What Kind of Perfume Sample Sniffer Am I?

I often get the question on how to sample perfume, especially from people new to niche perfumes.  This question perplexes me only because how you sample depends on what kind of Perfumista you are. Which leads me to the point of this post:  What Kind of Sniffer Are You?

For All samplers — when you get a load of perfume samples in, you will be tempted to just dive in, and you can do that to some extent, but use that as a preliminary sorting thing – like the Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter series – open the cap and sniff, then put them into a pile of Love the Top Notes or Don’t Love the Top Notes.  Remember that this pile means absolutely nothing, but by all means, smell those first where you love the top notes.

Sample no more than 2 perfumes a day.  You can go up to 4 a day if you spread them out by a half day.  Doing multiples up and down your arms and on your knees is for later.  Now, take notes, and you will find a couple of things:  One, the perfume very often does not smell like just the top notes, and those notes are quickly gone, replaced by something else… something you may love, hate, or be indifferent to.

Now, organize your thoughts on this somehow – notebook, spreadsheet, post-it notes, something – jot down the notes of the perfume, what you thought about each one in each stage – top, middle and drydown.   Don’t note just yet on whether it is worth buying because you should test each one 2-3 times. The nose can be fickle on the wrong day, and you don’t want to toss, give away or swap away that perfume sample, only to find out three years later that you swapped away the perfume you love. Sample each one a few days or weeks apart.  If you need to be more organized in knowledge since you’re having trouble figuring out which notes are doing it for you, spring for the Le Labo Olfactionary – it’s expensive, but worth it.

Part of your perfume sampling is dependent on your purpose, and the purpose can change, though people do fall into some main categories:

  • Sniffing With a Purpose – you are looking for something specific and don’t won’t to be sidetracked with other pretty things.
  • Sniffing Randomly — You like to sniff a wide variety before narrowing in your search
  • Sniffing Wildly — You just like to sniff everything. You may or may not bother to buy bottles. For you, the main advernture is in finding and cataloguing all those smells out there so you know them.

Now, while you may not stay in one of those groups all the time, there are some major types of Sniffer:

Gimme My Holy Grail… Now!

There’s a couple of botles of perfume on my dresser, one from 10 years ago that I can’t bear to wear anymore. There’s probably a couple more in the closet packed away from college or high school.  I’ve gotten down to not wearing perfume anymore because everything in the drugstore and/or department stores smells alike, and I don’t want to smell like everyone else.  I’d really like to find my Holy Grail and have done with this hunt – I have zero time to go hunting for perfumes, but I’d like to smell good and unique.  There’s been articles I’ve read recently about niche perfumes, and from what I’m reading, I’m thinking my Holy Grail will be in that genre, but I am not spending wicked much money on this like some of those Perfume Kooks.

You have a very focused sampling viewpoint. You want to get in, find something to love and get out. You may get distracted if you’re not careful, which could be a good thing for you, you Little No Frills, All Business, Type A Perfumista.  Here’s how you want to sample.  Get something from all the major note/type families that you know you don’t hate, even those you aren’t sure about.  Try and get the best or most classic examples of the type.  Sort them carefully in a spreadsheet with the notes in each, comments about what you thought of each of them and what seemed to be lacking. Then you can try and find others of the same type that have that something else you’re looking for or a note that you do like but wasn’t in there but is in another.  Sort them by favorite to least favorite.  There, that will satisify your organizational abilities.

Now go out and sniff something crazeeee niche and expensive where you don’t know the notes.  See? That was fun, wasn’t it, smelling in a void just for the pure pleasure of it.  You may now resume your orderly search for your Holy Grail, but don’t remain so closed minded that if you don’t find it quickly, you quit looking.  You may find out that just as you are not the exact same person every day, one perfume just won’t fit you every day of the year. There’s no need to think you have to be one of the crazees that has 100+ bottles of perfume, but having a wardrobe of 5-10 scents won’t kill ya.

Hey, I’m on a Budget!!

Listen, I’m in college or have six kids to raise or whatever, but there’s only about $50 a year to toss out on a perfume… but I still love them so… and so many of them. How can I satisfy my great love of perfume without breaking the bank?

Swapping.  Spring for one bottle, a really good one that’s in high, high demand (do two years of your budget, if you must,  for a bell jar from a friend going to or in Europe), try and get something on eBay for less than retail (NOT Chanel or Creed, they are too often fakes), and then start swapping away perfume samples and perfume decants for the things you really want to try.  Keep the swapped samples to swap for other things you want to try. Don’t be above begging here. It‘s worked used to work on me when I was MUA swapping.  This is the harder, more painful, slower road, but many perfumistas can attest that they have been able to sample a lot of wonderful things using this method, it just can take longer.  You probably won’t have to worry about how to go through a bunch of perfume samples at a time, though, since you’ll likely have time to savor the ones you get when you get them!

