Saturday Question: What Brand Would You Like To Know Better?

We all come to discovering different perfume brands in many different ways. Some brands are naturally available for easy testing where we live or travel. For others we happen to get a discovery set. Some get recommended by fellow perfumistas whose opinion we value. And some we discover on our own, purposefully getting samples after falling in love with one perfume from the brand we tried.

At the same time, the more brands are out there, the more expensive their perfumes get and the less people with an independent opinion express it in media we choose to be exposed to, the less inclined we are to blindly pay to get to know a new brand or a brand we skipped discovering previously for whatever reason.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #84:

What Brand Would You Like To Know Better?

Is there any particular brand about which you know and with perfumes from which you are not too familiar but would like to? What’s the reason why you haven’t tried those perfumes yet? Do you plan to do anything about it, or is it an abstract interest of the maybe-one-day-type?

My Answer

From the beginning of the deep dive into this hobby I was a “serial tester”: especially with brands whose perfumes I liked or with a completely new to me brands I had a tendency to seek out all perfumes from such brands that I could get. I think I still feel that way, but with the number of new brands and releases I had to concede that it just wasn’t feasible and, frankly, didn’t make much sense.

But I think that I still have that internal drive to complete the “research,” and if I had an easier access to testing some of the brands at a store or could get those brands’ sets for testing without paying an arm and a leg for them and their delivery, I would have still be chasing at least some of the brands.

Short of that, I discovered an acceptable way for myself to indulge in my series-oriented testing proclivity: I participate in the Beautyhabit‘s event series (some pun intended) “Up Close & Personal with <XXX>” (where XXX is one of the brands they carry). It’s a Zoom call (though, that part isn’t required) with the Beautyhabit’s co-founder and either a brand creator/owner/etc. or at least a representative. For $20 I’m getting 6-7 samples, including S&H in the US. They also offer a $10 coupon off perfumes from that brand, but I haven’t used that offer so far, so I just assume that I’m paying $20 for samples (Disclaimer: No affiliation, not sponsored).

The most recent event I signed up for is for Parfums de Nicolai (I don’t want to link to it because it’s a temporary link, but you’ll easily find it on the site under Events, it is not sold out yet, if you’re interested). I know that this brand was one of everybody’s darlings 8-10 years ago, so I’m not sure how it came that I don’t know them better. I tried several of their perfumes back then, but somehow mostly it passed by me. I remember that I liked Odalisque, but by the time I thought I might want to buy it, I heard it got reformulated. And it felt wrong to pay for another sample. I have a small decant of Le Temps D’Une Fete from a friend and wear it from time to time, but it has that vintage component that I do not love… and it has been reformulated and discontinued. Had I come across the brand in a B&M store, I would have tested the whole line. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen any Parfums de Nicolai perfumes in RL anywhere. So, now I’ll get a chance to try 7 new to me perfumes for the brand. I’m very curious.

 

What Brand Would You Like To Know Better?

29 thoughts on “Saturday Question: What Brand Would You Like To Know Better?

  1. Honestly right now I can’t think of any that I would love to know better. I have three favorites indie houses and I enjoy reading about their new releases or revisiting old loves ( currently it’s Champagne de Bois and Lieu de Reves). That Beautyhabit event sounds interesting though. Although Zoom is not my friend anymore because I have done upwards of 12 per day in the past year and a half. I’m burnt out.

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  2. I can’t rouse more than an idle curiosity about new brands at this stage of the game. I have a few houses that I follow and sample all their new releases, but the rest I just try when I have the occasion to get free samples with an order. My focus is pretty narrow at this point, unless I hear massive enthusiasm by people whose tastes resemble mine.

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    • With this question I meant not as much newer brands but rather some of the old(er) ones that for whatever reason escaped you until now. I have several such brands. For example, I’d love to try the whole line from Parfumerie Generale, but they are so underrepresented in the US, that at some point I gave up trying to test it (I did test some but less than I’d like to).

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  3. I will keep an eye on future Beautyhabit events. Nicolaï is one of the brands I know quite well, having sampled a bunch and then visited the boutique in Paris in 2018. It’s one of “my” brands and they have 30ml bottles which is perfect for me. As for new brands – my sampling decisions are now based more on price point and/or availability of small sizes. I have way too much perfume to consider spending $200 on a single bottle, so anything over that limit probably isn’t going to be sniffed seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One could argue that with a huge collection it might make sense to go for a more sparse but at the same time more expensive perfume purchases: if a $3X perfume is great, buying it instead of three $X perfumes would make total sense for keeping one’s collection manageable ;)

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  4. A friend went to a Lubin (in-person!) event recently and will pass along her No samples. I’ve been pretty hit-or-miss about trying them over the years and this will give me a chance to be more methodical about this house I’ve always liked the sound of.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I noticed that there was a danger in that approach: “bad” or “no” samples get a much better circulation. But then you don’t get to try the best of the brand – especially if you and your friend have similar tastes :)

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  5. As you well know, I have no method to my ummm passion. I have no particular house that I’m itching to know more about so I just determine which ones work with my schedule and go for it. If there is anything good about the pandemic, I have found myself to be more disciplined when I have a long commute and don’t stay late at work. The 40 hours plus per week is already a constant anyway so not necessarily doing a full 8 hour workday is not a big deal.

