Samples and Decants, Who, How, Where, Why!

Hi All,

Lovely crisp day here in Sydney, Australia. Autumn is closing in upon us and while not believing scents should follow the seasons, today I thought to start with something warming and deep. As a perfumista in waiting, I am still trying to get my nose around many scents and fragrances, still don’t quite understand how each note should be working or permeating a fragrance. Then, on top of that, because so much of fragrance is in fact science, as opposed to nature, the same way to reach a natural scent can be taken by millions of different routes, and is. Meaning that though the notes of a fragrance may say patchouli, it is often the idea of patchouli in its many incarnations rather than patchouli per se (Latin meaning; Of, in or by itself) that you are smelling.

Obviously the kind of knowledge that a blogger like 1000 Fragrances (sadly this blog is now closed) has is gained through a lifetime of study and experience. I am clearly not that person but I would like to have my nose across as many fragrances as possible so that my personal value judgment can have more gravitas. Evie C and I have been talking of doing a course in the near future also (more on that down the track) but until that time I want to smell as many scents as possible.

To do that, we perfumistas and perfumistas in waiting, or junkies, fumeheads, fragrance whores, etc etc often buy, instead of spending all our hard earned cash on a full bottle of everything we like, a smaller sample size (1-5ml), or decant (5-30ml), to test the water and see if we love it. Conversely, we may have sampled something and LOVED it, yet there would not be the chance to wear it more that once or twice a year so could not see the need for buying a full bottle (FB). Or maybe the scent is a reference scent, giving you the best (by popular opinion or your own) of a certain style of fragrance, or a note that you are interested in, by which to judge all others. Maybe you DESPERATELY want this fragrance but are just too poor to own it, there are fragrances out there going for thousands of dollars. I KNOW!! RIGHT!

Sometimes a fragrance IS great, you love it and want it but there are more pressing things on your must have list, maybe the bottle is ugly, dumb, grotesque, could be you like getting things in the mail from all over the world, or perhaps you are just plain old addicted. There is also the problem of discontinued or reformulated scents, you can get some of the most important ones if you go to decant sites but would never get the opportunity otherwise. Maybe you just live too far from New York or Paris and want to smell what others are currently talking about on the scentbloggosphere.

That’s just a few of the reasons. Anyway, my first introduction to the art of buying samples and decants was through The Posh Peasant, Abigail who runs it is friendly and helpful. Even if you can’t find what you’re looking for on her site, ASK HER, she has almost everything and will purchase for you if you promise to do a decent ($40-50) shop of her stuff when she gets it in for you. Fair enough! A new set arrived yesterday!! See below.

There are others that I use too now SurrenderToChanceLucky Scent, My Perfume Samples and The Perfume Niche and there are more but these are the guys I use regularly. You can even buy pre organised sets, which is awesome because they’ve done all the sniff work for you. Maybe you’d like to understand the way violets or heliotrope meander through a fragrance, on most of these sites you will find a set of perfume samples that are the best or unusual in their category. Simple? Yes. Do me, and you, a favour though. Don’t order a new set until your original set has arrived and you have smelt every one. Otherwise you’ll end up with HUNDREDS!!! Most of them unsmelt. Money is too hard to make for you to be so profligate. This is one place you should be careful, give yourself a perfume budget, then do your UTMOST to stick to it. The perfume wormhole is an addictive and expensive place to get lost. Fragrance is not like houses, there is no resale value.

Most of the smaller or niche Fragrance Houses now do a Sample Set, Sample Program or some such. I love my sample sets (mostly purchased) from Olfactive Studio, Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes, Aftelier Perfumes, SMELLbent, Parfum d’Empire, La Via Del Profumo, LUSH Gorilla Perfumes, Tauer and these are just the ones off the top of my desk currently.

One thing I do find is that perfume does not smell the same dabbed as spritzed. Many times I’ve been totally let down by a fragrance in dab form to be then astounded and dazzled by it when spritzed. I have found a super cheap bottle, plastic bag and mini funnel online store that lets you buy in smaller quantities that 10,000, from about 10 upwards. They do wholesale and retail and accept paypal! AWESOME!! Better still they send to Australia! which so many refuse to do, at very reasonable rates. Proud Style is the crew you’re after. They seem genuinely happy to have my business, a plus. I also use My Perfume Samples because they have a great small order selection of a few sizes for great prices and cheap postage.

Currently I am slowly working my way through the Perfume Posse “Perfume 101” list. It’s a great beginners who’s who of the perfume style, note and some super gorgeous must sniffs.

So here’s what arrived from the Posh Peasant yesterday!

5ml Hermes; Hermessence Ambre Narguille

2.5ml Estee Lauder; Youth Dew Amber Nude , Serge Lutens; Muscs Kublai Khan

1.5ml Serge Lutens; Clair de Musc, Bvlgari; Au The Vert Extreme

Also, 2 x 1ml gift with purchase CB I Hate Perfumes; Russian Caravan Tea, Serge Lutens; Daim Blond

This is a week of mornings for testing. YAY!!!

Today; Hermes; Hermessence Ambre Narguille. I’ll tell you about it tomorrow

Thanks for dropping by and sharing my (OMFG lengthy) fragrant thoughts.

Have a great day,

Portia xx

7 comments on “Samples and Decants, Who, How, Where, Why!

  1. Gian Peters says:

    Hi Portia,
    It’s gian…..
    Pretty in pink!!!!?

  2. Ximena says:

    Hello Portia,

    I’m new to the world of perfume and found your blog after goggling ” buy perfume samples from Australia”, so many thanks for the helpful tips.

    Cheers
    Ximena

  3. Lisa says:

    Hi Portia did you know there is a lovely lady who does decanted perfumes in Australia now. Her website is http://www.scentsamples.com.au/ Thought you might like to buy local when possible 🙂 …great blog too!!

  4. Brad Warren says:

    Great stuff Portia… Go for it!

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