Black Swan, White Swan

What are your Black Swan and White Swan scents? If you’re craving a bewitching perfume, what do you choose?

When I first tried Repetto perfume, this sparkling gourmand floral made me think of the Sugar Plum Fairy, all sweetness and joy. I wished for more drama and magic, something more suitable for the Black Swan enchantress Odile.


Some choices were obvious when I glanced at my perfume shelf. Annick Goutal Néroli is my White Swan perfume, a delicate, pretty orange blossom that wears like a sheer veil. But if I’m in a Black Swan mood, then I reach for Vero Profumo Rubj. It’s one of the sultriest, darkest florals in my collection, and it is as provocative as it is alluring.

The same duality can be found in my favorite roses: Parfums de Rosine Un Zest de Rose is a smiling, ethereal blossom, but if I want something more dramatic, then Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin would be my potion of choice. Another Black Swan rose I love is Etat Libre d’Orange Rossy de Palma, a hailstorm of earthy, spicy petals.

Etat Libre d’Orange RienClinique Aromatics Elixir, and Yves Saint Laurent Nu are my other Black Swan perfumes, mostly because they are intriguing and unpredictable. Just like Odile.

Image: a still from the film, Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman



  • Annamaria: Ha, I did this when I saw Swan Lake recently! I layered Bvlgari Voile de Jasmin (white swan) and Lolita Lempicka (black swan); it turned out softly enchanting, but hardly chiascuro. August 20, 2013 at 8:17am Reply

    • Victoria: Wow, that’s an interesting combination! I’ll have to try it. August 20, 2013 at 8:47am Reply

  • george: That’s such a hard question- despite the prevalence of perfumes monikered ‘noir’ from a synaesthetic point of view, there are very few that register as dark, even in the dry down. White florals are much more two a penny, and of those which combine both extremes of white and dark with little in the middle, to achieve an extreme chiaroscuro effect I can only really name Cuir de Russie (although maybe cuir nacre has a similar effect- i have not tried). However, for a really dark fragrance for the black swan I would be looking outside the world of feminines- maybe Derby by Guerlain. I’ve only tried it once but it reminded me of a degingerbreaded bois des iles, and as that is Tchaikovsky inspired, a perfume concentrated on the darker elements of BDI seems appropriate. I would also suggest Jeke or Norne by Slumberhouse- a line of a really dark, peculiar and extreme palette, tremendous density, and which teeters on the very edge of wearability. August 20, 2013 at 8:41am Reply

    • george: Of course I know not why I should feel restrained to thinking in terms of feminines for a black/white swan analogy, because there was Matthew Bourne’s amazing all male (swans) version of Swan Lake. August 20, 2013 at 8:43am Reply

      • Victoria: Some men dance on pointe in class, because nothing strengthens the feet better. In the past, it was very hard to get the proper sizes of pointe shoes, but since female dancers have been getting taller and taller, it’s not such an issue anymore.

        Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is highly recommended to anyone who loves dance or wants to experience something other than the traditional ballet performance. August 20, 2013 at 9:16am Reply

        • george: I love that your blog is such a cultural exchange; today’s post is a reminder that I never got around to reading The Double by Dostoyevsky, and now when I do get around to read it it will also be within the context of it maybe inspiring Swan Lake and Black Swan to some degree. August 20, 2013 at 11:00am Reply

          • Victoria: The Double is definitely worth reading! Disturbing, fascinating… Did Black Swan remind of you of this tale about a mad government clerk?

            Are you familiar with Gogol? Dead Souls or The Overcoat? August 20, 2013 at 12:18pm Reply

            • george: No, I was just researching Swan Lake, and because of the double in that, and because I knew a little of the Double (this is from studying Sylvia Plath- some of her late poetry was definitely influenced by the Death of Ivan Ilyich by Tolstoy, and her last novel which is said to have been partially completed, but which was burnt after her death by Ted Hughes was said to have been influenced by the Double by Dostoyevsky (it was called Double Exposure), and she wrote a thesis on it at university if I remember rightly), and also because I was thinking of the psychosexual element of Swan lake in both the traditional and the Bourne version, of which I watched a little on youtube, and which is so VERY Dostoyevsky (I have read other works), I looked it up on Wikipaedia to see the chronology of the writing, to discover it was written 30 years before Swan Lake, so I think it may well have influenced both Swan Lake and Black Swan, but because I haven’t yet read it, I can’t say that it reminded me of it, it just reminded me I intended to read it. With your recommendation, I will be definitely getting a copy and reading it, though. I’m not familiar with Gogol, but I will take a look at those works too 🙂 August 20, 2013 at 1:41pm Reply

