The Monday Mail ~ help Kate find a new perfume

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Today we're helping Kate, who thinks of herself as a "perfumista-in-training". She is "fascinated with the concept of niche perfumery" and loves trying new things, but is having trouble finding a perfume she likes. Her perfect perfume would be feminine, sensual, sexy and complex, with no weird or harsh notes. She'd like soft rather than loud, and while she'd like to find something more sophisticated than the sweet gourmands she used to wear, she's still like her new perfume to be "delicious". She'd also like her new scent to cost less than $200, but she's willing to entertain any suggestion. Here are a few things we know about Kate:

She's in her 20s and lives in Vancouver, BC.

She describes herself as quiet, soft-spoken, and a girly-girl. She's "very image-conscious" and loves fashion and makeup.

She's petite and her style is "feminine and trendy".

Kate likes gourmand notes: vanilla, chocolate, coffee, boozy notes, tea, light spices, ginger, amber, fig, rich fruit, honey, light anise and soft woods. She likes sweet but not cloying, and she prefers feminine over unisex or masculine.

Kate doesn't like powder, vintage-style scents, rose, prominent florals (well-blended florals in the background are ok), chypres, classic aldehydic perfumes, leather, smoke.

Kate's current favorite is Jo Malone Blue Agava & Cacao. She still loves it but would like something more sophisticated. Other past loves include Thierry Mugler Angel, Dior Hypnotic Poison, Cacharel Amor Amor Elixir Passion, and Aquolina Pink Sugar.

Here are some of the things Kate has tried and almost liked: Estee Lauder  Sensuous (hits all the right points, but she'd like to see if she can find something better), Jo Malone Nutmeg and Ginger (too dry and unisex), Parfumerie Generale Musc Maori (too short-lived),  L'Artisan Bois Farine (too short-lived), Estee Lauder Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang (too floral), Serge Lutens Datura Noir (too floral), Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger Lily (she'd like it as a room scent), Ginestet Botrytis (too short-lived, not special enough), Serge Lutens Douce Amere (too harsh and 'cologne'-ish), and Sarah Jessica Parker Covet (too floral, not interesting enough).

Here are some things Kate disliked: Serge Lutens Five O'Clock au Gingembre (too dry and masculine), Serge Lutens Bois Vanille (cloying burnt sugar), Parfumerie Generale Aomassai (horrible, suffocating burnt sugar), Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum (rose & powder), Annick Goutal Eau de Charlotte (distinct 'outhouse and rotting hay' accord).

Kate is interested in trying Serge Lutens Feminite du Bois and Chergui, Parfumerie Generale Felanilla, Ava Luxe Loukhoum and Moroccan Mint Tea, CB I Hate Perfume Russian Caravan Tea — she'd love to hear feedback on any of those.

What say you?

Note: image is ei, seu carteiro! by .mands. at flickr; some rights reserved.

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73 Comments

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  1. Daisy says:

    Maybe a nice soft feminine fragrance Like L’artisan Drole de Rose, or any of the Juliette Has a Gun…Citizen Queen is my fave of the three. Other ideas after the coffee kicks in.

    • Daisy says:

      oops, sorry didn’t read the whole post–no rose …so disregard earlier suggestions. Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille is nice but vanilla perfumes can turn gourmand-y on some folks.

      • Daisy says:

        geesh, gotta read the whole darn thing or drink the coffee faster!!! no un bois vanille! Maybe more sleep is what I need…

        • Robin says:

          LOL…it’s lots of words and it’s still early in the morning, no worries :-)

          • Daisy says:

            thanks, I’m still snoozing a bit I think. But a “I take it back” button would be helpful? I’m on the second cup now so both eyes should be open soon ;-)

          • Robin says:

            Any time you want a comment deleted, just say & I will zap it!

          • Daisy says:

            Nah, that’s okay…everybody has their ‘duh’ moments/days…this is mine! They actually serve a cosmic sort of purpose: they make everybody else feel that much smarter and on their toes…see, so in a way, I’ve performed a public service!!! (now that I’m fully awake I am able laugh…without spilling hot beverages, so it’s all good)

  2. Blimunda says:

    Hey!

