Perfume for the Next Generation

How do you share your love of perfume with others? Patricia draws upon her experience as a parent and looks for the appropriate perfumes for teenagers.

One of my first initiations into the adult world was having several bottles of my very own perfume lined up on my dresser top. The bottles containing Miss Dior, Estée Lauder Youth Dew, Chantilly, and Ambush were external representations of the changes in me that were gradually taking me from a game of tag in the playground to lipstick and prom dresses. Some of my perfumes were chosen by my mother (Miss Dior and Youth Dew) and some were chosen based on what my friends were currently wearing (Chantilly and Ambush).

the-fable

For those of us who love perfume, a natural offshoot of our interest is the desire to share it with others: friends, family, and those younger than us, whether they are our siblings, children, nieces and nephews, or family friends. If you have a young person in your life that you would like to initiate into the world of perfume, here are a few suggestions.

  1. Consider his or her age. A preteen is often more amenable to your making the selection, or at least having an input in the decision-making process. An older teen would be more likely to have specific ideas about fragrance, often based on what his or her peer group is currently wearing.
  2. Make the shopping trip a fun and special occasion, perhaps with a shared lunch as part of the deal. Teens (and adults!) are in better humor and more open minded to new things when well fed.
  3. Do a lot of listening and limit your input to encouraging the teen to try a number of different scents. Fragrance likes and dislikes are determined over a very long time and only by sampling many different types of perfume.
  4. Never, ever make fun of or disapprove of the teen’s choice. Just think back on your own first fragrances and consider how far you’ve come in your taste level over the years.
  5. Set a price limit. There is no need for a teen to wear Chanel or niche fragrances unless he or she wants to save up to purchase them with their own money. Many very nice fragrances are available in smaller bottles, making them more affordable.
  6. Ultimately, put a smile on your face and buy what the teen wants, not what you think would be appropriate. Perfume is expensive, and it would be a waste of your hard-earned money to have a bottle of perfume sprayed once or twice and then sit unused. Better to go along with the choice of a fruity-floral celebrity scent that the teen will actually use and enjoy.

Now let’s go shopping! Since my children are no longer teens, I depended on the advice of the sales associates in the various stores I visited. However, unless you have a trusted sales associate with whom you have worked in the past, always take their advice with a bit of caution as training and experience vary widely from person to person.

My first visit was to a local discount perfumery, where the sales staff recommended two perfumes by Philosophy: Amazing Grace and Pure Grace. Both are pleasant well-made florals, with the green notes in Pure Grace making it somewhat more complex and interesting, to my nose at least. Two ounces of Pure Grace were available for $40, and Amazing Grace was discounted to $35.20. Pure Grace and Amazing Grace are also both available at Sephora in one-half ounce spray bottles, quite reasonably priced at $15 and $16 respectively.

SJP NYC by Sarah Jessica Parker ($43.19 for 1.7 oz.) was also suggested as one that was popular with teens, although I found the fruity sweet vanilla to be especially cloying. Better would be SJP’s Lovely (tested from my own collection), which really is a well-made modern floral in an appealing egg-shaped pink bottle. Lovely is available in quantities of 1.7 oz. at online discounters for under $25.

Next stop was Sephora, where we bypassed the products by Justin Bieber and his ilk and went straight to Marc Jacobs who, the sales associate assured me, was a designer line coveted by those in middle school. Unfortunately, the opening fruit punch notes of Honey smelled medicinal and headache inducing. Better was a sample of Daisy, which while fairly uninteresting was at least a pleasant green fruity-floral. The smallest “cute” bottles (decorated with bees or flowers on top) are 1 oz for Honey at $52 and 1.7 oz for Daisy at $75. The .33 oz Honey rollerball and the .24 oz Daisy rollerball are both priced at $22.

Most successful, in my opinion, was the trip to the Jo Malone counter at Bloomingdale’s. There, the sales associate recommended two fragrances as being the most popular with teens: Nectarine Blossom & Honey and English Pear and Freesia, in that order. As I’m not very fond of pear notes in fragrances, the English Pear and Freesia didn’t appeal at all and seemed like a run-of-the-mill fruity floral, although like all Jo Malone fragrances, it is well made.

Nectarine Blossom & Honey, however, surprised me with its realistic nectarine note, its sillage, and its tenacity. I happily wore it to the office the following day and could still smell it on my skin at day’s end. Though I won’t likely purchase a full bottle, it was pleasing and well crafted enough that I’m likely to use up the entire sample. Both fragrances are available in 1 oz spray bottles for $60.

Have fun shopping with your teen, and remember that your perfume purchase is really just the medium for cementing your relationship and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

If you have other suggestions of fragrances appropriate for teenagers, boys or girls, please share. 

Painting: The Fable by Berthe Morisot, 1883. via Wiki-images, some rights reserved.

1 oz = 30ml; 1.7 oz = 50ml; .33 oz = 9.7ml; .24 oz = 7ml.

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112 Comments

  • Hannah: I’m 24 and look closer to 12 and the last time I went to a perfume shop (a few days ago) the sales associate really tried to dictate my tastes based on the fact that I’m a young woman. It was the kind of shop where you can’t touch anything yourself, too. So she mostly just picked up random florals and told me they’re perfect for me.

