Recommend Me a Perfume : April 2019

Are you looking for a new fragrance? 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.

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

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203 Comments

  • Old Herbaceous: I’m so excited — my husband just confirmed that we will be traveling to Tuscany, Florence, and Venice this summer! I will certainly visit Santa Maria Novella in Florence — any other recommendations for perfume tourism? Thanks1 April 29, 2019 at 7:28am Reply

    • Cecilia: Well, being italian I can only recommend visiting a l’Erbolario Lodi store. They are pretty, uncomplicated compositions – often on the cheap side, but there are a few noteworthy gems, like “Meherees”, a low cost copy of Musc Ravageur, really well made. And they are all well under 30€!
      Kisses, Cecilia April 29, 2019 at 9:25am Reply

      • Old Herbaceous: Thank you! April 29, 2019 at 2:51pm Reply

        • Filomena: I agree with Cecilia (and I am Italian too). April 29, 2019 at 9:53pm Reply

    • AndreaR: I’m sure new perfume stores have popped up since our visit a few years ago, but here are a few I visited. In Venice there was a lovely perfume store, Perfumeria Bertolone .The charming hill town of Montalcino in Tuscany has Farmacia Salvione featuring Acqua di Parma, Etro and Santa Maria Novella. It doesn’t sound as if Umbria is on your list, but just in case you travel to Spoleto, there’s a jewel box perfume store, Profumeria Marieangela. The lovely lady who helped me spoke no English and I don’t speak Italian, but we communicated nicely in the language of perfume. Have a wonderful trip. April 29, 2019 at 10:00am Reply

    • Aurora: Also visit I Profumi di Firenze, they have inspired by the past fragrances like SMN. April 29, 2019 at 1:17pm Reply

      • Old Herbaceous: Thank you! April 29, 2019 at 2:51pm Reply

        • Filomena: I agree with Aurora as well. April 29, 2019 at 9:54pm Reply

    • Muriel: Hello, I will be going to Venice end of the month (20th wedding anniversary) and plan on visiting the Mocenigo Palace (Study Centre of the History of Textiles, Costumes and Perfume).They also offer a small perfume workshop… May 3, 2019 at 7:09am Reply

      • Old Herbaceous: Ooh, wonderful suggestion! Thanks! Have a lovely time on your own trip! May 4, 2019 at 10:05am Reply

        • Muriel: Today I visited an exhibition of Hugo Pratt’s drawings not far from Brussels and it reminded me to give you an update on my visit to the Mocenigo Palace. If you go there, you definitely need to see the exhibition “Carnet de voyage”. Watercolor drawings associated with perfumes from the “Merchant of Venice”. It is really nice!!
          Have a great summer! July 3, 2019 at 11:43am Reply

    • Silvermoon: Hello (even if a little late)!

      I have been perfume shopping in Florence a few times. Here are my suggestions:

      Santa Maria Novella, of course. An amazing shop, so take your time looking around. They have much more than perfumes, with a herbal pharmacy, house fragrance, and bathing products ( the melegrano soap is excellent).

      L’Olfatorio is another beautiful shop with friendly SAs. Also, the tiny and jewel box like Dr Vranjes (home and car fragrances of their own brand; excellent quality).

      Then there is another old pharmacy/perfume place with some interesting perfumes called SS Annunciata.

      Finally, there is L’O Profumo. It’s a cave of wonders, great selection, family business (3 generations) with some of their own perfumes too. I liked Non lo So and Shylock. Nobody spoke English, but you would enjoy it. Something special, even if a bit away from the typical tourist areas.

      There is lots more, but I thought these would fill a day of discovery – walking around Florence, getting a feel for the city, and experiencing a mix of perfume shopping locations along the way. Hope your husband won’t mind being dragged around. May 11, 2019 at 7:10am Reply

  • Lynn LaMar: Help please. Can someone recommend me a perfume for Spring/Summer? I haven’t had much luck lately with ‘blind buys.’ I’m a confirmed older “tomboy” I work hard physically and not into ‘foo-foo’. BUT, when I ‘clean up’ I do it pretty well and love feeling feminine and pretty! I like Floral but not sickly sweet fruity or bubble gum. If my floral was to be a patchouli/musky blend that would dry down to an irresistible long lasting treasure for ME, I’d love it. I wear perfume for me…since I’m single and not looking! lol. I like the new Lancome “La vie es belle” but can’t afford it right now. Is there anything a little bit less budget breaking in that type of fragrance that anyone knows about? April 29, 2019 at 10:34am Reply

    • Patricia Devine: Firstly, do check Ebay – you might pick up a bargain Lancome on there. But Queen of Life’s La Rive is a well-known knock-off of La Vie Est Belle and it’s only a few $$$ on Amazon. April 29, 2019 at 11:21am Reply

      • Lynn LaMar: Thanks Patricia! Will do!! I bought Coco Chanel on Ebay after massive researching that it was authentic and it was and then…I didn’t like it!!! lol. But I wanted it sooooooo bad. lol April 29, 2019 at 11:36am Reply

        • Patricia Devine: Sometimes these things don’t work out. I spent ages tracking down a vintage Diva, only to make the mistake of getting the EDT, which is vile, rather than the EDP, which is gorgeous. 🙂 BTW: hit the Annick Goutal counter at some posh department store and try out Mon Parfum Cherie par Camille – it’s patchouli and iris and is a really beautiful, grown-up fragrance if ever someone in your life wants to be generous… April 29, 2019 at 12:15pm Reply

          • mayfly: Butting in here, but I’m sorry to say Mon parfum Cherie par Camille is discontinued, but still available sometimes on eBay. April 29, 2019 at 12:57pm Reply

            • Kelly: Delurking to say I just saw some of the Goutal Cherie par Camille on the Saks Off Fifth website. Happy Hunting! May 1, 2019 at 5:30pm Reply

          • Lydia: Have any of you tried the Lucien Lelong reformulated perfumes? I’d love to kno what you think of them.

            I just read a New Yorker article about Annette Green of the Fragrance Foundation and it mentioned that Lucien Lelong perfume is her signature scent. Although I’m guessing someone in her position would have no trouble locating authentic vintage bottles, I noticed that the Lucien Lelong website offers reformulated versions and got curious about them.

            Indiscret
            Lelong for Women
            Sirocco
            Tailspin
            Balalaika
            Orgueil
            Opening Night
            Robin Hood for men

            Unfortunately they don’t appear to offer samples, and Basenotes and Fragrantica have almost no reviews of the current versions, just the vintage.

            Anyone know how they smell? Any recommendations? Comparisons to the originals?

            Based on a bottle description my aunt gave me, I think my grandmother may have worn the original Indiscret perfume back in the day, so now I’m extra curious about it. April 29, 2019 at 4:06pm Reply

            • Lydia: PS VERY sorry Lynn LaMar, I did NOT mean to post that in the comments section of your question!

              (I’ll post again if I come up with any good suggestions for affordable alternatives to La Vie Est Belle.) April 29, 2019 at 4:12pm Reply

          • Deanna: Patricia, you are A Diva fan like me!
            And it’s powerful stuff.
            For Spring I’d recommend
            Estée Lauder Private Collection. Ferns, Leaves, Mystery, Like
            walking through a forest. April 30, 2019 at 3:12am Reply

            • Patricia Devine: I sure am a Diva fan. As I get older, I am starting to appreciate the 1980s bomb perfumes, as my skin eats everything else! April 30, 2019 at 3:44pm Reply

              • deanna: Hi again Patricia, I’m a bit off the subject here about spring perfumes, I think we need a thread on rediscovering 80’s bombs, as you so aptly put it!
                I have a bottle of Badgley Mishka which had been consigned to the back of my perfume shelf. For years. Tried it a couple of weeks ago, it’s Fabulous, same goes for Samsara. ( Although the recent version seems to lack the boot polish aspect of the original, much nicer now I think) May 1, 2019 at 1:51am Reply

          • Lynn LaMar: I LOVE Diva…found it, of all places, on Fragrance Net while I was on assignment in NYC. It was a ‘blind buy’ that worked out!!! I had forgotten all about it until you mentioned it. And it was EDP. It was absolutely divine during the winter. A little sketchy in warm weather so I just made it my Winter fragrance. My summer ‘blind buy’ that blew me away was Balmain Ivorie. Again, Fragrance Net and CHEAP. Not too good in the silage department but cheap enough buy to just reapply on demand!! lol I wish that Cherie wasn’t discontinued but I suspect it will show up soon on one of those discount sites!! May 1, 2019 at 8:52am Reply

            • Patricia Devine: I stocked up on Ivoire in mini format on French Ebay until I had about 30ml. I think 30ml does me for most fragrances. But now that I know it’s discontinued, I’m eyeing a 100ml bottle – ex-tester… May 1, 2019 at 8:55am Reply

      • Lynn LaMar: Also, I’ve been reading reviews of Queen of Life’s La Rive and I think I’m ready for JUST ONE MORE BLIND BUY…lol May 1, 2019 at 9:04am Reply

    • Hamamelis: You could try Yves Rocher’s perfumes. All the Secret d’Essences are worthwhile a sniff, many of them composed by Marie Salamagne and Oliver Cresp, and the So Elixir has iris and patchouli (there are various So Elixir flankers) also by these perfumers. And you often can get them very cheap, if not for free in some offers, and they have 30 mls. Apparently they spend a lot of money on their juice! April 29, 2019 at 2:27pm Reply

    • Old Herbaceous: I like Gres’ Cabaret very much and it has many of the same notes as the new La Vie Est Belle En Rose. I reviewed it here: https://scentsandsensibilities.co/tag/cabaret/. It is very inexpensive at online discounters and on ebay.

