Columns Addicted: The Agony & Ecstasy of Fragrance Samples

Addicted: The Agony & Ecstasy of Fragrance Samples

02/27/17 17:52:59 (70 comments)

by: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

 

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My initiation into the world of fragrance began with a collection of samples. I can recall a trip to the Caribbean back when shopping for fragrances while on holiday meant finding rare scents at duty free prices. Thanks to the internet this is no longer the unique shopping experience it once was with one exception: Shops used to provide an array of luxury samples and minis. And because my parents were loyal to their signature scents, guess who eventually inherited the samples? And as my interest in perfume grew, friends and family used to gift me their unwanted échantillons gratuits.

I remember one particular friend of my mother's providing me with a small shopping bag (!) full of samples, and this was my introduction to Estee Lauder Knowing, Caron Yatagan, Dior Poison, Houbigant Raffinee, Pierre Cardin Bleu Marine, Paco Rabanne, Chanel Antaeus, Lagerfeld and more. This must have been some time around 1986.

 

Fragrance samples

Talk about excitement! Prior to this I had already collected a number of Ralph Lauren, Oscar pour Lui, Ysatis and Guerlain samples from the fragrance counters at Jordan Marsh and Burdines, long-disappeared and beloved department stores where I used to spend entire weekends of my childhood sniffing out scents.

Samples were how I began to build my repertoire of aromas and how I learned about top notes and base notes and toilet water. Samples were my teachers in the university of scent. But bottles were not a reality just yet; I was still too young.

And every trip back to the department stores always had a requisite act - begging for samples. The folks behind the counters were never particularly willing to give samples to adolescents who weren't making purchases. And when they weren't, I found an adult and had them ask for samples in my place. I can remember receiving minis of Lancôme Sagamore, Armani pour Homme and YSL Jazz. And when Fahrenheit debuted at Lord & Taylor, customers were able to decant their own samples right on the counter from a huge rotating decanter shaped like the bottle of Fahrenheit.

Armani mini fragrances set

As I got older, I kept on collecting! My introduction to L'Artisan was through a holiday sample set I ordered through an advertisement in Vogue back in 1992. And when I traveled to Paris as a teen, I came back with a sampler that included minis of Lancôme Trophee, Cacharel pour Homme, Paloma Picasso Minotaure and Kenzo pour Homme, and a collection of samples that included Balenciaga pour Homme, Jean Marc Sinan V.O. and the like.

By the time I went to college, I had finally graduated to full bottles and began building my fragrance collection (although after numerous moves, this collection has grown and decreased every few years). Samples were still fantastic for travel and a great way to learn about new scents. And then around the turn of the century as internet groups and fragrance websites became popular, decants entered my life. And boy did I collect decants; they were the perfect, affordable alternative to splurging for an entire bottle of a pricey, new niche scent. I once had so many decants, samples and minis that the collection filled an entire vintage suitcase! The only problem was that I very rarely reached for them; more often than not I gravitated towards the comfort of my familiar full bottles and the act of lavish spraying.

"I almost always prefer to choose a scent I know and love and that will emotionally put me at ease than experiment with an unknown scent that just might be a scrubber."

Today I have a bag of samples that I've been collecting over the past 18 months and it's a constant source of consternation as I almost always prefer to choose a scent I know and love and that will emotionally put me at ease than experiment with an unknown scent that just might be a scrubber. Of course this is a catch 22 because you have to first sample a fragrance before you can know and love it. In addition, I regularly receive samples as a journalist and subscribe to a monthly fragrance box; so there's always more samples coming my way. I sometimes feel frustrated that I just can't keep up.

So today I want to discuss the agony and ecstasy of samples, why I love them and why I hate them. In considering artwork to accompany this column, I discovered British artist Carl Beazley's "Where's Your Head" collection of portraits and they perfectly reflect the range of emotions I feel about my ever-growing sample collection.

Pigeon (2014) by Carl Beazley

Pigeon! by Carl Beazley (2014), oil on canvas

1A. AGONY

One of the problems I have with samples is the possibility of spraying/dabbing on a scent only to dislike it, and sometimes GREATLY dislike it. This of course leads to the scrubbing off of the scent. But there have been times where I foolishly applied a new scent to my neck or chest, having only tested it once prior or simply believing that I would like it, only to feel repulsed, nauseated or disappointed. I think we've all been there, right? As such, there's something comforting about simply reaching for a tried and true bottle rather than risking the unknown of a new sample.

1B. ECSTASY

However, the ability to test drive a scent before purchase is still the #1 reason why I love my samples. So many of my favorite fragrances have been discovered via a sample. And there's something truly magical about experiencing a new aroma for the first time!

The 4th Option by Carl Beazley (2014) oil on canvas

The 4th Option by Carl Beazley (2014), oil on canvas

2A. AGONY

Another agonizing aspect of fragrance samples is the creation of an unobtainable or unaffordable lemming/unicorn. Remember when you tried the sample of that hard to get a hold of $300 bottle only to fall in love with it? And then you regretted you ever smelled it because now you're actually considering parting with the $300 to purchase it which is crazy because you already own 30-300 other bottles and will probably never make a dent in it? If only I had the resolve to be able to test something, enjoy the experience and then move on...but no, I have to feel compelled to then seek out the bottle which is agonizing in not being able to have the thing I want but also a little bit exciting because let's face it, the hunt is enjoyable!

2B. ECSTASY

Samples are by far the most convenient form of fragrance for travel or to pop in the backpack/handbag. They allow me to bring an entire wardrobe of scents with me when I'm on the go rather than be stuck with a single heavy bottle. Of course, see item 1A above and the gamble of samples that might be unfamiliar.

Self portrait 2 by carl BEazley (2013) oil on canvas

Self Portrait 2 by Carl Beazley (2013), oil on canvas

3A. AGONY

There is a huge frustration of samples piling up and never being worn. If you're like me, you feel that as a fragrance junkie you owe it to your addiction to try everything you possibly can. This of course can lead to tester's fatigue, that disappointing condition where although you love sampling new smellies, you actually grow tired of all of the variety and long for the comfort of a favorite aroma.

3B. ECSTASY

That being said, variety is the spice of life! Samples are a great way to add diversity into your addiction. And some of us have so many samples (and minis and decants) that we could likely test a different sample every day of the year. FUN!