    Anyway, Little Hannah loved Lolita Lempicka. The Lolita Lempicka perfumes are nice scents in cute bottles, so they will always be my first recommendations for younger girls/women. March 20, 2014 at 8:06am Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Hannah, I love Lolita Lempicka too and own one of those cute bottles. What a great choice for a teen. I must admit, though, that I haven’t tested any of the flankers. March 20, 2014 at 10:13am Reply

    • Hannah: Also, I was thinking about niche for teens and I thought of Smell Bent. March 20, 2014 at 10:18am Reply

    • Jaime: I’m in the same boat! I look young, so whenever I let a sale associate recommend scents, they always pull out all the candy/fruity ones, so then i have to be nice and wait until they are done their spiel! March 20, 2014 at 1:45pm Reply

    • Elena: Yep, me too. I get the hard sell for the fruity floral of the week, but you know, I wouldn’t be surprised if most people do regardless of age. They do seem to be super popular across the board! March 20, 2014 at 4:18pm Reply

      • Ashley Anstaett: I think that those are just the ones that a lot of people buy, so they push them. I get that a ton, too, but again, I also look like a youngster! March 20, 2014 at 6:21pm Reply

        • Hannah: The situation I was referring to in my comment wasn’t a sales associate trying to push something popular. She was redirecting anything I showed interest in (I told her I liked incense and woods and asked to try the Aramis Calligraphy scents) with ”No, this is for a young woman…” and was telling me that florals were right for me. March 21, 2014 at 3:49am Reply

          • Kay: Sounds like a horrible salesperson! Having worked in the service industry, I have to say you should call the store and report him/her to the management. Or, if they are a manager, simply say “I came in and made it clear what I was looking for. Since you wouldn’t listen to my preferences, I will take my business somewhere that will”. March 21, 2014 at 10:40pm Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: What a great article, Patricia! I didn’t wear perfumes in my teens and sadly, my mum hated perfumes. But I would have been thrilled if someone could have taken me on a perfume shopping trip. I only received proper perfumes as high school graduation presents (Diorissimo and Miracle) and having them made me feel like a grown up woman. 🙂

    Some of my suggestions for teenage girls:
    – Cacharel Amor Amor
    – DKNY Be Delicious and Red Delicious
    – Lolita Lempicka Lolita Lempicka and L de Lolita Lempicka (they would really love the bottles too)
    – Guerlain La Petite Robe Noir
    – Kenzo Flower
    – Prada Candy
    – Lanvin Eclat d’Arpège
    – Ralph Lauren Ralph (actually this was a really popular perfume during my high school years so smelling it makes me feel nostalgic) March 20, 2014 at 8:11am Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you, Anne, for your nice comment and great selection of perfumes for teens. One of the SAs (the one in Sephora, I think) recommended the RL Big Pony series, but I didn’t care much for them so left them out of the article. As a horse lover, though, I wanted one of those colorful bottles for myself and can imagine that a teen into horses might just love having a big bottle of one of the fruity-florals on her dresser top. March 20, 2014 at 10:20am Reply

      • Anne of Green Gables: I think for many teens (and also adults), bottle design is also an important factor. I wouldn’t buy a perfume just for the bottle design but great perfume in a nice bottle is always a plus! March 20, 2014 at 4:12pm Reply

        • Patricia: Hear, hear! I do love a pretty bottle. (I’m talking to you, Tendre Est la Nuit!) March 20, 2014 at 6:07pm Reply

    • Truehollywood: I wore Ralph Lauren Ralph in school. What a great choice! March 20, 2014 at 3:44pm Reply

      • Anne of Green Gables: Hi Truehollywood, glad to meet someone who still remembers it. It was such a fresh and sporty yet feminine scent. March 20, 2014 at 4:07pm Reply

  • Martyn: I find this fascinating, if only from a purely theoretical point of view (I have no children to initiate into the world of scent, nor any likelihood of new arrivals; even my nieces and nephews are young adults now). The advice to find a sales “associate” who knows what he or she is talking about is good whatever our age or maturity.

    Just one niggle: I wish Patricia (and others who make similar contributions) would give us a conversion into metric quantities too, for on my side of the Atlantic most of us have no idea what 1.7 ounces looks like. March 20, 2014 at 8:12am Reply

    • Victoria: 1.7 ounces = 50ml. The strings of numbers look awkward in the sentence, so the conversions are added at the bottom of the text. March 20, 2014 at 8:53am Reply

      • Martyn: “The strings of numbers look awkward in the sentence, so the conversions are added at the bottom of the text.”

        Did I miss this? Shows how observant I am! Thanks, anyway. M. March 20, 2014 at 1:13pm Reply

    • Patricia: Thanks, Martyn, for your comment. I agree with the need to find a knowledgeable sales associate. I haven’t really connected with anyone special, but thought that the SAs at the Jo Malone counter were quite well trained and knew their product. March 20, 2014 at 10:22am Reply

      • Martyn: I was at the airport the other day, and wandering around the duty-free perfume counters waiting for the gate to be announced. I asked a bored-looking “SA” on the Hermes stand for a blotter squirt of “Jardin Sur Le Nil”. With almost an audible sigh she went into the usual spiel, and tried to push me towards “Terre”, as Hannah describes above; but when I mentioned that I’d read in Chandler Burr’s book how J.-C. Ellena had researched this particular fragrance, she changed in an instant and could not have been more helpful. It must be mind-numbingly tedious to work in one of those outlets, day in and day out, though … March 20, 2014 at 1:24pm Reply

        • Patricia: Hi Martyn, Yes, and especially at an airport, where there are no windows and no sense of day or night. Dismal.

          Though in Paris last fall, I found a lovely SA at the airport who filled a purchased Travelo with Coco parfum from a tester since it wasn’t available to buy. The best $12 I’ve ever spent, especially since Coco is my HG perfume :). Sigh. March 20, 2014 at 5:54pm Reply

  • Sandra: Great article! I have no teens or anyone younger to help pick out a fragrance. This is very helpful for anyone that does come along.

    When I was in my teens everyone loved CK one. One person got it and then the whole world bought it.

    In college the big thing was Tommy Girl.

    From a younge age, I didn’t like CK1 or Tommy Girl. My favorite was Obsession, which was very odd for someone my age. Everytime I smell Ambre Sultan I think of obsession for some reason..

    My grandmother wore Tresor and Escape. But the only scent I really remember from her was her Biolage shampoo.

    My mom wore Oscar De la Renta. It was very strong and sufficating.

