Making Perfume Samples and Decants (In Pictures)

One of my first jobs at the perfume lab was nothing glamorous–I had to label blotters and make samples. Sticking hundreds of tiny labels on narrow strips of paper and filling out bottle after bottle was such a mind numbing task that I entertained the idea of creating a small robot and underwriting the expense. Eventually, I moved onto something more interesting, but ever since then I’ve become very good at making perfume samples. While not a resume worthy skill, it comes in handy from time to time.

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The seasoned perfume lovers among you have probably made hundreds of samples–congrats, you all qualify for a perfumer assistant position! On the other hand, those who are new to this hobby might wonder what on earth is a decant and how to get perfume out of a sealed spray bottle. I receive these questions on a regular basis, so when I recently had to make a perfume care package for a friend, I asked my husband to take some photos.

When perfume lovers talk about samples, they usually mean 1-3ml stoppered vials. ‘Decant’ refers to a larger amount; it means that perfume has been transferred from its original container to a 5-30ml splash or spray bottle.  Now, there is nothing particularly difficult about making samples and decants. But if you’ve ever received a fragrant package full of empty vials from a decanting site or discovered that a perfume atomizer leaked in your purse, you know how frustrating it can be when a sample isn’t done correctly.

If you are going to make samples and decants for yourself and friends on a regular basis, you will need: appropriate vials, plastic pipettes (useful for splash or extrait de parfum bottles), sticky labels, resealable ziplock bags (2″x2″ or 3″x5″ size), and parafilm tape. If you hate your hand writing or are impeccably organized, then you can invest in a portable label maker.

When it comes to decanting from a spray bottle, many people wonder how they can remove the sprayer attachment. Well, in most cases, you can’t, and even if you could, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s likely to have disastrous consequences. Just put the neck of the decant bottle or sample vial flush against the tiny spray opening, push the sprayer with conviction and that’s that. Some people like to use little funnels, but I find them a bother, because it’s hard to keep them clean.

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Vials have to be filled just enough and not too much, or else they will leak. Leave some head space in the bottle.

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Thank you, Serge Lutens! Making decants of your perfumes is very easy. I use disposable plastic pipettes for transferring perfume from splash bottles into spray or sample vials.  Be sure that the lids of the 1ml sample vials are pressed in all the way. You should hear a satisfying click when it happens.

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Once you have filled your vials, you can label them. If you label empty vials and then starting filling them up, you risk smudging the ink.

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The final step is to seal the decant with parafilm. Parafilm is a plastic paraffin film that’s generally used in laboratories for sealing vessels. Think of it as a perfumista’s best friend. The malleable film protects perfume from evaporating, leaking or becoming contaminated. It’s a must for sealing bottles for storage or shipping. I wrap the tops of my bottles in parafilm to help my collection last longer. Parafilm leaves no residue or tacky marks on the glass, so it’s safe for most surfaces and is easy to remove.

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Tiny sample vials are best stored in ziplock baggies. Get the kind on which you can write. If you’re shipping decants, I recommend shipping each bottle in its individual bag. Even if something goes wrong and perfume leaks anyway, at least, the whole lot won’t get ruined.

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Lastly, don’t do a big decanting spree if you have your nails painted, since perfume will remove your polish within seconds.

Where to buy decanting supplies in the US: there are numerous suppliers. I’ve had a good experience shopping at Accessories for Fragrance and Pilot Vials. For those who do decanting in industrial quantities, U-Line and Madina Online are good options. For the rest of us, the quantities and the cost of shipping are bound to overwhelm. Since many of you have mentioned SKS Bottle & Packaging in the comments, I want to add their website to the list: sks-bottle.com.

Ebay is another favorite place for buy decanting supplies, especially parafilm, glass vials, ziplock bags, and pipettes. Just look for “Ziplock Bags 2×3 Reclosable”, “Empty Sample Glass Vial, Perfume Sample vial 1 ML”, or “plastic pipettes.”

Where to buy decanting supplies in Europe: When I asked Vanessa of Bonkers About Perfume where to buy decanting supplies in Europe, she mentioned Accessories for Fragrance in the USA as her top choice for small 1ml sample vials (contact them before placing an order to discuss customs fee, or rather how to avoid them). For the rest, she recommended Ebay.

