Favorite fragrance that fell into your lap?

TrboDieselPwrd

Basenotes Member
Apr 27, 2020
It's Friday and I thought this could be a fun topic to get things going for the weekend...

What is a favorite fragrance that "fell into your lap"? Meaning, a fragrance that you were not actively seeking or wanting to try out, but for some un-intended reason came into your possession and you ended up really enjoying.

Some examples (not limiting to these circumstances) just to give you an idea of what I'm thinking:
  • Given to you as a gift
  • Included as a sample or decant from another purchase
  • Put it into your shopping cart to qualify for free shipping :)
  • Included as part of a set of fragrances, but you bought the set for the other fragrance(s) that were included

For me it was Versace's The Dreamer. I inherited a brand new bottle in the late 90s after a family member's passing. I remember smelling it for the first time -- it was unlike anything I had ever smelled before at that time and wearing it now brings me back to those days. It remains a favorite today, although I admit a big part of that is due to sentimentality.

Looking forward to hearing your responses! Feel free to share your story too.
 
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lair77

Super Member
Jun 7, 2022
I can't really think of anything I've gotten for free that I've liked.

But there were sometimes with swaps and decant sales on facebook groups where I got a bundle, and the ones I sort of didn't care about or just viewed as a throw-in ended up being some of my favorites.
 

LiveJazz

Funky fresh
Basenotes Plus
Mar 16, 2006
As far as bottles, that would be Green Irish Tweed. A wildly generous Basenoter put it in a giveaway thread awhile back, and I was the lucky taker.

I'd sampled it many times previously and always thought highly of it, both for its smell and its influential place in perfume history, but never quite wanted to shell out for a bottle. So, the giveaway sort of felt like fate. For some reason this one works well in the Fall for me, so I expect it to get some nice skin time in the coming months.

I've also loved many free samples I've received over the years...too many to count!
 

Ken_Russell

Basenotes Institution
Jan 21, 2006
Several ones as gifts, completed by random blind buys or impressive but unplanned testing revelations, but also gift sets, including but not limited to:
Salvador Dali (actually the first serious fragrance ever owned), Floris Elite, Roberto Capucci PH, Lancetti Uomo, many Jovoy, Xerjoff, Memo Paris samples, to only name a few
 

cheapimitation

Basenotes Dependent
May 15, 2015
Oooh, I've only been gifted a fragrance once which was recently by my significant other. He got me Off White Solution No. 2, we had tried it together at Saks and I said how I liked it and felt it could be a good replacement for LV Sun Song which I had missed out on before it was discontinued. Very sweet of him to remember and get it for me!

I probably wouldn't have bought it on my own, not at least without testing it a bunch more because I'm pretty thorough before making a purchase. But it turned out to be a really nice easy reach for summer and I've worn it a lot. It is not an exact dupe of Sun Song but it really is pretty close and satisfies the same craving.

I'm also very precise about knowing what I want to try and almost never like samples I didn't ask for or fragrances a sales associate tries to get me to test. The only time I can remember this happened is with Hermes Myrrhe Eglantine. The first time I tried out Hermessence I decided to get the 4 15ml travel set and tried to get as many other samples out of the SA as I could. They were out of the ones I requested but he threw in a double sample of Myrrhe Eglantine. I didn't like it at first, but I kept trying it and by the time I finished off the two sample vials I had to have a bottle!
 

Maddie

Basenotes Member
Dec 2, 2009
I once got 1/3 full bottle of vintage Magie Noire for free because seller thought it was off.
Obviously she wasn't used to chypres and oakmoss. It's still marvelous.

I also like my big bottle of Aqua Allegoria Mentafollia, also given as a free gift from a seller.
 

Hugh V.

Basenotes Dependent
Dec 9, 2016
Polo Blue Eau de Parfum
I think I ordered something from a department store and they offered to toss in some sample vials. Armani Code something was there, Invictus, and maybe Acqua di Gio Absolu. They were all too heavy for me and spicy.
This one though...this one was pretty good. It's like Polo Blue + the OG Acqua di Gio + a dash of Ambroxan. I would describe it as a mature take on the current dark blue trend. Very nice.

