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View Poll Results: I generally...

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  • Enjoy most of what I sample

    13 41.94%
  • Feel indifferent about what I sample

    11 35.48%
  • Dislike most of what I sample

    7 22.58%
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  1. #1
    The Devil in the Details
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    Question Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    This can apply to people who don't actually leave their thoughts in reviews, in addition to people who like reviewing/rating what they try.

    What I want to know is:

    Do you generally LIKE, DISLIKE, or feel INDIFFERENT about the fragrances you sample and WHY do you feel this way?

    For me personally, if I enjoy the wear it gets a thumbs up. Granted, I wish there were like/really like/love stratification because a thumbs up doesn't mean it wowed me, just that my reaction was positive and I want that to be clear. I need to feel truly indifferent or conflicted for a neutral rating, and a thumbs down means I did not enjoy the smell in any way.

    For sake of simplicity, you can use the thumbs/neutral/thumbs down format in your answer even if you don't review, or go into more detailed shades of like and dislike if you prefer, but in no uncertain terms I want to know how picky/discerning you are with fragrance, and what your criteria or standards for pass/fail are. I think it's fun for us to learn what drives our opinions, not just what those opinions are.

    Cheers!

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  2. #2
    Basenotes Institution Darjeeling's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    I find it hard to sample more than a few scents at a time, so I’m fairly picky with what I sample and tend to focus on scents that I think I’ll like, which means most of what I sample gets a thumbs up or neutral rating. If I had the time and inclination I’d sample more broadly just to educate myself, but I’m not quite into fragrances enough to force myself to that.
    1. No, never blind buy (I do, but do as I say, not as I do. I'm taking no responsibility for your fragrance gambling).
    2. Get them both. You're a Basenoter and you know you're going to end up purchasing them both eventually.
    3. Yes, it has been reformulated.
    4. Looking for a signature scent? You've come to the wrong place.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    Until very recently, I only sampled fragrances I thought I would like. I have a few outliers I stumbled upon through free samples. I once would have said I am neutral toward most fragrances, but these days I get more aggravated with the neutrals because there are so many of them. How many exciting adventures to transport me to a wonderland of blah blah blah fragrances are released for every one that is well done? And of the ones that are well done, how many will I like? How many will I love? It's starting to feel like 1 in 100.

    When the blah blah blah packages itself in a beautiful little bottle I'd love to set on dresser, I'm twice as likely to give it a thumbs down out of sheer annoyance. This is why I chose dislike most of what I sample.

    I want a fragrance that commands my attention and hits me on an emotional level--either soothing, warming, lifting, or energizing. It needs to last only four hours to satisfy me. A great long dry down is a plus, but one pays for these fabulous, lasting bases and too often I wash them down the drain--it feels wasted. I don't need a fragrance that urges me to shower less often.

    I want to put it on and feel pleasure, catch some whiff during the day and get a little buzz. A lovely bottle that feels nice in the hand, looks like a bit of art on display adds to pleasure--but so do many things. A simple decant from a friend, hand labeled, beats any bottle sold on earth.
    Last edited by Shycat; 5th December 2018 at 01:13 AM.
    A bull in a china shop doesn't take damage. She delivers it.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    I have sampled about 200 scents a year for the last 10 years.
    Out of that 2,000 there is about 100 I would want to wear a second time.
    Last edited by thebeck; 5th December 2018 at 08:32 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    I think it's probably accurate to say that I like many perfumes, and, it's probably a minority of them that I truly can't stand!
    Honestly, if I hated most perfume I probably wouldn't bother posting here! And, to be honest, I probably wouldn't buy or wear perfume, like, hardly ever (very much like my mom! lol) So, yeah, I don't think option three would have been accurate or correct (if I had picked it.) And option two is definitely not right because I feel that perfumes tend to be a very polarizing "love it or hate it!" type of thing! (For me anyway!)
    That said..although option one is probably the closest one to being the right answer for me (and it's the one I picked) I will say that perfumes that I truly can't stand pop up often enough (in my experience of testing them) that I'm still afraid of blind buys! Plus..sometimes ones that I can't even smell "properly" pop up as well. (Even if I don't actually hate them.)
    So, yes, I would say that in general I'm a person who likes, or at least appreciates perfume. But, I still feel (very strongly) that I want to test a sample of a fragrance before I decide if I want to buy it or not! Just saying!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    I sample what I think I will like; what has generally been accepted as a classic; what has gotten a lot of buzz - like the year Bogue's Maai came out; what contains a noticeable note I am trying to learn; what has been recommended, such as those in the guides or blogs.

