Monday Question – What Is Your Perfume Shopping Style?

Are you an impulsive shopper?

Do you plan your next purchase with the precision of a brain surgeon?

Are you dedicated to extensive research and comparison shopping?

Or are you more of a sniff, grab and go person?

Do you ever experience buyer’s remorse?


My Answer:

In the first years of my addiction obsession hobby I used to commit a quite a few sniff, grab and go crimes. I am an impulsive person when it comes to shopping, and very often that has resulted in mistakes I regretted.

I wish I would have been a bit more discerning then, but when in the throes of passion for perfume, reason often didn’t stand a chance.

This has changed now, the rabid passion has abated and made room for a more level-headed approach to buying perfume. These days I deliberate for a good while (my rule to wait a month before buying something I want, has proven to be very helpful) and I think about whether my collection doesn’t already fill the perceived need a new perfume evokes.

More often than not it does.

How about your shopping style?



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99 Responses to Monday Question – What Is Your Perfume Shopping Style?

  1. Hello Gorgeous Birgit,
    Good question but I have no hard and fast rule, every situation gets a different response from me. Your one bottle a month rule is so amazing to me and one day I hope to follow in your footsteps, but not just yet
    Portia xx

  2. Vanessa says:

    If it is Not in a beautiful bottle, I’d Never buy the perfume. Other Way round chances are big to buy the scent and even love it, just because I enjoy the packaging.

  3. Sandra says:

    I am level headed in most aspects of my life. Just not when it comes to perfume or scarves! Sure there are some duds, but it sure makes gifting easier when all I have to do is reach into the dud box. I must roll with the splurges I suppose! 😉

  4. Undina says:

    I do not buy impulsively perfumes I haven’t planned to buy but a perfume I planned to buy eventually might just jump the line ifI come across a good deal for it or if I fear it might disappear.
    Now I’m struggling with myself: I love Annick Goutal’s colored bottles and I’m trying to figure out if I have to postpone all other perchases to get a couple of those that I wanted to get eventually – since they might be re-packaged soon. So here comes my impulsiveness.

  5. I am extremely impulsive, even though I try not to be like that. This weekend in Paris I came home with three new fragrances:
    – Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue pour le Soir (semi-planned. Knew I wanted it but hadn’t tried it before)
    – Serge Lutens Fleur d’Oranger (planned and sniffed many times before)
    – Caron En Avion extrait (totally unplanned and the day after I wondered what the hell I was thinking! I will never be able to wear this with my head high).

    • Olfactoria says:

      Martin, I understand, but don’t fret – this is what Paris is for, no? 🙂
      I hope you had a fabulous weekend!

    • Dear Martin
      But you will be able to to wear En Avion with your held high – nay sky high. Honestly, I do all the time, it’s a wonderful perfume. Truly
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Olfactoria says:

        Thank you for chiming in, Dandy! I was going to say the same, but it is a lot more believable when it comes form a man! 🙂

        • Not at all. I will opf course admit that as a confirmed Caron-ophile I might be expected to say this, but being as objective as one can, this is amongst the most conventionally ‘manly’ of all the older perfumes from this house.
          What’s more so few people where them you will never be recognised!

          • On some level I do agree, because I did indeed fell in love. The leather hidden within it’s powdery chypre heart is to die for. But that powder oh my. It takes some guts to master. Will not give up on it of course and thanks for the encouragement.

        • I agree, when you love it, wear it with pride. Maybe you could layer it with another leather fragrance to “butch it up” a bit and tone dowm the powdery notes?

  6. Miss Woolf says:

    I’m so new to this and so of course I suffer from that typical newbie syndrome: extreme impatience. I try to stick to a bottle a month, but it’s hard. March has already seen three bottles join my collection, and today I’m going to Place Vendôme (it wasn’t a planned trip, but when you drive from Calais to Cologne it’s right there, only a stone’s throw away… What could I do but pay homage?) and I suspect that by the time I leave I may have to remortgage my house. But I shall at least smell good.

