Tag Archives: Pell Wall perfumes

How to Get Perfume Samples 2017

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In 2015 I wrote a post entitled “How to Get Perfume Samples”.  I felt it was necessary since these days, it’s easier to get unicorn droppings  and hens’ teeth than perfume samples from Beauty Counters.  My original article has proved very popular, but the Fragrant Firmament spins fast on its axis.  My original article, written in 2015, needs updating for 2017.

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A lot can happen in two years within the industry. Beloved favourites can be discontinued, new starts ups can arrive with a bang, and old lions can go out with a whimper.

Sample services serve two purposes: They avoid you making costly blind buys and they help you fall in love with stuff you might not have 4160 tastercome across.  Whilst I love to seek out samples of stuff I’ve heard of and never tried, I also love it when the choice is made for me. It takes me out of my comfort zone. This is one of the reasons why I am such a fan of discovery boxes, and the Perfume Society in particular. Their boxes are loosely themed and have really changed my mind about no end of scents I wouldn’t have otherwise sought out.

mysamples2The other advantage is one I mentioned pre-Christmas, but which applies at any time of the year. When buying for others, why not offer them a choice? A mixture of samples and gift voucher is my idea of the perfect gift (It’s my birthday next month. I wonder if my husband is reading this?).

Here’s a roundup of sample services that are currently out there just waiting for us to knock on their door. This is a UK Guide by the way, so if I miss your favourite out, it’s just geography, not favouritism.

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The Perfume Society.

Yes I’m a fan. No, they don’t pay me to say so and yes I have almost every one of the Discovery Boxes. In fact, I’m just waiting for the Heaven Scent one, due any day! You can buy them here. They usually contain around nine excellent, often hard-to-get samples and maybe a treat or two  as well. They are my Number One favourite treat.

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ScentSamples UK

A new entry at Number Two. I’m very impressed with the diversity here and find the prices reasonable.  I’m rolling my sleeves up and writing a long list.  Here’s a link to their website.

Inside Les Senteurs, Elizabeth Street
Inside Les Senteurs, Elizabeth Street

Les Senteurs

There are two branches of this divine boutique perfumery in London, but the good news is that you don’t have to live in London to benefit from their sample service.  The bad news is that its very, very hard to choose. Here’s the link.

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4160 Tuesdays

Nobody can accuse Sarah McCartney of not being inclusive.  4160 Tuesdays means reasonably priced high quality artisan scents that cover every genre except “boring”.  The 4160  Tuesdays website even has themed suggestions of sample sets in case you don’t know where to begin.  My favourite is “Frocks and Hats.”

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The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club.

Every quarter since 2013 I have received a box of samples from The Fragrance Shop. These usually include new releases and new flankers, but often they pop a classic or a well-beloved favourite in.  The boxes usually include between 6 to 9 samples and a booklet of money off vouchers if you find one you want in full bottle size. Boxes are just £5 a quarter, and they make great gifts too. You can join in the fun here.

Papillon Perfumery
Papillon Perfumery

Papillon Perfumery

Papillon Perfumery is the creation of  Nose Liz Moores, perfumer extraordinaire (I’ve met her- she is small and beautiful) There are four scents in the Papillon range and you can sample of all four from here. There isn’t a single one I wouldn’t recommend, and a fifth scent is on its way later this year.

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FragranceSamplesUK

Another one I’ve not come across before, but I’m very impressed with their range and might be making an order soon.  The huge range varies from Tom Ford, Chanel Exclusifs, Tauer and Roja to name but a few. I’ll let you know  what I think if I can ever make my mind up! You can check the site out for yourselves here.

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Pell Wall Perfumes

In the beautiful county of Shropshire, Chris Bartlett creates  exquisite scents under the name of Pell Wall Perfumes. Sample sets and mini bottles are available at reasonable prices and you may well find a lifelong favourite among this imaginative range. I particularly like Pretty in Pink and Deep Purple. Check out the website here.

