How important is the story of a perfume to you?

Does the story about a fragrance make a perfume more appealing to you?

Some perfume houses have a very clear story to tell about a fragrance. Like the Canadian perfume house Zoologist Perfumes and the British perfume house Penhaligon’s Portraits series, both are inspired by animals in a way.

Zoologist Perfumes and its owner Victor Wong have a very clear story by taking its inspiration from interesting animals ranging from bats and civets to hummingbirds. Not only does the perfume house have a clear image of a dressed animal on the bottle. The scent itself is inspired by this animal as well. I really like this idea as it is original, daring and the fragrances themselves are all worthwhile to try. As far as I know perfumes have never been presented this way.

Penhaligon’s introduced a very exciting imaginative tale last year about an aristocratic British family and the intriguing stories within this family. When visiting a Penhaligon’s store last year in London I was very impressed by the history of this family presented as The Portraits Series with beautiful animal head bottle caps on the perfume bottles. These animals are said to portray the persons they represent.

The story of a Lord (The Tragedy of Lord George), a bored Lady (The Revenge of Lady Blanche) and an illegitimate son  (Roaring Radcliff) is fun and the bottles with the animal head bottle caps are very impressive. But unfortunately the fragrances themselves are somewhat disappointing. To me the scents do not fit the glamorous presented story. Too much emphasis is placed on the bottles and the story and too little effort on the fragrance itself. The scents (I tried the first 4 launched in 2016) are not very distinctive especially given their presentation and price tag. This is a real pity as the bottles themselves are a real addition to anyone’s perfume collection and the whole story of an aristocratic family with all its intriguing relationships are a fabulous way to present a perfume line as well.

Bottom line  A story behind a perfume can be important in inviting us to try and buy a fragrance. In the end however, the scent must be worthwhile as well. Both are crucial: the story and the scent. They must be a good fit. As much as I like these Penhaligon’s bottles and their stories I would not buy any of them as I was disappointed in the fragrances but I am tempted to buy a bottle of Zoologist Bat or Hummingbird as I find the combination of the story of the animal and the fragrance capitivating. The story and scent are a good fit.

How important is a story behind a perfume to you? Have you ever been tempted to buy or try a fragrance inspired by its story?

Disclosure: Photographs taken from the officials websites

Top 7 Must Have Sample Sets

Discovery sets are an easy way to try new perfume brands especially those hard to find in shops. I have chosen sample sets with 1.5 to 4 ml sprays, which are better for first testing than 7/10 ml sprays. This way you do not end up with larger sprays of fragrances you do not like.  Looking for sample sets, I found these were well worth a try:

  1. Oriza LeGrand Parfums
  2. Tiziana Terenzi
  3. Olfactive Studio
  4. Neela Vermeire Creations
  5. Zoologist Perfumes
  6. Technique Indiscrete
  7. Histoires Des Parfums

1. Oriza L. LeGrand Parfums

The large 18 sample box is an excellent way to explore the complete Oriza LeGrand collection. Oriza L. LeGrand has good quality and (relatively) affordable fragrances. I love their soft frankincense centered fragrance, appealingly called Relique d’amour and the herbal violet creation  Violettes du Tsar.  The exquisite packaging of their perfume bottles is an extra bonus and most of the fragrances have matching soaps.

Why is it a must have? Oriza L. LeGrand has beautiful fragrances with an interesting history for a reasonable price. Their 100 ml bottles are 120 euro online.

Price: 42 euro for 18 samples or 20 euro for 7 samples

The set can be bought here:

2. Tiziana Terenzi

A beautiful and convenient discovery set with all 10 fragrances in 1.5 ml sprays from the Black Line nicely displayed with the following extraits de parfums: Gold Rose Oudh, White Fire, Lillipur, Arethusa, Kirke,  XIX March, Ecstasy, Maremma, Laudano Nero and Al Contrarío.

Why is it a must have?  Before Tiziana Terenzi made perfumes it created beautiful scented candles with wooden wicks which are well worth a try as well.  This exquisite sample set in a beautiful box is an excellent way to try their fragrances.