    My first instinct was to suggest Rahat Loukoum by Serge Lutens. It is gourmand, almondy, vanilla, cherry and has a boozy hint of cherry liquer. I woudn’t call it sophistoicated necessarily…..but it’s very comforting and absolutely delicious, after the inital heady blast.

    Another option that screamed out at me (yet was quicky silenced when you stated you do not like rose!) was Ta’if by Ormonde Jayne. It is a rose scent, but includes saffron and candied dates which are quite gourmandy. I reckon you should give it a go. It is very feminine and pretty. You could also try Champaca by Ormonde Jayne – it has notes of green tea and basmati rice. It’s very very lovely and sophisticated. Although it is a creamy magnolia, the other notes elevate it above being a simple floral, so I think it’s worth a shot. Maybe you could check-out the OJ website and read Robin’s reviews on NST.

    • Joe says:

      I thought of Rahat Loukhoum too, and since she’s curious about Ava Luxe Loukhoum, samples of both of those might be in order.

  3. sacre bleu says:

    Suggestions:
    Hermes’ Elixir Eau de Marveilles
    La Maison de Vanille’s Vanille Noir de Mexique
    Givenchy’s Ysitis
    Patricia de Nicolai Vanille Tonka (if you’re ok with a little incense)

  4. jirish says:

    What about Bois de Paradis? It has the fruit and woods, and a nice honeyed quality. I’d also suggest Parfum d’Empire’s Ambre Russe, because it has the boozy notes, tea, amber, and spices she likes, but it does need to be applied sparingly. Another Parfum d’Empire she might be interested in is Osmanthus Interdite. It has a lovely tea note and Osmanthus, which reads as very apricot-fruity. It’s not as heavy as Ambre Russe and can be applied a little more lavishly. Another good tea scent is L’Artisan’s The pour un ete. Oh, and I strongly encourage her to try Chergui. I think everyone should. It’s simply gorgeous.

    • jirish says:

      Forgot to add that if she’s interested in honey and spice, she should also try Amourouse. Another gorgeous scent that has to be applied carefully, but is so worth it!

  5. jekkah says:

    I’m thinking she might like L’Artisan Safran Troublant? Slightly sweet and smooth spices. It does have rose in it but I can never make out the rose.

    Also, if she liked Angel, Lolita Lempicka is a softer, more feminine take with more anise.
    Good luck Kate!

  6. Zazie says:

    Hi Kate: I second your though of chergui – it is quite sweet, but certainly soft!
    Also from lutens: Fumerie turque (it is soft, sweet, and a bit smoky), Bois et Fruits (candied fruits on a cedar base), chene (dedicated to the “bois du rum”: it is really boozy, but dries down “dry”). While you’re there, you could try Borneo, even if it verges on the “weird” side (chocolate, patchouli and vanilla, and a bit of leather).
    If you liked the idea of a sophisticated chocolate, patchouli and vanilla scent, you should give Coromandel, Chanel (exclusive line), a good sniff.
    On the boozy side, you could try Idole, by Lubin (and bit more unisex and patchouli).
    Since you like Fig: Philosikos (Dyptique), Fico di Amalfi (Acqua di Parma), and premier figuer (L’artisan parfumeur).
    Delicious and feminine cold also apply to the “Parfum de Therèse” or “en passant” by F. Malle (but the PdT is not exactly an everyday scent IMHO, EP, yes).
    good luck!

    • bergere says:

      Second Zazie’s Philosykos and Premier figuier, yum! Just to add confusion, you could also give Fig tea (Parfums de Nicolai) a try.

  7. marko says:

    How about White Aoud from Montale? It does have rose as part of the floral mids, but the rose is delicate and muted and often takes a back seat to the complexities of aoud. The dry down is a soft sandalwood, vanilla, and jasmine scent.

    Another suggestion is Costume National 21 (seems like I always suggest this one!) – it’s an interesting gourmand, creamy, milky and a bit unusual.

    Good Luck!

  8. divinemama says:

    I agree with many already suggested…

    My first thought was Chanel Coromandel. Serge Lutens Chergui, L’Artisan Saffron Troublant, and the figs that Zazie mentioned are also sniff worthy.

