Green, Green, Green : A Selection of New Perfumes

Green accords in perfumery are infamous for being difficult. Difficult to create and difficult to enjoy. Balmain’s Vent Vert, the iconic green fragrance, is praised by perfumers as one of the most innovative and daring, but it was eventually reformulated to become tamer and milder. What is it about green fragrances that makes them so polarizing? In my new FT column, On Green Scents, I explore the new spring launches and point out my favorite verdant composition.

Perfumers rely on different classes of ingredients to produce these green accords, some natural and some synthetic, and finding the right harmony can be complicated. Freshly cut grass, its aroma so appealing on a warm day, can turn metallic on skin, while certain herbs can overwhelm delicate notes. Tom Ford Vert de Fleur is notable in that it not only conjures up a vivid verdant effect, but also preserves the nuance. It smells of dew-covered iris petals, damp earth and vetiver roots. To continue reading, please click here.

Where do you place yourself on the green spectrum? Do you like a touch of green? Or is it, “We want a shrubbery”?

Photography by HTSI

Enjoyed this? Get blog posts via email:

Or, stay updated via:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • RSS

83 Comments

  • sandra: wonderful article..
    We are having a beautiful spring in the Northeast, cooler temperatures in the morning and warming up in the afternoon. I treasure this time, since I am not one of those people who likes it when it goes from winter straight into summer.

    Springtime perfumes I like Cristalle but only the EDT version, Eau de Champagne by Sisley (a little masculine but I like it) AA Limon Verde ( i know you aren’t a fan V but I find it well suited to my skin) No 19 poudre & the original. Doesn’t get too much love but I am enjoying my sample of Mon Guerlain, layered with lavender lotions its very calming springtime scent. Not green, I know, but I had to mention. June 9, 2017 at 8:05am Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: Hi Sandra! I like Mon Guerlain too, easy to wear warm lavender. Sometimes I give it some more power with Gris Clair. June 9, 2017 at 8:24am Reply

      • sandra: I find it easy to wear too, and normally I don’t like lavender in fragrances but this one wears nicely. June 9, 2017 at 11:16am Reply

    • Ariadne: Echoing Sandra’s assessment of This year’s lovely US New England Spring. The rain has abated just in time before black leaf spot and slugs attack the gardens and blooms are now exploding. I myself prefer my green in the garden or in vases and the smell of dirt when i ply my spade. June 9, 2017 at 10:11am Reply

      • sandra: how do you manage your slugs? June 9, 2017 at 11:19am Reply

        • Ariadne: I pour salt on them as i see them and sometimes use crushed eggshells around the base of the most vulnerable plants. June 9, 2017 at 1:08pm Reply

          • Victoria: That’s what my grandmother does. June 12, 2017 at 11:06am Reply

    • Victoria: Spring in the Northeast was always my favorite season! June 12, 2017 at 11:01am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: I love all kind of green perfumes, from bright yellow-green to deep smaragd. Favourites are Sous le Vent (Alas! alas! discontinued), ô de Lancôme, Ninfeo Mio, Gin Fizz, Futur, Scherrer.
    My very first French perfume was Vent Vert, I have to try current version.
    And I loved very much Réplique, for me the perfect deep green. June 9, 2017 at 8:30am Reply

    • Victoria: Beautiful green choices. I love all of them. June 12, 2017 at 11:02am Reply

  • Jillie: One of the greenest perfumes I know is Annick Goutal’s Eau de Camille – it was like rolling in a bed of rain-washed ivy! Sadly discontinued now. I would love to find a replacement as there was nothing like this for making me feel cooler on a boiling hot day; it even managed to have longevity, which so many green fragrances lack, and it would still be there on my skin hours after spritzing. June 9, 2017 at 10:06am Reply

    • Carolyn Middleton: Completely with you on Camille – I wore it for years & always received compliments – sadly missed indeed. June 12, 2017 at 10:52am Reply

    • Victoria: The first time I smelled Eau de Camille I was transported to my grandmother’s garden. It was such a powerful jolt, and I too regret that EdC was discontinued. June 12, 2017 at 11:03am Reply

