Top 20 Bois de Jasmin Reader Favorite Fragrances : Popular Perfumes

Perfume

The average US consumer prefers fragrances like Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Christian Dior J’Adore and Bleu de Chanel. Exploring lists of top sellers is no doubt very interesting as it reveals a lot about trends and preferences, all of which influence what you and I will find on the fragrance counter next season. Yet, I find the likes and dislikes of blog readers to be much more fascinating. For one thing, you are a group with a strong interest in fragrance, which has nothing to do with how many bottles of perfume one owns or whether one can recite the names of the legendary perfumes off the top of their head. If you are reading perfume blogs, then you probably already have a passion for fragrance. You assess a new perfume differently and you are likely to pay more attention to the scent itself rather than the bottle and other marketing trappings.

Therefore, when I recently asked for your top five favorite fragrances, I realized that it would be interesting to determine which out of the 1000+ fragrances mentioned make it into the blog reader’s top 20 list. The results are analyzed below. I also include the top 15 favorite houses and a selection of favorite fragrances from certain notable perfume houses. There were over 200 respondents, most of which were women. Enjoy!

For reference: Feminine Top Sellers USA and Feminine Top Sellers France.

Top 20 Reader Favorites

1. Guerlain Mitsouko (1919)
Even when I got the first half of the responses to my poll, I knew that one of the Guerlain classics would make it into the top 5. Mitsouko got into the top position by a 20% margin, a testament to its legendary status. An autumnal chypre, with a delicious peach top note.

2. Guerlain Shalimar (1924)
Shalimar’s popularity endures even the onslaught of the fruity compotes and cotton candy perfumes (it has been occupying the top 10 best seller list in France for decades.) Therefore, it is not surprising that it has a cult following among blog readers given their strong preference for niche and classics. A gold standard oriental.

3. Guerlain Après l’Ondée (1906)
Après l’Ondée possesses an exquisite form and a striking character. In contrast to some classical Guerlains, it feels more modern and streamlined to me, a baroque composition in pastel shades.

4. Guerlain L’Heure Bleue (1912)
A darker, moodier sister to Après l’Ondée, L’Heure Bleue is another classical legend. Not at all surprising to find that it finds lots of love among blog readers.

5. Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower (2005)
Carnal Flower is an example of a fragrance that enthralls not because it is challenging and complicated, but because it is simply stunning. Excellent raw materials, bold arrangement and a strong character. More of that in mainstream perfumery, please!

6. Chanel No 5 (1921) (USA 2010 # 4) ; France 2010 # 1)
Who would be surprised that the iconic No 5 makes the list of favorites?

7. Chanel Bois des Iles (1926)
Ernest Beaux, the creator of Bois des Iles named it his favorite fragrance. Edmond Roudnitska, the author of Christian Dior Diorissimo and Rochas Femme, named it one of the most original fragrances, surpassing the beauty of No 5. Stunning!

8. Christian Dior Diorissimo (1956)
It is hard to find another classical floral that can compete with the timeless beauty of Diorissimo and its remarkable harmony.

9. Serge Lutens Tubéreuse Criminelle (1998)
It is obvious that we, perfumistas, like to be challenged. Few fragrances achieve it as easily as Tubéreuse Criminelle, a plush floral that hides its creamy heart under a harsh, diesel fuel and wintergreen accord.

10. Chanel Coromandel (2007)
Patchouli and elegance is not the most readily obvious pairing, yet Chanel succeeds admirably in crafting a fragrance that weaves a sophisticated tapestry out of patchouli. Dark wood and chocolate accents give it a lush, vintage twist.

11. Jean Patou Joy (1930)
Another absolutely stellar composition in terms of the quality of its ingredients. Most respondents specified the parfum as their preferred concentration of Joy. The EdP with its rose and the EdT with its jasmine accents are beautiful, but the parfum is truly exquisite.

