Discovering Interesting Perfumes at Sephora

I don’t know about you, but I love shopping at Sephora. There was a time when Sephora only existed in big cities and as a veritable vault of perfume comprising both the ordinary and the extra-; the hard-to-find and the very popular; Etro and Caron alongside Dior and Guerlain.

Then things changed.  Perfume was downsized to make room for ever more cosmetic lines or for expansion of existing lines.  The Etros and the Carons disappeared along with Chamade and Miss Dior.  Soon, what was left was a display touting a “Top Ten” of fragrances, which for a while was led by Light Blue.  More shelf space disappeared.  Only top performers were left.  That’s what you find today in most Sephora shops, especially in small towns like mine where a “mistake” can be costly.  This is why precious space has been given over to Dot, Marc Jacobs’ latest, based on the performances of Lola and Daisy.

Nevertheless, it is still possible to build a fantastic perfume  wardrobe based on the available selection, and I browse the perfume section at Sephora on a regular basis, if not for revelation, then for fun. That is where I discovered, much to my delight, the trio of Hermès colognes Eau d’Orange Verte (green orange), Eau de Pamplemousse Rose (pink grapefruit) and the stunningly weird Eau de Gentiane Blanche (white gentian) that smells the way Chartreuse tastes.

I like to systematically work my way backwards through the shelves so that I start with Belle d’Opium (Y for Yves St. Laurent) and Flowerbomb (V for Viktor & Rolf).  I still like Flowerbomb and I recall when I first smelled it. At the time it seemed neon pink with sweetness and now that sweetness seems like the norm.   Passing Versace (too gaudy), I stop at Stella McCartney Stella.  I still love this modern, angular rose fragrance and enough time has elapsed that not everyone smells of it. Stella smells chiseled to me now, as if some rare ruby is being cut and the polished so it glows.  I need another bottle!

Prada, a fragrance that epitomized the sudden new popularity of patchoulis, is another I keep buying.  I recall a wave of such patchoulis that popped up around 2005 and Prada was an excellent mainstream effort.  It’s loamy, resinous, and sweet and for a long while it was my favorite casual scent.

Remember when Narciso Rodriguez for Her was the hot ticket? When we couldn’t keep straight the various iterations of it: black bottle, pink bottle, Musc for Her, and Musc for Her Oil in black bottle?  The oil was the best, a subtle but very persistent Egyptian musk that is now discontinued.  For how long did we discuss the scent we called “NR for Her”?   The oil is gone, but the EdT (black bottle) and EdP (pink bottle) are still there, along with the Musc EdT that only reminds me of how much I loved the original oil. There is also the Essence in the silver flask. All are still worth a try.

Gardenia lovers should stop at Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs Woman and try their original, eponymous fragrances.  Hint:  I buy Michael Kors leg shine and use it as a solid perfume. It’s quite subtle and it has a bit of shimmer.

New scents don’t appear that often on Sephora’s shelves, so when they do, they catch my eye and I smell them with zero anticipation.  Often, I haven’t even heard of them, so there is no regret when they turn out to be retreads of popular perfumes.  Marchesa Parfum d’Extase has a grandiose name, if not an equivalent smell.  It’s that kind of modern floral that has been rinsed in ice water, but I found myself trying it several times simply because it lacked beef and it was hot out and I wanted a “fresh” scent.  That is probably good enough reason for you to try it, too.

Guerlain, Gucci, and Armani have little to tempt me, but I do note that Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire is back with a vengeance.  This fragrance, once a chewy, lemon-accented macaron sold only in high-end department stores, is now a democratized, thinned-out version of the same, at a lower price. It might be worth trying as a “fruitchouli,” or you can skip it and head to Miss Dior Chérie, which has been similarly gutted and resurfaced.

Sexy Graffiti is back! Escada’s strawberries-and-hairspray summer limited edition from a decade ago has reappeared, along with Rockin’ Rio and Island Kiss.  I like Sexy Graffiti simply for nostalgia’s sake. I smelled it at a European airport years ago on the heel of a miserable holiday romance and I thought then that it smelled of fat, ripe strawberries and was too joyful to wear considering the mood.  Later, I bought some and thought it was terrible.  Terrible, but fun, and that hairspray note never ends, does it?

