The Monday Mail ~ help Mylene find a new perfume

Letter Box, Luxembourg

Today's subject is Mylene, who is looking for a feminine, elegant and delicate perfume for evening wear — she says she already has pretty, now she wants to find sexy. Her perfect scent would be the sexy sister of Frederic Malle's En Passant, and she's willing to spend up to $250 to find it. Here is what we know about Mylene:

She's in her late 30s, and is the working mom of a 2 year old.

She lives in Montreal, and works in a hospital.

Mylene likes good food, good friends, good books and fashion.

She says she is quiet, but likes to express herself by wearing something a little different in fashion and perfume.

Mylene likes florals, but not heavy white florals. She also likes iris, wood and musk. Perfumes that she owns and loves include Hermès Hiris, En Passant and Le Labo Iris 39.

Mylene does not like overpowering fragrances, including most vintage perfumes and orientals. She also doesn't like unisex fragrances, powdery fragrances, or fragrances that are too fresh, green or citrus.

Mylene has tried many of the Chanels (they don't work), Frederic Malle Carnal Flower & Le Parfum de Thérèse (both too strong), Hermès Kelly Caleche & Eau des Merveilles (both too unisex), and L'Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier and Diptyque Philosykos (both too fresh).

What say you?

Note: image is Letter Box, Luxembourg by sludgegulper at flickr; some rights reserved.

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  1. Gardeniagirl says:

    Oh, En passant and Hiris are my favourites too – I love Olivia Giacobetti scents!

    Maybe Ormonde Woman (Ormonde Jayne) could be an option – it is a lovely, sexy scent – quite unusual but not too overpowering, and very sophisticated like En passant but more of an evening fragrance to my nose.

    And if you like Diptyque but find Philosykos too fresh, why not try Tam Dao. It is a beautiful and interesting sandalwood scent, very soothing and elegant.

    My favourite Giacobetti fragrance is probably Safran Troublant (l*Artisan Parfumeur), a beautifully rich rose/saffron scent that I find both sexy and comforting.

    • elise says:

      I’ll 2nd the Ormonde Jayne Woman! Any of the Ojs are worth a snifff and the discovery set is fun to try. Ta’if would be another.

      Also 2nd Safran Troublant, tho I find it on the sweet side…

      • Blimunda says:

        The OJ’s I suspect you would most like, based on your above likes/dislikes, would be Ta’if (a sheer, feminine, sensuous rose/saffron/pink pepper) or Orris Noir (a black Iris scent – it is so feminine, actually more ‘femme fatale’ and definitely a sexy evening scent. Very elegant too.)

  2. Daisy says:

    I wonder how Amouage Lyric woman , applied lightly, would do. To me it’s more woody-rosy than oriental. I also think Rosine Rose d’Homme is a sexy fragrance. VC&A Bois d’Iris came to mind, but I see that you already have a nice selection of Iris (I like both of those as well) . Ever try OJ woman? Fifi Chachnil?I also think Jubilation 25 is sexy but it would need to be applied with great moderation…..
    hmmm….anyhoodles, if you’d like a sample of anything I’ve mentioned; drop me a note at Daisyloo82 at gmail dot com and we’ll get you fixed right up.

    • mjr17 says:

      ITA agree that Rd’H is très sexy! But I’m thinking it may perhaps a bit too unisex for Mylene?

      • Daisy says:

        you are probably right MJ , but it’s a pretty hot fragrance anyhow. :-)

    • elise says:

      I’ll 2nd Amouge Lyric Woman! Definitely sexy!!!!

  3. turbovivi says:

    For some reason, BEFORE I got to her “likes” and “dislikes” I thought to myself, hey Philosophy’s Amazing Grace. It is very clean and low key.

  4. georgia says:

    For now I’d just like to say hello from a fellow Montrealer! :)

    • georgia says:

      I think Ormonde Woman would be worth trying, it’s definately different . I also thought of L’Artisan’s Dzongkha which is a woody iris although I don’t know if it would be considered sexy.