      You might see if you can find Weil’s Sweet Bambou at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx, that has some of the same notes you like, and it was being sold at those stores this winter for $12.99. I echo the suggestion of Yves Rocher; and they often have promotions on their US website. Gres’ Lumiere Noire might suit you, but I don’t know where you could test it first. April 29, 2019 at 3:07pm Reply

      • Old Herbaceous: P.S. My post was more of an impression than a full-on review; there are many helpful comments about Cabaret on Fragrantica. April 29, 2019 at 3:08pm Reply

    • Merylam: Hey, I don’t know where you live, but they have been giving out samples of LVEB at my local parfumerie and I have amassed quite a few of them. It isn’t really my taste, so if shipping fees aren’t exorbitante I could send these samples to you, to tide you over so to speak. I’m not sure just how many samples there are, but I’ll have a count when I am home. April 30, 2019 at 5:22am Reply

      • Lynn LaMar: Merylam, what a generous offer!!! I try to get all the samples I can! Macy’s sends 2 or 3 at a time from time to time. I’d be happy to pay shipping! My zip is 34287 Thank you so very much!! Wow!!! May 1, 2019 at 8:56am Reply

  • Nancy A.: Hi Lynn LaMar:

    Have you considered oils? You can explore this option in some of the Whole Foods (for example) but not limited to them. Price wise they don’t break the bank and you can layer to create your own. Recently, an acquaintance told me of a scent that I complimented her on and it was “Narcissist”, the fragrance not my friend. It suited her. And don’t fail to rely on sampling something you love. I, for one can’t recall the last time I purchased a new fragrance. Sticker shock. April 29, 2019 at 10:48am Reply

    • Lynn LaMar: Hi Nancy! Yes, I have been into oils for quite a long time as I am also a soapmaker. But, the luxury and dreaminess of spraying a layer of exoticness…sigh! April 29, 2019 at 11:33am Reply

      • Gabriela: Oh I love oils, which ones are your favorite brands and scents? April 29, 2019 at 12:23pm Reply

        • Lynn LaMar: I love them all. They must be good oils. I once took a chance and ordered a ‘questionable’ quality Ylang Ylang, and the stuff smelled like toilet bowl cleaner! lol garbage…My new favorite that I’m exploring is Vetiver which is a component of many high end perfumes. It’s grassy/musky, sensuously creepy, yet intriguing! lol For scent experiment, personal use or diffusing, I buy Plant Therapy for their therapeutic pureness. Excellent quality. For soapmaking I go to Bulk Apothecary for large quantities of 4 oz and up. April 29, 2019 at 12:37pm Reply

          • Gabriela: What a coincidence, I’ve been exploring Plant Therapy and love them. Also, vetiver is on my trying list too! April 29, 2019 at 1:44pm Reply

  • Patricia Devine: Sometimes these things don’t work out. I spent ages tracking down a vintage Diva, only to make the mistake of getting the EDT, which is vile, rather than the EDP, which is gorgeous. 🙂 BTW: hit the Annick Goutal counter at some posh department store and try out Mon Parfum Cherie par Camille – it’s patchouli and iris and is a really beautiful, grown-up fragrance if ever someone in your life wants to be generous… April 29, 2019 at 11:40am Reply

    • Lynn LaMar: lolol…If only, Patricia, but…you never know!! I’m an eternal optimist!! April 29, 2019 at 12:26pm Reply

  • Debby: Can anyone recommend something similar to the sadly discontinued Prada L’Eau Ambree, please? Not too big budget, and I can’t do anything too aldehydic. I’m also looking for indolic flowers, particularly lily.
    Thanks! April 29, 2019 at 3:09pm Reply

    • Aurora: Hello Debby: I’m sad too, I got a backup bottle on eBay, prices where I live (in the UK) were still reasonable, so that’s an option, but since you ask for similar perfumes I will list some that remind me of L’Eau Ambree: Jo Malone Orange Bitters which is a limited edition released at Xmas time the past 2 years, Hermes Les Merveilles series: Eau des Merveilles and Elixir des Merveilles. Hope this will be a little bit helpful to you. April 30, 2019 at 11:39am Reply

      • Debby: Thanks, Aurora, I’m UK too, there do seem to still be some good deals. I get fed up chasing unicorns though, so try to find similar!
        I agree about Eau des Merveilles, it does have a similar vibe, but I’m not entirely loving it. I’m wondering if the Amber iteration might be more there. April 30, 2019 at 6:08pm Reply

    • Patricia Devine: For indolic flowers, I go for Serge Lutens first, with Tubereuse Criminelle, Fleurs d’Oranger, Une Voix Noire and A la Nuit. some of the Goutals, too, like Gardenia Passion. April 30, 2019 at 3:58pm Reply

      • Debby: Thanks, Patricia, they all sound lovely, but bit beyond my current budget, though the Goutal might be more in line with that. Not had much success with that line, but I will try Gardenia Passion. April 30, 2019 at 6:14pm Reply

        • Patricia Devine: Tubereuse Criminelle is as rare as hen’s teeth on Ebay but I’ve managed to pick up Fleurs d’Oranger cheap, especially the original version, which has too much cumin in it for most people. 🙂 May 1, 2019 at 3:52am Reply

  • Lydia: Posting again because I put this in the wrong place the first time.)

    Have any of you tried the Lucien Lelong reformulated perfumes? I’d love to know what you think of them.

    I just read a New Yorker article about Annette Green of the Fragrance Foundation and it mentioned that Lucien Lelong perfume is her signature scent. Although I’m guessing someone in her position would have no trouble locating authentic vintage bottles, I noticed that the Lucien Lelong website offers reformulated versions and got curious about them.

    Indiscret
    Lelong for Women
    Sirocco
    Tailspin
    Balalaika
    Orgueil
    Opening Night
    Robin Hood for men

    Unfortunately they don’t appear to offer samples, and Basenotes and Fragrantica have almost no reviews of the current versions, just the vintage.

    Anyone know how they smell? Any recommendations? Comparisons to the originals?

    Based on a bottle description my aunt gave me, I think my grandmother may have worn the original Indiscret perfume back in the day, so now I’m extra curious about it. April 29, 2019 at 4:15pm Reply

    • Aurora: Now you’ve made me very curious too, I didn’t know these perfumes were still in production so I can’t give an opinion, just a suggestion to contact Lucien Lelong perfumes and ask for samples, maybe they would be responsive, it might be worth a try. April 30, 2019 at 11:43am Reply

      • Lydia: Thanks, Aurora.
        I just contacted them to find out if samples are available. I will report back on their response (and on how the perfumes smell if I manage to get them). May 1, 2019 at 3:59pm Reply

        • Aurora: Hello Lydia: fingers crossed you get samples. Thank you very much for offering to report your impressions. May 3, 2019 at 12:07pm Reply

          • Lydia: Hi Aurora.
            I didn’t get a response to my email, so I just called them. Sadly, the woman in customer service said they didn’t have any plans to offer samples. I told her there were at least two perfume enthusiasts who were hoping they would and she said very nicely that she would pass that along.
            (Now if only we could get another 20 or 30 perfume lovers to request their samples … 😊 )

            If I ever find another place to get them, I’ll comment again.

            Several of the perfumes are available in affordable (30.00 US) bottles, but I’d really need to see more reviews before deciding on a blind buy. May 3, 2019 at 12:50pm Reply

            • Aurora: Thank you for the update, Lydia. That would be a shame if they don’t at least send you one sample. On the other hand, as you note $30 USD is affordable, but you’re absolutely right to be weary of a blind buy. Good luck! May 4, 2019 at 2:19pm Reply

  • tyler: Hello there,

    I notice you don’t cover any of the DS and Durga line. Can you review some of their scents? Would love to hear how you analyze: a) Cowboy Grass, b) Mississippi Medicine, c) El Cosmico.

    I am fond of vetiver + woods. Present in Cowboy Grass, LeLabo Santal 33, and Maison Louis Marie No4. Bois de Balincourt. Any other suggestions? No price range. April 29, 2019 at 6:23pm Reply

    • Aurora: Hi Tyler: For woody vetiver, have you tried Diptyque Vetyverio? April 30, 2019 at 11:51am Reply

    • Pocketvenus: Hi Tyler, In my experience this house has something similar in their scents in the dry-down, a kind of sweet ambery woody accord?

      Slumberhouse’s Jeke reminds me of that a little but it’s also really different from the fragrances you mentioned. And also, maybe discontinued?

      You might like Chanel’s Sycamore which is a fantastic smoky vetiver although it’s more polished/dry than what you’ve mentioned. May 3, 2019 at 1:18am Reply

    • KB: Hi Tyler,

      The first time I took my boyfriend with me to Twisted Lily in NYC, I thought he might be bored. Instead, he spent two hours in that tiny shop, sniffing every single thing they had. DS & Durga’s Mississippi Medicine was the hands-down winner for him, and it smells so good on him I actually can’t believe it? It’s spicy and strange and resinous-woody, like creaking open a varnished wooden trunk and finding pine needles covering old workshirts.