              • Victoria: I would recommend you to read Gogol’s Overcoat first, because Dostoevsky was influenced by Gogol (obsessed even!) Many consider The Double to be a response to the Overcoat, so you might find interesting parallels. And Gogol is worth reading on his own terms.

                On the direct influence of Dostoevsky on Swan Lake, I somehow doubt it, since the store is based partially on the Russian folktale and a story by Johann Musaus. This sort of Germanic Romantic thing was popular in the 19th century, and you can see the same supernatural motifs in other ballets like Giselle. August 21, 2013 at 5:41am Reply

            • george: It is however- now that I have remembered that Aronofsky also directed Pi- which is so like a hiphop retelling of a Dostoyevsky tale, to not that think that he isn’t an influence on his work and Black Swan. August 20, 2013 at 2:02pm Reply

              • george: It is however- now that I have remembered that Aronofsky also directed Pi- which is so like a hiphop retelling of a Dostoyevsky tale- hard to think that he isn’t an influence on Aronofsky’s work, and Black Swan. (Got it that time) August 20, 2013 at 2:07pm Reply

              • Victoria: That’s an interesting connection! August 21, 2013 at 5:42am Reply

            • Mel: Dead Souls is one of my favorite books OF ALL TIME! Nabokov wrote an extremely intriguing book on Gogol. Impressions of the writer and his work. August 20, 2013 at 3:03pm Reply

              • george: Love Nakokov too! Will def. be reading dead souls. August 20, 2013 at 3:13pm Reply

              • Victoria: Mine too! I also love his Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka and Mirgorod. The house in the story “The Old World Landowners” could be an exact description of my grandmother’s. August 21, 2013 at 5:47am Reply

    • Victoria: True, noir is usually not noir at all. Dahlia Noir? Hardly! I like your idea of looking outside of the classical feminine fragrances, and I can’t agree more on Derby. It’s one of the most underrated Guerlains, and yet, it’s excellent, in whatever formulation. August 20, 2013 at 8:50am Reply

  • Merlin: I don’t own Portrait of a Lady or Citizen Queen but I think both would suit a black swan. Perhaps Daphne too? Ah, and definitely Dune.

    Among White swans would be Lipstick Rose, Baiser Vole (EDP), and La Myrhh. I would also put Iris Silver Mist, but there are those who find it melancholy.

    I appreciate the brooding complexity of the Black Swan scents, but really, if something is going to compel me to jump off a cliff I would prefer it NOT to be the perfume I’v put on… August 20, 2013 at 9:24am Reply

    • Victoria: Ha! I also prefer my perfume to soothe my angst, rather than add to it. 🙂

      Interesting that so many people find Dune melancholy or even sordid. It’s such a cozy, cuddly scent for me. August 20, 2013 at 9:36am Reply

      • Merlin: That’s interesting! I do find it somehow desolate. Not really ‘dirty’ though:) August 20, 2013 at 9:46am Reply

        • Victoria: Not dirty-dark to me either. You’re not the only person I know who finds it desolate. August 20, 2013 at 12:20pm Reply

          • Merlin: Hi, sorry only just saw your reply now! Didn’t LT &TS The Guide characterise it as rather bleak. I don’t always share the Guide’s sensibility but I think on that one I did! I wore Dune as a teenager so it could just be that I associate it with a not-very-happy time (thats why I can’t actually wear it today) but I think back then it would have suited my quasi-gothic inclinations, lol! August 26, 2013 at 8:17am Reply

          • Merlin: Sorry – I actually misread your reply! I had read it as ‘You ARE the only person I know who finds it desolate.’

