7 Best Perfumes for Moon Viewing

Mid-Autumn Festival is on Saturday, September 10th, and I already envision brewing a pot of tea and admiring the full moon in the evening. Some years the weather doesn’t cooperate, and the temptress moon hides behind the clouds, but when it reveals its full splendor, the effect is magnificent. The pearly moonlight makes the sleeping city shimmer and the skies turn a deep blue color, with soft whispers of grey.

My moon-viewing is incomplete without mooncakes, pastries filled with lotus seed paste or red beans, and an appropriate perfume. The latter is particularly important to set the ambiance and add more magic to my evening. Below are my seven choices, for both men and women.

Armani Privé Pierre de Lune 

Iris petals in a celadon cup is the vignette painted by Pierre de Lune, an elegant, polished fragrance. Of course, the essence of iris comes from the rhizomes of the orris plant, and Pierre de Lune features the classical rooty, green iris, but at the same time, it evokes the softness of petals. This sheer composition shimmers and floats, and being delicate, it’s ideal for my moon-viewing evening.

Serge Lutens Nuit de Cellophane

Transparent and soft, this osmanthus fragrance evokes opalescent moonlight and the smells of cool petals and a fresh breeze. Despite its delicate character, it lasts well.

Chanel No 18

This cool composition is based on ambrette, a musk-redolent material. A whisper of rose is enough to add deeper layers, while a refined woody backdrop provides a mellow finish. The sensation of No 18 is warm silk and velvet, and it clings to skin seductively.

Hermès Voyage

The citrus-basil shimmer of the top notes gives way to the warm backdrop of woods. It’s reminiscent of driftwood on the beach, with violet adding a dark, inky note. The refined character of Voyage makes it an ideal partner to a cup of oolong tea.

Arquiste Indigo Smoke

A brand-new fragrance from Arquiste, Indigo Smoke blends dark lapsang souchong tea with vetiver and incense. A fruity touch of apricot and carrot add a bright twist, while guaiac woods lend a smoky rose nuance. A perfect fragrance for Mid-Autumn festival, even if the moon might be shrouded in clouds and rain.

Dior Bois d’Argent

Iris and incense, Bois d’Argent evokes the play of moonlight on water. An elegant composition, with a lingering sillage.

Guerlain Mitsouko

A fragrance that invites reveries. Mitsouko is an autumnal beauty that smells of fallen leaves, late rains and spicy chrysanthemums. It glows so warmly on skin under a layer of cashmere, and it makes me want to have a moon-viewing ritual every night, full moon or not.

What would you select to admire the moon?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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53 Comments

  • Hilde: Hi Victoria,

    First, I want to excuse myself for my absence on your blog (due to several misfortune last months, but I am not the only one I think).

    I had never heard of Mid-Autumn Festival and Moon Viewing on that particular night.
    But I have always been attracted by the mistery of the moon that continuously changes.

    The glacial effect to me of a full moon would tempt me to choose a cologne such as Hermes Eau de Narcisse Bleu: cold, dry and a bit dark. September 9, 2022 at 9:38am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s a festival celebrated in China, and people go out to view the moon. It’s cloudy and rainy today, so I don’t know if I will be able to see the moon, but I already have my perfume prepared. September 10, 2022 at 6:51am Reply

  • Tara C: Thank you for talking about Indigo Smoke, looking forward to trying it! My moon viewing fragrance will be Ormaie L’Ivrée Bleue. September 9, 2022 at 9:45am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a beautiful choice, Tara.
      Looking forward to your thoughts on Indigo Smoke. September 10, 2022 at 6:52am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: The photos of the mooncakes looks mouthwatering. Is the green filling Matcha tea and bean paste or mung Bean Paste? My favourite is the lotus seed paste with the salted duck egg yolks. September 9, 2022 at 9:49am Reply

    • Victoria: I also made lotus seed with salted duck eggs and 5-nut mooncakes. This one is pandan-mung bean. It turned out quite successful, with good creamy texture. September 10, 2022 at 6:53am Reply

      • Nancy Chan: Your mooncakes turned out very well. I thought they were shop bought.

        Victoria, you are very talented! September 10, 2022 at 3:34pm Reply

        • Victoria: You’re very kind! September 11, 2022 at 7:23am Reply

        • Breezy Island: I adore the content of your website and youtube channel which explore perfume, tea, food and books in different culture. Thanks for introduce the Indigo Smoke to me. I will look for a chance to try it. September 22, 2022 at 7:08am Reply

          • Nancy Chan: Sorry, you posted the comments to Nancy Chan. September 22, 2022 at 7:39am Reply

            • Breezy Island: Oops my bad September 27, 2022 at 6:32am Reply

  • Mingzhe Wang: I think I might wear Etro Heliotrope. It has a comforting light floral scent with a slight gourmand character, goes well with moon cake and the moon! Or, if I’m in a slightly more extroverted mood, I might wear Elie Saab Essence 9 Tubereuse. It has a beautiful trail of night blooming flowers and yet not too strong. The cinnamon in it grounds the floral, making it alluring but not seductive. 😊 September 9, 2022 at 9:50am Reply

