Favorite Big White Floral Perfumes

Do you like fragrances with jasmine, tuberose, honeysuckle, gardenia notes? What are your favorite big white floral perfumes?

It may seem like madness to wear lush, heady perfumes in the summer, but with light application, tuberose, jasmine and other white floral scents can bloom so well in the warm air that you will be a convert, even if you didn’t care for these notes. Over the past couple of weeks my “big white floral” perfumes have been my favorite staples.

I enjoy the lush tuberose of Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower and Estée Lauder Private Collection Tuberose GardeniaOrmonde Jayne Frangipani Absolute is sunshine and tiare petals in the bottle.  Serge Lutens A La Nuit is like being showered with jasmine blossoms. When something lighter and brighter seems more appealing, I reach for Chanel Beige and Annick Goutal Un Matin d’Orage. Finally, when I want something “big white floral” but fresher and crisper, I go for Marc Jacobs for Her, the debut MJ perfume that captured the scent of gardenias floating in water.

Extra:  some more Big White Floral perfumes. ‘White floral’ is a general description, rather than a specific perfumery term, but if you’re curious what flowers are usually considered white florals (a hint: they smell jasmine-like!), you can read my Perfume Wardrobe Part 2: Jasmine and White Florals.

Photograph: Frangipani via flickr, some rights reserved

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137 Comments

  • Ralu: Carnal Flower is my favorite. I also enjoy Un
    Matin D’Orage. August 25, 2012 at 9:11am Reply

    • Victoria: Un Matin d’Orage isn’t overly complex, but it’s such a polished, pretty tiare. I get lots of compliments on it. August 25, 2012 at 1:16pm Reply

  • Christy C: – Ormonde Jayne Frangipani
    – Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier, Fleurs d’Oranger, A la Nuit, Datura Noir, Nuit de Cellophane (apparently if its SL and BWF, I will like it!)
    – l’Artisan Seville a l’Aube
    – Do lilies count? If so, then Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee–one of my top 3 favorite perfumes!–and SL Un Lys
    – Vero Profume Rubj edp is another absolute favorite of mine, but it doesn’t seem BWF to me August 25, 2012 at 9:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Lillies count! White floral is really not the best term to use, because roses can also be white, but one would never categorize them as white florals. But for the lack of a better one, it’s ok. August 25, 2012 at 1:18pm Reply

      • Christy C: Hm, what is the definitive list of flowers that count for Big White Florals? Are these all BWFs?:
        – Jasmine, Sambac
        – Tuberose
        – Frangipani
        – Tiare
        – Orange blossom, neroli
        – Lemon blossom
        – Lime blossom/linden?
        – Gardenia
        – Honeysuckle
        – Datura?
        – Magnolia? August 26, 2012 at 3:26pm Reply

  • Daisy: When I was young and going through my minimalist phase, I wanted everything to not smell like a perfume. So I ignored big white florals altogether. Thankfully, I grew out of that and I can credit Carnal Flower with getting me over my mental block.

    I don’t know if there is a particular kind of perfume I prefer other than one that is well-made, but I find myself reaching for big white florals more and more. Even in the summer heat. You are right to point out that they bloom beautifully! August 25, 2012 at 9:37am Reply

    • Victoria: So what did you wear in your “non-perfume” phase? 🙂 August 25, 2012 at 1:18pm Reply

      • Daisy: A lot of Molecule 01 ;-P August 25, 2012 at 2:05pm Reply

        • Daisy: If Juliette Has A Gun’s Not a Perfume had been around, I probably would have worn that too! August 25, 2012 at 2:07pm Reply

          • Victoria: You would have been a perfect spokesperson to promote Iso E Super, the ingredient in Molecule 01. 🙂 Did you get to Comme des Garcons perfumes in that phase? They have lots of things that don’t smell like a classical “perfume”. August 25, 2012 at 2:52pm Reply

            • Daisy: This is very true! Regretfully, I didn’t really come to appreciate CdG until later.

              I will own up to having the entire Sherbert series. It was a gift, but I can’t say I wore it much. I keep thinking that I can figure out a way to layer them… August 25, 2012 at 3:04pm Reply

  • joolz: One of my favorites is Un Matin d’Orage. I agree that some headier scents can be worn in the heat; I spray it only once on my chest and it’s perfect!
    All this talk of Carnal Flower has made me curious! I recently fell in love with Cologne Bigarade. August 25, 2012 at 10:09am Reply

    • Victoria: If you like tuberose or creamy, rich floral scents, you should try Carnal Flower. It’s one of the best from FM, in my opinion. August 25, 2012 at 1:22pm Reply

  • Kathy: I’m not into big white florals but fell hard for Mona di Orio’s Tubereuse, it is sublime. August 25, 2012 at 10:32am Reply

    • Victoria: These threads are always fun, because I get to learn something new. Adding it to my list to try. August 25, 2012 at 1:23pm Reply

  • Isabelle: Hi Victoria!

    I like Isabey Gardenia and Fleur Nocturne very much, as well as eo 03 by Biehl Parfumkunstwerke – elegance with a hint of extravangance in a bottle!

    Have a nice week-end! August 25, 2012 at 10:36am Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t remember seeing Biehl Parfumkunstwerke in NYC, so I will have to look for it here.