  • Jillie: Of course I should have read your FT article before commenting – it seems obvious from reading this that a good substitute for Eau de Camille might be Eau de Lierre! I’ve answered my own query! June 9, 2017 at 10:17am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s close, but it misses the bright floral note of Eau de Camille. June 12, 2017 at 11:03am Reply

  • briony: I’m definitely in the shrubbery camp. I love green scents, especially in the humid summers we get here in London. My favourites are Ormonde Jayne’s Tiare and Annick Goutal’s Eau du Sud, as well as Cristalle and No. 19. I also love Estee Lauder’s original Private Collection and Alliage. June 9, 2017 at 10:21am Reply

    • briony: Oh – and I forgot The Unicorn Spell and Diptyque’s Vetyverio. June 9, 2017 at 10:37am Reply

      • Victoria: Great choices for greens. June 12, 2017 at 11:04am Reply

    • sandra: Forgot Eau de Sud! Songes is another nice springtime scent. June 9, 2017 at 11:18am Reply

    • Victoria: With the Knights of Ni, then. 🙂 Yes, it seems that many are in the shrubbery camp here. June 12, 2017 at 11:03am Reply

      • SilverMoon: Thoroughly loved and laughed at your reference to Monty Python! 😀😀 June 12, 2017 at 2:38pm Reply

        • Victoria: Ha! Thank you for catching it. 🙂 June 12, 2017 at 2:42pm Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: Oh fantastic: green scents! And guess what I’m wearing today: Scherrer. Now if that’s not green enough…!
    I really adore very green scents. Top of the list is the original, vintage Balmain Vent Vert (easily available on Ebay). A modern classic for me: Goutal, Ninfeo mio. And of course, Chanel No. 19. June 9, 2017 at 10:39am Reply

    • OnWingsofSaffron: Oh dear, I was in such a hurry to jot down my list of favourites, that I didn’t properly realize that all of them were already mentioned above! Sorry for the repetition. June 9, 2017 at 10:42am Reply

      • Victoria: Not at all! We’re talking about our personal favorites, so just share what you like. June 12, 2017 at 11:05am Reply

    • Victoria: Scherrer is one of my top favorites, easily. June 12, 2017 at 11:04am Reply

  • carole: Iris, and Givenchy iii for me. My brother loves green scents, too: anything like Sisley or Orange Vert makes him happy. June 9, 2017 at 2:39pm Reply

    • Maria: I second Givenchy III!! And I will also add Eau de campagne from Sisley. It was even better before reformulation, but it is still a beautiful green and refreshing parfum, more summer than spring 🙂 June 9, 2017 at 6:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: Nice to be reminded of Givenchy III. June 12, 2017 at 11:06am Reply

  • carole: ugh-Irisia, not Iris. Sorry! June 9, 2017 at 2:39pm Reply

  • Lindaloo: Yes, yes, yes to Cristalle edt. I agree with Cornelia on O de Lancome and with Briony on Private Collection. Its opening is glorious.
    I’d add Tauer’s Eau de Maghreb for herbal pleasure. June 9, 2017 at 3:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: All three are refreshing and ideal for spring-summer. June 12, 2017 at 11:07am Reply

  • paola: I like Cristalle, but the Eau Verte version and absolutely adore Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca. I can’t do without it in hot summer. June 9, 2017 at 3:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: Another great list. I’m wearing Herba Fresca today. June 12, 2017 at 11:07am Reply

  • Alicia: I have just finished a bottle of Cristalle EDT. Other green loves are the now extinct Ostara (one of my many debts to you), Givenchy III, Silences, Chanel 19 (which I wear more in autumn). O de Lancome and Orange Verte are really citrus green, and my Mediterranean blood
    is naturally fond for citrus of all kinds. Thank you for your post, Victoris. I reminded me that I need a new bottle of Cristalle and of my summer staple, Eau Perfumée au Thé Vert, June 9, 2017 at 8:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: Ah, I’m so happy that you enjoy Ostara. June 12, 2017 at 11:08am Reply