Several readers based outside of the US recommended Proudstyle.com to me, but I haven’t tried them yet. If you have any experience with this supplier, please let me know.

If you would like a portable label maker, the Brother Personal Labeler Machine is a handy and inexpensive tool.

Extra: Some more info (and cute cat photos!) can be found at Undina’s blog.

This is far from an exhaustive list, and I would love to hear other sources for decanting supplies in your area. Also, please share your own tips on making samples and decants.

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110 Comments

  • rosarita: I have never heard of parafilm and now I want some! Where do you buy yours, as in what type of store? I use 1or 2 dram tinted screw top vials and seal them with electrical tape because it stretches tight and doesn’t leave a residue, but now I’m fascinated with parafilm. 🙂 Thanks for the informative article, the pictures help a lot. June 24, 2013 at 7:39am Reply

    • Victoria: You can find it easily on Ebay, and any lab supply store would have it. Amazon is another source. In general, it’s an absolute must for sealing decants (the part where the sprayer attachment meets the glass vial) or splash bottles (their entire top). Even if I wear Chanel No 19 parfum once a week or so, it’s still easy enough to seal and unseal bottles with parafilm. I usually cut up small ribbons and keep them on the same shelf as my perfume. June 24, 2013 at 12:09pm Reply

    • Elizabeth T.: I’ve also used plumber’s tape… in the past I’ve received decants where the electrical tape did leave a residue, so the plumbers tape is my new go-to sealer! June 24, 2013 at 12:16pm Reply

      • Victoria: Yes, I don’t like the electrical tape for this reason. The sticky mess it leaves on the glass and labels is such a bother, and while I don’t care that my decants look fancy, I don’t want them to appear dirty. June 24, 2013 at 12:35pm Reply

        • rosarita: Thanks, you two, good to know! June 24, 2013 at 7:19pm Reply

  • leathermountain: I use parafilm to seal up Petri dishes in my microbiology classroom. Great fun. Kids love the stuff! It’s only sticky when you stretch it and press it against a surface. That also means you need to cut your pieces (not tear them). I’ve generally ordered for my school from either Carolina Biological Supply, or Presque Ile Cultures. Presque Ile is a small outfit with really great people, so I love to support them when I can. June 24, 2013 at 8:23am Reply

    • Victoria: Good to know two other sources, thank you very much. I usually buy mine at Ebay, while the lab orders theirs from the laboratory supply companies. I believe that we’ve used Carolina Biological Supply before. June 24, 2013 at 12:06pm Reply

  • farouche: I’m a little strange in that I love to decant (though probably wouldn’t enjoy doing it all day!). It is so satisfying to produce a good-looking, well-labeled decant for a friend or fellow swapper, and I love inhaling the fragrances as I fill each little bottle. The excess inevitably gets on my fingers and provides a perfumed reminder about sharing what we have. June 24, 2013 at 8:32am Reply

    • Victoria: When I was in high school, I worked at a department store wrapping gifts. After a couple of months of mindlessly wrapping boxes, I wanted nothing to do with it. But after a while, I’ve started enjoying making beautiful packages for friends. I now feel the same way about decants, but no, I still don’t want to make hundreds of them, if I can help it. 🙂 June 24, 2013 at 12:04pm Reply

  • The Blue Squid: I haven’t really made up samples before, but I will definitely refer to this post when I do. The photos your husband took are really beautiful and clear, as are your textual instructions. I like your bracelet too! There is also something inherently pleasing and satisfying about looking at pictures of large, vat-like bottles filled with perfume, like the bell jar and big Chanel bottle you have there. Nice one! June 24, 2013 at 8:50am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you! I’ll let my husband know that his work was helpful. It’s one of those things that are much easier to explain in pictures than in words.

