Tag Archives: Les Senteurs

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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Papillon Artisan Perfumes Anubis: An Extraordinary Début

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IScentYouADay turns two today, so I guess  being two I can throw a few things, bite stuff and go to bed early.  This is also my 500th post, so it is a significant day to me.  It wasn’t easy to pick a scent for my 500th post and 2nd birthday, but then I had a lightbulb moment.  I have already reviewed two of the terrific perfumes from Papillon Artisan Perfumes, but that elusive Anubis kept escaping me.  Twice it has been lost and twice it has been found.  The second time was today,  and it felt right to choose it when it turned up again as if fated to.  I am therefore choosing ( and wearing) Papillon Artisan Perfumes Anubis for my 500th post.  It is quite simply outstanding and well on its way to becoming a cult classic.

It’s fair to say that 2014 was an extraordinary year for Papillon Artisan Perfumes.  With only three scents to the name, the critical response has been enormous with the industry sitting up and taking notice in the very first year of their launch.

For Nose Liz Moores, Anubis holds a personal place in her heart, initially being a creation for herself.  After  being asked so many times what her perfume was, Liz made it available to the public (hooray!) and after several incarnations, Anubis was born.

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Oddly enough, when I reviewed Papillon Angelique, it was instant love but I really struggled to describe it.  It was almost as if it were a classic already and as such, impossible to deconstruct.  I found myself in the same position with Anubis.  I know I love it, but it’s hard to explain why.  I could tell you the notes, but it would be like looking at the sheet music instead of listening to the opera.

Here’s what it smells like to me:  An ancient stone walled chapel, as old as a millennium and infused with the smoke from a thousand thuribles. Imagine all that, only on leather, with a bonfire in the middle distance, and a hint of Egyptian embalming oils. That is what Anubis says to me.

But here are the notes so that you can pad out my  subjective description:  suede, jasmine, pink lotus, castoreum, immortelle, saffron, myrrh, benzoin, rose and frankincense.

pinterest.com
pinterest.com

Anubis has been blended so seamlessly that each note segues flawlessly into the next.  As a whole, it makes one resounding chord, as if it’s always been around.  If you like Tauer Lonestar Memories or Cuir Ottoman by Parfum D’Empire (both excellent), then I am almost certain you will like Anubis too.  Longevity is around ten hours on my skin, and this is eau de parfum strength.

Anubis has already made waves and friend of the blog MeganInStMaxime named it as her favourite launch of 2014.  The great Persolaise has also lauded it, and dear Thomas aka the Candy Perfume Boy has awarded fellow Papillon scent  Tobacco Rose one of his coveted “Candy” Awards. The mighty Kafkaesque writes a superb and comprehensive review of Anubis that I cannot begin to compete with, you can find it here.

Anubis is unique: by turns it is smoky, leathery, spicy and redolent with incense and enigma.

And as for Liz Moores?  Utterly charming and a delight to deal with.

During my visit to Les Senteurs way back in Oh…2014, I was pleased to see the trio of Papillons by the door, among illustrious company, as they have every right to be.  I believe there will be more brewing over at Papillon one day and I believe there will be a queue around the block…

 

Happy Blog-aversary to me! and thank you for popping by!

Stockists:  Papillon Artisan Perfumes are available from the Papillon website, from Les Senteurs, or in the USA from Indigo Perfumery.

The IScentYouADay Fragrant Top Ten of Everything 2014

2014 has been a prolific year for launches and perfume news and I thought I would take a break from all the frenzied wrapping and posting and reflect on what my fragrant highlights were from the past year.  These are in no particular order- I am equally delighted with them all! In 2015 I am looking forward to seeing more from Papillon, 4160 Tuesdays, and of course, the launch of the latest Tauer  which I believe will be Sotto La Luna Hyacinth later in the year.  Stay tuned my fragrant friends!

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  1. Visiting 4160 Tuesdays and meeting Sarah McCartney.

Yes, Lisa Wordbird and I actually got to nose* around the 4160 studio and sniff lids with the Maestro.  An unforgettable day, in which I left clutching my beloved new bottle of Tart’s Knicker Drawer in its posh tin.

*nose around! Accidental pun!

