Recommend Me a Perfume : November 2023

Our “Recommend Me a Perfume” thread is open this week. You can use this space to find perfume recommendations, to share your discoveries and favorite scents, and to ask any questions about scents, aromas and flavors. Or you can just tell us what perfume you are wearing!

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, at a Japanese temple.

Roses and Green Tea

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating!

The combination of rose and black tea is gorgeous–the honeyed, citrusy note of rosewater complements the gentle smokiness of black tea well and brings out its roasted chestnut accents. Andy has previously shared his recipe for “the morning of roses” tea and I mentioned how I transform tea into a cup of Shalimar. However, using rosewater in green tea hasn’t occurred to me previously, since green teas are quite delicate and it didn’t seem to me that rose would fit well with the seaweed and spinach notes of the unfermented green blends I usually drink.

Oolong tea, on other hand, suits roses well. Oolong undergoes fermentation, the length of which varies depending on the tea grower, but in most cases, fermentation releases the floral notes of tea leaves. This is the reason osmanthus and jasmine suit oolongs perfectly–the marriage of flavors is harmonious.

Adding rosewater is not the same as letting the petals perfume the leaves, but it works well enough. Start with a couple of drops of rosewater added directly into the brewed tea and adjust the quantity to your taste. Savor the fragrant vapor rising above the cup. Enjoy the slow valse of flavors. A cup of tea is a moment to put the world on pause and carve out time for yourself. Make it as enjoyable as possible.

If you have your favorite teas or tea combinations, please share. 

Scent Diary is a place to write your observations about the scents around you. Whether you write down 1 recollection or 10 matters less than simply reminding yourself to smell. You can add as many comments as you wish. You can comment today or over the course of the week; this thread will always be open. Of course, do share what perfume you’re wearing or what particularly good scented products you’ve discovered.

While looking through my articles, I found this article that I wrote a few years ago but that still remains popular and often-read: A to Z Tips for Enjoyable, Affordable and Rewarding Perfume Hobby. If you have any tips to add, I’d love to hear them.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Perfumers on Perfume : Archives from the Osmotheque

I was preparing the materials for my ISIPCA lectures when I remembered a wonderful series of articles that the Osmothèque kindly made available to me. These articles were Ernest Beaux and Ernest Shiftan, two legendary perfumers representing different styles and times. Re-reading them made me realize once again how cultured and thoughtful were these great creators–and how much effort they put into each accord. One other article in the series was written by a perfumer Robert Bienaimé about Paul Parquet, the author of Fougère Royale and Le Parfum Idéal. The articles were translated into English by Will Inrig, so many thanks to him as well.


I hope that you will enjoy reading these articles, if you haven’t done so already. Or perhaps, it’s time to revisit them. They’re as enjoyable and relevant as ever.

Perfumers on Perfume : Ernest Beaux on Fragrance Masterpieces

Perfumers on Perfume : Paul Parquet

Perfumers on Perfume : Ernest Shiftan

If you have any other historical topics that you would like me to explore, please let me know in the comments.

What Makes a Perfume Beautiful?

“What makes a perfume beautiful?” I pose a question to Maurice Roucel knowing fully well that it is a complicated question to answer. Roucel is a perfumer with more than 40 years of experience in creating exquisite perfumes, such as Hermès 24 Faubourg, Donna Karan Be Delicious, Frédéric Malle Dans Tes Bras, and Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, and he’s devoted much effort to promoting the notion of perfumer as an artist, rather than a mere “nose.” “We use our imagination and our brains more than noses,” he says.

Perfumery as an intangible art can be hard to champion. Although scents are related to the intangible cultural heritage protected by UNESCO such as cuisine and certain arts, they don’t benefit from the recognition or documentation. (The Osmothèque, a scent archive based in Versailles, is the main institution studying and preserving the historical fragrances today.) Perfume is generally seen as too subjective to define or even describe, which makes definitions of artistic worth complicated.

Continue reading →

Rosewater in Food and Fragrance

The 10th century Persian philosopher and scientist Avicenna is credited with many contributions to astronomy, geography, psychology, logic, mathematics, and physics. He also found time to delve into perfumery and devised methods to extract essential oils, experimenting on roses. If Avicenna were to step into a fragrance lab today, he would orient himself quickly enough–modern perfumery is a curious amalgam of state-of-the-art science and traditional techniques. For instance, rose oil is prepared in much the way as in Avicenna’s time through the process of steam distillation.

Even older than rose oil is rosewater, an ingredient with a history predating Avicenna. Lebanese food writer Barbara Abdeni Massaad, whose award winning cookbook Mouneh explores the traditions of preserving fruit, vegetables and flowers, includes a section on making rosewater. “Yes, the distillates from roses and orange flowers continue to be made in villages,” she commented on the vitality of the tradition. “Older people still believe that homemade is best.”

Continue reading →

From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Priscilla Scofield in Recommend Me a Perfume : October 2023: I have been wearing Mediterraneo by the Carthusian perfume company in Capri. It smells like a mixture of sunshine, sparkling green tea, lemon leaves and herbs. December 2, 2023 at 5:21pm

  • Aurora in Recommend Me a Perfume : November 2023: Hello: there is an orange blossom/leather I like very much although it is not talked about much, it’s Arquiste Infanta en flor, perhaps you might like to tryb, it is… December 2, 2023 at 12:19pm

  • A in Recommend Me a Perfume : November 2023: Could anyone recommend an orange blossom (more white floral than green) scent for the wintertime? I find myself gravitating to Neroli Oranger by Matiere Premiere, which is so warm and… December 2, 2023 at 5:54am

  • Notturno7 in Recommend Me a Perfume : November 2023: Hi Amy, you might like Private Collection by Estée Lauder. I enjoy it and it’s a lovely chypre. Victoria gave it a 5 star review. I found a bottle of… November 30, 2023 at 6:30am

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