Sunday, November 15, 2020

Scent Split to Try Before you Buy: Niche Fragrance Review

Designer fragrances can be nice, and truthfully, I have found some that I just really love. It doesn't take long, however, when you're interested in perfumes, to find out that there is another category just around the corner with selections that are more unique. I'm talking about the private collections/niche categories. Of course, the prices are higher but the scents are so well blended and such a wonderful quality, that you probably won't mind paying the somewhat hefty price tag, especially if you are purchasing a gift for a loved one for the holidays. Scent Split allows you to try before you buy, with their very reasonably priced samples that are hand-decanted from the original bottles.

Scent Split is not a subscription service, it is simply a wonderful website where you can purchase different sized samples, and of course the full-sized ones as well. I wanted to get the little bitty ones (dab, not spray) because it only takes one or two tries for me to decide if a fragrance is for me or not, so that's what I decided to go with when I placed my order.

If you are interested in what I purchased, I will list them below.

I put them in alphabetical order, but because there are fragrances that are unisex as well as those that are specifically for men, I have also color-coded them. If it's written in pink I feel like it's just for women, if it's written in blue, I feel like it's just for men, and if it's written in green, I feel like it's a good unisex fragrance.

Amouage, Sunshine Woman: I smell the black currant liqueur, the tobacco white (which isn't at all smoky, like the tobacco in by Kilian's Back to Black), and the vanilla. This type of tobacco lingers and does smell so good, for as long as the fragrance lasts. I never thought I'd like a fragrance with the tobacco note but this one is so good.

Top notes are Almond, Black Currant and Artemisia; middle notes are Osmanthus, Vanilla, Magnolia and Jasmine; base notes are White tobacco, Papyrus, Juniper and Patchouli.

Armani/Prive, Oud Royal: I am a little embarrassed to say that I spilled this little sample on the table beside my bed on accident. Totally my fault, but I wish I hadn't because even though this is an expensive niche cologne, I absolutely did not like it, at all, period. It smells like an old grandpa smell to me, and I had to put Goop Spray on my table to get the smell out. Funny, but not funny. This is a man's cologne that I will not be buying for anyone in my family. 

Top Notes are Saffron, the heart notes are Oud, Rose, and the base notes are Amber, Myrrh, Sandalwood and Frankincense.

By Kilian, Back to Black: See, this is the reason I don't blind buy...everyone I hear talk about this perfume LOVES it, and I just did not care for it at all. It smells like thick and drizzly honey with a touch of tobacco and dark cherry, and while I sometimes like cherry, I am not a fan of honey and I guess I'm not a fan of this type of tobacco either. I almost feel guilty for saying it, because I know so many people love it, but this fragrance is definitely not for me. I am so glad I got the lil' 1 ml. bottle to try it before buying.

Update: My second-oldest son said he really likes it!

It is composed of aromas of honey, fruit, wood, amber and tobacco, with a hint of citrusy tacts of bergamot, spicy nuances of saffron and cardamom, and sweet touch of raspberry.

By Kilian, Black Phantom: This smells pleasant to me. All of the By Kilian fragrances I have tried are very creamy, including this one. This one feels unisex to me, leaning a little more towards the masculine side than the feminine. I'm giving the sample to one of my grown sons, but I'd still wear this as a perfume. It is a dark smelling gourmand (edible scent).

Top Notes are coffee, dark chocolate, rum, caramel, cane sugar, almonds, sandalwood and heliotrope.

By Kilian, Love, Don't Be Shy: This is my favorite of the by Kilian fragrances that I have tried. It is smooth, and sophisticated and so very pleasant. I can smell the key notes, except for the rose. I don't really smell that one... I like it a lot. It's soft, subtle and scrumptious. Kilian Princess is almost the same, though this is smoother and sweeter. Both are beautiful. I will be purchasing a full-sized bottle.

Key fragrance notes: orange blossom, honeysuckle, rose, vanilla, and luscious marshmallow. 

Creed, Aventus: This was by far my most favorite fragrance in this shipment, and maybe my favorite of all time (at least for men). I have never smelled a cologne that was this good. I hope the person who made it is a millionaire (and I'm sure he is, probably a billionaire since this is a family legacy fragrance house). It's just that good. It smells fresh, with a burst of fresh outdoorsy to it (my thought was pine, but I don't see that in the notes). I can definitely smell the pineapple, but in a manly, delicious way. 10 out of 10 from me. 

Update: My oldest son also said he enjoys this scent.

Top notes: blackcurrant, bergamot, apple and pineapple. Heart: rose, dry birch, Moroccan jasmine and patchouli. Base: oak moss, musk, ambergris, and vanilla.