      I love cuff bracelets and chunky jewelry in general. 🙂 June 24, 2013 at 12:02pm Reply

  • Lucas: Love your tutorial!
    In my perfumista life I’ve done hundrets of not thousands of decants and samples.
    As a student who wants to keep his costs as low as possible but who also wants to enjoy some fine fumes organizing splits and making decants from a bottle is a must.
    I use disposable plastic syringes to make decants from the bottles with removable sprayer. In other case I spray into the syringe to measure the liquid properly before I transfer it into the atomiser. June 24, 2013 at 9:03am Reply

    • Victoria: A very good point, Lucas. Splits and decants really can help keep this hobby affordable, and it’s such a pleasure to share with others. June 24, 2013 at 11:59am Reply

      • Lucas: That’s what I like about doing splits. That I can make others happy because they’ll have their own 10mls of a scent they like as much as I do.

        PS. We should swap some samples eventually 😉 No pushing of course June 24, 2013 at 1:32pm Reply

        • Victoria: It’s even better if you get to try something you wouldn’t have sampled otherwise! Swapping always leads to some nice serendipitous discoveries. June 24, 2013 at 1:59pm Reply

          • Lucas: I love such swaps best. There are so many things I wouldn’t try if I didn’t get help from the swapping friends June 24, 2013 at 3:09pm Reply

    • Daisy: That is a great idea to spray into a syringe, Lucas! June 24, 2013 at 1:46pm Reply

      • Lucas: Thank you! I think I mastered this method June 24, 2013 at 3:10pm Reply

  • Caroline: Thanks for this info–will have to track down slightly larger vials so I may accomplish the spray-fill technique. You’re right, SL makes it easy for us (even with the smaller atomizers). Off to find some parafilm! June 24, 2013 at 9:06am Reply

    • Victoria: I do the spray in technique even with 1ml vials. You simply need to position the tiny spray opening directly over the vial and hold them tightly. Just try to get it aligned, and then it’s very easy. And no need to bother with a funnel. June 24, 2013 at 11:58am Reply

  • Alexandra: Thank you Victoria for sharing this! Oh, that Cuir de Russie… yummy! June 24, 2013 at 9:09am Reply

    • Victoria: My pleasure! I enjoyed splashing myself all over with Cuir de Russie once I made the sample. 🙂 June 24, 2013 at 11:57am Reply

  • Leah: I have a good friend in France that I often ship vintage perfumes to. He is a seasoned collector and taught me a marvelous old-school trick for sealing older bottles. You simply cut up some white candles into a Bain Marie and stir until the paraffin melts. He recommended that you plunge the bottle in up to the neck by inverting the bottle, but I am much too chicken for that. Instead, I turn the bottle on its side and ladle the wax over the neck in layers. Once it’s dry, voila, you have a perfect wax seal that removes easily with no damage to the bottle – though be sure not to drip on the label. It works very well for vintage bottles with ground glass stoppers – sometimes the parafilm is not strong enough for that. Excellent post as always! June 24, 2013 at 9:28am Reply

    • Victoria: What a nifty trick! There is always some risk with shipping splash bottles. The older bottles that had a proper ground glass seal are more reliable, but anything more recent is less so. June 24, 2013 at 11:57am Reply

      • Illdone: Hi Victoria!
        About the parafilm, I think it’s easy to get at a medical and laboratory devices supplier. Belgium has wholesale shops in every large city (perhaps you’ll have to buy a large quantity but it’s rather cheap mostly)
        About shiping and leaking stopers- a nightmare really!-I once got a good tip from a perfumista friend : if the bottle is not sealed she decants the perfume into small brown apothecary bottles with a screw top before shiping.Ofcourse you lose a few ml but it’s better then massive leaking.
        The bottles cost next to nothing if you ask in an “apotheker” shop. Cost me 20 eurocents for a 30 ml bottle , they do have smaller and surely bigger sizes then that too I believe. June 26, 2013 at 2:03am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you very much, this is very good to know!