    Some scents for the younger crowd:

    Carven Parfum and the new L’Eau
    Guerlain MPRN
    Guerlain Aqua Allegoria
    Guerlain Shalimar Initial
    Guerlain Innsolence
    Ralph Lauren Romance
    Cacheral Amor Amor & Anais
    Prada Candy
    Miss Dior
    Bvlgari omnia collection

    Happy first Day of Spring everyone!!! March 20, 2014 at 8:24am Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Sandra, Thank you for you comment and for your great list of suggestions. Prada Candy is getting quite a bit of love here, and I think it would be great on a teen and that a teen would like the playful design of the bottle (although it’s not to my taste). Plus it has the cachet of a designer name. Good choice! March 20, 2014 at 10:27am Reply

  • Caroline: Lots of good & practical advice! Also at Sephora, suggest a couple of the Fresh scents, such as Hesperides or Sugar Lemon. The brand also offers very attractively packaged soaps. Agree with the Prada Candy suggestion above as well. March 20, 2014 at 8:41am Reply

    • Patricia: Thanks, Caroline. I think that the Fresh scents are pretty popular with teens. I haven’t explored that line, but like the look of the plain but attractive bottles.

      I love fragranced soaps, so will have to check them out. A Sugar Lemon soap sounds divine! March 20, 2014 at 10:31am Reply

  • Naz: Nectarine Blossom & Honey was one of my first “serious” perfume loves as a teenager, so I wholeheartedly agree with that one. Other suggestions based on what I liked at the time:

    – Britney Spears Fantasy & Midnight Fantasy
    – Prada Candy & Candy L’Eau
    – Dolce & Gabbana #3 L’Imperatrice
    – Lolita Lempicka
    – Carven le Parfum (and possibly L’Eau de Toilette, though I’ve yet to try that one)
    – Tocca Liliana
    – the Laura Mercier Eau Gourmande line
    – Nina Ricci Nina
    – Bvlgari Omnia Green Jade & Coral
    – Acqua di Gioia
    – the DKNY Be Delicious scents. They’ve had some cute flankers in the past, and the Tart Key Lime (from the 2012 Sweet Delicious set) is in my summer rotation.
    – Lolita Lempicka Elle L’Aime
    – any of the Escada spring/summer LEs, like Taj Sunset
    – Hanae Mori (Butterfly, as well as any of the numbered scents)
    – anything from the Pacifica line

    So basically, I’d start with sweet/fruity scents and go from there based on the person’s feedback.

    My mom loves perfume too, so when I decided I wanted to start wearing perfume (at 15), we both had fun with the sampling process and figuring out my likes/dislikes. I went with DKNY Be Delicious, and I wore it every single day. March 20, 2014 at 9:06am Reply

    • Patricia: Thanks so much for your suggestions, Naz. The Pacifica line is a great idea for a teen, and the price is right!

      I have a small roll-on of Mediterranean Fig, which I bought at my local Whole Foods grocery store, and I like it very much. There seems to be a wide variety of primarily fruity and floral fragrances. March 20, 2014 at 10:43am Reply

      • Karen: Last year I took my daughter, son and his fiancé to the National arboretum nearby. We found the lilacs in full bloom and had them to ourselves for a wonderful picnic. The fragrance was truly incredible.

        I bought the girls and myself Pacifica’s lilac solid perfume and it’s a beautiful reminder of a magical day. March 20, 2014 at 1:47pm Reply

        • Patricia: Hi Karen, I can’t believe it, but I wore Frederic Malle’s En Passant today, another beautiful lilac fragrance.

          What a wonderful memory of a day spent together! March 20, 2014 at 5:58pm Reply

  • rosarita: Excellent article, Patricia! My husband took our daughter perfume shopping for the first time when she was 1she’s open to suggestions and on a trip to Chicago. She chose Tommy Girl. When the trip was repeated three years later, she chose Lancombe Miracle which smelled wonderful on her. Now a young adult, she loves Coco Mademoiselle and is exploring the Tocca line for lighter spring scents; she’s open to suggestions and I can share samples which is fun for both of us. March 20, 2014 at 9:08am Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you, rosarita, and how lucky are you to have a husband willing to take your daughter perfume shopping!

      It’s fun watching how their tastes change as they grown older, isn’t it? One of my two daughters likes perfume and I love giving her samples from my bottles. March 20, 2014 at 10:51am Reply

  • Figuier: Great article, Patricia! As I recall, teenage herd mentality meant that perfume was something of a tribal tattoo; but although fitting in was paramount, the other requisite was (paradoxically!) to not appear slavishly conformist or desperate to attract guys, which would have been v uncool. The trick was to wear lightly and either to find a scent that would be quirky but not too much so – e.g. an aquatic that wasn’t CKOne, a Cacharel perfume that wasn’t Anais Anais – or else impose a recondite personal choice on everyone else as the new ‘in’. Teens in the 90s wore all sorts – Obsession, Issey Miyake, Tender Poison, Body Shop White Musk, Dalimix, Tresor, Versace Red Jeans.

    Things may have changed a lot since then, but still perhaps it doesn’t make sense to pigeonhole teens as inevitably drawn to light, fruity-floral shampoo-style scents; how about Demeter, for a range of good value & uncomplicated but unusual fragrances? Or men’s fragrances, like Bvlgari Black, for girls?

    Also, as a 15-year-old I wore Dior Dune and Nina Ricci Deci Dela, paid for by copious amounts of babysitting. How about a ‘subsidised’ purchase if the teen’s preferences run to Chanel or other high-end brands? March 20, 2014 at 9:13am Reply

    • Patricia: Ooh, Demeter! What a great idea. I just purchased Gin & Tonic and can’t wait to wear it this summer.

      Thank you, Figuier, for your comment and suggestions. I agree that many teens actively avoid blending with the crowd and seek out clothing, jewelry, and perfume that proclaims their individuality. Generally they grow up to be very interesting adults.