For Pete’s sake.. it’s Just Perfume

Look, it’s just perfume. I want to smell good, but it’s not solving world peace. Last time I bought perfume, I liked it fine in the store, got home, and wore it twice, it was horrible. I know perfume has to be better than this, doesn’t it? How do I get the most bang for my buck so I can accumulate 5-10 scents to wear that will take me through the next decade, and then I’ll worry about new things then.

JUST PERFUME?!?!?  Okay, deep breaths.  Yes, you’re right, it’s not solving the world’s ills, but it’s making it a nicer, more beautiful place on the way through. Scent is the Sense with Memory, and it remembers everything.   Okay, Miss Neanderthal, your sampling should be geared to trying those things that you’ll love or are fairly certain to love, playing it safe. If you already know types you hate, cross those off, and go after ones that have the best likelihood of making it work for you.  As you find one that’s a keeper, make a note of it. Once you get to your magic number, just stop… or don’t. Oh, unexpected fun?  Now you can either buy the bottles to last you that 5-10 years, if it’s in your budget. If not, it’s a really high-priced scent, just get a decant and wear it for your more special occasions. Perfume decants won’t last as long, but at least if it’s an expensive mistake, a decant won’t be as expensive as a full bottle.

I WANT IT ALL!! (Perfumed Piggy)

Yeah, yeah, responsible sampling, orderly, taking notes. Right. I really want to smell everything and have been slowly going through everything, including my budget and credit cards and home equity line of credit. How do I keep sampling but do it somewhat financially responsibly?

This is a really hard one, truly.  The Advanced Stages of the Perfume Smelling Illness.  First, take your time with your perfume samples. I know how easy it is to just flit off to the next new things, but there’s a treasure trove in all those samples and decants you have laying around. Take time to truly appreciate them.  Use a combination of approaches to stretch your perfume dollar. Swap the ones you don’t care for or just aren’t you for other things, and you’ve just doubled that sample dollar right there!  Take more time in smelling.  Yes, I know this is similar to the slow down when you eat your dessert advice, but try it anyway. You may find a new love by re-sampling.  You also know you’ve become one of those Perfume Phreaks people whisper about?  I know this because I am one, too.

So remember — sample slowly, sample sober, and stay safe out there.

Which kind of sniffer are you, and should there be more categories?

This is interesting too!

96 Comments

  1. Sniffing wildly?! Perfumed Piggy?! *Sheepishly raising hand in the air…* Although with DH heading to business school, I may be joining the budget camp soon. Let’s hear it for Jean Nate=)) or not…

    Is there a category for the karma fragranista? I have such a blast making care packages for my friends based on what I think they might like. I’ve also been getting in the habit of sharing samples with the department store SA’s who have been particulary kind and patient with me. My fave ladies at Nordstrom Seattle are surrounded by fruity florals, just dying for old-school Guerlains and Diors to make a comeback. I figure the least I can do is share my Rousse, my Dzing!, my Tauer treasures…

    Here’s a question: any tips on organizing these massive mountains of samples I’m accumulating?

    • The one thing I have found that is common with perfume piggies, they are also the most generous perfumistas out there, wanting to share their obsession with the clueless.

      As soon as I figure out how to organize my samples, I’ll let you know!! 🙂

  2. I am such the Perfumed PIGGY! But I too love to share, love to turn friends on to new scents. I really like to give them samples of scents I love – there’s something really great about creating another perfumed piggy, or at least another person who appreciates perfume.

      • So much fun! Giddy in bottle form is meant to be shared, eh?

        • Absolutely! I love to completely floor a friend, don’t you?!

  3. Great photo and very good advice, Patty.

    Perfumed Piggy here trying to reform. :d:@) I keep testing fragrances because I want to be educated in them, or because Fragrance X is made by a perfumer I’m interested in, or because somebody said it was neato or the notes look interesting to me. I’m trying to reform because our bank account has stopped speaking to me. I don’t know how long my strength will last, but I’ve resolved not to buy any more samples until I’ve used up a substantial amount of the ones I already possess. I just got a nice box of goodies from a dear responder, so I should be set for a while. (Unless there’s an irresistible sale.)

