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Blind Buys - Are you a risk taker? Best + Worst Experiences

Blind Buys - Are you a risk taker? Best + Worst Experiences 9 years ago
Every so often I feel the urge to blind buy a fragrance. I must admit I've been pretty lucky and have never ended up with something unwearable. Then again, I never go in totally "blind". I usually have one eye open and make the commitment based on listed notes, an agreeable price that I can afford to gamble with and, most of all, the endorsement of reviewers whose taste and prior opinions seem to align with my own experiences.
There is something about the thrill of anticipating the arrival of an untried fragrance that fills me with a spontaneous excitement. It's like receiving a surprise gift (which I necessarily and conveniently forget I have actually paid for). I know that I should methodically purchase from my wish list, compiled through sensible sampling; blind buys are never on the wish list! They are the rogue gremlins, the slot machines of the perfume world, that promise riches while snatching the cash.
When I sample things, I tend to be picky. Is it love, would I buy this? With blind buys, I tend to be more forgiving of the result - I'm stuck with it after all, so best to see the bright side...
My best (and riskiest, given it's niche) blind buy is Parfums de Nicholai "Le Temps d'une Fete" which came about when Mr Triffid visited Paris and I had no time to sample beforehand. This was a rare case of a perfume smelling exactly as I had wanted it to. "Miss Balmain" and "Ce Soir ou Jamais" have also been blind buy winners.
I've no total disasters to report but the disappointments fall on the side of wearable, but sub par, reformulations whose purchase was based on distant olfactory memory (Fidji and Givenchy III).
Are you a blind buy addict? Do you have a price point beyond which sanity prevails? What are your best and most disastrous blind buys, and have you ever cursed a reviewer who (unknowingly) inspired you to take a risk and invest in something that disappointed?
9 years ago
Great forum post, Triffid.

As far as the term "blind-buy addict", in a sense, I guess I'd have to call myself one, if only because whether it's because I'm ordering samples, minis or the FB's, so from step 1, they're all usually blind-buys. Where I live, getting samples is like pulling hen's teeth from the department stores. The department stores don't carry anything I'd want anyway. So I don't shop there. There aren't any stores that carry perfumes I'd like, so it's buying online, which turns into "blind-buying". If I'm lucky enough to find something locally, it would be at TJMaxx or one of those type of stores, and you can't open the box.

I do read the notes and reviews first tho. I would never buy a perfume on the recommendation of an SA I didn't know. I have to read about it myself and go with my gut feeling. The majority of the time it's been ok, with three purchases I didn't like. Two of those had glowing reviews, notes I swore I would love, and when I wear the perfume, I just can't pull out of it what others do. I'm so disappointed.

My worst one was "Hot Couture No. 1" which others say is a smoky, spicy, raspberry frag. On me, it's a linear cooked raspberry. So disappointed am I.

My happiest so far has been Nicole Miller. I adore this fragrance. Best money I spent blind-folded.

But when I think about, even paying for samples is blind-buying. I'm still putting out money for something I have no idea what it smells like.

As far as the sanity marker in price? For a blind-buy? That's relevant to the market, isn't it?
9 years ago
Thanks for sharing Sorceress.
Local availability (or lack thereof) is true for me also. Mostly designer brands in the large department stores and no niche perfumeries in my local area, though there are random stockists for brands like Lutens, Goutal and Malle (but never with samples or testers of the ones I want to try).
For me, samples are not in the same league as a FB blind buy. Cost notwithstanding (could vary enormously) it's the intention that differs. Samples are for, well, testing whereas a FB blind buy is a leap of faith - like eloping without being formally acquainted!

The nothing-to-lose ten dollar cheapie simply does not exist here, unlike the US it seems.
9 years ago
In the US, they're really not $10 bottles. I'd say more in the vicinity of $20 or so. And that adds up.
What I meant by the cost of samples, was this. When you add up the cost of samples, and they do cost, what happens when you don't like all of them? How many do you really like? So when you really add that cost, how much do you figure you're out for? I don't buy samples, so I don't know this. To me, it seems like an awful lot of figuring out to see if I'd like the samples, which samples to buy. It's just like ordering FBs. Only buying little samples. And you buy a lot of little samples, so it seems like a lot of work. That's why I don't order samples, because it seems to me a lot of work for the money. I've gone to the sample sites trying to figure out what I might like, and I've always walked away. It seemed not worth it to me for the cost. So far I'm just not convinced yet for the prices I've seen.
Maybe someone can explain to me why it's better to buy samples that I may/may not like and put money out for them?
9 years ago
Addict here.. Since it is extremely rare for me to spend more than $25 on a perfume there aren't many I can sample before hand.