      And I’m all for subsidizing high-end perfume purchases :). March 20, 2014 at 11:09am Reply

  • Austenfan: Lovely post Patricia!
    Not having children I find it hard to recommend things to that age group. If one wanted to give a teenager something special, I think the Goutals are still a great place to start exploring niche.
    Mainstream houses I recommend to friends are both Bvlgari and Hermès, not the cheapest options though. March 20, 2014 at 9:29am Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you, Austenfan! The Goutal line would be an excellent choice to introduce a teen to niche fragrances. I can think of several that would be perfect for the right young person.

      My younger daughter, now in her twenties, has worn Bvlgari’s Omni Crystalline for years :). Unlike her mother, she has a real signature scent that she is loyal to. March 20, 2014 at 11:17am Reply

      • Austenfan: Omnia Crystalline is one of my “guilty” pleasures. Not a great scent but quite lovely and wearable. How nice that she sticks to just one fragrance. March 20, 2014 at 12:22pm Reply

        • Patricia: She wears others occasionally, but Omnia Crystalline is “hers.” March 20, 2014 at 5:59pm Reply

      • Heather H: Which ones would you suggest Patricia, please share:) March 20, 2014 at 4:05pm Reply

        • Heather H: for Annick Goutal March 20, 2014 at 4:06pm Reply

          • Austenfan: I’m not Patricia but I would start with the lighter/crispier ones:
            Ninfeo Mio, Le Jasmin, Chèvrefeuille, Petite Chérie, La Violette and maybe even Quel Amour.
            And of the masculines: Duel, Mandragore (Pourpre),Hadrien, Nuit Etoilée. March 20, 2014 at 4:12pm Reply

          • Patricia: What she said :).

            Ninfeo Mio is one of my all-time favorites for summer, but I also like the others listed. March 20, 2014 at 6:02pm Reply

    • Heather H: Thanks guys. I guess I will have to wait 13/14 years when my daughter is a teen:) It goes by fast! March 21, 2014 at 10:59pm Reply

      • Austenfan: I think Goutal had a fragrance for children as well, at some point. It’s called Eau de Bonpoint. Another great fragrance for children is by Parfums de Nicolaï and is called:Petit Ange, very soft with some lilac.
        So you don’t have to wait 13 odd years. March 22, 2014 at 4:43pm Reply

  • Michaela: Great advice, Patricia! The meal makes me laugh, but the idea is brilliant.
    ‘Ultimately, put a smile on your face and buy what the teen wants, not what you think would be appropriate.’ – that’s crucial, indeed.
    My preteen niece often plays with my samples and perfumes. We both love to share. She decided she likes a few Demeters so far, Aquolina Pink Sugar, Bulgari Omnia and Elizabeth Arden Green Tea for herself. March 20, 2014 at 9:54am Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Michaela, Your niece has great taste! I can see that all of those fragrances would be wonderful on a preteen.

      You are a good aunt to share your love of perfume with her :). March 20, 2014 at 11:19am Reply

  • Mals86: For me, perfume was not, per se, an Adult Thing – my grandmother was wont to give me young-smelling things from Avon (a solid perfume in a plastic compact shaped like an apple with a worm in it, or a rollerball shaped like Rapunzel’s tower), and I wore them. But my other grandmother gave me a small 1oz bottle of Karl Lagerfeld Chloe edt when I was 12, and in conjunction with my mother’s green light on discreet makeup, I felt like a teenager.

    That was in 1980. The Chloe was shortly joined by a bottle of Prince Matchabelli Cachet, a restrained floral chypre Mom thought more suitable than Chloe’s big white flowers. I didn’t love Cachet. Fragrances someone gives you are perhaps not as successful as the ones you pick yourself.

    When my daughter was 12, I forgot what I knew about Cachet and bought her a small half-ounce bottle of a cheap fruity floral, I think a Mary Kate and Ashley one. She didn’t wear it much, but then she wasn’t interested in “girly” things like jewelry or makeup, either, and she was not in the least interested in smelling like other girls her age. Some kids are not.

    As I got deeper into perfume, though, I began letting her smell my samples and tell me what she thought, and I started to map out her preferences. She likes dry woody florals like Penhaligon’s Violetta, and Prada Infusion d’Iris, and she also likes semi-gourmands like Hanae Mori Butterfly and Bath & Body Works Dark Kiss.

    So. All that long comment (sorry) was really simply to say that it might be best to go sniffing with the young person you’d like to introduce to fragrance. Share samples. Talk about what certain perfumes make you think of. Don’t shy away from the big “adult” perfumes at the department store – those might actually be more appealing to your special friend. If what your teenager wants is the fruity-musky-floral, sure, buy it. You’ve got a relationship with this young person – nurture that through fragrance!

    My sons, by the way, are easier to buy for. The older has a pretty good nose and can pick out notes in what I’m wearing; he likes spicy, soft woody fragrances like Egoiste and cKOne Shock for Him, as well as VC&A Midnight in Paris. The younger? He’s 13, and could not possibly care less. But the time will come when he IS interested in what he smells like, and I’ll be ready with samples. March 20, 2014 at 9:59am Reply

    • Patricia: What fun to have sons as well as a daughter to share your love of perfume with!

      I really like how you expressed this as nuturing through perfume. You certainly have done this with your own children.

      Thanks, Mals86, for sharing your story :). March 20, 2014 at 4:29pm Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: I never had daughters but I do have three sons and a bottle of cologne was always in each one’s Christmas stocking…and each one was different based on what I thought they would like and would work for them. By the time I was 11 years old I was interested in perfumes. The first one I wore was Prince Matchabelli’s Wind Song. By the time I was in my teens I was into the big time scents like Lanvin’s Arpege and My Sin, Chanel No. 5, 19 and 22, Cabochard Ma Griffe. My first job was in a downtown area and nearby the building I worked in was a small perfume shop selling all the classic scents. I would stop there during my lunch break and test out a different perfume each time. When I was a child the only perfume my Mother wore was Midnight in Paris. I am the one who got her interested in perfume and then Gerlain’s L’heure Bleu became her favorite fragrance. Now I have a collection of perfumes that has expanded to several hundred. March 20, 2014 at 10:23am Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Phyllis, Someone asked me today how large my collection is. I gulped and admitted that I have no idea, especially if you count all the decants and samples!