      In general, DS & Durga’s line is fantastic. You can even find some of the line on Fragrancenet. May 11, 2019 at 8:38am Reply

  • Sebastian: I have a more general question: What do you think makes a perfume modern? It is often said in perfume reviews that a perfume feels contemporary, is recognizably modern etc.

    Certainly, some perfumes sold today could not have been made 25 years ago. But can you explain that notion in more detail, or point out some factors or trends?

    It seems to me that modern perfumes tend to be sweet, and rather linear. Often they have a light texture, leaning towards cleanliness.

    I ascribe this to fashion, wider audience (less experience), marketing (they want you to buy the stuff on the spot), and changing markets (non-western). Would you agree? However, my ideas are superficial, not backed up with any facts. Are there any?

    There are sometimes discussion of modern vs. vintage perfumes, but these tend to deteriorate very quickly into discussions about who likes what better, and about skin irritants. That is not what I am after with this question. April 30, 2019 at 1:46am Reply

    • Muriel: Hello Sebastian, I am very interested in the answers you will get to your question!

      Here are a few elements I would mention, but the subject is probably very vast! (and I’m no specialist either 😀 )
      When I hear a perfume is contemporary, I have this idea of a perfume for which the perfumer’s palette was purposely reduced to a few components as opposed to the many components used in earlier perfumery. A bit like traditional gastronomy versus molecular gastronomy, or romantic vs impressionistic painting…

      On the other hand, I also think that many recent perfumes are sweet, clean and that there is a tendency to “what you smell is what you get” ie no big surprises in the drydown. This is probably the current trend in mass perfumery as opposed to niche perfumery??

      I do hope you get more answers on your question!! April 30, 2019 at 7:47am Reply

    • Aurora: Hi Sebastian: I recall reading that YSL M7 started the use of oud which was new to western perfumery at the time, and Angel is well known as a trendsetter with the use of ethyl maltol, coffee and boozy notes seem to be a modern interest too. I notice more mineral notes in perfumes since Terre d’Hermes, for eg in Alaia, although it was used in Eau de Rochas long ago. April 30, 2019 at 12:06pm Reply

    • John Luna: Hi Sebastian,

      I concur with the points made above concerning gastronomy as a parallel and the pressure to make perfume profiles more simple and accessible. I would add to the latter point that the complex drydown or multi-stage dynamism of many older fragrances are less common for the mass market than a ‘top-down’ approach in which top and heart notes might get more attention (and a proportion of the budget) than base notes… I’ve even heard this referenced with regard to contemporary reformulations of classic fragrance compositions (i.e. Thierry Wasser on his cleaning up of Habit Roue a few years ago for Guerlain.) New ingredients of course influence what gets composed too, adding up to a certain smell of ‘now’… I teach at a boarding school and can readily identify the smells of ISO E Super, Ethyl Maltol and Ambroxan as I walk down the halls in the morning. I personally find this all a tad discouraging, as I am a fn of classic compositions and don’t really enjoy smelling the same notes everywhere… Some of this is just clever updating and repositioning though… Many new releases (I’m looking at you Tom Ford) are kind of remixes of the classics with adjustments to add a contemporary twist (in the case of TF: Noir is very much like Habit Rouge with a denser musk and a touch of very of-the-moment violet leaf; Noir Anthracite might remind you of Bernard Chant’s 1964 classic Aramis, albeit with more of a brittle, mineral tonality, etc.) April 30, 2019 at 3:32pm Reply

      • Lynn LaMar: I so agree with you, John. Right on point. Walking down the streets of Manhattan and every one smells too close to the same. Don’t get me wrong, they all smell great but it tends to remind me of the scene in Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” with the identically dressed children marching into the meat grinder!!! lol May 1, 2019 at 9:16am Reply

        • Lydia: Lynn LaMar, That’s a hysterical image. May 1, 2019 at 2:50pm Reply

    • Patricia Devine: I would say modern perfumes (I’m talking niche here, as I don’t buy mainstream stuff really) are simpler and cleaner, and you can discern the ingredients more readily. Often they’re based around one ingredient or accord, which is also often in the title (Premier Figuier, Tubereuse Criminelle, Calligraphy Rose). I have a lot of vintage fragrances and although beautiful, there’s also often a feeling of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink in there, like heavy French cookery. They often, to me, seem to go with a red lipstick and heels kind of life that I don’t lead. May 1, 2019 at 4:01am Reply

      • Lynn LaMar: Lol Patricia!!! YES!! I am the only domestic diva in my neighborhood who mows the lawn in Chanel #5!! Something about all that perspiration mixing with it that drives me wild!!! And makes mowing the lawn less tedious…lol May 1, 2019 at 9:19am Reply

        • Patricia Devine: It’s such a shame but I don’t get on with No 5. It smells great on my sister but on me is just meh. But Caron’s Fleurs de Rocaille, vintage, is simply wonderful, so I wear that instead. May 1, 2019 at 9:22am Reply

    • Sebastian: I like the gastronomical metaphor that you all have been using – it’s quite enlightening. I’ll mull that over a bit.

      In perfumery, too, you can have restaurants like Noma, and you can have super-expensive, lifestyle-hyped fast food. They differ mostly in their degree of sophistication.

      I also find that sometimes they try to overwhelm you instead of convincing you: I’m thinking of the myriads of modern perfumes with big openings. There can be denseness, and even complexity, with a complete lack of sophistication. Like at one of those fast-food stores with world cuisine. So the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-syndrome is not quite gone, although in general I agree with what Patricia says. May 1, 2019 at 9:11am Reply

      • Patricia Devine: I pretty much despair of mainstream modern fragrances, to be honest, though I think Balmain, Balenciaga and Rochas have some gems Thank heavens for niche – I am a Lutens girl mainly, and I like Giacobetti and Duchaufour. May 1, 2019 at 9:56am Reply

    • Klaas: Hey Sebastian, I’n falling into this discussion rather late, but thought I’d chip in anyway…..modern, in general, means sweet and watered down, linear and boring. At least to me. I think it is mostly used as a metaphore for ‘meeting restriction standards’.

      There are a few exceptions to the rule here, luckily! I think Ellena’s creations are very modern, because they are minimal fragrances and have this incredible transparancy. They tend to be not too sweet, and often have a salty, briney edge that I think is very contemporary. Even though his creations are light, they never feel watered down or incomplete, as opposed to some other ‘modern’ perfumes.
      Francis Kurkdjian is another perfumer who’s work Id classify as ‘modern’ (again there is this transparancy), but then incredibly well done (his Oudh’s for instance). Pierre Guillaume is another good example.

      Contemporary perfumers such as Patricia de Nicolai, Marc-Antoine Corticciato and even Andy Tauer or Antonio Gardoni create fragrances that have a vintage aura to me, they achieve dramatic effects, depth, complexity and stir the imagination with their creations. To me, these beat any Essentric Molecule in a split second!

      Great question!

      There are May 1, 2019 at 10:30am Reply

      • Sebastian: Hi Klaas, I agree completely, these are very good examples.

        Some of your examples also illustrate that “concept” is an important thing in modern perfumery. Again, we see the same in gastronomy – a lot of “concept” eating going on. With Noma being the most extreme example. If executed well, a concept can give an identity to an entire line (think Zoologist), or identify a style (Ellena), or give meaning to a single perfume that is not there without the story. (An excellent example of that is Sonnet XVII from Orchid Scents, which is completely baffling while you think of Shakespeare, but really clicks once you make the Neruda connection.) If done badly – the majority of cases – it’s just pseudo-intellectual (or pseudo-poetic) marketing blurb.

        I also agree that there seem to be some notes that are “in”. You mention salty, others have mentioned coffee or booze. I guess that’s just fashion, or the desire to present something new, and as such laudable.

        With this goes a marked willingness (at least in niche perfumery, absolutely not in mainstream) to explore more uncomfortable corners of the fragrance landscape. I think this is definitely a new trend, a disposition to produce (and wear!) perfume that does not really smell good (also to others), but evokes strong emotions in the wearer themselves. Social context is becoming less important in making perfume decisions. This may be a sign of extreme individualism. May 1, 2019 at 2:21pm Reply

      • Sebastian: Klaas, your comment really has set off a train of thought.

        I’m coming back to your calling many modern perfumes “linear and boring”, to your mentioning “vintage aura” and to my own thought about individualism.

        I don’t think a perfume need be boring just _because_ it is linear (of course it can be both). It is just very difficult to produce a perfume that can keep up a sufficient level of interest if it doesn’t change, especially given psychological phenomena like olfactory adaptation.

        Now, perfumers like Patricia de Nicolai or Antonio Gardoni know what they are doing. The neo-vintage vibe that you are noticing may reflect professional training. This is of great value, and it is particularly shown in mainstream perfumery.

        While many people like to to phantasize about what Guerlain might have become had they kept Patricia de Nicolai, I am not so much into Tierry-Wasser-bashing. Hey, the man saved Mitsouko. The version we have since he reformulated it (when was it? 2014?) is in my opinion better than the two versions we had before. So he obviously knows what he is doing, without being particularly individualistic.