          Leaking bottles are a nightmare, especially when you have to ship hundreds of samples to clients as labs do. Your apothecary bottle idea is a nice one. Those are much safer than the spray decant bottles. June 26, 2013 at 3:10am Reply

    • Elizabeth T.: That’s a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing! June 24, 2013 at 12:14pm Reply

  • Portia: Hey Victoria,
    I use proudstyle.com for their little glass spray bottles, they are excellent and I have only had two leak so far. I think I overfilled them.
    Their 1ml & 2ml glass sample vials are good but the lids are poor, they only slide in perfectly once, then they are rubbish.
    Portia x June 24, 2013 at 10:08am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s good to know, Portia! Thank you for letting me know. The bad lids on those tiny vials can be a problem. June 24, 2013 at 11:54am Reply

  • Figuier: I need some of that parafilm! Also the bottle of Cuir de Russie 😉 June 24, 2013 at 10:35am Reply

    • Victoria: Parafilm is a fantastic thing to have on hand. And Cuir de Russie is too. 🙂 June 24, 2013 at 11:52am Reply

  • patuxxa: A little on the expensive side, but great if you want to decant in order to have a travel/purse spray of your favorite fragrance (i.e. that you are going to refill several times), are the “Travalo” refillable purse sprays. They allow you to decant from a spray bottle without risking the integrity of the sprayer attachment. June 24, 2013 at 12:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: Sephora also once carried wonderful silver bullet atomizers that never leaked and looked very good. Travalo seems like another interesting option. Thank you for adding it! June 24, 2013 at 12:38pm Reply

    • Bora: I can second the Travalo purse sprays which make enjoying my collection of Chanel Les Exculsifs much easier to handle than the whopping great 200ml bottles. However please avoid the “Flo” brand of travel atomisers…these do not have an air tight seal and after filling them I returned to them a couple of months later to find that the fragrances had evaporated! June 25, 2013 at 7:01am Reply

  • Lila: No, not a typical résumé worthy skill but one of my personal dream jobs would be to work one of those online decant sites. Having such easy access to all of those magnificent scents every day would be sublime! 🙂 June 24, 2013 at 12:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 It seems that those sites were all started by perfume lovers. When you have a large collection, it only makes to do something like this, especially if several people join resources. June 24, 2013 at 12:36pm Reply

  • Julia: I’m new to decanting so this post is invaluable. Thank you so much.

    One question, if any Canadian perfumistas have tips on suppliers here in Canada, I’d love to hear. (Of course I can always order from the US but since the shipping prices went up that’s not always the most economical option.) June 24, 2013 at 1:22pm Reply

  • Daisy: Super useful tutorial and information, Victoria!

    I heard about Parafilm from Undina and have since head all kinds of off-brand usage for them. I have a lot of friends who work in labs who were stunned I knew about it and then would wax rhapsodically about the product. Besides using it to seal samples, I have also heard of people wrapping up their fingers if they have small cuts and making sculpture. I actually just used it to seal up a container of leftovers I put in the freezer (it had a dodgy lid). June 24, 2013 at 1:52pm Reply

    • Victoria: I found another great way to use parafilm. If you’ve ever had kimchi in your fridge, you know exactly what I mean about its pervasive scent. This hot pickled cabbage is very tasty, addictive even, but after a week of having kimchi flavored everything, from brie to yogurt to iced tea, I’ve decided that short of getting a separate kimchi fridge, I need to find another solution. So, I’ve wrapped my kimchi container in parafilm and then put it in a ziplock bag. A ziplock bag alone did nothing, but a parafilm seal worked perfectly. 🙂

      Thank you for other interesting ideas too, Daisy. June 24, 2013 at 1:57pm Reply

      • Daisy: Brilliant! It’s so funny that you say that because I happen to have some kimchi-scented butter in the fridge that I was just thinking I was going to dedicate to using for kimchi fried rice!

        The minute I get home, I’m going to parafilm that sucker. Parafilm is a verb too, right? 😉 June 24, 2013 at 2:01pm Reply

        • Victoria: It is now! 🙂

          My Korean friend taught a mouthwatering recipe for kimchi sauteed in butter. It sounds like it would be a disaster, but it’s so delicious over rice. You only need a cucumber salad or something fresh like that, and it’s a full meal. June 24, 2013 at 5:44pm Reply

          • Lila: That sounds delicious. Just today I heard about a Korean chef in KY, Ed Lee, who infuses Korean and American Southern cuisine together. My two favorite types of food. Well besides Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern…..it’s all so good! June 24, 2013 at 6:18pm Reply

