PLEASE smell everything in your sample pack before you order your next one. This is an addictive hobby and you can end up with hundreds of samples unsmelt, lying around forlorn.
This warning comes from someone who knows!!
SAMPLES AND DECANTS
MyPerfumeSamples is the best place to buy Department Store, Celebrity and Designer fragrances but are going into the niche ranges now too. They are very reasonably priced. Also, if you hit the My Perfume Samples square in the right hand sidebar APJ gets a kickback! Woo Hoo! >>>>>
SurrenderToChance Professional and are super friendly. I guest write for their affiliated blog PerfumePosse. They have an area called Weekly Chance Specials that is full of wonderful things. The PerfumePosse blog does an awesome beginners 101 and intermediate 201 sniff list. I am still working my way through them.
LuckyScent only does .7ml samples which is bloody annoying but they have the best monthly showbag of the newest and most interesting juice there is. You just have to get on their mailing list and they’ll send you an email each month or less with a very reasonably priced grab bag.
ThePerfumeNiche has some well thought out curated sample packs of old, new and hard to find stuff. Sadly they only send 1ml samples.
ThePerfumedCourt I have always found them to be excellent and have an enormous range, they are famously the most expensive.
ThePoshPeasant was by Abigail who is ISmellThereforeIAm but has sadly closed its doors. When I went down the fragrance worm hole it was ThePoshPeasant that was my first sample/decant port of call. Saving me a fortune because I was buying full bottles of stuff just to sniff it. I know, crazy; right?
Discount Vials have an excellent range and their lids are multi use. Living in Australia the postage can get quite expensive but they are the best I’ve found. I particularly like their Perfume Sampler Vial – 1/5 Dram US$15/100. They also have 3ml Glass Spritz US$40/100.
ProudStyle are the crew I use because they send small amounts and are very reasonably priced. They pack well and if you want a special order they accommodate. Also great customer service. Their 1ml and 2ml glass vial lids only work properly once or twice which is bloody annoying. I go for their little atomiser bottles 1.5ml plastic or 2.5ml glass (they are really 1.7ml and 3ml but you need to leave air space or they leak like crazy in the mail)
Perfumes: The Guide is a great read or for a more digestible, less overwhelming peek into the worm hole The Little Book Of Perfumes: The 100 Greatest Scents, both by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. I am still working my way through the 100 Greatest Scents too.
Fragrances Of The World has a yearly edition by Michael Edwards and his crew. It’s the ultimate perfumistas reference book. It has categories, stories, explanations and critiques. I get it every year but for most scent hounds it’s a one off buy referred to over the years, bookmarked, dog eared, post it noted. They get a life of their own and become and integral part of a perfumistas life.
Above all, please remember that this is FUN! There is nothing so ethereal or concrete as smell, it is the oldest and central network in our brain. Used first in everything we do, holder of memories and reminder of everything we have, are and will be. It tells us when we should choose flight or fight, flail, flirt, fornicate or feast. Ubiquitous but amorphous, please enjoy the ride. There is no destination.