Worst: FB "Loulou" - sorry folks this smells like an urinal cake to me

Best: mini "Kenzo Jungle / Jungle l'Elephant" - love the fresh spices, totally different from anything else I own
9 years ago
Like you Triffid I at least go by listed notes and price, but for a long time I was a blind-buy addict. I've recently toned it right down though. With every blind-buy or sample I find my tastes becoming more particular, my overall perfume sense more refined. "Fussy" in practical terms! So less and less of my blind buys are actually pleasing enough to keep. Many of them I trade on or sell as second hand to try to recoup my losses.
I buy more samples now than I used to. Contacting brands directly and finding sample sellers based in Australia has helped with that, as the international sample sites often have pricey postage.

Best: 24 Gold. I just got my hands on 24 Gold Oud Edition, too. Very happy with it!

Worst: Rasasi attars. There's something in their attar base that just smells like overly synthetic, rose-scented cleaning chemicals to me... at first I thought it was just some bad luck with Amber Ood but I've had the same issue with Esraa and others as well.
9 years ago
I do wish there was an easy, non-invasive way of asking other Australians if they'd like to sample swap with us though! Those were great.
9 years ago
Sorceress, I lamented in another post that I had spent so much on samples that I probably could have bought a nice bottle of niche instead. The catch is that I would not have known which niche to buy without the samples.
Scarletting, I'm more for house produced samples too. They're fresh, usually a decent 2ml or so, and the price can sometimes be redeemed with a subsequent purchase; not so useful for brand comparison within a genre but neither are the stingy 1ml samples from "grey" decanters, which translate to a couple of wears at best with my lavish application style.
I am currently resisting a blind buy of Cuir de Lancome. I'm sure I would like it....
9 years ago
I think all of my recent purchases have been blind buys -- pretty safe stuff, like Coty's "Muguet des Bois" and then the new Beyoncé scent & "Aqua Allegoria Flora Nymphea", both of which I can very likely pass on with ease should I not like them. I have been disappointed -- not dreadfully, but still -- a few times, but pleasantly surprised too. I tend to stick with well-known classics or mainstream favourites for blind buys.

(edited: I have actually smelled "Emeraude" before)
9 years ago
I have made some great leaps of faith on some perfumes in the past. I blind bought Un Rose Vermeille. I liked it, but it wasn't amazing to me. Nowadays, if I consider a blind buy, it ought to be a purse spray, rollerball, mini, or a bottle under $40. I've found that works pretty well for me.
9 years ago
I think I am a perfume risk taker in the sense that I'll try just about anything that comes down the pike no matter how strange, although not necessarily on my skin. I've never been one to blind buy, however, mainly because testing perfume, either in a store or at home with mail-ordered samples is a major part of the enjoyment of the hobby, at least for me. I'm also not big on swapping or selling on eBay because it can be inconvenient and time-consuming and how else would I get rid of a blind buy that I ended up hating? Plus, the idea of buying bottles that would just sit around and collect dust is a big turn off.
9 years ago
As in my country it's nearly impossible to find most of niche/indie fragrances, 80% of my collection were bought at risk, without trying.

The sucess ratio is 5:1 - each five fragrances i bought, only one i dislike.
9 years ago
Miaw2:
As in my country it's nearly impossible to find most of niche/indie fragrances, 80% of my collection were bought at risk, without trying.

The sucess ratio is 5:1 - each five fragrances i bought, only one i dislike.

That's a pretty good result. You have an amazing collection as well!
9 years ago
Do it all the time. Since I buy way too much fragrance to begin with, I think it's safe to say that 50% of what I pay for are completely blind purchases.

Naturally, there have been some ( here and there ) that have sucked, but by far The Worst purchase I've ever made was Fashion Two Twenty pour Homme. I've kept it because it's so horrific that I'm drawn to it like a passerby witnessing a car wreck.
9 years ago
Triffid:
Miaw2:
As in my country it's nearly impossible to find most of niche/indie fragrances, 80% of my collection were bought at risk, without trying.

The sucess ratio is 5:1 - each five fragrances i bought, only one i dislike.

That's a pretty good result. You have an amazing collection as well!

Thanks my dear.

I forgot to say that many designers also are not available here such as Guerlain and YSL - only a few fragrances are available and costs more than 150 dollars per bottle.

