When I started this blog I decided on a very basic review methodology:
Notes & Ingredients
Where possible I use the descriptions of the notes and elements which make up the fragrance from the brand's website or literature. These vary in detail, from the abstract to the very specific. I figured that this is the 'official' list however, rather than a fragrance buff's idea of what they smell. I have a good nose for elements I recognise, but I could not specifically identify an ingredient (say helichrysum, or immortelle) without having had the opportunity to smell it in isolation, and even then memory is an unreliable source.
If there is no official list of elements that I can trace to the source, I use a reliable fragrance community website such as Fragrantica or Basenotes, or generally a comparison of both.
I record my impressions of the fragrance at 3 time intervals; 5 minutes, 30 minutes and 2 hours. These are fairly arbitrary, and by no means indicate the longevity of the fragrance is only 2 hours long (although sadly this has been the case). They are designed to catch the first blast of the fragrance rich in the head, heart and base notes, which is when many of us decide if we like a fragrance or not. Then my impressions after the head notes have settled down (or often having just about exited completely). And finally my impressions once the fragrance is well into the drydown phase, which is where most people smelling a fragrance on your skin are likely to encounter it.
This is my summary of my impressions, and of course is a completely arbitrary opinion that is heavily influenced by my own likes and dislikes.
Disclaimer Regarding Samples for Review
The vast majority of fragrances I review are ones I have purchased and are part of my own collection. A few others are samples which I have either purchased, or received free as a "gift with purchase" during the course of a normal purchase. I am happy to review fragrance samples from retailers or manufacturers, on the understanding that my review will be my impartial opinion and not the result of any promotional consideration.