      Have a great weekend, Isabelle. August 25, 2012 at 1:24pm Reply

      • Isabelle: Victoria,
        here are a few addresses where Biehl Parfumkunstwerke are supposed to be found in Belgium – but unfortunately these informations are not updated and may not be reliable anymore (I know this because the 2 addresses mentionned for Berlin do not have this brand anymore, and it is a pity).
        http://www.biehl-parfum.com/en/ausstellung13.php
        Geza Schoen and Mark Buxton are among the very few artists – noses who created the Biehl’s fragrances.
        Hope you will enjoy at least some of them! August 25, 2012 at 4:24pm Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you so much, Isabelle, for looking them up for me. I was meaning to check out Absolut’ly boutique anyway, so it would be a good excuse. I will let you know if I find them. August 25, 2012 at 4:26pm Reply

  • Safran: Dear Victoria,

    my favourite is also Carnal Flower, but I only wear it once in a while. I somehow have too much respect for it, to wear it too often. Another one I love is MDCI’s Rivage des Syrtes. Although it’s also fruity, it feels like a happy, sunny white floral to me. I wear it quite often and everytime I am surprised about it’s balance between happy/easy and high quality-deepness. Other favourites are Blu by Bruno Accampora, Dunard by Oliver & Co. and Tubereuse by Mona di Orio. More or less all Tuberose centered scents, but I also like the mushroom-y gardenia of Velvet Gardenia once in a while. And of course I am looking forward to smelling the new Serge Lutens, Une Voix Noire.

    Cheers
    Safran August 25, 2012 at 11:34am Reply

    • Victoria: Safran, this resonates so well with me–the balance between happy and easy going and celebral/challenging is so rare to find. I like many of MDCI’s perfumes (but not the packaging?) 🙂

      I’m glad that I purchased Velvet Gardenia right when it was about to be discontinued. It’s still my favorite from Tom Ford. A very realistic gardenia too! August 25, 2012 at 1:27pm Reply

  • Nancy A.: Dear Victoria,

    I never go by the rules so to speak when it comes to fragrance and what would be considered heady fragrances and when to wear them at what time of the year, temperature, etc. After all, the warmth of the summer and body heat brings out the best of some of these flowers. For me, the same applies to wine — my reds may be slightly cool and the whites somewhat warmer.
    It’s like putting the top down on the convertible on a cold wintry day! August 25, 2012 at 12:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree that there are no rules as such, although I personally have a very hard time wearing anything too sweet or too vanilla heavy in the warm weather. Musk, leather, animalic notes are ok, but gourmand isn’t. But it’s not a rule, of course. Just my own preference.

      Speaking of whites, I’ve discovered that most US restaurants overchill their white wines. When it’s too cold, you can’t really taste anything. August 25, 2012 at 1:30pm Reply

      • Melissa: That’s my pet peeve with wines, which are so closely related to perfume. It’s a good way to hide a not-so-great wine, but more than that, it’s really a shame because you really don’t get a chance to taste the wine & even determine if you like it or identify its notes & learn about it. August 25, 2012 at 1:46pm Reply

        • Daisy: This is so true. I have to say though that if given the choice between an overly chilled white and a too-warm red, I will opt for the white! August 25, 2012 at 2:09pm Reply

          • Victoria: I suppose, you can hold the glass in your hands and warm it up. I just don’t like doing that when I’ve ordered a glass or a bottle of something special. So, these days I usually just buy the bottle I want at the store and enjoy it chilled to my liking. The restaurants add such a markup anyway. August 25, 2012 at 2:55pm Reply

        • Victoria: It’s the same reason why Budweiser advertises its beer packed on ice. Once cold, you can’t taste how truly horrible it is. I’ve discovered recently that good beers taste great even when room temperature. August 25, 2012 at 2:53pm Reply

      • Isabelle: I too had hard times with vanilla and hot weather… until I discovered Martine Micallef’s Vanille Marine, a beautiful vanilla scent, woody, lightly salted and at the same time sweet but not too much! August 25, 2012 at 4:27pm Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you, Isabelle! Another great rec to add to my list. August 27, 2012 at 9:53am Reply

  • cryptic: I put away my oak moss chypres in the summer, but white florals work in all temps for me. Most of my favorites have already been mentioned, with the exception of Amouage Honour Woman. It has its detractors, but if Honour works for you it’s a dream of a scent. August 25, 2012 at 12:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oakmoss in green chypres like Cristalle (ok, this one is more of a cross between a cologne and a fruity chypre) or Lentheric Tweed can be refreshing in hot weather, but I agree with you that white florals are great year round. In the summer though they feel even more beautiful for me.

      I haven’t smelled the Honour series. Do you mind describing the feminine version? August 25, 2012 at 1:32pm Reply

      • Dubaiscents: I would love to hear cryptic’s description as well but, if I could jump in I hope you don’t mind. I just wore Honour Woman today and it quickly moved up my list of top BWF. So, much so that when I saw a bottle at a discount place (yes, we have Amouage at discount stores in Dubai…) I snatched it up. It starts off with the most beautiful combination of Jasmine, Tuberose and Gardenia (there is supposed to be Lily of the Valley and Gardenia but, I don’t smell those so much) mixed with a little bit of peppery spice. The floral lasts for a couple of hours on my skin and then the base of amber and soft suede like leather finally starts to peak through. You can also smell a touch of the signature Amouage frankincense in the dry down. It combines all of my favorite scents – BWF, Amber, Leather and Incense into such a high quality, long lasting fragrance. Truly a masterpiece in my book (of course, I loved Interlude Woman so, I highly recommend smelling it for yourself 🙂 ). It is definitely a feminine scent but, not girly. It is elegant and exudes confidence! August 25, 2012 at 1:43pm Reply

        • Victoria: Of course! It’s free for all, so thank you for jumping in. 🙂

          And thank you for such a tempting description of Honour Woman. You had me at frankincense and tuberose. I love frankincense Amouage uses in its fragrances. The idea of it blended with white flowers sounds so irresistible. It just moved up to the top of my to try list. August 25, 2012 at 1:55pm Reply

        • cryptic: Excellent description. The only thing I would add is that there is a rhubarb note that turns some people off. August 26, 2012 at 11:13am Reply

  • Suzanna: I always try to avoid posts like this, for fear of having to learn of more white florals that I will want to add to my collection.