 

at Les Senteurs
at Les Senteurs
  1. Visiting Les Senteurs in Mayfair

The pavements were too posh to walk on, and even the Christmas lights on Elizabeth Street were understated and classy.  Les Senteurs is like a carefully curated Aladdin’s cave for frag-heads.  This to me, was as Willy Wonka’s factory was to Augustus Gloop.  Everything I’d ever read about was here, and some I hadn’t even heard of.  It’s Nirvana for Perfumistas.

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  1. Being featured on the legendary Tauer Advent Calendar for 2014

What a privilege!.  Andy is never less than courteous and generous to Tauer fans ( and there are many of us, right?) and it was a great honour for my blog to be chosen to “host a post”. – watch this space on the 21st December!

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  1. Finding Gucci Envy on Amazon UK    

It’s right here! I’m about to bag my second bottle so that I’m not so scared of wearing the first.

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  1. Reviewing Secretions Magnifiques. Never. Again.

See my earlier post if you are still on the fence about Etat Libre D’Orange Secretions Magnifiques.  And how could you be?

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  1. Discovering the flowery botanical world of Cath Collins

In a quiet pocket of beautiful Devon, Cath Collins runs a bijou business where flowers rule the day.  With reasonable prices, and beautiful ingredients, Cath kindly sent me some samples and I reviewed Lily Fandango, Morning Flowers and Flowers of the Orient.  Here’s the website link.

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  1. Papillon Perfumery launched!

Papillon started small but good with only three scents (for now). I was kindly sent samples of all three- Angelique, Tobacco Rose ( see my earlier reviews) and Anubis.  No weak links here- all are superb and I am the very proud owner of a full bottle of Angelique.  It was love at first sniff.  I predict big things to come from this little outfit.  ( …and I have just found my Anubis sample after looking everywhere so watch this space for a forthcoming review)

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  1. When Marks and Spencer became my Go-To Perfume Bar

Yes, even my teeny local Marks and Sparks has obligingly started to stock Fragonard, Monotheme and Roger & Gallet.  I’m afraid I stride past the Perfume Shop now, in my hurry to try more stuff in M and S.  Such reasonable prices too.

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  1. The Library of Fragrance launched in Boots in September

At last grown women are trusted to mix’n’match instead of being fed the same old same old. Library of Fragrance has an eclectic selection of scents that are good enough to wear alone, and classic enough to mess about with and blend yourself.  It doesn’t make us perfumers, but it does give us a bit of autonomy.  If I want more musk in my perfumes, I can do that.  If I’m missing  a plain, unadorned Jasmine scent to layer over other stuff, I can get that too.  It’s like a little fragrant playground after being force fed  ready made rent-a-scents.

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10. And then Avon got good…

I have been a Moaning Myrtle about Avon in the past.  A year or so ago I was on a downer with their fragrance range and had experienced far too many disappointments.  However, something has changed: either them or my attitude- and I even ended up doing a top ten.  Yes, there are at least ten Avon fragrances that I would happily own, and upstairs on my dressing table are Avon Citrus Burst, Tahitian Holiday and Little Black Dress. I particularly warmed to Avon when they listened to their customers and brought back Timeless.

Oh and don’t get me started on the three new Avon room spritzes I have in Orange Blossom, Jasmine and Magnolia.  They are terrific.

 

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So there you have it.  Ten perfume highlights of my year.  What were yours?

What Wordbird is Buying for Christmas

Many of you will know that Lisa Wordbird is a dear friend of this blog.  Her expertise and generosity have been given unconditionally and cheerfully.  Not only that but she found us a parking space a few metres away from Les Senteurs in the middle of the day in Belgravia last week.  This makes her a bona fide Wonder Woman.  She has very kindly written a piece about Christmas shopping for perfume, so I am going to let Lisa take over and go back into the kitchen where I am peeling things.  Over to you Lisa, and thank you for taking the time to write for us.

 

What Wordbird is buying for Christmas

There has been a lot of debate on the Basenotes forums over the years on how best to give perfume as a gift. If you buy something for a perfumista like me, I’m likely to already have it, or something like it, or already know about it and hate it.  Fans are dreadful people to buy for, unless they’ve told you beforehand what they want, in which case it’s not a surprise. How to deal with this? Samples.