    Oh, umm, the fragrance goddess who runs Fragrant Fripperies may notice there’s a little order in there from me, but one item is a hard-to-find fragrance I’ve fallen in love with, one is for a sample of a scent that appeared in a dream last night (not kidding, someone was saying Diorama), and the other, well, I just want it. :d

    • You’re dreaming perfume? I had a dream last week that included Brad Pitt and George Clooney, but nothing fun. We were being chased through my dream by someone, probably someone trying to steal my perfumes. Warren said I was clutching his arm in my sleep with an iron grip. I do remember the dream being pretty bad.

      I won’t tell. 🙂

    • Hey, Patty: Is there a Code of Ethics for decant goddesses? I’m thinking that, like lawyers & doctors & preachers, you probably can’t go around blabbing what people ordered? Not that you ever would, anyway — I know you are the soul of discretion! 😡 (BTW, I don’t remember saying what you attributed to me?) –Ellen

      • Heh heh heh…so the decanters know our dirty little secrets!:-s

      • Ellen, I remember you talking about the advanced stage of the disease. If my memory were as good as yours (or if I wrote things down), I might be able to pinpoint it further. Today is Fresh Basil day–yay!

      • Well, not an official one, but I sure keep that confidence!
        You did! You said something about, during the Les Larmes conversation, that it was like watching people in an advanced state of a disease. I thought it was hilarious! 🙂

  4. Any non-piggies out there? Oink here, with an occasional Oh crap!… I am on a budget…for this week. Hear the credit cards creak?

    I justify it all mostly through the sheer pleasure scent brings me, as well as the edification (sp) I receive with each sniff. A year ago, I had no idea what a chypre was, let alone knew that I would soon love one (many). Indolic? hmmm, no idea back then (last year). Caron? PG? Montale? all unknown. So much more to learn, all with bated breath. So-yes, a piggy, but an increasingly erudite porcine!

    I credit my enriched journey primarily to contact mostly with this blog, its sister blogs, and friendship with a certain red-head blogger.I blame no one for the cash outflow, and am grateful to all for my increasing phreakishness.

    • I think the non-piggies are the lurkers, of which there are thousands. 🙂 I haven’t checked our status in months to see how many.

      It is an education, I agree. It’s a joy to keep sniffing new things, adding them to my knowledge base, even the stuff that’s crap tells me something. I’m always just shocked when people are NOT Perfume Piggies. I mean, how does that happen?

    • I think I’m more of a budget person, but with piggie tendencies! :d

    • Yes, Louise–education. That’s how I justify my buying habits. 🙂 I do know a lot more about the history of perfumery now. I’ve been stocking up on samples of the classics so I can get to know them. That worked for a while until I realized I wasn’t devoting to each one the attention it deserves. :”> But at least they’re here, waiting for me.

  5. Hey — can we change the name of the blog to Perfume Piggy and stick that photo up there of Mr. Porky? You never did say much about the Perfume Possum suggestion….

    Disappointed to hear about Kelly Caleche, which (if I get more rose and less leather) will be of not much interest to me.

    Hey, you know what sad phenom I’ve just discovered about my habit of mostly samples? (I’d already figured out that it’s hard to organize/find things.) It’s that sometimes now, when I dig something out, I realize — it’s gone! The vial/atomizer leaked or evaporated. There it is, a little empty husk of its former self.:(

    • I *really* like the Pefume Piggy theme. I think we should go with that one next. We could all have little Porcine pictures!

      Unless you get more leather, I can’t imagine KC will work for you at all.

      Oh, evaporation. Someone needs to come up with some kind of vacuum container so there will be NO evaporation. It’s sad to find that rare thing you had been hording for a future sniff and then have it be just nothing left. :((

  6. Rose Ikebana?? Oh no. You may have just killed the lemming before I even received the sample. Oh no. It’s going to be Sparkling. And Girly. With a Prominent Rose. :((

    • Shhhh…you’ve voiced my deepest fears. Making sign of cross to ward off the evil of sparkling.

    • It’s girlie, yes, but not sparkling. 🙂 Unless you get remarkably more leather than my nose gets, you are not going to be a fan. It fits me just fine, I like this type of perfume. There’s enough leather to take it out of the “same old” category, but I doubt it will be enough to redeem it for you. Maybe. I dunno. I’m sniffing it again this morning and am getting more leather, so who knows?

      It will be interesting to see the reactions.