Fragrance samples

There are of course other reasons to love and hate samples. Here are just a few of my own:

LOVE

  • Testing a sample so as to definitively remove a fragrance from my "MUST HAVE" list.
  • Nordstrom and Sephora - they both offer samples of any of their scents!
  • They're a great way to share our addiction with others!
  • Getting free samples of a scent you already know you like.

HATE

  • Plastic caps that require the strength of an Olympic weightlifter to remove from their glass vials.
  • Glass vials (such as decants) that aren't marked and so once removed from their paper cards are a total mystery.
  • Samples of perfume oils that are so thick the scent has to be removed and applied with a q-tip.
  • Making snap judgments about a scent from a dab of a sample whereas a full wearing from a spray bottle might have resulted in a different conclusion.

What I need to do is set aside a specific day or time to dedicate to my samples. After all, it can only boost my knowledge and expertise. And though I write this, I somehow never do set aside that day or time...Sigh.

So how about you? What are your thoughts on samples? Love them? Hate them? Share my mixed emotions? Let me know in a comment below before March 5th and I'll be happy to share the agony & ecstasy by sending 5 lucky US commenters some goodies from my own sample bag!*

(*Winners will be notified by Fragrantica private message and selected at random)

 

Image of the author

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

Managing Editor & Columnist

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison’s journalism in the fragrance industry has appeared in international print and online publications such as PlayboyMen’s JournalMen’s Health and the New York Times. Marlen is also a regular contributor to BeautyAlmanac.com and works as a graduate professor, thesis advisor and faculty supervisor for MA programs in TESOL, Education, Writing and Literature. Learn more about Marlen by visiting:  www.MarlenHarrison.com.



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SeverinoDuJour
SeverinoDuJour

Hahahaha...that's a wonderful article - I really related to everything you wrote. I must admit that I am a card carrying member of the Sample Addicts Club. I love getting them, based on descriptions I've read in Frangrantica...and falling in love with some of the scents and putting them on my list of "To Buy..." and then on the opposite side of the scent rainbow, hating some of them utterly and the sad disappointment that comes from that frantic trip to the bathroom to do the Uch Scrub. Ecstacy at some of the exquisiteness that comes from those tiny bottles and that instant revelation of love at first sniff, and the agony that comes from the realization that, "oh boy, i could never wear that" and double agony when you realize that all the samples you just ordered were a total bust!! Ecstacy at absolutely loving a scent and needing to have it and then agony knowing that your bank account will just not support you buying that full bottle. I've been known to (I know, this will be blasphemy!!) just throw a sample in the trash because I so hated the stench of it! But now, I've gotten into the great habit of asking those around me I know if they like or wear scents, and then giving them away, and having those people come back and thank me profusely for gifting them with a scent they love (and being doubly happy when I remembered it was a scent I hated!!). I so enjoyed your article, and again coming to the revelation that I am not alone in my addiction, and that I happily share it with fellow scent afficionados!! Warmest regards!!

Mar
25
2017
weegee
weegee

Samples helped me find many loves and even more likes and saved me from dozens & dozens of blind buys that would have been money down the drain, so overall, have to say I do love samples.

Soon after I joined I realized that swapping samples would be far easier and more gratifying than trying to find them in stores since I live far from Saks & Nordies and one can hit up Sephora only so many times... I bought lots and lots of sample vials on fleabay along with pipettes and funnels of various sizes and then I offered to make samples from my wardrobe in exchange for what I wanted to try. Et voila! Happiness all around.

I truly cannot say enough good things about the lovely sample swaps I experienced & I highly recommend it, especially for newcomers to the site as a way of "meeting" other members and even establishing a history of good relationships before graduating to bottle swapping.

Having lots of samples while I too mostly reached for bottles I already knew & loved seemed like a terrible waste. Why let the vials languish to the point of evaporation when someone might love them? I resolved never to maintain such a collection.

The only samples I keep are ones from bottles I've swapped away to remind me of why I got rid of them in case some ecstatic reviews tempt me to repurchase. The rest I pass along to coworkers who are always delighted. All of the candy-sweet and gourmand ones are always go to the same coworker for her 4 year old daughter (whom I've never met) who calls me "The Perfume Fairy". What could be better than that!!

Mar
03
2017
AlexFox
AlexFox

... I'm a decant thief..... I bought a bunch of really nice looking metal with glass lining 5ml spray decant bottles online. Also easy to take apart and clean.

Just remove the spray cap of a cologne and put it up against the bottom of the decant bottle and start pumping away to cleanly and discretely start filling the bottle as desired.

I often found the dept. stores that carry the newest scents never had samples of what I want to try before committing. I'm also (not bragging here) one of those "I can easily afford this and then some" but I look and dress like a street rat because that's just how I roll, no shame in my comfort and I only seek to impress those who matter in my business and personal life. You would be surprised to how often I get snubbed by some snooty lady behind a counter, almost like that scene from Pretty Woman, internally I laugh it off with gusto.

Long story short, I simply take as I please from the counters, in plain sight, no issue in telling the lady what it is I am doing and have yet to ever meet any resistance. All the while though I do buy, just picked up a bottle of Spice Bomb today after using up a 5ml sample I took 6 months ago. Even tested out a few women scents for a week and picked the one I like most and bought that for my girl as well while picking up my spice bomb.

Mar
03
2017
Skwirrel76
Skwirrel76

When I first discovered decant services online I gorged on the cheaper 1mL dab vials. Looking back with the eyes of wisdom (over a whole year and a half ago), dabbers suck. The perfume smells flat and lifeless. 2mL and up spray is where it's at. But yeah...I love my samples.

Mar
03
2017
DarlingNikki
DarlingNikki

Great article! I am a sample junkie and now that I've found a reliable website that sells samples ranging from 1ml dab ons to larger spray sizes (3ml and 5ml) I am over the moon, although I do have to restrain myself from wanting to buy everything I see on the site because...bills. :) I have a bag that I put samples in to test later and a holder where I put those that I do actually wear (when I'm not trying to go through my already entirely too large collection of full size bottles and roller balls). I'm still on the hunt for that holy grail signature scent, but at least with the sample service I have the chance to try dozens of fragrances and not break the bank.

Mar
03
2017
runhobbesrun
runhobbesrun

Samples are great! They allow for me to constantly explore new scents without breaking the bank. The only problem is that there are so many fragrances I want to sample that the cost does add up. There are only so many samples being offered for free, most of them are sold for a small price which accumulates after a while. I guess I should try swapping.

