Saturday Question: What 5 Brands Do You Always Test?

All of us who has been into this hobby for a while are at least a little jaded: it’s not that easy to attract our attention, we have everything and then some, and when it comes to getting interested in trying anything new and unknown, we are not the easiest audience. But today I’m asking not about brand-new brands (pun? probably somewhat) that are growing like mushrooms or established brands spawning new lines trying to cover a larger or different market.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #87:

What 5 Brands Do You Always Test?

You might love and own a dozen of perfumes by Guerlain. But do you follow all of their new releases? You might adore classic Miss Dior, but do you know what was the last perfume from Dior? L’Artisan Parfumeur… Who?

What I mean is: regardless of the “past performance” and presence of the brand in your perfume wardrobe, are there any brands new releases from which you follow diligently and try to get your nose on? Name up to five such brands, if you can think of that many.

My Answer

There are just two brands that are still on my radar no matter what: Amouage and Puredistance. With these two I do make an effort to get to try all of their releases. This loyalty has a couple of components: first, I have multiple perfumes created by these two brands that I love or strongly like, so with each next release I hope that the new one will be as great as the earlier ones (or better!). And the second reason, I suspect, is that I could never sample them at a store, so I’m used to paying for samples from these brands. But since the hit/miss ratio with them was great, at least for a while, I feel more inclined to “risk” it.

There last three brands that I always test are Tom Ford, Jo Malone and Atelier Cologne. But, at least partially, it’s a factor of convenience: I have a relatively easy access to them from local stores. So, I think that I tried all perfumes from these brands in the last, let’s say, 5 years. I do like these brands and have many favorites from them. But I’m not 100% sure I would have been pursuing them with the same rigor if I had to pay for all those samples. Though I still might have…

What about you?

 

What 5 Brands Do You Always Test?

49 thoughts on “Saturday Question: What 5 Brands Do You Always Test?

  1. I have access to nothing so for me to test something I must pay for samples or rely on dear friends with whom I exchange on a regular basis. Undina, I imagine that you can guess which brands I am willing to buy samples of….St Clair Scents, Sonoma Scent Studio, Dame Perfumery and 1000 Flowers…these are all indie/artisanal lines run by a single individual and I like to support them..also, nine times out of ten I like what they release or love their current offerings. Plus, the releases are not plentiful, which is a plus in my book.

    Like

  2. Hey Undina,
    I want to know everything that Neela Vermeire and Le Galion (and offshoots) produce. I try to get my nose on most of Guerlain’s releases but am not too distraught when I have to wait to get to Paris to smell them. CHANEL & DIOR exclusive lines I try to smell all of, and I think I have, but the regular lines are pretty much dead to me except my vintages of their blockbusters.
    Portia xx

    Like

  3. I don’t have a single brand that I always try to sample new perfumes. I nearly always get to test Dame Perfumery due to Jeffrey’s generosity – as a repeat customer he often offers free samples of new perfumes and there are always 3-4 samples in my orders. If I had better access I would definitely try all of the Nicolaï perfumes, as I have had great luck with the house. Otherwise – I have massively slowed my sample purchasing so I miss out on a lot.

    Like

  4. Tauer, Papillon, Parfum d’Empire, Goldfield & Banks, Guerlain (what used to be called l’Art et la Matiere line), and Hiram Green are the ones I will buy samples of. Then whatever is available to me at the local shops (Jo Malone, Tom Ford, etc.), or free samples included with orders (Masque Milano, 4160 Tuesdays, etc.)

    Like

  5. Zoologist–they’re just so weird and funny. I don’t even read reviews before sampling, because I don’t want spoilers.
    I really love Slumberhouse. His stuff sells out so fast, so I’ll jump on a new release.
    Bvlgari is pretty good about getting samples and mini bottles out, and I snap them up quickly.
    TokyoMilk is a guilty pleasure–it’s like niche-lite with pretty packaging–I love unboxing them.
    And Amouage is a fave too–I love their discovery sets!
    (Honorable mention to LUSH. Sampling at the store has been difficult with covid, so I order the solids online–but they don’t offer their whole line in them.)

    Like

  6. Another great question! I’ll always go to great lengths to try a new Annick Goutal, or anything by Camille Goutal or Isabelle Doyen. They use interesting materials in different ways and I almost always enjoy what they produce. I would look forward to trying a new Chanel fragrance, too, and probably Serge Lutens. The SL scents almost always blow my mind but some are just unwearable, for me.