12. Andy Tauer L’air du Désert Marocain (2005)
A perfumer friend once derisively said to me, “all you bloggers like is incense and balsam!” “Yes, we do,” I replied. “If you keep feeding us fruit compotes, do not be surprised that sooner or later we start demanding praline and ganache.” If you like praline and ganache, then L’air du Desert Marocain will delight.

13. Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur (2000)
A modern interpretation of Guerlain Shalimar, Musc Ravageur places all of its emphasis on the animalic notes. It finds lots of love on blogs, amongst both the bloggers and their readers.

14. Chanel No 19 (1971)
I love seeing No 19, an austere green floral chypre, being mentioned frequently as a favorite on blogs, mostly because it is not a particularly easy genre of fragrance to love. Clearly, a well-made chypre can still have a following.

15. Chanel 31, rue Cambon (2007)
While mainstream perfumery treats the chypre genre of fragrances (a composition style that relies on strong citrus, moss, patchouli and amber accents) as another receptacle for gourmand notes, niche perfumery continues the classical tradition of retaining a dry, champagne like effervescence. A great modern example in that vein.

16. Serge Lutens Chergui (2001)
Serge Lutens is the darling of niche fragrance lovers. Chergui is one of his darkest, richest compositions, therefore it is not surprising that we love it so.

17. Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman (2002)
By far the most popular Ormonde Jayne fragrance in Bois de Jasmin’s poll. A full-bodied oriental that wears a dark rose corsage.

18. Robert Piguet Fracas (1948)
Dazzling, challenging, decadent, Fracas has always been a controversial fragrance. Therefore, among the perfumistas who love something different and unusual, it should be popular. Fracas is a high-quality, unique fragrance that has long been recognized as an iconic fragrance with a cult appeal.

19. Chanel Cuir de Russie (1924)
Leather is always a popular note in niche perfumery, and when paired with iris, as in the case of Cuir de Russie, it becomes buttery and soft. A classic!

20. Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist (1994)
Iris gold standard!

Top 15 Favorite Houses

Guerlain
Frédéric Malle
Chanel
Christian Dior
Serge Lutens
Jean Patou
Andy Tauer
Ormonde Jayne
Robert Piguet
Parfums de Nicolaï
Amouage
Donna Karan
L’Artisan Parfumeur
Annick Goutal
Balmain

Favorites from Notable Perfume Houses

Amouage tie between Jubilation 25 and Lyric Woman
Annick Goutal Heure Exquise
Balmain Vent Vert
Bulgari Black
Diptyque L’ Ombre Dans L’Eau
Donna Karan Black Cashmere
Estée Lauder Private Collection
L’Artisan Dzing!
Miller Harris L’Air de Rien
Parfums de Nicolaï Le Temps d’une Fête

Source: Bois de Jasmin top 5 favorite perfume poll via blog, facebook, twitter and email.

Image credit: antique perfume bottles by ian via flickr.

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64 Comments

  • Zazie: Thank you so much for this poll: a great idea and interesting outcome.
    I was really looking forward to the results!
    And they do say a lot, don’t they?, about what is loved by those who love…perfume.
    Someone at LMVH should read that striking poker of classic Guerlains right there on top, and stop messing up with them. One of those Mitsouko votes was mine, and it was for my vintage bottle. Same for my Shalimar vote…
    I love most of the fragrances that made it to the top 20 – and am now very curious about Joy in parfum: is it more jasmine-y and animalic than the edt? Or more lush and rosy? May 4, 2011 at 8:10am Reply

  • bloody frida: Wonderful! Will wear Mitsouko today in honor of this poll! May 4, 2011 at 8:24am Reply

  • RMF325: Very interesting indeed! Guerlain and Chanel were certainly well represented; they are my two favorite perfume houses. Several of my absolute favorites made the list.