    And look what you made me do – I just signed up for the Nicolai event! I am also looking forward to the D.S. & Durga event on October 7th.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D.S. & Durga was another brand that somehow missed me, so I signed up for it as well. But since it was sold out at the time of the post, I decided not to mention it :)
      I’m still working on not working more than 8-9 hours per day ;). I’m getting better at it. I think.

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  6. I have been a fan of the Mona di Orio fragrances for years and would love to try their newer exclusive line. When they announced a sample set I was ready to buy until I got to the shipping cost. 60 Euros for 5 sample vials. I contacted them and they said that was their standard shipping charge to the US. It seems like a lot for shipping a bottle, but to mail samples is beyond. I am sorry to miss trying them. Anyone have a solution?

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    • I think it’s some company’s way to say that they don’t want to do the international shipping. On more than one occasion I would put a sample set from a EU company into the shopping cart just to discover that the shipping cost doubles the price. Very frustrating.

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  7. There are so many out there and I’ve been disappointed enough times by samples that the FOMO factor has decreased a lot for me. Two brands that piqued my interest based on their aesthetic and descriptions of some of their scents that I thought I would love were Nishane and Masque Milano. Their discovery sets were more than I wanted to pay for a discovery set, so I eventually got samples of the scents I wanted to try (Wulong Cha by Nishane and Lost Alice by Masque Milano) with other purchases. I didn’t fall in love, so now I’m back to being fine with discovering things as chance allows.

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    • Oh, I think that the FOMO factor has dissipated almost completely for most of us who’s spent enough time and money on testing the most recent new thing, probably back when there were much more “concentrated” flow of what everyone considered “new thing.” Your example of the brands though is a good one: those are quite established brands by now, so they might be worth checking out – probably not at the price of a discovery set, but definitely not to stop after just 1 perfume that you didn’t love.

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  8. Great topic as always!! I also love the beautyhabit zoom perfume exploration events. I have signed up for the D S & Durga event this coming week and for the Nicolai event later in October. I’ve enjoyed every beautyhabit event along with many of the Sniffapalooza online Zoom masterclasses. My favorite Sniffapalooza events have been the diptyque masterclasses. Love diptyque!!! Especially their candles.
    I’ve explored so many brands over the years. I’m a serial sampler– I admit it. Often these days I find the perfumes I sample are “nice,” “OK” or “meh.” I don’t often find anything that is a “wow.” I also sample mostly from places that give a discount if you buy a full bottle of something you have sampled, e.g. Twisted Lily, Tigerlily in San Francisco and beautyhabit.
    The only things I have bought recently have been an Ormonde Jayne, a lovely ALTAIA tuberose and a lot of diptyque candles. That said, I do want to take a deeper dive into Parfums de Nicolai and Christian Provenzano. I saw Signor Provenzano at ScentExplore 2020 via Zoom and I love the Provenzano Iris d’Orient I bought. I’m wearing it today. I don’t believe his fragrances are available in the US. I have not found a retailer that sells them thus far. The Nicololais can also be hard to find in the US.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also signed up for the Durga’s event. As to Sniffa, I didn’t know they were holding online events – until I tried to sign up for a couple but they sold out within a couple of hours. I’m especially bummed about the Shalini event: I’ve been curious to try something from the line but $15 + S&H for a single sample feels a little steep (while I don’t mind paying for perfume I tried and loved, paying that much to try something and likely will not be “my thing” isn’t something that I want to do).

      PdN is at least available from some online retailers. It seems like you’re correct: Provenzano isn’t offered by any of the retailers I know.

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  9. I’m intrigued by Sana Jardin, but I have several discovery sets to work through before I get another one. I’m also interested in Mizensir, the brand launched by Alberto Morillas, as I usually enjoy fragrances he has created. But I don’t want to fall in love with the Mizensir fragrances because they’re crazy expensive!

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    • If you try Sana Jardin’s fragrances, I’ll be curious to hear your impressions. I have an issue with luxury goods that are being promoted using the social impact and other noble causes. I would they rather produced great products and then donate money to where they choose to have an impact. I don’t want to be nudged into buying something “for the cause.” But I see that at least a couple of their perfumes got good reviews, so I’ll be curious to hear more about them.

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  10. hey Undina,
    I’ve got a few Pineward samples here that I’m nervous to try. Posse Patty has been raving over them and if SHE thinks they’re special they must be something quite unusual and interesting.
    There are also four Senyokô manufacturers samples awaiting a sniff.
    Lastly the Obvious brand. I tried their Une Verveine and it’s beautiful. If the rest of their line is as lovely I think it will be a winner.
    Portia xx

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    • Interesting! I don’t think I’ve heard about the last brand and I heard about the first two but haven’t had a chance to try. Will be reading your impressions on them :)

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  11. Good question, as always. I’m also a serial tester – I like to try the complete range of a perfume house so I get the idea of their DNA. This automatically excludes brands with 20+ perfumes.
    I like sample sets and invest in them every now and then when I’m curious about something new. Often there is not a single perfume that really makes an impression and then I sulk for a while…
    Recently I’m only interested in perfumes which price does not exceed the 100 USD mark but I can hardly find a perfume house that fits the condition so if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

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    • I know what you mean about the range size. When brands would appear with more than a dozen perfumes at a time, I remember thinking: and what am I going to do with you? Spend half a bottle budget on samples only to figure out that not a single perfume wows me?

      Liked by 1 person

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