Unexplored riches

By Ann

With the explosion of niche houses in recent years (not to mention the hefty output from mainstream firms), it’s nearly impossible to try everything that’s out there. And sometimes in the great crush of new releases, even entire lines can get overlooked.

I was browsing Luckyscent and other fragrance sites recently and realized that I’d never tried anything by Histoires de Parfums, Heeley or Etat Libre d’Orange (and there are probably more that just didn’t register with me, but I’ll realize later). I hadn’t made a conscious choice to avoid them or anything, it just never came about (except I think that maybe I have a little mental block about Secretions Magnifiques 😉 ).
Anyway, one of these days, I’m going to rectify this, get a whole-house sampler and go to town!

What about you? Are there any fragrance lines that you’ve never tried but would like to? Perhaps you’ve just discovered a favorite scent from one and are looking to explore the rest. Or, at the other extreme, is there one house that you just avoid?

  • nozknoz says:

    Despite voracious sampling, I fall farther and farther behind. There are more lines on Luckyscent that I haven’t sampled than ones that I have, and even the lines that I have sampled have come out with new series that I haven’t yet tried. And then there are the sample sets that I do have but haven’t had time to test yet….

    Usually, if I try one or two scents from a line that don’t thrill me, I don’t try any more. Hence, Montale is one of the lines that I haven’t explored and probably never will.

    • Ann says:

      Yes, that makes two of us — I usually feel woefully behind as well when it comes to sampling. And I’m of the same mind when it comes to a line: A couple of tries and no fireworks, then let’s move on. I liked several of Montale’s vanillas but so much of the line is aouds — not one of the better notes for me.

  • Teri says:

    I’ve pretty much ignored the existence of Creed, for some reason. I did split a bottle of Virgin Island Water with a friend of mine and I just love it. But for some reason I’ve never been interested in sampling any of their other offerings. It seems counterintuitive, but there you have it.

    I usually do try to sample at least one scent from each new line that comes out, even those that don’t appeal to me on paper. Sometimes lines come and go so quickly, that I feel I need to jump in right away or risk missing them entirely.

    • Ann says:

      Teri, I understand perfectly where you’re coming from. Sometimes a line just doesn’t float your boat, and that’s OK. And you’re right — with some of them, if you wait, you miss them and they’re gone for good. Even now, wish I had gone ahead and splurged and bought a bottle of Indult’s Tihota, before it went bye-bye.

  • Lisa D says:

    I’ve wanted to try Parfums MDCI (though I find the bottle design, um, awful), and Hilde Soliani, as well as Xerjoff (am I the only one who gets weirdly dyslexic when I read that name?). I might spring for some samples from Hilde Soliani, but the other two are well out of my comfort zone when it comes to price. Shoot, the samples are out of my comfort zone. 🙂

    Oh! CB I Hate Perfume! I hear interesting things about this line, but haven’t managed to get my hands on any, yet.

    • Barbara says:

      The first time I saw Xerjoff I read it as jerkoff!

      • Ann says:

        You’re not alone — it always throws me, too!!

      • Lisa D says:

        That’s IT! Thank goodness I’m not the only one. I get a bad case of Beavis and Butthead every time I see the name, then feel rather silly about it.

  • Patricia Hall Borow says:

    I still sample widely for the blog, usually just little sample vials from LS. I must have a couple of hundred of them sitting around, since I used to save them for “reference” — now, I just open them up and pour the whole thing into my hand, then apply it. I’m more of a decant hound these days anyway. To somebody with a big collection, 10 mls lasts a long time! I can’t think of any lines from which I haven’t sampled something, but wish I had the wherewithal to sample everything from each.

    Ann, pm me before you buy a Rosine set!

  • Fellow sample-holic, Ann! I would still love to explore DSH, Joanne Bassett perfumes, Byredo (I recently sampled 3–Tulipe, Pulp and Gypsy Water–and loved all 3!), Boadiacea (sp?), Sage, Neil Morris and so many more!