    Thanks for the poll; I think everyone was probably curious about this. May 4, 2011 at 8:41am Reply

  • vanessa: Fascinating stuff – appeals hugely to the market researcher in me! Glad to see L’Air du Desert sneaking in there at No 12. : – ) May 4, 2011 at 8:50am Reply

  • Victoria: Joy parfum is velvety and soft, with the floral notes being richer and more opulent. The other concentrations by contrast are sharper, greener, muskier. I do not care for the Edp, but I love the green jasmine veil of the Edt.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile May 4, 2011 at 8:54am Reply

  • Victoria: I will wait it too once I finish work! 🙂
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile May 4, 2011 at 8:54am Reply

  • Victoria: It is very interesting to see this particular mix of classics and niche. I was not surprised by Carnal Flower's popularity, but I didn't expect to see Coromandel.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile May 4, 2011 at 8:56am Reply

  • Victoria: Andy's fragrances are the blogging project outcome (not just his, but also via Luca Turin and others,) so I was not surprised to see it. It is nice that he gets the recognition for his work!
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile May 4, 2011 at 8:58am Reply

  • Olfactoria: Fascinating list, thank you for compiling it. May 4, 2011 at 10:00am Reply

  • dee: Love it! What a great list—I find it interesting that us commenters have such similar taste.

    I think what would be REALLY interesting would be to do a “top five” by the top five (or ten) perfume bloggers! WIth you and Marina and Robin and the rest—I wonder how closely it would resemble this list?
    🙂

    Thanks for putting in the time to give us this fun gift! May 4, 2011 at 10:37am Reply

  • violetnoir: Woman, this looks like a list you would compose! Your readers have elegant, timeless taste.

    Hugs! May 4, 2011 at 10:37am Reply

  • Suzanna: What this list says to me is that your blog appeals to readers with possibly a more academic interest in fragrance and in fragrance history than readers of other types of blogs. I’m presuming that you pick up some new fans via googling, so the Very Sexy Now consumer is apt to miss you. The list comprises the favorites of discerning company! That is what makes the discussions and comments on here so compelling.

    Although I am a white-floral lover first and foremost, I have 19 of the 20 fragrances listed. Any such list is always too short for my collection and tastes. May 4, 2011 at 10:42am Reply

  • carmencanada: It’s interesting to find the classics so overwhelmingly represented, and with one notable exception, the two classic niche houses (to me Malle is neo-classic but aiming at that league). The exception being of course Andy Tauer, who is as you point out a pure product of the online community.
    I’ve also had perfumer friends or acquaintances have a chuckle over the “incense and balsams” bent of our particular group of people. To which we could add smoky notes in all forms. There are codes in niche too. May 4, 2011 at 11:07am Reply

  • karin: What was interesting to me, too, in reading the top five fragrances of so many posters – though there are some similarities (as noted in your top 20), there were some real unique scents that showed up. Yes, we like the classics, yet we also have diverse tastes, loving scents that aren’t necessarily known or loved by all. May 4, 2011 at 11:33am Reply

  • sunsetsong: A great guide for my nose. I own only 5 of the top 20, so will have some fun with this. A bit surprised that none of the Pradas made it into the top as Infusion D’Iris is a go to for many people. May 4, 2011 at 12:04pm Reply

  • Hannah: My favorite in this list is Chanel Coromandel. May 4, 2011 at 12:32pm Reply

  • Lavanya: What a coincidence- I am wearing Mitsouko (EDT) today! Now, I am really curious about the vintage version and will probably order a sample from TPC..which formulation/concentration do you prefer? I also have some Ormonde Jayne samples coming my way next week- I am really looking forward to sniffing Woman and Taif.