Creed, Milisime Imperial: It smells nice. Everything I've ever tried from Creed smells lovely, and of high quality. It is not super unusual though. Mild, fresh and nice. Citrusy. Not strong. I like it but there are other Creeds I like more. This is the first unisex niche scent I have come across that I thought would be good for a woman too. 

Top: bergamot, green mandarin, lemon. - Middle: iris. - Base: sandalwood, amber, musk.

Creed, Original Santal: Classic but still unique. Very nice. Creed definitely knows how to do fragrance. So far they are all masterpiece scents, though Aventus (so far) is my absolute favorite. I'd buy this one as a gift though, and be very happy to give it.

UPDATE: When my oldest son smelled the sample he was so delighted with it that I purchased a full-sized bottle to give him for Christmas. The first time he wore it, he contacted me twice to tell me how good it smells. Excellent fragrance. Excellent gift. well spent. I think Creed makes THE best men's colognes.

Top notes are orange tree absolute, ginger and lemon. Middle notes are lavender, peppermint, rosemary and pink pepper. Base notes are Mysore Sandalwood, Cedar, Vanilla, Benzoin Siam, Ambergis, and Musk.

Creed Silver, Mountain Water:  It does smell good. Fresh with a citrus burst, but it still reminds you of silver mountain water. Very pleasant fragrance for a man. 

Top notes are Bergamot and Mandarin Orange; middle notes are Green Tea and Black Currant; base notes are Musk, Petitgrain, Sandalwood and Galbanum.

De Marly, Athalia: I love this one so much. It's my favorite of the three Parfums de Marly fragrances I tried from this shipment from Scent Split. It is soft, and creamy. I like everything about it. It kind of smells like Sweet Tarts but in a mature, refined way. Dries down to a soft pleasant floral. It really is a 'makes me so happy to have on' kind of smell. 

Top Notes are Frankincense, Rose, and Bitter orange. Heart Notes are Iris, Suede, Orange blossom, and Cashmeran. Base Notes are Amber, Vanilla, Vetiver

De Marly, Cassili: This one is very nice. I would wear it. I do not dislike it all, it's a soft and velvety peach. This is a little sharper than Athalia. The full-sized bottles of these are gorgeous!

Top notes are Red Currant, Floral Notes and Bulgarian Rose; middle notes are Plum, Frangipani, Petalia and Mimosa; base notes are Tonka Bean, Vanilla and Sandalwood.

De Marly, Delina: This smells like a copper penny to me. I know so many people love it, and rave about it, but I don't like it. Not at all. It does last forever though, so if I had enjoyed the scent, it would have been worth the price based on longevity alone. 

Oriental Floral fragrance for women. Top notes are Red Currant, Floral Notes and Bulgarian Rose; middle notes are Plum, Frangipani, Petalia and Mimosa; base notes are Tonka Bean, Vanilla and Sandalwood.

Lancôme, Lancôme Oud Bouquet (Vintage): Something sharp in it, a lot of heavy floral. So many people say it smells great, so I was very excited to try it. It is strong though (almost syrupy and very heavy), and I don't think it should be an everyday perfume. This scent is for something special.  I understand why so many people enjoy it; it has a unique and pleasant smell but it's not really my style. I won't buy a full-sized bottle for myself.

The Praline Rose signature, crafted from Centifolia Rose Absolute, Vanilla and a Praline Accord, gives this fragrance an enigmatic and infinitely seductive power. [Woody Oriental]

Maison Martin Margiela, By the Fireplace: This one seems truly unisex to me. I can see myself wearing it, and I can see a man wearing it too. It has a strong smoke scent when you first put it on. I'm not sure if I like it or don't like it. I'm a little torn and will have to keep wearing it to see. I do know this is from the Replica line of fragrances from Maison Martin Margiela, and all of the ones I have tried from that line do replicate their name. So if you want to smell like you are sitting 'by the fireplace' then give this one a try. It is warm and cozy, and not unpleasant. I just am not sure I want to smell like so much smoke. This one is the only one from this entire order that is 'undecided' for me.

By the Fireplace combines smoky and woody accords with the subtle sweetness of chestnuts to evoke a familiar but forgotten moment--the warmth of a cozy fireplace in midwinter.

Tom Ford, Soleil Blanc: Someone said it is summer in a bottle, so I wanted to try it. It is unisex, but it's not a favorite for me because I think it is better suited for a man. It's sophisticated and summery. It's light. It smells a little bit like suntan lotion. 

UPDATE: I purchased a full-sized bottle of this for one of my grown sons (second oldest) because after he smelled my samples, he fell in love with this one. It was a well-received holiday gift.