Mar
03
2017
Yessamin
Yessamin

Since time immemorial I just happen to absolutely love samples. I consider myself a sample junky, but I don't have enough yet to fill a suitcase as yourself. Having said that, when I was younger and coundn't afford buying expensive bottles (I still cannot splurge on a 100€ bottle), I would go to the beauty counter in large department stores and tell them that I was making a project for school and I needed samples because the list of ingredients used in them is what I needed to do my science project. Amazingly, people gave me some samples using this method, but since where I live is a small city, and I was a regular, after a while they told me that they are for customers only. (I know... you don't have to tell lyes... but this is for the greater good of mankind... well... sort of).
And this takes me to other thing... I absolutely hate when you actually make a purchase and you have to beg them to give you sth new to try, only to be told that they don't have any!!!!! Do they think we are stupid???!!?!?! of course they have samples only to keep them for themselves!!!!!! (My dream job is actually to be behind a beauty counter and keep them all for myself.... ahhhh....Did I emphisized enough that I love samples?

Mar
03
2017
kristenboris1997
kristenboris1997

Samples are great but I often find that it is not quite enough for me to make a decision on or I end up changing my mind when I buy the full sized product. What I hate is paying for samples! I mean, samples are supposed to be free IMHO. Oh well, can't win them all....

Mar
03
2017
nyse4
nyse4

Whats so difficult? Get rid of the ones you already know and dont like sample test the ones you dont know and keep the rest :)

Mar
03
2017
mkpunk
mkpunk

I love and hate samples and decants at the same time. Love because I don't have to commit to blind buys at $25+ a pop. Hate because you either entirely waste money or plan to waste more on a full bottle. Love because it gives you options. Hate because sometimes you don't get enough (especially with carded samples) of when to use it. Love because you swap or add to ebay orders. Hate because you get three or four with the one you want that you either have a full-sized bottle of or you got ones you don't like the scent of. It's just annoying sometimes, that's all.

Mar
02
2017
Lazycakes74
Lazycakes74

I love samples! They are small vessels of infinite possibilities. Each time I receive one there is the small rush of "this could be my scent, my holy grail signature scent." It has not worked out like that just yet but I remain hopeful! When I was a little girl I decided that I needed to start carrying a purse. Somewhere I found a small silver coin purse and started to amass a tiny collection of tiny grown up things. Upon showing my grandma, who always wore a fragrance and had a massive collection of bottles, she gifted me a tiny glass vial sample filled with golden liquid. I was delighted beyond words at this little treasure only to be in tears a few moments later when my 8 year old little fingers popped the little lid off and spilled the contents down the front of me. Even if the fragrance was paradise itself the amount I ended up wearing made ill. Grandma next gave me a solid perfume in a cameo locket that smelled of lavender. I know now that back then the little locket had "turned" and did not smell as good as it should have but I didn't care; it was amazing to have and to be so grown up. I still wince and cringe a little when I attempt to open a sample but boy do I love them!

Mar
02
2017
perfumecritic
perfumecritic

loving your responses!!! wish we could just have a big party and share all of our samples with each other :-)

Mar
02
2017
scarlett.angel
scarlett.angel

AGONY: I can never get my hands on any samples unless I fork out a fortune on eBay or beg the department store staff who are so rude and never want to give any samples away! I'm envious of everyone who seems to have these problems with free bags and bags of samples! :(

Mar
02
2017
Strathairn
Strathairn

Samples are indispensable. How do you know if you'll like something that's new to you unless you try it? Your only other option is the blind buy which tends to be a ridiculous waste of money the vast majority of the time.

On the other hand, only having a dabber is annoying because, you're right, you can't be sure you are getting the full experience without an atomizer, but it's better than having a regrettable blind buy experience or never, ever trying anything new!

Mar
02
2017
miniapplemama
miniapplemama

Between Lucky Scent and a wonderful seller of decant collections I found on ebay, I spend all together too much money on these terrific little vials.

It's strange too. For years I wore only Crystal Noir. Then one day I put it on and realized I was bored with it. I decided I wanted to find something that I loved as much as I used to love CN. I tried everything I could get my hands on and, of course, found scents I adored even more. In my quest to find a new fragrance love I found I loved trying new (and old and classic) fragrances and so never stopped.

They are really the best way to experience new frags. To truly know if it works for you, you have to wear it- sometimes multiple times. I found Crystal Noir by smelling it on some random stranger and lucked out that it suited my chemistry as well as it did hers. Only once did a magazine page compel me to purchase a bottle. That was Carlos Santana for women- which I love, but again, was lucky it worked on me.

There've been very few I've had to scrub. The vast majority I find okay or quite nice but not really me. I don't mind continuously trying new ones on days at home for the chance of finding one of those rare holy grail fragrances that make the "Hallelujah" chorus ring in my ears or just bring to mind a time and place that made me very happy.

Yes, I love samples.

Mar
02
2017
phurstclass
phurstclass

I love vial samples. Today I tried Chanel No 5 L'eau EDT picked up when buying the original No 5 parfum. It is fantastic.

Like may others I have too many samples to count. But I love the thought of them all!

Mar
02
2017
D-Bo
D-Bo

With all the full bottles I own, I find it difficult to actually find time to test fragrances. When I go to bed at night, I'm already thinking about what fragrance I'm going to wear the next day and generally it's not one of the samples I have 0 experience with. On weekends there would be time, but at that point, I'm usually hanging out with my GF and also don't want to be testing out a fragrance that I don't even know if I'm going to like. That's like bringing a blind date home to meet your parents on your first date. Just can't do it.

Also, one thing that does bother me is not knowing what's in a tester. This happens to me all the time.

Mar
02
2017
dragonfruit2015
dragonfruit2015

Every time i go to my local macy's and actually buy something I always leave a little ticked off. For some reason they rarely have samples to give me. So the other day I bought the new gucci guilty absolute (not a gucci, fan, but a vetiver fan)..and a miracle occurred. They gave me samples...but they turned out to be those stupid little packets that once you tear them open you pretty much have to use up whatever minute amount of liquid is in them. No traditional sample vial...just those stupid things! who ever thought of doing samples like that should be defenestrated!!!! So there's my hate! and one more...my local macy's. I always tell myself i hate those bastards and I'm never going back...but I'm too lazy to drive 15 miles to the next closest one. And so the cycle keeps repeating itself. Kinda like the fact that whenever they actually give me something they always give me a sample of Bleu de Channel, which I already own...those bastards! I'm never going back there ever again!!!!