            • Victoria: Is that the guy from Top Chef? I can just imagine how interesting a fusion of Korean and American Southern cuisine must be. Plus, Koreans love grilling just as much as Americans do. One of our 4th of July mainstays is my friend’s recipe for Korean grilled ribs. Yum! June 25, 2013 at 2:38pm Reply

              • Lila: Yes, that is him. I didn’t get to see him on the show but he has a cookbook I’m going to have to get! June 25, 2013 at 3:17pm Reply

                • Victoria: I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m going to google it in a moment. June 25, 2013 at 5:20pm Reply

          • Daisy: That sounds awesome! Kimchi and butter is such a good combo, so it butter and soy (that’s how I sometimes do steak). Also, have you had butter ramen? That is delicious too.

            Oh heck. Anything with butter is delicious 🙂 June 25, 2013 at 4:57pm Reply

            • Victoria: So true! There is a Russian saying, “You can’t ruin porridge with butter.” In other words, yes, gilding the lily is a good thing, which is very much the Russian philosophy on many other things. 🙂 June 25, 2013 at 5:23pm Reply

              • Daisy: That is a wonderful saying! I am going to remember that. June 25, 2013 at 5:46pm Reply

  • Merete: Thank you for your wellwritten piece on this. I always enjoy your writing on this blog, that I have followed for just over a year (since I got seriously absorbed in the heavenly world of perfumes). I have used and been satisfied with the 1,5 and 2,5ml spray bottles from Surrender to Chance. I live in EU, and they ship those small sizes over here. For larger decant bottles (10,15,20) I have used Proudstyle. They deliver worldwide, and their prices include international air mail delivery. The quality of the various types of their glass bottles I have tried is excellent.
    I like your idea of parafilm and will look into that 🙂 June 24, 2013 at 2:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 I also like to buy samples from Luckyscent, which offers a good shipping option to Europe (and then there is First-in-Fragrance with its terrific sampling program). Thank you for another vote of confidence in favor Proudstyle! It’s so good to know that they ship internationally, and from what I understand, the shipping fees are reasonable. June 24, 2013 at 5:50pm Reply

      • Merete: Yes, I like those sampling programmes you mention, and can add The Perfumed Court, which also ships to Europe. To clarify my earlier comment, I recommended the small decanting spray vials from STC, it doesn’t work out too expensively if one orders for instance 20 of those when ordering some samples anyway. And the quality of the vials is excellent, I think. June 25, 2013 at 12:42am Reply

        • Victoria: Gotcha! I noticed that they had a nice little assortment, which might be great for those who would like to make only a few decants for their own use. June 25, 2013 at 2:31pm Reply

  • Vanessa: I have done a lot of swaps in my time, but I am always learning, and I think I need to investigate this wonder stuff that is parafilm, for a proper professional seal! Just using electrical tape can be tricky as it doesn’t seem to want to go round the neck of a bottle straight and develops kinks as you try to wrap it.

    Thanks for the mention btw – if I was in the US I probably would look no further than Accessories for Fragrance – oh yes, and I agree that Pilotvials is another good one. The shipping to the UK is a substantial add on though, which is why I have started combing Ebay (with patchy success) for other sources of the larger vials. However, those two companies have a vast – and styish assortment – of both glass and plastic options in every size! June 24, 2013 at 3:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: I swear I don’t own a stock in the company producing parafilm, but given how much I use it, I wish I did.

      Your vial inventory was very helpful, so thank you again for sharing and for guiding me. I appreciate it! June 24, 2013 at 5:53pm Reply

  • Nina Z: I just want to encourage anyone who is hesitating to do this to go ahead and do it! I had a lot of resistance myself to the idea of decanting, but once I broke down and started doing it, decanting turned out not to be such a big deal. And swapping, splitting, and just plain sharing your perfume is so much fun. That’s the best way to have a large perfume wardrobe without over spending and it’s also a lovely way to make new friends, some of whom you may end up meeting in person. June 24, 2013 at 3:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: I nodded my head as I read your comment. I can’t agree more! It’s such a generous and warm community, so it makes sharing even more wonderful. June 24, 2013 at 5:56pm Reply