  • Old Herbaceous: Oh my. As you might imagine from my username, I love green fragrances! Chanel No. 19, Cristalle, Silences, Envy. I don’t think of Ostara, Guerlain Muguet or Diorissimo as primarily “green” but they definitely have greenness, and I love them too. I just got my first bottle of Vent Vert (the 1991 reformulation by Calice Becker). Yes, I love it! I tried Vert de Fleur the other day, and it was great. This spring’s Jo Malone limited edition Blue Hyacinth is lovely, and very green. I CAN’T WAIT to try Papillon Perfumery’s Dryad, soon to be released. June 9, 2017 at 10:00pm Reply

    • Lindaloo: How could I have forgotten Envy? Gorgeous! June 10, 2017 at 2:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’re quite a green connoisseur!

      I’m myself waiting for Dryad, impatiently. June 12, 2017 at 11:09am Reply

  • Lydia: I don’t think of myself as someone who likes green scents, especially green scents with a sweet note. However, several people mentioned ô de Lancôme, and I did used to like that years ago (I don’t know if it’s been reformulated since the 90s).

    Are we including green tea notes in the green category? I used to like Bvlgari The Vert, and my favorite affordable perfume is Lothantique The Vert (it smells like Linden to me). I also like Thymes Eucalyptus, a nice spicy unisex scent. June 10, 2017 at 12:47am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, you can include green tea notes too. It’s such a delicious, crisp touch, especially when framed by other green accords. June 12, 2017 at 11:09am Reply

  • Richard Goller: After reading your post and all the comments, I must explore this category more. June 10, 2017 at 6:15am Reply

    • Victoria: Please do. It’s such a complex and vibrant family. June 12, 2017 at 11:11am Reply

  • Karen 5.0: I absolutely LOVE Tom Ford’s Vert de Fleur – I was waiting for your thoughts on it! June 10, 2017 at 7:24am Reply

    • Victoria: I do too. Such a beautiful launch. June 12, 2017 at 11:12am Reply

  • Luxe Ford: I’m mostly drawn in the opposite direction to green, sweet, animalic almost introvert fragrances.
    But I really enjoy, and wear, Ctistalle EdT (like a starched shirt), the green violet of Grey Flannel and Diptyque’s green rose L’Ombre dans L’Eau.
    And of course the sharp galbanum/leather whiplash of Bandit. June 10, 2017 at 2:06pm Reply

    • Aurora: I love your saying ‘starched shirt’ for Cristalle EDT, so true. June 11, 2017 at 5:59am Reply

    • Victoria: That part of Bandit is what hooked me on this Robert Piguet perfume. June 12, 2017 at 11:12am Reply

  • Patricia: Oh, I love my greens, and now can’t wait to try L’Artisan Parfumeur Violaceum with its touch of leather! June 10, 2017 at 4:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s such a quirky and fun perfume. June 12, 2017 at 11:12am Reply

      • Patricia: I’m sampling this and getting lots of leather! It’s what I hoped for in Cuir d’Ange. Love it 🙂 June 17, 2017 at 9:34am Reply

  • Ingeborg: I like many green scents. I wish more scents for women had a touch of fern in them. Chamade edp has been a favourite this spring. Ostara reads more yellow to me than green, but is another great scent.

    I’m thinking of buying Zoologist Panda. It has a nice development, some nuances, not just a blast of green notes mixed together.

    Galbanum and citrus notes are among my favourites and few green scents are a total miss for me, but I’m not a fan of fir or pine in fragrances to wear. June 10, 2017 at 8:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: Chamade is probably my favorite green floral, although it’s hard to pick, since so many of them are irresistible. June 12, 2017 at 11:13am Reply

  • SilverMoon: I really love Cristalle (and have the EDP). great in summer, but once in a while I also really get in the mood for it in winter (I think Victoria wrote about this sort of mood some time back).

    Today, I thought I would suggest a rather unusual green: Samambaia (by the Brazilian Phebo Perfumes). A floral green, it is inspired by Amazonian Ferns from Belem, Para. The company itself (sometimes under name Granado) is a traditional Brazilian toiletries brand, most famous for its dark glycerin Phebo soap (green rose, a bit like the equivalent of a Brazilian Pears soap). I didn’t find any of their other perfumes very interesting, but they have lovely smelling lotions, soaps, etc. There is a large selection in their Granado shops in Brazil. Here, the Egyptian Tuberose range stood out.