Mar
02
2017
cedar_lea
cedar_lea

Trying to swap out the "Not on my skin" samples and figuring out which ones to focus on finding next, as well as the general challenges of finding samples on the internet (at x decant site I can get a really good deal on these few, but at this other one I can get more of my wants but one is much more expensive ect.) is my agony. Now that I'm a few hours from the nearest department store I rely on samples so much, and it's really the only way to get the ecstasy of a new scent experience.

Mar
01
2017
Moon Lion
Moon Lion

Samples? Absolutely! Truly a necessity in my mind. I live in a rural area, and prowling stores for scents and sniffs and sprays is a treat. By ordering samples, I can try different things and discover what works with my odd chemistry, and what won't. The fact that many people like to trade samples and minis for the same reason, is just icing on the cake.

Mar
01
2017
karenm302
karenm302

I enjoyed your article, especially the anecdote about the rotating Fahrenheit at Lord & Taylor. So awesome! I would love to have been there. Wow, I miss the 80's. I also have similar feelings about reaching for the tried & true spray bottle when I'm going out, as opposed to actually using a sample of something new. That said, I still Love, Love, LOVE samples, because there is no other way to figure out the scents I really won't like. The only other way is spraying one on myself at a department store, and then wearing it for the rest of the night while I'm shopping. Spraying it on paper is pointless. By the end of the night I usually either want to go back and buy it (very, very rarely), or I can't wait to wash it off. The wrong scent can ruin my whole night. So take-home samples are crucial. I also enjoy giving the ones I don't like away to friends (Bright Crystal is an example....seems everyone like it but me). I'm a newbie to Fragrantica so I haven't learned how to swap samples on here yet. Anyway, thank you for the chance to win some samples in your giveaway.

Mar
01
2017
Yellow club
Yellow club

Humm..........Samples! They are perplexing, vexing, and complicate things for me. Perfumery is a combination of the sense of smell, sight, and touch in my opinion.

I can convince myself to experience the "juice" of a fragrance from a sample but the touch and visual appeal of a bottle throws me into jarring ecstasy every time the droplets of a nice fragrance touches my skin.

So, samples......do I have to?

Mar
01
2017
Passionez
Passionez

And I forgot to add:

The samples I dislike the most are those you also mentionned (the plastic caps with glass vials which are so difficult to open) or the plastic sachets which contain almost nothing and seem very cheap.

Generally I love getting samples of perfumes hard to find, perfumes I already love and maybe own but can't easily take with me (like the new Guerlain L'Art et la Matière bottles you cannot decant) or simply when I expect it the least.

Generally speaking I love samples because they help me to decide which next perfume I will buy and because I cannot own every fragrance I like as a whole bottle.

Mar
01
2017
Cairo Rose
Cairo Rose

Love samples...Remember getting a bunch and sniffing them with a friend...of course many classics did not smell that wonderful out of the bottle...and we continued on until we found some fruity floral to dab on ...Years later I found these little treasures in a box and finally tried them on properly, gave them time to settle down and bloom...OH MY!!!! What I missed that first trial run!!!

Mar
01
2017
Passionez
Passionez

I'm not a collector per se, but my fragrance obsession made me one. I also started collecting sample as a teenager. Then every time I got a sample I was over the moon and treasured it. Now my place is overflowing with perfume samples and bottles and everytime I say it's enough I just keep on collecting/buying them.

But my entourage clearly also benefits from it.

My collection started with Yves Rocher perfumes (Cap Nature Vanille, Venice, Ming Shui...) and then went to classical mainstream such as Chopard's Cashmir...Nowadays, I own much more niche perfumes than mainstreamers as bottles and samples as well.

The thing is that as much as I would like to test them all, it's not possible of course. I think of a friend who recently said: you have enough perfume to use until the end of your life or even beyond. At least I will be in scented heaven. ;-))

Mar
01
2017
Dorange Sense
Dorange Sense

Samples? Best invention! Diversity, thrill, disapointment or nice surprise. In every case: One real experience.
Down side? Caps so hard to open that you spill yourself automatically with a smell you would've never applied after smelling the juice.

Mar
01
2017
Danielle79
Danielle79

I collect samples as well I have a box filled to the brim with them. It's become an obsession but I rarely test them. I just like to have them ( I know weird) but I did test a few an found that my fiancé loves atelier's Mandarin Glacial and I have a bunch of those in the sample size. Since you only need a drop I doubt I'll buy him the full size since these samples will last quite a long time. I also love atelier's vanille insensee' and collect it every chance I get. I have a bunch of high end scents so maybe I'll try sampling one a day. I feel guilty that they are just sitting there in my perfume collection. But I'm still going to keep collecting I can't help it. :) Great article I could relate to so much in it.

Mar
01
2017
Calabash
Calabash

Great article. I love samples. They help me decipher whether or not I'd like to get a full bottle. Sometimes I find them a little annoying when they are in a dabber form as I prefer to spray scents. One of my all time favorites that I ever tried was Montale's Sweet Vanilla. I absolutely love it and I would have never tried it if it wasn't a sample.

Mar
01
2017
anamalia
anamalia

For me I like getting samples because I end up getting attached to a sample after testing for a few days or weeks. Sometimes use the scent as something to wear casually around the house and end up buying it cow I has grown on me or I have become attached to memory of using it.

Mar
01
2017
gypsy parfumista
gypsy parfumista

The last thing I need is more samples to keep track of try (and more than likely love and covet) yet here I am entering for a GRAB BAG of more!

Hello, family. My name is Gypsy Parfumista...and I am a raging perfume addict, but "just for today" I am okay with that!

Love them PERIOD. Even if I try something and detest it (which is very very rare) I still love that it was a sample AND NOT a blind full bottle buy!

I consider myself (check my wardrobe for HAVES they are minis bottles and large decants and my FOR TEST section is all samples small decants or things to small to share...and a few 'smellies'-empty vials saved to preserve the memory of a lost, discontinued or all used up scent) to be a Fragrance Librarian Historian and Archivist (how's THAT for justifying hoarding...huh??!) and keep a "vault" for special rare and precious things.