    I like a lot of Andy’s fragrances (especially love Reverie) and he is a darling..I admire Marocain but find it difficult to wear myself (though it smells glorious on my Mom) May 4, 2011 at 1:52pm Reply

  • Skilletlicker: I’m surprised that not one L’Artisan made the top 20. Hmmmm. I would have expected La Chasse Aux Papillons to have received a nod. Not my favorite but seems popular. May 4, 2011 at 2:10pm Reply

  • minette: what an interesting mix that turned out to be! i don’t think i would’ve pegged mitsouko for number one, even though i love it myself. your readers must be experienced scent lovers, because mitsouko always shows up in newbie posts about “getting a perfume.” it’s the one so many seem to have to graduate to! and what a graduation present, no? May 4, 2011 at 2:48pm Reply

  • london: Mitsouko always seems to win these things. I think I am out of step with everyone. My favourite Guerlains are Vol de Nuit and Chamade which are the only two major ones not listed and the only one of the fragrances listed which is also my favourite of that particular house is Private Collection – but that’s probably the obvious choice. Oh well, i guess variety is the spice of life.

    It might be interesting to do the poll slightly differently and ask everyone to pick their favourites of the notable houses rather than their favourites overall. It would give more information about houses other than Guerlain and Chanel – not that I have anything against either of them! Guerlain, Chanel and Lutens could even have a top 5 each. May 4, 2011 at 4:18pm Reply

  • Persolaise: What an absolutely wonderful list, not least because it allows us to give ourselves a massive pat on the back and say, “We have AMAZING taste!” 🙂

    Thanks very much indeed for compiling it. May 4, 2011 at 4:30pm Reply

  • Isa: Very interesting list, even though I don’t own any of the Top 20 perfumes, and none was on my own Top 5.
    In fact, I admit that I have not tried some of them. Some classics are not easy to find where I live.

    Thanks for compiling the list 🙂 May 4, 2011 at 4:53pm Reply

  • Joan: This isn’t surprising. Joy, Cuir de Russie, Carnal Flower, Bois des Iles, L’Heure Bleue Fracas, and Mitsouko are my favorites too.

    Guess I’m not as original as I thought I was. how disappointing. May 4, 2011 at 5:17pm Reply

  • Victoria: You are welcome! May 4, 2011 at 9:18pm Reply

  • Victoria: That would certainly be interesting! Anyone else can take it on though, compiling these polls is quite time consuming, even though I cannot say that I did not enjoy it. I especially loved reading the answers and the discussions as we were talking about our top favorites. May 4, 2011 at 9:19pm Reply

  • Victoria: You guys sure do! 🙂 May 4, 2011 at 9:19pm Reply

  • Victoria: That’s true, plus there is always some selection bias in those who actually chooses to comment. That’s even interesting in itself–the way different blogs generate different voices overall (the voices of the writer and his/her commenters combined.) That’s what I love about the blogosphere in general.

    Yes, you can see that I’ve reviewed pretty much all of the fragrances on this list in the past! They are certainly among my own top favorites (and the ones I did not review yet also.) May 4, 2011 at 9:24pm Reply

  • Victoria: D, I completely agree with you on Frederic Malle. It definitely have a neo-classical bent overall. I would not say that any of FM’s fragrances are particularly avant-garde, but they are really well-made and sophisticated. May 4, 2011 at 9:26pm Reply

  • Victoria: That’s true, I loved reading the comments. There were so many different lines and fragrances. Some were new to me, some serves as reminders to revisit old favorites. May 4, 2011 at 9:27pm Reply

  • Victoria: Hmm, you are right. There were only 3 mentions of Infusion d’Iris out of 1000+ responses. May 4, 2011 at 9:30pm Reply

  • Musette: I’m not surprised by this list (like others here, I own 90% of the listed scents) – what I AM surprised at is that you had the strength to compile it! Well done, V!

    And thank you! Very informative. And fun.

    xoxoxoA May 4, 2011 at 9:30pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love Coromandel too. I have been wearing it a lot lately, and I am enjoying this dark woods + patchouli composition. May 4, 2011 at 9:30pm Reply

  • Victoria: Half way through it, as I was typing in the perfume names into the spreadsheet, I decided that I am crazy! 1000 entries by hand!!! Well, it was fun to run the stats on it though.