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eBay

eBay has a vast range of samples from various sellers.  I have never been let down or sold fakes on eBay- they are very strict about that.  I have had some great bargains this way and even if you end up not liking the samples you order, they make great swapping currency.

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Find Your Tribe

Join a group of like-minded fume heads: Sites such as Fragrantica and Base Notes have led to many firm friendships, as well as samples swapping. Alternatively, join a Facebook group such as Fragcom or Perfumeland For Fluffheads.perfumeland

Have I missed any out? Have you had great sample service in the UK? Or have you discovered a favourite through random sample sniffage?  Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

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Looking back at 2015: My Top Ten

Welcome back. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I am currently smelling of my Christmas present: First by Van Cleef and Arpels, and loving its classic aldehyde nuances. I smell like a proper lady.

2015 marks the third year of my blog and I always like to do a top ten round up as we say farewell to another twelve months. Scent wise, it’s been an interesting and busy year. I have thoroughly enjoyed several new scents and innovations and I only wish there were ten first places. This top ten then is in no order of preference. These are my ten favourite scent related things that happened in 2015. As far as I’m concerned, they are all joint first.

1. The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes

Never has a postman seen a face light up like mine when these familiar boxes come my way. With around ten hard-to-get samples, carefully curated and with smelling notes too, each Discovery Box is a Treasure Chest. I have them all.

The Perfume Society
The Perfume Society

2. Papillon Salome

It astounds me that Liz Moores is a relative newbie. Every one of her first three début scents were nominated for coveted FiFi awards. Her fourth, Salome, is the kind of stuff Anais Nin would have worn.  It’s dirty, sexy and already smells like a vintage classic.  If this one doesn’t get a FiFi, bloggers and perfume fans will riot in the streets.

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3. Aftelier Perfumes.

Dear Mandy Aftel of Aftelier perfumes and I struck up a friendship this year and what an enriching friendship it was turned out to be. Amazingly Mandy uses all natural ingredients and the results are vivid, real and evocative. I’m looking forward to more from Mandy in 2016, and in the meantime, I really recommend the to-die-for Bergamoss EDP and the deliciously cosy Vanilla Smoke.

Mandy Aftel, from www.aftelier.com
Mandy Aftel, from www.aftelier.com

4. 4160 Tuesdays Blooms and Grows

Sarah McCartney keeps innovating without saturating and this year is no different. I am yet to try many of the Crimes of Passion range ( and will soon be putting that right), but one of my favourite things about Sarah is that she makes affordable niche. If you can’t stretch to a full bottle ( and they are priced fairly), there are sample sets and purse sprays which puts high quality artisan niche within everyone’s reach. I like that.

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5. Library of Fragrance

This is the second year of my love affair with Library of Fragrance and I think we’re getting serious. With soliflores (Iris, Mango, Orange Blossom), the “quirkies” as I call them ( Rain, Bonfire, Play Doh) and the Whimsicals ( Pixie Dust, Moonbeam, Sunshine), Library of Fragrance continues to give me what I want. I can wear them alone, I can blend and I can find that favourite note that I only like on its own. Prices are very reasonable and longevity goes far beyond its cologne label. Happy to see purse sprays now as well!

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6. Pell Wall Perfumes

2015 was the year I discovered Pell Wall Perfumes. Chris Bartlett is an indie perfumer who sells good honest scent that he created himself. It’s quality stuff with a nod to vintage classics as well as a flair for staying modern. I’ve had fun discovering how versatile this brand is: violets in Deep Purple, leather in Sticky Leather Sky, rose in Pretty in Pink. Discovery Sets and a good sample service make Pell Wall user friendly. Chris gets a firm handshake from this blog.