        Gardoni is an interesting case, too. While MEM definitely has that vintage aura, MAAI does not (according to my sensibility), but it is still very obviously professionally put together.

        What I am leading up to is that much of the niche produce is not so. It’s just shoddy work by self-taught “artists”, based on some half-baked idea. Not that being self-taught is a bad thing. But there is so much perfume being produced that much of it is bound to have nothing particular to say. I think in some cases it sells only because “niche” sounds so hip, and “self-taught” associates some kind of fashionable anti-establishment sentiment.

        BTW, I’ll have to remember to try something by Marc-Antoine Corticciato. “Corsica furiosa” is on my list since you mentioned it in this blog some months back. It certainly seems one for “dramatic effect”. It is currently unavailable at “Aus Liebe zum Duft” (Finest in Fragrance). I hope that doesn’t mean it has been discontinued. May 1, 2019 at 3:18pm Reply

        • Klaas: Hey Sebastian, you kow what, in the end it all comes down to that rare combination of vision, knowledge, craftmenship and a bit of magic (artistry?). Be it in modern or vintage style perfumery…..or cooking, photography, architecture, music……..without it, the result will be disappointing one way or the other.

          Patricia de Nicolai at the helm of Guerlain….I hear you, but I guess we’ll never know. I do think she has more freedom as an independent perfumer, Guerlain being under the flag of LVMH I guess there’s a lot of pressure to keep costs down and profits high. That interferes a lot with the creative process I would think.

          Andy Tauer is a self tought perfumer I admire. I haven’t smelled a lot of his work, but the fragrances I know are intriguing and of great quility. He has stories to tell and does so with integrity. At least that’s what I think….. May 2, 2019 at 5:26am Reply

    • Lydia: My comment showed up at the bottom of the comments instead of underneath your comment. (Begining to think these mistakes are a phone-internet glitch rather than my own absentmindedness.) May 1, 2019 at 3:32pm Reply

    • Nina Z: I think it’s a combination of two things: ingredients and style. So many of the ingredients that were used in the classic vintage perfumes, such as nitro musks and real sandalwood, are no longer available. Other ingredients, such as oak moss and bergamot, are being severely limited. Then, many new synthetic ingredients have been invented. So even if the style of perfumes had not changed (styles always change, right?), perfumes would still smell different now than they used to, by necessity.

      Then, fashions just change. What is young and trendy for one generation becomes “old lady” to the next generation. I see a lot of comments about what is trendy now, such as the minimalist style, so I won’t try to identify the trends myself. But one day these too will smell old fashioned.

      But I was thinking about the trend toward minimalist and clean perfumes and I did wonder if it had something to do with so many women working full time in offices. One of my favorite perfumes is vintage L’Heure Bleue but I would never wear that in a work place these days! Likewise, in the city where I live, it would be rude to wear a dramatic bombshell of a perfume to, say, the health food store or the library or in a movie theatre or a restaurant.

      In the eighties I wore Magie Noire to work and my boss chain smoked in meetings. It was a different world…. May 2, 2019 at 9:22pm Reply

      • Sebastian: Yes, it was. Sometimes I miss the greater sense of fun and enjoyment, that certain level of carelessness.

        I think your idea of there being a need for more office-scents due to the changing workforce is quite plausible. Fortunately, at my place of work colleagues are tolerant of perfume. Still, it’s an art form in itself to create non-boring and stylish office-friendly perfumes. Examples from the niche world that come to my mind are the offerings of Gallivant, Heeley and Olfactive Studio. May 3, 2019 at 8:06am Reply

  • Domestic Goblin: I absolutely adore Ivoire by Balmain. It starts off a little green then develops into a gloriously creamy and soapy scent that lasts for ages, even days! Even my colleague who dislikes perfume gave her approval. It’s a shame that Ivoire has been discontinued. Would love to find another option that smells as great and as long lasting as Ivoire. April 30, 2019 at 2:35am Reply

    • Aurora: Hello DG: Oh, I didn’t know it was discontinued, such a shame, it’s a lovely modern chypre (I’m a fan of both the vintage and modern versions). Do you know Chanel 31, rue Cambon, it’s another contemporary chypre which shares notes with your beloved Ivoire. April 30, 2019 at 12:18pm Reply

      • Domestic Goblin: Hi Aurora, Chanel 31 rue Cambon sounds wonderful but, alas, is out of my price range. May 2, 2019 at 3:51pm Reply

  • Nancy Chan: Hi Domestic globlin, are you referring to the reformulated Ivoire? April 30, 2019 at 3:45am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: Hi Domestic Globlin, are you referring to the reformulated Ivoire or the vintage? April 30, 2019 at 7:52am Reply

    • Domestic Goblin: Hi Nancy Chan,

      I am referring to the modern 2012 version 🙂 April 30, 2019 at 11:49am Reply

      • Nancy Chan: Glad to hear you’re a fan of the modern Ivoire. I love it too, however, I regret not buying an extra bottle of it whilst it was still in production. I’m also looking for a perfume close to the soapy freshness of Ivoire.

        I still have 3/4 bottle full, so will use sparingly. 😬 April 30, 2019 at 3:47pm Reply

        • Julie: Hello, Ivoire fans! I have a large bottle (must be 3 oz. modern version) I purchased a few years ago and I adore it. One of my favorite scents this time of the year.
          I also enjoy wearing Andy Tauer
          Incense Rose and 1876 Histoires de Parfums. 🌹 May 2, 2019 at 10:34am Reply

          • Nancy Chan: Thanks for the recommendations Julie. May 3, 2019 at 3:49am Reply

  • eudora: Hello all, I am asking for your help 😊
    For my bithday I ask my husband for a perfume. This year I cannot decide between two:
    chanel n5 eau premiere: because of Victoria’s review. Because my husband misses n5 on me.
    hermes Hiris: because it was love at first smell looong time ago but I never had it.
    I would love to know your opinions and why not? give me your vote!
    thank you very much! April 30, 2019 at 11:16am Reply

    • Aurora: Hello Eudora: How wonderful that you will get perfume from your husband for your birthday. Many happy returns 🙂 I think both are beautiful but will simply note that I find that I have to be in a certain mood for Hiris (contemplative) while Eau Premiere is more versatile so I use it more April 30, 2019 at 12:26pm Reply

      • eudora: thanks Aurora. I think Eau Premiere is more versatile also…and I think that it would be perfect for summer time, what do you think? May 2, 2019 at 3:02pm Reply

        • Aurora: Hello Eudora: My answer ended up in the wrong place, sorry, you have to scroll down to find it. May 4, 2019 at 2:57pm Reply

    • spe: Hi Eudora,
      Because your reasons for wanting Eau Premiere are due to other people’s influence (Victoria and your husband) your reason for wanting Hiris is your own experience, I vote for Hiris (I wore it daily for years and understand its haunting quality after that first smell. It happened to me, too.) Happy Birthday! May 1, 2019 at 12:13am Reply

      • Patricia Devine: I would say the same. Go with your heart. May 1, 2019 at 4:16am Reply

        • eudora: Go with your heart.
          Thanks Patricia. May 2, 2019 at 3:18pm Reply

      • eudora: you are right. thanks for your comment. My passion for perfumes began with Infusion d’Iris long time ago and I consider Iris, the note, very close and special to me. And it would be my first Hermes, a house I found impeccable and like no other. It’s been a long time waiting for Hiris… May 2, 2019 at 3:15pm Reply

        • rainboweyes: I’ve been wearing Hiris for years now… actually since 1999 when it was first released… and it still smells very special to me – like no other perfume…
          I mostly wear it in the warmer season, since the longevity and sillage are not very impressing 🙁 May 6, 2019 at 1:42am Reply

          • Eudora: Thanks Rainboweyes. It feels special to me too. Since you wear it from the beginning maybe you can tell me about the reformulation? It was in a blue bottle then and now the perfume is different? May 6, 2019 at 3:33am Reply

    • Lydia: Hi Eudora,
      Make sure to smell the most current versions, then get the one that brings an instant smile to your face. 😊 May 1, 2019 at 3:37pm Reply

      • eudora: thanks Lydia,
        I will! May 2, 2019 at 3:20pm Reply

    • Old Herbaceous: Hi! What a lovely dilemma to have! I suggest you try Hiris again on your skin, to make sure you still love it after a long time. Perfumes and body chemistry change! Personally, I love No. 5 Eau Premiere; and I love it when my husband wants to buy me a perfume that we both enjoy. Bottom line: there is no bad choice here! Happy birthday! May 4, 2019 at 10:12am Reply

      • eudora: thanks for your comment! lovely dilemma, yes. I will try both again when I have the chance and will go with my heart. I am in your blog now…love it! what muguet perfume is your favorite? I tried not long ago the Dior one and it felt very synthetic… maybe just one of those days…I keep on reading! May 4, 2019 at 4:44pm Reply

        • Silvermoon: Hi Eudora,
          Have you tried Hermes Muguet Porcelaine? It’s very beautiful, even if not very long lasting. Victoria reviewed it when it came out. Also, it’s the closest to the original Diorissimo (which I loved, but is lost in the current version).