    I want to stretch out and experiment a little sometimes, but generally my taste runs the gamut from "I like it" to "I don't like it".
    In my wardrobe 3 stars mean it's pleasant and likeable. I might recommend it to someone else but decide it is not for me. These are most of the samples I try. I guess I would consider that indifferent in the scheme of things because I already have a lot of juice, so I would really have to love it to get a bottle or decant. When people with large wardrobes say they have seven backups of one scent and five of another I wonder to myself, "Dude, how long do you plan on living? Or do you just bathe in the stuff?"

    à chacun son goût

    Sometimes I get interested in the offerings of a particular house. I try to get a feel for them. Basically, curiosity is the greatest motivator in my searches.
    How do you know what a French whorehouse smells like?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    Indifferent
    <div class="bnsotd"><b>Currently wearing:</b> <a href="ID26148387.html"><img src="http://www.basenotes.net/photos/products/33/26148387-7393.jpg"> Carven L'Eau Intense by Carven</a></div>

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    I'm going to say that I dislike most of what I sample, simply because I dislike the vast majority of scents, in general. I am ridiculously picky and could never have a large collection of fragrances since I can't stand 90% of what is produced.

    Those I enjoy, though, I genuinely LOVE.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    I sample a lot. I get a handful of samples but get A LOT from family, friends, and generous Basenotes members. I sample every single item that's gifted me. I do so even if I'm not interested in something sent, out of sheer respect for the friendly gesture shown to me. Because of others generous nature, I've tested many vintages and "unicorns".

    I don't know the actual percentage, but I'd say that most things I've sampled (over the last year and half especially) I've enjoyed. In contrast to what's been sent to me, many things that I've sampled in stores (and samples that I've ordered to test because of mentioning on here) I have not liked. But there's a few things at work here. Two of the biggest differences are: (a) people that know me end up sending me things to sample that they believe I would like. That's based on historical successes, things they've heard me state and what they know about my favorites in my collection. So the success will be up as it is thought out and focused. (b) when I order a sample or sample in store, it's moreso for research and not based on my personal likes. I want to know what a friend likes, try to understand what's hyped, and curious about new offerings from major houses and small artisans. Therefore, there is a LOT of strikeouts as far as what I like, but I still gain the experience and reference for things I hear and read others say.

    The last bit is this... I've got an appreciable collection. While certainly not remotely the largest, it's still over 200. Not everything that I "like" will be added to the collection. I may already have 1 or more fragrances that I like that cover the genre I'm sampling. For something to enter my collection now I must love it, or want it for some other reason. An example of that "reason" would be that I feel the fragrance has some historical significance. Or here's a better example: I've collected nearly all of the fragrances that were signature scents for the men of me and my wife's family. Those scents have deep sentimental value to me, and also offer a glimpse to my children of the style of those before them. Only a couple of those scents would make it into the "love" category if your were to take away their connection to an uncle or grandfather, etc.

    So... I like most samples sent to me, especially by Basenotes members that know me. But that many times doesn't translate into something I purchase. And most of the sampling that I initiate turns out to be either indifferent or not a like.

  10. #10
    The Devil in the Details
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    There's been a lot of really interesting answers and sound logic. I hope this continues.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    I like many kinds of fragrances and sampling selection is based on what I think would smell interesting. It's only logical I vote for 'like' even if it doesn't translate to a bottle purchase. Otherwise I'd have stopped sampling or spending money on samples a long time ago. LOVE, however, is a different category altogether.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    I like trying many different fragrances from many different houses to acquaint myself with houses I'm not very familiar with.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
    Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals on Basenotes don't warrant or deserve my or other Basenoters' acknowledgement or respect.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    I think my views on sampling boil down to this - in my youth I spent a huge amount of my paycheck picking blind buys and perfumes that smelled great on paper or at the counter and it sat there on my countertop unused because I ended up loathing what I purchased. I made some real stinker blind buys too.