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7. Lidl

Lidl’s Suddenly Madame Glamour is a well known, shall we say, “homage” to Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, but did you know they have also launched Suddenly Woman which smells like Chanel No 5? or Suddenly Diamonds which smells like Boss Orange? Or Xbolt that smells like Hugo Boss Bottled? Big companies hate this, but I like that they’ve put scent within the reach of the most parsimonious shopper.  Whilst you’re there chuck in some Tiramisu ice cream if they’ve got it.

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8. Retro Returns

I’m talking about the joy of seeing Aqua Manda, Aqua Citra and Goya Black Rose again. Babe and Tribe are back. Yardley repackaged their timeless soliflores as Contemporary Classics (I’ve bought three bottles) I’m also talking about the fact that Geminesse, Lutece, Raffinee and Moon Drops are marching back too Watch this space. Further developments may well end up in 2016 Top Ten too.

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9. Miller Harris Jardin D’Enfance Range

The Miller Harris Jardin D’Enfance range brings back the endless summers I spent making mud pies and eating blackberries in the 1970s. Miller Harris has made an evocative capsule collection of three fabulous fragrances, my favourite of which is Coeur de Jardin.

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10. Friedemodin

A capsule range created by Nina Freide and Elisabeth Modin, the Freidemodin range is ethereal, delicate and beautiful. I especially adore Vertine and Rosee de Nuit. I’m exscited to see what Freidemodin comes out with next. You can find them in Harvey Nichols.

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Happy New year everyone! I really value your kind loyalty and readership.

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The IScentYouADay Guide to Fragrant Gift Buying

4160 test set

On the subject of gift shopping, I often hear people say to me (and it’s usually to me as I’m a perfume blogger), “She wants perfume but I don’t know what she likes ” or “she fancies a change.”

Many partners either try and guess what their beloved will like- “it’s in a square sort of bottle”- or just buy Chanel No 5 because its the most famous one.  Coupled with this is the fact that perfume is often thought of by many as a luxury that smacks of self indulgence when buying it for yourself, hence the thousands of people who ask for it for Christmas or birthdays.

So what do you buy for someone who wants perfume but is saying “surprise me”?

The best idea is,of course, a Discovery Set.

Discovery Sets often, but not always, consist of a set of samples and a voucher for a full price bottle. They are a great way of experimenting and finding new things you like and new things you don’t.

Here’s my round up of the best fragrance Discovery Boxes in the UK (in my opinion). I won’t sell you short, I’d be happy to get any of these myself (hint, hint) Are you reading this darling? No, he’s looking at cars on his phone. Never mind, I’ll email him the link. 

1 Jo Loves

Jo Malone found the lure of the fragrant world was calling her back  after the sale of Jo Malone the brand and she began again as Jo Loves. I recommend just about all of them. I was kindly sent a sample set early in my blogging days and the quality was just wonderful. As far as gift buying goes, Jo Loves offers two great sets. The Fragrance Discovery Gift Experience consists of nine miniatures and a 50ml full bottle of your choice to follow at £95, or nine miniatures and a bigger 100ml bottle for £135. You’ll be spoilt for choice. Jo Loves fragrances are mouthwatering and irresistible.

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2. 4160 Tuesdays

There all sorts of goodies over at 4160- samples, handbag sizes, try’n’buy sample and full bottle sets. You name it, Sarah McCartney has something for all budgets and tastes. Dip your toe in, I dare you! Where do I start? Well there’s the taster boxes at £35 for ten minis, or the Taster Box Plus Bottle Later for £100, or for £125 a whole day’s workshop with Sarah including food, chocolate and lots of sniffage and mixing. Or for under £20, you can buy an array of minis and testers in order to find your 4160 groove.  Check out the site shop right here. Incidentally, this article was written on Black Friday which is being called Hot Pink Friday over at 4160 Tuesdays. How refreshing!

