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Are you new to Solstice Scents or indie perfumes in general?  The first section of the article below gives you tips on how to select perfumes to try. The second section covers how to properly test them when they arrive to you.  

How to select perfumes:  All of our perfumes are organized by scent family (gourmand, incense, forest, floral, etc) under "Perfume All". The same organization is provided on the sample pack listings with scent family and main notes listed for each. The key to our catalog is to read the full listing descriptions for perfumes that interest you and not just the main notes lists provided on the sample pack listings and Master Scent Reference. If you click on details for the full listing, a description is provided with what to expect in a given scent. Your next level of defense is to purchase samples before blind-buying a full size bottle. We also have a Scent Reviews & Reference forum that is alphabetically organized by perfume name. Each perfume has its own thread with the full description (helpful if a full size listing is out of stock on our site and you're unable to review the listing details) as well as independent customer reviews here:

Not sure what kind of perfume you should try, what notes you like or what things like frankincense and amber smell like?  Consider scents in your life that you've experienced and think you would enjoy smelling as a perfume. Do you like the scent of conifers, forests, moss and so on? Read descriptions for Runestone, Night Watcher and others listed under the Forest/Moss/Conifers section of our site. Keep in mind again that you will be able to detect many of the notes such as dirt, vanilla, caramel, cotton candy, chocolate, cherry and so on in the perfumes and many are very realistic. Do you love the scent of baking cookies, sweet danishes, spicy chai, chocolate and so on? You might enjoy gourmand perfumes. Do you enjoy the aromatic smoke from sticks of incense or the scent of a new age bookstore or gravitate toward a darker, more mysterious aesthetic? You may enjoy the rich scents in the amber/woods or resins section. Some of these scents have an "incensey" vibe, contain spices, amber or have sacred resins such as frankincense and myrrh. If you look to experience the scent of a thurible swinging during Catholic mass, you may want to look into the Basilica or Scrying Smoke (alcohol based, all natural) perfumes and then further branch out toward Inquisitor (heavy resins with leather, smoke and beeswax) or the all natural resin/spice/warm woods blend Incensum. If you enjoy floral scents, most of the florals we offer are paired with a gourmand element. The Eau de Parfums Estate Carnation (spicy carnation floriental) and Estate Rosewood (tea rose, rosewood, oak, tobacco, vanilla) are florals to consider that are less gourmand. Take a look under the floral section to review rose, carnation, lavender and so on options. When in doubt, review the categories and select a few from each to get started. Once you explore a few varieties, you will begin to see which scent families and even notes you gravitate to. Be aware that vanillas from one house to another will not smell the same. The same is true for rose, resins, woods, moss, etc. Each perfume house has their own palette, perfuming style and accords so you'll notice they all have a distinctive style or voice. We also use a large variety of different notes so if you find a perfume with "vanilla", don't assume you'll enjoy ALL our perfumes with vanilla. We use over 20 different vanillas for blends in the catalog. You just need to dip your toe in and start exploring. Read, use the Scent Reviews & Reference customer reviews and join our private community group to ask for recommendations from the friendly users:

Due to the nature of our products, we cannot accept returns on opened/tested perfumes so please read and sample before purchasing full sizes, if you do not feel comfortable "blind buying" perfume. Please read the sample pack listings for information on how to order samples, which samples are eligible (EdP samples are sold individually as 2.5 ml sprays and not available in the sample packs) and which samples are currently available. Samples that are out of stock will be indicated on the listing as "Currently unavailable".

Perfume oils versus Eau de Parfum: Perfume oils are worn directly on the skin. They are extrait concentration, ready to wear and provide a more intimate experience than the alcohol based Eau de Parfum sprays (EDPs). EDPs can be worn directly on skin or clothing and typically have a much stronger throw and sillage and tend to have a longer longevity when worn on clothing, where it can last for many hours or days. As with all fragranced products, please perform a patch test for sensitivity before applying all over.  Please visit our Disclaimer page for more info:

Once your perfume arrives, use these tips to maximize your experience and have the most likelihood of success and a positive experience as your explore your new acquisitions.

1. Do not smell all of the perfumes at one time as your nose will become overwhelmed and not all of the scent notes may be apparent. This means DO NOT test all 5 or 10 of your samples all at one time, on different parts of your body and use this as your sole judging criteria! You may experience a temporary anosmia or scent-deafness where you cannot detect certain notes. You may prematurely discard a scent in this state and miss out on a real gem. The following reasons also play into not judging everything directly from the mailbox, all at once:

2. Never judge a perfume directly out of the bottle. They are often strong directly from the bottle/sample vial and the top notes (shortest lived) may be the most apparent. Test the perfume directly on your skin. It is the only way that the perfume is able to unfold and morph. The top notes will evaporate and lead you toward the longer-lasting heart and base notes. Perfume is a journey. There are a few more linear smelling scents in our catalog, which are scents that do not morph tremendously from start to finish, but many of the perfumes do evolve and quality perfumes take time to do so. In #1, I mention not to try all the perfumes on at one time and judge them ALL at once. I also recommend that you do not smell all of the perfumes directly from the bottle all at one time. I realize you want instant gratification and you're excited but perfume requires a little bit of time, patience, and testing one at a time to experience each scent for what it is. 