    I also thought of Montale White Aoud, as marko suggests, but you have to be brave and get past the initial last of aoud in this one. This is probably one of least harsh Montale aouds. And do not be turned off by the rose note listed, the other notes smooth it out.

    Etro Shaal Nur is also reminiscent of Angel and should be sampled.

    • divinemama says:

      Um, that would be … “initial blast of aoud”…

  9. HikerChickNH says:

    Kate, how do you feel about incense? One of my all-time favorite perfumes is Creed’s Angelique Encens. It is a very sophisticated vanilla/incense/anise scent and while it is perfect for the spring rainy season, I admit to wearing it all year long. It is difficult to find and is usually only available in a gigantic 8.4 oz. size, which is why I’m still on decants (I’ve gone through 3, which is unheard-of for me…) Along the same line, anise-wise, is Frederic Malle’s L’eau de Hiver; anise w/out the incense. It is also a beautiful and understated perfume, and I splurged on a bottle.

    I agree whole-heartedly with the others who suggested Safran Troublant. Bought a FB of this, too.

  10. 2scents says:

    Here are two suggestions on the boozy side: Frapin 1270 which suggests all the complexities of cognac from raisin to honey to spice and Guerlain’s Spiritueuse Double Vanille which definitely does not smell like “burnt sugar” and, although it is panned in the Guide, I find to be my favorite vanilla.

  11. AnnS says:

    Kate: Since you like vanillas and gourmands, I’m going to suggest to you the limited release of Laura Mercier’s Nuits Enchantees – it is an interesting but light spice market, coffee and vanilla fragrance.

    I also found the new St. John to be a nice wearable vanilla, osmanthus, saffron fragrance. I’ll also suggest Montale’s Velvet Flowers which is a non-aoud Montale fragrance with rich vanilla, osmanthus and some saffron. A very interesting choice. Also, you may like B de Boucheron, which is a light vanilla, osmanthus and fruit fragrance. It is very expensive but now it’s at the fragrance discounters online so you can pick it up at a good price. All these three are in the same ballpark, and may be too floral for you, but you won’t know until you try!

    As far as niche – I’m goiing to suggest Sonoma Scent Studio Opal, which is a lovely, soft, vanilla musk, and then the Ava Luxe Turkish Vanilla, which is a very well done vanilla with some dark notes. You may also find some other compelling choices with Ava Luxe as there is a lot to pick with that line, and they are well priced.

    And, just because they seem maybe too obvious to note, I’m going to suggest Guerlain’s Shalimar or Habit Rouge. They both are gorgeous vanilla based scents, and seem right up your alley if you like vanillas so much, but you want something more complex.

  12. bergere says:

    Greetings, Kate!
    My first thoughts were Organza Indecence, a spicy non-floral, non-cloying vanilla, and Theorema by Fendi (but hurry, since the latter’s discontinued). Balmain recently came out with two fragrances that might also be up your alley, Ambre Gris and La Mome. Both are interesting takes on some of the mainstream foody or sweet trends. Madera by Omnia has an interesting coconut note, and Sacrebleu by Parfums de Nicolai is a lovely praline, light spice scent.
    Have fun, and good luck!

  13. mals86 says:

    (Oh dear, Shaal Nur is Angel-ish? Got a sample coming but it may be a waste for me if the ghost of Angel shows up.)

    For Kate’s gourmand consideration I’ll suggest Ava Luxe’s The’ Noir: very black tea with spices and woods (the website just says “spices,” but I’m getting ginger, anise, cardamom and clove) and a tiny hint of sweet vanilla. No florals, but black tea always smells vaguely floral to me, and the wood is subtle. I wouldn’t call it terribly sensual, though.

    I have quite a list of tea fragrances yet to be tested and can’t comment on Russian Caravan or Moroccan Mint Tea, but if I get that done over the next month I will come back and post my reactions on them, if that would be helpful. Osmanthe Yunnan was gawwwgeous but so light that every wearing would be more costly than I could countenance for myself (I make no such rules for anyone else).

    Dior Dolce Vita (a lightweight cousin of Feminite de Bois) might be up Kate’s alley. It’s got very rich fruits and wood, but isn’t too sweet. That one I find very feminine and sensual.