    My big white florals are No. 22, A la Nuit, Nuda, Marc Jacobs, L’Artisan Tubereuse, Tubereuse Criminelle, Beige…on it goes! A fave category of mine. They all work well in any weather. No. 22, it must be mentioned, is crisp as a first snow. August 25, 2012 at 12:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love your description of No22. When it hits that incense layer, it makes me weak in the knees. I just love that phase of No 22, and I always look forward to it. August 25, 2012 at 1:44pm Reply

  • Debbie: I love Songes in summer or winter but particularly enjoy the intoxicating quality of it on a hot day – it makes my heart beat a little faster! August 25, 2012 at 12:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for reminding me about Songes, another top favorite. August 25, 2012 at 2:56pm Reply

    • Rowanhill: Songes is my favourite big white flower as well, could not agree with you more. The reason for this fragrance love is that big frangipani flower on top of Victoria’s article. Songes is the closest thing in a bottle that I have been able to find. August 28, 2012 at 11:34am Reply

  • Austenfan: One of my favourite genres and I must admit wearing them mostly in summer. They bloom in the heat and seem by their very fragrance to belong there.
    I need to try both Beige and the Marc Jacobs.
    BWF’s I love are: Fracas, Tubéreuse Criminelle, Vamp à New York, AG Passion, MPG Tubéreuse, Carnal Flower ( I recently treated myself to a bottle of this), Olène and A la Nuit.
    Today wasn’t quite so summery as it has been for the past few weeks, still quite nice weather and I think lots of plants and trees were quite grateful for the change. August 25, 2012 at 12:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: I know what you mean. I remember wearing Carnal Flower in India and thinking that it was such a perfect context for it. The warm air and the tropical scents made it see even more beautiful, not at all overwhelming.

      I was glad (for once) that it was cooler today. I had to clean up our new apartment–yay, we finally found something!–and I was grateful for a reprieve. Carrying boxes up and down the stairs would have been painful in the heat. August 25, 2012 at 3:45pm Reply

      • Austenfan: Three loud cheers for the new place! Is it bigger than your old flat?
        I really hope that having a better place to stay in will make you feel more at home in Brussels. It is nice to have a good place to come home to. August 25, 2012 at 4:07pm Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, it’s bigger (thank heavens!) We saw so many shoe box apartment or simply weird apartments that we almost lost hope of finding anything. One place had no windows! One place had a bedroom in the basement of the building, so you literally had to leave the apartment to go to bed. This one has its own quirks too, but it’s well-situated and has lots of space. So, we are going to move next week, but meanwhile we cleaned it up today. Since it was renovated not that long ago, it was filled with sawdust. If I weren’t so happy about finally having a little corner to call my own, I would be collapsing from exhaustion. 🙂

          By the way, I need to sort through the photos I took at the Euro market you recommended to me. Some of them came out so colorful. Also, I got inspired the other day to replicate a mushroom dish I tried there. August 25, 2012 at 4:22pm Reply

          • Austenfan: I hope you post some of them on your blog. I went to the market myself, but as I was carrying my dog I didn’t stay very long. Long enough to get some cheese and sausages ( all gone now) though.
            I hope your house moving will be easy. It is always a hassle, but this one ought to be a change for the better. August 26, 2012 at 9:18am Reply

  • Figuier: Like Debbie, the one BWF I can wear at any time of year, but find especially beautiful in summer, is Songes. The edt sprayed sparingly for daytime, or the edp dabbed on in the evening – the smell of hot weather!

    Others I enjoy: AG Tubereuse, Nasomatto Nuda, Lys Med. I adore Fracas parfum most of the year, but must admit to finding it ‘sticky’ in really hot weather.

    I’d love to try OJ’s Frangipani, it sounds gorgeous. August 25, 2012 at 12:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s why I didn’t mention Fracas. I love it, but on a hot day, the creamy sandalwood drydown is too heavy for me. But otherwise, it’s a gold standard tuberose perfume. August 25, 2012 at 3:42pm Reply

  • Cybele: My favorites are PC Tuberose Gardenia, Manoumalia, Carnal Flower. Also enjoy Beyond Love but I generally prefer Gardenia over Tuberose so PCTG is the white flower fragrance I wear most. Would like to try Le De again. August 25, 2012 at 1:06pm Reply

    • Cybele: also need to try Gardenia Petal and I am adding No 22 and Vanille Galante to my favorites August 25, 2012 at 3:03pm Reply

      • Victoria: Le De is worth trying, even the reformulated version. If you like green, aldehydic chypres, it’s going to be a great discovery. August 25, 2012 at 3:41pm Reply

  • Lucas: I think I don’t have a favourite big while floral, but I kinda like Chanel Gardenia from Les Exclusifs range, it somehow reminds me of a traditional, cologne style perfume after some time.
    And I adore Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier, which is gorgeous and smells so clean! It goes right up my soapy alley! August 25, 2012 at 1:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: Have you ever tried Vierges et Toreros by Etat Libre d’Orange? It’s another interesting tuberose that could be great on a man. August 25, 2012 at 3:34pm Reply

      • Lucas: No, I never heard about this one Victoria! Really! From Etat Libre, Antiheros is the one I’d like to sample soon. August 26, 2012 at 5:05am Reply

  • Dubaiscents: BWF – one of my favorite scents! My list is pretty extensive but, I love Amouage Honour Woman (wore today in fact), Carnal Flower, Fracas, Songes, By Kilian Beyond Love (what an amazing realistic tuberose!), Thierry Mugler A Travers de Miroirs and finally, Mona di Orio’s Oiro, which is not a typical BWF but, it has a lot of jasmine and I love it for its uniqueness. I keep a running list of ones to try which makes these posts dangerous! 🙂 August 25, 2012 at 1:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: Beyond Love is definitely one of the best tuberoses. It’s so languid and tender, but when it dries down it reveals such a sultry side. August 25, 2012 at 3:32pm Reply