      I’m so glad to hear that your sons found a bottle of cologne in their stockings each Christmas. March 20, 2014 at 4:32pm Reply

  • Ariadne: Such fun Patricia! I agree wholeheartedly with not even HINTING at an opinion of what a young person chooses to perfume themselves with. That is all part of discovering who they are and the impact they have on others….good or bad.
    My daughter found perfume at a very young age all by herself by hording the scent strips she ripped out of my beauty magazines. She carried them around in her “purse”.
    Last night she and I cruised Sephora and stumbled upon Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black and both LOVED it (it reminded us a great deal of a coveted Kilian but at a much better price!). Otherwise we gravitate to very different scents but are always interested in the other’s choices.
    I wore some quite inappropriate perfumes as a young woman but no one died because of it and I have lovely lingering memories of those moments. March 20, 2014 at 10:31am Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Ariadne, I laughed out loud twice while reading your comment. First when picturing your daughter when little pulling the magazine perfume samples out and putting them in her “purse.”

      And second, when reading that no one died from your former inappropriate perfume choices.

      It’s all about the memories and the relationships, isn’t it? March 20, 2014 at 4:36pm Reply

  • jirish: Not all teens are the same or have similar taste, so I think it’s really important to get their input. I’ve taken two of my nieces out to get their first bottles of perfume – one picked The Pour Une Ete, and the other picked Caleche Eau Delicate. My son picked Terre d’Hermes for his first scent and also likes Jo Malone’s Sweet Lime and Cedar. March 20, 2014 at 10:50am Reply

    • Patricia: No, they certainly don’t have similar tastes, do they? Though your nieces and son certainly have good taste…at least in my opinion!

      I haven’t tried Sweet Lime and Cedar, but it sounds delicious, combining two of my favorite notes: citrus and woody. The other three I own and like very much. March 20, 2014 at 4:43pm Reply

  • NeenaJ: I’m so glad you mentioned the Jo Malone’s as that’s the first place my mind went.
    Tocca is also a lovely range carried by Sephora with a nice range of notes/personalities and is available in adorable mini bottles.
    Demeter is a fun and cheap place to start as most of their concoctions are true to life scents and can lead to fun discoveries of notes, likes and dislikes. In the US, they are carried at CVS drugstores.
    For boys, head to Sephora and sniff some well made scents like Dior Homme, Atelier Cologne range, etc. to get an idea of the notes they like. If they love a pricey one, there are always discount stores and decants. March 20, 2014 at 10:52am Reply

    • Patricia: Thanks for your great ideas, NeenaJ!

      I am very fond of Tocca scents and their lovely bottles. I only own a mini of one, Bianca, a pretty lemon/rose combo, but enjoy it very much in the summertime. I also have samples of some of the others and need to try them soon, as they tend to be appropriate for spring. March 20, 2014 at 4:48pm Reply

  • Andy: My age puts me closer to the teen than the sheperding perfumista relative in this case, so I tried to imagine myself on the receiving end. I hadn’t ever thought about it before, but for a teen it sounds like such a wonderful day (and probably a welcome change of pace), to go out for lunch and then bond together at the fragrance counter. The children and relatives of those here are lucky to have such thoughtful and generous people in their lives.

    I hate to set gender boundaries when it comes to fragrance, but I imagine Lolita Lempicka perfumes would be nice to introduce to teenage girls, and I would probably reccomend that teenage boys try the Bulgari “homme” masculines; they’re not particularly unique but all have a nice polished feel. When from time to time I don’t feel like trying and want to wear something conventional, I do like Pour Homme Soir. March 20, 2014 at 11:14am Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Andy! Thanks for providing a needed male perspective here.

      I agree with you about gender boundaries, but as a starting point your suggestions are right on target. Some girls may turn up their noses at LL perfumes as “too sweet” and some boys may think that Pour Homme “smells like Dad.” But we can go on from there to find something that feels “just right” for them.

      When I was a teen, my father came home from a trip to one of the islands with a bottle of Royall Lyme, which I promptly stole and happily wore for the rest of high school! March 20, 2014 at 4:55pm Reply

  • Lauren: I have my own perfumes that I use when I want to smell and feel younger (Marc Jacobs Honey, for instance). Anyone who has a perfume wardrobe needs something sweet and youthful to make them nostalgic and, perhaps, a little lighter on one’s feet. March 20, 2014 at 11:28am Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Lauren, I love your comment. And the older we get, the more we need to feel a little lighter on our feet ;).

      What else do you like to wear that would fall into the sweet and youthful category? March 20, 2014 at 4:57pm Reply

  • Carolyn: I think it’s worth having kids experiment with fragrance from either side of the gender counters. I try to stay away from the “girl” scents vs. the “boy” scents (I’m very much into allowing gender to develop via nature, not via societal conventions when possible). My daughter loves wearing Lucky You for men (her dad wore it) and is very drawn to Jaipur Homme, Givenchy Pi and Slumberhouse Jeke (all of which I wear). She also loves JHAG Lady Vengeance, Cartier Baiser du Dragon and Bvlgari Omnia Amethyste. While generally not thought of as “young girl” scents, I won’t pigeon hole her into male vs female, young vs old. Although she does not like going shopping so she’s usually sniffing from my collection and samples. March 20, 2014 at 11:42am Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Carolyn, I love your daughter’s choices. She is truly an individualist, and I’m sure that is due in large part to your encouragement in that direction.