Versace Dylan Blue

I don't know how I came across this sample vial. But I immediately liked it. Too heavy on the dry down for my tastes, but for the first 20 minutes it's amazing. Easily has one of the best introductions in comparison to all the other well known dark blues.

Pierre Cardin Pour Monsieur

I got some OG Eternity for Men and the seller tossed in a 1 oz bottle of vintage Pour Monsieur that was like 1/5 full. I had taken a sniff of the current formulation at a Burlington and wrote it off as a gross and outdated musk scent. The vintage though...this was actually very pleasant smelling! It's still not something that I'd wear today, as I grew up more in the freshie or sporty era. But it makes me wish that this fragrance was back in style. It's a "fun" fragrance, but it feels very dressy for some reason. I'd go as far as to say it's up there with Paco Rabanne Pour Homme and Azzaro Pour Homme as representing the best of 70s perfumery. In fact, it's the perfect trifecta of variety as far as I'm concerned: You got that orange-y amber softness from PC PM, you got green soap fresh/funkiness with Paco, and then you have the traditional, cool weather barbershop fougere with Azzaro.
 

donna255

Basenotes Institution
Jul 16, 2004
A rather weird one for me. I have never liked Chanel No5, it always went sort of plastic like on me. I bought a bottle of Annick Goutal on eBay of all places and the seller included a 50 ml bottle of No5 EDT with about 30 mls in it. I was about to give it away but decided okay give it a go and I loved it. Seems the parfum and EDP versions were just not for me. Ended up buying a bottle when I finished the free one.
 

TrboDieselPwrd

Basenotes Member
Apr 27, 2020
I can't really think of anything I've gotten for free that I've liked.

But there were sometimes with swaps and decant sales on facebook groups where I got a bundle, and the ones I sort of didn't care about or just viewed as a throw-in ended up being some of my favorites.
Very nice -- can you recall what any of these favorites are/were?
VC&E First! Specifically the EdT. It came along with something else I thought I wanted - maybe Ungaro Diva? - and I ended up indifferent to Diva, but LOVING First. It's still one of my favorites, especially in Spring. That hyacinth!
Glad that it worked out that way for you! Thanks for sharing!
Balafre by Lancome in 1968
Thank you hednic, Balafre is a long-time love for you for sure! If you don't mind sharing, can you recall if it was a gift?
 

TrboDieselPwrd

Basenotes Member
Apr 27, 2020
Hands-down winner, my all-time favourite: Nina Ricci Nina (original 1987, sadly long discontinued). I went to Macy’s to buy L’Air du Temps for my mother and the SA slipped a mini of Nina in the bag. It had just come out and was being promoted. Total love. Unique. It will never be duplicated.
Wow, what luck! Very happy that you came across your all-time favorite this way! This is the purpose (benefit?) of throwing in samples with a purchase, or at least a very good reason to do so.
A million years ago, I bought a fragrance on Ebay and the seller sent along a generous sample of the first iteration of Roja Dove's Diaghilev. I had never even smelled a chypre before, and fell madly in love. I was never able to find a FB, but it ignited my interest in this category of scent.
What a generous sample indeed! Have you tried Guerlain's Mitsouko and compared? I believe that was an inspiration for the Roja.
Alessandro dell’Acqua, my husband bought it for me as a gift while traveling.
What a nice gesture! Thanks for sharing.
 

lair77

Super Member
Jun 7, 2022
Very nice -- can you recall what any of these favorites are/were?
I got a very tiny cute bottle of Allure Homme Sport, which was slightly larger than a thumb. It was in a bundle of like 10 decants. I thought "oh, this is a generic fresh scent, I probably won't wear it much." And then it became one of my most worn fragrances.
 

TrboDieselPwrd

Basenotes Member
Apr 27, 2020
As far as bottles, that would be Green Irish Tweed. A wildly generous Basenoter put it in a giveaway thread awhile back, and I was the lucky taker.

