Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Perfume: The Tasting Menu Approach

So I was looking at Luckyscent, putting a bunch of Parfums de Nicolai samples in my cart.

Then I decided, no, I should narrow and make some purchasing decisions, that's the sensible thing to do. So I went to The Perfumed Court and put a decant of Nicolai's Number One, and another one of vintage Bandit EDT, in my cart. Because using up a large decant is supposed to be how I make a purchasing decision.

Then I went back to LuckyScent and put a bunch of Nez a Nez samples in my cart.

Then I stared blankly at all my shopping carts and came here to write a post. About sampling versus buying. And the reason behind this whole thing.

What is the reason behind this whole thing?

It seems logical that I should stop sampling everything under the sun and narrow down to bottle purchases. But that assumes that the goal is to decide on, and make, bottle purchases. But is it?

We recently (on our idleness and gluttony weekend) went to a very nice restaurant for a very nice tasting menu. I tasted, I think, ten new dishes. (Itty bitty couple-of-bites dishes.) Most were glorious. And I don't expect to have the opportunity to taste any of them ever again. And that doesn't reduce my enjoyment, in the experience or the memory, one little bit.

So... you see where I'm going here? Maybe it's not that I should stop sampling and make up my mind. Maybe it's that I should stop making up my mind and broaden my sampling.


Photo: By Daderot. Wikimedia Commons.


  1. :) I like the way you came up with the reason to sample. I stick to the same philosophy (and buy bottles when I feel something should come in a larger amount).

  2. I like the way you're thinking. Although I've called my blog 'signature scent' as time goes by I'm moving away from that idea more and more. It's great to smell lovely - and different - all the time. I couldn't stand the idea of finding the 'best' scent and wearing it for the next twenty years. I love your tasting menu approach - it's a whole new outlook on life.

  3. I'm in the same quandry - I have loads of samples, and this morning on my drive to work I'm thinking that I'll never have a signature scent if I smell different every day, and which rose (which I'm kinda sampling all week) should I purchase? and why am I worrying about which bottles I should purchase, which lead to even more questions and thoughts, and basically thanks for this post because well it helped me answer my own questions!


  4. Count me in the chorus-- you've really nailed something here. I think the dream of the "one true scent" is still alive in me-- it keeps me hungry, but as I sniff more and more, I'm less attached to the idea of "The One." There's probably something really deep to say about all that...

  5. LCN, I'm thinking that I am just truly madly a perfume whore! ;)


    I love finding the right scent for the day, the mood, the purpose...

    And a good 30-40% of the stuff I bought bottles of early on, because they were "good deals," I don't really wear. On the other hand, having identified a few scents that I really, really love - I'm less inclined to buy bottles of something similar to the beloveds. Sniff similar, yes. Buy similar, no.

  7. Hey, everybody!

    Ines, yep, I'm not sure why this didn't seem like an obvious point of view, but it didn't until now.

    Hiya, Debby! I'm glad you agree.

    Hey, SignatureScent! I knew I'd never go to _one_ scent, but I had a vision of, oh, eighty or so bottles. But something about staring at thirty things that I really want to sample _just today_ made me realize that I can never have enough bottles, so why not abandon bottles, instead of abandoning enough?

    Frida! I'm glad it helped answer your question. :)

    LCN, I figure that if we don't insist on monogamy in everything else - food, clothes, books - why should we for scents? I do still like the idea of a scent that my friends associate with me, but I don't like it _that_ much.

    Mals, yep, I'm uncomfortable at the number of "good deal", "they're OK" bottles in my collection. I need to get into a mindset that allows me to get rid of the ones that I don't really love.

    I suspect that all of this also ties into the fact that I have hoarding genes in my family. The idea of experiencing a beautiful scent and not needing to own it is totally in opposition to those genes, and therefore also an exciting and freeing concept. Letting beautiful, worthwhile things go, over and over and over and over... that oughta smack the hoarding tendency around nicely. I think.

  8. Haha! I suffer from the hoarding gene as the end, my father lived entombed by books, books, more books, the last 20 years of The Church Times, holiday brochures stretching back to the dawn of package holidays, old mail order catalogues and even some editions of Life and Picture Post that may be worth a bob or two. But he was literally immobilised by STUFF.

    That memory serves as a warning to me: I have my overflowing fridge and three drawers and there is simply no room to grow further, so I have swapped away most of my early mistakes and am trying to "churn" my collection so that - while still large - it is more uniformly loved.

    My sampling rate has slowed hugely, as I feel concerned that I am not enjoying what I own. I am still curious about a bunch of new launches, but I am generally hunkering down more after two frenetic years.

  9. I smell a post coming on: "Ho" or "Hoarder"?

    I am super selective about bottle buying, but samplers-- I'll buy/sniff just about anything. I've never been a collector of anything. I'm the opposite of a "stuff" person. But I have hoarding in my family, and I notice my unwillingness to part with all but the most distasteful samples. ("Surely I'll want to smell DHS "Prince" again?") Can't...quite...bring myself to throw away the obnoxious Kenzo testers I got at Bloomies one day.

    I'm hoping that, like you, FS, I'll slow down some day soon.

  10. Hey, flittersniffer and LCN! OK, now I'm wondering how many perfume freaks have hoarding in the family. Is the perfume-freakery a way to give that tendency an outlet in a controlled way?

    Perfume's small, and the bottles are lovely objects, and you can do a lot of thrashing and churning for each purchase, and you use it without using it up ... it gives the acquisition and owning and gloating and admiring urges a lot of air time, without resulting in too much junk in the house.

    Hmm. Maybe another post. Here or in the declutter blog? (Heck, sounds like we could _all_ post on perfume and hoarding.)

  11. I'm a hoarder w/certain things (art supplies, yarn, knitting needles and now perfume) - but I watch "Hoarders" occassionally so I don't let myself go crazy! ;)

  12. Yeah, I've been watching Hoarders pretty reliably. It's gotten to the point where I say unpleasant things, out loud, to the hoarders on the screen. ("It's got _mice_ in it, for bleep's sake! Throw it out!") This is probably a sign that I should stop watching. :)