Second Sunday Samples: Tigerlily Perfumery

As I’ve joked in conclusion of my recent post on sampling, it looks like these days I buy even samples only after sniffing them.

My first visit to Tigerlily Perfumery in San Francisco several years ago wasn’t a success, so for a long time I didn’t want to go there even though they were holding some interesting events and carrying perfume lines that aren’t available around here anywhere else. But as time passed, the negative impression had faded away, and I decided to give it another try.

This time my visit went really well, I spent probably 30 minutes sniffing everything I wanted to try. There were a couple of things that I especially liked about the store. First, in addition to “hard to find” niche brands, such as Neela Vermeire Creations, Papillon Artisan Perfumes or Tauer Perfumes, they carry local (SF Bay Area and Californian) brands – Ineke, Parfums DelRae, Bruno Fazzolari, Yosh and others. Then, people who work there are not push-y and allow customers to browse/sniff all they want without insisting on helping them but being close in case help is needed.

Finally, as I found out, Tigerlily offers at the store three free 1 ml dab samples of your choice. After that you can buy other samples at $3 per sample. I really like this approach: selling samples isn’t their business; they cover costs while providing customers a chance to try perfumes at home and, hopefully, come back for more.

After smelling about 40 perfumes from the nozzle first and then some of them on blotters, I ended up buying 3 samples in addition to 3 free ones to try them on skin at home. Even with the cost of parking in the area, price per sample turned out to be much better than it would have been had I bought them online – especially since I knew already that I didn’t dislike those perfumes. Today I’ll talk about three of the six.


Rusty and Tiger Lily Samples


Tauerville Vanilla Flash

Three and Half Sea Stars

I’ve previously smelled Tauerville Vanilla Flash but since I’m not a vanilla fan in general, I haven’t tried it on skin. This time I smelled it on paper again and decided that I had to properly test it.

I have a feeling that I’m the last one to try it and everybody else has done it by now. So I would be very curious to hear whether you’ve tried Vanilla Flash.

I like that it is not too sweet. I enjoy booziness of vanilla. But it feels a little too intense (like most of Tauer’s perfumes), I think I would have preferred it in the form of body oil, so probably I won’t go for a bottle – even though the price is more than reasonable. But if anyone has 5 ml decant to swap with me, I would love to wear it a couple of times.

Nishane Ambra Calabria

Four Sea Stars

I wasn’t completely new to Nishane Ambra Calabria as well: Lucas who did a very nice review for this perfume last year graciously sent me his sample. I tried and liked it but then something else distracted me and I forgot about it.

When I smelled it again at Twisted Lily, I decided that I wanted to give it another try. It is such unusual perfume! I don’t think I’ve smelled before such combination: very strong citrus developing into warm amber. I think it’s the most summery amber I’ve ever come across. And since I like ambers and do not have enough weather suitable for heavy heaters in my collection, I could see myself wearing Ambra Calabria. But why 50 ml?! Especially since they position it as extrait. I would love to be able to buy 10-15 ml bottle from the brand but not 50 ml.

BLOCKI in every season

Two Sea Stars

BLOCKI brand actually was the main reason I decided to go to Tiger Lily: a week earlier they had there a presentation of their new perfume – SANROVIA, which I was curious to try since I really liked and recently bought this grand affair (pictures below are those that I couldn’t include in that post 4 months ago since it had arrived only after I published it). I couldn’t make it to the event but decided to go the next week.


Rusty and Blocki This Grand Affair


Unfortunately, SANROVIA didn’t pass even paper test. I might go back and try it again one day but this time I decided to skip it. Instead, I got their earlier released perfume – in every season.

I tried to like it. I gave it all possible benefits of the doubt. I don’t know what to say: it is not nasty or unpleasant, but it is neither interesting nor even pleasant nor beautiful. It gets a little better a couple of hour into wearing but frankly speaking I would go for many of the mass-market perfumes before I would think of wearing in every season. In any season.


Rusty and Blocki This Grand Affair


Images: my own


16 thoughts on “Second Sunday Samples: Tigerlily Perfumery

  1. Hi Darling!
    When I met Nishane in Milan they have shown me their new perfumista friendly development which was a 15 ml mini bottle (literally!) with a sprayer. I don’t know if they are available already but might be worth checking their website or sending them an email to ask.