  5. Karin says:

    What about the new Balenciaga Paris? Feminine, delicate, and elegant.

    • Bee says:

      I agree, it’s not overpowering and very feminine. Prada’s Infusion d’iris could also be worth a test, as well as L’eau d’hiver (F Malle)

      • Ari says:

        Second L’Eau d’Hiver!

      • DoryCubana says:

        Prada L’Infusion d’Iriis is more of an office smell, liked but all, but not really sexy evening scent.

    • Haunani says:

      I second Balenciaga Paris. I’m trying it out today. It’s beautiful, sexy, discreet but with a presence, and obviously contains the cool blue florals you like.

  6. I know you didn’t care for Kelly Calèche, however I would recommend trying Hermès Calèche Fleurs du Méditéranée. When still bearing the Calèche name, it has little to no resemblance to the original or Kelly and is downright gorgeous. It’s sexier than Hiris, a bit classic, very elegant and quite possibly one of the loveliest scents I’ve smell in a long while. While I’ve yet to buy it, I’ve been craving it ever since trying it and think it’s at least well worth a sniff even if it turns out to not suit what you’re looking for.

    It is a limited release, however, and I’ve only seen it at Neiman Marcus or Hermès. It is an EdP and retails for $165 for 3.3 oz. I’ve tried online discounters as well as eBay and have yet to find it listed.

    • Daisy says:

      LOL and when it is listed, I can guess who’s going to be waiting to snap it up! ;-)

      • georgia says:

        It sounds definately worth trying, I like alot and own a few from Hermes esp from JCE. Would they have it in Canada?

        • I imagine that if there’s a Hermès store around, yes. Do they have Neiman Marcus in Canada?

          • TallulahRose says:

            Montreal has an Hermès store; as well, I believe it is sold at Holt Renfrew. ( no Neiman Marcus in Canada)

      • Lol. Pretty much, there’s a reason I know that it’s not available.

        I’ll probably cave and just buy it at Neiman’s, though. The problem is I didn’t buy it the day I tried it because I thought I could find it online cheaper … and then got hooked on Pamplemousse Rose which sadly turns out to have no lasting power. I found out later that day that I could have bought the latter for half price online — should have done my research.

        I almost went back and immediately bought Calèche Fleurs du Méditéranée the following day, but then talked myself out of it and have since purchased a bottle of SMN Acqua di Colonia & a new bottle of Chanel No. 5, both of which deterred me from making another perfume purchase so soon.

        I have to make a trip to NYC this weekend, but after that I’ll probably just go back and get it and stop putting it off because it was love.

        • Daisy says:

          aw cripes! now I want some! Look what you did—and the lemmings were sleeping so peacefully too! :-(

          • Sorry for waking the lemmings. ;)

          • Ari says:

            In my mind, lemmings are fuzzy little things like pom-poms, but with very sharp teeth.

          • Ari, I think those are Langoliers. Lol.

          • miss kitty v. says:

            I must be too literal-minded, because I picture an actual lemming. Except for some reason in my mind it’s pink.

          • zeezee says:

            I like the image of the pom pom-brandishing lemming!

          • Daisy says:

            well, whatever they look like…..they seem to have memorized the numbers on all my credit cards….

    • Oh, this sounds right upon my alley! Is it from this year? Love Caleche as Eau Delicate already… sounds great. I am pretty sure however I will not find it in Germany.

      • They did a limited release at Neiman’s back in 2003 and released it again this year. I hope it’s becoming part of their permanent line.

    • mjr17 says:

      Hmmm, I’ve always wondered about that Caleche Fleurs, too. Is it still available? Only in the boutiques?

      • Yes. I know the boutiques have it as well as Neiman Marcus. I’m not sure how long they’re planning on carrying it, though. The SA at Neiman’s didn’t tell me it was limited edition so I’m hoping that they’re just adding it to their line since it did so well in 2003.

  7. Dixie says:

    Initially Crepe de Chine came to mind but it is vintage.

    Then VC&A Bois d’Iris and Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir came to mind as very sexy.. I also second (third?) Ormonde Woman.