  7. Alice says:

    I’ve done all of the above, but after nearly 20 years of my perfume ‘hobby’ (and loads of duds) like you I am very level headed and almost everything is planned. In a way its a pity – sometimes I watch women spraying on perfume in shops, saying ‘oooh that’s gorgeous’ and promptly buying a bottle, and envy their gut reaction/spur of the moment approach, in contrast to me with my full knowledge of creator, notes, date, history, general critical reaction…. So how to avoid over analysing? (maybe another MQ)?

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is a good question! Sometimes it is really freeing to just go for what you want right now and think later, often it works out best like that.

      • Alice says:

        well I was near Harvey Nichols earlier, and before I had read your reply I thought ‘enough of all this planning’ so…(guess what’s coming next) walked in a bought by Kilian City of Sin (a refill, its cheaper). Don’t know the line at all so I just tested, ignored the blurb, and picked the one I liked best!. My first purchase this year – I blame you entirely.

  8. Lady Jane Grey says:

    I’d call it eclectic, my style of buying parfum. Somtimes it’s an impulse (although, rather less & less these days – last time I did it it was R.Dove’s Danger, not that bad for an impulse-buy 😉 …). And then again, sometimes it’s thoroughly tested, planned and desired for months : like Amytis at the very present.

  9. Jordan River says:

    Have had buyers remorse; so (amazingly) was able able to return the product (for exchange). Presumably due to long term patronage. Then I had exchangers remorse!
    A purchase is usually a well thought out 3 month process but only because I conquered impulse buying by vicariously reading blogs like this.

  10. Vanessa says:

    I am at a similar stage in my mania trajectory to you, having been through that impulsive phase that leads to remorse and albatrosses galore – have you tried herding albatrosses? They are worse than cats. But I barely buy any bottles now. Just two all last year, and one of them was a back up, the other a newly launched formulation that was promptly discontinued so I snapped it up in its original state. Other than that, it’s decants all the way. My two fridges are groaning, and I forbid myself to get a third! Hmm, I might buy one of these M & S ones, mind, but only because they are ludicrously cheap for a Lyn Harris, though it may have to live at ambient temperatures and take its chances.

  11. brie says:

    In the past I have had buyer’s remorse and end up gifting away the bottle as soon as someone says I smell lovely. Nowadays I think long hard and deliberately before purchasing. There aren’t too many stores from which I can buy perfume so much of it is done online. I haven’t bought in a while (three months) and am trying to work my way through everything I have before getting another full bottle. Although when SSS comes out with Spicy Citrus Vetiver that one will be purchased tout suite!

  12. Tara says:

    Good question! I have looked at the 11 bottles I can remember buying last year (think I’ve forgotten one). 5 were bottles I had been waiting for more than a year to come up on ebay at a reduced price and 2 were part of discount offers I bought over the phone from Ormonde Jayne, one of which I’d wanted for a couple of years. Out of the 4 I bought in shops, one I’d wanted for ages and am wearing today (Bois des Iles parfum), 1 I’d used up a decant first and the other 2 were impulse buys. One of the impulse buys is the only purchase I have remorse over. There’s a lesson there !

    Overall I’d say my shopping style is pretty restrained but this year is going to be a lot calmer.

  13. annemariec says:

    There are definite phases aren’t there, with this perfume-loving hobby. Like you, I’m in a much quieter phase now, but I still do impulse buy from time to time. After all – it’s a hobby! It’s meant to be fun!

    I mean, I have to be very careful indeed with money and in the past have suffered agonies of buyer’s remorse. So I tend to research and test and save and research and test and save, and like Alice (above) I envy those women sometimes who just go ‘Oh that smells nice, I’ll buy that.’ Or: ‘Beautiful bottle! It has to be mine!’. I hardly ever do that any more (never in an actual shop and only sometimes online).

    But wouldn’t it be dull if we NEVER took any risks? I take so few risks in other aspects of my life that the odd $30 or $50 impulse spend (and it’s never more than that) is a comparatively cheap way of brightening a life that is otherwise very planned and organised. Sigh …

    • Olfactoria says:

      So true, Annemarie! It is a hobby, it should be fun, and sometimes it’s okay to just do what we please for once! It could really be worse than frivolously spending 50$.