I'd sampled it many times previously and always thought highly of it, both for its smell and its influential place in perfume history, but never quite wanted to shell out for a bottle. So, the giveaway sort of felt like fate. For some reason this one works well in the Fall for me, so I expect it to get some nice skin time in the coming months.

I've also loved many free samples I've received over the years...too many to count!
This truly is a generous place! GIT is awesome and I love it in the fall as well. The first time I had tried it was also during this season and it just seemed to "work". Been very close to buying a bottle of it myself, and I probably will at some point, but I've also really enjoyed other scents that are in a similar vein (Patrick, Fougere L'Aube, Cool Water, etc). Maybe it's fate for me too..
Creed Vintage Tabarome
Thanks for sharing. Really want to get my nose on this one as well. The older (grey cap?) Creeds I have found very wearable and enjoyable, mainly Vetiver 1948 and Baie de Genievre. I imagine Vintage Tabarome is of a similar ilk.
Several ones as gifts, completed by random blind buys or impressive but unplanned testing revelations, but also gift sets, including but not limited to:
Salvador Dali (actually the first serious fragrance ever owned), Floris Elite, Roberto Capucci PH, Lancetti Uomo, many Jovoy, Xerjoff, Memo Paris samples, to only name a few
That's a great group of fragrances, thanks for sharing!
 

mrcologneguy

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 2, 2009
Several years ago my wife bought me a bottle of the “new, different” fragrance that a sales associate recommended to her. I tried it a few times, didn’t care for it much, and it sat in the back of a drawer for years.

Later I read “Perfumes, The Guide” by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, and recognized the forgotten fragrance as Yohji Yamamoto Pour Homme, one of the most highly-rated and hardest to find scents in the book. Yes, I got very lucky with that one. Still wear it now and then. Never turned into one of my favorites, but I certainly recognize its collectible value. That one just fell into my lap.
 

TrboDieselPwrd

Basenotes Member
Apr 27, 2020
Oooh, I've only been gifted a fragrance once which was recently by my significant other. He got me Off White Solution No. 2, we had tried it together at Saks and I said how I liked it and felt it could be a good replacement for LV Sun Song which I had missed out on before it was discontinued. Very sweet of him to remember and get it for me!

I probably wouldn't have bought it on my own, not at least without testing it a bunch more because I'm pretty thorough before making a purchase. But it turned out to be a really nice easy reach for summer and I've worn it a lot. It is not an exact dupe of Sun Song but it really is pretty close and satisfies the same craving.

I'm also very precise about knowing what I want to try and almost never like samples I didn't ask for or fragrances a sales associate tries to get me to test. The only time I can remember this happened is with Hermes Myrrhe Eglantine. The first time I tried out Hermessence I decided to get the 4 15ml travel set and tried to get as many other samples out of the SA as I could. They were out of the ones I requested but he threw in a double sample of Myrrhe Eglantine. I didn't like it at first, but I kept trying it and by the time I finished off the two sample vials I had to have a bottle!
I'm the same way; I'm pretty specific with things I like, even more so with things I wear (most of the time). It's a nice surprise and change of pace when something unexpectedly wows you and becomes a favorite. Thanks for sharing your story!
Alien Man Edt

Just like it despite the negative reviews. A bday present from my goddaughter
That's great, and special meaning I'm sure coming from your goddaughter! What a lovely gift!
I once got 1/3 full bottle of vintage Magie Noire for free because seller thought it was off.
Obviously she wasn't used to chypres and oakmoss. It's still marvelous.

I also like my big bottle of Aqua Allegoria Mentafollia, also given as a free gift from a seller.
Love hearing stories like this "somebody didn't want X" and it turns out a treasure for someone else.
Glad you found your (unwanted) diamond in the rough!

Want to try Mentafollia as well -- big fan of green Guerlains!
Polo Blue Eau de Parfum
I think I ordered something from a department store and they offered to toss in some sample vials. Armani Code something was there, Invictus, and maybe Acqua di Gio Absolu. They were all too heavy for me and spicy.
This one though...this one was pretty good. It's like Polo Blue + the OG Acqua di Gio + a dash of Ambroxan. I would describe it as a mature take on the current dark blue trend. Very nice.

