Happy holidays, everybody – hope you’re well. It’s snowing here as I type this, with the weather service predicting anything from one to ten inches, so … who knows. We’re ready.
I thought I’d steal borrow an idea from Now Smell This and have a holiday open thread – anything perfume-y you want to talk about. Did you get a special scent as a present? Did you wear a scent for a special occasion, and how did it work out? Do you have any questions for your perfume buddies, like a good gift scent, or a source for a fragrance you’re having trouble finding (or remembering the name of), or anything else?
Just so I’m not completely worthless – I got asked in a post recently about how I organize samples. I have a ton, since I’ve been at this for a few years, and I keep most of mine for reference. Anyone who’s been at this for more than a couple of months will discover pretty quickly that The Samples Are Everywhere, sometimes to the annoyance of anyone else who shares your living quarters. Here’s my response, with some edits and extra info:
I keep my samples sorted by house (so I can find all of a line at once), keep the houses together in small Zip-lock bags, and then sort them alphabetically into shoe-box-sized sealed plastic tubs from the Container Store. You could use Tupperware or something equally sturdy. It’s good to have them all the same size. They are stackable, labeled A-C (or whatever) and I keep them on a shelf in the closet. When lots of samples are carded or one tub gets too tight, I add another tub – I bought extras, not knowing how many I’d need. (Example – L’Artisan has its own box now.) I have 12 tubs at this point.
I tend to let all the samples pile up in a big silver bowl and then, once a month or so, when the bowl’s full, I spend an hour making piles on the bed and putting the sorted samples into their correct boxes. A glass of wine helps.
I really do get them out for reference, like if I’m trying to decide if something new smells like something else. I have at this point, thousands of samples, probably.
My biggest fail, since I don’t keep a spreadsheet is: did I file Serge Lutens under S or L? So sometimes I discover “missing” samples like that.
There are flaws in this system. Larger samples and decants might be in the box, but probably not in the little Zip-lock bag. Also, if it’s something I have a decant of, I probably like it enough to want to wear it occasionally, and those I keep out, which requires some rummaging, although you’d be surprised how quickly I can find something. If I had to do it all over again, and I probably will, I’d buy taller boxes – ones I can fit 10ml decants into upright, since I don’t like storing them on their sides. Most of my large decants are in a dresser drawer, or on a shelf in my walk-in closet.
I know some of you are much more exacting about this – you have Excel spreadsheets detailing every sample, where and when you got it, the notes, etc. Feel free to comment on your system.
When I’m contemplating a review of a scent, I google the fragrance(s) and see what’s been said already. I read other blog reviews, and I often look at what people say on MakeupAlley (MUA). The MUA reviews are not highbrow — which I like. They’re just a broad swath of what people (not necessarily perfume nuts) thought/felt about a scent, which I find useful. The lists of notes for a scent I try to grab first from the manufacturer’s website, or, failing that, from LuckyScent (which likely got them from the perfumer), Osmoz, Fragrantica, and/or other blogs. You might be surprised how much those note lists can differ; I try to go with whichever combination smells most plausible to me, noting, where appropriate, if there’s not much to be found, or if there are wildly divergent lists, which can happen with older scents. Since manufacturers, old and new, can be pretty coy with those lists – or write things like breath of praline or throbbing zebrawood or molten river of musk — your guess is as good as mine. Also, since the notes themselves are suggestions of what we’re meant to smell, as opposed to the actual ingredients (a fragrance with blooming iris and notes of warm sand doesn’t contain either) you’ve got to take it with a grain of salt.
Okay, your turn! Perfume comments, questions, gripes, thoughts – knock yourself out.
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