          Maybe Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley? Just to suggest something not mentioned often. May 11, 2019 at 7:19am Reply

  • Aurora: I was wondering what is your favorite gourmand rose? I like Rosine Rose Praline very much but am looking for more options.
    Many thanks in advance. April 30, 2019 at 12:28pm Reply

    • Merylam: Mademoiselle rochas is a basic gourmand rose.
      I personally enjoy 100% love by s-perfume April 30, 2019 at 5:13pm Reply

      • Aurora: Thank you Merylam, both are new to me. April 30, 2019 at 8:15pm Reply

    • Debby: Not a gourmand per se, but Etat Libre D’Orange Eau de Protection is a beautiful rose with pepper and ginger and a beautiful comforting cocoa dry down. April 30, 2019 at 6:18pm Reply

      • Aurora: Thank you Debby, I have never tried Eau de Protection but it sounds great and many love it, so it is a definite possibility. April 30, 2019 at 8:18pm Reply

    • Domestic Goblin: Aurora, have you tried Roses Vanille by Mancera or Intense Cafe by Montale? April 30, 2019 at 9:42pm Reply

      • Aurora: Thank you very much, no they’re new to me, I love the combination of rose and vanilla, so they sound great, I own Tom Ford Cafe Rose and find it intoxicating. May 1, 2019 at 4:08am Reply

        • Merylam: Montale has quite a few sweet roses you could check out ( don’t remember their names, but basically it’s rose something something) May 2, 2019 at 8:53am Reply

          • Aurora: Thank you Merylam! Domestic Goblin recommended Montale Intense Cafe but will check the roses as well. May 2, 2019 at 12:19pm Reply

    • Patricia Devine: I am still exploring rose fragrances – where budget permits – but Tocade remains a really beautiful rose/vanilla fragrance. I have a vintage version, as I trust them more. May 1, 2019 at 4:18am Reply

      • Aurora: Thank you Patricia, you’re absolutely right, Tocade is a great gourmand rose, I’ve had my bottle for a long time and forget about it, I don’t know why. May 1, 2019 at 4:41am Reply

        • Patricia Devine: Mine gets worn more than most, as it’s too tall for my perfume drawers, so it’s out on the dressing table. 🙂 I just had another thought, which is the other way around, but Safran Troublant is a great saffron/rose fragrance (but SO weak and short-lasting that I have to carry a refresher with me if I wear it). May 1, 2019 at 4:44am Reply

          • Aurora: Thanks to you I am wearing Tocade today, I’m sure your dressing table looks very nice.
            I’ve never tested Safran Troublant and I adore this note so you’re giving me yet another option: yes, longevity can be a problem with some l’Artisan Parfumeur, the ones I have that do last are Ambre Extreme and the unique Timbuktu. May 1, 2019 at 12:29pm Reply

            • Patricia Devine: Another Artisan that I absolutely love but has staying-power issues is L’Eté en Douce. Simply gorgeous but pouf and it’s gone. May 1, 2019 at 3:46pm Reply

      • Lydia: I got a current version of Tocade and I was disappointed to find it rather sharp and harsh-smelling.
        I definitely recommend seeking out an earlier version. May 1, 2019 at 3:42pm Reply

        • Patricia Devine: I think Turin said that the velvetiness had gone. I try to get the first-issue bottles where I can, as the accountants get at so many formulations after that. May 1, 2019 at 3:48pm Reply

        • Aurora: Thank you for your advice Lydia. My bottle of Tocade is around 10 years old so it’s not recent. So sorry to hear you had a bad experience, don’t give up on Tocade as it was originally very beautiful with a divine vanilla, where I am in the UK earlier version bottles are not expensive, I hope it’s the same where you are. May 2, 2019 at 12:22pm Reply

          • Lydia: Thanks, Aurora. I’m keeping my eyes open for a bottle of the older formula. May 2, 2019 at 11:00pm Reply

    • Sharon: Maison Lancome Parfait de Roses is lovely. May 3, 2019 at 1:26pm Reply

      • Aurora: Hello Sharon: Many thanks for your answer. I’ve recently purchased Jasmins Marzipane and adore it, it made me take another look at Lancome, so now you make me very curious about Parfait de Rose. May 4, 2019 at 3:04pm Reply

    • Old Herbaceous: I echo someone else’s suggestion of Montale’s Intense Cafe. I’ve written elsewhere about my experience of wearing it out and about and having someone approach me from across a garden center full of flowers to ask me what fragrance I was wearing! It is beautiful. May 4, 2019 at 10:13am Reply

      • Aurora: That’s such an endorsement. Thank you very much, I must order a sample. May 4, 2019 at 3:06pm Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: I’d like to break a lance for a really splendid new book on perfume which is on the market: “Perfume: In Search of Your Signature Scent” by Neil Chapman. It features over 700 vintage and contemporary fragrances; is exceedingly well written; it is an wonderfully elegant book (gilt edge no less!). What I admire in this new book is the emotional, personal and gracious voice as well as the great knowledge about scents far and wide. And—perhaps best of all—it is humorous in the best British tradition: wonderful!
    I wonder, have you had the chance to already read it? April 30, 2019 at 5:04pm Reply

    • Klaas: Hey OnWings, I haven’t seen it here in Holland, it sounds great! Speaking of books: have you (or anyone else?) ever read any of Ellena’s books? I’m curious and would like to order one of them. Any recommendations? May 1, 2019 at 1:56pm Reply

      • Muriel: Hi Klaas,
        I read “L’écrivain d’odeurs” last summer and really enjoyed it. I think understanding who a perfumer is based on the perfume he/she creates is rather difficult. Reading from Ellena made him more accessible to me. I’m sure you will enjoy this book! May 2, 2019 at 7:34am Reply

        • Klaas: Thank you Muriel! I’m going to look for it. May 2, 2019 at 11:17am Reply

      • Lydia: Hi Klaas,
        I really enjoyed his book The Diary of a Nose. I liked the literary and film references, his reflections on great perfumes of the past, and his own history and training. The book gives a strong sense of the perfumer as a highly civilized and cultured individual. May 2, 2019 at 11:13pm Reply

    • Old Herbaceous: I pre-ordered it as soon as I could and got it on its first date of publication here in the US! I agree, it’s wonderful and so much fun to read. Neil is a wonderful writer, as is obvious from his blog “The Black Narcissus.” The book itself is beautiful and very user-friendly with a detailed index. May 4, 2019 at 10:15am Reply

    • Silvermoon: Hello Onwingsofsaffron!

      I have it and completely agree. It’s a beautiful looking, well written and fascinating book. Very well laid out too. It would make a great present for anyone toying with an interest in perfumes, not to mention those already smitten. May 11, 2019 at 7:27am Reply

      • OnWingsofSaffron: Hi Silvermoon, that’s just what I thought too. All English speaking friends will be getting this book as a present! I love the humour: I giggle compulsively when reading it—the intro to Japanese incense for instance is a riot. I nearly choked while reading it 🙂 May 11, 2019 at 9:26am Reply

        • Silvermoon: I haven’t got to Japanese incense yet! So looking forward to it – maybe will skip ahead. May 11, 2019 at 9:34am Reply

  • Aurora: I haven’t read it but read a review on the Persolaise blog, thank you very much for your mini review, most helpful. May 1, 2019 at 12:30pm Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: I can only recommend Neil Chapman‘s book wholeheartedly! I bought it online, as there‘s no English language bookstore in Cologne (even though the population is over 1 million)! In a couple of years there will hardly be any bookstores left regardless of the language— everyone seems to be ordering everything online…
    No, I have not read anything by Ellena; must look that up. The last perfume book I read was „The Perfume Lover: A Personal History of Scent“ by Denyse Beaulieu which I thought was very entertaining. May 1, 2019 at 2:17pm Reply

    • Lydia: Hi OnWingsOfSaffron,

      Thanks for the recommendation! The Chapman book looks really good.
      I also really enjoyed The Perfume Lover. May 2, 2019 at 11:20pm Reply

    • rainboweyes: Thanks for the recommendation, OnWingsofSaffron!
      I mostly order English-speaking books at my local (family-owned) bookstore… even if I see them online. Sometimes I have to wait for a couple of days but it’s very important for me to support them. And in Germany it makes no difference price-wise anyway… May 6, 2019 at 1:50am Reply

  • Lydia: Hi Sebastian,

    These are the words I associate with characteristically “modern” perfums:

    Minimalist
    Short-lived
    Woody drydown
    Disposable and trendy
    Interchangeable
    Clean and fresh
    Synthetic
    Anorexic
    Background
    Neutral

    Also
    More money in the advertising than the juice
    Aimed at 20-somethings
    Cheap ingreedients marketed and priced to sound exclusive
    Emperor’s new clothes

    I agree with Patricia Divine’s comment about the focus on one ingredient.

    The beginings of what I consider modern perfume s- I’m thinking of early Lutens and Comme des Garcons – were actually really interesting and often very beautiful. For me the downgrading happened with the severe restrictions on natural ingredients and other “allergens.”

    I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been expressed before, and the words I listed were already embodied in previous comments. I’m just reiterating.