Versace Dylan Blue
I don't know how I came across this sample vial. But I immediately liked it. Too heavy on the dry down for my tastes, but for the first 20 minutes it's amazing. Easily has one of the best introductions in comparison to all the other well known dark blues.

Pierre Cardin Pour Monsieur
I got some OG Eternity for Men and the seller tossed in a 1 oz bottle of vintage Pour Monsieur that was like 1/5 full. I had taken a sniff of the current formulation at a Burlington and wrote it off as a gross and outdated musk scent. The vintage though...this was actually very pleasant smelling! It's still not something that I'd wear today, as I grew up more in the freshie or sporty era. But it makes me wish that this fragrance was back in style. It's a "fun" fragrance, but it feels very dressy for some reason. I'd go as far as to say it's up there with Paco Rabanne Pour Homme and Azzaro Pour Homme as representing the best of 70s perfumery. In fact, it's the perfect trifecta of variety as far as I'm concerned: You got that orange-y amber softness from PC PM, you got green soap fresh/funkiness with Paco, and then you have the traditional, cool weather barbershop fougere with Azzaro.
Thank you for sharing your favorites. The Polo sounds really nice -- will have to try that next time I see it.

Had a family member who loved the PC PM back in the day and would give it as gifts. I came across one of his bottles years ago, but I didn't manage to try it. I've heard the newest formulation isn't that great either which is unfortunate.
Probably Ambre Nuit was a complimentary minature I got from one of my orders on Dior's website, I broke rule of mine after smelling it and ordered a 40ml bottle of it.
Definitely a good move! Thanks for sharing!
 

TrboDieselPwrd

Basenotes Member
Apr 27, 2020
A rather weird one for me. I have never liked Chanel No5, it always went sort of plastic like on me. I bought a bottle of Annick Goutal on eBay of all places and the seller included a 50 ml bottle of No5 EDT with about 30 mls in it. I was about to give it away but decided okay give it a go and I loved it. Seems the parfum and EDP versions were just not for me. Ended up buying a bottle when I finished the free one.
Glad it worked out for you with No5. Good thing you gave it one last chance!
Boucheron Jaipur Pour Homme EdP - birthday gift from my sister. At the counters I'd always found it a bit too much, but actually it's a marvellous great scent.
Thanks for sharing this. I agree with you, It's a personal favorite of mine as well. I remember trying this right when it came out and though it was really, really good, but that it was too dense and mature to wear at the time.
Krizia Teatro alla Scala and Ralph Lauren Safari, both vintage. Received in a bundle swap with other things, and turned out to be stunning (Teatro) and lovely (Safari).
Vintage Safari is awesome! Thanks for sharing your coincidental favorites!
 

TrboDieselPwrd

Basenotes Member
Apr 27, 2020
I got a very tiny cute bottle of Allure Homme Sport, which was slightly larger than a thumb. It was in a bundle of like 10 decants. I thought "oh, this is a generic fresh scent, I probably won't wear it much." And then it became one of my most worn fragrances.
Thanks. There's definitely something to be said about "generic" fragrances -- they're pleasant, very wearable, and got that label because they're generally though to be good despite maybe not being the most interesting or challenging. All good! And can't go wrong with Chanel...
 

TrboDieselPwrd

Basenotes Member
Apr 27, 2020
Several years ago my wife bought me a bottle of the “new, different” fragrance that a sales associate recommended to her. I tried it a few times, didn’t care for it much, and it sat in the back of a drawer for years.

Later I read “Perfumes, The Guide” by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, and recognized the forgotten fragrance as Yohji Yamamoto Pour Homme, one of the most highly-rated and hardest to find scents in the book. Yes, I got very lucky with that one. Still wear it now and then. Never turned into one of my favorites, but I certainly recognize its collectible value. That one just fell into my lap.
It has a very interesting note pyramid. Will keep an eye out for this one. Sounds like this is a satisfying one to have as a gift -- not one that you'd have sought out yourself but one that has proven to be a rewarding one to learn to love and respect!
 