    Some lines, especially the Indies, have so many choices I get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

    Y’all are reminding me of more things to try! Thanks for a great article! 🙂

  • Elisa says:

    Xerjoff, Amouage, Strange Invisible Perfumes. All the really pricey ones! Actually I think I did smell one of the Amouges at Aedes last summer, but it didn’t translate on paper, and I have a sample of Ubar I just haven’t sniffed yet.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Elisa. I’m not well-versed in any of those lines and it’s just as well with my budget. I did try some Amouage classics early on, but they were a bit too rich or something for me, so I rarely revisit that house. But do try your Ubar and see what you think.

  • Rena says:

    I had avoided the chanel exclusif line because I was too intimidated to walk into the boutique (not being rich or particularly elegant looking). Finally got the nerve up a couple of months ago so now 31 Rue Cambon and Bois des Iles are on my full-bottle wishlist.

    • Ann says:

      Good for you! I feel that way sometimes, but I try to hold my head high and walk right in. I remind myself that my money is as good as anyone else’s (even if I’m broke — they don’t know that!). So glad you found two new loves.

  • Brooke says:

    I am a big sample gal so I have been able to fill in some gaps over the last year – EdLO, Parfumerie Generale, and Pafums de Nicolai. I wish the three lines had some brick and mortar presence in San Francisco. I still haven’t sampled many of the Rosines and most of the Italian houses sold on Luckyscent (Santa Maria Novella, Il Profumo, Bruno Acompora, Farmacia SS Annunciata), Keiko M, Boadicea the Victorious…There are so many. I just need to go at my own pace.

    • Ann says:

      Oooh, lucky you to live in SF — one of my all-time favorite cities! I think we all need a perfume road trip to L.A. to visit Scent Bar. We could probably get caught up in a week or so, you think? 🙂

    • nozknoz says:

      I haven’t tried most of those Italian lines, either. Mainly because there are fewer reviews, I guess.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    Thus far, I’ve been meaning to explore Creed. That I’ve tried is Fluers de Bulgarie (please for give the spelling, I just came back from a concert). When I remember to try them, I get sidetracked with something else. Now I’m off to get a Creed sampler pack that I have had my eye on.

    • Ann says:

      A great idea! Would love to hear which ones you like best. Every time I go by the Creed counter, there are so many bottles out, that it overwhelms me a bit (plus, I’m a little clumsy, and one false move — I can just see them toppling and crashing over like dominoes. Yikes!). I do like their Sublime Vanilla and Royal Oud, though.

  • Sam says:

    I can go pretty sample-crazy, so I’ve tried at least one perfume from most lines. But never anything from Histoires de Parfums, even tho I find the concept so interesting. I think it all seems a bit overwhelming to me–which part of history should I start with? I hope you do get that whole-house sampler at some point, and then review their fragrances. Maybe that would help me decide where to start!

    • Ann says:

      Sam, I think that same “not knowing where to start” trips me up too. Not sure if I’m brave enough to review the whole line, though, but we’ll see. Thanks!

      • Sam says:

        Yes, reviewing the whole line might end up a life project. Well, even if you review just one, I look forward to it! 🙂

        • Ann says:

          Thanks! Maybe I can at least figure out which ones are the most accessible and give other newbies (like us) at least a starting point for the line.

  • Fernando says:

    There are lots of lines I haven’t investigated, but Partumerie Geneale and Parfums MDCI are probably the most famous ones. I may have sniffed one or two, but there are no memories of them. In the end, there’s just too much out there!

    • Ann says:

      I love Indochine and Cadjmere from PG but hadn’t tried MDCI either until a friend sent me a sample of their pear-centric La Belle Helene. Now I want to explore the line further as it does seem very classy and well-done.

