a decision about whether or not to buy. This method applies to samples I own. In store sampling involves testing on a paper strip (which I find unreliable), then if I like it, I'll spray some on my arm. I prefer not to sample in stores, as the perfume cloud hanging over the perfume counters really distorts my nose. Finally, I prefer sampling from spray vials. I seem to lose the top notes with the dab on vials.
    This is one of the major reasons I don't buy fragrances where I can't get a sample.

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    Default Re: How to Sample

    Quote Originally Posted by deadidol View Post
    Testing strips can be extraordinarily ineffective in this sense -- which I've found to be the case with a number of naturals especially. Where it's useful is revealing the individual facets by slowing things down, but skin and body temperature play a key role is a scents performance, so a testing strip can oftentimes give a very false impression.
    Perfume was made to be worn on skin. Body heat brings it to life.

    Why people don't wait for dry-down is a mystery to me.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: How to Sample

    What 30 Roses does is also what I do.

    Quote Originally Posted by 30 Roses View Post
    If I have a tester to use, I use paper strips to get a rough idea; if it's revolting to me on paper, it's not going on my skin! If I like it even a little, I'll go ahead and put it on skin.

    If I only have a little sample vial, I don't bother with paper-- it goes onto skin. Tentatively, in small amounts, until I'm sure it won't be a scrubber.
    A Scent Rescuer
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: How to Sample

    It's ok to test things on paper before trying to weed out the duds. But some scents definitely need to be tried on skin before total rejection. One I have in mind is- Chanel- Cuir de Russie. ​It has a cool, hair-spray like opening that can be off-putting. But given a chance to warm up on skin, it rounds out and becomes a charming floral, leather.
    Last edited by kumquat; 2nd January 2014 at 02:48 PM.

  24. #24
    Basenotes Junkie james1051's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Sample

    I spray two squirts to my right or left forearm, and wear it for several hours. And I make notes through the wearing. I try to sample everything this way, to give me a sense of their relative projection and duration. For some, I know after one wearing that I do or do not intend to purchase. But for most, two wearings are needed to make a judgment.

    I don't use strips, nor do I dab. Samples that do not come in atomizers get transferred into a cheapie plastic 2.5mL atomizer before testing.

  25. #25

    Default Re: How to Sample

    I find body location can affect how the notes of a fragrance respond. So it's best to experiment and find your optimal zones. I've heard it said that the inner wrist is one of the poorer places to test a fragrance. Top the hand is supposed to be better.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: How to Sample

    Ah yes, l forgot to mention that making notes is very important to me, especially during the first wearing. l keep a special notebook just for this purpose. When l first began on this journey, l wouldn't have believed how quickly one can forget exactly how something smelled. Four hundred-odd samplings later, l'm so glad l wrote it all down!
    "What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.

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