UPDATE #2: It's 2023 now and I received a roller bottle with a samples swap I did. This is nice. A lighter version of Holidays by Mancera. I like it! It doesn't smell masculine to me anymore. It smells 100% unisex.

Top notes are Pistachio, Bergamot, Cardamom and Pink Pepper; middle notes are Tuberose, Ylang-Ylang and Jasmine; base notes are Coconut, Amber, Tonka Bean and Benzoin.

Tom Ford, Plum Japonais: Tom Ford fragrances all seem to be blended so smoothly to me. This smells very rich to me, and pleasant. I can see it being unisex, but it seems more masculine than feminine. I wouldn't buy it for myself, but I would buy it for any of the men in my family. That being said, I keep going back to smell it on my wrist. It does have an addictive smell. Top notes are Cinnamon and Saffron; middle notes are Japanese Plum, Plum Blossom, Immortelle, Camellia, Liquor and Cypress; base notes are Agarwood (Oud), Amber, Benzoin, Fir and Vanilla.

Top notes are Cinnamon and Saffron; middle notes are Japanese Plum, Plum Blossom, Immortelle, Camellia, Liquor and Cypress; base notes are Agarwood (Oud), Amber, Benzoin, Fir and Vanilla.

Tom Ford, Tobacco Vanille: 

Too masculine for me. I think this is better suited for a man. You can definitely smell the tobacco. It reminds me of a store my grandpa used to go to years ago, to buy his daily newspaper (that he later got delivered instead, but I still remember the look, smell and feel of the store. I guess they must have had tobacco). Nicely done, as are all of the Tom Ford fragrances (always high quality) but not for me.

Update: My second oldest son has been talking about this sample every since he tried it. He really enjoys this, and I got him a different Tom Ford for his Christmas gift (another that he enjoys!) but a full-sized bottle of this will probably be his birthday gift.  Second Update: Yep, purchased this one for his birthday gift. :)

Warm & Spicy Scent Type: Woody Spices Key Notes: Tobacco Leaf, Vanilla, Ginger Fragrance Description: Tom Ford reinvents classic tobacco with creamy tonka bean, vanilla, cocoa, dry fruit accords and sweet wood sap.

Tom Ford, Vanille Fatale: 

It wasn't what I expected. I guess I was looking for a more sugary vanilla. This smells more like a vanilla extract type of vanilla, and it smells masculine to me. Very nice, but I would buy it for a man in the family, not for myself.

Key Notes: Coffee Absolute, Vanilla Resinoid, Frangipani Scenttrek

There were some fragrance samples I purchased specifically for my two oldest sons. Those same young men hit the jackpot with this order because others that I purchased for me to try, will also end up in their homes. While I loved most of these fragrances, there were many that I thought were just too masculine for my taste. I like to smell girly. One thing I have been figuring out about myself since I started my perfume journey, and it still seems to be true, is that I like oriental scents, gourmands, and a sometimes florals (not too floral). There are however, so many different perfumes to try, that I am forever glad for Split Scent, where I can truly see if I enjoy a scent before investing big bucks in it. I enjoy the site so much, that my next order already in the works (and I am so excited for some of the items in it, especially Bond No 9's Chinatown, which I haven't been able to find anywhere to try!!).

What I appreciate so much about Scent Split is that you get to try fragrances you are interested in, but can't find in stores near you, or at least that is true for me. The mall associates in our small town laughed when I went in to smell Creed fragrances for men, and told me I was in the wrong county to find Creed. -_- Now I don't have to worry about driving around for what could be a hit-or-miss shopping trip. I order my niche fragrance samples, and then know for sure where I want to spend my money on the full-sized bottles. Scent Split ships quickly, securely and they have amazing customer service. It's a website I am very happy to have found.

If you are thinking of getting a luxury bottle of fragrance for a very special someone (or for yourself) for the holiday season (or any time, actually!), I can easily recommend Split Scent for trying before buying.

Learn more by visiting Split Scent online. You can also follow them on social media:

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


  1. What a great idea.
    Scent is such an individual decision that I am reluctant to purchase it for anyone else though.

  2. Wow this is an awesome idea to enjoy many perfume scent, without regretting of buying them. And when you found something you like, you can finally get the whole bottle.

  3. Oooh yes please, I would love to try this!

  4. Wow what a wonderful idea! Trying out before buying would make my decision for Christmas gifts much more easier. I'm a parfume fanatic!

  5. I would definitely want to try out those scents with small vials so at least I won't have to spend so much on a bottle of perfume.