      My younger daughter, although now in her twenties, still likes to sample and sniff from my collection every time she comes home. It’s a great way to bond, and maintain a connection, isn’t it? March 20, 2014 at 5:02pm Reply

      • Elena: I hope this is the case with my daughters! I had a real budding perfumista on my hands a while ago who as a 2.5/3 year old loved CB I Hate Perfume Black March because of the “dirt” note in it and always asked for it, but has since tapered off a bit. I would so love to have this be something we can enjoy together for many, many years to come. I think Patricia’s advice is spot on, too. March 20, 2014 at 11:08pm Reply

      • Carolyn: Oh yes, she’s definitely her own person. Although she wasn’t very taken with my bottle of Jasmine EO I was sniffing one evening. Ew mom, what stinks…LOL.

        Yes, I hope she stays interested, even if just a little. While I am certainly just a beginner into the vast foray of scent, it is fun to share what I am learning. Besides, it’s a great way to remember “moments” too via the scents in our lives 🙂 March 21, 2014 at 10:36am Reply

        • Patricia: It’s nice that you’ll be able to learn together :). March 21, 2014 at 12:01pm Reply

  • Kashia: When I was a teenager, I wore D&G Light Blue. Friends of mine had Clinique Happy, Kenzo Flower, and Nina Ricci Nina in that cute little apple bottle. March 20, 2014 at 11:50am Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Kashia, These are very cheerful scents, and I’m sure you and your friends smelled terrific in them! March 20, 2014 at 5:03pm Reply

  • mridula: I have to share what my growing love and exploration of perfume has done to my kids. Its infected them, as well.

    My sixteen year old boy has a little collection of decants acquired from my collection. He was nuts about Dior’s Oud Ispahan for a bit but these days can be caught in SL’s Borneo’s1834 or on a similar patchouli note -Wing and Prayer’s Haight and Ashbury.. His first time at a school dance he wore SL’s Sa Majeste la Rose. His collection of vetivers includes Nombre d’or’s Vetiver and L’artisan’s Coeur de Vetiver Sacre.

    More recently his thirteen year old brother also favoured a rose scent for his first dance at school -Le Labo Rose 31 and girls came up to ask him what scent he was wearing. His daily (and I mean daily) scent of choice is Atelier Cologne’s Grand Neroli which he says calms him down. He does have a nervous stomach some school mornings. Occasionally, very occasionally he will break out of the neroli habit and try some D&G’s Light Blue.

    The now eleven year old was the first one to get the gift of her own perfume. A tiny bottle of honeysuckle essential oil was thrown in for free by the shopkeeper when I made some attar purchases in Old Delhi. Later I got her a bottle of vanillaoil. Then one Christmas MCMC’s Hunter.

    These kids are adventurous and very little gender typical in their selection. They have never visited the scent counter at any department store. I don’t think they have really any sense of scents as coming from deparment stores. I rather suspect some part of them thinks these scents originate on my dresser. I know they like the idea of niche perhaps in the same consumerist way some people like brand-name. But their love of niche is also growing their appreciation of the art and craft of perfume. They shop my collection and when I make purchases and bring them home, I make sure to share my discoveries. They love to sniff and sometimes sample, occasionally asking if they can have their own decant of something. It’s an altogether wonderful way to relate to them. March 20, 2014 at 1:47pm Reply

    • George: Just an awesome comment! It’s great to hear that you and your kids sharing the same perfume hobby. And my- are they are adventurous or what? March 20, 2014 at 2:04pm Reply

    • Truehollywood: My 16 year old son wears Atelier Vanille insense and Grand Neroli. He also smells better in Coco Noir and Hermes Rose Ikebana. He gets the most compliments on the rose Ikebana. March 20, 2014 at 3:41pm Reply

    • Figuier: That sounds amazing Mridula, so much fun to have a whole brood to share your enthusiasm with! And such sophisticated tastes 🙂 March 20, 2014 at 4:01pm Reply

    • Patricia: Such a beautiful comment, mridula!

      I love that both of your sons chose rose fragrances for their dances, and it sounds as if they really rocked them, too!

      And how lovely that you share each new purchase with your children. I agree that it is a very special way to communicate with them and instruct them by allowing them to experience their own preferences. March 20, 2014 at 5:15pm Reply

    • rainboweyes: I found your comment very inspiring! I have two sons myself (I just commented below) and I’ve been wondering how to introduce them to the world of scents. March 20, 2014 at 5:34pm Reply

  • George: I don’t really agree with any of the suggestions given here because I think I would have found it extremely alienating to have gone shopping with an adult- when I was teen- who was acting in such a programmed manner; I would rather feel I was going shopping with a Stepford wife. I would also have loved to have heard the interesting thoughts that an experienced perfumista might have on any and every fragrance, rather than them limiting their input; i think teens (or anyone for that matter) love it when adults act and interact with them as equals, and that means not limiting your expression, or running it through a previously established algorithm of what you should and shouldn’t say based on them “being a teen”. So in terms of what perfumes are appropriate are for a teen- I think that’s a rather redundant question. But I also don’t particularly equate perfumes with sexuality, which might explain why I don’t consider any perfume to be more or less appropriate than any other, or would have an anxiety about whether a teen was wearing it or not. March 20, 2014 at 1:56pm Reply

    • Rose: Then what perfumes would you suggest for a teen? Do you have a teen?