Price: 39 euro

The set can be bought here:

3. Neela Vermeire Creations

Get to know all Neela Vermeire Creations with this recently introduced sample set including all six fragrances, Trayee, Mohur, Bombay Bling, Ashoka, Pichola and Rahele in 2 ml sprays. If you like one of these you can continue to enjoy this fragrance with their Take Two sets (except Rahele). These sets are 2 x 15 ml sprays of the same fragrance, which are 112 euro.

Why is it a must have?  All fragrances are worth a try as they are probably different from all other fragrances you have tried before, created with eye for detail by Neela Vermeire with perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour. This set is an excellent way to explore the whole collection. My personal favorites are Mohur and Trayee.

Price: 55 euro

The set can be bought here: Neela Vermeire Creations website or at The Perfume Lounge 

4. Olfactive Studio

Explore all 7 fragrances with this discovery set including  Autoportrait, Chambre Noire, Still Life, Flashback, Lumiere Blanche, Ombre Indigo and Selfie in larger 4 ml sprays.

Why is it a must have? Olfactive Studio is a contemporary French perfume house which links fragrance to photography.

Price: 44 euro

The Olfactive Studio set can be bought here: or at The Perfume Lounge

5. Zoologist Perfumes

The complete collection of the Canadian brand Zoologist Perfumes are sold as 2.5 ml single sprays including their newest scent Camel, plus Bat, Beaver (New Formula), Civet, Dragonfly, Elephant, Hummingbird, Macaque, Nightingale, Panda (New Formula) and Rhinoceros. If you like several fragrances after testing: Zoologist Perfumes sells beautiful 11 ml travel spray sets which come in a deluxe box. An excellent way to continue enjoying a fragrance you like.

Price: 49 USD

Why is it a must have? This line has fragrances you probably have not scented before like the earthy Bat and creations of exceptional beauty like Hummingbird. All fragrances are created by different perfumers around the world together with Victor Wong. Camel is his next upcoming release made by Spanish perfumer Christian Carbonnel.

The Zoologist Perfumes set can be bought here.

6. Technique Indiscrete

Explore all 14 eaux de parfums with 1.5 ml samples from Belgian Perfumer Louison Libertin with this box containing: Indiscrete, Veloutine, Paname Paname, Plaisir d’Amour, Santa Subita, Safran Nobile, Délivre Moi, Monarchy, My Burning Secret, Omnipresence, Saint Extaxe, Eau de Bruxelles, Eau d’Anvers and Carmel Snow.

Why is it a must have?  I must admit I haven’t tried this line but some of my Dutch perfume friends whose judgement in perfume I trust love this brand. This set is on my wish list as it is not expensive either.

Price: 15 euro ( if you use the discount code samplekit25 this month, you will get 25 percent discount)

The Technique Indiscrete set can be bought here:

7. Histoires des Parfums

A beautiful set for a reasonable price with their 10 bestsellers: 1804, 1826, 1725, 1828, 1740, 1899, 1969, Ambre 144, Noir Patchouli and This is Not a Blue Bottle presented in 2 ml sprays.

Why is it a must have? Histoires de Parfums tells interesting stories of famous characters in history like Jules Verne and George Sand, raw materials like patchouli and mythical years (1969!). This set is an excellent way to explore them.

Price: 20 euro (online) or 20 USD at Luckyscent.

The set is available here and at Luckyscent as well.

Bottom line: these 7 sets from Oriza LeGrand Parfums, Tiziana Terenzi, Olfactive Studio, Neela Vermeire Creations, Zoologist Perfumes, Technique Indiscrete and Histoires Des Parfums are all well worth a try and will make excellent (holiday) gifts as well. Some sets are presented in exquisite boxes. All sets contain smaller samples varying from 1.5 to 4 ml, an excellent way to explore a new brand without having to end up with larger sprays of fragrances you do not like.

All these sets are excellent gifts as well. You could give the sample sets with a bottle of their choice for special occasions as well. Go to my article to read more here.

In case 7 discovery sets were not enough: you can find more choices for gift sets here . 

Disclosure: all photographs except the Olfactive Studio Discovery Set were taken from the official websites.