  • Lisa: Mwa-ha-ha! I am the proud owner of Rosine’s Mea Culpa, the perfumer’s experiment with tuberose, and that’s about as white floral as it gets in my collection, perhaps with the exception of SL Un Lys. I usually can’t pull off Big White Florals very well (and in fact have purged myself of most of them), but there’s something about the creaminess of Mea Culpa that settles down on my skin, making it smell more clean-pristine and less WOWZA! sweet. 🙂 August 25, 2012 at 2:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: Ah, lucky girl! Mea Culpa was one of my favorite Rosines, and of course, it has been axed. Figures… August 25, 2012 at 3:30pm Reply

  • Carla: Not quite like Fracas, but still big and white – Loulou and Chinatown are wonderful in summer heat. If you like spices and vanilla in the sun as I do… August 25, 2012 at 2:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, I do! Need to revisit Loulou. Cacharel is so hard to find in the States for some reason. Here it’s quite popular. August 25, 2012 at 3:30pm Reply

  • Elena: I used to wear Kate Spade Beauty a few years ago. Does anyone else remember it? I was looking online to refresh my memory and apparently it is big on honeysuckle in addition to the usual BWF suspects. I would have called it gardenia then but I think it’s probably more tuberose? I will have to put some on tomorrow. I can’t now as I just got back from a trip to NM/Nordstrom/L’Occitane and I smell like a hot mess: Clive Christian V (too expensive), Houbigant Oranger en Fleurs (very nice, I agree with Suzanna!), Eau de Merveilles (can’t smell it properly next to the V… I’ll have to try it again), and L’Occitane Cherry Blossom (great, then gone). I need a bath. How long did it take you experienced perfumistas to stop dousing yourselves with 5 (or more??) perfumes every time you go to the mall? I can’t seem to stop myself. August 25, 2012 at 2:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: Honestly? It hasn’t happened to me yet! I still leave the mall covered with 5 or more perfumes. But I’ve learned to separate them better–on on the wrist, one on the forearm, one on the upper arm, so on.

      Laughing over your characterization of Clive Christian. That fact cancels everything else out for me. August 25, 2012 at 3:29pm Reply

      • Elena: The marketing is even more offensive than the price. The only thing written on the display besides the maker and name of the perfume was “Maker of the most expensive perfumes in the world.” Ugh!

        Daisy, I would be happy to give you what I have left of Kate Spade for your mom. Like I said, I tried it today and it seemed to have a maple syrup undertone to me, which I don’t remember at all, but it’s been years since I’ve worn it. It may have gone off on the top notes, but after a little while it smelled better. I would consider it quite wearable for a lover of the perfume. I’m not going to wear it and it’s not something I want to keep around because it’s a classic or I think my tastes will change. Let me know if you’d like it. 🙂 August 25, 2012 at 8:26pm Reply

        • Daisy: Hi Elena,

          Thanks for the offer! That is incredibly kind of you, but I think that after introducing my mother to Carnal Flower, I seem to have let a very expensive genie out of the bottle so to speak 😉

          But thank you so much again for offering! August 26, 2012 at 12:04pm Reply

          • Elena: You’re welcome, and all the better! You’ve done your mom and everyone around her a great service; Carnal Flower is so beautiful. August 26, 2012 at 8:41pm Reply

    • Elena: I don’t know what I was thinking wearing Kate Spade. Ick. Now that I’ve smelled Carnal Flower, etc., it seems screechy and crass, with a maple syrup undertone. I need a time machine to slap that bottle right out of my own hands. August 25, 2012 at 3:37pm Reply

      • Victoria: Ah, but that’s ok! Our tastes change constantly, and I don’t think that Kate Spade was that bad. I remember it as a honeysuckle-tuberose perfume. I bet that liking it back then predisposed you for appreciating Carnal Flower today. August 25, 2012 at 3:48pm Reply

        • Daisy: Kate Spade was my mother’s absolute favorite. When they discontinued it, she cried. I got her Carnal Flower to replace it, but remember trying to peel off the label so she wouldn’t freak out about the word “carnal.”

          Is there a hell for people who deface FM bottles?!

          In any case, I ended up sneaking so many spritzes of it, it totally got me over the white floral hump! August 25, 2012 at 3:50pm Reply

          • Victoria: Laughing hysterically… Only you, Daisy, would come up with something like that! You could have put a sticker on it.

            I wore Carnal Flower for my wedding, and I chuckled every time I thought of the name. Carnal doesn’t fit the image of a blushing bride that well. 🙂 August 25, 2012 at 3:54pm Reply

            • Daisy: CF would be a beautiful fragrance for a wedding!

              Yeah, you would have laughed at me. After failing miserably, my mother told me she didn’t know what the word “carnal,” meant anyway and why would I try to do something so dorky!