The consensus of opinion on the ladies’ board at Basenotes was that the nicest thing to do would be to order half a dozen samples from a specialist such as Les Senteurs in the UK, Lucky Scent in the US or Aus Liebe Zum Duft in EU, along with a gift voucher from the shop, so the lucky recipient could choose the fragrance they liked and then order a full bottle.

Tauer.com
Tauer.com

This method works just as well for mainstream perfumes, by the way. Pop into your favourite department store, blag a few samples of perfumes you think might be appropriate and buy a gift voucher. It has the merits of simplicity as well as offering you a way to show thoughtfulness without actually having to be thoughtful. Sneaky, huh? Excellent for Mothers-in-Law or very new girlfriends.

If you insist on handing over a bottle on Christmas morning, and you want to give a gift that is a little bit out of the eclatordinary, I would head over to Marks and Spencer’s and try the Fragonard and Monotheme ranges.  Both are excellent quality, neither will break the bank, and if the recipient decides to look on Fragrantica or Basenotes to read reviews, they will find that they are well respected.

I will suggest Monotheme’s Cuir as an excellent leather fragrance that’s favourably compared to Tom Ford Tuscan Leather.  So, buy that for your Dad or hubby and pinch a bit for yourself every now and then.  Sam has already reviewed their lush lemony Boccioli di Limoni, which I love and recommend highly for some Italian sunshine in midwinter.

From Fragonard, Etoile has been likened to Light Blue (high praise in my book), Eclat has been compared to a light, gourmand version of Lancome Hypnose, and Ile d’Amour is likened to L’Eau de Issey Miyake, while my favourite – Soleil – has jasmine and orange blossom floating over amber and sandalwood. What’s not to like?

I’ll also give a shout to the Le Couvent des Minimes line, which is a sub-brand of L’Occitaine. As you would expect, there are some lovely skincare and bathing products in their line, but they also have a range of colognes, which I have tried and liked at a large branch of Tesco in the UK. One product that is getting a lot of love on the perfume boards is their Eau des Missions, an oriental gourmand eau de cologne that is often compared to my beloved Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanille. For some strange reason it’s not available on the UK website, but if you’re in Europe or the US, you’re in luck!

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Guess who?
Dear Father Christmas…

 

 

Papillon Perfumes Angelique: Instant Love

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Some perfumes are slow burners.  Some I dislike but respect.  Some I fall for after one sniff. Angelique comes into the latter category. Papillon Perfume is a new kid on the block.  Launching in June 2014, there are only three scents so far.  However, I see a big future for this small artisan outfit led by nose Liz Moores. When I tried Angelique I adored it instantly and even more so as it bloomed and grew into its middle and latter phases. However, and I think I am not alone here, it is very hard to describe.  I was thinking of violets and dried leaves and patchouli, when in fact, this is all about the Orris root, mimosa and the Iris. Here’s what the website says:

Cascades of French mimosa, osmanthus and white champac are woven between the powdered, violet facets of precious orris. Virginian cedarwood and subtle notes of frankincense bring an ethereal light and delicate freshness to this tender composition.

In fact I wasn’t wrong about the violets because some aspects of Iris can smell violet-y in a rooty, grown up non frivolous sort of way.  Couple this with osmanthus (think apricot blossom) and yellow, summery mimosa and you might be starting to get the picture. What I will say is that just like a new song on the radio can sound like an instant classic to the point where you think you’ve heard it before but you haven’t: thus I felt that Angelique  had always been there, so perfect and classic was it to my nose.

The notes are hard to imagine on paper, but when they’re all singing together in one voice like a choir, you get something quite beautiful that is a combination of violets, the lightness of a petal, a sandy base, some green notes, an blast of Iris and the kind of longevity you usually only get from Andy Tauer.

It’s an unusual combination of a bouquet on the turn: all yellowing and dried up, coupled with the youngest violets and the greenest of leaves. Because of its original and unexpected combination of notes, it is both one of the most perfect new perfumes I have ever smelled and the hardest to write about.

Samples are available from the Papillon Perfume website and from our friends Les Senteurs. One tiny grumble:  the website’s white text on a black background made my migraine prone eyes feel very weird afterwards. Apart that, I joyously welcome Papillon Perfumes with open arms. I shall be reviewing the other two in good time: Anubis and Tobacco Rose.

 

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