  7. What a fantastic post!! I am the HG seeker. For 6 years now I have been on a mission and it seems with every new sample and every new bottle that arrives unsniffed, I wind up more convinced that it’s out there and I’m just not smelling it. I want to smell unique and I want to smell so f*ing good that every person passing begs to know what I’m wearing…. is that too much to ask?
    The funny thing is I just bought a bottle of the very first scent I discovered at a niche type online shop in the very beginning and my jaw is just on the ground, and I’m wondering why I ever went looking for anything else?! It’s that good! Have I come full circle? I think maybe I have:-)

    • Hey, you can’t stop there. What is/was the perfume?!?!?! Yes, you do come back around.

      I’m being distracting this morning by the Guerlain Iris Ganache. I can’t decide if I loathe it with a passion or am addicted to it. It’s falling in that love/hate gray area that puzzles me.

  8. OINK. OINK. and another freakin’ OINK.

    I AM A PIGGY AND I AM PROUD!!!!

    Good advice, Patty :)There might be a sub-category of Piggy that I fit into, too, the Perfume Librarian/Hoarder…in other words, I really LIKE having samples of scents that I won’t wear–the feeling that I have a small record of perfumery in the late-20th/early 21st century in the bookshelf (which, of course, makes it hard to swap away scents I don’t like). I dunno. Does that make sense?

    • Hear us roar!

      oh, yeah, the library. I think all Perfume Piggies tend to have those. It is a collection of history, and you can follow how perfumes have changed over the centuries. It’s hard to go back too far, but there is the challenge too, that these things degrade and disappear and then they are gone forever.

    • Oh, yeah, the archive. I’m married to an archivist, and we’re soul mates. I figure this way when someone mentions Noix de Pluiepoupou, I can go and sniff it and understand what the person is talking about. Unitl, as Patty points out, it evaporates away.

  9. Miss Piggy here…but very close to being Miss Piggy behind the bars of a cell in debtor’s prison.
    Hmmm….not a lot of leather? Hmmm. Well, I love rose, but I love leather more and am just going to start saying prayers to the gods of skin chemistry that on me every last little molecule of leather gets magnified to a nicely dark extreme.

    • I dunno, it’s a weird one. I get more leather for a while, then it’s back to a floral. A gorgeous floral. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you! I’m thinking of just spritzing on something leather around it, just because I think it needs it. 🙂 Hm, the Tom Ford Tuscan Leather works pretty well for that task!

  10. Well, of course, another Piggy. And another who is somewhat disappointed by the description of Kelly Caleche. I do love roses, but Rose Ikebana is far from my favorite. And of course, I want more leather (Leather Piggy, too):). OTOH, I seem to remember that I had reactions not dissimilar to those of your sister (Shirley, right?–unless I’m confused). So maybe there’s hope for me there. . .

    • Keeping my fingers crossed for you too! Yeah, you and Shirl seem to do/smell the same things, so maybe?!?! But I still think it won’t be enough leather, honestly. 🙂 It works for me, even without the leather, but I just can’t believe you leather nuts will be happy.

  11. A mere two years ago I was a seeker of the Holy Grail. But I was willing to sniff everything in the known universe in the service of The Quest. I think the fumes addled my brains. I-ay am-ay ow-nay a otal-tay erfume-pay iggie-pay. Oink.

    I was so hoping for more leather. Piggy that I am, I will still sniff with total abandon. I usually adore JCE’s minimalism.

    • There is a chorus of oinkers out there, so you’re so not alone in this crowd. Perfume blogs and boards, the only refuge where we feel a little normal.

      he’s got the minimalism with this. The nice thing is, you can leather it up by just putting something leather next to it, and then it really works on both levels.

  12. Yet another piggy here:d At one time, I might have had the vague idea of finding a Holy Grail, but I got over it pretty soon. I refuse to be limited! I’ve started swapping and get rid of a number of things that way – of course, the flip side is that I get back tons more! So it’s done nothing to curtail the size of my collection, but I still have one room in the house to fill up with …..stuff. I’ve also started making decants for coworkers of things I think they might enjoy. Also for my daughters’ friends, my sister, my mother, etc

    I didn’t get any leather at all from Kelly Caleche, but will retry on another day. What I did smell was a very pleasant, wearable floral and I enjoyed it.

    • None at all? I only got it for a vague time near the beginning, and nothing in the drydown. It is a really beautiful perfume and one I’ll be happy to wear and add to my collection. I think it’s just going to appeal more to the mainstream than us phreaks.

  13. Any room in the pen for another Piggy? I was always crazy for “good” perfume, but until the recent discovery of decants and samples (Love ya, Piggy Patty!), I didn’t know how I would ever afford to sample, discover, learn, and wallow! Now I want to smell EVERYTHING – the good, the bad, and the delightfully ugly… and am wondering how bad 3 kids REALLY need groceries…/:)

    • Hey, we’re pigs, we’ll just roll over for ya!

