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    Default Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Hello Basenoters,

    I am quite new to the world of fragrances but I am very excited to learn more about it! Perusing this website over the last month has piqued my interest and I am considering growing a collection. What should I know before I delve deep into this hobby? Is it even worth doing so? Any general advice about this hobby is appreciated. Here is what I currently have in my wardrobe (all bottles):

    Tom Ford Extreme
    Tuscan Leather
    Pasha de Cartier Edition Noire Sport
    Acqua Di Gio


    I want to diversify my (very small) collection, but I'm not sure where to start. What approach should I take? Should I try to acquire a scent for every category/occasion? Should I go for decants or bottles (I like the way bottles look in a collection, albeit expensive)? What fragrances should I try? I prefer rich, unique scents over generic ones. Tuscan Leather is my personal favorite so far. Suggestions can be in any price point. Any advice for a newb is appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Prince View Post
    Is it even worth doing so?
    People can get a kind of mild buying addiction (maybe partly from fear of missing out) that can keep them from appreciating what they have as much as they optimally might, but it's easy enough to avoid if you're aware it can happen, and other than that, it is unquestionably a good idea to dive into perfume in a big way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Prince View Post
    Any general advice about this hobby is appreciated.
    Proceed cautiously. I hate the feeling of having a full bottle that I don't want to use. I should sample more before I go for bottles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Prince View Post
    Should I try to acquire a scent for every category/occasion?
    I rarely think of fragrances for certain occasions. I like fragrances that are so good, I could gladly wear them everyday for the rest of my life. I try to stock up on those.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    I very much enjoyed Tuscan Leather when I first learned about the world of cologne.

    Here is my advice: do not go into this thinking it is a hobby. Buying *things* is not a hobby, most of the time. An argument may be made for collectors of rare items; 99% of perfumes are not this. What I did, and what I would do if I were you is this: Go to stores, get to know the people selling the perfume, and try everything you can. This is free enjoyment. You are going to find your tastes change; a lot. It is akin to buying clothing, it is not until you have spent much time getting to knowing yourself that you know your style. So if you wish to save money, learn what your style is for free with samples you obtain free from stores. When it comes to buying bottles, buy the damn bottles. Decants are the worst thing to buy, because while you may save money upfront, unless the decant is has a nice presentation they are so difficult to get rid of. Bottles on the other hand if you are patient on eBay and discounters, then you can sell them nearly right away and perhaps even make a profit. Since I have joined this site I have bought lots of bottle, but a few good deals and fortunate flips means I have most likely either broken even or made a small amount of profit, and I have also found my style. The same cannot and will not be said by those who blow $1000 in a few months of designers and fragrances that are not highly sought after; done simply because they wanted to have more *things* in order of fill a void in their life.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    I've started with bottles, and it was mistake. Start with decants\samples for sure, to learn more about fragrance, figure out what you like more and how and when to use them. Train you nose. Bottles will not escape you. To understand the fragrance you need to wear it multiple times or even dozen. The amount of samples/decant you can get for price of a bottle will give a nice journey for a month or even more.

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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Prince View Post
    Any general advice about this hobby is appreciated.
    Do NOT blind buy. At least not before you've found your style and favorite houses that you have confidence in.
    Try to explore niche world. For me almost all designers are boring, have cheap synthetic smell and are low quality.
    I'd also add - buy samples\small decants like 2-5ml for those fragrances you are very interested but can't find in stores near you.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Sample, Sample and sample again. This will save you a lot a money my friend.
    <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>

  7. #7

    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    I would agree that blind-buying is a bad strategy, though I still do it (with mixed results).

    As far as advice goes, I'd say try to acquaint yourself with the classic fragrances so you can get a sense of the arc of fragrance evolution and give yourself some clear reference points by which you can chart your own course.
    The Brooks Otterlake Swap List

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    Aramis Havana, Aramis Tobacco Reserve, Dior Eau Sauvage EDT, Guerlain Héritage EDT, Lalique Pour Homme Lion EDP, Michael Kors Michael for Men (Vtg), Odori Tabacco, Remy Latour Cigar, Tom Ford Noir Anthracite, Tom Ford Ombré Leather

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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Welcome!