              She ended up loving it though. How can you not? August 25, 2012 at 3:57pm Reply

              • Victoria: Your mom has a great taste. Well, not at all surprising! 🙂 August 25, 2012 at 4:23pm Reply

                • Daisy: She does 🙂 August 25, 2012 at 4:36pm Reply

  • behemot: I have to admit, I admire big white florals from the safe distance. I can appreciate beauty of Carnal Flower ( will be making another approach to it on Monday), have recently WORN OJ Frangipani for a half day and tried SL Tuberouse Criminelle (dabs on both wrists). I was surprised how beautiful it was on me, but jn a few hour I had a nasty headache.
    I will keep trying.
    I have a decant of A la nuit and a FB of Un Lys and can wear them, but not too often.
    Need to work on my white flowers more 🙂 August 25, 2012 at 3:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: I kind of like having things to work on, so to speak. Or rather, to put it better, to have things to discover and learn about. My challenge is the marine scents. Not every marine fragrance is a Glade type junk, so I’m testing and keeping my mind open. August 25, 2012 at 3:49pm Reply

  • Wendy Edelson: Tubereuse Criminelle, Carnal Flower and Fracas, of course, plus Keiko Mecheri Osmanthus, and Secrete Datura/ MPG which isn’t strictly a purist BWF since there are other notes but I wear it when I want the sensation of burying my face in Datura blooms on a warm Summer night.
    When I want something light and airy, Le Jasmin by Chantecaille.
    Oh…and finally Moroccan Jasmine oil…a pure solifleur essential oil from Kiehls when all there was was the one shop, and which hasn’t been available in years…..this is soft Jasmine Heaven in a tiny bottle…..and makes the world instantly pretty. August 25, 2012 at 3:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: Kiehl’s either reformulated and discontinued many of its perfumes. Their Musk smells so differently now from what it used to be. Almost like a totally different perfume. I haven’t smelled Moroccan Jasmine, but I bet I would like it. August 25, 2012 at 3:50pm Reply

      • Wendy Edelson: I know…..once upon a time, in the back of the one and only Kiehls in New York, at the back of the shop next to the stunt plane was a table laden with mysterious dark brown bottles containing essential oils, and scents with names like Essence of the Forest…this wonderland was my introduction to the world of scent.You’d let the white jacketed person who worked there know what you’d like, an eighth of an oz of this, a sixteenth of an oz of that….Moroccan Jasmine was simply that and it hasn’t been available for fifteen years….pity. August 25, 2012 at 4:10pm Reply

        • Victoria: That’s such a pity, as much for the oil as for the whole ritual. I also remember buying their famous body cream as a student with money I would save from my summer job. I still remember the scent of that cream. Such a nice memory. August 25, 2012 at 4:24pm Reply

  • ShelleySmells: This is my first post here…Im so excited as I have been reading your blog for some time now Victoria. All comments have helped me discover so many old/new scents that I must try again or for the first time….Some of my favorites BWF are a bit extensive as I love them like an addiction or something…Carnel Flower…A la Nuit…Nuda…Narcotic Venus…Beyond Love…Love and Tears…Jasmine Full…gosh there are so many…and just received a sample of Amouage Honour and I am lemming for that one as well…so yummy!
    Thank you for all of your thoughts…just love it here…have a great weekend all 🙂 August 25, 2012 at 5:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: Shelley, welcome! Thank you for dropping by and jumping into the discussion. 🙂 Sounds like you’re quite a BWF lover! I’m happy to meet another fan of Love and Tears. It’s such a joyful and breezy (despite the name) green jasmine.
      All of you are seriously tempting me with your mentions of Honour Woman today! August 25, 2012 at 5:44pm Reply

  • annemariec: I have avoided BWFs because they seemed wrong for my personality – I’m not a big impact sort of person.

    But then on eBay I picked up small bottle of Lelong’s Indiscret – the 90s reformulation – mainly out of historical interest. This is a white floral with a citrus opening. The WFs are so well blended that even I can can cope, although I recognised tuberose instantly. Indiscret is not really a BWF, but it commands attention by being utterly feminine and demanding RESPECT for that femininity. Maybe this is what white florals do so well, more than chypres? They are unapologetically feminine. Interestingly, a Basenotes reviewer calls Indiscret a ‘wise’ scent, and I agree.

    So now I feel ready to try some other white florals this coming summer and plan to make the OJ Frangipani my next venture. I do take your point about wearing white florals in the heat. I’m loving reading everyone’s ideas and experiences in this post.

    I’m not sure I’ll ever get to Carnal Flower, but who knows … August 25, 2012 at 6:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m far from a big impact sort of person myself, but what I love about white florals is their mix of tenderness and sensuality. That hint of indoles and animalic notes (leather or horse-like notes in jasmine, for instance) also gives a completely different feeling from something like a rose, another quintessentially feminine scent (in the western world). Some of these fragrances worn in modest doses though feel as intimate and comforting as silk camisoles.

      If you’ve started with Indiscret, Frangipani would be a good choice and so would Sampaquita from Ormonde Jayne. Not because they smell alike, but because they are far more restrained than some other perfumes I’ve mentioned. And they have crisp green notes that tempt the white floral exuberance. August 25, 2012 at 6:27pm Reply

  • ShelleySmells: Thank you Victoria!
    I am very much a BWF lover 🙂
    I look forward to putting my two scents in(pardon the pun) and I do agree that Love and Tears has a name that may be a bit misleading…but I love it anyway…and Honour is a definite try in my book…if only a sample…but I now need a FB!! August 25, 2012 at 6:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: Knowing Amouage’s longevity, you can probably enjoy that sample for a while! But I know what you mean, it’s hard to pace yourself when you find something you love. 🙂 August 25, 2012 at 6:28pm Reply

  • Dianna: Chanel Coromandel and Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower for me, no question. I LOVE THEM. August 25, 2012 at 9:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: Do you get a lot of floral notes out of Coromandel? I love its patchouli-chocolate notes, but the floral part is pretty subdued on my skin. August 27, 2012 at 9:55am Reply

  • Wesley Parker: Tuberose: FM Carnal Flower, L’Artisan Nuit de Tuberose

    Lily: FM Lys Med

    Orange Blossom: Seville a L’Aube

    Jasmine: Sigh…sadly, jasmine soliflores and I are NOT friends! I always want it to smell like it does on the vine, but it doesn’t 🙁 Often, I get a varnishy or rubbery note with jasmine – and I don’t know what that’s about. I don’t know what’s wrong with me – but I can’t seem to like A La Nuit (too much cumin), Songes, etc.