    The other well known Brazilian brands, Natura and O Boticario, also have many green inspired fragrances and toiletries. South American and Portuguese readers of BdJ probably know them. June 11, 2017 at 4:35am Reply

    • Maria: How I miss Castanha and Pitanga lotions from Natura! June 11, 2017 at 9:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much for your suggestion. It’s so good to learn of new perfumes, and Brazil has such a vibrant fragrance scene. I’ll see if I can find it. June 12, 2017 at 11:14am Reply

      • SilverMoon: Victoria, I suggested it more in the spirit of being something different rather than being the “best” green perfume around. Anyway, their soaps and lotions are worth a try, and equally the brand Natura (as Maria also suggested). Not sure where one would source them in Europe, but Portugal seems most likely. June 12, 2017 at 2:34pm Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, that’s what I figured. “Best of anything” is a fantasy, anyway. June 12, 2017 at 2:42pm Reply

  • Aurora: Such an informative article, Victoria. They called Vent Vert the exhilarating fragrance in the ads I think (I only know the 90s reformulation and like it quite a bit as it is, trying Cellier’s would be heaven). Your descriptions of perfumes are always so tempting. I also nodded my head at many green scents mentioned by the commenters and will add one of my favorites: Estee Lauder Jasmine White Moss. I quickly got 3 bottles thanks to yourself and a kind commenter who told me about it as it sorts of replace my beloved Cristalle EDP before the sneaky 2013 or 14 reformulation which made it less deep fruity and more astringent, of course it still a lovely fragrance and I remain a fan of the effervescent Cristalle EDT. June 11, 2017 at 5:53am Reply

    • Victoria: Cellier’s is brighter, greener, sharper, but oh, it’s so beautiful. Still, the reformulations are all very nice. June 12, 2017 at 11:14am Reply

  • Neva: I’m definitely in the green camp. I wore Cristalle and Scherrer in the eighties and my dearest perfume is Clinique Wrappings, preferably the vintage version.
    The many unsuccessful reformulations forced me to continue my search for new green perfumes and meanwhile I have also my newer favourites like Parfums de Nicolai Weekend and Ulrich Lang Apsu. Weekend is bitter and Apsu has a touch of sweetness.
    I will definitely try your recommendations Victoria. June 11, 2017 at 6:53am Reply

    • Victoria: I also love Nicolai’s Weekend a Deauville. It was even greener before its reformulation, but it’s still very good. June 12, 2017 at 11:15am Reply

  • mj: Cristalle was the perfume I bought for myself when I entered university. Before Cristalle I have used Eau Folle de Guy Laroche, Ô de Lancome and Eau Jeune (L’oreal) all very green.
    Nowadays my favorite greens are Chanel 19, Scherrer and EL Private Collection (the first one). June 11, 2017 at 7:31am Reply

    • Victoria: J’ai Ose by Guy Laroche was also a fab green chypre. June 12, 2017 at 11:16am Reply

      • mj: J’ai Ose! I do recall that one also, but at the time, 1979, and of course my age, I was fifteen, it looked as way too sophisticated for the teenager I was.
        I do remember that in Hola magazine there were ads for these two scents, J’ai Ose and Eau Folle and also Fidji the other Guy Laroche scent of the time. Many years after, I did bought and used a Fidji bottle but never, ever found J’ai Ose again. June 12, 2017 at 1:04pm Reply

        • Victoria: Fidji is still possible to find, although it’s been altered. June 12, 2017 at 2:44pm Reply

    • Neva: Aaaah…Eau Folle, Eau Jeune – it’s so wonderful to be reminded of these beautiful perfumes 🙂 I still have the ball shaped plastic Eau Folle bottle. June 12, 2017 at 11:52am Reply