            Even if a comment was entirely idiosyncratic i can’t imagine you responding in that way:) Not your style at all! August 26, 2013 at 8:29am Reply

            • Victoria: 🙂

              I was actually going to mention the Guide in my original response, because I recall that LT and TS also found it morose. Anyway, the more I delve into perfume, the more I find it interesting when others have very different responses. Because it only goes to show that scents and associations are much more complex that often believed (or treated by the conventional perfume marketing). August 27, 2013 at 7:37am Reply

  • Cybele: Black swan Serge Lutens Borneo, Oud 27, Rien, Yatagan, Back to Black, Egoiste

    white swan Promesse de L’Aube, 28 La Pausa, Envy, Estee Lauder Tuberose Gardenia, Chanel 5, Homage August 20, 2013 at 9:24am Reply

    • Victoria: You know, I was wearing Yatagan the other evening when I was craving something dark and sultry. August 20, 2013 at 9:34am Reply

      • Cybele: Did you wear Yatagan out or rather for yourself? August 20, 2013 at 9:46am Reply

        • Victoria: My husband and I went out, so I put some on. I don’t go overboard with it, since it’s so rich. August 20, 2013 at 9:49am Reply

          • Cybele: It works nice as a skin scent, I think. I gave it to a male friend who used to wear L’Instant homme for several years-now he perceives it as almost generic (I do not agree) and finds Yatagan immensely wearable and not beastly at all. August 20, 2013 at 10:04am Reply

            • Victoria: It really does. I sometimes mix it with body lotion to make it even more intimate and second skin-like. August 20, 2013 at 12:21pm Reply

  • Caroline: Agree with your AG Neroli/Rubj counterpoint (in my case, has to be the extrait–something in the edp doesn’t agree with me). How about Mimosa pour moi/white swan, and Une Fleure de Cassie/black swan? August 20, 2013 at 9:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, totally agree on Rubj. It’s the extrait all the way for me too. The EDP is just too ripe on my skin.

      What a great mimosa juxtaposition! I completely agree with you. August 20, 2013 at 9:33am Reply

    • Cybele: I actually find Une Fleur de Cassie very white swan! August 20, 2013 at 9:47am Reply

  • Alicia: My White Swans are easy to name, since I wear them often, Chanel #22, and PdNicolai, Le Temps d’une Fete. Black Swan: perhaps Bulgari Black, or T. Ford Black Orchid, or Piguet’s Bandit and even Fracas, but my favorite, if I could get the original, is what my mother loved, Caron’s Narcisse Noir (now reformulated,and not quite so dark). August 20, 2013 at 9:32am Reply

    • Victoria: True, Caron lightened Narcisse Noir to the point that it can be now called Narcisse Blanc (which they also have). But I like it nonetheless, just not for my “dark” moods. August 20, 2013 at 9:37am Reply

  • Alicia: Oh, I forgot the roses! I usually wear only three of them, My White Swan I suspect to be playful Rochas, Tocade, but the Black? Neither of my other roses is very dark, but they will have to do, Guerlain’s Nahema and Amouage, Lyric. I can’t imagine any swan rejecting either one: not dark, but entrancing and immensely seductive. August 20, 2013 at 9:43am Reply

    • Victoria: Those are sultry roses for sure! August 20, 2013 at 12:21pm Reply

  • Aisha: Hmmm … White swan for me would be Chanel Cristalle, Estee Lauder’s Pleasures and YSL Paris. Black swan for me would be Chanel Coco, Boucheron and, again, YSL Paris. Can you tell I have a favorite? 😉 August 20, 2013 at 10:12am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s good to know what you like! And Paris is a beautiful perfume, the feather color notwithstanding. 🙂 August 20, 2013 at 12:22pm Reply

    • Anne: Cristalle is my white swan too. August 21, 2013 at 6:03am Reply

    • Austenfan: Another YSL Paris lover, great! August 21, 2013 at 8:21am Reply

  • Rina: V, perfect first read of the morning, thank you! As the days here start cold and cloudy, then turn bright and sunny, it’s been a WS/BS summer for sure. For WS, I’d choose EL Gardenia Tuberrose, Kilian Love & Tears and Diorissimo. For BS, Kilian Straight to Heaven, TF Black Orchid, DK Black Cashmere and of course, vintage Poison. Perhaps I’ll pop my DVD in and try to watch the film again. I loved it but haven’t been able to watch it again, it’s so deliciously disturbing! August 20, 2013 at 10:14am Reply