The worst was Boss Bottled Night and the greatest was Mancera Roses Vanille.
9 years ago
AromiErotici:
Do it all the time. Since I buy way too much fragrance to begin with, I think it's safe to say that 50% of what I pay for are completely blind purchases.

Naturally, there have been some ( here and there ) that have sucked, but by far The Worst purchase I've ever made was Fashion Two Twenty pour Homme. I've kept it because it's so horrific that I'm drawn to it like a passerby witnessing a car wreck.

LaughingLaughingLaughing
9 years ago
Most recent blind buys: "Shalimar", "Moschino", "Cheap and Chic", "The One" - online discounters are dangerous lol!
9 years ago
Madkat:
Addict here.. Since it is extremely rare for me to spend more than $25 on a perfume there aren't many I can sample before hand.

Worst: FB "Loulou" - sorry folks this smells like an urinal cake to me

Best: mini "Kenzo Jungle / Jungle l'Elephant" - love the fresh spices, totally different from anything else I own

I detest Loulou. I bought it in a moment of insanity when it was first released so I can't even blame a reformulation. What was I thinking? After a couple of wears I thought it was nothing more than fly spray. Luca Turin thinks it is just wonderful. We live and learn….or do we? Twilight zone music
9 years ago
I'm definitely a "blind buy" addict. But I am disabled and as such I don't go shopping for fun as it is too painful for me. So I try and get samples if the perfume is expensive (anything over £50/€60/US$85). But I've bought plenty that have just been awful and some that are just heavenly!

Worst:
Has to be these two equally:
"Lysval" by Girard - smells like dead bodies to me Shocked
Eden by Cacharel - smells like a stagnant pond Confused

Best:
"Shalimar Parfum Initial" by Guerlain - nectar of the gods! Very Happy
"Petale Noir" by Agent Provocateur - dark, sweet floral
"Play Intense for her" by Givenchy - the ultimate gothic dream Razz
9 years ago
DarkMatter, I was almost tempted into a blind buy of Eden at one point, thinking: 'It's so cheap, I love greenishness, how bad can it be?' The mixed reviews gave me pause, though I'm still curious about it.
Just recently did a BB of Miller Harris "Geranium Bourbon" for a great price on the 100ml EDP. The word 'discontinued' usually has me reaching for the wallet more quickly than usual. Luckily, I absolutely love it.
9 years ago
I make blind buys all the time. This is my way of experiencing new combinations and even though it is expensive, it is also great fun. I have a few rules: I don't buy celebrity fragrances and I try to stay away from flankers. But apart from this, I buy when the gut feeling is right. I do pay a lot of attention to the reviews on this site but there have to be some specific adjectives in the majority of them for me to stay away from a scent. A note that I am always careful about is musk, since I may be disappointed.
My worst blind buy is Folies de Saisons - L'Eau A la Bouche en Ete. It simply does not smell right.
In comparison I have made so many wonderful blind buys that one bad experience can not ruin anything.
Re: BLIND BUYS- ARE YOU A RISK TAKER? BEST AND WORST EXPERIE 8 years ago
Almost 95% of my collections were blind buy. I have several that I don't like, the recent one is Nautica Voyage.
Re: BLIND BUYS- ARE YOU A RISK TAKER? BEST AND WORST EXPERIE 8 years ago
Fragrance123:
Almost 95% of my collections were blind buy. I have several that I don't like, the recent one is Nautica Voyage.

Wow, that's a high percentage of blind buy risk so a few duds are to be expected. You can always put those mistakes in the souk for swap/sale, one man's trash is another's treasure etc.
So what is the one you're most happy with?
Re: BLIND BUYS- ARE YOU A RISK TAKER? BEST AND WORST EXPERIE 8 years ago
I like them all but if I can only keep 5 frags, they will be:

Aventus
Gucci Pour Homme II
Dior Homme
Chanel's Blanche
Pure Malt

My collection is rather generic no fancy or so expensive ones.

Thanks for the souk info, I'm going to use it soon Smile.

Triffid:
Fragrance123:
Almost 95% of my collections were blind buy. I have several that I don't like, the recent one is Nautica Voyage.

Wow, that's a high percentage of blind buy risk so a few duds are to be expected. You can always put those mistakes in the souk for swap/sale, one man's trash is another's treasure etc.
So what is the one you're most happy with?
8 years ago
I wear the Chanel "Allure Homme Edition Blanche" myself and two of the men in my household are "Gucci Pour Homme II" wearers. I think the majority of us have largely designer scent collections with a handful of niche, vintage or pricier scents. There's no shame in collecting budget or designer frags!
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