Your Custom Made Perfume : Searching for a Perfect Fragrance

What perfume comes closest to your idea of a fragrance custom made for you?

If you have not found anything like that yet, you are welcome to describe what you are looking for, and perhaps someone else can help with your search.

It is fun to fantasize about something created just for you, a scent that contains all of your favorite elements and that immediately puts you in a good mood. On the other hand, whenever I put on Serge Lutens Bois de Violette or Guerlain Après l’Ondée, I feel that they are everything I want in a perfume–elegance, mystery, surprise. Of course, it does not prevent me from being curious about other fragrances out there. It is a neverending quest, after all!



  • Beata: I remember when I tried Angelique sous la Pluie for the first time, it clicked with me immediately. By that time I had been looking for a long time for a fragrance that would perfectly epitomise my personality or what I felt I was: something very elegant and clever, subtle, refined, sophisticated, independent, interesting, young (not a very modest self-portrait, isn’t it?:)) and yet self-conscious, fragile, timid, shy, seeking protection, but nonetheless wanting to draw attention and seduce; not a grande dame in a luxurious gown whose striking beauty arrests everyone’s attention the moment she steps into a ballroom, but a novice at her first ball who is already aware of her attractiveness but prefers to be followed and discovered, like a hidden gem, than to impose herself and stamp on. A friend of mine, who happens to work for Frederic Malle, described this perfume to me as intellectual and sophisticated. But to me it is also innocently sexy, if you allow me this oxymoron. It does not evoke an image of academic lady with glasses, but its delicate spiciness gives just enough of a sexy touch to it to spark curiosity.
    I must say I am always surprised when people describe it as dry and peppery, because on my skin it is wetter and softer – just the way I like it, otherwise it would be too frigid and crusty for me, like a stale rye bread with coriander. I remember how much Angelique sous la Pluie surprised me (to my great joy!) during the first days of our affair by its interplay of bitter and sweet, warm and cold, dry and wet notes. Every day I used to discover a new facet of this diamond. However, perhaps, I wear it too often as I am no longer able to notice all these numerous and different sparkles((( That being said, I keep enjoying it very much.
    Another thing I regret is that it does not have as much tenacity and sillage as I would like it to have, but after all, isn’t it fragility I asked for?:)

    Many thanks, Victoria, for giving an opportunity to sing a love song to my favourite! July 11, 2011 at 6:56am Reply

  • karin: Attrape Coeur. July 11, 2011 at 7:24am Reply

  • [email protected]: L’Heure Fougueuse comes the closest though it feels odd to write that as I think I still haven’t got to the bottom of it/understanding it. But when I look back on some of my early, pre perfumista, choices (Cristalle EDT and Diorella, Bandit and Mitsouko) and then think of some current favourites such as L’Air de Rien and Bulgari Black then there is a faint line which connects them. A touch other worldly yet of the skin. There are many happy days spent wearing Attrape Coeur and Carnal Flower for instance but they don’t say me to me in the way L’Heure Fougueuse very nearly does. Nicola July 11, 2011 at 8:30am Reply

  • Andy: Hmm…no, nothing I’ve ever found commercially seems “made for me”; however, sandalwood seems to be a note which I not only love, but seems to absolutely blossom on my skin; My skin gives real sandalwood a powdery, buttery, sweet, almost gourmand salty smell. It’s very rich and lovely, so I guess sandalwood essential oil is my “me” scent. I can dilute it and be quite happy with a simple homemade fragrance. But on the other hand, my ultimate “me” fragrance would be one that evokes tender memories. I think a blend of muget and sambac jasmine, with a top of waxy green aldehydes, underlaid by a base of orris, ambergris, and sandalwood would provide a cool, dry green fragrance which brings back so many memories essential to me. July 11, 2011 at 10:09am Reply

  • Suzanna: I wear a lot of vintage No. 5, probably more so than any other fragrance; it has become one with me in its abstract floral and “human” elements. I also feel this way about Tubereuse Criminelle and will be happy to get my hands on a bottle or two after years of decants.

