Some people collect fragrances the way others collect art, and in L.A. those people go to Scent Bar. If you still think of department store cosmetic counters when you think of perfume, a visit to this shop is your wake-up call. The small boutique is lined with shelves of niche and hard-to-find fragrances, such as those from New York's CB I Hate Perfume or new Belgian brand L'Antichambre. Tester bottles are grouped near handwritten signs that indicate the dominant scent note, such as “smoke,” “tea” or “cream.” You can sniff and explore on your own, discovering stories in fragrances such as Paper Passion: Perfume for Booklovers, Gypsy Water and What I Did on My Holidays. But with friendly customer service and generous free samples, Scent Bar is beginner-friendly, too. The staff can help you learn that whiskey and peaches mix well with your skin — and that you like perfume after all. —Sara Rashkin

7405 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax District, 90036. (323) 782-8300,

LA Weekly