Making Scents: Blogger Barney Bishop takes BB Man Cologne Sampling

Barney Bishop’s brother took notice of his obsession well before Barney did. When they were kids he told Barney, “You smell everything!” Today, Barney, the olfactory aficionado behind the blog Fragrant Moments, has almost 200 bottles in his ever-growing “scent wardrobe.” We tapped him for a few tips about the best order of operations when it comes to sampling scents.

Spray Liberally

“What guys need to understand is that the fragrances at Sephora are there to be sampled. You don’t have to look over your shoulder. Just don’t abuse them—some guys are in there spraying themselves to death.”

Strip Tease

“Before anything goes on your skin, spray the fragrance on long white strips of paper—scent strips. Then give the scent a few seconds to die down. Right after you spray it, you’ll notice more alcohol, so don’t actually begin the sniff test until it’s had a moment to sit on the strip. Then, if it smells like something you could wear, spray it on your skin.”

Skin Dive

“When I’m sampling a scent on my skin, I keep it very simple. I spray the back of my hand or forearm once. Don’t overcomplicate matters by trying out a bunch of different scents on your skin at once. Cap it at two or three max.”

Top, Middle, Base

“Cologne ages with time. The opening notes—what you smell when you first spray the cologne on yourself—is like the huge one-day sale in big bright lights. It grabs your attention. Shortly thereafter, the scent will change and the middle notes will present themselves. After that come the base notes.“

Decision Time

“You really want to pay attention to this the base note developments and ask yourself simply, ‘Do I want to smell like this?’ What you’re smelling at this stage is the essence of what really makes up that scent. If the answer is yes, you’ve found a winner. If you’re on the fence, sample it another day. Your mood or any number of things could be affecting your judgment. If the answer is unequivocally no, then move on.”

Be Wary of the Workplace

“Observe caution at the office. There’s always that person that brings in a lunch that leaves an unpleasant order in the cafeteria. The same can be true with personal scents. If you’re working in close proximity of others, keep it light. Citrus-based scents are airy and bright and work well at the office.”

Seasons Change

“In the summer when the heat is beating you down, you want to wear lighter scents to feel fresh and energized. Citrus, aquatic, beachy scents will do the trick. Conversely, in the winter, we tend to look for comforting scents. Woods and leathers in heavier dosages are ideal, though spring and summer scents can be worn year round. When in doubt, listen to your nose. It never lies.”

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