  • Dubaiscents: I just wanted to add that you can find a lot of decanting supplies on Amazon. And they have a version of parafilm used for grafting plants which is much cheaper than the medical grade stuff and comes in handy rolls. It works just as well too! SKS bottles are very nice as well but, only for the US people I think. June 24, 2013 at 3:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, that’s a good reminder! Amazon is a terrific source, and the regional Amazon branches often have free shipping on certain items. Worth checking out. June 24, 2013 at 5:58pm Reply

  • Tora: Oh I wish I had known about para film before my trip to Maine. I made 10 decants, which all were just fine until I stupidly wrapped them in electrical tape and ruined all of the bottles. They are functional, but sticky and ugly and more sticky! WAH!! Not even nail polish removed the mess, in fact, it made it worse. I am so glad that I know better now!! June 24, 2013 at 6:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: You can try some GooGone on it, but it’s such a hassle to use, and if it gets on your hands, it can be a really bad irritant. The beauty of parafilm is zero stickiness. Even if it gets overheated–say, you’ve left your bottle near a hot radiator–and melts, it can be removed easily. June 25, 2013 at 2:36pm Reply

      • Daisy: I have found that rubbing alcohol and a little bit of elbow grease can get the residue off as well. June 25, 2013 at 4:58pm Reply

        • Victoria: The next time I receive a package wrapped in electrical tape, I will try that. June 25, 2013 at 5:24pm Reply

  • kaori: Thank you for very useful tips. I will add the tape to my must buy lists.

    Kaori June 24, 2013 at 11:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: I will check where you can get in Japan. I once helped someone buy it there, so I’ll see if that website is still around. June 25, 2013 at 2:33pm Reply

  • Undina: Thank you for the link, Victoria!

    I want to second the recommendation of SKS-Bottles (http://www.sks-bottle.com/340c/fin11e.html).

    Also I wanted to mention that I use latex gloves when I decant perfumes. That saves manicure. June 25, 2013 at 12:43am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for this great tip! That would definitely save your manicure. On the other hand, I sometimes like the weird mixture that lingers on my hands whenever I decant a bunch of different perfumes. Occasionally, it’s even pleasant. June 25, 2013 at 2:31pm Reply

  • casey23: I am a chemist and seeing you work your way around decanting, plastic pipettes and parafilms made me reminiscence! Oh how I missed my chem labs!!! Now I have an office job which is sooooo boring compared to this.

    This post is a godsent! If I can find a good decanting bottle I will definitely use this for my stash. I hate to travel with big perfume bottles (I’m looking at you Euphoria!). June 25, 2013 at 2:17am Reply

    • Victoria: I love working in a lab–all of the interesting supplies, materials and gadgets. A perfume lab is not dramatically different from a pharmaceutical lab, except that there are different guidelines and most of the materials smell nice (or at least, are safe to inhale). 🙂

      Traveling with large bottles is a hassle, and even more so these days when you can’t take any liquids in your hand luggage except for whatever will fit into a small ziplock bag. June 25, 2013 at 2:28pm Reply

  • Jillie: Absolutely brilliant, Victoria. A true masterclass in making samples, and I have learnt such a lot, so thank you. Now when my sister in Australia gets all the little vials I make up for her, there is a chance that they won’t leak, and that she will be able to read the labels and know which one is which! June 25, 2013 at 3:27am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m so happy that you found it useful. I personally love photos with various tutorials. 🙂 June 25, 2013 at 2:25pm Reply

  • Mer: Teflon tape also works very well sealing decants, dirty cheap, and no residue! 🙂

    I ordered a few sprays from Proudstyle.com with a friend, all of mine were ok, but one of my friend’s was faulty. For the price, not too bad I guess. Good to know the sample vials aren’t too good, though. June 25, 2013 at 3:47am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s very good to know, Mer. Thanks a lot. I also liked the pricing at Proudstyle, so I’ll definitely add them to my list. June 25, 2013 at 2:21pm Reply

