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  1. #1

    Default How do you choose what to sample?

    I finally have a day off from work and have a solid 3 hours to fill while waiting for an appointment. I will be in a main city with a huge selfridges and last time I went they has a huge selection of fragrances especially niche fragrances.

    I plan to go and just sniff literally as many fragrances as possible. But it got me thinking how do you usually find a new fragrance?

    I find myself watching a lot of youtube reviews then usually testing or google ‘woody’ or ‘citrus’ or ‘winter’ fragrances which will obviously turn up hundreds of results.

    Also any recommendations? I do not like Tonka or floral notes. I like woody Smokey oriental spicy type scents and just discovered I like boozey notes.

    I will be trying Gucci intense oud as I can’t find that anywhere and Terre de Hermes parfume other then that it’s going to be lucky dip or should I go with a list and narrow it down beforehand? Deffo some xerjoff , le labo, more kilians and Amouage

    http://www.selfridges.com/GB/en/weba...GB&language=en

  2. #2
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    cazaubon's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    I follow a few blogs and when they announce or review something that sounds up my alley I may order a sample.

  3. #3
    Basenotes Institution sjg3839's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    As far as department stores, I just walk around and spray everything that I can on tester strips and label them.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    My local Selfridges in Birmingham can be a little overwhelming, but what I suggest is:

    - Try to seek out fragrances and / or houses you are curious to try,
    - Take your time, don't rush it,
    - Smell the caps of the bottles before spraying on a blotter,
    - Select a few you would like to sample on a blotter or on skin.

    Overall, the sales people there aren't very pushy during the week I find, and you can take all the time you need.

  5. #5

    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    I tend to go by house or note when in a department store, otherwise the options are too overwhelming. It helps to make a shortlist in advance, just put 6-8 options on there that you feel like smelling or that are otherweise difficult to come by.
    Currently wearing: Mitsouko by Guerlain

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    To answer the thread question, I choose what to buy, not sample, if It is a fragrance house I already collect or a new house after researching it.
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  7. #7

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    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    I agree with sjg. Bring a pencil (not a pen, which will smudge) and write the name on the paperstrips. This way, you can bring home dozens and smell them at your leisure over the course of a few days. If you want to go the extra mile (but it is not really necessay), you can bring small ziploc bags (like those for medicines) and put each strip in a different plastic bag.

    Amouage seems a good starting point for your tastes (Interlude, Epic, etc), as do several other brands.

    cacio

  8. #8

    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nastka View Post
    My local Selfridges in Birmingham can be a little overwhelming, but what I suggest is:

    - Try to seek out fragrances and / or houses you are curious to try,
    - Take your time, don't rush it,
    - Smell the caps of the bottles before spraying on a blotter,
    - Select a few you would like to sample on a blotter or on skin.

    Overall, the sales people there aren't very pushy during the week I find, and you can take all the time you need.
    This is where I will be going tomorrow. The last time I went (5 years ish) I remember it had the biggest selection I’ve ever seen and it was overwhelming. I also remember it being casual with no pushy sales assistants and I’ve actually got plenty of time to sample usually I get 10 mins before I’m dragged off somewhere else.

    Taking a pencil makes so much sense I sprayed 8 testers last time and got a few mixed up lucky I hated most and Creed Viking stood out a mile.

    I have an Amouage Interlude sample which I really like so may try more Amouage also I have some kilian samples but found after a few hours they don’t last on my skin. I really was interested in smoke for the soul but see marijuana note which really puts me off and I’m waiting for Le Labo Patchouli 24 sample to arrive any day. I can’t seem to get a sample in the uk of bergermust noir which is a shame. As you can tell I love smokey fragrances but maybe test some woody fragrances and some boozy. Jazz club is also one that sounds interesting on paper.

    I think my plan of attack is to list about 10 I want to sample, label the cards and then see if anything else piques my interest.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    It depends if I'm sampling for a purpose or just for fun.

    If I'm sampling for a purpose, I start by thinking about the genre/style that I'm interested in at the moment and then begin to narrow it down: 1) Do I want to go designer or niche? 2) What's my budget? 3) I look into brands that I like/trust 4) Read and watch reviews about the scents I have in mind 5) Choose a few samples based on which reviews sound most appealing.

    When I sample for fun I just look at all the online retail niche stores and places like Sephora, go to their 'new arrival' section and peruse through it reading the descriptions. If something catches my eye or sounds good, I'll take a quick look at a few reviews for it and if it sounds decent I'll order it.
    My wardrobe is up to date as of 10/09/17, and anything on my "Swap List" is for sale. You set the price and we'll negotiate from there. Inquire within!
    Currently wearing: Uomo by Lorenzo Villoresi

  10. #10
    Super Member Wingie's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    I research fragrances ahead of time by reading reviews here on BN as well as other sites and blogs, and then sample what I think I might like. I also will sample new releases if the fragrance was made by a perfumer whose work I really like, or if it’s a house I’ve bought from in the past (this last one applies more to niche houses).

