Recommend Me a Perfume : July 2020

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

Learning Scents (or Words) : A Few Tips

Recently I was making a new series of videos on learning languages, and as I was jotting down notes on learning words, I realized that for my studies I use the same memorizing techniques that I had used to learn ingredients in perfumery school. I wonder if my language learning didn’t accelerate during my training. After all, memorizing something intangible like a scent is even harder than memorizing a new word. Either way, I would like to share my tips on retaining smells in your memory, and you can see how you can apply these techniques to memorizing anything else.

If you wish to have a set of oils or spices ready, I recommend starting with no more 3. It might seem like very little, but if you learn to memorize those three scents and learn to pick them out in a blend, you can expand your exercises to a much greater number. Polish your technique with a few scents at a time.

For instance, my recommended smells for learning would be the following three: lemon (you can use the real fruit by scratching the peel), clove (you can use spices that you have at that time), and vanilla (you can use extract). You’re likely to have them already, and they’re used a lot in perfumery. Just because they’re familiar, however, don’t assume that you know all of their facets.

I emphasize the parallels with language studies to help you find your own connections. I’m sure all of you have pursuits that require memorization, so you can rely on the same techniques for learning aromas. Your techniques might differ from mine, but it doesn’t matter as long as they are effective.

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Tuberose Perfumes for Men and Women – The Most Voluptuous of Flowers

What flower evokes all things lush and sensual to you? To me, it would definitely be tuberose. This blossom has many elements that make it complex and voluptuous, from the sweetness of its fruity facets to the creaminess of its coconut facets. Tuberose contains lactones, hence the coconut effect, but it also includes indoles, aroma-molecules that lend it a particularly smoldering and intriguing character. So nuanced is tuberose absolute that with few adjustments it can be made into a proper perfume. On the other hand, so distinctive is tuberose that a clever blend of coconut and another white floral can give a believable tuberose effect to a floral bouquet.

In my recent video, I talk about tuberose and mention a few of my favorite fragrances with this note. I decided to expand the discussion to include a few more excellent examples as well as to highlight tuberose scents that would work for men. This note lends itself to experimentation.

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How To Give Perfume as Gift–Or Not

What kind of perfume do you give as a gift? In my experience, selecting the right perfume for a gift is tricky, because guessing someone’s taste is difficult. Even if your gift recipient likes roses, there are no guarantees that the rose fragrance you’ll select will appeal to them. For this reason, I generally advise against giving perfume as a gift, unless you have the other person’s wishlist.

Scented gifts, on the other hand, are my favorite kind of presents to prepare. For instance, scented soaps, candles, incense or interesting home fragrances are always welcome. Likewise, I enjoy giving and receiving food gifts, and here the limit is your imagination–tea sets, jams, honeys, spices. My favorite recent gift was a package from my Iranian friend filled with saffron, cumin, cardamom and sweet-sour dried plums. Every time I use cardamom in my coffee or sizzle cumin in oil to top a vegetable dish, I think of her.

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Carnations, Cloves, Eugenol : A Short History

Carnation is not the trendiest of floral notes, and yet modern perfumery would be unthinkable without it–or specifically, the carnation effect. One of the principal aroma-molecules in the essence of carnation is eugenol, and its discovery was revolutionary. In 1834, eugenol was synthesized by Carl Jacob Ettling. In 1858, it was studied and named by August André Thomas Cahours, another brilliant chemist, whose contributions to organic chemistry are numerous. If you wish to know what eugenol smells like, sniff a pot of cloves. There is a reason why Ettling turned to this spice to obtain eugenol–clove essence contains up to 90% eugenol, depending on the variety.

Eugenol was and remains important not only in perfumery, but also in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, the food industry, and above all, dentistry. It’s known as an effective pain reliever, and to this day, it’s mixed into zinc-oxide-rosin cements for certain types of fillings. For this reason, those who have had the misfortune of experiencing root canal work associate the scent of cloves and carnations with the dentist’s office.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Tourmaline in New Style-Chypre Perfumes: Hi Joyce, I have more perfume than I could possibly use during the remainder of my life. This often prevents me from trying new fragrances, for fear of finding yet… August 10, 2020 at 7:19pm

  • Joyce in New Style-Chypre Perfumes: Great article and video, thank you Victori! Also, you must have an amazing necklace collection😉 A favourite chypre (or rather, rose chypre), is Agent Provocateur’s first perfume (the pink bottle).… August 10, 2020 at 5:02pm

  • Karen A in New Style-Chypre Perfumes: Wonderful informative video Victoria, thanks! Chypres and I sometimes don’t work out but when it does, oh my my! 31 Rue Cannon is truly one of my favorite fragrances. August 10, 2020 at 4:50pm

  • Victoria in New Style-Chypre Perfumes: Skin allergies were the issue. To be honest, I can accept the moss restrictions (it’s not banned, just restricted in dosage), but there are many more other restrictions and bans… August 10, 2020 at 1:40pm

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