      I’m with you, when I first went back into perfume, I was astounded that I could sample to my heart’s content, and I thought it was such a great democratization of perfume, it was worth doing as well! Mostly because I couldn’t always find the things I wanted.

      Kids don’t need groceries. i look at my well-fed boys, who now claim that I used to starve them in their youth (to them, that means I missed having something for them to eat when they wanted it for one meal) and think it doesn’t matter, they’ll claim you mistreated them anyway, right?

  14. This lil’ piggy’s got only five decent Ts and 1 1/2 pairs of jeans in his current rotation and ten times as many perfumes (bottles and decants). With the summer holiday season drawing well nigh, you’d think I’d start economizing for the prospect of lying on a sunny beach on a Greek island of choice. Nooo! I’m making to-buy and to-sniff lists of perfumes, wondering if, no, hoping to fall for any number of them. One sick piggy. Oink to that!

    • yeah, but who cares about a t-shirt or jeans? You only need two to rotate between washing!

  15. Long time lurker, first time to post (although I’m getting to be a frequent flyer at Patty’s store). I have to say I started out as a “holy grail” seeker but at this point I have to confess that I’ve abandoned the quest and now am lolling about in the mud with the rest of you.

    You know how some people can just walk in the store and buy a pair of black pumps, but some people have to try on every freakin pair of shoes on five separate trips to the mall in search of an illusive (imaginary?) “perfect” pair? Yep, that’s me. Translate that to perfume and you’ll have an idea why I have an enormous tub of samples and a husband and daughter who think I’m crazy (Although my daughter just fell HARD for a sample of Creed Virgin Island Water. . .slowly I’m luring her into my mud waddle. . .ha!)

    • FF at FF, I like that! 🙂

      I think I was looking for a HG once upon a time, too, but I abandoned that search so long ago as I realized I liked to slut about with eerything!

      Oh, you snagged a convert, yeah!!!! VIW is a good gateway perfume, definitely. Approachable, wearable, not too weird, but it’s got that I’m a Perfume Phreak vibe going in the background, because who really wants to smell like spring break?

      • Hmmm. . .I don’t know. . .maybe a darling 17 year old girl who looks great in a bikini? (In other words, my daughter) 🙂

  16. Sign me up for the pig category as well. Hello, my name is Nava and I’m a Perfumed Piggy. What the hell, if I can’t admit to it then what good is it? And to make things even worse, I don’t believe in the Holy Grail. For me, the perfect fragrance does not exist. Variety is key.

  17. You know me; I’m in the ‘it’s just perfume’ camp. Found my faves and don’t need to sniff anymore. In fact, not even sure why I’m posting here – I think it’s P and M’s animal magnetism that draws me back every time. We won’t mention what Bryan’s got that does something similar.

    *suppressed squeal*

  18. Well, I’m still looking forward to sampling Kelly Caleche, although I’m in the *more leather!* camp too.

    Not sure what category I’m in as a sniffer and not sure it matters, I’m definitely having fun, and that’s why I love this hobby, it’s FUN!

    In your interview for The Perfume Bee, Patty, you said something to the effect that your best advice for newbies would be to take it slow, to remember that if a scent is good, it’ll be around a while, and to enjoy the process. IMO that’s great advice! That thought has helped me really enjoy what I have and cut down on the need to have it all *now*.

    Today, anyway.:)

    • yeah, that bit of advice was from experience. I thought I needed to smell *everything* right NOW! Slowing down is the way to go. Except with the Gobin-Daudes, those would have been exceptions, though i did get to sniff three of them.

  19. I think I may have left the pen recently… So I’m going to suggest another category. What shall I call it? The “Spritz me something I don’t know already” ? The “Blasé Nez”? The “Schnozz Curator”?
    I’m still exploring a certain number of houses I don’t know well (Nicolaï, Goutal, Divine)but vetting those sessions carefully (I’m looking at you, Le Labo. I smell the new stuff only in houses I already love (Malle, Lutens, Guerlain, Chanel) and even then, not systematically. When I sample something I rather like, I keep thinking – nah, I already have a scent that fulfills that special slot. So while my palette of tastes is expanding, my collection is not growing at all: no more decants, just a half-dozen full bottles on the “buy” list. Acquisitions must be either: an underrepresented note, family or perfumer.
    Kelly Calèche does remain on the “to sniff” list though: I still haven’t found the Ellena for me. And, well… for leather, I remain well and truly in the trough.

