Fragrant Pleasures: 326 posts

Essays on scented pleasures: collecting and enjoying fragrance, building perfume wardrobe, growing aromatic plants and more.

Recommend Me a Perfume : September

Bois de Jasmin will return on Monday. Today we have our “Recommend Me a Perfume” thread. You can use this space to ask any questions about perfume, including fragrance recommendations. If you’ve asked for a recommendation before, we would love to hear how your search went and what you’ve discovered.


How does it work:

1. Please post your requests or questions as comments here. You can also use this space to ask any fragrance related questions. To receive recommendations that are better tailored to your tastes, you can include details on what you like and don’t like, your signature perfumes, and your budget. And please let us know what you end up sampling.

2. Then please check the thread to see if there are other requests you can answer. Your responses are really valuable for navigating the big and sometimes confusing world of perfume, so let’s help each other!

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

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, fall fruits

Monoi : Tahitian Beauty Secret

Andy’s recipe for a decadent and richly scented skin treatment

Last summer, I found myself surrounded by fragrant blossoms on a trip to the Florida Keys. By the time I came home, I simply could not take my mind off all of the gorgeously fragrant flowers I had experienced. All of a sudden, I was in search of something to preserve my memories of endless sunshine and clear, warm waters, and to my great fortune, I stumbled upon monoï.

monoi oil2

Monoï is a handcrafted creation from Tahiti, made by infusing coconut oil with fresh tiaré (Gardenia tahitensis) blossoms. When the velvety white petals are infused into coconut oil, the result is an exquisitely perfumed beauty elixir that smells like a night in paradise.

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Enter to Win Vintage Guerlain Mitsouko Extrait de Parfum

Final Update: Today is the last day to donate to Doctors Without Borders, an exceptional charity organization, and get a chance to win a bottle of rare, vintage Guerlain Mitsouko and La Petite Robe Noire (not vintage, of course, but brand new and still sealed). Thank you!

Update: This is a reminder that the draw for Mitsouko is still running. Thank you very much to everyone who participated. I tallied up the preliminary results, and we have raised $4,000 for Doctors Without Borders!

Meanwhile, we have had an extra contribution to the contest–a brand new, sealed 50ml bottle of Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Eau de Parfum. It means that after drawing a winner for Mitsouko, I will select a second name for La Petite Robe Noire. Thank you for your generous offer, Ann!

It has been a violent year in different parts of the world, and for many months, I’ve been reading the news and feeling utterly helpless. What can one do to help in the face of such terrible suffering and strife? One of my most immediate responses was to donate money to a reputable charity organization. I thought that perhaps others may feel the same way.


I propose donating to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, any amount you wish, and in return, you will be entered into a contest for a 30ml (1 oz) of Guerlain Mitsouko Extrait de Parfum.

It’s vintage, from the 1970s-early 1980s, in my estimation. Unopened. Has all of its tassels. It is a complete presentation, including the outer box. An old price tag shows $85, but 1 oz of modern Mitsouko costs around $350, while the vintage in this condition has collectible value. The best part is that the perfume has all of its oakmoss and other, now forbidden, bits intact. Since it has not been opened, I can’t tell exactly how it will smell, but it smells wonderful around the stopper, and it has been stored in a cool, dark place. It was purchased from a gentleman whose family owned a perfume boutique in Mexico and imported fragrances from France. All other perfumes I bought from his old stocks, including Guerlains, turned out to be exceptionally well-preserved and were pronounced as authentic by my perfumer colleagues.

It is one of the most precious perfumes in my collection, and I have been waiting to open it for a special occasion. But if the money it raises will go towards a good cause, then I have no regrets in parting with it.

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Fall Top 10 Perfumes : Back-to-School Edition

Elisa’s round up of autumnal favorites.

If summer is a time for frivolity (tropical “beach scents” whether or not one is near a beach) and winter a time for comfort (rich meals and equally rich orientals), fall is, for me, a time for looking and smelling put together.

Perhaps it’s the diehard spirit of “back to school” – I no longer live by the semester system, but when the September issues come out, I start lusting for collegiate looks and their professional equivalent: sweater vests, schoolboy blazers, plaid trousers. I also reach for perfumes that I think of as “smart,” i.e., conducive to getting down to business. To me, that means ladylike woody florals, chypres, and the dry note of leather (a structured handbag/briefcase to top off the look).


Here are my ten favorite autumnal perfumes for smelling clever and in control.

Donna Karan Signature

Like a low-cut silk blouse, DK Signature sits right at the juncture of “office-appropriate” and “sexy.” This leathery, resinous floral reads as complex but still incredibly sleek, with something like the subtle metallic rasp of a snare drum.

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Where Jasmine Forest Blooms

Like bits of colored glass inside a kaleidoscope, the scent constellations shift constantly around you. You can go about your day without much thought to anything but the affairs at hand, when suddenly the right combination of talcum powder, hot asphalt and cut grass whisks you out of your routine and into the scene years ago, when you grazed your knee running too fast after an ice-cream truck and were soothed by an extra portion of chocolate sauce. Some scents mark you indelibly; they form the core of your memories, and time and again they return to haunt, delight or move you.


Much of my scent vocabulary comes from Poltava, a town in eastern Ukraine where I spent all summers for the first 15 years of my life. I was born in the capital city of Kyiv, but Poltava, or rather a small hamlet in the town’s suburbs, is our family nest. My mother’s line can trace its roots to this region as far back as the 1700s, and although in its complex and tumultuous history three centuries are hardly ancient, this land exhorts an inexorable pull on me.  I can describe without much effort how many trees are in the orchard and which of the peeling grey shutters has a difficult to use hook, but I also can recall the exact scent inside the water tank, the damp warmth of the tool shed, and the bitter, raspy odor of dandelion flowers on the compost pile.

You, my readers, have breathed in these scents along with me, because this is the place, where Bois de Jasmin, my jasmine forest, got its first tender shoots. When describing the fragrance of carnations, roses or antique wood, I thought not of the fantasy blooms that inspired Caron’s Bellodgia or Guerlain’s Nahéma, but my great-grandmother’s carnation patch, rose garden, and termite marked chests of drawers. It’s about time I took you to very place that inspired Bois de Jasmin, to my great-grandparents’ house in Poltava. My grandmother still lives there, and she loves guests.

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