Salumbre

Basenotes Junkie
Jan 26, 2022
Once upon a time, when I was young and knew nothing about fragrances, a guy I briefly dated and then became friends with gave me a bottle of perfume that his mother had given him for his birthday.

It wasn't meant as some kind of special gift for me; it just wasn't to his liking, so he asked me if I wanted it. Luckily, I said yes.

It was Chanel Egoïste, then fairly new (it was 1995). It has been my favorite fragrance ever since.
 
D

Deleted member 26364724

Guest
A few years ago, me and my partner moved into a new apartment and found a bottle of Trussardi which had been left on a shelf in the bedroom by our predecessors (who we had no way to contact).

Neither of us being perfume aficionados, we decided between us (based on the faux leather bottle as much as the smell) that it was masculine and therefore mine.

I didn't really think much of it at first, but it had one advantage over the two other scents I owned at the time: that fake leather plastic coating meant I was a lot more comfortable throwing it into a bag whenever we went on a trip.

As a result, it became my holiday scent, and I can't wear it now without recalling a happy memory from some weekend away.

For all I know it might have turned before I even got my hands on it, but I've come to delight in its smell.

I've still got some left, but there's no way to know how much through that plastic coating.
 

StylinLA

Basenotes Dependent
Aug 9, 2009
I really liked the idea of this thread but when I really examined my scents, I saw that none of them ever fell into my lap in the manner suggested.

Everything has been sampled before puchase, largely inspired by write-ups in here. On occasion, Lucky Scent will send me samples of something I didn't ask for if they are out of the samples I requested. None have ever led to a purchase that I can recall.

I still flinch whenever I think about the Oud Inifini sample they sent me unsolicited.
 

metanoia

Super Member
Oct 7, 2021
Perhaps Bvlgari Lilaia. I swapped an old and unopened back up bottle of Hermes Eau des Merveilles for it, without having ever even smelled the Bvlgari. I just liked the notes and the name. (I can be a massive romantic idiot. When they pick obscure literary names and stuff, I’m exactly the type of silly who pays attention to that.) and green is my favourite colour, so I swapped blind. It turned out to be one of my favourite summer perfumes. Surprisingly tenacious in heat, never cloying, green-ish. Just perfect. Totally different experience from most reviews that say it’s a short lived skin scent.
 
Oct 8, 2003
I won a bottle of Habit Rouge EDC at a perfume raffle, I didn't really want it but the organiser persuaded me it was a good one so I took it. I didn't like it at first but knew I would at some point, perfume intuition. That EDC sat in my cupboard for three years before it finally clicked and now the EDT is a main player in my collection.

Dior Eau Fraiche was an accidental discovery in a department store, it was tucked in amongst other relegated fragrances in the Dior drawer (tongue twister). I was looking for Diorella which I ended up not being fussed by but Eau Fraiche blew my socks off, I quickly hunted down a bottle.
 
Mar 6, 2019
I bought a J'Adore for a graduation gift for someone way back when and received two samples: Shiseido Feminité du Bois and Le Feu d'Issey. The FdB wasn't a direct hit, but the Feu d'Issey swept me off my feet. At that time though, buying perfume for myself was a nonstarter, so I babied the red sample vial until it was empty and saved it for years until I couldn't catch anything from the dried-out sprayer. By then I'd begun to look for it in shops, but only encountered the Light version, which was nothing alike. I never did manage to buy the original.

Hearing that Etro Etra was an almost dead ringer for FdI, one Interrail trip, student me stomped into KaDeWe, held my breath, and paid 100e for it. It's very good, but it's not the grotesque explosion that the original is.

Years later, at my partner's sister, I noticed the red Feu ball on her bathroom shelf. I asked her meekly if I could have a sniff, but instead she gave me the entire bottle! I'm sure my reaction to her kindness was slightly more than she expected.