    • Victoria: I had a mixed reaction when I first watched the movie, but now, more than a year later I keep thinking about it, so that’s already something. August 20, 2013 at 12:23pm Reply

  • Sandra: Black swan: cruel intentions, coco noir and amour amour forbidden love. White swan: Noa, eau de mervielles, and amyris August 20, 2013 at 10:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Amyris is such a tender, cozy fragrance. I don’t wear it often, but whenever I do, it makes me feel so comforted. August 20, 2013 at 12:24pm Reply

  • fleurdelys: My taste leans towards the Black Swan perfumes, nary a White Swan in sight! But here are a couple: 24, Faubourg and Hiris. For the Black Swans, I’m spoiled for choice: Poison, Bandit, Habanita, Mariella Burani, Paco Rabanne Nuit…etc. August 20, 2013 at 11:01am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, so good to see a mention of both Nuit and Mariella Burani in the same thread! Both are excellent and somewhat underrated. August 20, 2013 at 12:25pm Reply

  • Natalia: I second Merlin’s opinion. I don’t need an added anxiety in my life, especially in a form of perfume 🙂 Which is why there are more white swans in my wardrobe than the black ones. And even they are not really black but kind of greyish.

    So among my white swans are – Annick Goutal Neroli :), Jour d’Hermes, Chanel Biege, Rose Ikebana, Nahema

    The greyish swans – Caleche, L’Eau d’Hiver, 31 Rue Cambon, Philtre d’Amore, Kelly Caleche

    Some truly black swans – Chanel 5, Chanel 19, Aromatics Elixir, Agent Provocateur.

    Interestingly, I don’t percieve my “black swans” as “gloomy” or “depressing”. They are “black” purely in terms of how I see them, color-wise, if that makes any sense.

    I can name one “black swan”, however, that I consider hopelessly depressing. Wearing it is like looking into the endless abyss of existence which is why I never do it. It’s Infini Caron.

    In general, I find aldehydic perfums “blacker” than those of any other olfactory group. August 20, 2013 at 11:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Your grey swan comment reminded me that American choreographer George Balanchine famously dressed swans in his version of Swan Lake in black. Traditionally, in the ballet all swans are white; the only black swan is Odile the enchantress. When people asked him why, he simply replied, “there are black swans as well.” Gotta love Balanchine! August 20, 2013 at 12:29pm Reply

  • Nancy A.: Anything Oud I would categorize as “black swan”. The drydown on some Ouds are sensual, alluring not unlike Sweet Redemption. Kilian’s Playing with the Devil (part of the Callligraphy collection) could possibly fall into both categories. August 20, 2013 at 11:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Have you tried Playing with the Devil already? What is it like? August 20, 2013 at 12:30pm Reply

  • Hannah: White Swan: Musc Nomade
    Black Swan: Black Cashmere August 20, 2013 at 11:35am Reply

    • Victoria: I must have been in a black swan mood lately, because I also wore Black Cashmere this weekend. One of my favorites! August 20, 2013 at 12:31pm Reply

  • lila: I have mostly white swans in my collection and the closest I have to a black swan would be Tubereuse Criminelle. The black swans that come to my mind would be La Myrrhe, Chanel Coco and No. 5 (probably the vintage even more so) and Bulgari Black seems like a no-brainer, right? 🙂 August 20, 2013 at 12:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: But it only means that Bulgari really nailed the black idea with their perfume. It works perfectly on all levels. August 20, 2013 at 12:31pm Reply

      • lila: Yes, Black is a great masculine scent but a black swan diva could totally pull it off, too. August 20, 2013 at 1:10pm Reply

        • Victoria: Easily! As long as the diva doesn’t mind woods and smoke. August 21, 2013 at 5:25am Reply

  • Yulya: Interesting, as always! Well, I would consider any classic Caron having a dark undertone and quite provocative too. Unfortunatly, recent reformulations lost their appeal. August 20, 2013 at 12:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: Mmmm, that dark Caron undercurrent. I especially love it in Nuit de Noel, which is still fine (somewhat less dark though). August 20, 2013 at 12:32pm Reply

  • lari: Victoria, thanks for this wonderful question. Really something to mull over-love the question and the suggestions. now to think about my own scent group.
    thanks!!! August 20, 2013 at 12:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: My pleasure! 🙂 I would love to hear what you come up with. August 21, 2013 at 5:23am Reply

  • Figuier: Great concept! Not sure I have many true monochromatic ‘swans’ in my perfume wardrobe tho…most of them are dappled, black and white (but NOT grey 😉

    If I had to polarise I’d say Yves Rocher Jasmin Tendre for a white swan jasmine, and Nuda for a black; Byzance edp is black, Traversee du Bosphore, another powdery sugar-dusted number, is white swan all the way.

