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