4160 test set

4. The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes

Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are my passion. I have them all. I swoon when a new one comes out and have set world speed records in buying them. I receive the newsletter that alerts VIP members that a new Box is available, and I’ve ordered it and paid for it before I’ve finished reading it. The Discovery Boxes contain around ten perfume samples, often very hard to get on the High Street, along with a postcard containing discussion notes about each scent, and usually a couple of non perfume goodies such as nail polish or skin treats. The boxes are between £10 and £15 to VIP members and a few pounds more for non members. They make a great introduction to fragrance and are the cutest gifts ever in their little white boxes

In fact VIP Membership (£25 a year) can lead to free or subsidized perfume hobnobbing evenings at launches and events around the country, not to mention a free Discovery Box. I reckon a membership and Discovery Box would make a great gift. Check out the Perfume Society Shop Here.

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5. The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Boxes.

Each box Includes a set of samples and generous discount vouchers off full size bottles- often ten pounds off, but more usually five. Boxes are dispatched quarterly and cost £5 each. A year’s worth of boxes  at just £20 would make a lovely gift for all seasons. When the site has stopped crashing because of Black Friday, I’ll post the link.

The Fragrance Shop
The Fragrance Shop

6. Pell Wall Perfumes Discovery Box

For £49 you get no less than nine 10ml fragrances from perfumer Chris Bartlett at Pell Wall perfumes. Made in Shropshire, Pell Wall is an eclectic mix of good quality perfume with excellent longevity and lovely Jeeves and Wooster style packaging. Chris is a jolly nice chap too. You can get them from the website. I particularly recommend Pretty in Pink and Deep Purple.

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Pell Wall Perfumes Anjin: Turn Up The Heat

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Pell Wall perfumes, based in Shropshire, is the brain child of Chris Bartlett, who left his job to become a full time perfumer.  Don’t you just love people who do that?  If people like Chris and other great indie perfumers  didn’t take the plunge, we’d all be missing out on original and exciting niche fragrances.

Pell Wall Perfumes Anjin is not like anything else I have smelled before because it has very dominant chillies in it, or pimentos to be precise.  I’ve never been one for gourmands in particular, but when they are as astringent and spicy as Anjin, I take it all back.  This could not be further away from your cupcakes and candy floss, which just goes to show how vast the gourmand spectrum can be.

This is no one trick pony though.  As Anjin’s  citrussy, almost stingy-eyed opening dries down, it becomes smooth yet prickly, a bit like sharp lemony patchouli.  With bold styrax adding an almost-but-not-quite creosote touch ( not a criticism, I love it), and clove and coriander making their spicy and herbal presence felt, Anjin  is a long-lasting  treat that smells equally good on male or female skin.  I loved it on me, but it smells even better on my 17 year old nephew, who also loved it, and now has the bottle.   I am always pleased when young folk try a fragrance that steps away from the High Street norm- and what a pleasant surprise to find a 17 year old who is NOT marinated in scent du jour Paco Rabanne One Million!

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 One of the things I admire about Pell Wall is the sheer versatility:  Chris has produced a range that includes violets, (Deep Purple), Lily of the valley and roses (Pretty in Pink), earthy leather (Sticky Leather Sky) and Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Anjin) without stinting on quality or showing any weak links.  Anjin would make an original choice for summer and refreshingly, didn’t smell synthetic.  In fact wearing this when you have a cold might even feel therapeutic.  That chill just cuts through everything.  Anjim impressed me and I would wear it myself had I not given it away in the name of olfactory education earlier today.

Pell Wall Perfumes

Stockists

Anjin is available from the Pell Wall website for the reasonable price of £23 for 10ml or £36 for 50ml.  Fret not about taking a gamble based on my word alone though, Chris offers great sample sets and discovery sets and I can vouch for the quality and longevity.  My particular favourite is Pretty in Pink, which I reviewed earlier in this blog.

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Pell Wall Perfumes Sticky Leather Sky: Fifty Shades of Tan

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I love perfumes with a good back story and the story behind the creation of Pell Wall Sticky Leather Sky is so whimsical I simply had to share it with you.

