This blog is a constantly evolving forum for thoughts on perfume, perfume-making, plants (especially orchids and flora of the Pacific Northwest) and life in general. It started out chronicling the adventures of Olympic Orchids Perfumes, established in July 2010, and has expanded in other directions. A big part of the blog is thinking about the ongoing process of learning and experimentation that leads to new perfumes, the exploration of perfumery materials, the theory and practice of perfume making, the challenges of marketing perfumes and other fragrance products, and random observations on philosophy and society. Spam comments will be marked as such and deleted; any comments that go beyond the boundaries of civil discourse will also be deleted. I am grateful to all of you, the readers, who contribute to the blog by commenting and making this a truly interactive perfume project.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
PERFUME SAMPLING STRATEGIES
One sad fact of life is that I have way too many perfume samples. They come in all different forms from messy little vials with hand-written tags to carded manufacturer’s samples, to modest-sized decants in more or less professional-looking containers. Then there are the full bottles and mini-bottles. I’m a pathetic sucker for all those special offers that come in my e-mail - 75% off at The Perfumed Court, Luckyscent’s seasonal package of new stuff, and so on and so on. The samples pile up faster than I can try them. I have to figure out some strategy, short of going completely abstinent on samples, to try them all.
I publish reviews on a few websites, as well as here, so sampling isn’t just slapping six different things on my wrists simultaneously and sniffing each spot in turn, it’s wearing the scents one at a time, often several times, before making up my mind what to write. Moreover, I can’t wear samples if I’m working on my own stuff, so I can’t sample every day. As a perfumer, I always experience a little bit of a moral dilemma about reviewing perfumes. Is it a conflict of interest to publish my opinion of other people’s work, especially if it’s negative? I tell myself that when I write reviews, it’s strictly as a consumer, but I still feel an obligation to give each scent the fairest evaluation possible.
I just got through cleaning and organizing the closet where I keep my samples, and realized that the carded samples take up much more than their fair share of space. Each card is at least 10 times the volume of the vial, so I have resolved to alternate trying “naked” samples and carded ones, removing the cards as I go and filing the samples away in a new, alphabetical system that I’ve decided to implement this year. Yeah, right. Anyway, good intentions are a start.
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