    For roses, I don’t think I really enjoy the ‘white swan’ kind, they usually seem a bit Miss Marplish for me. There are lots of dark roses now of course; my vote goes to By Kilian Rose Oud, deliciously and undisputably a ‘black swan’. August 20, 2013 at 1:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: Nuda, despite the name and despite the color of jasmine, is a black swan through and through for me. Such a gorgeous, dark white floral (as contradictory as it sounds). I’ve been meaning to review it for ages, but Nasomatto keeps suffering issues with the availability of his perfumes, so I haven’t done it yet. Waiting till it all gets sorted. August 21, 2013 at 5:33am Reply

      • Figuier: That’s a review I look forward to: the queen of jasmine reviewing the queen (for me) of jasmine perfumes! Hope the supply issues clear up soon… August 21, 2013 at 5:40am Reply

  • E.Lime: My current white swans: Diptyque Eau Rose and Kilian’s Love and Tears (so pretty and diaphanous and sparkling, like stereotypical ballerina’s headdress, perhaps)

    Black Swan: Miller Harris L’air de Rien (I feel like many people would see this as a black swan, even though to me it is more incense-y and smokey than dirty. At any rate, it is a black swan I want to ride!) August 20, 2013 at 2:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: Love and Tears definitely makes jasmine feel gossamer light with all of those sparkling green notes. It’s only in the drydown that it starts to reveal its sensual side. August 21, 2013 at 5:43am Reply

  • solanace: White Swan: AG Rose Splendide, Songes and Eau d’Hadrien.
    Black Swan: Amouage Dia Man, Epic and Jubilation 25; Guerlain Encens Mythique and Shalimar; Serge Lutens Chergui; Kilian Back to Black; Comme des Garçons Avignon.

    Gotta say I prefer my swan black. 😉 August 20, 2013 at 2:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: After seeing Back to Black mentioned in several comments, I wore it last night and enjoyed it tremendously. It’s dark but quite a vixen (not brooding or somber). August 21, 2013 at 5:44am Reply

      • solanace: It’s nice, isn’t it? At first I though it was too literal an interpretation of pipe tobacco to justify the price tag, but it’s been growing on me, and now I find myself craving it more often than I should. I’ll need more, maybe even a FB. I should quit trying the expensive stuff… August 21, 2013 at 1:30pm Reply

        • Victoria: Famous last words! 🙂 August 21, 2013 at 3:06pm Reply

  • Mel: white swan: debut by parfums delrae
    black swan: la fille de berlin by SL August 20, 2013 at 3:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: Debut is one of the most spring like perfumes I know! August 21, 2013 at 5:49am Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: As a newbie with limited knowledge…
    White Swan: Diorissimo
    Black Swan: Poison (I still remember the first time I smelt Poison off from someone. It was loud, weird and mysterious. It took me a while to find out which perfume it was and it also took me ages to appreciate the smell of Tuberose. I still don’t think I can wear it but I admire it!) August 20, 2013 at 3:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: Can’t agree more! Poison is the exact dark white floral I mentioned earlier today. The tuberose paired with those rich, plummy notes (and woods and musk!) darkens by several tones. August 21, 2013 at 5:50am Reply

  • Austenfan: This whole day, after reading your post with the lovely photograph, I have been thinking of Tiger Swans. ( they don’t exist). Tiger Swans are a species invented by an Irish actor/comedian when he was working for a charity call center that tried to save endangered species. As most of the species in the UK that they were trying to save were various bats, it was incredibly hard to get donations. So he resorted to “making up” animals. One of which was the tiger swan.

