Before I went out and bought Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere, I seriously thought about grabbing a bottle of Chanel No. 19 Poudre. I had been using a sample and thought it would make a good alternate fragrance. Alternate being something a little different from my usual florals.
I soon found out that this was a rehash of sorts. I kept getting bombarded by "the original No. 19 is better than No. 19 Poudre" and I can't seem to find a store that carries the original. All everyone has is No. 19 Poudre. I'm almost scared to like it, not knowing what the original smelled like. Someone has described it as Chanel No. 5 meets Prada Infusion D'Iris, a sample of which I promptly dug out from my box. I thought I liked it but made the mistake of ordering the Eau de Toilette version (my sample was EDP). When it arrived, it was not a lighter version of the EDP but a completely different fragrance. Oops.
My other candidate was Burberry Brit. I had sampled it at a store one time and all I could remember was Burberry Brit so I ordered a bottle. As I spritzed more samples at the store the next day, I realized that what I liked was Burberry Brit Sheer and not the peppery Burberry Brit EDT which arrived at my door two days later. This is the problem with buying fragrance online. If your memory is as bad as mine, you really shouldn't.
Faced then with the same dilemma as when I purchased Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere, I didn't want to end up with a giant bottle that will sit on my dresser for 10 years. So, much as the 3.3 oz. set with shower gel, body lotion and a .25 oz. purse spray was a good deal, it didn't make sense to grab it. Again, I ordered the purse spray version with the atomizer and refills.
The atomizer was not what I expected, based on the online photographs. The thing is huge! It's also somewhat clunky. I had half a mind to return it in favor of a 1.7 oz. bottle but I felt kind of bad if out of 3 orders, I wasn't going to keep a single one. Besides, I don't really like the way the bottles of Burberry Brit look like. As far as smell goes, Burberry Brit Sheer is somewhat sweet and not remotely as spicy as the regular Burberry Brit. The atomizer is not that ugly. It's just big and metal-looking but it's surprisingly light. I just kind of hoped that it would be a little more dainty. That said, I'll be keeping this one.
One "solution" that Sephora has thought out to help in fragrance gift-giving, is to offer a set of samples with a voucher for the full-size version of any of the fragrance samples in the box. For $50, you get to try a dozen scents and once you've picked out your favorite, you run to the store and redeem the voucher for a bottle of your choice. You are limited to whatever scents are sampled in the box and depending on which fragrance you choose, you could be getting a bottle anywhere from 0.8 oz. to 3.4 oz. in size. Most of them are 1 oz. but if you're buying say, Acqua di Gioia, this deluxe sampler doesn't make sense at all, because it only costs $39.50 to buy the 1 oz. bottle. A few of the bottles you could be getting cost a little more than $50 (they give you the bottle that is closest to $50 in price) and if you really want a deal, the Clinique Happy bottle is 3.4 oz.
In the set, you are getting 12 samples and an atomizer. With the voucher, they have also enclosed some notes on each of the fragrances in the box. It helps if you're going to be cerebral about selection. I tend to go for the "best deal" whenever possible, which means getting the most for the least amount of money. But this is one case where I'm just going to let the nose do its job.
The Sephora Fragrance Sampler is a sweet deal, if you end up picking one of the more expensive bottles. It's a twist on the gift card, if you will. But I wish that they didn't limit you to the samples provided in the box. Why not allow the recipient to pick out any fragrance worth $50 or less from the store? And if their selection costs more, I don't think someone buying a bottle will mind spending a few extra for something they really like. Alas, that is not how it works.
After another run with Prada Infusion D'Iris EDP, which is in this collection of samples, I decided that while the scent is acceptable, it simply had no lasting power and wasn't worth it. Another sniff of Chanel No. 19 Poudre also made me decide that it wasn't what I wanted.
For now, I have enough new scents to last me another 5 or 6 years. I try to imagine how my little box of samples will look like then. I'm certain that the box will eventually be filled up and maybe I'll have to get a bigger one or start keeping two. Maybe I should already grab a bigger box and stuff a scarf in there. That way, I always have a scented scarf to pull out if I can't decide on a fragrance for the day. You know what? I think I'll do that. Although, quite frankly, I don't care much for the selections right now. I'm completely happy to spritz me a little Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere and all becomes well in the world.