    Gardenia-esque: Once again, I’m always sad that the “gardenia” perfumes never smell the way real the flowers smell when they perfume a garden at night. The perfumes often get the raspy greenness, but somehow fail to get the wonderful buttery languid creaminess that permeates a humid night without ever getting cloying. THAT SAID – I think some of the best are – EL Tuberose Gardenia, Chantecaille Pétales, V&A Gardenia Petale.

    The one that actually reminds me the MOST of gardenias, without smelling literally like a gardenia, is Un Matin d’Orage – which I think does that whole “garden after a rainstorm” thing really nicely 🙂 Louisiana gardens certainly smell similar after a rain! August 26, 2012 at 12:21am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a varied list, Wesley, and I agree with you about gardenia. Most gardenia named perfumes don’t even smell remotely like the flower. Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia was one of my favorite exceptions. August 27, 2012 at 9:56am Reply

      • Wesley Parker: Ah, I’m so nutty – I said A La Nuit has too much cumin but I was thinking of SL’s Fleurs d’Oranger. Silly me. A La Nuit is still too-too for me, though.

        You know, I’ve tried a sample of Velvet Gardenia – one I ordered – but it was so difficult for me that I wondered if my sample was off. It opened with a huge varnishy note, and then segued into scorched rubber. I couldn’t help but wonder, I mean if it’s SUPPOSED to smell like that – if maybe it’s a dark gardenia? Otherwise, maybe the top notes were badly damaged on what I sniffed.

        Anyhow – all that aside – inspired by your posts, I’ve been wearing Carnal Flower for the past couple of days and it’s just been heavenly (even with jeans, if that’s allowed!) 🙂 August 28, 2012 at 6:33pm Reply

        • bluegardenia: funny, i never get any cumin from SL fleurs d’oranger, though many people do. on me it’s orange blossom, tuberose, and black tea! gorgeous.
          i think velvet gardenia is definitely a dark scent. it opens with that hypnotizing and almost disturbing note that gardenias have – real gardenias almost remind me of toxic chemicals! but in a beautiful way, if that makes any sense. VG then seems to dry down to an almost blue cheese note! (my guess is that’s why it was unpopular enough to be axed.) i’m not crazy about the drydown but i absolutely love the opening.
          i mentioned this somewhere else on this thread i think, but have you smelled frederic malle’s candle and room scent, Un Gardenia La Nuit? it is the most realistic gardenia i’ve ever come across in my life! August 28, 2012 at 6:43pm Reply

  • Cheryl: My favourites have got to be: Annick Goutal Songes EDP, Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia and Serge Lutens Nuit de Cellophane (although the latter isn’t really BIG). 🙂 August 26, 2012 at 1:31am Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 But it hits the spot on a hot, summery day. August 27, 2012 at 9:57am Reply

  • Nicola: Love these sorts of posts! I had to come at BWFs sort of sideways as I had considered myself a dyed in the wool chypre girl with oriental tendencies. I admired Fracas but was scared of it. Then OJ Frangipani opened up my world and I think it helped that it has quite a fresh green opening. I like green fragrances too. When I realised Carnal Flower had a magnificently green opening too the conversion was complete. Now I will try any white flower fragance with an open mind and will end up loving quite a few. Carnal Flower being top of the heap. Your comment about working on marine scents also puts me in mind of one of my favourite summer scents, Ensoleille Moi. A tiare and calone bomb created by the brilliant Mathilde Laurent. August 26, 2012 at 5:25am Reply

    • Victoria: Nicola, I’m going to look for a sample of Ensoleille Moi. That sounds like something I would enjoy. Un Matin d’Orage has a fair bit of calone, but I like it very much. August 27, 2012 at 9:58am Reply

      • Nicola: As you enjoy Un Matin D’Orage I think you will at least appreciate Ensoleille Moi! Let me know if you have difficulty tracking down a sample because I’ll happily send you one from my stash. It wasn’t easy getting hold of a bottle but I eventually tracked one down in Clapham (south west London) of all places! August 28, 2012 at 9:19am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you so much for your kind offer, Nicola! I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Smiling at your good perfume hunting skills. 🙂 August 29, 2012 at 4:27am Reply

  • Eva S: I’ve only recently overcome my fear of BWF 🙂
    Favorites are FM Carnal Flower (again!), and lily-perfumes such as Guerlain Lys Soleia and Donna Karan Gold. I have a sample of Tuberose Criminelle but only tried it once so far, it was very intriguing.
    Honor Woman is lovely, maybe I’ll dig out my sample and make it my SOTD. August 26, 2012 at 5:34am Reply

    • Victoria: Tubereuse Criminelle is a strange perfume, but it’s so compelling. My mom once got a traffic violation ticket waived, because the police officer was so moved by her perfume. Imagine that! 🙂 August 27, 2012 at 9:59am Reply

      • Daisy: That’s awesome! I need to tell my mother that TC should be her next fragrance. She got pulled over by a cop last year too for running a yellow light. When asked if she knew what yellow meant, my mom looked right at the officer and said, “Go faster!”

