Once upon a blind buy

As I read through other perfume blogs and perfume-related websites or forums (though I read the latter ones in minority) every once in a while you’ll meet there a term called blind buy. I have no idea who invented this phrase nor when was it used for the first time I just know what it means – to buy something not knowing it. As much as these words themselves are easy to explain, there are numerous ways of how blind buy can be interpreted, depending on the situation.

First of all there are countless things that you can buy without knowing them. You can buy a film because your friend told you it was good. Or you can blind buy a book because it had good reviews or you just have a hunch you might like it. You can even purchase food that way but personally I would consider this one as trying something new simply out of curiosity. There is also a literal meaning to blind buy, if someone for a reason lost their gift of vision. They have a tough life…

And then… you can blind buy a perfume. Not just a pyramid consisting of top, heart and base notes but a concoction of aromas that entwine with each other, that can hide some twists and surprises within their structure or introduce some innovative approach towards certain fragrance ingredients. A perfume that is an absolutely subjective matter, that can be seen as a completely different when sniffed by 2 people on the blotter. Smelling it on skin is a totally new dimension.

I can’t understand why some people feel so proud of themselves when they say they bought this or that perfume blind. I think it often applies to people with big fragrance wardrobe who purchase new scents so often that they got used to it. They might seek some stimulus, a spark of excitement & a shiver of uncertainty as they tear the cellophane, open the box and smell the perfume that was unknown to them up until now. The climax is quick and simple. Either you like/love it or you don’t. Good for them if the perfume is to the person’s liking, if not – they’d probably re-sell it.

Another reason for a blind buy, a one that I can understand, is when someone finds a good occasion to buy a perfume they wouldn’t normally have a possibility to purchase. Due to difficult (or no) access to try it they decide to buy it unsniffed. In this place I bow my head, I beat my chest and I cry. Forgive me Donatella for I’ve sinned. I bought a perfume without smelling it first! I, as a perfumista who is in control of his passion and who carefully selects fragrances he owns, have abandoned my rules for this one. My sweet sin is Prada Purple Rain from Olfactories Collection.

A friend of mine has spotted it as it was offered on a local e-auctions website. Knowing that I love Prada above everyone else she rushed to me with the link to the site. When I saw what she has found I was thrilled. Thrilled because it was a perfume I would never get in Poland and the price was really affordable. I didn’t know how it smells but I was ready to take the risk. It was easier as I know other irises by Prada, plus Purple Rain was also created by Daniela Roche-Andrier.

And all my impulsive actions would have a bitter taste if I ended disliking the perfume I bought. Honestly, I would feel guilty, as to me the only verb that goes well with blind buy is to commit. To commit a blind buy is like committing a crime against your own reason. But my story has a happy ending. Only 2 days after I won the auction the perfume has arrived but since it has arrived at my home address, I had to wait until Friday to smell it. It’s a perfect, totally Prada style iris. At the moment I will only say it’s velvety & earthy, buttery and powdery too. A proper review will follow.

Everything feels great about Prada Purple Rain. A heavy bottle with a thick glass base that has a slightly different shape than irises in Prada Infusion family. It also is bigger but it fits in a hand very well. The safiano-structured label in a grayish blue is very minimalistic. Just a brand logo, fragrance name below and the word olfactories at the bottom of the label. Magnetic cap is covered by a black material (possibly leather) also with iconic safiano print. Top of the cap is embossed with Prada logo. Simply gorgeous. I don’t regret committing this blind buy now but I’m sure I won’t do that again any time soon. What is your point of view regarding blind buys? Have you ever done it? What perfume did you buy? Did you enjoy it? Let me know if the comments below.

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28 thoughts on “Once upon a blind buy

  1. jillie says:

    Can’t wait to read what the actual juice smells like! I am so glad that this has turned out well for you. As you say, this was a big commitment on your part and thank goodness there is a happy ending.

    Sadly I have bought blindly quite a lot in my life – but I would say that on the whole I have been pleased with my purchases. If the description, list of notes and the perfumer’s name attract me, then I might just take a risk. I usually like Sophia Grojsman and Pierrre Bourdon, for instance, and have made happy buys of their fragrances in the past.

    A good one in the last few weeks has been L de Lubin based entirely on a review (I think on NST) which made me think “why don’t I know this?” – I was sure I would like it and found such a good bargain (they were practically giving it away) that I couldn’t resist. It is very nice indeed and reminds me of Diorella, Eau Sauvage, Cristalle and various other citrussy scents. It will be a great addition to my summer wardrobe!

