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  1. #1

    Default New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    Hi to everyone here! I'm new to sampling and buying fragrances as a hobby, maybe it's because I've reached my mid 30's and started to care more about grooming. I also look at fragrance sampling like it's a hobby akin to something like wine tasting. There's an art to it all.

    Anyway I've been reading this forum and the reviews here nonstop the past few weeks, and I've certainly been overwhelmed by everything... but that's somewhat part of the fun. So I believe this would be the best place to ask this question than simply just doing a google search; could you recommend me a good place to buy genuine samples of both niche and classic fragrances that is UK based? I love trying samples, I sometimes try a new one every day, and I'll be honest I'm very cautious of buying full bottles until I find something I really like, being on a budget and all.

    I bought some genuine 2ml Tom Ford samples in a auction and I've really liked a few of them. I would like to get hold of some 5-10ml samples of his, but also Hermes, Acqua di Parma and Lutens.

    I've browsed a lot of ebay I'm finding it awfully difficult to tell which are legit samples and which are fake. There's a lot of fake perfumes about on there it seems. Already been burned by fake Chanel. Can anyone suggest any trusted vendors on there or any other sites, please? I'd really appreciate it. Many thanks!
    Currently wearing: Cool Water by Davidoff

  2. #2
    Common Lackey

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    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    You might start by browsing the Marketplace threads here on Basenotes. You'll find several UK and International sellers offering splits of fragrances, which are often available in sizes at small as 5 or 10mls.

    https://www.basenotes.net/forums/142...e-Splits-Board

    I'm in the U.S., but I've had several UK friends send me samples from Les Senteurs in London. I know they have many sampling programs, including themed batches.

    https://www.lessenteurs.com/pages/samples

    I'm sure other UK Basenoters can tell you about other sampling services available to you from European locations, too.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    Welcome to basenotes, Sneaky! You are wise to sample as much as possible before buying bottles.

    l second the recommendation for Les Senteurs, & l'll add Roullier White & Bloom Perfumery.
    "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.

  4. #4

    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    I am also new to fragrances and based in UK. I have bought samples from fragrancesamplesuk.com and also notino.co.uk.

  5. #5

    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    Thank you for the replies so far. That's a couple of sites to bookmark and I will check out the Splits board. And thank you for the welcome.

    I wish Ebay was more reliable! I think I'm quite spoiled as I managed to buy a collection of 14 Tom Ford samples, all 2ml including a 5ml of Italian Cypress, from a legit trusted seller there all for under £45 all together in an auction. And also 5 Maison Margiela samples split off from those discovery boxsets the house does. But since then I swear every vendor I look into either seems to be new and IDK whether to trust them or not, or has pricing way too cheap to be legit, or worse still, I will bookmark them with the idea of buying some samples, only then to return to their store page to find everything has been removed, a couple of times even the seller.

    There's so much fake stuff on there. Just today I'm seeing 33ml bottles from Tom Ford, Chanel, Dior, all clearly fake (I've bought one before lol) by sellers with good ratings. And then I read the reviews to see most buyers were pleased and none the wiser.

    I always heard YSL's Opium had three times as many fake bottles out in the wild than legit bottles, and that most people didn't know what the legit fragrance smelled like; I now believe that is likely true.

    Quote Originally Posted by Westwardbound View Post
    I am also new to fragrances and based in UK. I have bought samples from fragrancesamplesuk.com
    Hi, that is the website I was going to ask about, its the one that shows up the most when I search on google. It stocks 5ml to 10ml splits which is what I'm looking for. How was your experience with them?
    Currently wearing: Cool Water by Davidoff

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    Quote Originally Posted by Westwardbound View Post
    I am also new to fragrances and based in UK. I have bought samples from fragrancesamplesuk.com and also notino.co.uk.
    I can wholeheartedly recommend both these sites as well. There's also Scent Samples UK and Perfumista. I have used all and have had no issues with any of them.

  7. #7

    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    Hi SneakyDeaky - Welcome to the crazy world of Basenotes!

    I too can recommend Notino (in general as well as for samples) and have never had a bad experience with them. They carry 2ml samples of the majority of their stock.

    fragrancesamplesuk.com are excellent too and very good to deal with. Their samples are well packaged and presented and they often slip in extras if you spend a few quid with them. I recently purchased 5 x 2ml samples and they threw in a generous sample of Creed Royal Mayfair. I've often bought a larger sample too (10ml) after trying the smaller ones as with many fragrances (Amouage, Xerjoff, Rogue Perfumery, Nasomatto etc) 10mls will last a long time and as you collect more fragrances you'll probably wear each one less often.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    Quote Originally Posted by Derbyman View Post
    10mls will last a long time and as you collect more fragrances you'll probably wear each one less often.
    Sound advice and I think well worth highlighting.

