Entertaining Statistics: May, 2012


I can’t believe it’s summer already. At least according to calendar. May was cool and I could still wear my ambers though I noticed a more floral and lighter tendencies in my perfume choices.

For many months I concentrated on being fair towards my favorite perfumes. And I succeeded: I wear one of them on most days. Then I’ve added another resolution/goal: not to buy any samples until I reduce the number of untested samples I already have. In the last five months I bought just five samples (it was a really good deal – $8 including shipping). And I managed to decrease the number of untested samples. But in pursue of these two goals at the same time I didn’t realize that it resulted in me not being fair to new perfumes I was testing. How?

I created a list of all perfumes I tested in May for the first time. Then I rated what I remembered was my reaction when I tried them: like, don’t like or indifferent. Then I compared that to my notes. Not only I remembered my reaction correctly in only 66% of the cases but also in 24% of the cases my recollections were worse than a reality. I got curious and pulled a similar set of data for the same period last year. Results were slightly worse (61% of guessing right and 28% of more negative memories) – see the chart below.

My thoughts: it doesn’t make much sense to test new perfumes if I can’t even remember if I liked those that I tested or not. So now I’m trying to decide how I should change my testing practices.

May 2012 Stats

Quick May stats:

Numbers in parenthesis are comparison to the previous month’s numbers.

* Different perfumes worn1: 27 (+1) from 19 (+1) brands on 31 (+1) occasions;

* Favorite perfumes worn: 20 (-1) on 23 (0) occasions;

* Different perfumes tested2: 45 (-5) from 28 (+1) brands on 56 (-1) occasions;

* Perfumes I tried for the first time: 29 (-3);

* Perfume house I wore most often: Chanel and Tom Ford;

* Perfume house I tested the most: DSH Perfumes;

* Most popular notes (only from perfumes I chose to wear) are almost the same as in March: top – (not counting bergamot) galbanum, pepper and mandarin; middle – (not counting rose and jasmine) iris root and ylang ylang (the same as last year); base – musk and sandalwood;

* Perfumes I tried for the first time and liked enough to put them on my wish list or bought already: Ambre Noir by Dior, Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens, Rose d’Amour by Les Parfums de Rosine and The Beat Look by DSH Perfumes.


How do you test perfumes to get the right impression of them and keep it? 


1 For the testing I apply a perfume to one area on my arms easily available for the repetitive sniffing. But, most likely, I’m the only one who can smell it. I can test two, sometimes even more perfumes at the same time.

2 When I wear a perfume I apply it to at least three-four points and usually I plan to spend at least 4-8 hours with the same scent so I’m prepared to re-apply if the original application wears off.


Image: my own


17 thoughts on “Entertaining Statistics: May, 2012

  1. Interesting. I wouldn’t have imagined that your recollection would vary that much from reality. I test the same fragrance 3 times – each time on a different day. It may be too time intensive for some but that really works for me. I’d happily put Ambre Nuit and ISM on my To Buy list if I hadn’t bought so much this year already. Maybe this winter.


    • I didn’t realize my memory would play such tricks with me either! But I usually test it only once (if I do not write about it or plan to buy right away). So I will probably try to do repetitive tests to make up my mind about perfumes I test.
      My “wish list” doesn’t have any time frame associated with items I put there. I want to get those (bottles or decants), I will get them eventually but it might happen in six month or in a year.


    • Thank you, Steve.
      I keep planning to re-organize my perfume collection. But I can’t figure out what I want to do about it yet so I keep postponing too. One day – definitely!


  2. Sobering statistic on how much your memory differed from testing! Just not that efficient myself, but do have a method for testing: on paper in a brandy snifter first. Then a move on to fabric or cotton squares if I like the first test, finally a trial on skin. This not because I am organized, but because of possible headaches. Do I know which ingredients give me headaches? Um,no, not yet…


    • I was really surprised! And I have good memory in general.

      In stores I usually do paper first and then, on the next visit, might try it on skin. But with those 0.7-1 ml dab samples from TPC, luckyscent, etc. I usually don’t want to waste any juice on other media and go for skin immediately – with warm water and soap on a stand-by.


  3. I find for myself that my opinions on a scent tend to differ a lot depending on weather, if the scents matches what I’m doing when I’m wearing it, my general mood and cravings on that day etc etc. And I can swear I perceive some scents differently depending on the time of the month. This is the reason I stopped trying to rate scents in my blog – my opinions were changing all the time. So you’re not alone in not being consecutive in your likes and dislikes :)


    • I also noticed that I smell at least some perfumes differently depending on the season. Sometimes I even purposefully postpone the second/third testing of a perfume until summer or winter because I suspect it’ll feel better.

      I’m not worried much about ratings (since I went even further than you – I don’t even review scents ;) ) but I’m affraid I might forget some perfume that I liked when tested first and won’t re-try it again.


  4. I am finding it interesting that you tested so many DSHs. Did you like any?

    As far as remembering better what you liked when you tested, I am no help. I’ve always said that I’m a moody tester!


  5. I absolutely love your graph of testing recollection vs reality! and feel sure that I would come out with broadly similar ratios – or some degree of misrecollection, for sure. Plus an awful lot of general fuzziness. ; – )

    I haven’t bought any samples for a year, and agree that it is better to whittle down my existing stash, which is quite substantial thanks to the generosity of fellow fumeheads.

    I am going to investigate a bead box for sample storage. A friend makes jewellery and has perspex stack boxes with compartments that would be just the job.


    • I will try not to break this resolution and work through my existing samples stash. But I think that I need to use the allowed acception to that rule and buy two new Amouage samples – I’m getting more and more curious about them :)


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