    • Too funny! One of my favorite places is Provincetown, Massachusetts, known as a gay mecca & full of art galleries, great food, good beaches. P’town is also home to the “Cafe Blase.” (Yes, that looks stupid without accents.) I’m picturing you running the “Blase Nez” next door, bringing a jaded perfume attitude to the jaded masses! :d

      Lately, I have fallen quite hard for J-CE’s First de Van Cleef & Arpels. (Can it be a classic at 30 years old?) I do love Rose Ikebana & a few others, but First has a warmth and comfort to it, as well as a price, that I love.
      –Ellen

      • Ellen, I’d forgotten about First, which was, appropriately enough, one of my first grown-up perfumes when it came out – yes, that makes me show my age, doesn’t it. Then the big huge bottle I’d bought in France fell into the (clean) john : talk about eau de toilette ! So that was it for First. I’ll have to resniff to see if it brings back memories of that much younger, but déjà sophisticated self.

      • Oh, Ellen, I just discovered First. I think PP from FF sent a sample with an order, and yes, it’s wonderful, I’m loving it!

        I love to be able to smell affordable classics that aren’t in stores anymore, those are lemmings I can live with! I think I recall you like Tocade as well? Another good one.:)

        • Sorry, that’s PG of FF, and the gushing love shown for First and Tocade is of course IMHO.

      • First is so timeless. Claude Marchal of MDCI said it was one of his favorites. It really is just gorgeous and full. I keep thinking I need to try the parfum in it. Hmmmm, I do know where to get some….

    • I’m doing that more now with things I want to wear, but I still like sniffing them all. 🙂

      Yeah, I know, it’s that American acquisitiveness.

  20. May I start a new category? I’m a perfumed Guilty Liberal. My 10 year old Saturn looks like it came from the junkyard. I buy almost all of my clothing at the thrift shop. My house is, well, “quaint.” I don’t waste water and I don’t eat animals. Um, but then I have this habit that caused me to buy a $150 luxury item recently?

    I constantly try to figure out who might like my rejected samples because I hate waste. I’ve cut wayyyyy back on my purchases in the last few months, while I try to get to the bottom of what I have. But despite my deep love for half a dozen fragrances, I can’t stop entirely because it’s just too dang interesting & now I also blame it on this interesting subculture into which I’ve fallen. It’s an Important Cultural Experience, you see…
    –Ellen

      • Lee, Tom: Grateful to have your company! –Ellen

    • Good one! I would try to sneak into that category, too – except I’ve never been good with the saving of money. If it’s not perfume it’s orchids!

      Except now after surgery and a wedding I’m out of funds, so…

      poo 🙁

    • I can’t even get close to that category without breaking out in hives. I’m a serious spender, though we do save a lot as well. I just figure life is too short not to enjoy the things that are beautiful. 🙂

      But I’m glad y’all are splurging here and there. =d>

  21. Tapping fingers, waiting impatiently for longer review of Kelly Caleche! Have to say that pleasant wasn’t what I was looking forward too. Was going to order unsniffed, now I’m rethinking 🙁

    • No longer review from me, sorry! I just didn’t find enough to write about it. I think it’s a gorgeous JCE-type floral, with not enough of the promised leather, but it’s a smidge to make it different from some of his other florals.

      Wish I had more to say than that, but it sure is purty! 🙂

      • OK, everyone, in unison (Amy?): “NOW YOU’RE DIGGING WHERE THERE’S TATERS!” That was a good, pithy review, Patty. :d –Ellen

    • :o) :@)

      Forgot about the little porcine icon. I do think we need to go with the Piggy Theme next time we switch things up.

  22. Oh ladies, I do believe that last catagory was me. I’ve visited a certain decant site twice in a week and a half spending my diaper money on perfumes…ok not the diaper money. that’s way to ness. but who needs food? or electricity?

  23. I just finished scrolling and found out I am not her muse! But I am not alone. how’s about a support group. Perfumed piggies anon. that don’t want any d**** help…. PPATDWADH

    • That group may need to collect credit cards before they meet, or we’d all be bringing our scents and making notes about the full bottles or things we needed once we adjourned. 🙂

  24. Kelly Caleche!!! ****SQUEALING**** OMG, woman–where, how, when????? Please take me out of my misery!!! :(( Is it anything like my HG (that you introduced me to), Doblis??? Woman, I need the info now!

    And now we pause for a deep yogic breath…breath in, R…breath out…gently…once more….

    What type of sampler am I? Girlfriend, I want it all!!! Give it all to me!!! 😉

    Hugs and love!

