How to Buy a New Fragrance & Make It Count

Colognes are not cheap, and whatever you do buy, you will be stuck with it for a while. Unless you have money to burn, make your purchase count. If you haven’t already, I recommend that you read my past article , “Choosing a New Fragrance”  before reading this post, it  should give you an idea about what kind of fragrances you may want to buy. If you already have a scent or two in mind,please continue reading.

Watch Youtube Reviews

If you’re ever curious about a certain fragrance or stumped on what to buy next, look up Top 10 men’s fragrance lists for some insight. There are many great fragrance reviewers on youtube. Not only do these guys give recommendations, but they also provide in-depth fragrance reviews.  You have options. Recommended reviewers are: robes08;dracdoc; agentlemansjourney; casacadescents; greggieboy76; fragboystewie;maxforti;the fragrancebros; redolessence; and coachrob619. Their great attention to detail does lend to drawn out videos, so feel free to skip to the relevant parts of the video. When you do have some extra minutes to spare, take the time to sit through the entirety their videos, you’ll learn a thing or two.

Read Written Reviews

When you’re pressed for time, written reviews are king. Sites like and provide the breakdown of pretty much any fragrance you may want know about. There, you will find opinions and ratings for countless perfumes. Enthusiasts from all over the world, share their experiences and stories of the fragrances they have smelled and owned. Make it a habit to read the negative and neutral reviews along with the positives, this will show you the bigger picture of your desired tincture. What is honey for one hundred is vinegar for ten. If other people have a reason to dislike a popular fragrance, there’s always a chance you will find a reason to go against the hype-grain, too. Or… you could fall in love with something anyways, despite the hate. Take in all reviews with a grain of salt; fragrance is a very, very subjective topic.

Try Before you Buy

Like I said in my previous article, no matter how touted a fragrance is, regardless of how passionately Mr.Top fragrance reviewer expresses his deep and undying love for that “must-have” masterpiece in a bottle, do not blind-buy. If you can help it, never purchase a fragrance without testing it on your skin. Every fragrance performs differently on people. What works for one guy may not work for another. Nosing the spray nozzle, the atomizer, does not reveal the nature of the juice inside. Spritzing a sliver of paper does not tell you how the story of the fragrance will develop, the the best way is to apply it directly on your skin.

Go to a fragrance retailer, wearing nothing. No colognes on. Spray the juice on a tester paper for a preliminary sniff, and if you like it, test it on your wrist or arm. Space out different colognes on your arms so you can tell them apart.  After smelling in-store, ask the sales associates for a sample, thank them, and leave. Walk around to air out your nose and let the scent mingle.Now forget about it, and go home. Sniff yourself periodically, to see if you still smell nice. Take note of how it reacts within the first few minutes, the first few hours, and during the last few hours of its life on your hide. If you’re still unsure, scrub it off and re-test the next day.

tester strips

Try it Again

Fragrances can be like beer and egg-nog. Sometimes a fragrance takes a little time to grow on you. At the first few sniffs, the scent may come as shock to your nose, but something about it compels you to give it another chance, and you soon learn to love it. It’s like when you have your first beer. It’s bitter and nasty at first, but before you know it, you just can’t enough of that refreshing ice-cold brew. The “egg-nog” kind of fragrances are great at first but soon fall out of favor the more you get to know them; you wonder how you could use could enjoy that bug-spray , to begin with. Egg-nog’s amazing at the first sip, sip no.4 is just tolerable, by sip no.6, you can’t stand the stuff anymore.

These sudden changes of heart may not happen often, but they happen. The moral: avoid basing your judgement of a fragrance off of your initial reactions, take your time to test out a new fragrance a few times before purchasing the full bottle.

Buy Nothing at Full Price

Good news, you either found out your next potential perfume, or moved onto another one that passed the trial stage. Bad news, eau de toilettes and eau de parfumes are expensive, unless you hold off and look in the right places.

penny pinchPenny-pinch

Retailers seriously overprice fragrances. For that reason, they serve only for the noble purpose of providing us with testers to test and samples to sample. The bulk of your fragrance purchases will be done online.  Online wholesalers have a huge selection of fragrances, and oftentimes the best prices. No lines and no sales associates trying to fumigate you with a bottle of eau de chokeyouout, just click and wait. Always check out a company’s authenticity guarantee and the reviews from other shoppers, as well as feedback from those in the fragrance community.

Compared to our American counterparts, we are seriously overcharged for fragrances, what with all the shipping and international duty fees. Sites such as, their fees are murder. As Canadians, our pickings are slim. So far, my most trusted sites that ship to Canada are and From time to time they provide coupon codes that lower the price of their fragrances an additional 10-30% and even waive shipping and duty fees. I’ve had nothing but positive experiences from them.

Ebay and Amazon. These two can be a gamble but I have not had any trouble yet. So long as you stay away from the most popular fragrances and make sure that the seller has a near perfect or perfect score, you should be fine. Gamble at your own risk.Always be sure they have an authenticity guarantee.

Don’t count out brick-and-mortar wholesalers and discounters, they can surprise you every once in a while. Oddly enough, I did find a 100ml of one of my favorite fragrances, Dior Fahrenheit, at a great price at a Walmart once.


Contrary to what some may think, testers contain the exact same juice as boxed fragrances do. They are essentially the same thing. Testers come in white generic boxes and sometimes without caps, while boxed fragrances come with a nice box and a cap. Forgoing a fancy box that will be thrown away, testers will save you money, they are great if you are buying for yourself.

Tip: if you already have the boxed fragrance, keep the cap when you finish the bottle and use it for the testers that you buy.

Exception to the Rule

Very seldom is paying full retail price worth it, but for every rule there are exceptions. In the case of the Chanel, its fragrances never go on sale, at least, I haven’t seen any. In my experience, if a Chanel perfume is at a low price it is either A)fake or B)used. Cheap Chanel is risky, bite the bullet on this one and purchase at Chanel boutique and an authorized Chanel reseller to be guaranteed you have what you need. Peace of mind is priceless.

chanel edition blanche
Chanel Allure Edition Blanche

Please bear in mind: The companies thus mentioned and myself hold no affiliation. I simply have had positive experiences with these sellers’s products and customer service, and wish to point the readers of this blog in the right direction.

Thank you for reading Principles of Style. I hope you enjoy this post and found the blog useful. If you have any questions, feedback, or want to share some of your style and scent tips, tricks, and insights, please leave your input in the comments section below, or send me a PM.

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