        She had to go to traffic court two weeks later. August 27, 2012 at 10:04am Reply

        • Victoria: Ha ha! I see where your wit comes from. (Well, ok, the traffic court is no laughing matter, but I love your mom’s response). August 27, 2012 at 10:16am Reply

          • Daisy: She’s a firecracker 🙂

            You should have seen my father’s eyes at the fine. They rolled really far back into his head! August 27, 2012 at 10:28am Reply

  • Lyng: The first big white floral, I really liked, was OJ Frangipani. Not so with Songes. The opening smelled like an eraser to me but when I tried it again recently I found it quite wonderful. My default white floral is L’Artisan’s sweet and wistful La Haie Fleurie with its jasmine and honeysuckle. Other favourites are Lalique’s otherworldly Flora Bella and SL Fleur de Citronnier which I find more intriguing than its reputation. And I like both Tubereuse Criminelle and Datura Noir and Fracas but wouldn’t know when to wear them. Maybe when I’m home alone … August 26, 2012 at 7:34am Reply

    • Jillie: Lyng – I was thinking about Artisan’s La Haie all the time I’ve been reading – I love it too, and your description of it being sweet and wistful is spot on. It really does smell like the jasmine and honeysuckle covered arbour in our garden. Did you know that – of course! – it has been discontinued? I was so lucky to get two bottles in the sale a few weeks ago, and must make sure I use them before they turn. Why do they always stop making the perfumes I love? I’m beginning to think it’s personal! …… August 26, 2012 at 1:13pm Reply

      • Tammy: Why oh why did L’Artisan do it? When I heard that it was going to be discontinued, I bought 2 bottles. I’m trying to find something similar, so far no success. August 26, 2012 at 3:02pm Reply

        • Lyng: I think you’re om to something, Jillie, it must be personal. How nice to hear that you both managed to secured a couple of bottles before it’s puff! gone. I also found a bottle earlier this year – it only comes out for special occations. August 26, 2012 at 3:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: Add me to the La Haie Fleurie fan club. Like Jillie, I love your description. It’s heady, but still tender and soft. August 27, 2012 at 10:00am Reply

  • Parfumista: Unfortunately (price-wise and as it’s a limited edition) I recently fell head over heels for Xerjoff Casamorati Dama Bianca. A lovely, smooth, vanillic white floral bouqet. August 26, 2012 at 10:23am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s why I was trying to stay away from Xerjoff. They’re just too expensive! August 27, 2012 at 10:00am Reply

      • Daisy: I have a sample of the divine Dama Bianca as well. My itchy fingers are trying to keep away from it because I know it’s kumquat note is going to slay me. August 27, 2012 at 10:02am Reply

  • Jillie: Great item, Victoria. I sometimes find some big white florals difficult – they can give me a headache – but I love smelling them on other people. One of my friends graduated from Joy, to Fracas and then, finally, to Estee’s Tuberose & Gardenia; this is now her signature perfume and suits her so well. I just can’t wear it, which is probably just as well as it wouldn’t be fair to copy her! Hope you are now having a very well deserved long, hot, luxurious bath. August 26, 2012 at 1:19pm Reply

    • Victoria: Last night I was too tired for that, but I hope that tonight I will do it. A bath with a few drops of jasmine oil… That would be so good! Thank you, Jillie. August 27, 2012 at 10:01am Reply

  • bluegardenia: I’m as die-hard a perfumista as any, but I’m only interested in white florals. Other perfumes are beautiful to me and i do like to smell them once in a while but would never need a bottle of anything unless it was a jasminy floral. Fracas is number one, along with l’artisan tubereuse, which I love on its own but I sometimes blend with creed tubereuse Indiana. Beyond love, carnal flower, tocca touch (discontinued and incredible), la haie fleurie, la chasse extreme, nuits de tubereuse (does this count?), chanel gardenia (must try beige), mpg tubereuse, mpg jardin blanc, prada’s boutique tuberose scent in the tiny bottle, heeley bubblegum chic (most recent favorite), lutens fleurs d’oranger, a la nuit and tubereuse criminelle (I love it so much but always get a headache when I wear it), Kate spade and white shoulders and versace blonde and gaultier fragile. The list is endless! I have at least a hundred full bottles and I cherish every one! August 26, 2012 at 5:48pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’ve covered most of Big White Florals! I had no idea there were so many fans of this genre out there, but I should have suspected.

      Nuit de Tubereuse certainly counts! Such a distinctive, unusual treatment of this popular floral note. August 27, 2012 at 10:03am Reply

      • bluegardenia: I always think of it as a relatively unpopular category as well (most of my family and friends seem to get headaches from big white florals or think they smell too animalic) but I feel that among people with taste and style, it’s a very beloved genre! Victoria I will email you about an artwork I did inspired by BWF scents.
        Forgot one favorite – tom ford velvet gardenia. What an amazing scent. August 27, 2012 at 10:23am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you very much. Please do! I would love to learn about it. August 27, 2012 at 10:53am Reply

  • Moi: I’m an unabashed white flower lover, never mind the time of year, and they make up the majority of my collection. But my absolute favorite is Parfums de Nicolai Number One. IMHO, one of the most beautiful perfumes ever created. August 26, 2012 at 7:27pm Reply

    • bluegardenia: I must try this! August 26, 2012 at 8:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: One of the best from Nicolai! It won a prestigious Golden Scentstrip award several years ago. August 27, 2012 at 10:04am Reply

  • solanace: I’m really into jasmin and citrus flowers, which are blooming beautifuly in my garden despite of the “winter”. Perfumewise, I adore Joy. My aunt had it in extrait de parfum when I was a kid, and it was “the thing”. I’ve worn it since – albeit in less luxurious concentrations… Songes, A la Nuit and Fleurs de Citronier also come to mind. Must try PdN Number One and Sarrasins. I’ve been afraid of Tuberose since I got tired of Poison in the late 80’s, but I think now is the time for getting a few samples. Thank’s for the inspiration! August 26, 2012 at 7:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: Poison is one of a kind, but there are many other tuberose fragrances that are less overwhelming. Maybe, try something like L’Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse, which is earthier and less sweet, but still very wearable. August 27, 2012 at 10:06am Reply

