Sample scents

Still uncertain about your purchase? Most perfume counters and stores also offer gift certificates. And they will make a sample vial of the purchased scent so the recipient can road-test the perfume before opening the bottle.

(Stores usually allow people to return unopened perfumes with intact packaging for full exchange or store credit, but be sure to confirm these details and any restrictions before you buy.)

For those who want to offer their recipient many choices, Ineke Perfumes offers a $25 sample collection of seven fragrances, with the $25 redeemable against any full bottle purchase. British niche perfumer Ormonde Jayne offers a 12-vial Discovery Set for $75. Both are available on their websites only.

Lastly, many reputable online retailers such as offer gift certificates that allow recipients to purchase sample vials of rare, vintage, obscure and hard-to-find fragrances. If your giftee is just getting into perfume, this may be a good place to start exploring single notes, perfume houses and classic genres.

—Denise Hamilton

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