    • lucasai says:

      It’s a beauty for sure but there will be more to tell in a review.

      I see, that happens sometimes but it’s good that you are satisfied with your blind choices if you take it all into consideration. I think blind buy is easier when it comes to a brand you love or a perfumer who created the other perfumes that you love and have. That was my case with Purple Rain. A love for Prada and overall fondness of Daniela Roche Andrier.

      L de Lubin is fairy my favorite from them and I really dislike this perfume house as a whole. Probably after I have read through the incident Birgit at Olfactoria’s Travels has with them.

      • jillie says:

        Oh my goodness – I had forgotten about “The Incident”. It’s so sad that a subject as lovely as perfume should be tainted by bad feelings. I guess if I were to think about background and attitude of certain perfume houses I would probably never buy any fragrance again, but I must admit that I do resist temptation if there is something really unpleasant lurking in the shadows, and if my poor memory reminds me of it!

        Really looking forward to your review dear L.

        • lucasai says:

          Too bad Olfactoria doesn’t write anymore. Hope she’s happy whatever she’s doing.
          I know but some bad feelings can really affect the way you look at the brand. At Esxence its kind of similar. If you visit a stand and people who take care of it ignore you or are not nice, you are unlikely to visit the brand again in the future…

  2. Anka says:

    Hi Lucas,
    interesting article, I enjoyed reading it! I sometimes blind-buy decants but the only full bottle I bought blind was Hasu-no-Hana from Grossmith because it was a bargain and I can’t afford their fragrances otherwise. It was exciting, luckily I really love Hasu and wear it quite often.

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you!
      Those Grossmith’s are really expensive so I don’t blame you recided to buy it when a cheaper opportunity has arised. Extra plus for the fact that you like it.

  3. Cornelia Blimber says:

    My only blind buy was Cabaret by Grès. It was cheap and there was no tester available.
    I like it, it’s a dark rose. I guess you know it!
    I think you never can be certain how a perfume works out in the end. I am a tuberose lover and finished 3 samples of Carnal Flower. I loved it for ± one year…suddenly it gives me a headache. Can’t stand it anymore.

    • lucasai says:

      Good for you that it was the only one!

      Happened to me a few times. I loved the perfume when trying it initially in the shop or on paper, later when I had a sample and time to try it on skin I didn’t like it at all.

  4. shellyw says:

    Your love of Prada scents was a good back up to the risk of a blind buy. I had read so many great reviews and comments about Ambre Cashmere this last year I bought it untried. Of course the comments that lead me to it were from sources I am familar with, not press realeases. It is was a small bottle and reasonably priced as far as perfumes go. It was pretty good too.

    • lucasai says:

      I agree, it was a back up alright. It was like a vote for going for it.

      I like Ambre Cashmere from Nicolai and I wouldn’t mind having a small bottle or a travel size if they had them. Hope you will keep enjoying it.

  5. Holly says:

    Congratulations on your successful blind buy! Purple Rain sounds gorgeous, and I’m so glad you’re enjoying it.

    I love your comment about the word “commit” and I also see a blind buy this way. I know many people feel excited and carefree when making a blind buy, but I usually feel apprehensive and guilty. 😉 Many people have more money to spend, or they know they can sell or swap something they don’t like, or they have a lot of space and enjoy having a large collection. I’ve had a few unsuccessful blind buys, and I’ve given them away. I’ve had a few successful blind buys as well. It’s quite possible that I will once again commit the sin of blind buying, but right now I’m focusing on not buying more samples or decants. Adding them all up actually does amount to blind buying – tiny amounts in huge quantities ends up costing a lot of money and then there’s the storage issue and the omg! I’m overwhelmed by all this stuff issue. I’ve realized that those dabber samples are not a good way of really getting a feel for the fragrance, and that the next step is always gonna be a decant. It just keeps going and going and adding up and there really never is an end eek!

    I truly appreciate how thoughtful you are about your collection, and I remember you mentioning that you wouldn’t buy something because you don’t like the bottle. That struck me as being incredibly mature and I’ve thought about it quite often. I actually do that in other purchases I make, and so I’m glad you mentioned how the aesthetics of the way a perfume is presented is an important factor to you when you’re considering buying it.

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you sweetie. It looks gorgeous and smells gorgeous too.

      Thanks, it just really feels that way. I don’t like to decide if a perfume is going to join my fragrance wardrobe or not based on 1 or 2 tries. I’ve got to spend some more time with a scent, to try it in different weather conditions to see if I like it on all options.