    I’m also looking forward to the release of the new Guide in early 2018, as it’s going to point me toward a lot of fragrances I probably wouldn’t have sampled otherwise.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    I keep my test list in my wardrobe up to date and look at it before I go. I make a short list of what I expect to find or am looking for at that store. I spray on paper strips and stick them under the bottle to dry. I make the SA aware of the system. If I like it, I write what it is on the card and walk around with it. If I love it 10-30 minutes later, it goes on skin before I leave.

    Edit: What goes on my test list and why can vary. Maybe it was mentioned during a pass/quest thread. Maybe someone recommended it to me personally. Maybe someone sang its praises on the Scent of the Day thread. Maybe it's new for a house I love. Maybe it was mentioned in one of ClaireV's articles. Or maybe it has a note I'm exploring.
    Last edited by Kotori; 15th November 2017 at 12:22 AM.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    For dept. store drive-bys, I bring these:
    1. A shortlist of newly released fragrances I’m curious about
    2. A list of fragrances I’ve been wanting to try for ages

    + options to try whatever strikes my fancy while I’m there.

    The SAs will no doubt try to sell their latest. I’d just politely fend them off with a white lie: I’d already bought a bottle. It works all the time.
    Currently wearing: Terre d'Hermès by Hermès

  13. #13

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    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    I never sample in stores anymore. I made too many decisions I regretted. I like to spend an entire day with one sample so I can really see how it wears I always order samples online and then sample at my convenience.
    When I post a review or thoughts in general, don't expect a note break down or detailed information. My intent is for you to sample yourself, or have you not waste your money on a sample, as I've done. The only way you'll ever know what something smells like - is to sample.
    Only your nose can lead you the way, so follow it. Get a large piggy bank dedicated for sampling only, and a huge box for all the duds.

  14. #14

    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    Also consider what you're smelling: start with the citruses first, going light to heavy notes, and take a break to get some fresh air. Testing outside the store is best, so if you use a blotter or a tester strip make sure they aren't rubbing up against each other wherever you're holding them and mar your sampling experience, there's nothing worse than coming back from an hour car ride to find out you done screwed up.

  15. #15

    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondflame View Post
    The SAs will no doubt try to sell their latest. I’d just politely fend them off with a white lie: I’d already bought a bottle. It works all the time.
    Ooh! That's a good one. I usually just tell them I suffer from migraines so I pre-research.
    "Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once.
    A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth."
    -Diane Ackerman
    Currently wearing: Diorella by Christian Dior

  16. #16

    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    Quote Originally Posted by Smeligant View Post
    This is where I will be going tomorrow. The last time I went (5 years ish) I remember it had the biggest selection I’ve ever seen and it was overwhelming. I also remember it being casual with no pushy sales assistants and I’ve actually got plenty of time to sample usually I get 10 mins before I’m dragged off somewhere else.

    Taking a pencil makes so much sense I sprayed 8 testers last time and got a few mixed up lucky I hated most and Creed Viking stood out a mile.

    I have an Amouage Interlude sample which I really like so may try more Amouage also I have some kilian samples but found after a few hours they don’t last on my skin. I really was interested in smoke for the soul but see marijuana note which really puts me off and I’m waiting for Le Labo Patchouli 24 sample to arrive any day. I can’t seem to get a sample in the uk of bergermust noir which is a shame. As you can tell I love smokey fragrances but maybe test some woody fragrances and some boozy. Jazz club is also one that sounds interesting on paper.

    I think my plan of attack is to list about 10 I want to sample, label the cards and then see if anything else piques my interest.
    See this thread, maybe it will be of some use:

    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/442...-in-Birmingham

    Sadly, the store doesn't stock Le Labo or By Killian, but has the whole selection of Amouage (minus their attars). Byredo is another one worth checking out, as is Diptyque (try to choose a candle - they are worth the money).

  17. #17

    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nastka View Post
    See this thread, maybe it will be of some use:

    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/442...-in-Birmingham

    Sadly, the store doesn't stock Le Labo or By Killian, but has the whole selection of Amouage (minus their attars). Byredo is another one worth checking out, as is Diptyque (try to choose a candle - they are worth the money).
    That post was really informative thanks, may swing by the John Lewis as well. Last time I went I didn’t get near the fragrance section.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    I find that these forums give me enough (my wallet would say 'too much' if it could speak...) inspiration for new things to try out.

