I hope that this perfumery resources’ page will provide the inspiration to discover more about the amazing aromatic world around us.
Here, I’ve put together some links and ideas here that I have found useful as I learnt, and continue to learn, about fragrance. Do let me know of any others you’ve come across that I can add to this list. This page will be constant work in progress as I add to it.
Many independent perfumeries and online services offer samples for a small fee. They’re a great way to spread your wings in perfume and not end up buying blind. In addition, it’s routine these days to find brands offering travel sizes or sample ranges. It makes sense for them to help you experience their full ranges, but be aware that buying scent in small sizes is more expensive $ per ml! But with travel restrictions these days on liquids, the small pocket sprays are convenient.
In the UK, try Bloom, Scentsamples and Les Senteurs; in New York, try Twisted Lily; and in Australia, ScentSamples and Perfume.com.au. I also love The Perfumed Court which ships worldwide from the US; it has an impressive sampling service of scents from previous decades dating back to the eponyymous early and mid 20th century scents too.
Similar to the samples services, are online perfume clubs which serve up exploratory sets under a theme, or tailored to your choices.
In the US, look at Scentbird, a New York-based fragrance sampling brand. It gives subscribers a quiz and then for $14.95, sends a month’s supply of a designer perfume edited to their tastes, mood and occasion. Birchbox (UK and US sites), offers surprise boxes for subscribers with a mix of beauty and scent products.
In the UK, The Perfume Society offers regular Discovery Boxes under themes such as ‘Putting on the Spritz’; they come at around £20 for non subscribers. You get a free box when you subscribe – £25 / year plus other goodies.
Others to check out include: Olfactif, which says it does ‘Uncommon scents for uncommon people’; and Scent Trunk. There are a lot of these subscription boxes starting all the time, but these pioneered the trend. I am not sure I’d take a long membership, but they are fun for a few months to gain some ‘train your nose’ experience.
Spritz, Swap & Split Parties with Friends
Why not organise your own perfume parties with friends?
Each person brings a selection of scents – arrange beforehand on your selections. Then, trial out each other’s and perhaps swap perfumes! It’s a great way to ditch scents you are less keen on, given that there are few totally easy, environmentally-friendly ways to do that otherwise! Don’t waste a Scent, I say.
Learning about Perfume
Basenotes – a brilliant, independent portal on all things perfume, with a wealth of articles and an active, helpful community. Sign up free to become a member and learn lots! A latest article is worth a look:’ 500 Greatest Modern Perfumes’ which celebrated Basenotes’ 15th birthday. See also the Twitter of its founder: @GrantOsborne .
Fragrantica – my go-to place to learn about any fragrance (especially before I purchase!). Fragrantica is a massive encylopaedia of perfumes and the factual blurb about perfumes is amplified with a masses chain of community comments. A first place to go when you want to have a low-down on a perfume and delve behind the brand advertising. Invaluable! Free sign up to join the melee’ of opinions.
Perfumer’s Corner – a good starter resource section on the perfumery supplier Perfumer’s Apprentice website. The online shop offers start-up and hobbyist perfumers the option to buy very small quantities of oils and fragrances, which is vital if you are on a budget and experimenting.
The Fragrance Foundation – an industry body so expect glitz and big names from the world’s noses and companies. The site has useful ‘intelligence’ (articles & interviews) and a good glossary of perfumery terms. A place to go at least once a month to keep abreast of trends, launches and celebrity perfumes / perfumers.
The Perfume Society – Billed as the word’s first perfume appreciation society, this site has a lot to keep busy. The site was started by heavy weights in the media, beauty and brand sectors Josephine Fairley and Lorna Mackay, who also authored ‘The Perfume Bible’. The Perfume Society is about community, learning, sharing and giving (they do a free ‘Perfume Discovery Box’ if you sign up for VIP membership). There’s much to keep the non member happy, from Fr.ed (Fragrance Editor, which helps you find your next best fragrance) to their extensive section Explore Perfume which runs through houses, noses, ingredients, fragrance families and more. They produce a monthly digi-mag ‘The Scented Letter’ which has a medley of readable and resourceful articles. Something to please most of us. If you can, join in its live events (mostly UK and London environs) but if you’re further afield, The Perfume Society encourages you to start a local perfume appreciation group of your own.
Facebook Groups – There are several worth joining on perfume making spanning natural perfumery to soap-making and just about every aspect of the beauty, health, natural skincare interests you can imagine. Worth hanging out in even if just to go over the numerous forum queries that prove a treasure chest of resource link and info. One of the most useful groups on Facebook is Perfume Making run by the very energetic Paul Kiler, a self-taught but seriously knowledgeable figure in perfumery circles online.
See also the Olentium edit of top perfumery blogs. They are run by some great names in the scent critiquing world, and insider perfumers themselves.
I hope this has given you some useful links to explore your scent journey further. As ever, do contact me to let me know your feedback and to pass on more links to great resources I’ve missed.