    • Victoria: Heliotrope would definitely go well with mooncakes and the moon. Creamy, enveloping and not too sweet. September 10, 2022 at 6:53am Reply

  • Elizabeth Ryan: I’d try Niki de Saint Phalle, or perhaps Donna Karan Black Cashmere, which reminds me of the Knize scents, skin with cashmere, silk and leather. September 9, 2022 at 12:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Beautiful choices to add to the list! September 10, 2022 at 6:54am Reply

  • Figuier: Lovely suggestions, Victoria! Sitting up to watch the Harvest/Mid-Autumn moon is not someting I’ve done for a few years, but already tonight it’s high in the sky and beautifully bright, lending glamour to washing up dinner. Wearing Cloon Keen’s Castana, which feels too dusky for the occasion; I think Lune Givree, an ambrette and carrote seed scent, by the same brand, would be perfect. September 9, 2022 at 4:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: Lune Givrée would be perfect, I think.
      The moon has been gorgeous for the past few days, so I really look forward to tonight, as long as the clouds will lift. September 10, 2022 at 6:55am Reply

  • SoSuSam: What a beautiful notion, perfume to wear while regarding the moon. I agree wholeheartedly with Hermes Voyage. Maybe l’AP Timbuktu as well? September 9, 2022 at 7:50pm Reply

    • Victoria: Timbuktu can also work really well. Its radiance suits the occasion. September 10, 2022 at 6:55am Reply

  • Gabriela: Love the idea of moon watching. I was born with a full moon and I my astrological birth sign is cancer so I definitely connect to the moon.

    I will wear a perfume I bought from a little perfume shop in Grasse, it smells of flowers. September 10, 2022 at 4:04am Reply

    • Victoria: Enjoy the moon tonight! Hope that you can see it well. September 10, 2022 at 6:56am Reply

  • Ewan: The Moon

    ‘A little sun, that does in a month all that the sun does in a year and has its own four seasons. It has its winter from its birth to the first quarter, when it will make the air cold and humid, and likewise all things subject to it. Then it will have its spring from the first quarter to the full moon, making things hot and humid and fermentative. Then it will have summer from the full moon to the second quarter with more heat and drought than the sun bestows. And finally, it will have its autumn, cold, dry and without moisture, from the second quarter to the new moon.’

    Pietro Castelli – Memoriale per lo spetiale romano; Venice 1678 September 10, 2022 at 4:58am Reply

    • Victoria: Beautiful! Thank you very much for sharing. September 10, 2022 at 6:56am Reply

      • Ewan: I got it from the English translation , ‘ Bread of Dreams’, of the book: ‘Il Pane Salveggio ‘ by Professor Piero Camporesi. His books are full of both wonderful and terrible scents.

        I’m sure his books would appeal to you – The Anatomy of the Senses, Exotic Brew, The Juice of Life et al.

        Fair chance of clear skies hereabouts, hope you get a brreak in the clouds September 10, 2022 at 7:16am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you. I’m not familiar with his books, so I will take a look. September 11, 2022 at 7:18am Reply

  • CC: These are wonderful recommendations, and a reminder to snatch any happiness from the mundane daily slog. Stopping to gaze at the moon in a cloud of Mitsouko. September 10, 2022 at 6:30am Reply

    • Victoria: Enjoy it! My perfume will also be Mitsouko later today. September 10, 2022 at 6:57am Reply

  • Kathy: Agreeing your moon cakes are beautiful and thank you for reminding me of them! I find a sweet and meditative quality in Lolita Lempicka epd so that’s my choice as I look forward to seeing the beautiful moon tonight in the Midwest USA. September 10, 2022 at 9:45am Reply

    • Victoria: Lolita Lempicka would fit the mood! September 11, 2022 at 7:19am Reply

    • Corina Lymburner: Yes, like you Kathy, Lolita Lempicka EDP came to my mind as well, when pondering a perfume to view the moon. It’s a scent that, to me, is evocative of both evening & the mysterious power of the moon. September 11, 2022 at 7:56am Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: I wasn‘t aware of the festive occasion yet my husband and I enjoyed a magnificent moon viewing all the same. We‘re on Antiparos and after days of weird fierce winds things calmed down significantly. Where we are, there are no street lights so there is hardly any light pollution, and the moon was positively shining like a lantern in the sky and the sea— totally still like a gigantic lake—glittered in an ashen silver. September 10, 2022 at 9:53am Reply

    • OnWingsofSaffron: BTW, not realizing the occasion I wore my Patchouly Indonesiano by Farmacia SS Annunziata, perhaps slightly lacking in delicacy for moon viewing. September 10, 2022 at 9:58am Reply

      • Sebastian: 🙂 I’m all in favor of subverting stereotypes. The moon also shines on humid, semi-dark earth. As for the occasion, a kind of thanksgiving, it would appear that we are looking for something festive and moonshiny. None of the suggestions so far really fits that bill. Or do they? September 10, 2022 at 5:40pm Reply

      • Victoria: But it smells beautiful. September 11, 2022 at 7:20am Reply

    • Victoria: Such a beautiful descriptive that transported me to another place. September 11, 2022 at 7:20am Reply

  • Hamamelis: It’s maybe obvious, but Hiram Green’s Moon Bloom would fit, such a radiant ‘waxy’ jasmin/tuberose, and Songes as well, a dreamy scent.
    Having seen the moon appearing through the clouds I also thought of Naja, where the yellow honey shines through the wafts of tobacco. September 10, 2022 at 12:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: Both are such dreamy scents! September 11, 2022 at 7:20am Reply

  • Aurora: What a delightful post, Voyage is my favorite cardamom scent. Your moon cakes look especially beautiful, Victoria.