Skip all the way up to Cartier for Baiser Volé, a recently issued floral with lily as a main accord. This is a quality release and you can tell, although I wonder if anyone is buying it because it is too sophisticated for kids and yet not embedded as a signature for adults.

There’s more here than I think.  If I had one of the larger, urban Sephora stores I would lavishly spray with Acqua di Parma Profumo, a bone-dry Italian chypre that I love and cannot afford, so instead I find myself at the beginning, where I spray some Kate Walsh Boyfriend. I don’t watch TV so the actress’s name means nothing to me, but Boyfriend is a surprise—a spicy, woodsy scent that might appeal to anyone who likes Organza Indecence.  I struggle a little wondering why Boyfriend is indexed at “B” for its name while Flowerbomb is at “V” for the name of its creator, but I don’t feel right asking this question of the earnest young help.  Instead,  I ask for a sample of Boyfriend.

And there you go—I’ve spent an hour of my time spritzing away and have come home with ten times the scent strips of the non-obsessed. I might pick up a bottle of NR for Her one of these visits, too. You never know what might suddenly turn your head (or nose).

What are your Sephora finds and favorites?

Photography by FaceMePLS, via flickr, some rights reserved.



  • FastFoodLocal151: French Sephoras are always worthwhile browsing – they sell things like the Laduree makeup line, Reminiscence scents (Musc is fantastic), things you can’t find anywhere else outside of France easily, like VC&A Gem (even though reformulated, still a stunning chypre. And loads of French kids and baby perfumes, which are entirely worth checking out for yourself. October 9, 2012 at 8:12am Reply

    • Suzanna: FFL, I know about the French Sephora, but I haven’t been to one so I couldn’t comment. Glad you weighed in, and I love Reminiscence Musc, too! October 9, 2012 at 9:38am Reply

    • Edward: Laduree make-up line? That piqued my curiosity! I always crave for their macaroons and am not aware they also have expanded into cosmetics. Interesting! Will search the web. October 10, 2012 at 6:55am Reply

      • FastFoodLocal151: I think it was just lip balms and face powders when they first came out – I think it’s expanded, but they were absolutely exquisitely packaged when I originally saw them. October 10, 2012 at 10:04am Reply

  • Zazie: I must admit I do not have much perfume-fun these days when I browse my city’s Sephora shelves.
    Indeed, before discovering perfume blogs and “alternative” (i.e. niche) perfume lines I had stopped wearing perfume altogether, since nothing from the “sephorannaudouglas” shelves really spoke to me.
    These days, when I do decide to spray along in a Sephora shop, I usually find the men’s aisle more satisfying: Pi and l’instant magic pour homme are always a great (re)discovery. Also Dior homme is a nice liquorice tinged treat! October 9, 2012 at 9:07am Reply

    • Suzanna: Zazie, this is why I mentioned the Hermes colognes, which are far and away the most interesting things I could find.

      And I adore Pi and this will be subject of another post, later on. October 9, 2012 at 9:39am Reply

  • Ari: FINALLY! Someone else who loves the original Prada! I wore it almost exclusively from 16-18, and still think it’s great. October 9, 2012 at 10:01am Reply

    • Victoria: Hey, I’m a fan of the original Prada too. And of Prada Intense, which has a delicious chocolate note that smells bitter, nutty and toasty (not sugary sweet). When I compare these perfumes to the current crop of fruitchoulis, I realize how much more sophisticated they are. October 9, 2012 at 10:08am Reply

      • Ann-Sofie: Prada Intense is really good, but I have to get trough the top notes before I can appreciate it. Alas, in the drydown it developes into a Coromandel scent-a-like. Actually, I bought Prada as a stand in, but this summer I gave up and got myself Coromandel.