    I remain hopeful that perfumery is just going through a difficult patch. I’d like to see allergin restrictions go back to what they were a few decades ago and the classic perfumes reemerge in their original (or at least much earlier) forms. And then I’d like to see the gifted modern perfumers play with the entire spectrum of natural and synthetic perfume ingredients available to them and reinvent the perfume expression of the modern. May 1, 2019 at 3:24pm Reply

    • Lydia: Allergen, not allergin. May 1, 2019 at 4:00pm Reply

    • Klaas: Cheers to that Lydia! Let’s hope so……it still baffles me that oakmoss is banned from perfumery because somewhere, someone might get a bit of a rash, while alcohol, cigarettes, opiates and (at least in some countries) machine guns are readily available to anyone…….oh well……. May 1, 2019 at 4:58pm Reply

      • Lydia: Klaas.
        Yes!
        I saw a wonderfully sarcastic comment on another perfume blog about how the commenter was SO glad that the TERRIBLE epidemic of wrist cancer which had blighted much of her family was FINALLY being addressed by these bans on minor topical allergens.
        😏 May 1, 2019 at 5:36pm Reply

    • Sebastian: Lydia, that’s a hope I share, too! Although I do not really think that the general character of modern perfumes that we have been discussing can be explained by IFRA regulations. Not even in part, although of course the loss of real oakmoss may be regrettable. May 1, 2019 at 5:45pm Reply

    • Fleurycat: Sebastian and Lydia: Regarding words associated with modern perfumes: Thank you, so well stated.

      So much marketing and hype with near identical synthetic drydowns. Manufactured exclusivity.

      Excuse my anecdotal aside but I first really experimented with mature perfume as a young girl by purchasing classics in old pharmacies, often when they were offloading old stock. A fragrance nerd, as it were. I was lucky, in the time and place, since this type of pharmacy is a rare find now, and also, because perfumes had not yet entered their current blockbuster phase! However changes were taking place. The distinction at that time (70’s) was between classics, many of them from France, and
      contemporary fragrance made to be worn by the “modern working woman” and made to last all day. For me these were the first scrubbers I encountered. What I noticed was that the older perfumes were more complex, nuanced, and long lasting, but in a subtle way, (on your skin or lingering on your clothing), while the modern perfumes were screechy, or screaming, and gave me headaches. Many smelled to me of bug spray, or metal, or like air fresheners.

      I agree that there are many new niche and small production perfumers out there that are untrained and unqualified to produce anything lasting. They are simply hitching themselves to the current market, and I’m sure many have good intentions. But I also think there are many creative new perfumers out there, who care about their work, using quality ingredients, carefully. The threat to them is the almost inevitable corporate buyouts.

      Reading reviews and opinions here (and elsewhere) is a guilty pleasure, and the only source I trust, other than my own nose. May 6, 2019 at 9:51pm Reply

    • Silvermoon: Hi Lydia, and also Klaas.

      This thing with banning allergens in perfumes is frustrating indeed. Why can’t there be labels warning about them, like with food? They don’t ban peanuts and shellfish because some may be extremely allergic to it.

      Very much agree with Klaas’ comment on alcohol, cigarettes, etc. May 11, 2019 at 7:35am Reply

  • Sebastian: Lydia’s post in the “modern perfumery” topic made me realize that I have no idea at all of the actual legal standing of IFRA regulations.

    The IFRA site says:

    “The IFRA Standards form the basis for the globally accepted and recognized risk management system for the safe use of fragrance ingredients and are part of the IFRA Code of Practice.

    This is the self-regulating system of the industry, based on risk assessments carried out by an independent Expert Panel. ”

    This does not sound as if there were any legal force behind it. Why do even niche and independent enterprises adhere to IFRA standards? What could happen to them if they used real oakmoss (and perhaps declared it, as in processed foods: this product may contain traces of peanuts. Nobody’s banning peanuts.)

    Are there national (US/EU) laws that require adherence to IFRA standards for perfumes? What if companies sold their stuff as bath additives instead?

    Do we have a perfume lawyer here? May 1, 2019 at 5:58pm Reply

    • Sebastian: Addendum to my own question: There is a FAQ on the IFRA site. It says:

      “Yes. The European Cosmetics Industry Association (COLIPA) asks for a certificate of IFRA compliance as part of the safety assessment for cosmetic products to satisfy the demands of the European Cosmetics Directive, the Brazilian policy makers have actually adopted the IFRA Standards into Law, and that the new South East Asia Pacific (ASEAN) cosmetic directive which took effect on January 1, 2008 explicitly refers to the IFRA Standards as far as fragrances in cosmetic products are concerned. ”

      Interestingly, the US aren’t mentioned. Are there any US perfumers actively defying IFRA? May 1, 2019 at 6:03pm Reply

      • Lydia: Sebastian,
        Thanks for looking up that information. Really interesting and clearly outlined.

        I’ve wondered the same thing about US perfumers. It would be a great selling point – and so charmingly rebellious. Unfortunately it might also limit them to the US market.

        I’m under the impression that many of the natural ingredients being banned are much more expensive than their synthetic replacements. I’ve even read a conspiracy theory that the strict allergen regulations are the work of lobbyists from the corporations selling the synthetic replacements. I don’t know if this is nonsence, but as someone living in a country where paid lobbyists have an appalling ability to impact our laws (our frighteningly inadequate gun control laws for example), I have to admit the idea got my attention. At least banning oakmoss is only causing annoyance and nostalgia, not deaths. May 2, 2019 at 1:11am Reply

        • Sebastian: And the idea gets additional credibility, because for perfume producers the costs are negligible anyway compared to the often ridiculous retail rates.

          The all-natural perfumes that I have tried all did not last very long (6 hrs max, less than an office day). Of course these were all in alcoholic solution. Perhaps oil-based attars are where all-natural perfumes would shine. May 2, 2019 at 3:24am Reply

          • Klaas: There is also a Swedish Indie perfumer who bypasses IFRA (and European) restrictions by marketing her perfumes as NOT perfumes. She advises to NOT wear them on skin but on fabric or scent jewelery and calls people who do wear them on skin ‘really naughty!’.

            I’ve tried them all (on skin, obviously!) and they are very nice.

            http://www.notperfumes.se

            Like you, I don’t understand why perfumes can not be sold with a message ‘may contain skin irritants’, or even a list of the irritants it contains so people who do have allergies cab be informed? It is good enough for food (and let me tell you, a little piece of peanut can actually kill someone with a severe allergy), so why can it not be good enough for fragrance? I agree that we should not put substances that are cancerous, or cause invironmental dammage or harm animals (bye-bye musk, civet and castoreum……sniff) but surely things have gone too far? I know that Guerlain started tweaking their formulas way before IFRA to cut costs and replaced naturals by synthetics. Maybe IFRA is simply too good an excuse to cut costs? May 2, 2019 at 11:33am Reply

            • Lydia: I love how the NOT Perfume perfumer heads each of the descriptions, “Marketing nonsense.”

              I really hope one of the US Niche perfum stores get this line. I’d love to try it! May 2, 2019 at 10:27pm Reply

              • Klaas: You can order samples from her website. The 5 fragrances are all a bit similar, as in they are all of the oriental family…..amber based, rich, opulent, quite dense. Vintage. But they are also a little quirky, have a dark side and she uses animalic notes. I like that…..for one perfume she mentions ‘goat’ as one of the ingredients! I checked it out and guess what? Fragrantica has ‘goat’ as a bona fide ingredient: “natural essence coming from the tinctured hair of a rutting billy goat, used by natural perfumers as an ethically harvested animalic note. Warm and musk-like”…..voila!! May 3, 2019 at 7:09pm Reply

          • Lydia: I have had a similar experience with all-natural perfumes. I think I read that the golden age of perfumery was born when synthetics were skillfully combined with quality natural ingredients, the whole being much greater than the sum of parts.

            That said, our US store Luckyscent just started carrying the Abdes Salaam Attar (La Via del Profumo) fragrances which Luca Turin recommended as being exceptionally good despite being 100% natural. I’m really looking forward to trying them. May 2, 2019 at 10:55pm Reply

        • Sebastian: Bingo! There is Rogue Perfumery:
          https://rogueperfumery.com/

          They advertise “Non IFRA-Compliant Fragrance Art”. May 2, 2019 at 3:30am Reply

          • Lydia: That’s great! Maybe this kind of rebellion is the wave of the future.
            Have you tried any of the scents?

            (Now if only someone would share the still-existing original formulas of the reformulated and discontinued great perfumes for some highly-skilled rebel perfumer to reproduce and sell in dark, exquisitely scented alleyways.) May 2, 2019 at 10:41pm Reply

            • Sebastian: No I haven’t. There wouldn’t have been time, I just found them on Google in the course of this discussion.

