How to test a fragrance

How do you test a fragrance? Discovering a new signature scent that makes you feel wonderful takes a little planning and patience. It’s both an emotional and a financial commitment so you want to make sure you are making the right decision when you visit a fragrance counter.  There are few insider tips that will make you feel like a pro in no time.

how to test a fragrance
how to test a fragrance

To start, the sheer volume of choice today is overwhelming. Fragrance houses and fashion designers launch over 700 perfumes each year – and that is on top of the thousands that are already on the market. Retailers have to carefully manage the real estate in their perfume departments to make room for the new launches while maintaining customer favourites. So if you feel a little overwhelmed when you look at the rows and rows of bottles, take a deep breath and follow these simple steps.

Step 1: Start Early

When shopping for fragrance, try to do it in the morning when your sense of smell is at its sharpest. By the end of the day, your nose has smelled thousands of different aromas and smells and it can become overloaded. It can struggle to discern between scents later in the day. By shopping early, you will notice the little nuances of a perfume and truly appreciate the blend of notes.

Step 2: Test a scent on your skin

“Always test a fragrance on your skin. Always!” advises perfumer Kilian Hennessey. He says that is the only way to see how the perfume interacts with your unique skin chemistry. You may be offered a paper scent blotter in a store but that doesn’t give you the true effect of the fragrance on you. And never just test how the scent smells by smelling the cap. You only get the top notes that way.

Here’s how to test a fragrance. Begin by picking three scents that immediately appeal to you. You don’t want to overthink it. Go with your first impression of a fragrance. Limit the number you try in a day to three. That is the maximum number your nose can discern at one time. It’s always a good idea to begin with a note that you absolutely love. Do you like the smell of fresh lemon? If so, ask for a bright citrus scent. Love the scent of peonies in June gardens? Then ask for a scent with peony notes.

Once you have three scents lined up to try, spritz your wrist or inner elbow once. Drop your arms and allow the scents 30 seconds to dry and absorb onto your skin.

Step 3: First impressions

After 30 seconds, bring your wrist to just under your nose and gently wave it under your nose. Close your eyes and inhale. This will give you the first impression of the scent on your skin. Smell each of the three scents and gauge which of the three you like best.

Step 4: Wait 30 minutes

Now, here is the trick that perfumers always use when evaluating scents on skin. Wait 30 minutes. Go for a coffee. Browse for some new clothes. Run an errand. You want to go do something else for a half hour to allow the fragrance to interact with your skin chemistry. Few consumers understand the important role skin chemistry plays in the world of perfumery. A scent can smell very different on two people. So you want to give it time on your skin to see how it smells on you.

Step 5: Find your signature scent

After 30 minutes, smell each fragrance on your skin. This is how it will smell on you. Again, close your eyes to focus on your sense of smell. If you find one that really appeals to you and makes you feel wonderful, buy it. That is the one for you. This is the foolproof way of finding your signature scent. You’ll make the perfect decision each time.

  • Diane Lauzon
    June 17, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    The tips offered here in testing new fragrances have rocked my world. From now on, I will only test a new scent in the morning when my old sniffer is not too tired from my daily activities. Thanks guys, I learned something new today!