    • Nope, I wouldn’t put it in the same category of Doblis at all, not enough leather. It’s not my bottle, Diane (dragonfly) ran across it, and I’m just offering it for her since it makes it easier to do than people having to contact her and all that.

      I think you’ll probably like or love it a lot, but it’s no Doblis, sorry! But you can spray a nice leather next to it and come pretty close!

  25. I was a ‘HG seeker’ for maybe 2 weeks…Then I truly thought i was in the ‘I ‘m on a budget category’..since I’m in grad school and all..But seven months after my ‘advent’ into the niche world, I *know* I am well on my way to becoming one big fat perfumed piggy gleefully lolling in my perfumed swamp!!
    What can i say I LOVE SMELL…I have managed to convince DH that i have an academic interest in smell and perfume.. and have just indulged in a set of essential oils and absolutes so I can learn more and start some blending(oohh..I am having fun)..

    On an aside: I am planning a trip to New York in July and would love any suggestions/ advice regarding all the ‘perfume places’ that I should cover. (of course I *am* visiting the Caron Boutique and will most probably buy a bottle of my beloved Coup de Fouet and or Poivre)

    • I am amazed at all the piggies in here. 😮

      Butting in to say, if nothing else, you can hit Barneys, Takashimaya, Bergdorf Goodman and Henri Bendel in one go, they’re all walking distance. Bergdorf has a dining room off the beauty floor with really good food (huge, excellent salads, no kidding) if you don’t want to waste any time hunting down food to carry you through :-” In terms of perfumage, I’d personally rank them: BG, Barneys, Tak, and Bendel, although I hear Bendel has some new stuff…

    • March has a great itinerary. If you have time to go to CB’s, make the trip out to Brooklyn to see him. He’s just a wonderful person, so much fun to talk to, so generous with his knowledge and time, and can you tell I’m a total CB FanGirl? It’s embarrasing, really.

      Caron is now in with the Phyto Universice, they don’t have their own shop anymore, but they still have the urn things. I think it’s definitely worth a visit!

      • Oh..yes! was definitely planning to go to CB’s… I haven’t smelled(or smelt) a single one-though I *have* tried more than a couple of Demeters..He does seem amazing- i love browsing though his website.

  26. A Piggy on a Budget who has not yet invested in sampling. But God, I should. Are the Lutens available in Italy? Maybe I’ll have a cousin ship me something and then start my decanting/swapping empire. Or maybe I’ll just be lazy and spring for some samples. Hmm.

    • The exports should be in a shop in Italy somewhere, but you can get the nonexports sent there!

  27. I’d like to propose a subcategory to the Piggery — that of binge perfumed piggy.

    I do just fine with a half dozen scents for months at a time, then one morning I wake up and I simply can’t STAND it until I have my grubby little mitts (trotters?) on boxes full of new samples. The binge urge eventually subsides after I’ve acquired a new half dozen scents that will tide me over until the next binge strikes. :d

    (going weee weeee weeeeee all the way home) \:d/

    • Trotters? You just made me howl with that one. Or is that squeal?

      Yeah, I tend to binge too, just do it every week or so. 🙂

  28. I wish I could sample the same scent more than once, but after the initial reaction, it’s hards for me to fall in love with a scent that didn’t spark my interest. I think it’s a gut reaction that doesn’t seem to change over time. The only thing that changes is if I’m indifferent to a scent, than perhaps in the future, I might actually appreciate it’s beauty (doesn’t happen often). So, I order more samples to go through. To keep my habit alive, I tend to sell/swap scents that I’ve fallen out of love with and splurge on something that I’ve been craving. So far, I’ve recycled perfume money for just that, more perfumes:)

    Parisa

    • I think there are some scents that just don’t hold your interest. Probably what you could do is sit them aside, and before you swap them or give them, try one more quick sniff. I’ve found some beauties that way!

  29. I think maybe I’m a combination of a piggy and an HG? I want to smell many many things, but I tend to focus on 2-4 things at once. I gave up on A Tea that Suits Me (it just doesn’t). I just found the Perfect Sexy Scent Both My Husband and I Like (Desert Moracain). And after I bought that bottle I moved on to Perfect Violets (still searching). And I still have an ongoing search for The Fig and So Strange It Just Might Work. My next line of exploration will probably be Naughty Leather.

    I love to smell (I’ll stick my nose into about anything), but I very very rarely decide that something is worth owning in a larger bottle – it has to be Perfect.