  • Sapphire says:

    I haven’t tried many of the indie houses. Liked SSS Champagne de Bois and Tabac Aurea samples OK, but not enough to buy a FB. Got the discovery sample set from Ineke and was disappointed to not like a one. Also ordered Secret Garden, Haute Claire, and Honey blossom and really didn’t care for them. Tried 3 Tauer’s and only half cared for one. So now I am really reluctant to try any indie perfumes, though a lot of the DSH ones sound tempting, and so do a few of the SSS ones that I haven’t tried yet. Any suggestions for indie houses that I am more likely to enjoy (that maybe have less in common with the ones I didn’t)?

  • AnnieA says:

    Too scared to try any of the Amouage line on case I like one…

    • Ann says:

      Oh, boy, do I hear you on that! Lucky for me, early in my perfumista life, I tried several of their classics and found that they were just too much for me. So save for Memoir and maybe one other, in general, the house is not for me. Wanting to try the Beloved however, one day — hope springs eternal (except for my wallet, of course!).

  • pam says:

    I’m not a big sample collector. I’d rather save my $ for a FB. So I’ve pretty much missed the niche lines, since they are not available around these parts. I have tried Bond No. 9 (whatever) and Creed (not really), which makes me wonder if I would feel that way about other pricey houses. But after sniffing Miriam from a sample I won, Andy Tauer’s scents would be my first stop.

    • Ann says:

      Hey, sweet Pam! I think we’re opposites then — I’m a sample-holic and can’t seem to commit to a full bottle of anything (except some beloved oldies like the original Cartier Musts, Organza Indecence, Calyx, etc., that I never want to be without). And yes, that Miriam is nice. Not all of the Tauers agree with me, but there are several in there that I really like.

    • Joanna says:

      I’ve been hoping someone would review the Susanne Lang scents on Luckyscent. They’re not very expensive, ($50 a bottle.) Tamboti Wood and Lotus Blossom sound interesting.

      • Ann says:

        Glad you mentioned that line. I’ve tried a couple (can’t remember which) but liked them. Thanks!

  • reglisse says:

    I am of the school that avoids really pricey stuff, so I’ve pretty much thrown out the Amouge, the By Killians and the like. If I fall in love, I have to be able to afford it. Doesn’t mean I won’t try to get hold of a sample, but fortunately I”ve rarely found the cost/benefit ratio on that extremely expensive stuff to pan out. (Although I’m saving my pennies for Amber 114 by Histoires, which is about at the top of my price range. So worth it, though!)

    As far as lines I avoid In general, Creed is probably number 1. With all respect to the Creed fans out there, I’ve sampled 4 or 5 (not a lot) and they all have this disgusting ammoniac diaper note on me, which I am guessing is part of their base. No thank you.

    And Bond No. 9 has never floated my boat, either. I have no idea why.

    • Ann says:

      Oh, that’s so funny that you mention Amber 114 as that’s the photo up today with my post. It sounded yummy in the description, notes, etc., so maybe that’s a good entry point for that line. Thanks! Creed has so much that except for one or two I like, I feel too overwhelmed to try more; same thing with Bond No. 9. And I’m not the browser/shopper I used to be, so I figure it’s money saved.

  • Poodle says:

    I’m trying to explore a few more houses just so I have a frame of reference for certain things but some of those samples are just so pricey. I do try things that no one really mentions much just to see if I can get in on the next big thing. You can spend a lot of money on samples though so I try to be selective. I’m beginning to see who has similar tastes to me on the blogs so if one of those people says that something is fabulous I know there’s a good chance I won’t be wasting my money and will probably like it. I’m also one of those people who would rather take a chance on a FB blind buy if the price is right rather than get a few 1/2ml samples of other things.

    • Ann says:

      Poodle, I admire you for your restraint. I’ve had to cut back recently, so I’m trying to be more selective but it’s hard. Those samples can really add up though. You’re smart to find some scent twins out there to use as guides.

  • Kirsten Scranton says:

    I loved Heeley’s Sel Marin. It is the ocean, no tanning smell, just salt and sun and deep water.