      As you mentioned for yourself, it goes up and down, once it’s a success once it’s a failure purchase. For me the biggest problem with a failure would be finding somebody else who’d be willing to buy the unwanted perfume from me.

      I think the look of the bottle is also important, especially if you showcase your collection on some vanity table or something like that. You wouldn’t want to have an ugly bottle there because it would immediately attract attention.

  6. Poupoune says:

    Hi Lucas,
    I sometimes commit blind buy too (you’re not alone my friend), often because it’s a good deal (like outlet, or second hand perfumes on y usual sites). Sometimes I win, sometimes I loose… And I often blind buy decants, because it’s just a big sample right ? 😉
    My last blind buy is Jasmin de nuit from The Different Company. I wanted a real jasmine, indolic one, and it was an outlet sell… (20€ for 50ml… not so painful if I loose!), and in fact Jasmin de nuit is a spicy blossom flower… it could be an epic fail but I actually like it!

    • lucasai says:

      Hi Poupone. Sometimes it’s really hard to turn down a good offer, a bargain or sale.
      Since decants are much cheaper than full bottles they don’t feel so harmful, unless you buy handful of them.

      Glad you are enjoying your Jasmin de Nuit

  7. Yay for your blind buy! 😀 Purple Rain sounds great. I’ll make sure to have a sniff when I get the chance. I don’t normally do but I blind bought Unspoken by Roja Dove. Good job I liked it.

  8. poodle says:

    I have a lot of blind buys. Most were successful. I don’t do it as much as I used to. I generally know whose opinions and tastes are similar to mine and whenever they rave about a scent it usually works out okay for me. I very rarely base my blind buy on just a note list because notes on paper sometimes are very different from what you smell in the perfume.

  9. hajusuuri says:

    Other than typing it here, I no longer recognize the term “blind buy”; they are now known as large samples or, 100 mL samples (replace 100 with bottle size). My most recent 100 mL sample was a cheapie – Queen of Hearts by Queen Latifah. It is still in its shrink wrap :-). I am lemming a Purple Rain; fortunately, I can walk to a Prada boutique.

  10. rickyrebarco says:

    Hi Lucas, loved your post. I am seriously considering blind buying Purple Rain also as soon as I find a US retailer and have the $! It sounds divine. I still haven’t seen the Prada Infusions Amande or Oiellet in the US yet. Slow to launch but I’m looking forward to all. I have done some blind buys, okay a lot! My favorite blind buy of all time is McQueen My Queen. Loved it at first sniff and it’s been a favorite for years since then.

    • hajusuuri says:

      Strange…I thought I had replied to your comment, Ricky! The Prada boutiques in NY have the 2 Prada collections. AND AND AND, I just cracked open my Saks catalogue and it now also carries both new Prada Collections, Eric Buterbaugh (have you seen how expensive the samples are from the website?), Hermessence (although not sure if they have the gift sets) and Serge Lutens (but probably not the bell jars). I’m not enabling nor I am I encouraging the subject of this post MWAHAHAHAHA!

  11. Undina says:

    Lucas, I’m soooglad your blind buy was a success! (but don’t do it again too soon, ok? 😉 )

    In general, I’m against blind buys: my experience (with testing, not buys!) proves to me that I easily dislike (or at least not like enough) more perfumes than not – even from my most favorite brands, even when everybody else loves those, even with perfect (on the list) notes.

    I broke my own rules twice… Interestingly, both perfumes were iris-heavy. First one was Chanel No 19 Poudre. There was absolutely no good reason to go for a blind buy other than the fact that I was so in love with Chanel No 19 that I didn’t want to wait another month or so for the new perfume to get to the U.S. AND I had a friend who was in London just in right time. I didn’t dislike that perfume but it didn’t come even close to how much I love the original one. So I could easily live without the new one. The second perfume… Not to hijack your blog, I’ll tell its story on my blog soon 🙂

    Enjoy your new perfume!

    • lucasai says:

      I’m glad about it even more than you 😉 And don’t worry, I won’t turn into blind buying monster.
      I’m against it too, but this time I broke the rules.
      Interesting that No 19 Poudre was your blind buy. But you also had the situation that worked in your favor with a friend visiting London. I think I never tried original No 19…
      You got me curious so I’m really looking forward to your own story of a blind buy

  12. […] able to put my hands on this creation (I also got decants of a few more), even thought I risked a blind buy of it. Composition of Purple Rain opens (at least to my nose) with a very gentle wave of aldehydes. […]

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