    Like

  7. I haven’t developed such a love of any brand that I will go out of my way to try a sample. Le Labo and Diptyque and maybe Atelier Cologne are the ones that I will want to try anything new that they make, but that’s also because it’s relatively easy for me to smell them in a store or department store for free. Otherwise it’s more opportunistic and dependent on how enticing the descriptions look.

    Like

  8. Excellent question! I’m with you on Amouage and Puredistance and I’ll add Naomi Goodsir, Zoologist and Papillon as ones I will always try no matter what.

    Like

    • I should probably revisit a couple of perfumes from Naomi Goodsir samples for which I have. Considering that I have one of their perfumes in my collection, it’s strange that I don’t remember what I think about other perfumes that I tried from the line.

      Like

    • I don’t know why Ormonde Jayne hasn’t made it to my list… I have more of their perfumes in my collection than from most other brands. But their recent collections were somehow a disappointment. I don’t mean that I disliked any of them. But I wanted them to be great, and most of them were just nice. But yes, if their testing was more readily available from their site for new perfumes, I would have followed them much more closely.

      Like

  9. Great question! Houses whose new scents I always sample eventually: Papillon, and St. Clair Scents. That’s partly because their releases are few and far between, so that feels manageable. Houses whose new scents I often test: 4160 Tuesdays, especially the crowd-funded ones and the January Joy Box; and DSH, via the Heirloom Elixir series. A line, if not “house”, I always test and have even blind-bought: Hermes’ Jardin series. I have and love all of them! Another house whose new scents I would always test if I had easier access: Jo Loves. In the before times, when I would still go to department stores, I usually gravitated toward testing Jo Malone’s seasonal or limited editions.

    Like

    • I would have tested DSH more if I could go to a store and try those perfumes. But since Dawn is extremely prolific, but my success rate with her perfumes isn’t phenomenal, I do it just from time to time.
      I think I might test though St.Clair scents if she doesn’t start producing them by dozens.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The only ones that come to mind are Dusita and Puredistance. This is partially because they only come out with one or two a year. I used to keep up with DSH Perfumes, but Dawn is so prolific, I couldn’t keep up anymore. I was a lot better at keeping up when I lived in Singapore because I could walk down the street to the malls and try so many perfumes. Now I generally have to pay for samples.

    Like

    • I just was complaining about Dawn above in my comment to OH :) I’m not sure how it works for her – not unless she has a B&M store or studio. Nobody can afford to buy all the samples of new perfumes! On top of that, I disagree with “quick releases” even from larger brands who employ multiple different perfumers, and used to question the most famous “noses” who would produce 20+ perfumes per year for different client. But those had all the infrastructure and helpers they might want. So, I have doubts about multiple creations from a one-woman-shop – as much as I like her as an online persona.

      Like

  11. I’m an Aqua Allegoria junkie and try to corner each new one for a test. I also never miss anything new from Atelier des Ors, Jeffrey Dame or Zoologist, and do my best with Jo Malone–although I have missed a few of those.

    Like

    • Masque Milano is slowly moving into that list for me – at least their new releases. With Francesca Bianchi it’s hard to tell: so far I tested, I think, either 1 or two of their perfumes, so I haven’t built the brand recognition yet to know one way or the other whether they suit me. But I’m getting there slowly.

      Like

  12. A few spring to mind- Frederic Malle, Narciso Rodriguez and Francesca Bianchi. I mostly have to buy samples as they aren’t available to sniff without driving for two hours, and I’m not that desperate. Ones that I’d love to try but won’t are Jeffrey Dame’s. Recent changes to EU postal regs on purchases outside of the bloc have been causing some post office chaos. Added to that are import duties and taxes.

    Like

    • Yeah, all those post regulations are clearly against us! Grrrr!

      I forgot Narciso Rodriguez! I also always try to test new perfumes from the brand, especially since these are available at my local store. But I feel bad: even though I liked at least a couple (white cube!), I haven’t bought any yet. That makes me reluctant to try their newer ones: if I like them, they will be just added to the endless list “one day if I find it on a good sale…” ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Frederic Malle first comes to my mind, and ELDO. I like their style and they often manage to make an impression.
    I’m a big fan of Bruno Fazzolari but since his perfumes are not available in the EU (not that I know it) I often pay extreme prices just to get a few samples. Since Bruno makes small batches there’s always the risk that the perfume will be sold out till I try it and make my mind up.

    Like

What's on your mind? (I encourage posting relating links to your posts)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.