November Sample Challenge Part 1


Post by Gabriella


Hello fragrance lovers!

Late last month one of my friends on the Aussie Fragrance Network Facebook group invited people to participate in a sample challenge. For the whole month of November, we were to wear a sample of a different scent each day. I thought it was a great idea, given I have oodles of samples and never seem to get through many before I order more. Here’s my diary of week one.

November Sample Challenge: Gabriella’s Week 1 diary

Perfume Samples Vial Naomi King FlickrPhoto Stolen Naomi King Flickr

Friday, November 1: I decide to ease myself into this challenge by choosing a tuberose: Nasomatto Narcotic Venus. Turns out to be a bad choice. I’ve sampled it before and always had the same emotional reaction: anger. Why? Because to me this is an overpriced, poor imitation of Michael Kors Michael with a cheap metallic edge. Michael is so much smoother and rounder and about a quarter of the price of this. Enough said.

Miss Charming Juliette Has A Gun FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Saturday, November 2: I pop on some Juliette Has a Gun Miss Charming this morning and it’s a great choice for a sunny Saturday – a pretty, wearable rose, I really like it. After a shower, I stay scent free as we’re heading into the city and I want to test a couple of things. (Testing is the same as sampling surely?) I try the Frederic Malle Dries van Noten and its Eau de Wet Cardboard. Lipstick Rose graces the other arm (slightly cheating here as I have owned a bottle of this) and it’s not working either. The grapefruit is so loud today it’s almost nauseating.

Sunday November 3: Wake up with serious spraying envy today. My bottles are sitting on my dresser, winking at me, mocking me. Surely, surely it wouldn’t be too bad to have one teensy spray would it? I pick up my Tubey Crim, ease the cap off and…..

“Oi! Put that DOWN!”

Damn, I thought Mr M was downstairs.

“That’s cheating M. Wear a sample.”

Ok. I put the bottle down and smile sheepishly like the naughty child that I am.

Secrete Datura Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

My sample of Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Secret Datura restores my mood immensely. It’s a softer, sunnier take on datura than Serge Lutens Datura Noir. In the evening, I choose Guerlain’s Cruel Gardenia which is a pretty, powdery floral. It’s nice but my skin eats it up in five seconds.

Monday, November 4: I wake up with renewed vigor for the challenge. After all, it’s only a month, surely I can do it. Its Costes 2 today. I love it and wonder why it doesn’t get the same love as the original. I’m sitting at work in my soft, cuddly, cinnamon and spice haze when something-that-would-usually-be-good-but-is-the-worst-thing-ever-for-a-sample-challenge happens. The bottle of Fleur de Liane that I ordered recently arrives. Argh! No, no, no, no, no! MUST. NOT. OPEN. BOTTLE. Must be good, must be good and stay strong, stay focused. I feel like I’m in the perfumed equivalent of those temptation challenges on The Biggest Loser. Do I? Do I? Luckily, I’m at work and won’t have to face this till I get home.
Bugger, so I did succumb. I am the bloody weakest link. But I remedy my lapse by wearing the two samples that were sent with the bottle: L’Artisan Skin on Skin and Caligna. Ewww! These are dreadful and I scrub them straight off. Placate myself by wearing the sample of Honey Miss Portia sent me and this is yum. Go to bed happy.

Chanel 31 Rue Cambon Chanel FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Tuesday, November 5: Chanel 31 Rue Cambon. Stunning. I’ve sampled before and each time I ask the same question: Why do I not have a bottle of this?

Wednesday, November 6: Sick in bed. Feeling that dreadful that I really don’t want to wear perfume today (that’s saying something), so I don’t.

Thursday, November 7: Still not well, but the arrival of my Luckyscent October sample pack lifts my spirits. Fresh meat, goody! By the afternoon, I’m feeling well enough to tackle them head on. Amouage Fate Woman wins my heart immediately. It’s such an enigma of a fragrance and absolutely outstanding. I love the chili in the opening and even though it’s gourmand in the dry down, I really love it.

Fate for Women Amouage FrsagranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Friday, November 8: The beautiful opening of Indult’s Manakara captures my heart: it’s a simple mix of rose and lychee, but it just gets too sweet in the drydown. Revisit Amouage Fate again in the evening and still love it so much that I’m already getting sad at the sample disappearing.

Week one has been fun, but it’s made me realise that dabbing on samples doesn’t give me the same emotional impact as spraying from a decant or a bottle. Having said that, it’s been interesting to wear something different each day.

 Samples Perfect California Day OakleyOriginals FlickrPhoto Stolen OakleyOriginals Flickr

So, APJ readers, could you wear only samples for a whole month? How would you tackle this exercise? Would you make a plan or go random? Do you have any tips for the remaining weeks?