    My suggestion is as others said. Sample a lot first, so you'll learn what you like a lot and what you like less. There are so many perfumes around that it makes no sense to buy something that one finds ok but doesn't love.

    cacio

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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Prince View Post
    Should I go for decants or bottles (I like the way bottles look in a collection, albeit expensive)?
    Welcome to you Mr. prince! Enjoy your time here at Basenotes! If you like the way bottles look, then definitely go with bottles but pace yourself.
    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.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    You will probably put less pressure on yourself, and be happier in the bargain, if you don't think in terms of "growing a collection" - my advice would be to buy fragrances that speak to you and that you truly like to wear (or just sniff). Such a labor of love will develop organically into a collection you are not only proud of, but genuinely enjoy.

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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    +1 Bonnette, who seems to have plucked the thoughts directly from my mind.

    Agree with much of what was stated here. Get to know yourself. In order to do so, you must sample and sample, and when in doubt, sample again! In time, you will not only grow familiar with the direction your nose wants to take you, but you will become well acquainted with the temperament of your skin.

    I do believe that having some familiarity with the classics helps, but things are so changed now, that I’m not sure I’d start with the classics anymore. (Excited I got my 2 vintages today!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOooAaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! )
    “You are the bait. The bait is you.” ~Trick or Treat (1986)
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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Check other members wardrobes to get an idea of what our collections look like, and then go testing.
    Currently wearing: Erolfa by Creed

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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    I'll echo what has already been said. Don't blind buy something because someone here (or anywhere else) said it's great. Always try to sample first, there's almost always a way to do this. Also the sales and splits forums are both excellent ways to get in on some good deals. And get yourself some Amouage samples; my recommends are Memoir, Jubilation XXV, Reflection, Interlude, and Bracken.
    "I drank what?" -Socrates

  14. #14

    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    It's a good idea to sample all of the scents that you see in "most reviewed," or the award winners over the years. Those lists shouldn't be dogma, but rather, they should give you a basic understanding of the different fragrance styles, common notes, trends over the years, etc.

    But as always find what you like, and enjoy it regardless of others' opinions.
    Currently wearing: Vetiver by Guerlain

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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    I think I would recommend somebody start by purchasing some cheap bottles. You could have a complete wardrobe with alternating styles for under 200 dollars.

    This link is helpful: http://www.basenotes.net/threads/462...or-200-Or-Less

    Ideally, it would only be like 5 of these, at 120-130 dollars. Understand though, that you will not like all of the ones you purchase, or will tire of them, or regret the purchase. Still, I think this will, with minimum monetary input, get you started to understanding what you like. From there, you will have a launching point for your sampling. I would cease to blind buy, and instead do many samples and decants of no more than 5ml. Your tastes will develop and you will find your way to full bottle purchases again.
    It’s tragic to think that heroic man’s great destiny is to become economic man, that men will be reduced to craven creatures who crawl across the globe competing for money, who spend their nights dreaming up new ways to swindle each other.

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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Sample and build a nice wardrobe with versatile and daring fragrances you enjoy and can use in different settings seasons etc. I’ve been doing this for 3-4 years I have bought and sold off my fair share of stuff, current wardrobe is full of stuff I enjoy no longer a numbers thing for me.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Seconding the opinion of getting as many samplings as possible, using all free or affordable testing possibilities and buying blind as rarely as possible.

    Among the richer scent recommendations also adding to a (re) testing list especially: Jaipur Homme EDP, Aramis Havana, LIDGE by Guerlain, Pure Malt and Pure Tonka, possibly also Pure Havane by Mugler, l'Envol by Cartier but also various Declaration flankers by the same house.

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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Thank you everyone for the advice! Given my current collection, can I have some more recommendations for some specific fragrances to sample? What are some of the most popular ones around the community?

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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Quote Originally Posted by notspendingamillion View Post
    I think I would recommend somebody start by purchasing some cheap bottles. You could have a complete wardrobe with alternating styles for under 200 dollars.