        PS We don’t have Sephora in Sweden. Or, sort of – I think this month they opened the first Sephora in Stockholm, but in a rather remote suburb (kind of strange, I think) so I will not bother going there. Yes, lazy me is irritated….tssss… October 9, 2012 at 1:28pm Reply

        • Victoria: Ann-Sofie, I agree, there is definitely a Coromandel-like feeling in the drydown. They start differently, but the lingering finish is what I enjoy the most. October 10, 2012 at 7:11am Reply

      • Cherry: Since you are all talking about original Prada – would someone be able to tell me if it is a summer or winter scent? October 9, 2012 at 4:11pm Reply

        • Suzanna: While I believe in seasonless scents and wear heavy scents in summer, I believe many people would find Prada a fall/winter scent. October 9, 2012 at 7:57pm Reply

          • Ann-Sofie: I second Suzanna on Prada: it is varm and quite soft, especially in the drydown, and wears fine during the more chilly seasons, although I would not hesitate to wear it in summer, but maybe not on the hottest days. Perfect for summer nights. October 10, 2012 at 11:47am Reply

          • Kellz: I love heavy patchouli and incense-y scents in the summer! November 27, 2012 at 2:02pm Reply

            • Suzanna: Glad to meet another who enjoys the same things! November 27, 2012 at 9:54pm Reply

    • Suzanna: I love it! I wouldn’t even categorize it with the fruitchoulis, and I agree with what Victoria said about the Intense. October 9, 2012 at 10:42am Reply

      • Victoria: And my favorites at Sephora are their 30ml bottles!

        Reading your post made me long for Sephora. There are none in Belgium. October 9, 2012 at 11:03am Reply

        • MB: I’ll build one for you, V. October 9, 2012 at 1:32pm Reply

          • Victoria: 🙂 I would also like a 24-hour drugstore, while we’re at it! October 10, 2012 at 7:10am Reply

    • rosarita: I really like the original Prada and Prada Intense. Very well made and affordable. October 9, 2012 at 2:36pm Reply

  • Elisa: Even in the past 2-3 years the selection at Sephora has gotten worse, but there are still a few old loves to be found on those shelves — Flower by Kenzo, Hanae Mori Butterfly, Bulgari Black, the Muglers and Lempickas.

    The silliest thing I discovered at Sephora in the past year or so is Pink Sugar Sensual, which smells like pink lemonade cupcakes. This cheapo fruity floral is actually well-made! After using up the sample I got with an order (it cheered me up on dreary days), I sprung for a gift set with a sizable bottle plus lotion and shower gel that I found at TJ Maxx for all of $20 or so. 🙂 October 9, 2012 at 10:39am Reply

    • Suzanna: I’ve seen that Pink Sugar Sensual at Ross, very cheaply. Pink Sugar was a big trend item some years ago and I will say I still have my original bottle and use it as you do, on dreary days. I have the body oil as well. October 9, 2012 at 10:43am Reply

  • Amer: Yes, the hairspray note never quits. I have also been calling it hair-salon and starch musk and I despise it for what it signifies as much as for what it is being used for. Many times I have tried seemingly different perfumes only to end with the same starchy thing! It is obviously very tenacious and it doesn’t interfere with top notes too much so it is often stuck on any formula that has performance issues. It doesn’t matter what’s on top, stick it there and people think they got their money’s worth.
    I never dreamed of becoming a hairdresser so i don’t see the point of smelling like one. Many female friends though love the stuff! I tried Moschino Uomo? today and I ended up with it again. I wish there had been a warning label. October 9, 2012 at 12:17pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Warning labels–LOL, Amer! I agree!

      I can’t stand that note. Sometimes it is deliberately used, like in YSL Parisienne where it gives the perfume a nylon-like quality, and in others it is just that awful cheap hairspray. October 9, 2012 at 2:05pm Reply

  • Marika: Thank you for this lovely article, Suzanna! I’m a perfume newbie and I live in a small town. There is no Sephora here, but you gave me more incentives to brave my local mall if only to smell Prada and Marc Jacobs Woman. October 9, 2012 at 12:40pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Marika, I hope you can find them! And you can always get samples from one of the decanters online if you cannot. October 9, 2012 at 2:06pm Reply

    • bluepinegrove: Hi Marika,
      My name is Marika too! I am fairly new to perfume and I live in a small town. I figured out that I didn’t post this because my town *does* have a small Sephora at the mall! I love Prada. October 9, 2012 at 6:17pm Reply

      • Suzanna: Great to meet another Prada lover, Marika (and another Marika, too!).