  • caro78: I adore white florals and I wear them all year round although they bloom in warm weather
    Tuberose: Carnal Flower, Saks for Her
    Gardenia: TF Velvet Gardenia, Yves Rocher Gardenia ( best gardenia ever, I will never understand why they discontinue it. If this was a niche I would still shell of the big bucks for this)
    Orange Blossom: SL d’Oranger, Jm Orange Blossom
    Jasmin: Lust, Jasmin Rouge
    Tiare: Ensoleille Moi, the pre reformulated CSP Tiare

    Dying to try OJ Frangipani. So far I haven’t found a scent that captures the beauty of this blossom August 26, 2012 at 9:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t tried Yves Rocher Gardenia, but if it’s anything like their Lilas (Lilac), I bet it’s special. They engage talented perfumers and give them a decent budget to create fragrances. Not like some big brands that let perfumers create on a soap budget and then sell products at a premium markup. August 27, 2012 at 10:08am Reply

  • caro78: Adding for Honeysuckle I love the sadly discontinued Jo Malone Jasmin Honeysuckle August 26, 2012 at 9:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: Barbara’s comment below reminded me of my honeysuckle favorite, Marc Jacobs Blush. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued.

      On OJ Frangipani, I’m not sure that it smells like the flowers on the tree, but it’s such a joyful, effervescent perfume that it was a love at first sniff for me. August 27, 2012 at 10:09am Reply

      • caro78: OJ Frangipani sounds dreamy. I’m sure I would just love it and I’m kicking myself for not going to the OJ boutique when I was in London

        I can only console myself with Fragonard Belle de Soleil, which has a very mellow frangipani note. Lovely but it doesn’t WOW me. I like my white florals BIG. August 27, 2012 at 6:55pm Reply

  • Barbara: My first BWF was Poison! Others I like: Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle, Calypso Jasmin, Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion, MJ Blush. August 27, 2012 at 8:44am Reply

    • Victoria: I love Gardenia Passion soap, and I’m disappointed that it’s not made anymore. Or perhaps, it is but not available outside Annick Goutal boutiques? August 27, 2012 at 10:10am Reply

  • ShelleySmells: Bluegardenia I hear you!
    Love and swoon for the floral genre…even though I have so many bottles that cannot even be possible to use all in this lifetime:)
    My first was Estee Lauder’s Beautiful in high school which I’m sure I doused myself with….as friends would comment in the hallways “I smell Shelley”….but I cannot help myself as these BWF really have a hold on me. I also just recently tried Bubblegum Chic too and its on that crazy list of mine as well… August 27, 2012 at 2:20pm Reply

    • bluegardenia: I feel very moved by these floral scents as well. It must be primal. The beauty is so intense!
      So glad you like bubblegum chic too. I’m not much of a fruity scent lover but the slight strawberry edge it has is such an original and unexpected accent to the white floral blast. Can’t wait to get a bottle of this! August 28, 2012 at 2:21am Reply

  • caro78: IMHO Gardenia is even better than lilac. It’s truly a realistic spot on take on gardenia. I’m originally from Argentina and we grew gardenias that would bloom in the summer. I can tell you I’m very familiar with the smell and YR is IT.
    I can see why some people might find it too literal though
    I live in chilly Canada now and we don’t have gardenias in here. My YR Gardenia takes me back to my native country in a sniff August 27, 2012 at 6:51pm Reply

    • bluegardenia: This is so good to know. I must seek out YR’s gardenia now! So far the most stunningly real-smelling gardenia scent I’ve ever come across (and of course I’ve smelled hundreds of gardenia scents) is the Frederic Malle candle and room scent Un Gardenia La Nuit. It is truly uncanny, and breathtaking. August 28, 2012 at 2:24am Reply

  • Little Red: Big white floral? Why that’s my favorite scent category! I think everyone that I’ve tried and loved has already been mentioned so I won’t repeat any names. But hands down, my favorite category. August 27, 2012 at 10:19pm Reply

  • Nicholas: Lillies. Other than my obsession with jasmine(my best friend now calls me that) i love stargazers. The colour, the scent…Im still hunting for the perfect stargazer soliflore. In the meantime I’ve been unable to stop wearing Donna Karan’s Gold. The heat and humidity where I currently live are oppressive. That said the way it blooms in the heat is something special. Lily, indolic jasmine, something that smells like bananas and spicy clove then amber have me swooning-at myself-all day long. I hope it qualifies as a BWF August 28, 2012 at 1:16pm Reply

    • Sebastiaan den Braverick: stargazers ? > Yosh October 4, 2012 at 3:56am Reply

  • ShelleySmells: Yes it must be primal!
    Some food for thought…gee I think I’m hungry too…In the samples that I ordered of mainly floral was some that you might want to try if you haven’t already…..Keiko Mecheri Isles Lointaines…Pilar&Lucy Tiptoing through the chambers of the moon…both were surprising pleasant especially the former.
    And got to try Bruno Acampora Jamine T…so dark almost deathly in its feel,beautiful but a bit to haunting for me. August 28, 2012 at 3:37pm Reply

  • ShelleySmells: Sorry….I meant Jasmine T 😉 August 28, 2012 at 3:42pm Reply

  • Brian Shea: “It may seem like madness to wear lush, heady perfumes in the summer, but with light application, tuberose, jasmine and other white floral scents can bloom so well in the warm air that you will be a convert, even if you didn’t care for these notes.”

    That’s when these flowers bloom! And, they being tropical are in pretty much constant warmth anyway. When one wears a white floral perfume in the summertime, one is just going with the seasons, in my opinion. A sultry tropical summer(or spring) night or afternoon is scented with the odor of tropical flowers in bloom. July 15, 2013 at 2:16pm Reply

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