3. Never judge an alcohol based perfume out of the bottle. If you do smell perfumes directly from the vial/bottle (did you skip #2?), use caution as there are a few 1 ml samples and 5 ml bottles in our catalog that are alcohol based. The alcohol is strong and it will feel like you're burning your nose. You won't be able to smell the scent well through the alcohol. Apply a bit to your skin and allow a minute for the alcohol to fully evaporate. You'll be left with the fragrance only at this time. Our 2.5 ml and 60 ml Eau de Parfums are alcohol based and you may only spray these directly on your clothing and skin.

Side note on the bad rap that alcohol based perfumes have: Many people who have never experienced indie perfumes may think that they don't care for alcohol based perfumes if they've only had poor experiences with mainstream/department store perfumes. The offending issue is most often the aromachemicals in the perfumes themselves, not the alcohol carrier. People often refer to alcohol based perfumes as "perfumey" or "chemical smelling". They note perfumes give them headaches or make them nauseous. Many of these same people discover a whole new world when they find an indie or niche perfume house they enjoy. This goes for both oil and alcohol based perfumes, depending on format preference. A lot of our catalog contains hyper-realistic atmospheres and notes that smell true. This means that you will smell the dirt, moss, waffle cone, toffee, cotton candy, campfire smoke, pine and so on listed on the notes. Sometimes perfumes can smell TOO realistic for people. For example, our Autumn Collection perfume called Foxcroft truly smells like wet decaying leaves in the opening, like a forest floor and dirt. It dries down to dry rustling leaves, a touch of dirt, soft woods and wood smoke with a hint of fresh greenery. If you're looking for realistic scents, many of the perfumes in our catalog can be a boon. If you're wanting a more fanciful suggestion of the notes in Foxcroft, something that smells vaguely autumnal, you may be disappointed in the realism. 

4. Resting your perfumes after they arrive: You'll be excited to sample as many of your new perfumes as possible when you receive them. Keep in mind that they may suffer from "mail shock" when you receive them. This phenomenon occurs mostly during very hot and cold weather where the perfume may be warm or cold for several days in transit. This can temporarily affect the scent. If you allow your perfumes to rest in your house for at least 24 to 48 hours, they will become stable and truly reveal themselves. Some people like to put the perfumes in a cool dark place and let them "rest" or "age" for a period of weeks or even months. The perfumes you purchase from us are already aged and ready to enjoy though you may find that you enjoy them even more after a few months of further curing as the scent synergizes and becomes deeper over time. I highly encourage you to revisit any perfumes you didn't immediately love directly out of the mailbox.

The skin chemistry phenomenon: You may have heard of "Skin chemistry", something that is unique to all of us. We all have a particular natural scent depending on our diet, hormones and hygiene. Some of us have a chemistry that "amps" particular notes. Personally, I amp vanilla and sweeter scents as my skin chemistry is naturally kind of sweet smelling. This means that even masculine or heavily resinous scents may take on a hint of a sweet scent on me. Your skin chemistry can shift depending on what you've eaten, the medications or supplements you're taking, hormonal fluctuations throughout the month and so on. If you ate a lot of garlic-hummus, you may think one of your favorite perfumes smells "off". It may be your skin chemistry causing you to be disappointed in a normally loved perfume in your collection. Keep in mind that you may want to sample scents after a few weeks, even ones you loved, to see if they are still jiving with your skin.

5. How to open, shelf life and proper storage: Each 1 ml sample contains enough perfume for several wears. Apply a small amount to skin and very gently rub in. Apply more as necessary to achieve your desired scent strength. Start modestly so you can add more if you prefer. To open the 1 ml sample vials, gently wiggle the black cap from side to side while holding the glass vial firmly in your hand. Store your perfumes in a cool, dry location away from sunlight with the lids tightly on. Oxygen exposure can cause perfume oils to oxidize and over time they can "turn" or go "off" meaning that they could take on a rancid smell. Our perfume oils will stay good for several years when stored properly. The alcohol based perfumes will last for many years, though keep in mind that alcohol does evaporate and you will lose a bit of perfume due to this natural phenomenon over the years.

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