        Prada may have been the last designer scent I truly liked well enough to buy. October 9, 2012 at 8:21pm Reply

  • JS: You won’t believe this, but for a brief and glorious time a few years ago all the Toronto Sephora shops carried a good 5-7 Serge Lutens fragrances!
    I got Datura Noir, Santal Blanc, and Gris Clair this way.

    I second Stella and NR For Her recommendations and add: some of the Fresh and Tocca fragrances are worth checking out. I think Caudalie might also have some pretty eau de toilettes. October 9, 2012 at 12:44pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Lutens would never happen in my Sephora!

      Agree about the Caudalie, and we do have them here. They are light and lovely, and layer wonderfully well with the dry oil Huile Divin. October 9, 2012 at 2:07pm Reply

  • Diane: I shop at Sephora for my Aromatics Elixir. I also like that you can smell there in peace and get samples of anything you want. October 9, 2012 at 12:48pm Reply

    • Suzanna: I’ve seen AE at some Sephoras here–the larger ones. I also like that you are pretty much left alone. October 9, 2012 at 2:07pm Reply

  • fleurdelys: Yes, Sephora is getting worse with their rapidly-shrinking fragrance section, even in New York City. I’ve found things can be different from store to store, though. One NYC Sephora didn’t even have Chanel No. 5 (shocker!), while another had a nice selection of Hermes. October 9, 2012 at 12:54pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Fleurdelys, did you ever go into the first big Sephoras in NYC, years ago? Wow! Incredible selection.

      No No. 5 is ominous. October 9, 2012 at 2:08pm Reply

      • fleurdelys: No, never! It took me a long while to catch on to them. And then again, I’ve only been a perfumista for 4 years, so previously I had no motivation to search them out. October 10, 2012 at 2:58pm Reply

  • Ksenija: I am afraid that Sephora in Utrecht isnot a nice home for perfumes. I usually stop to smel YSL Paris EdT, Givenchy Ysatis and Estee Lauder Intuition. Most recent releases have failed to please me. October 9, 2012 at 1:33pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Ksenija, I agree about the recent releases. I haven’t found anything either, which is why I’ve highlighted some older frags. October 9, 2012 at 2:11pm Reply

  • Ann-Sofie: Hmmm….I have for a long time wished for a Sephora in Stockholm, Sweden, but it seems from many of the comments above that it might not be the Paradise of Scent that I dream of.

    Another hmmmm: would it be that the web shops are killing the diversity of the IRL shops? In most cases, they are reamarkably less expensive. October 9, 2012 at 1:43pm Reply

  • Ann-Sofie: Hmmm….I have for a long time wished for a Sephora in Stockholm, Sweden, but it seems from many of the comments above that it might not be the Paradise of Scent that I dream of.

    Another hmmmm: would it be that the web shops are killing the diversity of the IRL shops? In most cases, they are remarkably less expensive. October 9, 2012 at 1:43pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Ann-Sofie, I wasn’t aware that there weren’t any Sephoras in Stockholm! Are there any perfume boutiques?

      There was a time–a long time–that there was no such thing as Sephora here either! October 9, 2012 at 2:12pm Reply

      • Ann-Sofie: Actually, there is a newly opened Sephora in a suburb of Stockholm (they premiered this month, I think). I have not been there, because it is quite remote from where I live. Yes, in Stockholm there are a few perfume boutiques carrying niche perfumes, and at least one large department store (NK, equals Nordstroms in US I think) with a quite good selection of both department store labels and niche. Then there are a couple of larger stores with a lot of the usual labels but no niche. So if you are in an urge to buy Lipstick Rose or La chasse au papillons when in Stockholm, you could do that. October 10, 2012 at 4:27am Reply

  • Janette Lingwall: You must give credit to Sephora for being wonderful at giving out perfume samples! At least where I live, with the exception of Nordstroms, the department stores will only give out samples of their brand new fragrances they’re promoting and it’s like pulling teeth to even get those! I appreciate Sephora generously giving samples without any fuss. October 9, 2012 at 1:59pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Even more so with cosmetic samples, esp. foundation!