  9. #9

    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    Many thanks for the replies and welcomes! I'm really glad the three main sites I looked at while searching, Notino, fragrancesamplesuk.com and Perfumista are recommended here. With all the sites listed I have a lot of choice whether to go for small samples or 5ml-10ml decants.

    Quote Originally Posted by rum View Post
    Sound advice and I think well worth highlighting.
    That is what I've been thinking, that I might actually enjoy having a case full of small 5ml samples that I can try whenever I feel like it, rather than running out and buying full bottles sight unseen. There are some good deals out there though, I've ordered a full bottle of Guerlains Vetiver as I wanted to get in a classic at a good price.

    I stopped wearing fragrances for years and got into the habit of wearing nice deodorants but I got sick of them during lockdown.

    I wanted some of the classics I wore as a teen but Cool Water is just not the same as what my mother always bought me when I was 12/13, it seems to have been butchered

    I used to wear Kouros a lot in my late teens, I hope that hasn't changed dramatically as well...
    Currently wearing: Cool Water by Davidoff

  10. #10

    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    Quote Originally Posted by SneakyDeaky View Post
    Many thanks for the replies and welcomes! I'm really glad the three main sites I looked at while searching, Notino, fragrancesamplesuk.com and Perfumista are recommended here. With all the sites listed I have a lot of choice whether to go for small samples or 5ml-10ml decants.

    That is what I've been thinking, that I might actually enjoy having a case full of small 5ml samples that I can try whenever I feel like it, rather than running out and buying full bottles sight unseen. There are some good deals out there though, I've ordered a full bottle of Guerlains Vetiver as I wanted to get in a classic at a good price.
    I've got into buying 5 & 10ml samples/decants for the same reason - I like the choice it presents whilst not adding to my already unwieldy collection of full bottles. My 10ml decant of Amouage Interlude Man will last me if I live until 167 as one spray is too much!!

    Another tip if you are buying lots of small samples and decants is invest in some PTFE (Plumbers) thread seal tape (£2.00ish) and/or Parafilm laboratory sealing tape (£4.00ish)

    The small atomisers, especially the glass ones, never seem to tighten and seal properly and if you use this stuff it will considerably slow down any evaporation.





    Quote Originally Posted by rum View Post
    Sound advice and I think well worth highlighting.
    And cheers rum!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    Hi, another one who has used perfumista and frgrancesamplesuk, would recommend both!

  12. #12

    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    Hi Sneaky, welcome on board and hope you're enjoying the sampling! I properly got into this hobby a couple of years ago and absolutely love it.

    Can't add any more to the recommendations that people have already made for UK decant suppliers.

    On the eBay thing, I've noticed a flood of those obviously fake 33ml bottles you mentioned. I can't believe anyone would actually buy them expecting them to be real.

    I have used eBay for quite a few decants and haven't had any issues to date. What I do tend to find is that those sellers that sell slightly cheaper fragrances as decants tend to be really good and on top of the customer service a bit more. I tend to use the sites mentioned above for the more expensive/niche stuff and then eBay for decants of more designer/cheaper stuff.

    If it helps, the sellers I've found best to deal with on there for those sort of scents have been - d_sonofwil; wuppatail; scent007; smith-trading and tiesanddecants.

    I'm getting into my vintages at the minute so enjoying hunting out some miniatures on eBay - there seem to be more sellers with 1000+ ratings in that field.

    Enjoy anyway man!

  13. #13

    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    Sorry, I should also have mentioned, as well as rum's good advice on the tape, I also read somewhere about buying ammo boxes for your samples and decants. I've done this and they have been a godsend - previously I just had them all shoved in drawers.

    If you look on Amazon, I got a couple of MTM large diameter box that holds 20 larger decants and an MTM Casegard deluxe Large that holds 50 smaller samples. They're pretty cheap and keep everything together nicely

  14. #14
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    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    Welcome to the obsession! All great suggestions above and I would also shout out to just going to the individual fragrance houses themselves, especially the small ones as they often do their own samples inexpensively. Some also do quite small bottles - 4160 Tuesdays for example does all theirs in 15ml options, which I wish more houses did.
    My summer rotation:
    Tropica by Maya Nije
    Via Camerelle by Carthusia
    Fathom V by Beaufort
    Chameleon by Zoologist
    Timbuktu by L'Artisam Parfumeur
    Le Chypre du Nil by Ciro
    Moth by Zoologist

  15. #15

    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    Ah, more replies! Thanks to everyone. I haven't figured out how to multi=quote in a post yet so forgive the back to back replies here, please

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazzle77 View Post
    Hi Sneaky, welcome on board and hope you're enjoying the sampling! I properly got into this hobby a couple of years ago and absolutely love it.