    • divinemama says:

      Be not afraid Mals…it is not an Angel clone. ;~)

      It is the patchouli note that makes me think of Angel. My daughter likes Angel and also likes Shaal Nur. I have noticed her wearing the Shaal Nur more than Angel since I gave her a decant. I am not super fond of Angel (lightly dabbed is okay) but love Shaal Nur. Does that help? And don’t forget about that whole skin chemistry thing.

  14. Haunani says:

    I agree that Ormonde Jayne Champaca and Lutens Chergui are worth trying. And I haven’t tried them, but somehow L’Artisan’s Mure et Musc or Mure et Musc Extreme come to mind. Can anyone chime in on those?

  15. abirae says:

    What about Guerlain’s Iris Ganache? It’s a sophisticated gourmande with a floral background that stays rounded and delicious. Some of the Rosine scents might appeal too as their rose notes are warm and boozy rather than sharply floral. Byredo’s Pulp is a wild card of a fruit that’s like a bitter fig-plum hybrid that may be a fun twist on deliciousness.

  16. Charlotte_V says:

    Donna Karan Chaos? Won’t satisfy your fruit craving, but it’s a nice spicy-amber-woody number.

    • abirae says:

      Yes! A great scent all around, with just enough levity to keep it “feminine”.

  17. Joe says:

    I’m concerned that EL Amber Ylang was considered too floral, but I’ll go ahead and say it might not hurt to sample Lancome Magnifique (and it’s widely available for sampling).

    Regarding Feminite du Bois, it’s a beautiful scent, but very cedary — sometimes I get a “hamster cage” vibe from it — but if you’re curious, get a sample.

    Also, since you have a preference for tea scents, Bvlgari The Vert might be far too short lived, but I’d recommend trying the L’Occitane Green Tea scents — regular, with mint, and with jasmine. They all have really good lasting power.

    For rich fruit and honey, Lutens El Attarine is worth sampling.

    • AnnS says:

      I was also thinking of PC Amber YY…but saw that comment about being too floral as well. It gave me pause, b/c I was also going to recommend YSL Cinema, which is a great vanilla quasi-gourmand-fruit. But it smells so much luch PCAYY, that I didn’t….hmm…

    • Kate555 says:

      I’m still only learning to tell notes apart, so I may be completely off-base with my scent perceptions, so please don’t take them all too seriously :). About Amber Ylang, I’ve tried it a couple of times and the second time I liked it better than the first, it’s quite pretty, but it’s still just missing a bit of something…I guess what I meant by calling it floral is not that it has lots of floral notes, but it has some of that heady quality that most florals do that I find a bit headache-inducing…I guess it’s the ylang part of it…

      • AnnS says:

        Ylang Ylang can be a tricky note. I love it in some fragrances, and others it does indeed give me a headache.

  18. Perfume Sniffer says:

    Of those Kate expressed interest in –
    Kate might like SL Feminite du Bois – the notes seem right up her alley.
    Chergui is very sweet – tobacco/hay/honey – I happen to love it – it’s definitely not particularly masculine so Kate might love it.
    CB Russian Caravan Tea is pretty boring for me – it’s straight up tea with a little spice – double she’d fall for that one.
    The Ava Luxe Loukhoum is nice – keeping in mind that all “Loukhoums” are very sweet.

    I’d also suggest:
    SL Bois et Fruit
    **Givenchy Organza INDECENCE (2nd, 3rd, 4th all who suggested this)
    Lolita Lempicka (concur with all who have mentioned)
    Hanae Mori Butterfly (very almondy/vanilla floral – perhaps too floral but worth a try)
    Hanae Mori Magical Moon
    Givenchy Organza (not Indecence – just the regular Organza has a nice vanilla base)
    Lalique Le Parfum (vanilla oriental)
    Cristobal by Balenciaga (vanilla, slight fig, slight jasmine, soft oriental)
    Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille
    Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche

    Have fun!

  19. Perfume Sniffer says:

    also,
    since interested in Fig
    Diptyque Philosykos
    Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis

    and coffee:
    Ava Luxe Cafe Noir (wonderful stuff)
    Bond No. 9 New Haarlem
    Bond. No 9 Nuits de Noho

    • abirae says:

      Yum, New Haarlem is delicious indeed.