With much love till next time!
M x

31 thoughts on “November Sample Challenge Part 1

  1. I’ve tried unsuccessfully because none of the samples captured my heart, so I went back to wearing my favorites. I like choosing the scent to wear the night before to build anticipation for it. I suggest picking something you probably might like, then tomorrow something you’ll probably like instead wearing samples you have a high chance of not liking a few days straight. But each to their own! Good luck, Madeline!


  2. Hey Madeleine.
    How fun is the sample challenge. I’m not being purist about it but am enjoying wearing some stuff that’s been sitting around on my desk.
    Portia xx


  3. I wonder why samples don’t give the same satisfaction…a love affair with no commitment?
    How could you make a plan for testing? You might wake up that morning and feel like something totally different.
    I am more than happy to learn from your random experiences!


  4. I’m doing this one as well, and I am really getting into the challenge of scrabbling through dozens of vials to pick the perfect one for the next day. It’s been a great incentive to reassess a few that I’d given short shrift to before, especially as the weather has been so changeable, meaning that pretty much all options are on the table.


  5. OMG, I think I experienced much of what you did! Especially when a new bottle or samples arrived. I was so tempted to open them and in many cases, I did! And, if I did not like a sample, I just couldn’t wear it all day. Now I wish I had kept better track of which samples I loved and those which shall never touch my skin again. Enjoyed this very much! 🙂


  6. Interesting challenge and for me it would be very difficult as I wear perfume based on my mood, but I should give it a try! ^_^

    It was really great reading about the first week! 😉

    Wish you all the best!


  7. Samples are really a challenge! I have so many, boxes of them as I imagine we all do. Every once in awhile, prompted by a review, I check one out with just one swipe or spray, not really giving it a chance. So I will try your sample plan, Madeleine, one per day with a scent diary. But where to start? Maybe a totally random choice is best . If my sample challenge could be a blind challenge it would be even better.


    • Hi Azar,

      yup I am usually the same! I’m finding that I can’t really plan this, random is the way to go, depending on mood….



  8. I could not wear just samples for a month, too hard… need to be able to wear my favorites. I am sampling today though… about 6 different things on different parts of my body… no commitment, just fun sniffing!


  9. Loved the article! Typically something will come to me as I’m getting ready, “Oh, I think I’ll wear such and such perfume today!” A new sample a day sounds like a wonderful adventure, but one that requires bravery. What if every other one was a scrubber?? I don’t know that I could do it.


    • Thanks Elizabeth!

      more discipline than bravery for me. My tack would be to scrub off and start again and give myself plenty of time of a work morning to decide.



  10. Hey Madeleine!!

    Oh no!! Definitely not samples for a month. I like LOOKING at all my samples. And sometimes I have the urge to try one. Just for the record I love 31 Rue Cambon. It is how I always wanted to smell when I grew up. I will however, grab a sample of Fate next time I am in the big city. Perhaps I will try it. 😉

    Val xxxxx


    • you must do Val! Yes there’s something in just looking at them all and picking one out occasionally. I’m going ok though.

      M xxxx


  11. I could probably wear samples for a month. I’d miss my favorites but I’d like to think I’d find a new favorite or two and pare down the amount of samples I have. There’s only so much space to store them and sometimes they end up evaporating out of the vials if you let them sit around too long. Better to use them up.


  12. Could not. Mine are always carefully filed until I look for one and that kinda disrupts all the filing. Especially when someone reviews “an enigma of scent” and I go scrabbling to wear it and re-read their review. Then I have to reconsider whether to refile by perfume house or by perfume or by perfumer… Then I just reach for a bottle.


  13. Such a fun post! Thank you!

    Okay, now I am really embarrassed to admit this because I’m afraid people will think I’m weird….. okay, I AM really weird. So, I’ve been sampling almost every day – I’ve been doing it since last February. I was attempting to find my ‘holy grail’ and ended up falling down the rabbit hole. And then it just evolved into wanting to experience as much as I could…. I have so many favorites now I’m going to have to repeat the experiment to whittle them down again! (You mentioned a couple of my faves – Costes 2, LOVE IT! And Amouage Fate Woman.) Throughout this year many fragrances have come close but I have yet to find my HG, and at this point I’m afraid I never will, it’s just one surprise after another. I know, I am so ashamed….. 🙂


  14. Love your post, Madeleine! I’m TT on the fragrance group. You have taken this on in a hardcore way! Now, I don’t believe in going hard, but I also hate the Biggest Loser :). On days where I’ve needed comfort or courage, I’ve worn a sample I’ve tried before. This has led to me (gasp) FINISHING some of my samples, fulfilling my (also not hard) rule that before a bottle, a sample must be drained!

    I really want to collate my diary entries somewhere as it will be hard to find them later in Facebook. Just for my reference, my rambling thoughts are messy. I appreciate how well written your weekly recap is and thank you for sharing. 🙂


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