      The dept. stores are terrible, I agree! October 9, 2012 at 2:13pm Reply

  • rosarita: I envy you, having a Sephora, Susanna. The closest one to me is a tedious 2 hour drive, and it’s small. It used to carry the full line of Bulgari scents, but no longer. I do love several perfumes you mentioned, esp Stella. I appreciate the Sephora rollerballs and 30ml bottles. My first Sephora experience was in the late 90s, at the WTC in NY. It was amazing to see so many choices of everything, but I didn’t have much time to look and I wasn’t a perfume hobbiest then. October 9, 2012 at 2:49pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Rosarita, I use my Sephora more for makeup, if you must know. I do enjoy grabbing a spritz here or there (like today, La Petite Robe Noire), or Alien, but mostly I’m at the lipsticks :–) October 9, 2012 at 6:31pm Reply

  • Austenfan: My first Sephora was in France 20 odd years ago. Oddly enough I can’t remember any fragrances. I do remember they sold these beautiful translucent soaps.
    I was going to say that there are no Sephoras in Holland but I realised that there are. Not near where I live though.
    I like visiting the French ones which will often carry Lutens. I believe I got my first sniff of Ambre Sultan in a Sephora.
    For mainstream releases I will visit Douglas, which is I suppose similar. It’s not very good but they will have the really big releases. Mind you they didn’t have the Infusion d’Iris Absolue, had to wait for a Marionnaud in France to try that. Funnily enough I didn’t like it. Love iris centered perfumes, adore the original Infusion but this one left me cold. I am glad in a way as I won’t feel the need to buy it. October 9, 2012 at 4:20pm Reply

    • Suzanna: What a relief, Austenfan! Sometimes I have to really talk myself out of things, though (“It MIGHT work when it gets cooler outside…:).

      I remember those soaps. Dim memory, but there. October 9, 2012 at 6:32pm Reply

      • Austenfan: It was funny to feel such relief for not liking it. I’m not even going to try it again. I have loads of iris-centered perfumes and as I said I adore the original which I own a vat of. So; just no need of this one. October 9, 2012 at 7:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: I still haven’t tried it, and now I have even less of an incentive. October 10, 2012 at 3:28am Reply

      • Austenfan: Well I was rather hoping you would try it and then explain why I don’t like it. You did that so admirably with Bijou Romantique.
        The thing about the absolue is that imho it lacks the airiness that makes the original so wonderful to wear. I just find it too dense somehow. October 10, 2012 at 8:58am Reply

    • Ksenija: Sephora stores in the Netherlands carry a quite poor selection of fragrances. I like Douglas much more. For example, they have more old Guerlain classics, all of the Jil Sander fragrances, and I found there Marc Jacobs eponymous perfume after reading Suzanna’s review here. The thing I also like about Douglas is that usually, they also carry body milks and other complementary products from a certain perfume. October 10, 2012 at 4:12am Reply

  • maja: Not a huge fan of Sephora in Italy (loud music and so many perfumes mixed together) but Sephora Champs-Elysées in Paris was just an awesome shopping experience 🙂 Could’ve stayed for hours… October 9, 2012 at 4:40pm Reply

    • Suzanna: I knew it! And I think open until midnight! I would blow my shopping budget and have to eat stale bread for the rest of the trip. I’d get into the cosmetics, too, I know it. October 9, 2012 at 6:29pm Reply

      • maja: one could handle a piece of stale baguette for a couple of days 😉 October 10, 2012 at 6:40am Reply

  • Yulya: Unfortunately I am not a fan of Sephora in Toronto. Poor selection. Huge disappointment! October 9, 2012 at 5:18pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Yulya, that is what I mean. And they used to be stupendous! October 9, 2012 at 6:27pm Reply

  • annemariec: Great post, many thanks. I live in a Sephora-less land, so have never had the Sephora experience. It sounds like my local department stores are much the same, although without the music, thank goodness. The mall has an upmarket cosmetics shop that carries a few Lutesns, CdGarcons, Diptiques and Toccas, and we have a LUSH, Crabtree & Elephant, L’Occitane and Aesop. And of coure there are any number of discount pharmacies where you can pick up some surprsing bargains. So I can’t complain.