      • mj: Eau Jeune was a big hit in Spain. The scent so fresh and green; also the commercials on tv, with the “many rivers to cross” song as bso, were very big in the early eighties. June 12, 2017 at 1:06pm Reply

  • Carla: I love green especially Cristalle and Le Temps d’Une Fete! My decant of De Profundis spilled in my makeup bag and now my blush brush, etc, smell of it and it is such a pleasure to get that hit of green in the morning! (No reactions yet.)
    De Produndis seems so strong and tenacious lately and yet I remember when I tried it in Paris it disappeared on my skin. I’m really enjoying it lately…what is that somewhat masculine aura it gives though? That and Iris Silver Mist in the heat are just what I want right now June 12, 2017 at 8:54pm Reply

    • Maria: Hi Carla! I’ve tried De Profundis last winter and it really disappeared on my skin two minutes after ( and I love intimate parfums). Maybe it is more interesting on spring and summer. You make me want to retry it! June 13, 2017 at 11:26am Reply

      • Carla: Hello, try it on fabric or your hair. (Does it stain?) June 13, 2017 at 3:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Interesting. I’ve also had it happen to me. Changing sensitivities, perhaps? June 15, 2017 at 1:37am Reply

  • spe: Eau de Soir by Sisley, Bandit any formulation, Chanel 19 EDT and EDP, Jardin de Nil.

    However, lately the Nil seems too fruity-sweet and the Soir seems strong but “flat” with my chemistry. As a result, I’ve moved to florals with a strong green component (Joy, A La Nuit, Kelly Caleche). Chanel 19 is still compatible, thankfully. Bandit as well. Vero Kern’s Mito comes off as a little green and I’m still sampling various formulations of that beauty.

    Over the past year or so, it seems greens can sometimes go “potpourri” on me (Chamade) or plasticky (Scherrer, Private Collection), unfortunately. I miss being able to wear them all as green floral / chypre is my favorite fragrance category. As I age, my skin seems to prefer aldehydes and rose (Soir de Lune, Rive Gauche).

    Weekend au Deauville is / was my favorite Nicolai. I haven’t tried it since reformulation years ago. If I go to France, that’s the scent I’m purchasing. June 14, 2017 at 12:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: Green notes can have this effect, and for this reason when green perfumes are being developed, they are tested on skin more thoroughly than any other group. June 15, 2017 at 2:01am Reply

    • Gvillecreative: I love the original Weekend a Deauville (and love green too). Just a warning– the reformulation is an aquatic mess IMHO June 18, 2017 at 7:20pm Reply

  • Ninon: I love green scents. My favorites are Nasomatto Absinth (loamy green earth), Puredistance Antonia (elegant modern green chypre), L’Artisan Timbuktu (green incense), and Maria Candida Gentile (camphorous green gardenia). June 15, 2017 at 1:17am Reply

    • Ninon: Oops, that should read MCG Lady Day! June 15, 2017 at 1:21am Reply

    • Victoria: Many favorites here, especially Timbuktu. June 15, 2017 at 2:02am Reply

  • Amer: Dzongkha all the way! June 16, 2017 at 8:51am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes! June 19, 2017 at 2:54am Reply

      • Amer: Almost forgot my all time classic Philosykos. I have gotten so used to it it doesn’t register as perfume to me anymore lol June 19, 2017 at 3:29am Reply

        • Victoria: That can happen with classics. 🙂 June 20, 2017 at 8:33am Reply

  • Jenna: I like green scents during the Spring time, but that’s really about it. I only have two in my collection currently. Story time, my mom was a hairstylist and one of her clients always wore Prescriptives Calyx. I remember loving that scent growing up and wanting to get something similar. Flash forward and I got a deluxe sample of Clinique Calyx and that was a sweet, green scent. It was nice, but I didn’t have the urge to buy a full size.

    I just recently sniffed the TF Vert de Fleur and it was wonderful. My 8yr old loved it way more than I did. I ended up going home with Orchid Soleil instead, ha! June 29, 2017 at 3:01pm Reply

What do you think?

From the Archives

Latest Comments

Latest Tweets

Design by cre8d
© Copyright 2005-2017 Bois de Jasmin. All rights reserved.