In the meantime, I'd returned to the Feminité du Bois sample and fell madly in love with it, still knowing nothing about the origin. Again, too late, again.

Little did I know... But at least I've had the joy of experiencing both in their original forms.

Still holding out a flicker of hope that whoever owns the Issey brand now wants to cash in and make a special edition of the red ball...
 

Zenwannabee

Basenotes Junkie
Sep 15, 2009
For me a couple of random duty-free purchases while traveling a decade or more ago landed me with bottles of Aramis and Antaeus that altered (and subsequently anchored) my notions of men’s perfumery. Also, playing around with Internet purchases back then, I got a 50ml bottle of Azzaro PH, never having tried it before (the bottle with a silver collar), that I still get wistful about—so rich were the anise topnotes and drydown. Like walking back in time to a different era and conception of men’s scents. Anyway, serendipitous moments that stay with me…
 
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TrboDieselPwrd

Basenotes Member
Apr 27, 2020
Once upon a time, when I was young and knew nothing about fragrances, a guy I briefly dated and then became friends with gave me a bottle of perfume that his mother had given him for his birthday.

It wasn't meant as some kind of special gift for me; it just wasn't to his liking, so he asked me if I wanted it. Luckily, I said yes.

It was Chanel Egoïste, then fairly new (it was 1995). It has been my favorite fragrance ever since.
I really like this story, this is a great example of that chance scenario that has led to a favorite fragrance. It has been almost 30 years since that gifting -- I wonder if wearing it today brings back memories of those times! Thanks for sharing your story!
A few years ago, me and my partner moved into a new apartment and found a bottle of Trussardi which had been left on a shelf in the bedroom by our predecessors (who we had no way to contact).

Neither of us being perfume aficionados, we decided between us (based on the faux leather bottle as much as the smell) that it was masculine and therefore mine.

I didn't really think much of it at first, but it had one advantage over the two other scents I owned at the time: that fake leather plastic coating meant I was a lot more comfortable throwing it into a bag whenever we went on a trip.

As a result, it became my holiday scent, and I can't wear it now without recalling a happy memory from some weekend away.

For all I know it might have turned before I even got my hands on it, but I've come to delight in its smell.

I've still got some left, but there's no way to know how much through that plastic coating.
It was meant to be! Very interesting to see how something like a left-behind/forgotten bottle has now led you to a fragrance with nice memories and also to a forum with other aficionados! Thanks for sharing!
I really liked the idea of this thread but when I really examined my scents, I saw that none of them ever fell into my lap in the manner suggested.

Everything has been sampled before puchase, largely inspired by write-ups in here. On occasion, Lucky Scent will send me samples of something I didn't ask for if they are out of the samples I requested. None have ever led to a purchase that I can recall.

I still flinch whenever I think about the Oud Inifini sample they sent me unsolicited.
Nothing wrong with this Stylin -- I think as a hobbyist who researches, seeks out scents, tries new ones with some indication that they'll be liked -- there's bound to be a little less left to chance. Finding that gem is hard enough via a deliberate or educated approach...finding it by chance is even less likely IMO.
 

StylinLA

Basenotes Dependent
Aug 9, 2009
Nothing wrong with this Stylin -- I think as a hobbyist who researches, seeks out scents, tries new ones with some indication that they'll be liked -- there's bound to be a little less left to chance. Finding that gem is hard enough via a deliberate or educated approach...finding it by chance is even less likely IMO.
I wasn't worried about it, but was a bit surprised I've never stumbled onto anything. Especially since I've made a ton of Lucky Scent purchases wherein they send me samples of stuff I didn't request.
 

DoctorM81

Basenotes Dependent
Jul 26, 2011
Doesn't exactly fit the criteria the OP laid out, but the first to mind for me is Royal Scottish Lavender by Creed (which, coincidentally, I'm wearing today). It was already discontinued at the time, and I was very well aware of this fragrance but wasn't actively seeking it out. I stumbled unexpectedly on a bottle on my travels, and knew immediately I had to buy it.

It helped that I absolutely loved it on trying, of course...!
 

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