I have often thought that perfume and poetry have much in common:  both are open to interpretation.  For example, a poem I love may not move you at all, and my revulsion towards, say, Theirry Mugler Womanity may not be shared by its fans, but nobody is wrong.  Both perfume and poetry are open to personal response, as is the Charles Ives concert  described in the poem.

Sticky Leather Sky was inspired by a poem by Claire Trévian, which was written for a poetry festival called Penning Poems, the brainchild of Odette Toilette and Claire herself.  This artistic collaboration set a chain reaction in place which resulted in a fragrance : Sticky Leather Sky. The poem is beautiful and reading it whilst wearing Sticky Leather Sky puts the experience into a new dimension (my son would call it 4D).

I have reproduced Claire’s poem in full here, because it is too beautiful to cut short.

 

Listening to Charles Ives
The street vainly imitates a theatre,
dropped pennies and reflectors footlight my walk
the rumble of a crowd gathers and storms.

Beats rain down and hide in the gutter,
rivulets form around the clutter
of the pavement’s percussion orchestra.

Hush.

Sticky leather sky.

The air vibrates still
through drum-buildings.

I think of us listening to Charles Ives.
You heard cacophony, I heard the silence
after the tempest, when the bells

had ceased, but their ripples
reached to our seats like
the promise of a tomorrow.

©Claire Trévien

 

Now you can see where the scent got its name, but what does it smell like?

My first impression was that of walking through a market (think Camden- raw and noisy) where the belt stall gives off an almost nutty, animalic waft as you walk past.  Wait a bit longer and it is the smell of the hint of chest hair belonging to a man who has just arrived on a motorbike.

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www.yjstore.com

In amongst all this is a bit of vetiver and bergamot to give the opening that manly, just-got-out-of-the-shower feeling ( I can definitely smell Palmolive Soap!).  However, this is equally good on women and hangs around a lot longer than a bad boyfriend. In fact, I couldn’t help thinking it ties in rather nicely with the current Fifty Shades of Grey Meme.  Sticky Leather Sky may well bring out the animal in you.  This is dirty leather, not sensible shoes.

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Pell Wall Perfumes

 

Giveaway news!

I have one boxed 30ml bottle of Sticky Leather Sky to give away.  Simply tell me the name of a poem you like.  It can be anything at all from Spike Milligan (who is one of my favourites) to Shakespeare, from John Donne to Wendy Cope.  I will pick a name randomly on Tuesday 24th February so do get your answers in by midnight that day if you can.  Please note that due to posting regs, the giveaway is UK only.

 Stockists:  The Pell Wall perfumes website sells bottles of Sticky Leather Sky and two types of great sample packs too if you want to try before you buy.   My bottle was provided by Pell Wall perfumes, for which, many thanks.

 

Pell Wall Perfume Deep Purple

Pell Wall perfumes
Pell Wall perfumes

I like violets and I like small perfume houses, and this perfume house recently sent me some bottles to review, for which I am extremely grateful.  However, as always, I should state that just because it’s free, doesn’t mean I have to write something nice if I don’t like it.  But in this case I am going to write something nice because when it comes to Pell Wall Perfumes, they’ve just bagged themselves a die-hard fan.

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Pell Wall is the brain child of Chris Bartlett, who does everything himself.  There is a vast choice of reasonably priced perfume in beautiful Jeeves and Wooster style packaging and the quality is jolly good indeed, even including a hypo-allergenic scent called Haiku which I will be reviewing soon.

I told Chris I like violets and a few days later found myself the owner of a bottle of Deep Purple, for which many thanks Chris!.

However, if you’re a violet fan, be warned that there are no parma violets here but more of a wet garden violet.  Deep Purple smells like a real violet from the garden crushed between your fingers.  The violet is actually faint, but there, like a pastel washed background.  Initially Deep Purple went waxen on me, and bizarre as it sounds, for a moment I was transported back to primary school in the early seventies ( but I look younger) and the smell of the brand new, inexplicably waterproof toilet roll that was in local schools back then.