  14. Natasha says:

    I don’t like suffering from buyer’s remorse so I rarely buy perfume impulsively. Looking at my collection, the ones that were bought on a whim are YSL Paris and Annick Goutal’s Quel Amour. And now I hardly wear them! Such a waste.

    I like to stalk my future purchases, reading reviews, getting samples and writing notes about them. And when I manage to ascertain that I’m not going to get bored of them, I get myself a bottle. I just purchased AG’s Encens Flamboyant after stalking it for 6 months.

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is an admirable approach! Congratulations on Encens Flamboyant! I think in the long term, we value things we took a long time to think about more, than the quickies.

  15. Farouche says:

    In the past year I have become much more measured with my eating (and delighted with the resulting weight loss). I’m trying to apply these same principles to my perfume spending and like the guilt-free feeling of buying a planned bottle of perfume. Swapping is a good way to get rid of unloved or formerly loved perfumes and getting to try new things. I feel like I am enjoying the perfumes on my bureau more now that the first flush of perfume frenzy has passed.

  16. Dominic says:

    It’s a little bit of both. Now, when my taste is more polished, I know better what I want and what I don’t want, what I might need for more often wear and what’s for special, rare occasions. So it all depends on what’s on some sort of sale. Cause when I see Angel gift set half price I don’t think much, I grab it like a hungry alligator 😉. Or when Insolence EDP is nearly half price, which often happens in The Perfume Shop chain.
    Sometimes I let myself to be careless shopper but usually I don’t exaggerate on price and use some good offers. Besides i think quite carefully of what I spend money on cause don’t wanna find my perfume wardrobe full of stuff that I don’t feel like wearing at the particular time of my life.
    But I know what are my future purchases so i keep an eye on them and whether it’s next great offer or my Bday or Xmas, i know what I’m getting.

  17. Tora says:

    I think I would be in real trouble if I traveled the way many of you do. I did manage to restrain myself when visiting my daughter in Manhattan. We went to Le Labo, Atelier, and a Bond store and I tried many many scents but walked away empty handed. And the staff at those stores were so incredibly sweet and indulgent and passionate. I felt at home. Where I live there is no access to perfumes other than Nieman’s and Saks, and every staff member in their fragrance department knows me well. I am even at the bringing them homemade cookies stage. But I think I enjoy the exploration as much if not more than the capture. I make sure I have at least a 3-5ml decant I have tried before purchasing. I am pulling the trigger on Musc Kublai Kahn today, because after 2 weeks of trying the decant in the crook of my elbow, I cannot live a moment longer without a bottle of my own.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Good for you getting MKK! Enjoy your new bottle!
      Travelling is very, very dangerous, I agree. Not only does it cost a lot in itself, the impulse to buy is triggered so much easier abroad…

  18. I am a terrible perfume shopper, meaning that I have great difficulty dropping $200 on a niche bottle of something I LOVE, and yet I’ll spend $200 on crappy mall stuff I just think is so-so over the course of two or three weeks because somehow “it’s a better value”. I’m trying to do better – my last fragrance impulse buy was about a month ago – because I have some SL I am dying to purchase.

    It was so much easier getting quality perfume when I lived in Orlando. I worked for Disney and the perfume store in Epcot sold a lot of very nice Guerlain – which I got at 40% off. Why oh why didn’t I take more advantage of it?!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I had such a phase, and I know, it is excruciating to see a few bottles you really don’t want in the long run and then being unable to afford the one you really want. Sigh. 🙂
      Working at Epcot must have been nice!

  19. lucasai says:

    Yes, I plan! Actually all my perfume purchases are planned almost half a year ahead. But if in the meantime I find a newly released or discovered perfume that I love more than the one that was plan I don’t hesitate to buy this new love and postpone what was planned

  20. I don’t have many good brick and mortar stores closeby to sample fragrances, so when I first got interested in buying I would read the notes list. After a good amount of deliberation and reading reviews, f it sounded like something I would enjoy, I would buy it. Most of the time it worked for me.