    I have used eBay for quite a few decants and haven't had any issues to date. What I do tend to find is that those sellers that sell slightly cheaper fragrances as decants tend to be really good and on top of the customer service a bit more. I tend to use the sites mentioned above for the more expensive/niche stuff and then eBay for decants of more designer/cheaper stuff.

    If it helps, the sellers I've found best to deal with on there for those sort of scents have been - d_sonofwil; wuppatail; scent007; smith-trading and tiesanddecants.
    I really appreciate your list of Ebay sellers, as Ebay has been kind of my go to place for years and years now and I've never had a problem with legit goods... until I started looking at fragrances lol. I just bought a 5ml of Club de Nuit Intense Man from wuppatail and he sent me a msg and to update me on the order within minutes, so that's a good start! Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derbyman View Post
    Another tip if you are buying lots of small samples and decants is invest in some PTFE (Plumbers) thread seal tape (£2.00ish) and/or Parafilm laboratory sealing tape (£4.00ish)

    The small atomisers, especially the glass ones, never seem to tighten and seal properly and if you use this stuff it will considerably slow down any evaporation.
    That's a good cool. I will get some of that tape, it's pretty inexpensive. regarding ammo boxes; I have been thinking of how to store the samples the last few nights too, as I have about 30 odd now, but I never thought of ammo boxes! Though I think I saw them once on reddit used for decants.

    I thought of these lipstick trays first.


    I like the look of this one though not sure which size vials it would take


    There's also these 12 gauge cases that might work for thicker vials


    I know NOTHING about ammo though, so IDK the correct sizes yet, but I'll be sticking to 2-5ml vials for now.
    Currently wearing: Cool Water by Davidoff

  16. #16

    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    I think I figured out multi-quoting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derbyman View Post
    I've got into buying 5 & 10ml samples/decants for the same reason - I like the choice it presents whilst not adding to my already unwieldy collection of full bottles. My 10ml decant of Amouage Interlude Man will last me if I live until 167 as one spray is too much!!

    Another tip if you are buying lots of small samples and decants is invest in some PTFE (Plumbers) thread seal tape (£2.00ish) and/or Parafilm laboratory sealing tape (£4.00ish)

    The small atomisers, especially the glass ones, never seem to tighten and seal properly and if you use this stuff it will considerably slow down any evaporation.







    And cheers rum!
    That's a good call. I will get some of that tape, it's pretty inexpensive. If I'm going to buy larger sized samples like 10ml I could see that being an essential.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazzle77 View Post
    Sorry, I should also have mentioned, as well as rum's good advice on the tape, I also read somewhere about buying ammo boxes for your samples and decants. I've done this and they have been a godsend - previously I just had them all shoved in drawers.

    If you look on Amazon, I got a couple of MTM large diameter box that holds 20 larger decants and an MTM Casegard deluxe Large that holds 50 smaller samples. They're pretty cheap and keep everything together nicely
    regarding ammo boxes; I have been thinking of how to store the samples the last few nights too, as I have about 30 odd now, but I never thought of ammo boxes! Though I think I saw them once on reddit used for decants.

    I thought of these lipstick trays first.


    I like the look of this one though not sure which size vials it would take


    There's also these 12 gauge cases that might work for thicker vials


    I know NOTHING about ammo though, so IDK the correct sizes yet, but I'll be sticking to 2-5ml vials for now.
    Currently wearing: Cool Water by Davidoff

  17. #17

    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    Ha, I actually went into a gun and ammo shop for the first time in my life to have a look at some - the bloke behind the counter w as open mouthed when I whipped out a decant to see if it fit!

    Anyway, this is the one I got from Amazon for the larger decants (5ml etc)
    61DInSAbM5L._AC_SX425_.jpg

  18. #18

    Default Re: New to fragrance collecting, best place in the UK to buy samples and decants?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazzle77 View Post
    Ha, I actually went into a gun and ammo shop for the first time in my life to have a look at some - the bloke behind the counter w as open mouthed when I whipped out a decant to see if it fit!

    Anyway, this is the one I got from Amazon for the larger decants (5ml etc)
    61DInSAbM5L._AC_SX425_.jpg
    That's interesting. good for taller atomizers

    This is an interesting essentials oils storage box on ebay for £15 right now



    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/253473150390
    Currently wearing: Cool Water by Davidoff




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