    I am addicted to “hot” jasmine scents like A la Nuit and Bruno Acampora Jasmin. These, too, feel very right to me. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for the “perfect” jasmine and have always stopped just short. A la Nuit comes closest. Acampora smells an awful lot like a jasmine attar from the Middle East, a cheap one, that I carry in my purse. Jasmine seems to suit my chemistry well and I like the way it is carried in the air here in the early summer. July 11, 2011 at 10:26am Reply

  • maggiecat: Like Suzanne, I’m still looking for my perfect jasmine, though I’ve found many lovely ones along the way. Boadicea the Victorious Divine seems made for me – it’s jasmine, aldehydes, and sandalwood, reminiscent of Chanel’s No. 5,. softer, less complex, but in a nice way. It’s elegant and wearable, and lovely – coming closest to what I like to think of as me right now. But then – I’m still enjoying looking for “the one.” July 11, 2011 at 10:44am Reply

  • Elizabeth: My ideal fragrance would have herbal citrus top notes like Guerlain Eau Imperiale, a heart of petally orange blossom like Annick Goutal Neroli, and a base of incense, dark woods, and patchouli like Bond no 9 Chinatown. I wonder if that’s even possible! July 11, 2011 at 11:24am Reply

  • Kathryn: First it was vintage Après l’ondée extrait. Then I fell for Messe de minuit. Then it was the discontinued Parfum Sacré extrait. Then it was Bois d’Armenie and now Gaiac 10. With all of these I would experience a kind of sous conversation whispering to me from my skin or clothing when I wasn’t expecting it. I edited out le Myrhhe, Bois de violette and Iris Silver Mist along with Angeliques Encens and Musc Ravageur because although I was smitten, they never really felt like mine. July 11, 2011 at 11:36am Reply

  • Ann C: found my perfect fragrance yet, but the fun is in the search, right?

    My ideal fragrance probably is an oriental with floral touches, warm, subtle but present, mature & elegant, appropriate for daytime, that envelopes me in fragrance but doesn’t project too far.

    -Ann C. July 11, 2011 at 12:09pm Reply

  • Sandy: Since my sister received a gift set of Rive Gauche when I was 13 years old (decades ago!), I’ve been wild about it. Of course, this was the vintage version that’s only available on E-bay these days. I used that set on the sly at every opportunity. The french-milled soap lasted forever!

    Through the blog comments, I discovered that Paco Rabanne’s Calandre had many of the same elements, but that its original formula was changed as well! I recall loving Chanel No. 19, but Macy’s didn’t have a sample available for confirmation. The saleswoman said the two No. 19 colognes available for sale had been sent by mistake and she wasn’t allowed to open one as a tester.

    I’ve always loved scent, but am just getting familiar with all of the terminology involved. The perfumes that members comment on sound so alluring that it’s maddening not to be able to sniff a sample. Is there any way to get samples of fragrances via mail? Unless you’re near Nordstrom’s or high-end cosmetic counters, it’s impossible to sample some of the five-star listings, even established scents that have fallen out of fashion in favor of giving shelf space to new entries.

    I’ve tried a knock-off of Agent Provacateur and love it, but it’s not quite on par with vintage Rive Gauche. Any suggestions are much appreciated. (Sorry for the book-length post!) July 11, 2011 at 12:16pm Reply

  • dleep: I get more compliments on Coromandel than I have on any other perfume. It suits me so well. July 11, 2011 at 12:29pm Reply

  • Warum: Some versions of Ma Griffe… July 11, 2011 at 1:24pm Reply

  • Valerie: No such thing. BUT …… Il Profumo Patchouli Osmo as a base, with Histoire de Parfum 1969 layered on top comes pretty close for me. :))) July 11, 2011 at 2:32pm Reply

  • I am still searching for the perfect fragrance that will be able to combine iris and vetiver on a leather composition. The closest I have come to it is layering Iris Silver Mist and Vetiver Oriental. Any other suggestions? July 11, 2011 at 11:11am Reply

  • Olfacta: Gracious, if I found the perfect perfume, what would I do with all the samples, bottles and decants I have?