              Has anyone here tried them? May 3, 2019 at 9:04am Reply

              • Lily: I looked at his etsy store to see if there are sample packs (yes!) and wondered how many of the “15 other customers [who] have this in their cart” were from here. I can’t afford the set this week but maybe later in the month. I’ll report on a future RMAP thread! May 4, 2019 at 9:07am Reply

          • Old Herbaceous: I have some of Rogue Perfumery’s scents: the sample set, and a bottle of “Chypre Siam”, which is sublime. You can buy them from founder/perfumer Manuel Cross on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RoguePerfumery. If he’s out of stock, you can ask to be on a waitlist and he’ll let you know when it’s available. May 4, 2019 at 10:21am Reply

        • Fleurycat: The synthetic fragrance manufacturers are also responsible for how processed food and drink is flavored. Synthetics have replaced the real thing here as much as in fragrance. In my humble opinion, these are even more troublesome used in the foods we consume than in fragrance, since the latter is more of a luxury, and the former impacts health. There are certainly ethical and environment concerns that correctly limit the use and procurement of genuine materials, but clearly the corporate interest is in cheaper materials and greater profit. May 6, 2019 at 10:06pm Reply

  • Joanne: Has anyone tried Gucci Alchemist’s Garden collection? Which one of the scents do you like? May 1, 2019 at 10:46pm Reply

    • Pocketvenus: Hi Joanne, I smelled the testers and was not compelled to try them any further. They were pleasant enough, but are based on one note and are obscenely priced. The Snake/oud one was disappointing, I remember thinking I might as well just buy real oud oil. May 3, 2019 at 1:07am Reply

      • Joanne: Ransomous prices for “luxury” lines is a ubiquitous marketing ploy these days – with Guerlain, Tom Ford, Serge Lutens and niche perfumery falling victim to it too. It seems the higher the price the more disappointing the fragrance. Thanks for letting me know about your experience. May 5, 2019 at 2:59pm Reply

  • Cecilia: Dear Victoria and dear Perfume Community, I recently had a very uncommon (at least for me) experience with Chanel n.22 edp; one week ago I spritzed the edp at the boutique, and I was taken aback by the smell, it was all the way incense! Then i received a 4ml sample with a purchase, I dabbed the edp and it was completely different; this time my nose could detect the flowers, the vanilla and the incense was only a gentle humming sound underneath, and I loved every moment of it.
    So I would like to ask what exactly changes between spritzing and dabbing a fragrance, and why one can have two completely different ecperiences with the same fragrance.
    (Sorry for my bad english!)
    Thank you! May 2, 2019 at 6:42am Reply

    • Sebastian: It is not unusual for many fragrances to smell differently to many people, depending on whether they are sprayed or dabbed.

      Spraying tends to deposit a greater amount of perfume on your skin, while dabbing can result in a higher concentration on a smaller area. Everything else (in particular, skin and ambient temperature and humidity) the evaporation patterns can differ to a greater or lesser extent. May 2, 2019 at 4:04pm Reply

      • Sebastian: that should have read “Everything else being equal … “. May 2, 2019 at 4:09pm Reply

      • Cecilia: Ah, thank you Sebastian! May 3, 2019 at 2:10am Reply

  • AnnieA: @Klaas, NOT-perfumes has won my heart with their perfume descriptions being labelled as “marketing nonsense”! May 2, 2019 at 5:17pm Reply

    • Sebastian: I also like the symbols instead of names on the bottles.

      I noticed the sample vials are only 0.5 ml. I’m afraid that is impractical, for a not-too-dexterous person like myself… May 3, 2019 at 4:32am Reply

      • Klaas: The bottles are a little small indeed, and they are dab, no spray….so hard to open.

        However, they scents are all extrait, so a drop goes a long way…..super concentrated! May 3, 2019 at 7:16pm Reply

    • Klaas: Yeah, Swedish humor! But so true 😉 May 3, 2019 at 7:14pm Reply

  • Nat: Hello everyone! Last month I commented that I was pretty sick of my current wardrobe and got some wonderful responses about how to “reset.” I’ve fallen back in love with the scents I own and just wanted to share how much I love this community! What a wonderful thing to find a place where people share a common joy and can find such beauty in the world. May 3, 2019 at 8:41am Reply

    • Lily: I left you a reply below but forgot to hit it off your thread. Oops! May 3, 2019 at 9:03am Reply

  • Lily: Yay! I’m so happy for you.

    Seeing your comment made me realize I am having a similar issue this month. I’ve been slowly putting my life back together for what feels like forever (and it has been a several year process) and perfume was a source of comfort and solace during all that. Beauty when there was no other beauty, at times. Now I am feeling much better…on solid ground again in life and really excited about where things are going. And I find myself forgetting perfume some days! Unthinkable before. I guess now I get the pleasure of falling in love with it as adornment and reflection of my mood rather than anchor into the sensory world and my own body. It is a different way to engage with the medium, but…what is life but change? And all things considered I am pretty happy to have to make this shift! Ha ha.

    Thanks for the update and the connection it helped my mind make ❤️ May 3, 2019 at 9:01am Reply

  • Sam C: Hope I’m not too late to the party! I’m looking for a good strong, indolic ylang ylang perfume. I tried Eau Moheli from Diptyque but the ylang disappears really quickly. I also tried Ylang 49 from Le Labo, but I didn’t get much ylang ylang for it. Any recommendations are greatly welcome, the more indolic, the better! May 3, 2019 at 4:17pm Reply

    • Lily: I hope you get some responses still (I have none to offer as that is a type of perfume I have not yet explored), but if not feel free to re-post your question on next month’s thread! May 4, 2019 at 9:04am Reply

    • limegreen: How about Pepper Ylang by Smell Bent? It doesn’t cost much to get a 4 ml spray, enough for a good testing, and it’s not a ylang that disappears. May 4, 2019 at 1:21pm Reply

    • Aurora: Hello Sam: There is Molton Brown Ylang-Ylang (it resembles the now discontinued Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Ylang-Vanille). It is heady and quite sweet, not sure about indolic though, I own a bottle and use it quite a lot in summer.

      Also, Guy Laroche Fidji has a beautiful Ylang-Ylang note, do you know it? But it is a complex perfume not a soliflore. May 4, 2019 at 3:22pm Reply

  • Aurora: Hello Eudora: it’s difficult isn’t it. Eau Premiere so easy to wear or Hiris which would be so special as your first Hermes. Whatever you decide will be a winner, maybe as Lydia says sample them one more time and follow your heart. May 4, 2019 at 2:51pm Reply

    • eudora: got it! thanks Aurora. Next week I will have the chance to spray both and will follow my heart.
      I am very interested in the “what makes a perfum modern” because I am discovering Hermes and Ellena’s perfumes and I am impressed. I am late to the party…Years ago those perfums were dismissed for me for the same reasons I am now loving them. I don’t know if I am explaining myself. I got a sample of Rose Ikebana and Iris Ukiyoe and, to my surprise, I am enjoying them both. And I loved the Jardins also, I remember the one with fig…They feel modern, fresh air, light but bold, elegant also. May 4, 2019 at 3:45pm Reply

  • Aurora: Wrong place sorry. May 4, 2019 at 2:54pm Reply

  • eudora: hello, How much I enjoy reading you all!
    one more question: is just me who feels like all perfumes smell better, more, are richer and more complex and beautiful with warm weather? ☀️ May 4, 2019 at 3:56pm Reply

    • Sebastian: It’s not so much about the weather, I believe it’s more about skin temperature. Or in other words, instead of being out and about in the summer, you can also sit in front of a fireplace in the winter, or just exercise.

      I don’t feel that this benefits all perfumes. Those that people often classify as cold weather perfumes tend to contain a high amount of resinous and balsamic materials. It’s nice when these evaporate slowly and gently waft around you, so you can smell them now and then. It’s quite another thing when they form a thick haze clogging up your nose. Strictly not for the gym. May 4, 2019 at 5:47pm Reply

      • eudora: hello Sebastian, it is the body temperature then and not the climate temperature what makes the difference?
        I am curious, can you name sone examples of cold weather perfumes so I can better understand? You say that those develope slowly…
        Incense, for exemple? To my surprise Comme des Garcons Avignon is perfect for summer! But it can be just my subjective opinion.
        In winter I am always sooooo cold that maybe perfumes freeze with me! May 4, 2019 at 6:20pm Reply

        • Sebastian: You could seek out perfumes that contain large amounts of opoponax, frankincense, myrrh, styrax, peru balsam, or labdanum.

          Many orientals fall into this category. Which might seem strange, because the Orient is, well, a hot place. May 4, 2019 at 7:01pm Reply

      • Sebastian: eudora, sorry, it’s a bit late but I only just noticed that I did not give an example with my general comment. You might try the experiment with Carner Barcelona Megalium – it’s got basically all of those resins in the base. I would imagine that it would lose some of its intricate liveliness and elegance and almost mystical charm if these evaporated too fast. This is only a guess, mind you, as I can’t do the experiment myself, because where I live temperatures are mostly cool to middling, and I’m averse to heavy exercise. Do get back here to tell me how you find it. May 6, 2019 at 5:58pm Reply

  • Purple: Dear Victoria,
    I came for a perfume review a month or two ago, and stayed for the well written reflections about so much more. I perceive an educator at heart, and it is a pleasure to se you weave different aspects of fashion, society, history, economy and life in general into the subject of fragrances. And then add a couple of guides to learning foreign languages or a recipe for rhubarb rose sherbet, as a bonus; as you generously share your giftedness and wide experiences of different cultures and walks of life with your readers. Even when you give a fragrance a low rating, you seem more focused on reasoning about it, then on the scoring itself. I wouldn’t be surprised if you one day reviewed the H&M fragrance line, not to dismiss it in comparison to let’s say Chanel, but based on their framework of possibilities. To me, a curious approach is the hallmark of intelligence and grace. I hope that I don’t sound like a sycophant, and that my genuine appreciation comes through the barrier of not being used to expressing myself in english this way. Anyway, you do a truly great job with this site and have gathered a congenial community in the comment section and with your guest reviewers.Let me also praise the organisation of the site, it is very easy to get an overview and quickly find what one is looking for.