  6. I love the idea of trying the scents first before committing to buying the full (expensive) bottle. Thanks for sharing your great discovery! :)

  7. I love perfumes and think this is such a great idea!! I love to try before I buy and this is the perfect way to do that.

  8. Sounds like I need to try the Tom Ford ones.

  9. Well I'm so very picky too and don't have the money for the fragrances I'd really want to invest in, so samples would definitely be the way to find a love.

  10. I love to try different fragrances from time to time. This has a lot of great tips thanks!

  11. love the fact that you can try before you buy it, its' a great way to try new scents without being stuck with a whole bottle of one you don't care for much. NICE!

  12. What a great idea! I have bought perfumes that smell good in the store, but get home and find they don't mesh well with my body chemistry. This is a great way to try before getting stuck with a full sized bottle that you will never use!

  13. Such a diverse portfolio that I think my nose won't be able to tell the different after the third one; however, you gave us a in-depth review and commentary and thanks a lot for sharing them with us!
    - Knyx Journeying

  14. Your descriptions of these fragrances almost made me smell their excellence. I would love to surprise my husband with Creed although his great smell would be for my pleasure

  15. This is an amazing idea to have real quality samples to try before buying. Love it.

  16. I love this idea. I hate when I buy a big bottle and end up hating it. What a great way to try scents out.

  17. I think it's awesome that you can try them first. It would be awful to buy somethign that you ended up not liking.

  18. This is such a good idea - I think sampling perfumes like this is a must it really allows you to get to know the perfume and how it works with your skin chemistry.

  19. Great list! I would love to try Armani/Prive: Oud Royal! It's so nice.

  20. Really great idea, I sometimes do not buy the perfume because I am not sure I can stand the smell all day, so this would be a wonderful solution to my problem

  21. This sounds like a really amazing service. I would love to try it out.

  22. These sound like lovely fragrances. I haven't worn fragrance in a while and it is nice to have something to feel special.

  23. There have been so many times where I bought a perfume without testing it out first. This is a great idea!

  24. This is the perfect way to give different scents a try. I am really particular, so this would be great for me!

  25. This is really a great deal. At least you'll get to choose what you really want.

  26. Wow, that's a great idea to sell samples. I never buy online but this way I probably would :)

  27. This is a wonderful idea. My hubby has wanted to change his cologne after several years of using the same one and I didn't know where to begin to find a new one. Love this!

  28. A great scent is so powerful. I would love to try these scents for sure.

  29. This is such a great idea. I'm too picky when it comes to perfume. Trying out samples from a small capsule is really helpful to make a decision.

  30. I don't really wear perfume, but this is a great way to try them for those who do.

  31. This is such a great idea. I love the idea of being able to get many different fragrances and try them all out.

  32. I would really love to check some of these out. I am always up for some new fragrances.

  33. The small sample sizes are great, I love that they are also good travel sizes too. Thanks so much for sharing.

  34. I have always wondered how to get these scent samples to sell. I actually love trying out different scents before buying them.

  35. Not sure I'd want to smell like tobacco haha you sure have tried many. Being wild and crazy that way is a win! And yeah, probably better to smell girly indeed.

  36. I have to be honest, my nose hasn't worked much since my nose surgery. He had to cut out nasal receptors. But hey I'm alive. That's what matters. I still like to have my boys smelling good.

  37. I think it is a good idea to test a fragrance before you go all in and buy a full bottle. This is a smart business concept. As sample sizes, re the prices reasonable?
    Elizabeth O

  38. I love Creed! I have yet to smell the rest. Thanks for the list of recommendations!

  39. This is such a marvelous idea!! I love that Scent Split allows you to try before you buy.

  40. Hi Rosey - what a great way to try out scents ... I went to a perfume exhibition in London a few years ago now - and still have to write it up - I'm hopeless. But I must say these sound a great way to try out things ... and would make a lovely generous present for a youngster who enjoys testing things out ... I'll remember and perhaps sometime come back and give them a try. Take care - and have a good holiday season ...stay safe too - Hilary

  41. Great idea!
    I should look into this, the last one I had didn't work out for me ;)

  42. I've ordered twice from ScentSplit. The first time, there were no issues, although they are slow to ship and on the expensive side. On my second order, the package was not delivered. After submitting a successful claim with UPS, ScentSplit has gone radio silent on me. It seems they are happy to take your money, but when an issue arises, they are nowhere to be found.

    Somehow, they are finding plenty of time to post on Twitter and other social media. I guess if they have time to post online, so do I.

    Do not shop with ScentSplit, as they have terrible customer service. If things go right, you might be okay, but I'm out several hundred dollars at the moment. Don't be like me. Just use someone else.


Your comment is awaiting moderation. Thank you for your visit!