  20. Zeezee says:

    Hey Kate! I tried almost all of the scents you’re looking into, so I’ll start there.
    I reckon you *should* try Feminité du Bois, although it does tend to get very cedarwood-prominent at times. On other occasions I get a quite sweet plum-berry thing, so give it a few chances, maybe.
    Felanilla I did not like for some reason. It had a weird wet cardboard note that didn’t agree with me. Others love it, though!
    AL Loukhoum and Moroccan Mint Tea happen to be two of my favourites from her line, so I’m not about to dissuade you from trying them. MMT is *not* very classically feminine, it’s mainly very green, very convincingly minty and very refreshing. I love it: it’s my summer staple. Loukhoum OTOH is a rather dense, opaque and syrupy scent, heavy on the hazelnut. Very gourmand, sweet and rich. I think it does better in winter.
    A recent discovery of mine from the AL line which you may like too is Madonna Lily – which has been compared to Kai. Gorgeous ethereal creamy-but-airy lily, contradictory as that sounds.
    Also try her Kashmir Spice for a cinnamon-vanilla-raisin smoothie. Sounds obnoxious, but it’s quite the sophisticated gourmand to me.

    Other recs… how about L’Artisan Safran Troublant? Yes, it has rose, but take it from a fellow rose-hater: it’s a gorgeous, gorgeous scent. The rose is not prominent in any sort of obnoxious way at all.
    Other fluffy, sophisticated gourmands you may want to look into include: L’Artisan Jour de Fête (almond, wheat, vanilla – lush), Profumum Confetto (very elegant, lasts a lifetime), Léa st Barth (a bit milkier and more vanilla than the other two), Yves Rocher Neonatura Cocoon (surprisingly good).
    Oh, and you *need* to search out Costume National 21 for a unique, mildly spiced milky gourmand.

    That should keep you busy for a while. :)

  21. mandypantsruns says:

    I love Monday Mail and this one in particular because it sounds like Kate and I have extremely similar tastes.
    Here are my recs:
    -several from Ava Luxe including Love’s True Bluish Light, Milk, Citrine
    -Feminite de Bois
    -Organza Indecense
    -Lolita Lempicka
    -Frapin 1270
    -Safran Troublant
    -Premier Figuier Extreme
    -the possets line-very inexpensive, fun line with LOTS of goumands
    -a few Bond No 9s-Chinatown, Lexington Ave, Nuits de Noho, So New York.

  22. lilydale aka Natalie says:

    Another vote here for Philosykos — it has a comforting quality that I find remarkably similar to Bois Farine — as well as the Ambre Russe mentioned above for booziness (another boozy scent to try is Lubin Idole, but it’s pretty powerful). Another comfort option could be POTL Luctor et Emergo.

    Lily scents could be a good choice; yes, they’re flowers, but they’re not “flowery” in the traditional sense. You might try Serge Lutens Un Lys (creamy, vanilla-y lily) or Penhaligons Lily & Spice. Other mildly spicy scents to try: DK Black Cashmere and Ava Luxe No. 23. You could also give LAP’s Tea for Two a shot — it’s a bit smoky at first from the lapsang souchong, but it quickly sweetens up.

    Good luck, and have fun!

  23. lovethescents says:

    Hi Kate- so many great ones have been suggested. Definitely agree with OJ’s Champaca, but I think you should try Ormonde Woman just because it is sooooo sensual and sophisticated and sexy, etc. ect. Also, SL’s Louve; second the Chinatown by Bond no 9; Lolita Lempicka although it might be a hair too sweet but worth a go; Moroccan Mint Tea is so lovely and refreshing, you must try it!

    I also second Guerlain’s Iris Ganache, it’s wonderful. Think I’ll wear it now.

    • Blimunda says:

      Mmmmmmmm. Good thinking. OJ Woman is a good one. The cardamom gives it a gourmandy sweetness, and it really is one of the most unusual, elegant and mysterious fragrances out there. So, in which case, I reckon a sample programme from Ormonde Jayne is in order! That way Kate can try them all for a very reasonable price!

  24. Celestia says:

    How about MY Insolence? It’s a gourmand floral with vanilla, patchouli and almond. For your fig-fix try Aqua Allegoria Figue-Iris.