  • Jill: This is just what I needed, thank you! I want to host a perfume party for friends and was puzzled as to how best remove the fragrance with minimal loss or damage. Thanks! June 25, 2013 at 2:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’re most welcome! Once you start decanting, you begin to rank your perfume bottles based on the quality of their spraying attachments. 🙂 For instance, Chanel bottles are a joy to share with others–the sprayer is easy to press and it release perfume without squirting it all over the place. The new Caron packaging, on the other hand, is less well-made and keeps getting stuck. June 25, 2013 at 3:11pm Reply

  • leathermountain: A slightly more environmentally friendly approach to pipetting:

    1. Once in your life, get a 1mL pipet pump — this provides the suction like the rubber-bulb top of a traditional dropper — e.g. for $36 — http://www.carolina.com/biotechnology-pipets/fixed-volume-1000-ul-5-ul-minipipet/214506.pr?question=

    2. Get a whole bunch of disposable pipet tips — these hold the liquid you’re sucking up, like the glass tube part of a traditional dropper — e.g. $14 for a bag of 500, ought to last a while — http://www.amazon.com/Bulk-Blue-Pipette-Tips-1ml/dp/B002XNS2IO June 25, 2013 at 4:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: Great ideas here! Thank you very much for sharing. June 25, 2013 at 5:21pm Reply

    • Undina: Wow… What a great idea! Thank you for sharing! June 25, 2013 at 10:24pm Reply

      • leathermountain: You are both so very welcome. It is a bit of a thrill when some arcane bit of knowledge can be made useful to people who are doing interesting things!

        I should have mentioned: make sure to get the right size tips to match your pump. The examples I gave would work: 1 mL tips for 1 mL pump. July 2, 2013 at 8:57am Reply

        • Victoria: That’s why I’ve asked, since I hoped that we might gather little gems like this. 🙂 July 2, 2013 at 11:00am Reply

  • Fernando: I like those Lutens bottles too! Is there any way to reuse them? I have an empty bottle of Ambre Sultan, and it’s tempting to try to clean it up and use it for one of the fragrances I have in splash bottles. June 25, 2013 at 6:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: You can try cleaning it with alcohol and see if it works to remove any residual odors. I just fill my empty ones with colored alcohol (alcohol + food color) and use them for display. June 26, 2013 at 3:03am Reply

  • Monica H.: Love this post =) Glad someone took pictures of the process! June 26, 2013 at 12:30am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, my husband is now very proud of his work (he took all photos, except for the first one). June 26, 2013 at 3:07am Reply

  • stina: It’s not just nail polish that you have to worry about with perfumes… I dropped a half-full glass decant on a polished hardwood floor not that long ago, and the alcohol stripped off the polish and left a funny star-shaped splotch on the hardwood.

    Time to go throw-rug shopping, I guess.

    Thanks for this post, Victoria! I’m relatively new to perfume and I’m just starting to think about decants and splits; and I also want to make sure that my few precious (and proudly chosen) FBs don’t evaporate into thin air! It’s great to have tips and info from the pros.

    Off to order some parafilm pronto… June 26, 2013 at 11:26am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh no! What a disaster! It’s up there with me breaking a big bottle of vintage Guerlain Sous le Vent. Besides the fact that I lost this precious perfume, I had to pay the apartment owner to clean the carpet. June 27, 2013 at 10:57am Reply

  • L.: I know of parafilm but I never thought of it for sealing perfume bottles. Duh. If I decant from a stoppered full bottle, I could use parafilm to seal not the decant but the full bottle to keep it fresh while I use up the decant! I’m always afraid that my full bottles will slowly be leaching perfume vapor while they languish in the darkness of my closet. What a plan! June 27, 2013 at 2:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: L, that’s exactly what I do. I seal all of my stoppered bottles, even if I use them once a week. Parafilm is easy to remove, so it’s not much of a hassle at all. June 27, 2013 at 4:56pm Reply

  • leathermountain: What about spray bottles? Do you think they leak? I’m starting to think so, based on the smell of my closet. July 2, 2013 at 8:59am Reply

    • Victoria: Some definitely do, but another thing is that some perfume leaks when you spray it and what you smell are the remnants on the nozzle. At least, that’s my theory. I still prefer to parafilm my most precious spray bottles. July 2, 2013 at 11:01am Reply

      • leathermountain: Good point. Sometimes they even dribble down the side of the spray mechanism. I have a secondary perfume application there, swiping that little bit somewhere on my body or even clothes.