    Now to my life-or-death question: I love the scent of violets and recently became besotted with Mona di Orio’s Violette Fumée. On the blotter that is. However, the smokiness takes over on my skin. It is a very nice smokiness, to be sure, but it’s the balance that these two forces achieve on the blotter that I have fallen for, not a scent that is just smoky. Now I wonder – if I was to try my hand at layering, to emphasize the florals (the violet is most important), which fragrance would you lovely people recommend? Preferably a scent that doesn’t break the bank, as the Mona di Orio si pretty pricey in itself. And do you perhaps know of a scent similar to VF, but with the balance shifted in favour of the violets and other florals? May 4, 2019 at 8:16pm Reply

    • Tourmaline: Dear Purple,

      Wecome to the Bois de Jasmin fold; it is indeed a congenial and helpful community, with our dear Victoria at the helm.

      Have you tried Jolie Madame by Pierre Balmain? It is a smoky violet fragrance. Have a look on Fragrantica for a thorough list of all the notes.

      Also, if you haven’t already done so, then, being a violet lover (like myself), you might enjoy reading such posts of Victoria’s as –
      – “Violet, Ionones : Sweet and Powdery Fragrance Notes” from 2005,

      – “Building Perfume Wardrobe Guide Part 3 : Lily of the Valley and Violet Florals” from 2011,

      – “Vintage Violets” from 2018, and even

      – “Candied violets” from 2018.

      Happy reading!

      With kind regards,
      Tourmaline May 10, 2019 at 9:04am Reply

  • Purple: And if I can ask for a second piece of advice, I would appreciate a recommendation for a lilac summer scent. I’ve tried Bottega Veneta’s Parco Palladiano VII: Lillà and it reminded me of my childhood walks with my father along a plant nursery with a long row of lilac bushes. However, both sillage and longevity are an issue, and the price as well. I’m hoping to find something along the lines of Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea (I just read the lovely review by Andy) – a simple, but well made and fresh fragrance. Either with good longevity in a medium price range, or with the Green Tea kind of longevity in the Green Tea kind of price range. May 4, 2019 at 8:30pm Reply

    • rainboweyes: Have you already tried Frederic Malle’s En Passant? Not quite the price range of Green Tea but it’s a lovely lilac scent. I think Victoria reviewed it a while ago… May 6, 2019 at 2:01am Reply

    • Eudora: Hello Purple, Yves Rocher has a lilac cologne in the same vein. Not the beauty of En Passant but it fits the price and it is no doubt a simple but very nice and fresh and true lilacs cologne. Give it a try! May 6, 2019 at 3:41am Reply

    • Silvermoon: Hello Purple, you said it beautifully (I mean about your comments on Victoria and the community here).

      I second rainboweyes and Eudora for lilacs. En Passant is gorgeous, the YR Lilac is very pretty (just tested it last week).

      Two violets that I would recommend are Violet Ida (Miller Harris) and Nightingale (Zoologist). Both are lovely, with MH one being very long lasting. May 11, 2019 at 7:53am Reply

  • Joanne: Ransomous prices for “luxury” lines is a ubiquitous marketing ploy these days – with Guerlain, Tom Ford, Serge Lutens and niche perfumery falling victim to it too. It seems the higher the price the more disappointing the fragrance. Thanks for letting me know about your experience. May 5, 2019 at 2:57pm Reply

  • Mela: Hello Everyone,
    I’m A bit of a day late to the party due to jet leg, (just having been in the south of France, in the middle of nowhere with no perfume nearby).
    I am absolutely dying for a new fragrance and I know there are many companies that I haven’t tried but to give an idea:
    I can’t stand Guerlain or Caron
    Chanel number five and 22 smell like Puma piss on my skin, but Cristal and 19 are fab.
    Most Lutens are great, as is Theorema. On the light side Juliet has a gun the jasmine is fabulous on me, as are most good jasmines. I am a huge fan of Timbuktu, Passage D’enfer, dzonka. But I love many of the lighter scents from Hermès and oddly creed Himalaya is wonderful on me as well as many of the le Labo scents, which are hard to go wrong with. Violets, Diorissimo, and melty roses are good. One of my most favorite perfumes no one seems to know about is by Canturi the Jewelry maker. It smells like liquid sunshine and gold on me. Please no water fragrances.
    Haven’t tried many gourmands but they would need to be light. Most Atelier Colognes stay about an hour.

    Incense is usually wonderful and gentle oud.

    Why am I saying all this you might ask? Because I have not bought a new perfume in three years looking for something either old and wonderful new and beautiful, or an established line that, as seen above, have not tried. Good lasting power (so few of the Hermes have this) and something transparent but complex. Yep, no problem. See ‘Desperate’. May 6, 2019 at 12:37pm Reply

    • katherine x: Hi Mela, You might try Frederic Malle’s Lys Meditteranee and Eau de Magnolia. Both have character, are transparent and complex. Neither are too flowery and are long-lasting on my hair and clothing. May 11, 2019 at 6:26pm Reply

      • Mela: Thank you so much, I’ve actually never tried these or heard of them. They sound wonderful. Samples away! May 11, 2019 at 7:27pm Reply

        • katherine x: You’re very welcome Mela. The entire Malle line is high quality, entrancing, and varied. Neiman Marcus and Barneys carry the line in the U.S. and there is a Malle store in NYC if I’m not mistaken. You might see about samples from one of these stores. May 11, 2019 at 7:32pm Reply

          • Mela: Thank you for some great suggestions, you actually named many of my favorites! Hermes, the Exclusifs. But never tried the Goutals you mentioned, and though I have one of the Comme des Garsons, I never tried the others and forgot about mine. You really captured my tastes, thank you. May 12, 2019 at 7:35am Reply

            • Mela: Oops, that was for Aurora, but applies to both. May 12, 2019 at 7:37am Reply

            • Aurora: Got it Mela, thank you for your reply. Of course I should have guessed that you had explored some of the suggestions already. So yes, do test Annick Goutal’s line, now renamed ‘Goutal’, it’s one of the oldest niche brands. Good luck and happy testing, hope you will discover something to love. May 12, 2019 at 9:30am Reply

    • Aurora: Hello Mela: Have you tried Annick Goutal perfumes? Victoria wrote about Grand Amour in her post on hyacinth, it is very like Guerlain Chamada but the one I’m thinking about for you is Encens Flamboyant which is a provencal churchy incense with herbs from the garrigue, it is one of my favorites, also the incense series from Comme des Garcons: Avignon (Catholic incense), Kyoto (Asian Incense), Zagorsk (Middle Eastern incense), there’s another one I’m forgetting. Also, you don’t mention Hermes: the Jardins series is great for summer, and the Merveilles series: Eau des Merveilles (salty orange) for summer for eg. How exciting to get another perfume after 3 years. Also, maybe explore the Chanel les Exclusives, if you have time. I also second Katherine’s idea of exploring Frederic Malle. May 12, 2019 at 7:13am Reply

      • Aurora: It’s Chanel les Exclusifs, No 22 has an incense note. May 12, 2019 at 7:17am Reply

        • Mela: See note above accidentally replying in the middle. May 12, 2019 at 7:38am Reply

  • Gisele: Recommended the smell of sexier powder. oil bobby mysterious, memorable, irresistible, subtle, unforgettable, praised. Not from Guerlain or FM. I want a powdery, clean, sexy boby oil, boudoir May 15, 2019 at 11:52am Reply

    • Aurora: Hello Gisele: To answer your question, I will list some powdery perfumes:
      Oscar de la Renta Esprit d’Oscar, Jean-Charles Brosseau Ombre Rose, Kenzo Flower, Prada Infusion d’Iris and Infusion d’Iris Absolue, Lorenzo Villoresi Teint de Neige, Chanel Les Exclusifs Misia. I listed them from the most affordable to the costliest.

      I am not sure what you meant by FM. Maybe Frederic Malle? May 18, 2019 at 2:01pm Reply

    • Sharon: Have you tried Kenzo Amour? It’s a very sexy yet soft yummy vanilla that settles in close to the skin. May 19, 2019 at 9:22pm Reply

  • JulienFromDijon: Malle’s “Crème pour les mains au beurre d’iris” by Olivia Giacobetti.
    It smells like unalloyed orris butter, and concentrated enough to be a perfume. So next time you hit a Malle counter, put it wherever you want and feel like royalty.

    https://www.fredericmalle.eu/fr-e-UF/product/19654/50300/pour-le-corps/creme-pour-les-mains/par-olivia-giacobetti#/sku/82611 May 18, 2019 at 7:48pm Reply

  • Sharon: Lately I have meandered back to my love of galbanum in fragrances — Wrappings by Clinique is one that I love right now. I have Safari, but I don’t wear it at all. I am now going to see if I can sample Chanel No. 19. Has anyone tried it? Do you have any other recommendations of perfumes with a prominent galbanum note? Thanks so much! May 19, 2019 at 9:20pm Reply

    • Aurora: Hello Sharon: This to suggest your repost your request in the new Recommend Me a Perfume for May as you will get many answers this way 🙂 as this April one has gone quiet. May 20, 2019 at 11:32am Reply

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