      I remember when I was in fourth grade my best friend was given Poison by her mother. I remember looking at the purple bottle and gold script on the bottle thinking Poison was the most glamorous perfume. She also had body powder to match, and boy was I jealous. March 20, 2014 at 3:51pm Reply

      • Patricia: Hi Rose, What did you like at that age? (Or perhaps a bit older…) March 20, 2014 at 5:19pm Reply

    • Patricia: Hi George, I agree that sometimes it just best to let the teen shop with his/her own friends and leave the grown-ups out of it! March 20, 2014 at 5:18pm Reply

      • George: Oh dear! You really didn’t understand my comment, did you? March 21, 2014 at 3:59am Reply

        • Victoria: My apologies for butting in, but while my mom often followed the kind of approach Patricia describes here, I have never felt that she was acting like a “Stepford wife,” overly programmed, or whatever. Instead, it felt like she was giving me freedom to make my choices and if I wanted, I could come back and ask her for more detailed input. Obviously, every teen is different, as is every parent-child relationship. March 21, 2014 at 8:16am Reply

  • Karen: Sharing perfumes with my daughter and future daughter-in-law is so much fun for me. My daughter frequently absconded with some of my perfumes or liked them so much I just passed them on to her, and I was secretly happy she liked my taste! (Although I was a little sad to give up Jasmin Noir!)

    Having lots of perfumes to choose from seems like the ultimate luxury, and I love giving them perfumes, knowing they are difficult to justify cost wise when you are young.

    Van Cleef and Arpels Fairie perfumes are lovely and the bottles are too cute. Flower Bomb, Hanae Mori (mentioned above), Marc Jacobs Daisy, Coach’s perfumes. Last year my daughter mentioned Chanel No. 5. All of these have been well received. March 20, 2014 at 2:01pm Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Karen, Your daughter is way ahead of me! I still haven’t come to terms with Chanel No. 5 :).

      Your suggestions are great. I’m not familiar with the VC&A Fairie perfumes…off to check them out on Fragrantica. I’m a sucker for a cute bottle! March 20, 2014 at 5:23pm Reply

      • Karen: The bottles are sooooo dear! She is quite the sophisticate when it comes to fragrances! She always uses my Fracas when she visits, but knows not to dare take it.

        Having a variety of perfumes and bottles just seems like the pinnacle of glamour, so I totally believe in a wide selection. March 20, 2014 at 7:14pm Reply

        • Patricia: And it’s so nice to be able to share them all! March 20, 2014 at 9:06pm Reply

  • rosestrang: A few years ago when my niece was about 16 I offered her a bottle of Bulgari’s Amethyst which wasn’t right for me, but it wasn’t her style either. Her favourite smells as a teenager were the Lush perfumes, especially the scent of ‘Karma’ soap.

    I think a lot of teenagers and young people are interested in natural smelling perfumes, hence the popularity of Jo Malone. I wonder if they’d be more interested in the niche natural perfumes if they weren’t so pricy.

    But, I’ve discovered Infusion Organique, who do very affordable natural perfumes and for my niece’s 21st I’m giving her Buddha’s Fig by Organique and a solid perfume pot of DSH’s Cimabue (a little bit more luxurious), I hope she likes them! March 20, 2014 at 2:35pm Reply

    • Patricia: rosestrang, These sound like lovely gifts for your niece. (I wish someone would give them to me!)

      Natural and organic perfumes and food are very popular with the younger generation. A case of their showing us the way… March 20, 2014 at 5:27pm Reply

  • solanace: I really liked Dhalimar Parfum Initial l’Eau. A bit expensive for a teen, but might be educative. 🙂 March 20, 2014 at 3:01pm Reply

    • solanace: Sorry, I meant Shalimar, of course! March 20, 2014 at 3:02pm Reply

      • Austenfan: I think someone ought to create a perfume called Dhalimar! March 20, 2014 at 3:57pm Reply

        • Solanace: 🙂 March 20, 2014 at 7:32pm Reply

    • Patricia: I still haven’t tried this one! March 20, 2014 at 5:27pm Reply

      • Solanace: I wouldn’t have tried it either, because of the flanker of a flanker name, but it was reccomended by a regular here and I think it is a very nice scent indeed. March 20, 2014 at 7:34pm Reply

  • Heather H: I suggest the Annick Goutal line, Quelques Fleurs and Prescriptive Calyx. These were favorites of mine 25 years ago. March 20, 2014 at 4:09pm Reply

    • Patricia: Nice choices, Heather! Some things never get old… March 20, 2014 at 5:32pm Reply

  • rainboweyes: A great article, Patricia! I’ve been thinking about scents for teens for a while now. I’m a mother of two boys (8 and 11) and my elder son has told me that some of his friends have started to use deodorants and eau de toilette. I think sooner or later he will want to have a scent for himself too. I’d prefer him to use something based on natural ingredients but I’m afraid there are not too many alternatives to choose from here in Europe. There are plenty of reviews of all-natural scents on cafleurebon but the scents seem to be available in the US only. I don’t even know what his preferences are, he hasn’t shown much interest in perfume so far.
    His younger brother, on the other hand, loves smells of all kinds. He enjoys testing my perfume but I have to be careful what I wear. If it’s the wrong scent (like fig or aldehydes) he won’t give me a hug 🙁 March 20, 2014 at 5:23pm Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you, rainboweyes. I remember that deodorant is the first step, and it happened at around age 11, or a little older. (Of course, in general girls mature a bit earlier.)

      Just listen to where the boys are in terms of their scent preferences and stay away from fig and aldehydes. You both need those hugs!! March 20, 2014 at 5:38pm Reply

  • Absolute Scentualist: Great suggestions. I’ll have to try the Jo Malones. The kids have always been into my perfumes ever since they were little, really, and would always have fun picking out the most visually interesting bottles to smell their contents. When we had boy/girl twins, we bought the matching Baby Blue and Baby Rose Jeans from Versace. They were kind of tacky, but they smelled nice enough and hold good memories. My older daughter also loved Guerlain Insolence from an early age, so we gifted her with an edp mini some years back she wears on very special occasions with a very light hand.

    Given her name is Ivy, we had to buy her some MJ Ivy after she smelled a decant and liked it. Her twin has and likes Dior Eau Sauvage, and she recently got her first official gift set for her 12th birthday–a Marc Jacobs Daisy set for a really good price. It doesn’t smell too bad and I’m getting used to smelling it as she drifts around the house in a cloud of lip gloss, perfume and hair products.

