BBC Perfume Series
My Favorite Chicago Perfume Stops
By far the greatest niche selection in the city. No sample program to speak of, but you can luck out. Carrie Serge, Frederic Malle, Le Labo, L’Artisan, among others. Malle has a trained nose. Staff is serviceable.
Best sample program in the city. Mainstream but extensive. Tom Ford, Hermes (no exsclusive line), Piguet, Mugler. Staff not knowledgeable. And they can be a little hovery but worth it for the selection and samples. Several store exsclusives and events.
Merz Apothecary/Q Brothers
Prides itself on an eclectic collection. No sample program, but carries limited Amouage, Penhaligons, Acqua di Colonia, Diptyque, CB I Hate Perfume, Histoire, among many others. Knowledgeable staff. Lots of small size bottles for reasonable prices. I recently purchased the Penhaligon’s Scent Library.
Solid sample program. Mainstream only. Staff not knowleadgable. But lots of rollerballs and decent men’s selection. Plus great options for buying with extensive sizing. Staff may not know much about perfume but they generally leave you alone.
Carries the exsclusif line. Sample program hit or miss. Friendly staff.
Sample program hit or miss, but carries Annick Goutal, Aerin, and a few other maintream but hard to find lines, among the more common selections. Staff is not particularly knowledgeable but very nice.
Saks Fifth Avenue
Staff knows their particular brand well. Sample program hit or miss but you can really hit if you’re savvy. Carries By Kilian, extensive Guerlain, Bond no 9 (I believe the only place in the city?), Dior exsclusifs, Armani Prive
Staff not particularly helpful but carries hard to come by Donna Karans
Generous samples and one of my favorite exsclusive lines. Surprisingly friendly.