    Amouage Tribute is GORGEOUS! Definitely worth a sniff, as is MFK Lumiere Noire Pour Femme-a sexy dark rose.

    • Daisy says:

      yes, Orris Noir —good one. All the Ormonde Jaynes popped into my head…but I love OJ in general so I’m a tad biased. ;-)

      • mjr17 says:

        Daisy – have you tried Sampaquita?

        • Daisy says:

          Hi Mit– Yes, I have —oddly it is the only OJ that I didn’t like right away. I have a sample and I will need to retest it after a while—it still strikes me as kind of “astringent-y” very green, very sharp, like detergent sort of…

    • bergere says:

      Third on the Orris Noir! It is not pure iris (it has rose and jasmine), but it is rich, sexy, and has a hint of spice. Fifi Chachnil was another great suggestion that Daisy made; it’s floral, both comfortable and drop-dead sexy. I wonder if you’d like Manoumalia (Les Nez), which is a very nice take on exotic flowers, and Mauboussin, a complex floral. L’Etre aime pour femme (Divine) is a spicy floral with an underlying apricot note, modern, floral, and not too fresh. Bonne chance!

    • maggiecat says:

      Oooh yes…second the MFK Lumiere Noire..a very sexy scent, but not overpowering.

    • DoryCubana says:

      all of the Amouages are rather overpowering scents and all of them have something of an oriental note either right in the opening or in the drydown. If Mylene is not into loud frags, white flowers, orinetals, I sincerely doubt if any of Amouages might be to her liking. A lot of you suggest Ormonde Jayne’s scents, which I second, beacuse though they are not always something quite different, revolutionary or surprising, all of them are well put together, good staying power (no need to reapply often) and MOST OF ALL, all of them smell like well lived in perfumes. They melt with your skin and become a second nature in no time. + some of they are strong, but never loud, overpowering.
      And the price is not skyhigh, so she might end up owning more than one :-)

  8. dollydagger says:

    How about Serge Lutens Bois de Violette? It’s a really yummy woody floral that’s pretty and sexy.

    • Dixie says:

      Oh yes! How could I forget one of my all time faves?!

    • DoryCubana says:

      Oh, yes! good thinking.

  9. Rappleyea says:

    This is a tough one (for me) as everything I thought of when I first started reading was nixed in the “Don’t Like” part. Hmmm…. perhaps Sonoma Scent Studio’s Champagne de Bois?

    I do second Jubilation 25 though. Do try it as it wasn’t at all heavy on me, and reminiscent of Femme.

    • Daisy says:

      you know I can’t let Champagne de Bois be mentioned without saying: I LOVE Champagne de Bois!!!!! ;-)

      • Rappleyea says:

        One of our faves, dear Daisy! But would you call it “sexy”? Not sure I would, but sexy is as sexy does. ;-)

        • miss kitty v. says:

          Oh, I would DEFINITELY call it sexy!!! But in a “quiet brunette in the corner who’s steeped in mystery, and without doing anything at all manages to garner more attention than all the Pamela Anderson clones in the room.” *That* kind of sexy.

  10. huntergpt says:

    Gosh, Mylene sounds like my fragrance twin. I suggest Chanel no5 body powder, Kenzo Amour (or Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison- very similar), Hermessence Vanille Galante, Estee Lauder Sensuous.

  11. TallulahRose says:

    En Passent is one of my very favourites, ever, and I have been through this same problem… I love it, and want something along the same lines for other times of the year, or for evening….

    The first perfume that popped into my head when I read the descriptions was Frederic Malle’s Une Fleur de Cassie. It is very unusual, but I love it…

    Another idea I had for you was Lutens’ Nuits de Cellophane, which is subtle and beautiful.

    Another evening fragrance I love is Ineke’s Evenings Edged in Gold.

    These three are all the sexy evening sisters of En Passent… at least, in my book.

    • Zazie says:

      Une Fleur de Cassie is wonderful! I don’t know if it would appeal to Mylene, but I think it is really a sexy lady with a couture gown and a lover in the closet.