    Our younger son loves Burberry Baby Touch and for our little one, we use the Mustela Bebe line which is such a pretty and pleasing orange blossom collection.

    We don’t go to the fragrance counters too often, but I do have lots of samples and the kids and DH are often polled on which ones they like and ones they’d prefer I avoid. But we are such a “sniffy” household with candles, diffusers, plants and the like that I didn’t think any of the kids would grow up not liking perfume and things that smell good. As long as they learn how to shop for them, show restraint and don’t get into mine without asking, we’re happy. 🙂 March 20, 2014 at 5:27pm Reply

    • Patricia: Dear AS, I wish I had grown up in your “sniffy” household!

      I like Daisy well enough, but might have to draw the line at Honey :).

      You must be very busy with four children. (Did I count right?) March 20, 2014 at 5:47pm Reply

  • Ashley Anstaett: Such a lovely article! I don’t have any teens in my life at the moment, but am excited to have the opportunity to introduce someone young to the world of scents. Everyone had so many great suggestions. For teens, I’m in agreement with many people here. I think Tocca, Jo Malone, or Demeter. Maybe even some of the perfumes from Tokyo Milk or Lollia, such pretty bottles, easy-to-wear scents and affordable. March 20, 2014 at 6:31pm Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Ashley, Tokyo Milk is a great suggestion. Thanks for commenting :). March 20, 2014 at 6:50pm Reply

  • Maren: I just have to laugh at this because it was my daughter’s interest in perfume as a teenager that began to spark my interest. Perfume was always on her Christmas wish list. She wore D&G Light Blue which smells wonderful on her. Also Clinique Happy, Be delicious, R Lauren Romance, which she recently gave to me because it was too much of a reminder of the high school boyfriend she dated for two years. But… she has yet to fall into the world of niche fragrances, and recently when she visited and saw all my samples, she commented that she had created a monster! Now that she’s an adult and I’ve become more serious in this interest, I’m looking forward to sharing some of the great discoveries of niche other fine fragrances that I’ve found through this blog. March 20, 2014 at 8:29pm Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Maren, I can relate to this because it was my older daughter’s interest in horseback riding that created my own. I now ride the horse that used to be hers.

      Have fun sharing your niche discoveries with your daughter! March 20, 2014 at 9:02pm Reply

  • Erry: My daughter is 8 yo. And, thankfully, she really looks up to me. So, now that I love perfumes, she loves them too and her favourite is PdN Maharanih. I’ve tried to persuade her to spray or dab lighter scents but in the end she always opts for Maharanih. March 22, 2014 at 1:20am Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Erry, I love that your daughter listens to her inner perfume voice, even at the tender age of 8. March 22, 2014 at 8:04am Reply

    • Austenfan: That is lovely, because Maharanih is such a gorgeous and unique fragrance. March 22, 2014 at 4:39pm Reply

  • Ariadne: I’ve been pondering this thread and posts some more and recalling what it was like to discover and choose my personal scents as a young person. What has struck me is how startling the experience was, I believe because I still had very few “scent references” to impact my developing tastes. March 22, 2014 at 9:52am Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Ariadne, Do you think that this empowered you or held you back? March 22, 2014 at 8:59pm Reply

      • Ariadne: Definitely empowered and sent me on a marvelous adventure down a rabbit hole! March 25, 2014 at 9:17am Reply

        • Patricia: 🙂 March 25, 2014 at 11:22am Reply

  • MontrealGirl: When I was a kid and travelled a lot I used to get (and collect) the mini-bottles in the airplane. They don’t give them out anymore but one can buy the kits of mini-version of perfumes and I think they make a great gift for teenagers. The bottles are cute, one can experiment and re-experiment and be exposed to quite a variety of good perfumes. Jo Malone has a kit of 5 that is perfect. Cacherel and Guerlain have them, as do many others like Atelier Cologne. I find the best source is still the duty-free shops at the airport. March 22, 2014 at 10:55am Reply

    • Patricia: Great suggestion, MontrealGirl! I love minis, and the airport duty-free shops are a great suggestion where to purchase them. Sometimes the discounters also offer them. March 22, 2014 at 9:04pm Reply

  • rickyrebarco: I have a son, not a daughter, but my son and my husband have the good sense and the taste to wear the scents I buy for them. They are both super conservative about perfumes so we are limited to Aqua di Parma Colonia (husband) and I just added YSL Homme and ADParma in one of the blue boxes, I think it’s the Sicily one.

    I share my knowledge of perfume with friends who are much younger at work. They appreciate my perfume knowledge and they love getting free decants and samples from me. March 22, 2014 at 7:08pm Reply

    • Patricia: Your friends and family are lucky to have such a generous perfume mentor! March 22, 2014 at 9:09pm Reply

  • Pamela: My oldest daughter started going through my Sniffa-bags when she was 14. First she asked for a vial of Lone-star memories. It smelled like baked bread on her, and was amazing.Then came the Bvlgari, jasmine, rose and the gardens. She smelled fresh and young. Recently she has been wearing my Cannabis Santal. It smells warm and cozy on her and goes well with her particular 17 year old demeanor of big fuzzy sweaters, jeans and moccasins. My first big fragrance purchase was a Cartier called So Pretty Eau Fruitee (more flowers than fruit), and of course Keil’s musk. I graduated to Valentino Gold (A soft, simple warm fragrance). For some reason White Shoulders made an appearance and then the Bvlgari line. Sometime after that I smelled Daim Blond which pretty much ruined me for the discount market. April 2, 2014 at 11:15pm Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Pamela, Your daughter has had an interesting three years of perfume wearing. And, lucky her for having a mother with such eclectic taste!

      I totally agree with you about Daim Blond. I’ve owned it for years, and its soft apricot suede never disappoints. April 3, 2014 at 8:15am Reply

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