  25. flittersniffer says:

    My first thoughts are Bois des Iles for the gourmand / light spice, Premier Figuier Extreme for all round great fig!, and Balenciaga Cristobal, for the exact reasons Perfume Sniffer gives. I am just testing it today for the first time.

  26. Farah says:

    Hi Kate,
    I too like Jo Malone’s Blue Agava and Cacoa. I’m not usually too keen on sugary perfumes, but here is my tuppence worth: I think you might like a few of the Parfum de Nicolai scents actually. You should try Fig Tea (fig and tea, duh!), Mimosaique (yummy marzipan mimosa) and Balkis (coffee, raspberry, vanilla and yes there is rose, but not too much IMO). Do let us know which perfumes you liked, as I love the whole Monday Mail thread idea.
    Good luck! :-)

    • flittersniffer says:

      Your ears may be burning – I just mentioned you in connection with mothballs over on the MDCI thread!

    • Kate555 says:

      Thanks, definitely going to check PdN out, I’ve just checked out Balkis on Luckyscent and the whole raspberry and rose theme is actually beginning to sound extremely appealing to me, I might be converting over to the rose side :). Sunday breakfast and raspberry scones, mmm…

  27. NamonNST says:

    Kate, have you tried Molinard Nirmala? It’s fruity, gourmand but not overpoweringly so like some of the newer releases these days, and is definitely very feminine and sexy. There’s mango and passion fruit in the top notes, and it dries down to a soft, sweet, vanilla base. It also comes in an adorable purple atomizer. It’s my favorite fruity fragrance to date.

  28. Kate555 says:

    Wow, so many great suggestions! Thanks so much for your help, everyone! Guess my next sample order will be a big one :) I’ll try to be more open-minded about rose as it seems many of the recommended frags have it as a note.
    Good to hear many of you approved Chergui, I was starting to doubt that it’ll work based on a lot of reviews on MUA which mentioned that it’s masculine, leathery, and smoky. Others say it’s sweet and honeyed, so lots of contradiction there, guess I’ll need to try it for myself.

    • AnnS says:

      Kate – don’t let rose in the middle notes ever scare you away from trying a fragrance. *Many* fragrances have rose or jasmine listed in them b/c they are often used for structure and body, and often just sit in the background, and you wouldn’t even know they are there unless you saw it listed. On the same turn, there are often many “unlisted” notes in fragrances that contribute to the overall formula, so there may even be sneaky aldehydes or musks that are not listed. Use your nose more than the descriptions, which is hard advice if you have to do most of your research and sniffing on-line!

      One amazing vanilla gourmand that I forgot to mention above is Fragonard’s Grain de Soleil. Now this starts off with a rose-jasmine “floral” opening, but after about 20 minutes completely changes into the most scrumptious vanilla bean/heliotrope/cinnamon/rice pudding accord that lasts for hours. Major comfort scent. Sometimes you have to wait through an opening to get to the really good stuff.

  29. Kate555 says:

    I’ll bug you guys a bit more, re: AL Loukhoum – is it quite different from KM’s? I really didn’t like that one, overwhelming rose and powder and not much else, I’m hoping that AL’s scent is more “edible” and nutty, with less prominent rose, can anyone confirm?

    • Zeezee says:

      A big “definitely” on all counts. I really don’t like the KM, too much rose and plain vanilla – the AL is very hazelnutty and syrupy, of a completely different nature. While I don’t actually *wear* AL Loukhoum (too rich, most of the time) I consider it one of the most unique frags I’ve tried – so please do!

      • Kate555 says:

        Ooh, excellent, hazelnutty sounds delicious! I’ll definitely get myself a sample, thanks so much!

  30. Bee says:

    I’m still trying it myself: Nuit de cellophane (S Lutens), which starts off as canned peaches/ fruit salad, turns over to a very yummy apricot jam, and end off sweetish, but not cloying. It seems to be different from skin to skin, but since you’re checking out SL, may be worth the spray or two.

  31. AnnieA says:

    Kate, if you’re in Vancouver, make a trip to the Perfume Shoppe (Sinclair Center: 226-757 West Hastings), which has Serge Lutens and lots of hard-to-find perfumes. What’s really fun is talking to Naz : in a mysterious, psychological process she fits people to perfumes. It’s a lot of fun to go with a friend.

