Recommend Me a Perfume : May

This week, we have our “Recommend Me a Perfume” thread. You can use this space to ask any questions about perfume, including fragrance recommendations. If you’ve used this column for a recommendation before, we would love to hear how your search went and what you’ve discovered. Bois de Jasmin will be back to its regular schedule on June 1st. Hope that my US readers are enjoying their Memorial Day break.


How does it work: 1. Please post your requests or questions as comments here. You can also use this space to ask any fragrance related questions. To receive recommendations that are better tailored to your tastes, you can include details on what you like and don’t like, your signature perfumes, and your budget. And please let us know what you end up sampling. 2. Then please check the thread to see if there are other requests you can answer. Your responses are really valuable for navigating the big and sometimes confusing world of perfume, so let’s help each other!

To make this thread easier to read, when you reply to someone, please click on the blue “reply” link under their comment.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, lilacs

Makeup Bag Staple Kate Eyeliner

Metro rides in cities around the world are a fascinating anthropological experience. In New York, you quicky learn how not to invade people’s personal space, even when the subway car is stuffed like a can of sardines. In Paris you observe the artful way men cross their legs and tie their. In Kyiv, you can learn your neighbor’s whole life story before you reach your stop. In Tokyo, on the other hand, you pick up makeup tips. If you ride during the famous Tokyo rush hour, when you’re pressed against your neighbor in a manner more intimate than one might countenance otherwise, it becomes especially easy. Of course, do your observations without staring at people, which would be seen as inexcusably rude. (Also, don’t wear too much perfume either, another cultural taboo.)


One aspect of Japanese makeup I’ve always loved is the perfect cat’s eye look. The eyeliner might be sharply drawn against the naturally colored lid or smudged with different colors for an elegant smoky effect. I’ve admired this look on so many women in the streets of Tokyo that I became determined to master the art of elegant calligraphy on my eyelids.

The quest turned out to be easier than I realized, and it involved a drugstore eyeliner from a brand called Kate. It’s sold widely in Asian makeup emporiums and 24 hour shops (the rest of us will need Ebay). One pen costs $5 to $15, depending on where you buy it, but even at the higher end of the price, Kate is worth every penny.

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Bulgari Omnia Amethyste Perfume Giveaway

Today we chat about hobbies other than perfume and enter into another generous giveaway. Our reader Rainboweyes would like to find a home for a bottle of Bvlgari Omnia Amethyste. It just didn’t work on her, but the bottle is barely used and could make someone else happy. She will also include 30 different perfume samples.


The contest is open to our readers in Europe, but it goes without saying that we are not responsible for leaks or damage during transit, customs fees or lost packages. 

To participate, please let me know if I can share your email address with Rainboweyes. Also, please reply to her query. “I would like to know what’s everybody’s passion beside perfume. Mine is definitely reading – mostly ‘old fashioned’ printed books. I love going to bookstores and picking books for myself and for my two boys who share my passion too. My husband often frowns upon my suitcase full of books when we go on holiday but to me an e-book just doesn’t feel like ‘the real thing;. I also love long books (like The Goldfinch, for example), finishing a good book really makes me sad. What do you enjoy?”

You can chat without participating in the giveaway, but just mention so.

The contest is open till Thursday now closed (I  will keep the comment thread open for those who are chatting). I will announce the winner in this spot.  The winner is Michaela. 

I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has generously contributed to these giveaways. If anyone else wants to participate, if you have unwanted perfumes that need a new home, please contact me.

Savory Gourmands

Does the gourmand perfume family have to include only dessert-like confections? In my new article for the Financial Times Magazine’s fragrance column, The Most Delicious Savoury Perfumes, I explain how salty and other savory notes can be used for a surprising effect and discuss a few of my favorite examples.


Most savoury gourmands aim for a subtle illusion – the tangy darkness of olives, the green sharpness of coriander leaves or the musky warmth of basmati rice. Fittingly, the biggest savoury gourmand launch came in 2010 with Womanity (from £38.50 for 30ml, second picture), another Thierry Mugler creation. The composition is built around caviar and fig, the briny nuance pushing against a backdrop of roasted hazelnuts, musk and woods. Like Angel, it provoked polarising reactions, though not the same level of infatuation. Please read the rest by clicking here.

The savory scent I would most love to smell in perfume is that of a baguette. A properly baked baguette, that is–wheaty, with caramelized, hazelnut like notes and creamy aftertaste. I love the hints of wheat in Olivia Giacobetti‘s fragrances like Frédéric Malle En Passant, L’Artisan Parfumeur Jour de Fête, and Le Petit de Guerlain, but the effect is still too subtle for what I have in mind.

Another idea I’d love explored in perfumes is bitter chocolate with crunchy salt crystals, one of my favorite treats.

Do you have favorite savory gourmands or favorite salty notes you would like to smell in perfume?

Photo via FT

Does It Spark Joy?

Creative chaos, orderly arrangements, or everything in between, we embrace all forms of building our perfume wardrobes. Today, Lauren offers her thoughts on perfume collecting and the power of scent.

If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo by now, you haven’t been reading much on the internet.  Marie is a best-selling author from Japan, an organizational expert and consultant who helps clients tidy up their homes.  She advocates de-cluttering to an extreme, advising readers and clients alike to get rid of any object that does not “spark joy.”  No over-thinking, re-sorting, or feeling guilty.  Either an object sparks joy for you or it does not; and if it does not, it doesn’t deserve a place in your home.


As a neat freak, I devoured the book and relished applying her process to my entire collection of earthly belongings.

Except my perfume collection.

It sits on a rickety platform stand in my bedroom, 3 small shelves completely covered bottles, boxes, and vials with which I have never considered parting.  It’s unstable and easy to knock, several bottles often falling in subsequent domino-style if I don’t replace a piece perfectly, or if a puppy lollops by a table leg with a bit too much enthusiasm.  My modest collection houses antique finds from my grandmother’s house (modern-day regulatory nightmares); Chanel print marketing from the 80s; a bottle of Anais Anais from 1993; mass and niche bottles I’ve purchased for myself in the last 20 years.  As a fragrance evaluator and self-proclaimed perfume-o-phile, how could this collection not spark joy?

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Natalia in Recommend Me a Perfume : May: Collection Extraordinaire California Reverie by Van Cleef & Arpels is kind of close to Terracotta. Another beautiful one is Datura Noir by Serge Lutans. I think you might also like… May 28, 2015 at 4:46pm

  • Natalia in Recommend Me a Perfume : May: Could you please recommend a beautiful peony? I am familiar wth some fragrances that carry that note, but all of them underline freshness of the flower and feel transparent though… May 28, 2015 at 4:32pm

  • Ashley A in Makeup Bag Staple Kate Eyeliner: Thank-you! I will let you know how it goes. I’m going to give the Bioderma Solution a shot and see if I can find the Kate. May 28, 2015 at 4:16pm

  • Annikky in Recommend Me a Perfume : May: Olfactive Studio Lumiere Blanche is a summer oriental in my book. It is also absolutely lovely, no matter the categorization. May 28, 2015 at 3:40pm

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