Don’t take this as a bad thing, but the opening did smell like clean water, wet paper and wax just for a second.  In fact the total lack of sweetness reminded me, believe it or not, of Guerlain Après L’Ondée, which in turn makes me think of melancholy stone statues in the rain.

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Deep Purple, despite its Rock Star Spring like name, is a grown up violet in watercolour where the violet is the star of the show, but not in many scenes.  There is wet moss faintly, and fat droplets of rain on green leaves on a cold day.  This is violet for grown ups and having had the frills and lace taken away, this is beautifully unisex.

 Stockists

Prices for Deep Purple start at just £21 for 30ml, or you can buy samples starting at £5 (free postages) or a set of  mixed Pell Wall 9x 10ml bottles for just £49. Try the website here.

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How to Get Perfume Samples

 

The Perfume Society
The Perfume Society

 

Blind Buys have taught me a lesson many times and it’s often a lesson I choose to ignore.  So many times have I seen a bargain perfume, read some reviews of it, looked up the notes and decided to buy it, only to be disappointed.  You can always sell your disappointments on eBay but you rarely get the same price back that you paid for it.

In the frugal month of January, which is usually grey and makes Christmas look sad and outdated within days, something nice in the post always cheers me up.  A set of samples to work through can help you make a considered decision about your next perfume buy, whilst being a very pleasant way to spend an evening indoors as the wind and rain lash outside.

Samples are the best way to live with a scent for a few days and below is a round up of the best.   They also make great gifts for people when you don’t know what they like, and more importantly- when they don’t know what they like either!  When you come across samples that you don’t like, hang on to them as they are great for swapping (see point 12 below)

So here are my twelve best places to get samples. I’ve done the homework so you don’t have to. These are all UK.

Where do you get yours?

 

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box. – Every quarter, for five quid, you get sent a Discovery Club Box with between six and nine samples in.  Some you may already know and some may be new releases.  All High Street popular stuff rather than niche, but it works for me.

 

The Fragrance Shop
The Fragrance Shop

The Perfume Society Beauty Box when you subscribe to the Perfume Society for £25 a year you receive a Discovery Box, free of charge, full of scented goodies.  After that you can buy a Discovery Box for the discounted price of only £10. A great way to learn about scent new and old.

 

The Perfume Society
The Perfume Society

Penhaligon’s Library of Scent– ten samples- five male, five females (but knickers to that, I wear men’s stuff very often) at the very reasonable price of £12.80 on allbeauty.com or on Amazon.

 

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L’Artisan Parfumeur Boite a Parfums– you can get these online and each pretty tin contains ten 2ml splash samples of L’Artisan Parfumeur fragrances.

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Papillon Perfumes– To experience what critics are talking about right now, you can order a sample set of all four Papillon scents for just £15 plus £3 shipping .   Critically acclaimed and beloved of perfume fans and bloggers alike, the Papillon collection could lead to you buying a full bottle. A little goes a long way. Heed my warning.  You will fall in love.

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4160 Tuesdays: There are all sorts of ways to sample these unique scents from handbag sized bottles to a full set of samples.  Prices start from just £6 for a generous 4ml splash bottle.  I’m a big fan. Here’s the link to the 4160 Tuesdays website.

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Pell Wall Perfumes-A Shropshire based UK independent perfumery which is the brainchild of Nose Chris Bartlett. There are  some great variations here: £5 for 5 x 1ml samples including postage (four of your choice and one “lucky dip”), or 9 generous 10ml bottles for £49. Here’s the link.

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Les Senteurs– The biggest range of niche samples I know of in the UK – they have just about everything I can think of and many more I had never heard of or tried.  Here’s the website– but be careful- you can get quite lost in it. Heaven!

 

at Les Senteurs
at Les Senteurs: I’m the passer by, not the glamorous customer.