    Samples cost money too, but I'd rather get more bang for my buck by sampling 20 or so perfumes than one singular big purchase. Out of those samples there are a few I've gone on to purchase in full size (Hermes, Chanel, Guerlain, Chloe) and some I just can't justify forking over $200 plus for a regular bottle such as Ormonde Jayne, F. Malle, and so on. I gotta REALLY love it to consider it worth more than groceries for my family. I can usually get 3 wears out of a sample vial and if I don't love it by the second wearing, I place it back in a box as a reference. Sometimes I'll pass on my samples for others to test out...it really varies.

    Also, since I don't live near a metropolitan area...Tysons Corner is 3 hours away for example, samples are my way to try perfumes that I can't find locally.
    Currently wearing: Musc Intense by Nicolaï

  14. #14
    The Devil in the Details
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Kitty2Shoes View Post
    I think my views on sampling boil down to this - in my youth I spent a huge amount of my paycheck picking blind buys and perfumes that smelled great on paper or at the counter and it sat there on my countertop unused because I ended up loathing what I purchased. I made some real stinker blind buys too.

    Samples cost money too, but I'd rather get more bang for my buck by sampling 20 or so perfumes than one singular big purchase. Out of those samples there are a few I've gone on to purchase in full size (Hermes, Chanel, Guerlain, Chloe) and some I just can't justify forking over $200 plus for a regular bottle such as Ormonde Jayne, F. Malle, and so on. I gotta REALLY love it to consider it worth more than groceries for my family. I can usually get 3 wears out of a sample vial and if I don't love it by the second wearing, I place it back in a box as a reference. Sometimes I'll pass on my samples for others to test out...it really varies.

    Also, since I don't live near a metropolitan area...Tysons Corner is 3 hours away for example, samples are my way to try perfumes that I can't find locally.
    I used to make trips to Tyson's Corner back when Tower Records was still a thing! That's cool!
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    So far I have liked most of my samples that I have bought, and neutral/disliked most I have gotten for free. I assume this is because I am buying things that are decent quality/ seem to fit my liking while the samples I get for free are what the companies are trying to peddle to me.
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    I am quite picky (although you wouldn't think so with as many fragrances as I have in my wardrobe). I really wasn't aware of how picky I am until I started sampling regularly. I have sampled several hundred fragrances over the years, and without question, I DISLIKE the majority of the ones I sample. It's really not even close.

    I remember ordering 22 samples on one occasion, and of the 22, I really only "liked" 5 of them. And of those 5, I wound up buying only 2 of them. So I only bought 9% of the ones I sampled, and only liked 23% of them.

    That suggests that I'm wasting a lot of money on samples, but I don't look at it that way. Imagine how unhappy I would have been if I had blind bought a lot of those. So I actually look at sampling as how much it saves me.

    Plus, even though I don't care for most of what I sample, I find it immensely satisfying because I'm still getting to smell the fragrances and I have a point of reference when I read the thoughts of others here on Basenotes.
    Basenotes sales: Tiffany for Men Concen, de Bachmakov, Atelier Vetiver Fatal, Tiffany for Men mini, 17 Cuba Paris frags, L'Essence de Cerruti, Reyane Insurrection, numerous popular SAMPLES! http://www.basenotes.net/threads/419...ples-amp-More!

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  17. #17

    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    On an average, neutral to favorable about the vast majority of the fragrances personally tested-most of them being decent and fewer truly outstanding from the first testing
    Currently wearing: 1881 pour Homme by Cerruti

  18. #18

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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    l really enjoy sampling for it's own sake, & not necessarily as part of a quest for something l'll love. That said, l tend to only buy samples of fragrances l like the sound of. lf l get sent something for free l'll always try it & review it though, even if l dislike it.

    Without actually counting them up, l'd say l like about half of the fragrances l try, dislike around a quarter, & the rest are somewhere in the neutral zone.

    For a fragrance to get five stars from me, it has to tick all the boxes of amazing smell, projection & longevity, & produce a positive emotional reaction.
    Four stars means that although l may love the smell, it may lack somewhat in performance.
    Three stars means l like it & would wear it, but don't love it enough to make a purchase, or it may be work-appropriate but not something l'd wear for myself.
    Two stars means l have some respect for its composition or historical significance, but it doesn't work for me.
    One star means l thoroughly dislike it.
    l do have one fragrance on my "tried" list with no stars at all, because it was so extremely vile!
    "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.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by RedRaider430 View Post
    I am quite picky (although you wouldn't think so with as many fragrances as I have in my wardrobe). I really wasn't aware of how picky I am until I started sampling regularly. I have sampled several hundred fragrances over the years, and without question, I DISLIKE the majority of the ones I sample. It's really not even close.