    This link is helpful: http://www.basenotes.net/threads/462...or-200-Or-Less

    Ideally, it would only be like 5 of these, at 120-130 dollars. Understand though, that you will not like all of the ones you purchase, or will tire of them, or regret the purchase. Still, I think this will, with minimum monetary input, get you started to understanding what you like. From there, you will have a launching point for your sampling. I would cease to blind buy, and instead do many samples and decants of no more than 5ml. Your tastes will develop and you will find your way to full bottle purchases again.
    +1! That sticky thread is a true service to all, well written and researched, with sound advice.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Prince View Post
    Thank you everyone for the advice! Given my current collection, can I have some more recommendations for some specific fragrances to sample? What are some of the most popular ones around the community?
    Bleu De Chanel Parfum is one I would suggest as well as Burberry London.
    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.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Quote Originally Posted by CutSmut View Post
    done simply because they wanted to have more *things* in order of fill a void in their life.
    Great point. I'm new to the hobby, but not buying fragrances. The Hobby can turn into a fever to possess the rare, the perfect, the most with the hollowness of addiction if it isn't treated as a life enhancement such as exploring other arts, and the interwebs just enables this. YouTube monetizers can be esp. gross.

    Decants have been my window into vintage frags, however. The first whiff of an original, old scent can be a revelation and a good comparison for a current reformulated version.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Remember that everyone says "don't blind-buy" but everyone blind-buys

  23. #23

    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Quote Originally Posted by sjg3839 View Post
    Sample, Sample and sample again. This will save you a lot a money my friend.
    Absolutely... Sound advice
    I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.

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    Currently wearing: Lyric Man by Amouage

  24. #24

    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shlorpy View Post
    Remember that everyone says "don't blind-buy" but everyone blind-buys
    Yeah, don't blind-buy!



    I did a blind-buy this morning :/
    Currently wearing: H.M. by Hanae Mori

  25. #25
    Super Member Danny Mitchell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Yeah, blind buying just leads to a collection of bottles you don't like and don't want.
    Make a list of stuff you want and stick to it. Bottles that you know you will wear on a regular basis.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny Mitchell View Post
    Yeah, blind buying just leads to a collection of bottles you don't like and don't want.
    Hmm. I'd never blind-buy anything that was priced over $50.

    But in that lower tier, a good number of my blind-buys have been *very* successful and have become firm favorites. Over the course of my interest in fragrances, I've only outright disliked one of my blind-buys, but even that one I kinda came around on. Most blind-buys ended up being nice occasional wears but were also things I'd be okay swapping out for something new, but they did help expand my palate.
    The Brooks Otterlake Swap List

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  27. #27
    Super Member Danny Mitchell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Quote Originally Posted by Brooks Otterlake View Post
    Hmm. I'd never blind-buy anything that was priced over $50.

    But in that lower tier, a good number of my blind-buys have been *very* successful and have become firm favorites. Over the course of my interest in fragrances, I've only outright disliked one of my blind-buys, but even that one I kinda came around on. Most blind-buys ended up being nice occasional wears but were also things I'd be okay swapping out for something new, but they did help expand my palate.
    That's good. And that does happen to me as well. I don't mean in absolute terms, just more of a general rule. It goes both ways but the discounter selection, in my area, is boring and stale.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny Mitchell View Post
    It goes both ways but the discounter selection, in my area, is boring and stale.
    Same here, which is why most of my blind-buys have been done through online purchases after a good bit of research.

    Anyway, blind-buying is always risky, and I don't *encourage* others to do it because it is a risk, especially if you're just buying stuff to buy stuff. But I have had a generally positive experience doing it.
    The Brooks Otterlake Swap List

    Current Favorites
    Aramis Havana, Aramis Tobacco Reserve, Dior Eau Sauvage EDT, Guerlain Héritage EDT, Lalique Pour Homme Lion EDP, Michael Kors Michael for Men (Vtg), Odori Tabacco, Remy Latour Cigar, Tom Ford Noir Anthracite, Tom Ford Ombré Leather

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    But, blind buying is just so tempting! I must say, I'm satisfied so far with Guerlain Vetiver, a blind buy from Amazon. Good price though.

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    Default Re: Advice on Starting a Collection (Beginner)

    Sampling has definitely worked out for me. If you immerse yourself in the hobby like many of us, you will probably become a bit overwhelmed at some point, but don’t be discouraged, you will find gems!

    Some suggestions....

    Houses: many of these have multiple rich, bold, unique offerings

    Amouage
    Comme des Garcons
    Roja Dove
    Creed
    Bond
    Penhaligons
    Tom Ford
    Slumberhouse

    Other specific frags:

    Shihan
    Clive Christian V, or X
    John Varvatos Vintage
    Frank no. 2 Los Angeles
    PdM Nisean
    Sauf Plein Jeu
    Tauer LDDM




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