His Aha Moment – A Sample Story

I recently ran into a friend at Min New York while he was in the process of contemplating his next fragrance purchase. This gent has discerning taste, so I was eager to see how this would play out. He talked about not really having a fragrance palette and that once he buys a fragrance and it’s done, he won’t purchase it again. (oooookay) That was the first time I ever heard that one and it left me intrigued. As we continued talking, he said something that made me think that sometimes only experience can produce that kind of aha moment.

During his last trip to Min, he sampled a scent and he loved it. Seven hours later, when he got home, he felt completely different and the fragrance lost his interest. That right there is the reason sampling a fragrance before you purchase it is important. In this instance, there could be any numbers of reasons why this happened, e.g., his sweat could’ve mixed with the scent and changed it, washing his hands may have diluted the scent, emotionally he could’ve been in a different place after a long day, etc., etc.

A fragrance’s top notes are what draw you in. Like a fine wine or a great cigar, they will dissipate and another level will be revealed. By the time you get to the base notes, you may not even remember those opening notes. If you’re happy, you’ve got a winner. If you’re like my friend, you’re thanking God you sampled it and you didn’t make that purchase.

If you’re putting in the time before your gadget purchases to get the most for your money, the same logic applies here.

By the way, my friend left Min a happy customer. He purchased a bottle of Agarwood Extrait De Parfum by Heeley. He said he’ll save it for when the weather cools a bit, maybe a nice brisk evening. Who said men don’t know what they like?

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12 responses to “His Aha Moment – A Sample Story

  1. Yes, who says men don’t know what they like? We know they do. Great Post!!

  2. Great advice!

  3. I’ve had it work the other way, too. Eau d’Italie’s Bois d’Ombrie was just okay for me for a while. It was a leather scent, and I got that, but I smelled more floral notes in it, like iris. I wanted to like it more, but it didn’t do it for me. But then, about a year later, it hit me. I don’t know if it was just a shift in perspective (I’d smelled a lot of leather scents that weren’t nearly as good as this one) or if something in my own chemistry changed, but now I absolutely love it.

    But I totally agree. I have changed my mind about stuff so many times after living with a sample for a few days. Most recently, it was Rien by Etat Libre d’Orange. In the store it was amazing: all rich leathery amber. At home, it was sickly sweet, almost more a gourmand scent than a leather. I don’t know why it smelled so great in the store but it practically made my stomach turn when I tried to wear it. Oh well. I’ll give the sample another try soon — you never know.

    • That is the beauty of scent. I’ve had the same thing happen to me. If I fall out of love with a fragrance, I hang onto it because I know there’s a chance I’ll come back around. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. I’m trying really hard to go through the whole sample (and sometimes a decant) before going for the full bottle. I don’t remember ever buying a perfume right after testing it for the first time in store – not in my pre-perfumista times and definitely not now.

  5. I’ve also seen this work both ways — by the time I let something wear for hours, I’ve grown weary of it and cannot stand it; and not being able to tolerate the first five minutes after application (or being lukewarm on the experience) only to find that “a ha” a few minutes on.

    Creed’s Royal Oud had the fleeting “first-note-aversion” when I tried it, but lurking beneath it was a fragrance that has become a favorite.

    And I remember that comment! It’s a great mantra — once you’ve experienced something, it’s often time to move on once its done so you can find that next “Holy Grail”. I enjoyed that chat (and it was good to catch up)!

    • Drew, thanks for sharing. I love when I initially spray a scent on my skin, find I’m not in love with it and then it opens up and it catches me by surprise. It’s a beautiful thing. It was definitely good catching up the other night. I hope to do it again soon.

  6. I used to be like this guy – I would buy one bottle, use it up, and rarely or never buy it again. I get bored with things. There are still fragrances from that era that I like, but would not buy again. For me, it’s the difference between liking something and loving it. And also the impact of wearing it so often, I think, because back then I didn’t have a perfume “wardrobe.”

    • I find if I get bored with a scent, it’s before the bottle is finished. IF I go through it, I really like and and want to keep it a part of my wardrobe. Fresh’s Sandalwood Vert is one of the few scents I would buy over and over. Unfortunately, they’ve discontinued it and I’m just handing on to what’s left. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Natalie.

  7. I have a collection of “summer romance” fragrances – We met by chance at a far off counter in that place next to the place you meant to go. It seemed like kismet, you swore fealty and you were defiantly loyal, but it began to wane – until the thought of just one more spray..you just couldn’t face it.
    Off to the back of the bureau it went as you thought “maybe, maybe I’ll come back and it’ll be like it was”. But no, those fragrances are “taillights” to you now. Which is my way of saying – I get it, I completely get your friend.

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