Fumblings of a Fledgling Fumehead – How I Got Started: Discovery & Sample Sets

My apologies lovely readers. I tempted you with my Fumblings of a Fledgling Fumehead Introduction post and then ended up feeling too intimidated to delve any further into documenting my fragrant adventures. I’m such a tease! 
I thought a good place to start would be to show you exactly how I got started down the path to becoming a full blown perfumista. The fabulous world of sample/discovery sets! Please hear my message perfume houses of the world. PLEASE OFFER SAMPLES! Even more importantly please offer reasonably priced sample/discovery sets. Because you know what’s going to happen don’t you? We are going to fall in love with at least one, if not many, scents and we will NEED full bottles. Isn’t that the goal. Also the amount of feverish discussion of your scents in the perfume lovers communities is the best possible free advertising you could ever have. We live to enable one another. An incredible example of the advantages of offering samples to possible future customers is the incredibly generous and genius Kilian Club. Every day people are sharing and discussing their experiences sampling the incredible By Kilian creations. The kind and handsome Mr. Hennessey offered those who joined his Facebook Fan Club a beautiful pouch of samples from his L’Oeuvre Noire collection for free. I mean how incredible is that?! I for one am not in a location where sampling his line is possible. To be able to sample and appreciate these scents in the comfort of my own home has been a joy and has me craving one of his incredibly beautiful full bottles so badly I don’t know how to contain myself.

OK now where was? By Kilian was not part of the start of my journey but rather came later. But By Kilian does understand the value of samples and has even recently released a fabulous Discovery Set of his L’Oeuvre Noire collection containing 7.5ml sizes of all 10 scents! 
So after I started expressing my interest in learning more about fragrance in the beautiful fragrance community I also started asking for recommendations of samples to try. I was hoping to find websites to purchase various samples from. There are options in this area like The Perfumed Court and several others where they sell you decanted samples from full bottles they have on hand. It can become a pricey endeavor. I instead decided to focus on samples being offered online directly from the perfumer. Here are the sets I ordered the week of my crazy perfume sample buying binge a couple of months ago:
From Ineke:

Ormonde Jayne’s Discovery Set is comprised of 12 x 2ml mini sprays of eau de perfume, together with a brochure explaining each perfume, all housed in a black and gold box… and whats more, the shipping is complimentary worldwide.

From Opus Oils:
I ordered pretty much every one of their samples and sample packs!
I am so happy with my purchases! It has been an incredible journey and learning experience. It is amazing to be able to sample such a variety of scents from such a range of perfumers. I can’t imagine buying a perfume “blind”. While I’m an avid online shopper for cosmetics and buy things untested/unsceen all the time I can’t fathom taking that risk on bottles of perfume. Not to mention some of these can be quite the investment. Even lets say I was lucky enough to live nearby a boutique that sold all of these scents and had them available for testing. Trying to sniff testers at a store and maybe trying the odd one on or taking a scent strip home can in no way compare to the luxury of fully wearing a scent for two or three days from a sample vial to get the true experience.
There are still so many houses to explore that offer this option. Some of the ones I’m hoping to order next are:
Neil Morris Signature Collection Sampler:
One or two Tauer Discovery Sets:
Some Aftelier samples:
Sonomo Scents Studio sample set:
Deluxe Sampler from Liz Zorn:
Penhaligon’s Scent Library:
Aroma M Perfume Samples:
DSH Perfumes Sampler Packs:
Amouage Sampler Box:

Natural Perfumes by JoAnne Bassett sampler packs:

Xerjoff Discovery Sets:

Possets Perfume sample sets:

And I know there are many more I’m forgetting or that I have yet to discover!

I hope this has inspired you to try something new. I would love to hear your thoughts and share in the adventure with you! xo

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  • Daisy
    November 18, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    ooooh…such pretty sample sets! And I agree—that Kilian Hennessey is a freaking GENIUS! I know he got his money’s worth out of sending me that sample pack!
    Some of the sample sets available are a little pricey. I wonder what would happen to sales if some of these houses offered samples for free or even at a low cost. (I’d be even more broke!)

    Can’t wait to read the next installment of your jouney 🙂

  • olfactoriastravels.com
    November 18, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    I agree with every word in your post, Christa!
    It is such an exiting revelation, discovering the niche perfume world, isn’t it?
    Kilian is amazing and deserves every attention he can get.
    One more company I can think of right now, who offer a sample set, is Parfum d’Empire. Also very worth checking out.

  • Julie
    November 18, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Great post! If there’s a sample/discovery set, I definitely buy it. I own the Ormonde Jayne, the Ineke, the Amouage, the By Kilian, and I just ordered the Juliette has a Gun, thanks to you! Can’t wait to hear some of your reviews 🙂
    @jewel_makeup on Twitter

  • Julie
    November 18, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    How could I forget Aroma M and Tauer? I have those as well!

  • PerilouslyPale
    November 18, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    Daisy is they dropped the prices on some of those sample sets I KNOW they would sell a lot more and therefore sell a lot more full bottles. Here’s hoping. 😉

    Thanks Birgit! I will check that out and maybe add it 😉

    That’s great Julie!!

  • luv2smilexo
    November 18, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    Love everything about this article. I have actually ordered from luckyscent and the perfumed court as well and been pretty happy. I fell absolutely in love with Serge Lutens bois oriental and ordered a decant from the perfumed court since it isnt available in the US.
    Also, Atelier offers free samples on their facebook page.

    Question, which opus oils did you like? I ordered the soliflores and didn’t love any of them. 🙁

  • PerilouslyPale
    November 18, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    Thanks Christina! I actually should have mentioned LuckyScent! Being in Canada the shipping can be pretty pricey but it is still an amazing option especially for you lucky ones in the US.
    I didn’t know about Atelier. Thanks!
    I didn’t have luck with the soliflores I’ve tried so far but I think I’ve only tried 2? I have SO MANY to work through I’ve barely made a dent so far. Maybe I didn’t need to order them all at once! LOL I think offhand a couple I liked were DSW and Tramp. I need to try some more soon!

  • Undina
    November 19, 2011 at 7:48 AM

    Great post! I love when companies offer samples/discovery sets. I’d rather pay for a manufacturer sample then for a handmade one.
    Whenever I find a brand that offers samples from their site I save a bookmark to come back later when I decide to test that brand. Ineke and Ormonde Jayne were my first two sets.

  • Klara
    November 22, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    Great post! Because of you I just tried to order a sample set of Parfum d’Empire scents but they don’t ship to Slovenia 🙁 I’ve ordered samples from Histoires de Parfums and Frederic Malle before as well and I really wish all perfume house would do these discovery sets (cough Lutens cough). x

  • Sharon Freeman
    May 31, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    What a fabulous post I have some of the Tauers, Afteliers and Opus Oils. The rest of my samples have come from Lucky Scent, Surrender to Chance or The Perfumed Court. I am going to order the By Kilian, Ormande Jayne and Ineke as a start.


  • Homero A Machado
    March 1, 2014 at 6:27 AM

    Thanl you for the post it’s great. Obrigado pelo post. Ótimo.


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About the Editor

Christa Potter is a professional makeup artist with a passion for introducing women to the newest and best in beauty with a touch of fashion and lifestyle.

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