For one like me, just buying bottles willy-nilly like I did in the early years, when my range of scents was one high end department store in a small college town or else AVON, Yves Rocher or the like, just isn't feasible (or even possible with today's range of access) for three main reasons: expense (especially in the niche arena *I'm looking at you Roja Dove & Clive Christian*) and unless I build an addition or get rid of furniture, there is the restraint of space for it all; last but not least: more scents were probably released last year than the entire decade from 1950-1959! I'm not complaining that it is raining perfume, by any means...but I am also afraid of getting carried away by this fragrant flash flood.

Samples is where I like to start, if they are small I get two (just to be sure) and then, if I use that all up, I got to the decant stage. If I use up 5-15 ml. (depending on the love/lemming level) then I truly like and will use something in full bottle size. The exception to this rule is vintages and things from Houses and Noses I KNOW I will like (usually bat around .978 on that one, luckily) and my mom is also a perfumista so it just works OR we barter!

Great piece that really hit home, as usual, Marlen. Keep up the great work and it is good to know I am not alone.

Thanks for letting me share,
GP

PS: I am a US resident, please enter me in the drawing.

PPS: Your piece on How scent tastes change made me go back and finish my Ice*Men decant and I then was lucky enough to have scored a 50 ml bottle on eBay BNIB for under $20 shipped thanks again Doc! :-)

PPS: WHERE on Earth did you find that awesome Armani mini coffret? I have fb's of all those perfumes but just think it would be great for a vacation and really wish all companies made such things; if they did I think they would sell more bottles. I also believe more companies should be like CARON is with the urns and refilling myriad bottle sizes!

Mar
01
2017
Angelica 000
Angelica 000

A very enjoyable article.My sympathies on your ongoing struggles!

Mar
01
2017
Betsywoolbright
Betsywoolbright

Marlen, another great article. Thank you for addressing, and putting so clearly, what all of us have thought and felt at least a few times.
I like samples, but I'll say, too, that I've been pretty successful in blind buys, so I don't find myself relying on samples as much as some might.
I don't like dabber vials mostly because I don't feel like a dabbed fragrance always smells the same as a sprayed fragrance. A dabber vial and a spray decant of Bvlgari Black, early in my perfume journey, taught me this. Black is a notable exception to my general experiences that perfumes smell better when sprayed than dabbed.
Spray samples usually are preferable to me because they don't have a difficult lid (for the smell to get onto my fingers―definitely bad if I'm only trying to smell the perfume, and not wear it).
Spray samples also have the benefit of usually being bigger in volume than a dabber vial, which brings me to my primary agony of perfume sampling: what if I like this sample really, really well, but not well enough to buy a full bottle? Or what if I can't afford it?
But the extacy is when I discover a gem, which is how I discovered all of my all-time favorites.
I organize my vials in ziplock bags according to the batch in which I acquired them. I label the batch on the outside of the ziplock bag. I have a "Notepad" app on my phone. I have a list of all my perfume samples alphabetically according to perfume house. Individual designers are in this same list, alphabetically according to last name. For example, I would list samples by Kenzo, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and Krizia in this order. In each entry, I have a note as to which batch each sample came in. So if I want to see if I have a given sample, I look in my alphabetized list. If I find it there, I look at the note telling me which ziplock bag to find it in. It may seem obsessive-compulsive, but it does work, and I can find my samples easily this way.

Feb
28
2017
kapted
kapted

Te first issue is GETTING samples. I spend as much as a full bottle on a sample set. I have to resort to buying sample sets as there are two big problems living in Australia; presumably related to the size of our market.

First,there are very few places that sell niche, independent or even a wide range of mainstream producers. I have to buy samples from the internet most of the Guerlain range, any of the Hermes beyond the most popular, or a lot of things readily available in Europe.

Second, no one will give samples any more; that is even IF they have them. Usually, I have to spray in store and I hope I exit quickly enough to smell it in a more relaxed space. I am guessing SAs assume we are going to sell samples, and not buy from them.

I am very happy to explore via this method. As long as I can apply three or four times, I'll get some idea if I am happy to purchase later on. I found three new purchases I am going to make from Le Jardin Retrouve; thanks to Fragrantica for introducing Michel Gutsatz to me! I am really looking forward to my Zoology samples to come. It does get pricey, but I make sure I purchase only one small set a month. That way I give the scents a chance.

There are many I have vowed to never buy, such as Aqua Parma's Peony Nobile. I may have bought it had I not been given a sample by a friend.

I often pack a sample into my purse to use at work. It beats me ruining the box of a beloved with my greasy and dirty hands.

Feb
28
2017
VioletNoir
VioletNoir

I love having the option to try samples i did not realize when i first started perfume online that i could buy samples online too..its so simple and fun....now i never ever have to pay full price for a perfume im not sure if i would really like because i can buy a sample...i love the .33 ounce samples they actually last much longer then you would think especially if you wear different type of perfume everyday...most of the perfumes i like dont cost 300 plus dollars which is a good thing...most of the perfume i like is pretty affordable so when i try a sample i really love i try to hang on to it until i can buy the bottle.

Feb
28
2017
culinaryqueen
culinaryqueen

Been a sample feind since I was an itty bitty! Being from a rural area with few outlets for high-end and niche perfumery I was vey happy to get what i could. I still have a pile of tiny vials from the early 80s, though most of them small a bit off. I now keep a little collection going of miniscule vials of darling or daring treats from makes like Caron. I can't afford a bottle of my fav from that house, but I can sparingly use my vial on days when I feel special. And though i would wax poetic about how every one of these fine fragrances smell amazing, even if I don't particularly care for them, I'm very glad to sample because some fragrances, using a distincly descriptive phrase, stink to high heaven like a long dead possum roadkill on a 100 degree day on the road in front of a pig farm. LOL

Feb
28
2017
ficusmuskus
ficusmuskus

good article

Feb
28
2017
mariyka
mariyka

Samples? Count me in ;*) I recently tried to link to King`s Palace Perfumery, in order to purchase a few, but was unsuccessful. Hint hint ;*) ☆♡☆

Feb
28
2017
rickyrebarco
rickyrebarco

I really need to sample niches especially before buying, but often I end up with 3/4 of a sample that I don't like. I try to swap or sell them in a big bunch.

Feb
28
2017
Old Herbaceous
Old Herbaceous

What a great article! I love samples too and have been well supplied by Nordstrom (love them!!), Sephora, and yes, Neiman Marcus, where I have found the sales associates to be very helpful and pleasant. And if I ever do take the plunge and buy Guerlain Muguet 2016 (doubtful but we can dream, right?), it will be there! Les Senteurs in London has been nice about samples, as has Penhaligon's. On my one visit to Scent Bar, I bought a Byredo coffret and they also gave me a number of samples. Lovely, helpful sales associate there too! Last month I was able to visit The Perfumery in Barcelona, which sells a curated selection of niche perfumes and also its own perfumer's creations (which were gorgeous, btw). The owner manages the store, is very knowledgeable and nice, and gave me a few really unique samples with the full bottle I bought. Well worth a visit!