    I remember ordering 22 samples on one occasion, and of the 22, I really only "liked" 5 of them. And of those 5, I wound up buying only 2 of them. So I only bought 9% of the ones I sampled, and only liked 23% of them.

    That suggests that I'm wasting a lot of money on samples, but I don't look at it that way. Imagine how unhappy I would have been if I had blind bought a lot of those. So I actually look at sampling as how much it saves me.

    Plus, even though I don't care for most of what I sample, I find it immensely satisfying because I'm still getting to smell the fragrances and I have a point of reference when I read the thoughts of others here on Basenotes.
    +1 on everything you say here.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    Sampling as a diversion is a thumbs up. It's nice to smell different fragrances.

    If I get a bunch of samples at the department store, I only like some of them. If I get a bunch of samples from Epapsiou, I like all of them.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bavard View Post
    Sampling as a diversion is a thumbs up. It's nice to smell different fragrances.

    If I get a bunch of samples at the department store, I only like some of them. If I get a bunch of samples from Epapsiou, I like all of them.
    I need to start getting all my samples from Epapsiou.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    This is a hard question for me to answer. I'd say I "like" most things I sample in that I find something to appreciate, and I end up glad I sampled it. The "like" can be appreciation for some artistic aspect of the composition or appreciation for the materials, even if it's something I don't enjoy at a gut level for myself. You could say I like the act of sampling, and that maybe colors my perception of the question.

    Also, as others have said, I only really sample things that I'm genuinely curious about...i.e. I think I'll like them or find them interesting, or they represent a genre I'm looking to explore.

    If I include all the generic low-mid designer bandwagon crap I smell in passing and disregard immediately, then yeah, the ratio would be low. But I don't consider that to be "sampling".

    All that said, the number of properly sampled scents I like enough to buy a bottle of is exceptionally low, if that says anything. There are lots of things I'd give a middling thumbs up to for various reasons, but don't love.
    "It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing; it's what you're doing when you're doing what you look like you're doing."

  23. #23

    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    My working definitions of a "like" "neutral" and "dislike" have changed somewhat, but at the moment, a "like" is given to a sample that falls in the range of I enjoy using up this sample but will not invest in a decant or bottle to I wouldn't say no to a decant to this is the best thing ever and I need a full bottle now. I'd like to separate my likes from my loves, but I guess I can use the star system for that. I give "neutral" ratings to fragrances I enjoy wearing but don't feel like wearing multiple times, often because I feel like they don't suit me. Basically, I appreciate the scent, but don't want to wear it. "Dislikes" are reserved for fragrances I do not enjoy wearing, or that I absolutely hate.

    There is a definite sampling bias (pun firmly intended) going on in my sampling. Quests and sample passes aside, I tend to only sample stuff I'm interested in and I usually do my research before ordering samples. This skews the results to neutrals and positives, as I've become quite good at predicting what I will like and basenoters provide excellent recommendations. A notable exception was the sample set of the Francesca Bianchi line, which I absolutely expected to love based on the discussions here but Sex and the Sea was one of the worst experiences I've had so far.

    I think the sample sharing and recommendations are the best parts of basenotes; some of my best discoveries have come from other basenoters sending me thoughtful samples, and I love it when I send someone a sample that they end up loving.

  24. #24
    The Devil in the Details
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    I definitely get from a lot of you that targeted sampling skews some Basenoters towards liking over indifference or disliking, because researching a fragrance before going in to test helps avoid bad experiences. Likewise, mentioning that samples from friends who know our tastes also yielding more positive results makes a lot of sense.

    It seems few of us are adventurous (also read: crazy) enough to sample willy-nilly and see where the fragrant winds blow, because that's like a crap shoot with your nose and associated sensibilities being made into a punching bag when you lose the gamble. Whether a mostly positive ray of sunshine sampler, edgy cool kid who's indifferent about everything, or grumpy granny that hates everything but your favorite bottles, I appreciate all your answers.
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  25. #25

    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    Counting only stuff that I've ordered online, it seems to be more of a waste than anything. In the past year I've found only 3 scents that are full bottle worthy (1 down 2 to go). Otherwise, everything that I have I first smelled in person. In store, I'll spray everything new, or if I'm new to the store then only the scents with the most buzz or gaps in my experience. I just don't care for most scents. It feels like I'm going through the motions. Testing fragrance is one of the few instances where I throw logic out the window. If I'm not feeling something, I don't try to rationalize why I should. I do, however, rationalize against price and price creep.

