Is coffee really the best?
There are two main schools of thought when it comes to "resetting one's nose" while sampling perfumes. Just like taste buds, your nose can become de-sensitized after sniffing different blends in a process similar to anosmia, or nose blindness. After too long, scent receptors lose their sensitivity to aroma compounds. Many high end perfume retailers keep bowls of coffee beans on their counters for customers to sniff in between sampling different blends. Coffee beans are also used by wine tasters along with bread and water for these same purposes.
The other common method for keeping one's scent palate clear is to sniff the crook of the arm. While this might sound a bit odd (no stranger than coffee beans, really), it is actually an effective method for resetting your palate for perfume sampling. This is the method we recommend most here at the Haus. The key factor is that perfumes interact differently with each person's skin chemistry. Using the natural skin fragrance as a baseline makes a clearer distinction of how a perfume wears on the skin in contrast to how it smells on the bottle.
You can just bury your nose in the crook of you arm and sniff a few times to get the proper effect. Some folks even insist on going the extra step and sniffing their armpits to get the maximum effect!
You can help keep your nose fresh during intense perfume testing sessions by stepping outside and breathing some fresh air as well as sipping water (smell and taste are closely linked and have quite an effect on each other). Use these tips and you can get the most from your scent sampling!