      I also think of Mona di orio creamy and joyful Jabu. It is a soft fragrance, deliciously warm, and though it has not sexy animalic bits it is very sensual in the way it melts on the skin, like a glove. You know, when James Bond took that furry glove…I think it was in goldfinger, wasn’t it? ;)

  12. Sorry, this sounds really difficult! Amouage might be a good idea. What about a weird Serge Lutens? Fille en Aguilles? Nuit de cellophane? Serge Noir or the one with Iris.

  13. TallulahRose says:

    Oh, just had another thought — you might like Mono di Orio’s Carnation…

  14. meadowbliss says:

    FM Musc Ravageur-a gorgeous, complex musk. Une rose Chypree because it’s unusually beautiful.

    • camelboy says:

      I second Musc Ravageur. I also suggest trying AG Musc Nomade
      , and L’Artisan Vanilia.

  15. mals86 says:

    I had to chew on this one for awhile – I just tried En Passant for the first time a few days ago, and it is beautifully ethereal, gentle. Delicate. That’s a difficult quality to find in a sexy evening fragrance, but what immediately came to mind when I was thinking, “gentle but sexy,” was LeLong Pour Femme. It is an oriental floral, but the most lightweight of that genre I’ve ever encountered – a silk shoulder wrap, not a velvet evening jacket. Notes include citrus, fig, lilac, magnolia, several varieties of orchid, jasmine, rose, sandalwood, vetiver (and others, but they’re less prominent to my nose). It feels like a lovely, girlish evening dress to me; floral and creamy, and not heavy at all.

    Link to website:
    Unfortunately, the “store” portion of the site seems to be offline today, although it was working as late as last week when I was seriously considering a bottle of LPF, which I think runs $110 for 100ml of edp, $85 for 50(?).

  16. mjr17 says:

    Hmmm, this is a challenge. My first thought was PdN Le Temps d’Une Fete. Some people get white florals, but I get hyacinth, BLUE Hyacinth. ( I’ve got a touch of synesthesia!) To me this is just a perfect feminine floral that is also terrifically sexy.

    You’ve tried some Chanels, but you didn’t mention which ones. How about La Pausa (rooty iris) from the Les Exclusifs collection? It’s not powdery at all to my nose.

    Also, I’m thinking with your price point, it may well be worth your time to try the Hermessences, of which the most exquisitely beautiful is most certainly, in my opinion of course, Osmanthe Yunnan. I’m not sure how “sexy” it is, but it’s definitely a gorgeous feminine floral that smells in a word “yummy” (a reaction that often overlaps with sexy).

    • Ari says:

      I LOVE La Pausa! I don’t think of it as sexy, but it’s very, very beautiful.

      • DoryCubana says:

        asked a lot of men and none of them find it sexy. Lovely and feminine yet, but more in a non-descript, vague image of feminity kind of way. Plus staying power is plain lously. Sorry, but for the money they ask for it, it should stay on my skin longer. It’s not very sexy, carrying a 200ml bottle in your clutch all evening long.

  17. boojum says:

    In addition to the great suggestions above, I would add PdN’s Odalisque and Carthusia’s Caprissimo.

  18. Ari says:

    Dayum, this is hard! When I think of “sexy”, my mind goes straight to orientals. L’Heure Bleue or Apres L’Ondee, maybe? Not sure if those would be too powdery, but they’re both stunners!

  19. Robin R. says:

    So many excellent suggestions already, and it’s only 8:41am local time!

    Mylene,I love En Passant and LL Iris 39 too, so I understand exactly where you’re coming from. Despite dear Daisy’s (good morning, girl!) laudable and understandable concern, in my experience there is no such thing as too many great irises, so do try the Van Cleef & Arpels Bois d’Iris. If there’s a sexier iris out there, I have yet to sniff it. Of all the suggestions, I think it’s one of the strongest – and since you’re not constrained by price, you’re one of the fortunates who could buy a – drool! — whole bottle without breaking a sweat (I should be so lucky).