    If anything, I've been too successful with testing. Like Seinfeld, I want to go out on a high note with this hobby. And just the way I see it: testing=in store / sampling=at home.
    Currently wearing: Jaïpur Homme by Boucheron

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    I chose indifferent as it's closer to how I feel about sampling. Most, of what I sample I give three stars / a thumb's up. I like them for what they are. I don't love them. I wouldn't buy a decant or full bottle, unless I already blind bought as such.

    After trying so many perfumes after all these years, I suppose I have become rather picky in what I would determine full bottle worthy. I believe I finally now know what I like. I don't believe there are too many more "surprises" out there for me.

    That stated, the exception would be Slumberhouse. And of course, I have discovered their scents too late, to be able to obtain any bottles of those I love. I certainly don't love ANY of them enough to pay the exorbitant prices I see for them, when I find them.

    I will continue exploring the piles of samples I still haven't yet touched while I still have the leisure time available. After all - sampling is a fun pastime especially since the majority of vials I have didn't cost me much or nothing at all.
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Zealot Crusader View Post
    I definitely get from a lot of you that targeted sampling skews some Basenoters towards liking over indifference or disliking, because researching a fragrance before going in to test helps avoid bad experiences. Likewise, mentioning that samples from friends who know our tastes also yielding more positive results makes a lot of sense.

    It seems few of us are adventurous (also read: crazy) enough to sample willy-nilly and see where the fragrant winds blow, because that's like a crap shoot with your nose and associated sensibilities being made into a punching bag when you lose the gamble. Whether a mostly positive ray of sunshine sampler, edgy cool kid who's indifferent about everything, or grumpy granny that hates everything but your favorite bottles, I appreciate all your answers.
    Well, I should've also added to my original post that when I'm searching for something I like I end up doing research before sampling and end up liking the majority of those. Becoming a full bottle still needs to blow me away. But most of my self induced sampling is for "research" instead of searching for another edition to the family. Sometimes I will even sample something multiple times to see if my perception changes or a new formulation is more appealing, like DHI. No matter how many times I smell it, every iteration is heavy enough on the iris to smell like makeup and I don't want that to be my primary smell. I do get the quality. But I don't get the hype among men, and I won't buy it. On the flip side, I don't begrudge anyone else for loving and it gives me incite to their tastes. But people close to me know that I don't like it, so that's not the type of fragrance they would send me to sample. So in line with your observation, yes, their targeted efforts towards directing a "like" to me has historically yielded a high percentage.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    I'm always happy to try something new for the sake of trying new, even though it's not what I hoped for or expected! Taking that into consideration, I'm mostly happy

  29. #29

    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    I give thumbs up generally for two reasons: 1) I personally enjoy the experience 2) Although I don’t enjoy it personally, the fragrance is well made and exhibits quality (rose fragrances and powerhouses, for example, often fall here).

    Neutral: this is for frags I’d rate a 6.5/10 or lower. Neutral means 1 of 2 things: 1) It bores me, or 2) It has some good parts but also some bad parts that bring it down

    Thumbs down: It’s either 100% derivative and generic, or it’s a mess of a composition
    Current Top Ten: 1) Spice & Wood 2) Royal Oud 3) Invasion Barbare 4) Cedrat Boise 5) Dior Homme 6) Terre d'Hermes Parfum 7) Egoiste 8) Tabac Rouge 9) Green Irish Tweed 10) Baccarat Rouge

  30. #30

    Default Re: Thumbs Up, Neutral, or Thumbs Down? Your Overall Success with Testing

    I still find pretty much everything I test/sample interesting - even if that's only to decide that something is boring/generic/poorly made.
    Whether or not I like it is another matter. And from there to a FB is even further.
    December Rotation : Penhaligon's Elixir; Caron Yatagan; Etro Vetiver, Ambra, Gomma, Heliotrope; CdG Avignon, Zagorsk; Robert Piguet Casbah; Lalique Encre Noire; Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme; Jacomo de Jacomo, Boucheron Jaipur
    Sampling : Lutens Fille En Aiguilles......




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