    • Hmmmmm…. Laura Tonatto Eleanora Duse (I probably just spelled half of that wrong) is Perfect Violets. IMHO. Les Nez Unicorn Spell is a frosty green-bean violet, which might be a combo of PV and SSIJMW (So strange it just might work…)

      • Oooh, thanks March! I added Laura Tonatto to the post-its on my monitor.

        I have a sample lined up of the Les Nez (but not purchased due to running out of funds, it’s just sitting on the internet, waiting…), though I mostly wanted it for my friend, who loves unicorns. I guess I should sniff it, too!

    • Remind me, which violets have you tried? I’d recommend the old Caron Violette Precieuse, which is the perfect violet, but you can’t get it at all anymore :(( so you don’t need your heart broken too on that one.

      • I guess I could force myself to be a little heartbroken, since I can’t get to even try it.

        So far I’ve tried Violetta di Parma (very sweet), Keiko Mecheri Genie du Bois (almost perfect), Tom Ford Black Violet (it’s so dark and depressing that it’s cute), Guerlain L’heure Bleue and Apres L’Ondee (they both make me want to adopt kittens – which strangely also makes them almost perfect), Lutens Bois de Violette (interesting, but fleeting), one of the VS limited edition garden scents had violet listed as a note (jolly rancher), CB’s Violet Empire (sweet), and Cuir Amethyste (I keep trying this one, and I keep getting caramel popcorn). I know there’s a lot more out there and I’m always open to suggestions! Not that I mind the search…

        • Hi Abigail,

          I’m also on the quest for a perfect violet. Aroma M Green Geisha is a good violet with a hit of absinthe. Love it! It’a a bit funky and sexy – keeps me sniffing my wrist all day. Purrrr… I’d be happy to send you a sample, and I can also pass along a hit of the original Caron Violette Precieuse.

          Love your HG categories, btw. I am presently on a big violet kick, and a carnation kick, too, thanks to NST.

          Such fun!

            • Yep, no problem! I’m happy to enable another violet-seeker :)>-

              I think Patty has my e-mail address. Christen from Seattle…

  30. OK, so this is late, but how many of you have your credit card numbers memorized? :@)

    • Girl, I’m whipping mine out to hit the Frip right now :d

  31. I’m not sure which way that one cuts, though. Like, if you had a lot of credit cards, you might use them all the time but still not be able to remember the numbers (hypothetically speaking)?
    :-” –Ellen

  32. Ellen: I am glad you suggested the Guilty Liberal category. I’m definintely that sort of piggy. From the responses to Angela S.’s NST article on how worrisome it is that perfume does not contribute to world peace, it seems like there are a lot of us out here. I’ve been trying to find child care for my 15-month daughter over the last couple weeks. It’s been kind of a scary search, but the one depressing/funny thing is that I’ve had this embarrassing moment at each place I’ve interviewed at where I’ve had to explain why she sniffs everything obsessively. She’ll go through a whole pail of building blocks or rods, smelling each one thoughtfully. She’s less than two years old and I’ve turned her into a compulsive luxury consumer!

    • Hey, Erin: Thanks for steering me to that discussion. (Anyone interested can go to the Now Smell This blog for May 22, 2007.) I’m glad to see people caring about their consumption level, even if we all admit we don’t have all the answers.

      As to your sweet little daughter, isn’t it just as likely that she’s refining her artistic sensibilities? Sounds adorable. –Ellen

  33. Don’t know how I would categorize myself, but the photograph of the piggy is priceless. His gleeful expression makes me giggle every time I look at it!:d

  34. Great post, Patty! And how I needed this info. I’m new to all of this — purchasing decants, sampling, swapping, etc., but already I find myself in the latter group of the advanced perfume sampling illness. And I see no end in sight. But it’s always a bright spot in my day when I can sample new and interesting, or old and classic fragrances. I bring several of my little sample bags to work to go through on my lunch hour, or when I’m bored, or when no one is looking. Now, I haven’t gone into debt for anything, nor will I. And I won’t purchase full bottles until I am thoroughly satisfied that I am in love with a fragrance after testing several samples and decants (thanks to you for that!) And I am patient enough to be able to wait. (Did I actually write that? I am not patient, but I do wait — sometimes!) I did almost beg our friends who moved to Paris last year to PUHLEEZE send me bell jars of SLs or other goodies after I had fallen madly in love with so many SLs. But I refrained and found someone else who does that for a living to do my big Paris perfume bidding for me until I can get there myself. I think one of the best things I’ve discovered since contracting this “disease” are the wonderful people who are so generous with their knowledge, time, experitise, and most of all — their fragrances. What a wonderful world the fragrance world is. I only wish I had found you all years ago. But I’m a quick study and I’m catching up!

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