    What does annoy me is how hot the fragrance floors are in the department stores. It can’t be good for the perfume stocks, surely, being stuffed into those cabinets under hot lights? Quite often I pick up testers that have obviously gone bad. Grrr. October 9, 2012 at 6:10pm Reply

    • Suzanna: annemariec, it sounds as if you have a good variety despite the lack of a Sephora. You have more than I can access in Orlando, Tampa, or Jax, too. Just so you know!

      Hot floors–good point. Spent two hours there today. October 9, 2012 at 6:28pm Reply

      • annemariec: Thanks, yes, I’m lucky. Canberra is a small city but full of public servants and academics and such. Many people tend to be comfortably off without being really wealthy. This plays out in choice of museums and galleries and restaurants too! October 10, 2012 at 6:07am Reply

        • Suzanna: Thanks for sharing that info, annemariec! I’ve not known anyone from Canberra so know very little of it other than what I read in Bryson’s book about Australia. October 10, 2012 at 9:25pm Reply

  • Apollonia: Is it just me or does anyone else get the urge to go to her stash and spritz after reading the great posts every day and fantastic comments from the others? Like, my MOUTH is watering and now I feel I need Stella and Prada!!! I suppose I could have a worse habit…. October 9, 2012 at 6:37pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Apollonia, I do this all the time. I’m particularly a sucker for incense frags. If there’s a post about one, I buy a decant. No question! October 9, 2012 at 6:46pm Reply

    • annemariec: Yep. Shoes, handbags … Hermes scarves … October 10, 2012 at 6:08am Reply

  • Rahoka: I had my wonderful experience with Sephora in Barcelona Spain. They had a whole floor dedicating to perfumes and they were so generous with samples.
    There used to be one small Sephora store here in Hong Kong but it was gone some years ago. I guess the competition was too tough. October 9, 2012 at 6:41pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Rahoka, sounds as if Barcelona has the “old” type of Sephora. I hope it’s still there.

      I do know some Sephora stores downsized (the ones that were not in malls), moving to smaller quarters and not merchandising by floor. October 9, 2012 at 6:47pm Reply

  • Maya: I totally understand where you’re coming from Suzanna, I too,suffer from the scarcity of perfumes in our stores. I live in what you would call a “third world country” and our stores are usually very limited in their selection of perfumes especially old/vintage perfumes and niche lines. Oh, how I long to try all SL’s perfumes. However my local perfume store is always up to date with the new releases, especially for big mainstream perfumes (I swear I could re-sketch the whole “La Vie est Belle” billboard add perfectly just by memory). But since I’m an Arabian we have the natural elements (oud, incense,……) to apply with even the darkest perfumes to make them just a little darker and to our taste. October 9, 2012 at 9:22pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Maya, ouds and incenses are marvelous, as you say, to darken anything (even that new Lancome!).

      I haven’t tried all of SL’s perfumes, believe me. Right now I am trying to recall the scent of La Myrrhe, of which I had a drop some years ago and now wish to try again. October 10, 2012 at 8:58am Reply

  • Andrea: I use the Michael Kors leg shimmer as perfume, also! It’s a cheap trick, isn’t it? I also love the free samples, but it isn’t a Nordstrom (which has free samples AND better perfume). I did discover Tocca here, though, and I like that you can get a decent collection of mini sprays for a great price; you may find a new favorite! I love Colette and Florence.

    Don’t discount the value of finding what you DON’T like. I have learned that there are many perfumes that I don’t like or that give me a headache courtesy of Sephora!;-).