    At the least, I would need one for each season, and haven’t found The Ones yet. July 11, 2011 at 11:47am Reply

  • dee: I’ve found a few perfect perfumes, but still want to sniff new things! I feel a sense of contentment about my collection today that I didn’t feel last year at this time, and I’m much slower to add a bottle (or even a decant) these days.

    My perfect mates??

    1. Memoir Woman. From the first moment I sprayed my original decant (pre-bottle), I thought, “this is how I want to be remembered.”

    2. Poivre 23. Again, from the first spray I was absolutely under it’s spell. It appeals to a different state of mind than that which craves Memoir, and I’m lucky to have both.

    3. Opus IV. Which came as a surprise to me; the first time I smelled it (on my husband), I thought it interesting, and have since fallen completely in love with it’s balance between sharp intellectual clarity, and intoxicating sense of comfort. A full-bottle is in my future! 🙂 July 11, 2011 at 12:12pm Reply

  • Lavanya: When I first set out to nordstorm to buy myself my first bottle of perfume as an adult, maybe 7 years ago- I kept asking people whether there was a tuberose perfume..Most of the SAs didn’t seem to even know what tuberose was and many said no. Ofcourse after that I did my own extensive research, found perfume websites and blogs..Found that I loved jasmine in perfume and even roses when done right, and discovered many many perfumes to love. However, recently when I discovered Carnal Flower (on skin), it reminded me of even earlier times as a teenager in India, when I’d bury my nose into a tuberose bouquet and wonder why people didn’t just bottle the scent of tuberoses. Because I didn’t think there could be a prettier/more beautiful scent. Ofcourse that is easier said than done but Carnal Flower for me does just that. It smells like tuberose petals pressed to the nose, and also like tuberose-scented air and tuberose scented skin..I think it comes closest to a custom perfume for me. I know I have you to thank for egging me on to try it on my skin..:)

    I also love dark roses- they satisfy something inside me and I find them very comforting-Black Aoud would come in that category..Seven years ago- I would never have thought I’d love leather and rose together- so this seems almost unexpected unlike Carnal Flower.

    Ofcourse- there are several other perfumes that have other unique elements that I love but I don’t want to make this comment even longer..:D July 11, 2011 at 1:58pm Reply

  • Lavanya: I meant ‘leathery notes(oud) and rose’ July 11, 2011 at 2:00pm Reply

  • rebekah: (de-lurking) As a fragrance newbie, I hesitate to name my ideal yet. But if I could have Shiseido Feminite du Bois with something else spicy in place of the cumin, that might come close.
    Also: thank you for your blog, I enjoy it very much. July 11, 2011 at 6:04pm Reply

  • Ann C: That first line should read “I haven’t found my perfect fragrance yet…” July 11, 2011 at 6:13pm Reply

  • Victoria: Have you tried Hermes Kelly Caleche? It is close to that idea, although not as rich in iris as your layering combo might be. July 11, 2011 at 2:28pm Reply

  • Carrie Meredith: I was lucky enough to win a draw for a DSH Perfumes bespoke creation, so I plan to make my dreams come true with Dawn’s help. If I had to pick a few perfumes that come close (if not on the dot) to being my perfect scent, it would be Guerlain L’Heure Bleue, Guerlain Attrape-Coeur, Ormonde Jayne Woman and Aftelier Tango. Between those four perfumes, many parts of my personality and moods are satisfied, but I am constantly seeking out the new and unexplored. July 11, 2011 at 2:45pm Reply

  • Carla: Still searching… July 11, 2011 at 8:20pm Reply

  • Yelena: The first time I smelled SL Bois Oriental, I felt like it was made for me for some reason. Also, my odd mix of SL Cinema and SL La Myrrhe. And Yohji Essential always sends that chill down my spine,unfortunately, lost forever as the scent does not age well. And so many new combinations yet to be discovered. July 11, 2011 at 8:55pm Reply

