There is nothing, I repeat, nothing better than a really great fragrance. Whether it's on you or on someone you love/are sleeping with, nothing can top the perfect scent. But for some, picking out a scent can be intimidating. Where do you start? And what if you don’t know anything about fragrances? That’s fine! Everyone has their own area of expertise. Mine happens to be fragrances -- but, on the other hand, I honestly couldn't tell you where Oklahoma is on a map.
There are two companies that understand that not everyone can or wants to navigate a department store fragrance section, and they've built their business around making it easier for everyone to find a unique scent that they love. Here's the gist of it: they send you samples of their fragrances to try out before you commit to making the big life decision that is picking a scent.
I was equal parts interested and skeptical at first, so I hit up both companies and coerced them into sending me their sample packs so I could learn more about them and judge them ruthlessly.
First up was Commodity.
Here’s how it works. First, you order a Fitting Kit, which consists of five sample vials of their best-sellers for $5, or their full collection, 10 scents for $9.
It gives you time to really wear the fragrances and see how they smell on your skin and how long they last. Being able to try out multiple scents is great for my multiple personalities.
There's no pressure to decide right away whether or not you love the scent because if you haven’t made up your mind by the time you shower it off, you can spray it on again tomorrow. The vials aren't huge, but you can get a couple of days out of them. (I will from here on out refer to the vials as “samples” because vials makes me feel like a drug dealer, or -- even worse -- a scientist.)
Once you fall in love with a scent (which you will), you can order a full size 100ml bottle for $108.
Or, if you love so many that you can't commit to just one, you can cop a trio of 10ml bottle for $48.
Bonus: The price of your fitting kit will count toward your larger purchase if made within thirty days!
Great concept, right? I think so, too. But how are the fragrances?
Okay so, I’m a snob. I thought a new company that rolled up with seventeen new scents couldn't possibly have seventeen great scents. I was expecting them to be simple, uninteresting, with little staying power. I was wrong.
Each Commodity fragrance is named for a note that the scent is centered around: Ivy, Rain, Paper, Gin, Cloth, Wool, Whiskey, Gold, etc. Though the names are simple, these are not one note fragrances. Instead, each the scents is made up of notes that serve to expand upon the theme around which the fragrance is built.
For example, Magnolia sounds simple enough, right? Well, Magnolia by Commodity has top notes of water lily, dewy greens, pink grapefruit, and eucalyptus, middle notes of magnolia, ylang ylang, white violet, and rose absolute, and base notes of caramel, labdanum, oak moss, and musk.
I was so excited to spray on a new Commodity fragrance every morning and see, er, smell what was in store for me next, and I was never disappointed. These scents are expertly crafted, balanced, and wear better than half of the fragrances sitting on my bathroom counter right now. Every single Commodity fragrance is luxurious, and definitely something I’d recommend to both fragrance newcomers and enthusiasts alike.
Oh, and knowing what I know about you, I would say that a good handful of readers would like the men’s Fitting Kit just as much as the women’s. Sidenote: Can we please stop gendering fragrances altogether? Like, this is exhausting.
I know I repeat this every article, but I’m not big on florals, so I liked the men’s kit a little more. Overall, I’d wear every Commodity scent without a second thought. None of the women’s scents are too flowery or sweet, like so many pop-star-fronted fragrances (which I admittedly love), and none of the scents for men smell like a locker room body spray or a stale aftershave.
If you’re interested in Commodity, do yourself a favor and order the full fitting kit instead of just the best-sellers. You’ll thank me.
The next fragrance company we’ve got is Pinrose.
Pinrose is another spin on the try-before-you-buy concept. Instead of sending you vials, they send you “Petals” which is basically a wet nap of perfume that you can smear all over yourself. You can select three petals that appeal to you, which they will send you for free, or you can purchase a Petal Pack for $15 which includes two petals of each scent (20 total).
A full size Pinrose bottle will run you $50 for 1oz, which is the perfect size to throw in your bag and cart around with you.
As a whole, Pinrose scents are a little lighter than Commodity’s and sweeter across the board. The collection is geared toward women and very feminine throughout, the only outlier being Campfire Rebel which is a very woody, smoky scent very reminiscent of, well, a campfire, except you won’t be trying to get the smell out of your hair for a week.
Instead of the fragrances being built around one note, Pinrose creates their scents around one idea, to invoke a certain mood: Surf Siren, Treehouse Royal, Pillowtalk Poet. Don’t you feel those names?
Not sure what fragrance is for you? Pinrose is sort of like the Julep of perfumes in that they have a Scent Finder, which is basically a personality quiz to match you up with three fragrances. I love a personality quiz, especially when there are perfumes waiting for you at the end of it! I took the quiz (again) just now and I got matched up with Campfire Rebel, Merry Maker, and Sugar Bandit. TAKE IT AND TELL ME WHAT YOU GET IN THE COMMENTS.
So are you into the idea of trying fragrances samples through the mail and then committing to one? I didn't think I’d be into it, but my mind has been changed. Would you do it? Does it seem sort of constraining? What fragrance are you wearing right now? Let’s talk in the comments!
Tynan smells great on Twitter: @TynanBuck.