    I could see myself wearing Ambra Calabria a bit too :)


  2. Rusty’s face! I don’t think I have seen him wear a look like that. Intently watching and maybe slightly disconcerted? ;)

    That’s a great samples policy the store has, and how nice that they make you feel comfortable browsing.


  3. Glad that your experience at Tigerlily was so much better this time around. The closest place I have to test in real life and obtain free samples is my very small local Sephora (a 40 minute car ride) and there isn’t much of a selection. I would love to live in close proximity to a niche perfumery or a store like Tigerlily…or maybe that would NOT be such a good thing :)


    • Love your avatar! (I’ve read the explanation elsewhere :) ).

      I’m lucky because about 30-minutes drive away, in the mall with free parking, I have Neiman Marcus. Their selection isn’t as impressive as in the one in San Francisco but good enough to test at least some new offerings. SF stores are better (and we have a plenty of them), but it’s always a longer drive, sometimes with traffic, and costly parking. So I have to balance the number of new releases I want to smell there and the costs associated with doing so: if it’s less than at least 6-7, it’s not worth it economically. So, SF perfume-sniffing trips are usually 2-3 times a year. I might do Tigerlily in addition to that since it’s in a different area with more reasonable parking prices.


  4. I got Vanilla Flash in my most recent sample pack. I agree that it’s strong. I suspect that it’s better for cool, dry weather: that should reduce the sillage. So, I’m saving my sample for winter.

    Related: do you get a slight fruity note from yours? It reminds me of the pear in another vanilla I tried.


    • I cannot identify what I smell but I don’t think I recognize it as pear – be that a perfume note or real thing. I’ll keep my sample until cooler weather settles in and see how it wears then.


  5. Tigerlily is on my perfume shopping wish list. Hopefully during my next trip to that area I will visit the shop. Very grateful you shared your experience with us. Their sampling strategy is appealing.

    I am new to Tauer scents, don’t know why I waited so long. I sampled a few in the last year or so and was dazzled. Boozy vanilla appeals to me, I added Vanilla Flash to my sampling list.

    This Grand Affair is very pretty. I had a bottle, but it didn’t quite click for me, similar to your feelings about Sanrovia. Maybe I should sample Sanrovia? We might have “opposite noses” when it comes to Blocki.

    Wondering why Rusty looks suspicious in the last photo? He is adorable. ;)


    • If you let me know which Tauer Perfumes you’ve tried already, I might have a couple of samples to share – so that you don’t have to buy them.
      As for Rusty’s demeanor, see the explanation in my response to Vanessa :)


      • Ha! Rusty is a very clever boy. Thank you for your kind offer of samples. I’ve tried just LADDM, PHI, Les Annees 25, and Sotto la Luna Tuberose so far, though I should rummage through my samples to see if I’ve forgotten anything from past sampling efforts. Perhaps in the late autumn when temperatures are cooler we could do a mini swap by mail to give a few samples a new lease on life. :D

        Liked by 1 person

        • Deal! I definitely have at least 2 more that are not on your list. If you send me a note in e-mail, I’ll have a way to contact you in a couple of months.


  6. Hey hey Undina! Thanks for sharing your Tigerlilly experiences. I agree with their samples model. With that said, with my proclivity to buy at least one bottle 90% of the time I visit niche boutiques, I tend to end up with lots of (mostly dabber) samples. When I order online, I also usually specify which samples I want and also push the envelope a little and mention 1 or 2 more samples than my purchase would warrant and I get lucky sometimes by getting extras.

    I can share Vanilla Flash with you.

    Hugs to dear boy Rusty!


    • Rusty is being cuddled and patted as I’m typing this. Later I’ll give him a treat from you.

      I don’t buy perfumes that often, but whenever I do I also try to get samples that I want to try.


    • :)
      Technically speaking, on this picture Rusty turns away from this grand affair that I like a lot but since I did have in mind exactly that connotation when I chose the picture, I’m glad that you “got it” :) (a lonely 1 ml sample just doesn’t come out well on a picture with a large cat)


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