I love it when online sellers throw in a couple of samples. A favorite was the sample of Tresor Midnight Rose L'Elixir d'Orient. It is just gorgeous. Not "me" enough to seek out an elusive full bottle, but it is really beautiful. I keep most of mine in the kind of tiered clear plastic stands where people store lipsticks. And yes, please enter me in your kind giveaway! Thanks!

Feb
28
2017
drugstore classics
drugstore classics

You've pretty much covered the whole gamut of human emotion, Marlen! And why Not? Perfume is a more emotional experience (not to say hobby) than most people realize. I'm glad you had such a wonderfully scented childhood and(almost)glad that I didn't.... Because given my saving tendencies my samples would now be from here to the moon!

Good Read. :D

Feb
28
2017
Milathewriter
Milathewriter

Most of my collection is made up of samples and minis. They are definitely a great way to try scents out. However, I'm feeling slightly guilty because now I have all of this perfume that is going to waste, 'cause samples add up too. And I'm a very picky customer. Hopefully I'll be able to get many of my samples into the hands of someone who can enjoy them.

In order to make sure I try out my samples, I wear them on the weekends and save my full bottles for weekdays. That way I get the best of both worlds.

Feb
28
2017
spankysparkle
spankysparkle

Very nice article Arlen. I too am a sample addict. It is so enjoyable to pick and choose what to order and check the mail every day for its arrival. We have no Nordstroms so I always head there in whatever city I'm visiting for my sample. Last week I was in Atlanta and left Nordstrom for the first time sampleless. The very grumpy sales person said there were no tops for them. She must have said 3 times you can buy a bottle and return it if you don't like it. I'm not in Atlanta every day to do a easy return and her attitude made me think she just didn't want to make one. Sure enough as I went down the other aisle to leave there was a whole bin of tops and vials on the counter. So disappointing!

Feb
28
2017
tneequeenie
tneequeenie

I identify with your article on so many levels!Senior trip, Bahamas 1986,I came back with 4 bottles of perfume and samples!!I love them, I hate them. I love the excitement of something new, I hate when or doesn't met my expectations. I hate when I love a $300 fragrance or unicorn!!! And why do dab-ons still exist? I sometimes think I may be getting a fake/watered down sample because the full bottle smells different. And how come when I ask for samples I can't get any but they are EVERYWHERE on ebay. I love sharing samples and swapping samples!Always on the hunt for my next love :)

Feb
28
2017
tneequeenie
tneequeenie

I identify with your article on so many levels!Senior trip, Bahamas 1986,I came back with 4 bottles of perfume and samples!!I love them, I hate them. I love the excitement of something new, I hate when or doesn't met my expectations. I hate when I love a $300 fragrance or unicorn!!! And why do dab-ons still exist? I sometimes think I may be getting a fake/watered down sample because the full bottle smells different. And how come when I ask for samples I can't get any but they are EVERYWHERE on ebay. I love sharing samples and swapping samples!Always on the hunt for my next love :)

Feb
28
2017
BuenaGirl
BuenaGirl

What a fun article! I love samples! I do understand both sides of the agony/ecstasy spectrum, though. I have quite a lot of samples and tend to enjoy testing one or two a night; I haven't felt overwhelmed by them, but I have realized that there are plenty I'm not giving a chance before I go out and seem to find my way to still more samples...hmm....I've thought that I should spend a week wearing things from my sample stash, but yes, that would be a commitment for the day to an unknown entity. Conundrum.

Feb
28
2017
LeanGreenBean
LeanGreenBean

I adore samples, and I'm constantly learning new things by trying them. I would say the agony is definitely when I fall in love with an expensive perfume (Lalibela by Memo Paris is currently my gut-wrenching desire that I can't afford and wouldn't have known about without a sample). I also agree with the agony of plastic dabber tops that are impossible to pry open cleanly. My boyfriend was recently smelling new Van Cleef and Arpels samples with me and used a little too much brawn in opening a dabber top, and of course it splashed up and on his hand. Rather than let that small amount of perfume from an already tiny 1ml sample go to waste, I forced him to wipe it on his wrist so I could smell it from skin. We both agreed it smelled like old-lady and bubblegum and he had to wear it to work ;-) So you could put TWO votes in the no-dabber agony column from us. I do know how lucky I am that he's such a good sport!
In seriousness, I do hate that samples come in dabber/splash form instead of spray, because it is a different experience, and if I like it I'm going to be buying it in spray form, after all. So I have purchased 2 and 3ml glass spray bottles, and plumber's tape for the threads, and I transfer all (good) dabber samples and label them immediately. But oh my, do I love samples!

Feb
28
2017
esteban747
esteban747

Omg, Burdines! I for got about That store.
I have to admit that for a long time I treated samples as something inferior, don't know exactly why.
I would go and buy the 50ml or the 100ml. No samples, no testing. I would follow my instincts.
But now I can't wait to get samples. Otherwise Inwill have the risk $1,000 on creed pure white ( very nice fragrance, but no thank you).
So having samples is like uncovering little gems.

Feb
28
2017
goldenfire5
goldenfire5

Yes, although I try to use them up, my stash of samples just keeps growing and growing. It is alarming. And also a perfumista's blessing.
I also wonder about the best time of day to test samples. When is our nose at its most acute? Interestingly, I find the moment when you wake up from a nap and take your first breath to be very good. It is one big whiff of whatever perfume you applied hours ago and thought was long gone. But no! It's still there. Unfortunately it's just one sniff... and then it's gone.
Anyway, yes, I would love to participate in your samples giveaway - thank you!

Feb
28
2017
Cybernoir
Cybernoir

my samples are out of control, big time. my biggest tribulation is all the decants sent to me by perfumista friends that are illegibly marked, or not marked at all! just this morning i dropped one of those pesky sample tops, and couldn't find it, had to prop up the now open vial in a shot glass. i am always coming up with new clever ways to organize or store my samples, i am so pleased with myself for about ten seconds, oh, what a great idea, use bento boxes to store samples, use shot glasses, etc. so now i have all these shot glasses and bento boxes all over my bedroom, it just facilitates the madness, really. and because i never list my samples or decants on my fragrantica shelves, i have no clue what i have any longer. like none.