        Are there brands whose nozzles never leak? Now that would be a quality bottle! July 4, 2013 at 9:56am Reply

        • Victoria: Hmm, I need to think about it. Chanel’s spraying mechanism is my favorite so far. It releases just the right amount of perfume and seems to be less leaky than others. July 7, 2013 at 3:51pm Reply

  • kimmie: Hello, I LOVE your blog! So happy to have discovered it. Can you tell me what bottle you are using for your decant in these pretty photos? I’m looking to order a bunch of them soon and I really like the look of the ones you are using here. Thanks! July 29, 2013 at 9:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Kimmie! Those bottles with the golden tops are from a professional supplier, and I don’t think that they are available for sale otherwise. But I don’t recommend these particular ones, because they tend to leak. July 30, 2013 at 8:06am Reply

  • Cleopatra’s Boudoir: Thank you so much for the mention of parafilm!!! I am definitely going to invest in some of this. I have been selling old perfume bottles for so many years, looking for better ways to seal splash flacons for shipment. I have never had a bottle leak yet, but there is always the risk. I had used melted paraffin wax on old bottles, used clear packing tape on others, but this parafilm idea is going to be the winner. Thanks again, Grace September 8, 2013 at 4:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: Glad that you found it helpful, Grace! The parafilm is such a handy thing to have around. 🙂 September 9, 2013 at 8:12am Reply

  • Gentiana: Great, useful info and tutorial!
    Thank you! May 8, 2014 at 10:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Glad that you liked it! 🙂 May 8, 2014 at 4:06pm Reply

  • Brenda Reyes: I thought it might be useful to mention that Glad press-n-seal is great to use in place of parafilm, I find it works well and is inexpensive. May 19, 2014 at 10:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for this tip, Brenda. May 20, 2014 at 9:49am Reply

  • Adrian: Thank you for sharing all your knowledge with us. I have a vintage Guerlain Mitsouko bottle with box from my grandmother and I want to sell it on ebay. This is old stuff but smell great. If sold i’m afraid someone will return it claiming that it is not Mitsouko perhaps they could change the content and claim that it not the original fragrance. There are some scams like this going on eBay and other sites. How can I get an expert opinion on this fragrance before I put it for sale? Thanks, Adrian September 5, 2014 at 2:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m not sure what to recommend, Adrian, because I’m not an Ebay expert, and I have never sold vintage perfumes. Perhaps, someone might have suggestions over at Basenotes forums? September 5, 2014 at 5:50pm Reply

  • Maria Acosta: I’ve been looking for a while for a type of card paper that they use in the department store for when you want a sample of a parfume, they spray this card so you take it with you. I wanted to set up a table where I can have tester bottle set up for people to sample perfumes and colognes but then there’s the people that don’t want to spray themselves. I know there’s a certain type of paper and if there is, I wanted to make one side of it like a business card so that if they forget about it and come across it again, my name and number will be on it so they can call me if they want to buy some of the perfume. Do you know what kind of paper they use in those place where they spray it? October 13, 2014 at 9:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: Maria, google “Perfume Testing Strips” and you will find many options online. Some services even offer customization. October 14, 2014 at 9:15am Reply

  • Mike: wow, I just read that your husband took the pictures. Great pictures! Really nice!!! December 17, 2015 at 6:31am Reply

    • Victoria: The ones with my hands are taken by him. I took the rest. Thank you. December 17, 2015 at 7:38am Reply

  • Tammy Nixon: Dear Sir or Madam,

    I am seeking to find a perfume that smells as similar as possible to the scent moonlight path by bath and body works? Please any assistance or recommendations welcomed.
    Regards,
    Tammy Nixon

    Tammy Nixon May 4, 2016 at 5:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: It was a take on Chanel No 5, so I’d try that or Estee Lauder White Linen. May 5, 2016 at 2:19pm Reply

  • Tammy Nixon: Thanks Victoria I will look into these fragrances.

    Tammy Nixon May 5, 2016 at 2:25pm Reply

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