  • Lucas says:

    I ordered 2 discovery sets from Histoires de Parfums less than two weeks ago and after 2 days they were at my place, all safe and sound. I’ve written a review for each and every scent that was included in my sample sets (7 frags – 7 reviews in total, I ordered more than 1 sample for few)

    I’ve never sampled anything from by Kilian, Amouage an many many more…

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Lucas, and welcome! I didn’t realize they had sample sets, so good to know. Which were your favorites?

      • Lucas says:

        You can order a discovery set – it contains 6 samples of your own choice and duplicats are allowed.

        I’m totally in love in 1725 Casanova (odered a 14ml travel spray)! 1969, 1889 and 1740 were my other favourites

        • Ann says:

          So happy you found several to love. Guess I’d better get busy. Thanks for the recommendations.

  • Joanna says:

    I wish I would have tried all the Mona di Orio scents as they came out. I have several on my wishlist at Luckyscent, (Jabu, Chamarre, etc…) but they are no longer available. I love what I have sampled, especially Cuir and Musc from the Les Nombres d’Or collection.
    I’d like to try more of the Nasomatto line as well. I really dig Nuda but it’s way to expensive to splurge on a fb and even the samples are expensive at about $7 a pop for only .7ml.

    I’ve been trying not to buy as many samples. 5 or 6 1 ml samples and all of sudden I realize I could have just gotten a fb of something fabulous on ebay. I’d love to spend more time and $ exploring some of the new or indie niche lines but their samples are just too expensive. I usually wait now until I hear good things before I give it a go.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Joanna. I’m with you on the di Orio line; wish I had explored it earlier too. I’ve not tried Nasomatto, but good to know that you liked Nuda; thanks!

  • annemariec says:

    My untried list is similar to Dionne’s. And I sort of run a philosophy of not even trying the really expensive lines in case I fall in love. Perfumes that are expensive even to sample (Malle isan example, By Kilian, Xerjoff,) never mind obtain as full bottles, I avoid. In a sense that is a silly attitude, because if I really love something I could probably find the money for it, even I have to live on lentils ffor a few weeks. But that brings its own stresses too. The greatest pleasure for me comes from a fragracne like Habanita, which smells niche and expensive, but isn’t.

    • reglisse says:

      Come sit with me in the cheap seats! I agree with you about the Habanitas and Bvlgari Blacks of the perfume world.

      • Ann says:

        So true, ladies! I don’t blame you; that sounds like smart thinking. And I love Habanita and Black, too. Unfortunately though, I am a bit of a commitment-phobe when it comes to full bottles, so I end up being a sample-holic.

  • Dionne says:

    There are so many that I still haven’t tried – it’s the downside of a slow, frugalista approach. Let’s see, besides the ones you’ve mentioned, Parfums de Rosine, Le Labo, Amouage, By Kilian, none of the Lutens beside ISM, CBIHP, Eau d’Italie, Miller Harris, Divine, Francis Kurkdjian; I’ve only tried one from The Different Company, L’Artisan, Penhaligon and Atelier. And that’s not counting any of the indies that are on my TBS spreadsheet.

    • Ann says:

      Dionne, there’s so much out there, it’s mind-boggling, isn’t it? I don’t think I’ve tried Divine, Eau d’Italie and a couple of others you mentioned either. And thanks for mentioning the indie lines; some great ones around and I think I’ve only tried Tauer so far.

  • Furriner says:

    I have kinda ignored Les Parfums de Rosine. I figured they were girly roses and, really, how many rose fragrances do I need? I recently tried, then bought Rose Praline, which I like a lot, and think I should take a look at the rest of the house.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, and thanks — that’s another one I forgot about! In fact, I saw this line just today and walked right on by. In my defense, I’m not a big rose fan at all, although I’ve found a few that work well on me. You’ve piqued my interest now, especially that Praline you mentioned. And the bottles are quite lovely …