    Holt Renfrew has Malle, Juliette the gunslinger, etc. In the last while the SAs there have become a LOT less snobby — one upside of the economic situation…

    • Kate555 says:

      Anniea, yes, I’ve been to the Perfume Shoppe a couple of times, which is where I’ve sniffed and got samples of some of the Lutens and PGs. The last time I’ve come in looking to try Chergui and Feminite du Bois, but she was still waiting to get those in.
      I walk through Holt Renfrew every once in a while, but yes, the SAs there intimidate the hell out of me :) I’ve tried Malle’s En Passant to open my mind to florals, and it is extremely beautiful but not really purchase-worthy for me right now. I also had an eye on the Tom Ford stand there and thinking of trying the Tobacco Vanille but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  32. kizzers says:

    Hi Kate!
    We have very similar tastes – a lot of the suggestions really echo the results from my Monday Mail way back in November.
    I agree with all the votes so far for Safran Troublant, Elixir des Merveilles and Philosykos – those were among my top 5.
    I’ll also add : Fragonard – Grain de Soleil, Keiko Mecheri – Gourmandises, il Profumo – Chocolat (Angel-esque), and for a complete hug in a bottle – Ava Luxe – Milk.
    PG Felanilla is quite similar to Grain de Soleil, but G de S is much smoother.
    Good luck with the search!

  33. Jill says:

    Hi Kate, I too was going to suggest Bond No. 9′s Chinatown and So New York … they are very different, but both gourmand in their way (So New York moreso, and it has a kind of nutty/slightly milky aspect to it).

    A vanilla scent I love is La Maison de la Vanille’s Vanille Noire du Mexique. Very dark vanilla, and, to me, not too sweet at all.

    The Yves Rocher Neonatura Cocoon is a good recommendation as well and it reminds me slighly of L by Lolita Lempicka, which is definitely worth trying.

  34. SmokeyToes says:

    How about Estee Lauder’s Sensuous? It does have some floral notes, but they aren’t front and center, and lower notes of woods, amber, sandalwood, black pepper, and honey. It has pretty good lasting power, and very reasonably-priced at under 45 for the small bottle. And I would second the Hanae Mori Magical Moon. I can’t remember how floral it is though.
    Have fun trying all the goodies.

    • Kate555 says:

      SmokeyToes, thanks, yes, I think I mentioned it in my post – I really like Sensuous and it’s the closest I’ve come so far in finding my new HG scent, but wanted to see what else is out there first. Just curious, am the only crazy one who smells a very distinct anise note in it? I was sure it had lots of anise in it but when I don’t see it mentioned anywhere in the list of notes? In fact to me this is what I expected from Douce Amere and what it failed to be – a much more well-rounded and complex bittersweet anise

      • Nlb says:

        I smelled a dash of that in “Sensuous”, too! To me, Estee Lauder’s “Sensuous” smells (and deliciously so) like buttered toast with marmalade and a mug of black coffee. It’s charming :).

      • SmokeyToes says:

        Oops, my bad, missed seeing that.
        Yes, I’ve smelled the Anise note, it goes a little wonky for about 1/2 hour before it eventually smoothes out.
        Come to think of it, have you tried Spellbound? It might be nice given the notes you like?

  35. pinkfizzy says:

    Hi, I’m a female in my twenties who lives in Vancouver and has similar tastes, and my favorite perfume at the moment is Kenzo Amour. I like how Luca Turin calls it “inedible vanilla”. It”s gorgeous and even my mum, who says she hates all perfume, said I smelled lovely when I was wearing it! It’s vanilla-y but not in a gourmandy way. The vanilla is balanced beautifully with the frangipani, “rice steam” and “cherry blossom” as the notes say!