Feb
28
2017
Fugal
Fugal

Living in a small town in the midwest, it is very hard to come across a wide range of fragrances–even the department stores and Sephora's only carry a narrow selection. So the only way for me to try a range of fragrances is through samples.

Too many blind-buys gone wrong made me switch to trying samples, they make me realize that sometimes things smell better when there's a little on your arm from a store or that the notes and reviews don't tell the whole story.

I'm tend to only buy samples and minis, and I usually prefer not to "wear" them, but only to test them as a change of pace or when I'm considering buying one!

Feb
28
2017
nsquared
nsquared

I also relate perfectly well to both feeling agony and ecstasy when it comes to samples. One the one hand, for me, finding a new scent that will become a new love is always tempting to me. I keep thinking there is just one more scent out there that will turn into a love. On the other hand, nothing is worse than a genuine scrubber! That feeling of horror when you put something on and know right a way that it was a mistake, and which leads to a mad dash to the sink to get it off. Overall though, samples are a big love. The pluses far outweigh the minuses!

Feb
28
2017
SzekelyEmoke
SzekelyEmoke

I totally agree with you on everything, I just made a picture of ALL of my samples, but I'm sure I'll have even more in the future, even though I kinda finish them up slowly when not reaching for "safe" full bottles; like 2-3 a month.
Too bad I'm from Europe and can't enter the giveaway *sigh*, but nice article anyway! ^_^

Feb
28
2017
skyelightfetish
skyelightfetish

My biggest agony is the unicorn... by very very far. I can afford to buy samples/tiny decants of fragrances that I could only in the most extreme circumstances justify buying, and yet I do that, creating an object of desire that I maintain the passion for by tiny sniffs.... or buying another sample (Amougae I am talking to you!!!)


I don't apply to my neck for the first test, so the issue of washing the fragrance off doesn't apply much as hands (wrists/tops) are easy to wash.

Also, I work from home so spraying something and disliking it is a low-risk act for me as I can always wash off/reapply/change.

I get very few free samples as I don't buy much in conventional outlets, but the ones I get sometimes with other stuff can create an issue - random samples, ones that I didn't expect can make me feel meh about fragrance - having (and testing - even on paper) a number of unexceptional fragrances reduces the pleasure. A feeling of 'eh, it's all boring' develops and the joy curve dips. I've been experiencing this recently with a box of Atelier Cologne samples which are all nice but not a single one so far was either wow or eugh or even 'weird'...

And yet I do try the next random one in hope it will be amazing, or even amazingly horrid. So there is a compulsion element there.


Also, it's really easy to spend loads of money on samples as unit prices are relatively low.

Feb
28
2017
Synthaesthetic
Synthaesthetic

I love them and swear by them. They make up the vast majority of my collection, and with a few exceptions, are what most give me the bug to go hunting again. (Like JoeG, I have a very similar spreadsheet of my collection and I also swear by that.)

They're really great if you have an interest in the historical or purely artistic aspect of perfume. It's always interesting to smell the benchmarks and legends even if you know they ultimately won't click with you.

For the past couple of years, I've mainly been sampling to find my perfect everyday chypre and sandalwood. The most frustrating thing has been having a big list of must-trys that I can never find anywhere because they're vintage/discontinued/reformulated, rare, or prohibitively expensive. Do you obsess, hunt it down, and risk loving something you can never have, or do you let it sit there in your brain as an unknown that never really leaves you alone? Awful decision!

Feb
28
2017
Jyrhara
Jyrhara

I mostly order samples on the internet. Where I live they don't give you samples when buying because the sales assistants take the samples to themselves (it's a known secret).
Samples are fun, I use them mostly after work: in the morning I put on one of my known fragrances, and in the afternoon I test two new scents on the back of my hands.
Recently I had a really bad experience when using a fragrance without testing (it was Aventus for her). I hated myself for a whole day at work!

Feb
28
2017
anessa
anessa

Where I live (not US, so don't put me in the raffle pot please :)), hardly anything is given 'for free', so of course, even a full bottle purchase doesn't necessarily come with samples. The whole 5 times in my life I received a free sample were absolute exceptions. But then again, even though I haven't begun the perfume journey proper yet, I fully agree with preferring scents I am familiar with and reaching for those most often, so I don't feel really like experimenting much.
Also, as mentioned in the earlier installment of this series, I rather enjoy owning a 'full bottle' in all its glorious, physical presence as a whole 'perfume experience' than a somewhat 'impersonal' tiny vial, even for testing purpose. I once ordered a bunch of samples, but I couldn't distinguish many of them by mere dabbing, and I had some which I purchased based on sample dabbing but it turned out to be a different, less favourable experience having sprayed; some perfumes didn't excite me as a sample but I'm enjoying them much more after getting a full bottle, being able to experience 'more' of the scent.
My fingernails and teeth had suffered for those obstinate caps, few times I managed to spill the complete content on my desk. The upside was that I was given enough opportunity to know for sure I didn't like it (whereas if only dabbed, it appeared not so bad.)

Feb
28
2017
apndx
apndx

Samples are great. After some periods of trying out new scents all the time I have now reached some balance. Monday is my new scent day, other days of the week I stick to enjoying my collection.

Feb
28
2017
katemax
katemax

I love samples. I often have to buy them on ebay for a few pounds before deciding whether to buy a full bottle. Lately I've come across a seller on ebay who sells tiny .25ml samples of Swiss arabian oil 4 for £1. Love them!
I nearly forgot the free samples I occasionally get in the post from online free sites. I got poison girl and modern muse nuit both of which I was thrilled with

Feb
28
2017
perrfumefreak
perrfumefreak

I love samples but for me they're hard to get ahold of. The mall closest to me only has a Macy's,which only offers you those little paper cards to spray their testers on. This is frustrating in so many ways. You don't get the same scent on skin as you do on paper, you don't know which scent is which after going around the fragrance department collecting the samples and Macy's doesn't have many new or non " mass market" scents. So in conclusion I have to travel about 20 miles , go to the next mall( which does have a Nordstrom's and a Sephora) and hope those other two stores are willing to give me actual samples . I hope they believe me when I tell them I'm just tired of making blind purchases and not liking them. It'd be a joy to try frags out before buying. I'm afraid they'll think I'm just a grub trying to get a free handout but if I can get them to give me I'll just be happy to have them and by that point I wont care what the employees think of me. Keeping my fingers crossed....

