Fragrance is a growing obsession of mine – so much so that I’m growing bored of what is currently being sold at Sephora, Macy’s and Nordstrom. I blame the fragrance bloggers. The best bloggers are gifted writers that can transform fragrances into special moments in time, specific places in the world or the most delicious melon or dark chocolate you can get your hands on. Each post would pique my curiosity more than the day before. I often wondered how these writers are able to afford all these beautiful and very expensive fragrances. Also, did they really love each one of these bottles enough to own a full size?
I know many stores and boutiques offer fragrance samples – some, like Nordstrom, even allow the customer to make their own samples by leaving empty vials and spray tops right next to the fragrances at the counter. I collected my share of free samples from counters but I wanted the little known brands, the exotic scents, the real deal expensive juices!
After some investigation, I found online companies that actually sell samples and decants. The formal definition of decant is to pour from one vessel to another. These companies will spray, pour or use a clean pipette to transfer the perfume from a full bottle into a smaller (brand new) bottle. I use these sites quite often when I am craving new scents and I don’t have the money to buy a full bottle that may retail $150 and more for just 50mls/1.69 oz.
This is the very first company I have purchased samples from. I have since made many a purchase through this site – they also sell decanting supplies like pipettes, clean sterile bottles in different sizes. I love that they include candy in with your purchase. Who doesn’t like candy? Prices can vary from $2.99 up to $8.79 or more. You can order from a .05ml sample up to a 15ml spray decant. The pricier the bottle the pricier the sample and decant. If you sign up for the newsletter, you will receive special monthly discounts on their inventory.
This Los Angeles boutique sells new full sized bottles but you can also purchase (some) samples of these fragrances before actually committing. I hope to visit this store in person when I make a trip down south in August. They are prompt with shipping and they have a great collection. Prices for samples range from $3-$14 for a .07ml or.02ml (that’s if it’s a concentrated oil and to prevent leakage) vial.
My latest favorite: www.min.com
A specialty NYC fragrance boutique that’s an experience to be had. They offer fragrance flights (similar to wine tastings) in their boutique. They also offer a sample program – Concierge Service. For $10 (excluding shipping) you can purchase five samples of bottles offered in their store. I have participated in this program twice. I am currently thinking about my third sample order. I hope to make an in person visit one day – the owner assisted me via Facebook when I had questions about certain fragrances. This is stellar customer service and I hope to make a personal visit next time I’m in NYC.
You can also discover more resources if you join fragrance groups online. I am a member of a fragrance group on Facebook and many of these members are willing to share and make decants for a fee. Some of the generous members I have bought decants or split bottles with have sent me hand made samples of other fragrances in their collection.
If you don’t want to purchase fragrance samples unsniffed, “blind buy” then you can find Frederic Malle, Serge Luten, Le Labo, Byredo, By Killian and other niche brands at the fragrance counters of Barneys, Neiman Marcus/Bergdorf Goodman or Saks Fifth Avenue. Be friendly to sales associates, ask many questions and don’t be afraid to smell. These associates want to build a relationship with you – they are more than likely willing to give you one or even three samples if they sense your curiosity and passion. I have been given up to six samples at the By Killian counter as Saks by just being super friendly, curious and showing I had some fragrance knowledge.
Don’t forget that most fragrances now come in handy roller-ball forms perfect for travel or your purse/gym bag for a fraction of the price of a full bottle. Remember fragrance is extremely personal and subjective. Pick one that makes you truly happy, regardless of price tag. Also, there’s always a good reason to break out your fragrance – don’t just let it sit on your dresser collecting dust waiting for that special moment.
Lastly, proceed with caution. You can go awry with collecting samples and decants.
A growing fragrance obsession can make your dresser look like the photo above – my husband really needs to build a fragrance storage system for me!
- Married to the Mob Sample Sale on PLNDR.com
- Tom Ford Violet Blonde Review
- The Beauty Link List 5.27.10
- Benefit: Sale-abration! Save up to 70%. Plus, free shipping with $35 order.
- A Look at Bond No. 9 2011 Holiday Collection