Cath Collins: A “cottage” perfumery which makes great zesty scents inspired by flowers from Cath’s own garden. Three  EDT samples for £5.25 inc shipping or £7.00 for four, including shipping. Full sized bottles are reasonably priced at £29.50 for 30ml. Here’s the link to the website.

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Jo Loves: Try the Fragrance Discovery Gift Experience which gives you a sample set and the option of a full bottle of your favourite. All fabulous quality and mouth wateringly good. Here’s the website link.

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EBay: you’d be amazed what people sell. Try for bulk packs of samples such as Thierry Mugler Angel– sometimes cheaper than buying the smallest bottle and handy for your handbag.

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Swapping  Swap with other perfume lovers on Fragrantica, basenotes and Facebook groups.  Join up, join in and get involved. Perfume lovers are generous souls and love to spread the joy and share.  This is where all those samples you don’t care for come in handy and can be used as swapping currency.

Perfume for Paupers: How to Smell Good on a Budget

Frugal Fragrance, Scents on a Shoestring, Perfume for Paupers: phrase it how you will.  The truth is that these days the cost of living is high and luxuries are the first to go. Choosing my perfume for the day is a few minutes I treasure. I certainly have plenty of choice but only around four bottles on my dressing table cost more than thirty quid (and were mostly gifts).

photo by World of Oddy
photo by World of Oddy

I am often asked how I can afford to sample a new perfume every day and I always answer almost apologetically: I have very few expensive full bottles and sometimes a review is prompted by a few free squirts at my local beauty counter. The rest are inexpensive bottles, samples or purse sprays. If I had had to spend a lot of money to do this it wouldn’t have been possible.

Granted, I have two advantages: a very generous friend without whom this blog would be shorter and harder to write.  I know how lucky I am.  The second advantage is that as a blogger, I often get sent free sample sizes to trial.  However, apart from that, I truly believe that it is possible to smell good without breaking the bank.

 On the High Street

There are several ways in which to enjoy perfume on the cheap.  Firstly, I no longer dismiss cheap perfume the way I used to long ago.  Rummage long enough in the nd.10934High Street fare, and you will find gems that cost well under a tenner, and even a few for under a fiver. In my local Bodycare shop, I have bought  100ml of Cabochard for £8.99 and a bottle of Jovan White Musk for Women for £6.19.  Then there is the bargain Queen of them all: Coty’s L’Aimant– and I am neither the first nor the last to find similarities between L’Aimant and Chanel No 5.  Created in 1927, L’Aimant has a retro feel that reminds my esteemed fellow blogger The Perfumed Dandy, of an Agatha Christie heroine. A small bottle can cost just over a fiver and is widely available.

 

Be Unfashionable

Back in the 70s, drugstore classics were everywhere and everyone wore them.  They have lost popularity now but are worth revisiting.  Their lack of popularity means they are cheap too, so it’s a win-win situation if you like bargain chypres tweedand aldehydes. I have purchased Panache for just £4.99 on Fragrance Direct- and the longevity is around 12 hours, making this classic aldehyde excellent value.  I have also managed to purloin (I love that word) a bottle of retro favourite Tweed from my local chemist for £4.99.  Recently a little bottle of Chique arrived in the post for just £3.99 and it is full of Citrus and Oakmoss. (see my rave review).

 

 In Praise of Purse Sprays

Then there are the purse sprays.  I have a bouquet of these on my dressing table, none costing over a fiver.  Marks and Spencer does an excellent range of perfume and purse spray ma nd salmost all of them are available in 10ml and 25ml sizes, starting at £4, making these affordable treats. I also find that very often there is a sales brochure in my Avon catalogue and I have in the past bought a purse spray of Little Red Dress for just £3.99. Avon are doing these more regularly now and you can get them for just £3. I recently picked up a 10ml bottle of Next Just Pink for just £2 in my local Next Clearance store, and it’s become a firm favourite.