    Now I buy samples of fragrances I’m interested in and use that to help me decide if it is full bottle worthy.

  21. ringthing says:

    I have always been a perfume lover on a shoestring budget, so decants and bottle splits have been a wonderful way to expand my collection. If I find myself hoarding the last few drops of a decant because I just can’t stand running out, that’s an indicator of love and I plot a purchase, starting with stalking swap lists and eBay. There is virtually no brick and mortar perfume shopping close to where I live.

  22. Dearest Brigit
    What a wonderful Monday question.
    The Dandy’s purchasing is executed like a military campaign.
    Mouillettes first. Skin second (often a volunteer’s) full test third. Then repeat.
    Then and only then purchase… that’s the theory.
    Actually that is mostly the reality – except with cheappies and finds both must be seized lest they disappear.
    Actually very few regrets, very few now I come to think of it. The result more of Catholic tastes than expert selection I feel.
    Of course there is always the cast iron method – let everyone else decide as I do everyday on my blog!
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • Olfactoria says:

      The “military” method you employ does not surprise me in the least, it seems to fit your style. 🙂
      I admire your SotD by vote selection process, but I could never be happy with a perfume that someone else has chosen for me, it must fit my mood or I will mutate into Godzilla. 😉

      • The Dandy is chuckling.
        Indeed there have been a few Scentzillas, but without serendipity I would never have discivered the old Diors, the Estee Lauder counter as so much niche that I will happily endure the odd Britney, well perhaps not happily.
        A part of the day is always my own too.

  23. andreawilko says:

    Most of the time my purchase are planned in advance but then sometimes I am given opportunities that are too tempting to resist so these end up slotting in between planned purchases.
    I have a few lovely perfumes coming to me soon but have already planned on a bottle of Amyris after that (unless the new frederic malle is bought before then) this would be my bravest purchase to date as it is a blind buy that is soooo expensive but at least I would have a stunning bottle.

  24. I am completely obsessive compulsive. When I get something in my head I am like a pit bull whereas I can’t let go of the obsession. Given that, I always look for the best bargain..(price, tax free, free shipping, discounts, etc.). In the end though, if it is not a good bargain and I still want the perfume I am going to buy it no matter what!!!

  25. My buying habits have evolved. My choices were originally made by family members who traveled and brought back incredible riches from Europe. Now I search them out for myself and have gotten to the stage where I stay with one perfumer for a long time. I might spend the rest of
    my life with Mona de Orio, buying one at a time after sampling them in the Discovery Box.

  26. Lila says:

    I’m not an impulse buyer. I “stalk” a perfume before buying or even trying. I’ll read reviews and press releases and if it sounds interesting then I’ll hunt it down (I have to drive 2 hrs. to access the higher end perfumes) or I’ll order samples online. Then I have to be completely smitten to buy a FB b/c I have other weaknesses, i.e. shoes, jewelry…, which also stretch my resources. I like to test scents at different times of the year or something as simple as what kind of mood I’m in or outfit I’m wearing can change my perception of a scent. It could take months for me to decide on a perfume. I just ordered SL’s A La Nuit for spring and I’ve decided that my next stalking victim is FM’s La Parfum de Therese. So far I have not experienced any buyers remorse but I do own some perfumes that I probably won’t buy again only b/c I know there will be a constant supply of better replacements. One scent that has haunted me for over a year is Clive Christian’s C for Women. I will have to eat beans and weanies for a year to justify that purchase and I’m still not sure it will ever happen, but I find it quite beautiful and unique.

  27. I have been collecting perfumes for years. In the beginning I have done some impulse buys, not many albatrosses among them. That may be because I started my perfume collection at Guerlain. You can hardly ever go wrong with a Guerlain.I think 🙂 Nowadays I mostly buy samples/decants first of the perfumes I am interested in, so I can live with them for a while before committing to a full bottle. I usually put them to the “husband test”. He has very little interest in perfumes, but when he gives me a hug and says you smell so good, it goes on the full bottle wish list. This has happened with Mona di Orio Oud & Ambre, SL Cedre, OJ Tolu, Amouage Lyric and Chanel Bois des Iles. Somehow I suspect there is lurking a secret parfumisto in there somewhere…..