Feb
27
2017
Meremere
Meremere

Samples are part of my favorite childhood memories. Both of my grandmothers would give me their samples and mini bottles. I would sit cross legged on the floor,opening the lid of an old cigar box and place them in like precious treasures, the faint scent of tobacco wafting up to my nose. Those samples introduced me to some of my classic favorites by Oscar de la Renta, Lagerfeld, Worth, Balmain , Gres etc.
With the explosion of available fragrances over the past decade, samples are my cost effective way to try out a fragrance and feel as if I " own it", if only for a day or two.
I still like to sit on the floor every blue moon, with my stash spread out around me and sample with joyful abandon.

Feb
27
2017
blake.lee
blake.lee

The unlabeled ones AAHHHH! I have a collection of them I going to march into the Scent Bar with and make them help me identify them. They gave them to me after all, but I long ago lost the cards they stick them on. One of these days, I'm really going to do it!

Feb
27
2017
corkscrewcurly
corkscrewcurly

Great article, Marlen!

I have to thank receiving a free sample (with purchase of a full bottle of perfume) many years ago for the discovery of one of my favourites - it was a tiny spray bottle of the original Lolita Lempicka, with which I fell passionately in love.

I sympathise with your negative comments, too! I have some samples without names on - growl... I have also spilled perfume EVERYWHERE when trying to remove particularly stubborn plastic stoppers from sample bottles. Ever ended up with a mouthful of perfume when using teeth as pliers as a final resort to wrest the top off a bottle? Then - having expended a superhuman effort to remove the top - spilling three quarters of the content of a vial on the carpet and wasting it. Still worse is when you accidentally douse yourself and your environment with a toxic smelling horror, which inevitably - and inexplicably - then lasts for weeks.

Feb
27
2017
orabsolute
orabsolute

For me, samples have been an unmitigated boon. I'd always liked fragrances, but it wasn't until I discovered the phenomenon of online sample ordering a few years ago that I became a true fragrance fanatic. I love the ritual of reading reviews, ordering the samples, then decanting them into mini-sprayers for application when I receive them.

Feb
27
2017
cardinalmind
cardinalmind

Unlike the author, I have very limited experience with perfume samples. In the Philippines, instead of giving these samples, more often than not they'll only bundle these with perfumes you'll buy. And they will only bundle these after you look like you're leaving / uninterested or is buying a couple of bottles.
I've only experienced them recently, during meetups with fellow fragrance lovers. We bring these to share what we love, need some opinions on something, and when want to introduce a new brand. Personally I love them, as they're handy and small. I can bring two samples on trips instead of just one full bottle. I'm in the US.

Feb
27
2017
bcars10
bcars10

I really love samples! In fact, most of the fragrances on my shelf here on Fragrantica are samples. I just can't afford to buy a full bottle for each perfume. I do make exceptions for those on my "love" list, and for some on my "like" list. (Those are mostly ones that were on the clearance shelf at TJMaxx and were super cheap and couldn't be passed up!)
Bottom line: samples are a great way to find a new favorite. Any I don't like, I pass on to a friend or willing tester here on this blog!

Feb
27
2017
NathalieMireille
NathalieMireille

Samples are one of the best things ever in the history of ever. Between Sephora, Nordstrom, and various sample sets, I do accumulate quite a few "tried and didn't like" and "tried but didn't like enough" scents, and it makes me very happy to pass them on to a friend who shares my interest in fragrance. Everyone wins!

Feb
27
2017
JoeG
JoeG

Thank you so very much for the amazing article about samples!!

I'm a complete sample addict that I keep on ordering samples after samples online - which adds to the piles of free samples that I get as "free with purchase".

I get too nervous and my inner introvert start screaming its heart out whenever I go to retail stores to sniff fragrances. I'm also a strong believer that what I smell on paper strips are VERY different from how it smells on my skin...and it may change greatly throughout the day as well. As much as I love the thrills and excitement of blind-purchases, when the bottle is a few hundred dollars, I can't pull the trigger on such gambles.

So I became a sample freak.

I keep all the samples on the box...and when I try the sample (one a day or two the max), I put the empty vial on either "Good" or "Not so good" ziplock bag.

I keep all the info on spreadsheet...where I got the sample from, a few notes and recommended season (*I get those info from Fragrantica of course), full bottle worthy or not, and put my impression of the fragrance all on the spreadsheet.

One major downside of loving samples too much...is that I barely get to wear and enjoy the full bottle fragrance that I actually own! If I really wear one sample a day to tackle with 200 samples, it'll take MONTHS. So I gotta take a break once in a while, and start wearing full bottles from my collection...before getting back to the sample routine again. Yes...I might have some serious sample addiction problem... lol

Feb
27
2017
Perfumeaddict777
Perfumeaddict777

I love samples! Ive never had a lot of samples only a couple at a time. I live in a very small town where the nearest Marshall's is an hours drive! So I've resorted to alot of blind buys until i discovered buying samples online and thanks to my wonderful swap partners, fragrantica friends and giveaways! Now i usually have a full bag at a time. I always test everyone and haven't felt over whelmed and never had a sample go unused. I give alot of them away after spraying one so that others can experience it too. My favorite thing to do is sit down with some samples on a day off and look up the notes and try to sniff them out, read reviews and how or why the perfume was created! The only agony ive experienced is when i finally got to sample Carnal flower. Of course it had to be the best scent on the world! Now i have a small decant but I've been tortured and obsessing about how and when i can aquire a full bottle! One day it will be mine!! Thank you for this great article.

Feb
27
2017
redskyatnight
redskyatnight

Really how did sampling even work without the internet? Okay, that makes me sound like I was born yesterday. But I'm so glad I can buy/sell/swap those little pretties via the internet. It's expanded my perfume world a thousand times over.

My test list is currently both love and hate at the same time. I try to keep it alphabetized, only to give up and just try to place my priorities up top. But I'd be completely lost without it.

Feb
27
2017
GrandmaGaga
GrandmaGaga

I LOVE samples but I get what you're saying about the feeling that you'll never have the time to try them all! I swap a lot and try to include as many samples from my swap partners test list as I possibly can; I am genuinely disappointed when I click onto their test list and find only a few, obviously obsolete test items. Keep those test lists up to date, Peeps!

Feb
27
2017

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