Go Niche and Bijoux

 4160 test setIf you have a lot of perfumes and samples, a small amount can last nearly a year if you rotate it with other scents. It is possible to have sample sizes of great niche scents for special occasions that would normally be prohibitive when bought in full size bottles. However, there’s no reason why anyone should be left out, regardless of budget.

Samples of niche scent enable you to smell unique and fabulous without breaking the bank. In the UK I recommend Pell Wall, 4160 TuesdaysThe Perfume Society Discovery Boxes, Les Senteurs or eBay. In the USA, try The Perfumed Court or Surrender to Chance. Which leads me to my next heading…

 Buy Online

photo by World of Oddy
photo by World of Oddy

Determined and lengthy browsing on Amazon has helped me find Coty Chanson D’Eau a citrussy hesperide at only £6.99 for 50ml including a shower gel.  Even I was sceptical at that price, but pleasantly surprised at this lovely green cologne on receipt of it. Another recent Coty find was Coty Aspen for Men at £8.29 a delightful Lavender/Pine combo that smells like Creed Green Irish Tweed . Don’t rule out Old Spice either- it was originally meant for women and smells like a lighter version of Dana Tabu).

Yves Rocher is a minefield of bargains, but sadly my nearest branch is in France.  Their online service for the UK is excellent however.  I just bought 2 bottles for the price of one: Clea and Yria. They were blind buys, but I looked them up on Fragrantica, liked the reviews and went ahead.  I was not disappointed and now own two bottles for the total price of £15. They usually let you choose three free samples and a free gift too.

One of my favourite sites is Allbeauty.com, formerly CheapSmells.com.  They have a huge variety of genuine big names, but can sell cheap since they are without the High Street overheads. Prices are very low and there is a vast selection of perfume under £10. Postage is free  when you spend over £15 but it does take about week.  They don’t pay me to say how great they are, but their delivery guy could find my house without sat nav.

 Samples

 Being a blogger I have the advantage of having been sent some free samples from discoveryclub_headerimgvery generous companies, and I am lucky to have a good friend in my chum Lisa, whose generosity in letting me loose on two big boxes of phials, knows no bounds.

Samples are getting harder to cadge over the counter: believe, me I’ve turned on the charm!  But there are other methods.

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Box (see photo) is a good way to bolster my sample collection.  At only £5 a quarter, I receive a box of mixed samples and vouchers for money off full sized bottles. My absolute favourite Discovery Box comes from The Perfume Society, which provides around ten samples, smelling notes, sniffing strips, and a couple of scented goodies that vary from facial serum, to hand cream or shower gel.

 Look Beneath the Glitz

Don’t rule out tacky looking celeb scents either: Who cares what it says on nd.8925the label?  If you like it, go ahead.  Two of my favourites are Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights (very Vegas!), bought for £8.95 which smells of Papyrus and Patchouli ( and very similar to Prada EDP), and JLo Deseo, which looks like wet jewel and smells eau so fraiche!

 eBay

Ebay is an excellent source of cheap fragrance trawling, especially after big events such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day when people sell their disappointments.  Some buyers are afraid of being sold a dud, but I can honestly say everything I have bought has been authentic and eBay are pretty strict about fake stuff, so it’s a good place to shop around.

Swaps, Decants and Splits

If you get stuck into the talk boards on Basenotes, Fragrantica, Facebook Fragrance Groups or even Mumsnet Style and Beauty threads, you can not only find friendly like minded fellows, but can usually swap decants, full bottles, or even go in on an expensive niche bottle by just buying, say a quarter if a full bottle with some fellow fragheads. Perfume lovers are generous souls and genuinely want to spread the joy.

Photo by World of Oddy: Wishing Pool in Portmeirion
Photo by World of Oddy: Wishing Pool in Portmeirion

How about you?

What’s the best bargain you’ve ever scooped?  Have you found a hidden gem? Do share so we can share your joy, follow in your footsteps or just sit here being all jealous. Perfume is such a treat, I truly wish it for everyone.

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