    I am glad that everyone enjoyed it though! It makes all of that work worthwhile, and this is all that matters in the end.
    xoxo May 4, 2011 at 9:32pm Reply

  • Victoria: Aww, you are original! We are a relatively small group anyway. 🙂 May 4, 2011 at 9:32pm Reply

  • Victoria: I admit that I find L’Air a bit difficult to wear also, but I love it on others. I actually bought a bottle for a friend recently, who wears it now as her signature fragrance. It smells stunning on her.

    If you can order a sample of vintage Mitsouko, go for the parfum. If that is not an option (or too expensive,) then the edp. The EDT is the most melancholy and autumnal, a bit fresher than the plusher, warmer EDP. May 4, 2011 at 9:34pm Reply

  • Victoria: Dzing! just barely made it, but not enough to be in the top 20. La Chasse was not as popular as I thought it would be. Traversee du Bosphore, on the other hand, received quite a few votes. May 4, 2011 at 9:35pm Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, I think that it is a tough perfume to love (chypre genre in general.) Yet, I feel that for me my courtship of Mitsouko has been the most rewarding. Once I got it, it was not just love, but an all encompassing passion. And I am not even a big chypre fan overall! May 4, 2011 at 9:37pm Reply

  • Victoria: You are not out of step, simply different in your preferences. Which is great too! I am very happy to hear that you love Vol de Nuit and Chamade, which by the way, according to Jean-Paul Guerlain are Guerlain’s most innovative fragrances (and Nahema.) Chamade is his own creation, and so is Nahema. May 4, 2011 at 9:39pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love your perspective! 🙂 Yes, we do! May 4, 2011 at 9:40pm Reply

  • Victoria: I am glad that you’ve enjoyed it!

    Classics can be hard to find, especially outside of the big metropolitan areas. Still, perhaps, a list can serve as an inspiration to those who would like to explore this area of perfumery. May 4, 2011 at 9:41pm Reply

  • maria: Victoria Thanks for all the work it is greatly appreciated 🙂 May 5, 2011 at 1:55am Reply

  • Katrina: Fantastic write-up. I look forward to smelling my way through the top 20. I knew it would be pointless submitting my list of fruity-florals! May 5, 2011 at 5:28am Reply

  • hongkongmom: Thanks for this precious gift Victoria
    This is an outstanding black and white list…and then….
    There is so much grey to read between the lines…and lots new to discover! May 5, 2011 at 6:02am Reply

  • Parthenope: Fascinating to read this list, and I was very pleased to see my favourite Chanel ‘Cuir de Russie’ in there. I didn’t see the post in time to vote, but several other favourites are there. I love perfumes with Iris above all other notes, and would have included Hermes ‘Hiris’, and probably in top position Miller Harris ‘Terre d’Iris’ – I know you haven’t reviewed this one; I would be interested to read your thoughts. May 5, 2011 at 6:44am Reply

  • Jennifer: It is very amusing to see a factual representation of what one has intuited or gleaned from reading these reviews and blogs for so long! Admittedly I have not tried them all and now I will make it a point (Perfumed Court here I come). Some of my favorites and least favorites are in this list. But even a novice like myself can aknowledge all are greats. May 5, 2011 at 7:38am Reply

  • nstephens@beachcroft.com: Thank you for organising and compiling such a fascinating list. For once I have sniffed all the top 20 and own (be it a sample, decant or bottle) 90% of it which cannot be said of any other list! Even though a couple of personal favourites didn’t make the top 20 or even a mention (Bulgari Black and Kiki parfum) I can’t argue with any of those which did and am particularly happy to see a good showing of classic Guerlains and Chanels.
    Nicola May 5, 2011 at 9:26am Reply