  36. Nlb says:

    She might appreciate the combination of chamomile and cream/milk, and vanilla, or orange and vanilla–where the blend is never too heavily floral, has a gourmande feel to it, but is unique enough to feel edgy. Some that come to mind:

    1. “Geisha Blue” by Aroma M. About $40
    2. “Royal Extract” by Lady Primrose. About $64
    3. As has already been mentioned, “Love’s True Bluish Light” by Ava Luxe. About $30-$50
    4. “Lea” by Lea St. Barth’s. About $110
    5. “Pleasures: Delight” by Estee Lauder. About $50-$75
    6. “Vanille Galante” from the Hermessence Collection by Hermes. $100+

  37. lilredccc says:

    Kate, I just want to warn you, it looks like quite a few people have recommended Safran Troublant, but on me, the rose note is pretty heady. Definitely try it – some people don’t pick up the rose at all and it IS a gorgeous scent – but consider yourself forewarned! :-)

  38. bergere says:

    Whoops, I forgot to note that La Mome is a raspberry scent.

  39. Mediterana says:

    The first thing I thought of was Cristobal Balenciaga which has already been suggested. Dolce Vita is also a good recommendation.

  40. Aparatchick says:

    Since you may be trying Ava Luxe’s line, let me suggest her Bois Exotique which is delicious, but not gourmand, and sweet without being cloying. Notes are sandalwood, patchouli, warm spices, and Siam benzoin.

    I’m joining jirish in recommending Ambre Russe.

    Both of these last all day on me.

  41. 713tcb says:

    i have never done this and looking at all the posts i am not a very sophisticated perfumnista yet but i do have a couple suggestions–i dont know if these are good choices so if not be gentle. have you ever thought of Jean Patou sira de indes or este lauders spellbound? just suggesting……………..

  42. schmifty says:

    Hi Kate! WOW, I have almost all the same preferences as you do! Perhaps it is silly to think that you haven’t sniffed Bvlgari Jasmin Noir yet, but it’s my suggestion. It’s my favorite scent that I’ve found recently. I think of it as very much like EL Sensuous, but better. I know there’s “jasmine” right in the name, but I do not like florals much and I still adore this – it is mostly a sweet and lightly woodsy scent with some vanilla and jasmine notes. It’s not cloying, and the lasting power is very good. I think of it as very magical and feminine. Happy hunting!

    • flittersniffer says:

      Yes yes yes to Jasmin Noir. I remembered it right after posting higher up the thread. Everyone I have introduced to that scent has liked it – one bought a bottle at her earliest opportunity!

  43. Kate555 says:

    Just wanted to say THANKS SO MUCH again to everyone who participated! I really enjoyed reading all the comments and suggestions, and look forward to trying out all the new frags – it’s my favorite part :) I’ll try to report back here on the feedback thread later. Thanks again!

  44. alotofscents says:

    Hi Kate. Sorry I’m late to the collaboration. I don’t care for foodie scents, but I love Mood’s Sweet Cravings. It’s a slight, not quite caramel. Stop, more like a vanilla laced sugar cookie balanced by a very sensual musk. For me, I can’t stop smelling myself, and it makes me feel very sexy. The bottle looks like Suzanne Lang’s bottle only with an atomizer.
    Eve Rocher’s Rose Absolute, Not floral, believe it or not. It is Roses, cinnamon, and patchouli. It is an excellent blend and won some awards??? It smells feminine and classy. And it’s very reasonable….$50…or close. I think there is a review of it here.
    It’s not niche but Versace signature scent for women has a wonderful black berry opening though it is actually guava
    Hampton Sun’s Privet Bloom,,,? To me, it’s very green and feminine. And to be yummy and not too floral, how about Juicy Couture? Sorry I’m so sleepy, I am falling asleep at the key. I hope I don’t see anything dumb I’ve written. But the people here are so eager to hope as do I.

  45. sunshine808 says:

    Two scents that smell like sweet incense are the cheaper Baby Phat Seductive Goddess and the more expensive Des Filles a la Vanille Nuit D’Ambre. If you’re looking for a sweet floral scent, I would suggest Rock N Rose Pret a Porter.

  46. Tamarind says:

    Feminite du Bois ++++ I love this.

    I actually have the Shiseido version, not sure if there is a differance, if it has been tweaked at all, is like eating seasoned plums out a wooden bowl (or at least smelling them).

    Try L’occitane Honey & Lemon, you can always layer something else not too busy over it to make it a lil more exciting!

    Also try layering your Jo Malone with something, dunno what, not an expert, maybe some other peeps have recommendations, anyone?

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