    I would wear a lavender scent to observe the moon because I’m in Provence, Encens et Lavande or Gris Clair. September 10, 2022 at 1:38pm Reply

  • rickyrebarco: I would choose Etoile d’Une Nuit by Annick Goutal for my moon viewing. All the scents you mention sound lovely. September 10, 2022 at 1:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like this idea too. September 11, 2022 at 7:21am Reply

  • Sebastian: I agree with Hamamelis, Moon Bloom is an obvious choice. Opulent, romantic, deep and rich, it is as enveloping as a tropical, moonlit night can be. Perfect for me, as I’d rather be there than here at the moment. NOT ethereal.

    When feeling melancholic, I might reach for Serge Lutens’ De Profundis.

    Really, I’m more worried about where to get fresh Pandan leaves than about my perfume. Your cakes look beautiful! I must try making that paste. September 10, 2022 at 2:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: I actually have a pandan plant at home. It grows easily in a pot. Mung bean and pandan combination is perfect for mooncakes or other pastries. September 11, 2022 at 7:23am Reply

  • a.: I just had my tires replaced this morning by a Korean-American man who told me today was “Thanksgiving” in Korea, China, Malaysia, and some other countries, which I later looked up and learned is called Chuseok; the page I read described it as a harvest festival. I came home and somewhat randomly decided to test out a decant of Sisley’s Soir de Lune, then came to your website (to initially read your beautiful review of SdL) and find that you’ve written an article on this very same holiday, and that it’s related to the full moon! What a coincidence. So I guess my pick would have to be Soir de Lune. My description isn’t going to come close to the beauty of yours, but, it certainly has an air of something nocturnal about it; the florals in the heart glow perhaps the way a full moon does, while being encased in a deep, inky, mossy-woody base that one could imagine evoking the night sky. September 10, 2022 at 4:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: Your description is beautiful!

      Yes, you’re right about Mid-Autumn Festival, which is celebrated in many Asian countries as a harvest festival. It’s such a lovely tradition. September 11, 2022 at 7:33am Reply

      • a.: aww thank you, that means a lot to me coming from such a talented writer such as yourself, victoria. 🙂 it is a beautiful tradition, indeed. i have a love all holidays, regardless of culture or religion, that are tied to the rhythms of nature. hope you enjoyed celebrating! September 11, 2022 at 10:58am Reply

        • a.: ugh, a love *for! 😀 September 11, 2022 at 10:58am Reply

  • My1stGradeTeacher: The carnation and vanilla of Caron Bellodgia would go well with the lotus seed moon cakes (but no red bean paste for me pleez!). What an awesome photo and list ! September 10, 2022 at 10:00pm Reply

  • Ramin: Hello .
    For me, the scent of jasmine reminds me of the moon.
    Have you seen the movie “Love-stricken” 1992

    ” by “Ali Hatami”?
    A part of the movie where “Laila” goes to the garden after hearing the voice of “Tahir”. It reminds me of cedre sambac, hermes perfume.
    (Pasban haram Del shodeam , shab , hame , shab …) September 11, 2022 at 7:19am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t, but now I want to. September 11, 2022 at 7:35am Reply

  • Corina Lymburner: As I commented to Kathy’s reply, Lolita Lempicka EDP was the first scent that came to my mind from my small collection & short experience in learning/sampling/owning perfumes. And, as I’ve not sampled any of the perfumes you listed, I’m curious to do so if and when I find the opportunity.

    In reading Diane Ackerman’s “A Natural History of the Senses”, (a priceless book, given to me long ago by a dear friend) I wanted to share…

    …”there is a special gloriousness we find only in nature at its most wild and untampered with. In our sweet spontaneous earth, we find startling and intimate beauties that fill us with ecstasy. Perhaps, like e. Cummings, we notice the “convulsed orange inch of moon perching on this silver minute of evening” and our pulse suddenly charges like calvary, or our eyes close in pleasure and, in a waking faint, we sigh before we know what’s happening. The scene is so beautiful it deflates us”… September 11, 2022 at 8:06am Reply

  • Marianne: Such lovely comments, I feel dreamy here by the fire, the night air outside sharply cold, with the sting that hints of a little snow on the hills nearby. I’d light Cire Trudon’s Madeleine candle for Mid Autumn Festival with its perfectly balanced cool lavender, leather and iris within its suite of scents. Absolutely beautiful. Rich and yet flower-fresh. September 12, 2022 at 8:20am Reply

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