    Back on topic. Rose is sort of easy to split between the black and white camp. I think I prefer my roses dark, but few rose fragrances beat the wonderful effect of my beloved Ecume.
    And I kept wondering whether Paris would be considered Black or White. My feeling is that it is neither. But it isn’t grey either. Same goes for Tocade. Lovely and cheerful, yes, but nowhere near as airy as Ecume, as it has an oriental base.

    With respect to white florals; isn’t it funny that what should because of their name be white swans are often by their nature rather noir. I would classify Songes as noir, as it has this lovely dusky quality. Un Matin however would be white.
    But what about Carnal Flower? Tubéreuse Criminelle is noir, and I would put Fracas there as well.
    And yes Rubj, especially in extrait is noir. ( as is Onda, Kiki however seems to qualify as white)

    Chypres read mostly as noir to me. Aromatics Elixir, definitely noir, but Cristalle, white, but it has a slightly melancholy side to it. Maybe Cristalle is the Tiger Swan. August 20, 2013 at 5:10pm Reply

    • Hannah: I had the same thought about white florals. Fracas is a black swan tuberose and Carnal Flower is a white swan tuberose, in my opinion. August 20, 2013 at 5:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: Tiger swans! How brilliant!

      The paradox of white florals, particularly the nightblooming ones, is they really don’t smell all that white. So, I completely agree with you that there is this duality, the contrast between white petals and scent of decay, innocence and sensuality. Sophia Grojsman often tells the story that when she first visited Spain, she kept wondering in the evening why there were so many horses around and why she didn’t spot any. She realized later that she kept smelling jasmine (did I tell this story already? I just love it!)

      Carnal Flower is white to me though, because it’s so intensely green and cool in the top notes. It darkens very gradually, but not as much as tuberoses like Tubereuse Criminelle by Lutens or Poison by Dior. August 21, 2013 at 5:54am Reply

      • Austenfan: This is a link to the story. It wasn’t the best of Norton’s shows, but this part has me in stitches every time. August 21, 2013 at 7:27am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you very much! I’m going to see it later today. August 21, 2013 at 7:32am Reply

      • Austenfan: Oh, and I love the Grojsman story, which you hadn’t told me yet. Even Honeysuckle at it’s peak can smell anything but clean. I was wearing Manoumalia yesterday as I read your post.
        A very dark swan indeed! August 21, 2013 at 7:32am Reply

        • Victoria: Oh, good, I was worried I’m repeating myself yet again. 🙂 August 21, 2013 at 9:46am Reply

    • Annikky: I kept thinking about white flowers and their black swan quality, too. And as tuberose and jasmine have been covered, I’ll add gardenia: VC&A Gardenia Petale (and Un Matin d’Orage, as you mentioned) for white, Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia for black. August 21, 2013 at 7:33am Reply

      • Victoria: Velvet Gardenia is another white floral black swan for me too. And if I think of the color, I see this perfume in the chocolate brown, mahogany tones. Nothing sunny or bright about it (maybe a little bit in the beginning). August 21, 2013 at 7:39am Reply

  • erry: White Swan:

    1. Marc Jacobs Blush – sweet, pretty, innocent, and romantic white swan
    2. Guerlain Apres L’ondee – romantic, enchanting, beautiful but melancholy, almost tragical white swan
    3. Annick Goutal Songes – dreamy and seductive white swan

    Black Swan:
    1. Guerlain Shalimar – diva-ish black swan
    2. Ribert Piguet Bandit – provocative, naughty, sexy black swan.
    3. Must de Cartier – black swan doing the 32 fouettes. Bold, complex and fascinating! August 20, 2013 at 9:59pm Reply

    • solmarea: Lovely suggestions. August 21, 2013 at 4:50am Reply

    • Victoria: A fun list. Must de Cartier – black swan doing the 32 fouettes — I love this! 🙂 August 21, 2013 at 6:07am Reply

  • Anka: Thanks for a fascinating post, Victoria! The ultimate white swan for me is Lorenzo Villoresi’s Teint de Neige, with its powdery innocent-feathery beauty. In many reviews Teint de Neige is associated with Snow White, a fairy tale of the Brothers Grimm which Tchaikovsky set to music, too.
    For black swan – although I don’t like it very much – Lutens Muscs koublai khan immediately crossed my mind because of its brute power of seduction… August 21, 2013 at 8:48am Reply

    • Victoria: Many children’s stories are full of gory details, aren’t they! I didn’t realize it until I read a book of fairy tales to my friend’s daughter.