  • Victoria: Maria, you are most welcome! May 5, 2011 at 11:24am Reply

  • Victoria: Katrina, you should have submitted (and you still can post your top 5 favorites.) Those posts and comments are so much fun to read. May 5, 2011 at 11:26am Reply

  • Victoria: I am so glad that you are enjoying it! Lots to discover via this list, that’s true! May 5, 2011 at 11:26am Reply

  • Victoria: Nicola, Bulgari Black made into the notable mentions. I just realized that I omitted it somehow. So, I just corrected my mistake. May 5, 2011 at 11:28am Reply

  • Victoria: I also love iris notes, and I will revisit Terre d’Iris. I have not smelled it in a very long time, so I am afraid, I do not remember it. May 5, 2011 at 11:29am Reply

  • Victoria: You put it so well, Jennifer! I had a similar thought while analyzing the results. One often assumes that the active blog readers and commenters lean towards the niche and the classics, and it is interesting to see this being confirmed. Of course, there were lots of non-niche and non-classics on the list too, but in the end, this is what made it into the top 20. May 5, 2011 at 11:31am Reply

  • sara: Thanks for a fascinating read! All of my 5 choices were in the top 20. I’ve tried most of these but may have to revisit a few! May 5, 2011 at 12:53pm Reply

  • Lavanya: Thanks V..(I think they have the vintage parfum and EDT)
    Also- I had a quick question. Remember the decant of YSL Parisienne you sent me?- do you remember if it was the EDT or EDP..(no worries if you don’t..:)) May 5, 2011 at 1:36pm Reply

  • Victoria: Mine made it in as well, except for Caron Tabac Blond and Dior Diorella. All in all, interesting results! May 5, 2011 at 2:29pm Reply

  • Alice C: Thanks for all of your hard work in putting this together!! I enjoyed thinking out my answers and reading the compilation! May 5, 2011 at 3:12pm Reply

  • Bevfred: This was fascinating…especially when I discovered many of my faves!
    I was so happy to see Andy Tauer on the list.
    Well done and thank-you. May 5, 2011 at 6:36pm Reply

  • Victoria: Alice, you are most welcome! I think that it is most interesting to know what our fellow perfume lovers enjoy. May 5, 2011 at 8:56pm Reply

  • Victoria: I am glad that Andy is getting the recognition for his work. Well-deserved!! May 5, 2011 at 8:56pm Reply

  • Nancy: Doesn’t anyone LOVE and miss Rochas Mystere? Where can I have it reproduced? It was my signature fragrance since 1978. May 23, 2011 at 5:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: Did you try googling it? Various discounters online carry it at reasonable prices.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile May 23, 2011 at 5:23pm Reply

  • Charles: Hi my name is Charles
    As a person who knows nothing about perfume, I wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your reviews and blogs. I never knew the importance of choosing between edt, edp or parfum. Nor was I aware that some popular names use cheap ingredients. I’m always searching for one of a kind fragrances for my wife and myself that not everyone uses, but, smell exceptionally good. I tend to shy away from a fragrance when I walk in the store and they have a thousand bottles on display. I remember years ago buying a fragrance called Adolfo for my wife. I had never smelled it on anyone and she loved it. I don’t know if by your standards it was a good fragrance or well made, but, I loved that noone else around me used it. I don’t think it is made anymore. If it is, I would love to find it. Thanks for this list. It will get me through many anniversaries and birthdays to come. December 7, 2011 at 11:53am Reply

  • Victoria: Charles, thank you, that's the best compliment! I believe that the more one knows about a topic, the more one can appreciate it. Perfume is such a portable form of beauty, and it is a complex topic. Sometimes I'm surprised to discover that it has been almost seven years since I started Bois de Jasmin, but I still find writing about perfume just as enjoyable as I did back then. December 7, 2011 at 3:57pm Reply

  • anthony chan: what is your opinion of fm group perfumes. ?thank you. June 5, 2012 at 11:59am Reply

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