  • Carrie Meredith: Rebekah- it’s interesting, I’m very cumin-sensitive and I don’t smell the cumin in FdB at all. You must have a finely-tuned nose. 🙂 July 11, 2011 at 7:19pm Reply

  • Hannah: Something that smells like leather and violet pastilles, that manages to be smokey as well. July 12, 2011 at 1:25am Reply

  • meg jamieson: I have a very tine bottle of vintage Shalimar which is my perfect scent. It is not in an official Guerlain bottle, just a tiny, small shouldered bottle with a bakelite cap. I’ve wondered if it is perhaps is not really Shalimar, as the other vintage bottles I have smell differently it’s not a radical departure, but the one I love is more floral, less dark chewy underpinning. It a lighter golden than the other vintage Shalimar I have, not a deep syrup color. Gorgeous stuff, wore it on my wedding. July 12, 2011 at 2:21am Reply

  • rebekah: Hmm. Well, it may not be cumin that I can smell – like I said, fragrance newbie! But there is definitely an unpleasant, sort of sweaty note that I can pick up, and I came across a few reviews of Feminite du Bois where people were referring to that as cumin. Whatever the note is, my reaction to it is very unfortunate because I love everything else about this scent. July 12, 2011 at 4:31am Reply

  • Flora: One that comes very close for me is Caron Parfum Sacre, but it has to be the original 1991 formula. The new version is too woody and dry and has something I don’t care for, some kind of woody-amber thing that is just not right. Why can’t they leave the really great ones alone?

    My other perfect one is also discontinued of course – Jean Patou Vacances. That was ME in capital letters! 🙁 July 12, 2011 at 11:47pm Reply

  • astrorainfall: Gosh it’s still a Holy Grail I am searching for…. I think as I evolve, my parameters for the “perfect” perfume changes too…Can there be such an elixir that can be great all year round too? 😉 July 13, 2011 at 10:45am Reply

  • Sara A.: Right this minute I want something marrying lemon, coconut, jasmine, and dirt. During the summer I tend to want something that smells a little dirty, like I was clean and then I spent the whole day outside gardening in an herb garden and ate an orange. The smell of sun plus skin is really nice. During winter, Dzing is just about perfect.

    And if it’s one of those steamy summer days where it’s about 98 at about 90% humidity Fracas is it if you’re going to be outside. Something about the heat and humidity plus tuberose just takes the day from sticky and gross to cinematic. I’m sure the people around me just hate it, but its the only way to be. July 13, 2011 at 8:27pm Reply

  • SUE PHILLIPS: Hello, one of the most wonderful new product lines to emerge in Custom Perfumery is “how to create your very own Bespoke Perfume” from The Perfume Studio, UK. At Scenterprises (in the USA) we bring this initiative to the market and have incorporated it into teambuilding and Corporate Events. It is more than just creating a perfume, its the entire experience. If you would like to learn more please contact us at: [email protected] and follow us on
    Have a scentful day!
    Scentfully, Sue July 14, 2011 at 7:08am Reply

  • Actually I like Kelly Caleche very much but I will have to re-try it under this light. Thank you for the suggestion. July 17, 2011 at 3:55pm Reply

  • Andromeda: I don’t know why, but I tend to become ever more picky with scents. Maybe it’s a sign of age (or wisdom…)?
    At the moment there a only three perfumes I really like: Aromatics Elixir, Shalimar and Chanel Cristalle (for summer).

    I even tried to create a perfume at home (after having read Mandy Aftels book “Die Kunst der Alchimisten” (I think its “Essence and Alchemy” in the original. The results of my efforts were actually not bad, but more on the male side. I gave one of my “operas” to a friend, who likes to wear it (isn’t that great!). July 20, 2011 at 6:55am Reply

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