  28. I suffer buyer’s remorse rarely, even when my habit come close to jeopardizing my ability to pay rent! I think that in the beginning, when I would feel pressured by a pushy SA, I would make decisions about perfumes that I wasn’t crazy about. But now, where I choose to spend my money is every bit as important as on what. The shops that I like to support are full of wonderful, knowledgable people who give me the time and the space to fall in love. For that, I am very grateful. One SA said this once and I have never forgotten it: “I will never pressure you, because if I pressure someone and they buy something that they are not sure about, they will never come back here again.”

  29. Gretchen says:

    I DO impulse buy, but it’s after reading several reviews and knowing what scents I tend to like. I’ve been remarkably fortunate: unsmelled/untested purchases in the past 2y have been Perle de Mousse, Mona di Orio Musc, Guerlain L’Heure Bleue and Nahema, Arpege, Bois des Iles, and SM Bois des Violettes. I’ve found I like layering the Chanel with the SM better than I like them separately, but the others have been 100% spot-on wonderful. In my earlier addiction days, I’d buy something after testing and walking around, and haven’t much liked those. Joy and Sira des Indes stand out as meh purchases that I stalked and planned for ages. So, my stabs in the dark haven’t failed me, while the planned ones, not so much. Next up is Mito, Opardu, and Trayee. But I’m going to do those the “right” way and get decants.

  30. Nana says:

    Hey B,
    I plan ahead and have a little wish list that keeps growing since reading all the reviews on stuff that we don’t get in SA.
    Impulsive buying is only on rare stuff, I have just found out that a few of the old Mona Di Orio like Oiro (that I absolutely love) is on sale so, I have to get it right away…can’t wait!!!
    Any advice on Amyitis? Is it any good?

  31. Nana says:

    Thanks B, can’t wait to get it… Oiro was 70% of its retail price! Couldn’t believe my eyes …

  32. Ines says:

    I used to be an impulsive buyer but I guess I finally matured enough to consider well what I’m doing before I plunge in. 🙂
    And that went for perfume as well – now that I have a collection I can’t work with (I get lost amid all the bottles and decants), I realized a bit more reason ought to be involved in my purchases. 🙂 So I’m being reasonable (at the moment, I wonder if it will last…).

  33. catcardamom says:

    Grab it and bag it, then hide the receipts from hubby! LOL! I find it is good to act on impulse. You can never go wrong with having too many classic perfumes. My dressing table is rather laden! And there are so many lovely new scents on the market. I am rather taken with Penhaligon and DSquared at the moment. And if you buy too many, you can always resell them on E-Bay, though I have stopped buying vintage on there because frankly I found some of the sellers rather impatient when their payments were a bit late. Some people!

  34. I love your rule to wait a month! Sometimes I wait far more. I am a compulsive buyer too and I also made bad compulsive perfume buying that I regret now, like Chloé by Chloé.
    My rule is to try a complete sampler before buying (if there is any available in store) for being sure or try it on my skin a LOT of times. Then, when I’m sure, I put daily pennies and dimes on a bowl and I buy it when my bowl have at least 50$. That’s how I am able to control my finances and buy expensive perfumes!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hello genevieveparfums,
      That is a very good rule and a great way to really determine whether you truly like a perfume or whether it is just a momentary infatuation.

  35. Hello there! This is kind of off topic but I
    need some help from an established blog. Is it difficult to
    set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions? Thank you

    • Olfactoria says:

      I use WordPress (obviously) and I can say it is not difficult to use at all. There are lots of easy tutorials, lots of help in forums and per email should you need it. I don’t know much about computers at all, but I manage to do what I want to do here.
      The hard thing about blogging is not the technical side, but sticking with it and keep on doing it over a long period of time. 😉
      Happy blogging!

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