    (Embarrassingly, it is also the store in which my son will forever state “Mom, isn’t this the place where you sprayed perfume in my eye when I was little?” Yes, yes it was. And they were very nice about rushing the Bad Mom and her screaming child to the employee’s bathroom to do first aid. So watch where you spray, moms!) October 10, 2012 at 2:45am Reply

    • annemariec: Eh. Kids. Mine have long memories for things like that too. Still perfume in the eye is diabolical. October 10, 2012 at 6:13am Reply

    • Suzanna: Andrea, you just made my day! I am laughing out loud at your son’s reminiscence. What a tale!

      Glad to know there is someone else out there who uses that leg shimmer as a solid perfume. October 10, 2012 at 8:24am Reply

  • Leonie: Hi Suzanna,
    Your article has struck a chord with me! Since I have become a mother, my perfumery visits are mostly reduced to what our little town has on offer, and in our case there isn’t even any Sephora there. Well this has led me to rediscover my love of the loud eighties flower perfumes, and now I am admiring Diva, Jil Sander number 4 and Joop Le Bain whenever the opportunity presents itself. I love perusing the shelves and trying to find a treasure in a bottle which I probably would have never considered before. October 10, 2012 at 2:57am Reply

    • Suzanna: Leonie, Jil Sander No. 4 is an overlooked gem!

      Joop le Bain is also great, although that is much more an overlooked European frag and not one known by many Americans–and very much worth mentioning here.

      Diva is still going strong! October 10, 2012 at 7:05am Reply

      • Leonie: Yes I think for me it’s time to actually buy some of those instead of just sniffing my wrist and making delightful faces. I think if you apply sparingly, these could be worn any time… October 11, 2012 at 1:26pm Reply

    • FastFoodLocal151: Also Lancaster Le Bain, although I am not sure if that has now been d/c’d in Europe too. I saw some bottles a couple years ago at a French Sephora. It was a powdery skin scent, if I recall correctly. Not clean especially though – more like Boudoir minus any sweetness. October 10, 2012 at 10:06am Reply

      • Suzanna: Do not know Lancaster Le Bain at all. Lancaster is not a brand that is sold much here. Perhaps Neiman Marcus had it, but not sure. October 10, 2012 at 9:24pm Reply

      • Leonie: I never saw Lancaster Le Bain, maybe it’s time to do some digging… October 11, 2012 at 1:27pm Reply

  • Austenfan: One thing I forgot to mention earlier: I got a sample of the Parma Profvmo over a year ago, never tried it until recently. This is one seriously gorgeous fragrance, very expensive but worth it I think. October 10, 2012 at 4:15pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Austenfan, the reason I don’t buy that Profumo is that the price has doubled (or more) in just a few years. But it is fabulous, isn’t it? October 10, 2012 at 9:23pm Reply

      • Austenfan: I am seriously considering robbing a bank ( or a fragrance boutique) to get my mitts on some. I adored it. Plus it is so pleasant and easy to wear. October 11, 2012 at 12:33pm Reply

        • Suzanna: Careful, it’s been reformulated. Look for the older bottles, that is the old-school chypre we loved. October 11, 2012 at 4:47pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: I like the Tocca scents- Cleopatra, Colette and Stella very much. Sephora is great for obscure make up lines and “fun” youth-oriented lines like Trina Turk but as far as perfumes are concerned, it’s just a bigger version of the Bloomingdale’s department- minus Annick Goutal. I am not a hater though- I really love their generosity with samples and browsibility. October 11, 2012 at 5:18pm Reply

    • Suzanna: No haters here! Just regret that they’ve had to downsize so much! October 11, 2012 at 5:33pm Reply

  • Daisy: I’m no hater! I hardly ever buy any fragrances at Sephora, but I will happily spend time spritzing and sniffing away. The SA’s are friendly, they leave you alone, and they make you tons of samples of anything you ask for (and even stuff you don’t).

    Plus they’re open late.

    I will say that I generally start with the “men’s” section where they keep all the Hermès, and work my way to the “women’s.” October 13, 2012 at 3:00pm Reply

    • Suzanna: A smart plan! I wish mine had the trio of colognes I talk about in this post, though. I would be in there more often if so. I’m really getting into men’s frags now and those are a great training-wheels set! October 13, 2012 at 5:56pm Reply

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