  19. #19

    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    Quote Originally Posted by rum View Post
    I find that these forums give me enough (my wallet would say 'too much' if it could speak...) inspiration for new things to try out.
    +1

    Luckily I don't find myself at a loose end in town centres or railway stations (Birmingham New St, looking at you) very often, so most of my sampling is through online blind samples and blind buys - it appeals to the adventurer in me...

  20. #20

    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    Ok that was an afternoon well spent, thoroughly enjoyed myself and have crossed a lot off my list. Three fragrances really stood out for me. That will be my next three purchases.

    mancera - wave musk I have to have this my next purchase for sure I loved the fresh grass and lemon
    Tom Ford oud and wood- I can’t stop sniffing this (hated the extreme version)
    Nassomatto- Black Afgano (in two minds)

    Honourable mentions (I liked but won’t be purchasing any time soon)

    Creed - spice and wood
    Creed - Viking (liked a lot more then last week when I first sampled it)
    Parfums de marly- Akaster
    Bvlgari - Lazulia
    Byredo - 1996 ( amazing but the violet ruined it for me)
    Byredo - sunday (again amazing but lavender ruined it)
    Prada L’homme (nice but not me)
    Versace Dylan Bleu (again nice but not for me)

    What the hell, people where this? ( I know we’re all different but they were offensive to my nose)

    Creed - Bois Du Portugal (too much sandlewood and lavender)
    Mancera - Aoud cafe
    Roja - Elysium ( I was excited to smell this but this was way too sweet and smelled ‘designer’)
    Replica - by the fireplace ( smells of just toasted chestnuts) didn’t care for jazz club like I thought I would and there was one something like at the festival which was not good at all

    I was also going to blind buy Terre de Hermes I’m glad I didn’t based on my testing today also Tom Ford oud minerale was a weird one I liked it but it lead to me to try the Oud Wood which Liked better.

    I hope my le labo patchouli 24 sample comes tomorrow I’ve waited all week to try it
    Last edited by Smeligant; 15th November 2017 at 09:23 PM.

  21. #21

    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    Quote Originally Posted by rum View Post
    I find that these forums give me enough (my wallet would say 'too much' if it could speak...) inspiration for new things to try out.
    Yeah, it basically boils down to reading this forum and ordering or swapping samples of stuff that sounds interesting.

    I'll keep an eye on the new releases from brands I respect. That said, I've already sniffed most of what you're typically going to find at a fragrance counter. If I were newer and there was a ton of easily sniffable stuff waiting for me, I'd try to formulate a strategy as others have suggested.

    Quote Originally Posted by sjg3839 View Post
    As far as department stores, I just walk around and spray everything that I can on tester strips and label them.
    Agree, definitely label and keep the cards you spray - at least the ones that interest you enough to follow them through their evolution.
    Last edited by LiveJazz; 15th November 2017 at 09:13 PM.
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  22. #22

    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    I think I’ve narrowed it down to certain notes and typed of fragrances. I know I don’t tend to like florals deffinately not lavender and violets for sure. I like citrus but they have some depth to them. I really like woods but not too much sandlewood and I like Vetiver, spicy and smokey but not too strong incense. Oud is a bit hit and miss for me same for musks and patchouli. I hate gourmand and powdery fragrances as a general rule.

    So I guess woody-orientals?

  23. #23
    Super Member Kitty2Shoes's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    I live in a small town and dependent on Boots or the small local 'department store' to carry perfumes to try out. While others have suggested ordering sample sizes, I find that I need to take advantage of the bigger stores like the Selfridges in London. I do agree that you should take a pen and write on the perfume paper strips. I was able to try the majority of Chanel's Les Exclusifs range this way since Chanel has stamped down on sample sizes. I did the same with the Hermessence range - although I went to the counter tops near one of the Selfridges exit/entrances to do this - much easier than going to the Hermes section instead the jewelry hall. They also allowed me to try to my hearts content the Goutal perfumes and Heeley range too.

    The Ormonde Jayne floor reps were also amazing to talk to, but as they don't have a lot of foot traffic, I felt more pressured to buy (I didn't). I also got to try some of the harder to find Guerlain perfumes as well. I walked away with a LOT of samples from the counters, and even more after making a singular purchase.

    But like others have said, it's hard to make a solid buying decision even with paper strips. I wanted to buy Beige from Chanel, but the paper strip wasn't enough to convince me to throw down the money for it, and since I didn't have a small sample to spend time with, I decided to skip it.

  24. #24

    Default Re: How do you choose what to sample?

    Based on my readings, what I like, brands I like, curiosity.

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