polls: 59 posts

What Is The Most Versatile Perfume?

More than a month ago we ran a poll on the most versatile perfume. I asked you to name a fragrance or several that you consider versatile and can wear for any occasion and in any mood. You shared your entries–around 700 perfume names total, and I tabulated the results. Since I posted it as a casual poll, I didn’t follow the standard procedures to correct for errors. Please take the results with a grain of salt. I also don’t think that Bois de Jasmin readers represent the general population, so our idea of versatile may be rather idiosyncratic.

guerlain dali

The most popular houses are Chanel (150 nominations), Guerlain (65 nominations) and Hermes (58 nominations). Frédéric Malle received 30 nominations and Serge Lutens 25.

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Perfume That Demands Glamour

What fragrances, if any, feel so glamorous to you that you feel like you have to dress up for them?

At one point I would approach venerable classics–Chanel No 5, Christian Dior Miss Dior, or Guerlain Mitsouko–with some trepidation. I often felt that their legendary status and impressive history necessitated at least some lipstick on my part. I saved my Mitsouko for special occasions. The only problem was that the glamorous occasions were–and still are–few and far between, and my Mitsouko languished, ignored and unworn. That’s why I decided that I will wear all of my grand parfums whenever the mood strikes. These days I even don Mitsouko or Amouage Gold to clean my apartment, and they make this unexciting task seem more interesting.

dressing up

On many days, the most glamorous part about me is my perfume, and as much as I respect them, I have a more relaxed attitude to classics. But there are some perfumes that feel too glamorous and imposing. Jean Patou 1000 is one example. It’s a gorgeous, lush composition that would be perfect to wear to a ball at the Winter Palace, but I don’t enjoy its grand and elaborate character. Or perhaps, I need to wait till I get that Winter Palace invitation.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Staying Organized : How Do You Store Your Samples and Decants

How do you organize your perfume collection? How do you store your fragrance samples and decants?


Last week my reader Ariadne asked how I keep my samples organized. I would love to tell her that I have a state-of-the-art system in place for tracking my samples, but the truth is that my method is more chaotic than systematic, and I just rely on my memory to recall where on earth I stuffed that sample of Britney Spears Curious or Francis Kurkdjian Amyris. Since my memory is far from infallible, it means that I often spend a fair bit of time digging through piles of samples or boxes of decants.

Now that I’ve presented you with the worst possible organization system–I dare anyone to top it, I would love to hear how you organize (or would like to organize) your samples. Ariadne and I need your inspiration and help!

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Testing Your Perfume Boundaries

What lies outside of your perfume comfort zone? Which fragrances are still challenging for you?

The other day I voluntarily donned a perfume called I’m Rock and immediately regretted my choice. I decided to test my boundaries wearing a sweet gourmand fragrance, but when I’m Rock turned into a candy factory on fire, I cut the experiment short. I don’t have a strong sweet tooth when it comes to fragrances, and I’m Rock wasn’t the best choice.


Another group of scents that I don’t enjoy are the watery, aquatic perfumes, even if they are well-made like Issey Miyake. An accent of watery notes can give a gauzy, weightless effect to rich florals like Marc Jacobs for Her, but a generous dose smells sharp and cold to me.

I still keep on trying scents, even if I suspect that they may not fit the bill for me. Hope springs eternal that I may nevertheless find a hidden gem. At worst, if a perfume turns out to be a scrubber, some makeup remover (the kind designed for waterproof cosmetics works best) is all it takes to remove the offending scent. The thrill of discovery is worth a few duds.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, parrots testing the Belgian winter.

Perfume Shopping : Where Do You Buy Your Fragrances

Where do you shop for perfume?

Today’s question comes from Jan, who wrote to me that “it would be wonderful to know where people all over are buying their full bottles, once they find favorites.” She was also curious if there are any real bargain to be had on Ebay, because her experience was mixed so far.

Once I find a favorite perfume, I prefer to buy it from a small boutique where I’ve received good customer service. In the US, I’ve always shopped at Aedes or Luckyscent, while here in Belgium, Senteurs d’Ailleurs or Haute Parfumerie Place Vendôme are the places I favor. Sephora is another favorite for its convenience. If I’m looking for a bargain, I turn to Ebay. I read the feedback and do a google search for a seller’s name to make sure that they are reputable. Most of my purchases have turned out to be successful, but even so, buying from online discounters carries some risk of getting merchandise from old stock.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

From the Archives

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