      Anyway, MKK is such a chameleon for me. Sometimes it feels cozy and tender, and at others, like a femme fatale. August 21, 2013 at 9:44am Reply

  • Alicia: My goodnesss! I have a dark rose, and I forgot it because I don’t think of Parfum Sacré as a rose, but there it is, the rose among the spices. Much better than Nahema or Lyric for the Black Swan.
    FM Une Rose would be even better, but for the moment I don’t have it. Come winter I will. August 21, 2013 at 10:32am Reply

    • Victoria: I recently met a very interesting woman on the train. We got talking, and it turned out that she works in one of French ministries dealing with domestic abuse. She seemed very confident, multifaceted and very elegant. I asked if she has a favorite perfume, and she named Parfum Sacre! August 21, 2013 at 3:01pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Reading these comments is exciting. How different our perceptions are! White or black–it’s all in the nose of the sniffer.
    Perhaps every ”real” perfume has both aspects in it. I love the story about jasmine and horses, thank you for sharing! That ”horse” smell of jasmine was–long ago– part of the beauty of Joy. It is still gorgeous, but that ”dirty” smell is gone.
    For the White Swan, I would select an Aqua Allegoria, like Lys Soleia or Flora Nymphea. Or Osmanthus (The Diff. Comp.), or Pour un Homme.
    As for the Black Swan, I see her in Knowing. But in my opinion, she can wear everything. Her personality makes the ”black” side in every perfume apparent. Even in something like Idylle –she would put forward the dark side of lilac.
    A perfume having both sides in a most intriguing way is Iris Silver Mist. It starts dark, earthy, and as time goes by it becomes areal. One of the best ever.
    And what do you think of the Sorcerer (or is he called the Magician?) Out of him streams something as dark as possible. Maybe La Route du Vetiver MPG. August 22, 2013 at 2:36am Reply

    • Victoria: I also imagine him wearing something earthy, or maybe smoky. For instance, Comme des Garcons Amazingreen, which smells like gunpowder. August 22, 2013 at 9:12am Reply

  • Jo: Caron’s Narcisse Noir always put me in mind of Odile, so much so that Tchaikovsky played in my head when I wore it. Narcissus to me registers as a dark, intoxicating floral – funny considering the sunny daffodil. La Fille de Berlin I agree also feels very Black Swan to me – it has an intriguing slightly bruised, worldly quality to it.
    As for the White Swan, I think of the pristine Chanel Beige, but also of Serge Lutens peaceful De Profundis, which has a slight melancholy to it that suits Odette well. September 3, 2013 at 10:47am Reply

    • Victoria: I also find De Profundis peaceful. Serene, peaceful and comforting somehow. September 3, 2013 at 12:13pm Reply

  • JulienFromDijon: White swan : As I find ballet utterly boring 95% of the time, I pick up “Cartier I l’heure promise”.
    Very well crafted, but boring for me.
    Iris, tonka, leather. Preppy, scratchy like the sound of tulle fabric on tulle fabric of dancers, pallid.

    Black swan : the bewitching one of the two is a far more interesting personality. Let say “Onda” of Vero Kern, my last crush. September 29, 2013 at 8:05am Reply

  • Nora Szekely: Hi Victoria and perfume lovers,
    Black swan movie made a deep impression on me. It forced me to face my insecurities and come to terms with my dark side.
    My White swan scent is La chasse aux papillons by L’Artisan.
    My Black swan : I agree with Cornelia, Odile’s personality would turn dark almost any scent. For me a Black swan perfume is not sad but dramatic and tantalyzingly alluring. After all Odile is a seducer followed blindly by men. When I wear Coco by Chanel, I feel invincible. Portrait if a Lady has also that quality for me that makes me feel confident and attractive.
    Rose Oud by Kilian is the one fitting the bill most, men find it intriguing when I’m wearing it. February 13, 2016 at 12:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m so glad that you’ve resuscitated this thread and with such interesting choices! February 14, 2016 at 2:13pm Reply

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