Choosing a new perfume is no easy task. Visit the ground floor of any department store and you’ll be inundated with sales staff offering a whiff of the latest juice, hoping to find its way onto your wrists and, ultimately, your dressing table.
Spritzing blotter strips is one way to determine whether you find a scent delightful or dreadful, but really you need to try it on your skin, and you’ll soon find you run out of patches on your arms, what with the hundreds of bottles on the shelves in every beauty hall.
This is why perfume discovery sets are so useful. These collections of testers give you enough juice to wear for a few days, so you can really put each fragrance through its paces, finding out how it smells on your skin and how it develops over time, as the top notes make way for the heart and base notes.
Here are six mini kits, from some of the most beloved perfumery brands, to let you try before you buy…
1. Byredo La Sélection Nomade, £78
Bringing together a trio of travel-inspired scents – Bal d’Afrique, Blanche and Gypsy Water – this set of three 12ml vials gives you enough scent to test each for at least a couple of weeks, depending on how liberally you like to douse yourself with parfum.
2. Le Labo Discovery Set Classic Collection, £58
Le Labo has a huge range of discovery sets, from smaller edits to a 17-piece set of testers, but we love this quartet of bestsellers in 5ml bottles, which includes the legendary Santal 33 (so alluring it’s said to stop people in their tracks on the street) alongside Another 13, Rose 31 and Thé Noir 29.
3. Serge Lutens Les Eaux de Politesse Travel Discovery Set, £76.50, Escentual
This unisex selection curated by famed French perfumer Serge Lutens contains five fresh fragrances, making it perfect for spring. It also comes with a silver travel case, and a funnel for refilling the 7.5ml vials.
4. Floral Street The Discovery Set, £14
Comprising eight bestsellers from independent fragrance brand Floral Street, including zingy Electric Rhubarb and heady Black Lotus, this selection of 1.5ml testers, worth £28.80, is great value too.
5. Escentual Perfume Blind Trial Discovery Set, £19.95
Beauty e-tailer Escentual recently introduced a perfume discovery experience with a difference. Each month, a set of eight unlabelled 2ml testers is available to buy, grouped together under a theme, with the names of the fragrances revealed live on Facebook in two instalments. For May, the theme is ‘woody’, with sets available to order now.
6. Ormonde Jayne Discovery Lab Perfume Set, £49, Selfridges
Dubbed the ‘magnificent seven’, this set of 2ml testers brings together the ‘Four Corners’ collection (odes to different parts of the globe) and the ‘Gold Trilogy’ of luxury perfumes.