    Seconding/thirding/fourthing the suggestions of OJ Woman and OJ Orris Noir, Amouage Lyric Woman and (it’s a tiny bit of a long shot, but you love it there’s nothing else like it – edgy, gorgeous, addictive) Une Fleur de Cassie.

    Also, although I probably haven’t come within a thousand miles of it, literally, I understand that somewhere out there it’s still possible to get some of the ravishingly beautiful and sadly discontinued Guerlain Apres l’Ondee in pure parfum form. (Two minutes later: I see The Perfumed Court has it and – brace for it – 5mls is $189.99. Heck, that’s well under your $250 ceiling. ;-) Yes, I jest . . .and yet . . .would that I could ever have a little myself. Actually, I guess I could; half a ml is *only* $19.99.)

  20. mals86 says:

    Oops, I think my comment went into the spam filter since it contained a link to a website.

    I was suggesting LeLong Pour Femme, a sheer and lightweight floral oriental that I love, and which might be a step away from En Passant in the “sexy evening” direction. LpF is largely florals (lilac, magnolia, orchid) and sandalwood, with a creamy, satiny character.

    • Robin says:

      So it did…I rescued it.

    • boojum says:

      Oh, second that…I’ve just discovered it recently thanks to dear Rustic. It went straight to my purchase list.

      • mals86 says:

        I’m seriously considering buying it for split… or did you want a whole bottle?

  21. Divine by Divine. Buttery lovely floral, and the description at Luckscent says it all. I love wearing it when I dress up.

  22. ami says:

    my latest iris friend is i Profumi di Firenze Incanto, i find it pretty sexy
    my longest-time iris friend is Chanel 28 La Pausa
    and agree with all who suggested Ormonde Jayne Woman

    have fun Mylene :)

  23. helenviolette says:

    I fell in love with En Pasant myself not too long ago ;-) I will suggest: TDC Rose Poivree, Penhaligon’s Amaranthine, Khiel’s Musk and I will second the OJ Woman.

  24. sunshine808 says:

    If iris is what you’re looking for Memoire Liquide – No. 205 Vanille Florentine Parfum is smoky and intense. It’s sexy… too sexy for my mundane life, LOL. Meanwhile for a sexy perfume that is just as rich, but from fruit essences, Valentino Eau De Parfum is just knockout-sexy, it almost requires a little black dress. This one would probably be a crowd pleaser, too.

  25. zeezee says:

    There’s a few distinct thought bubbles popping up in the morass of my brain at Mylene’s list of likes & dislikes.

    For sheer and feminine, definitely pursue the angle of L’Artisan Safran Troublant and/or L’Artisan Jour de Fête – however, both of those read “comfort scent” rather than “sexy” to me.

    Sheer AND sexy, now I’m thinking of some medium-weight orientals (like Ari, I tend to equate orientals with sexiness): notably Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger Lily and Korres Pepper/Jasmine/Gaïac/Passion fruit. The OJ’s mentioned upthread fall in this category too, though they do not work for me at all personally.

    Lastly, a few bosomy florals come to mind: Mona di Orio Jabu as mentioned by Zazie (gorgeous and pillowy neroli), Vero Profumo Rubj for a sharper-sweeter take on neroli or maybe the likes of Serge Lutens Un Lys or Ava Luxe Madonna Lily – though liking lilies is a must for those two.

    • zeezee says:

      Forgot to add that though the ‘fumes I mentioned in that last paragraph are not all that transparent & subtle, wearing just the teensiest amount does lend that effect. I’m not much of a sillage-bomber either and they do work for me.

  26. Lina_des says:

    I know, you generally don’t like white florals, but Serge Lutense’s A la Nuit is worth a sniff. It’s clean warm jasmine, with touch of wood in the base, not heavy and definitely very sexy. Beautiful and perfect for the evening.
    As well I would suggest Diptique Jardin Clos. Nice flower bouquet, playful, stylish and elegant.

  27. am says:

    This may be off base and / or obvi, but how about TF Black Orchid Voile De Fleur?

  28. Mylene says:

    Thank you everybody for all the good ideas! I have a lot of sniffing to do. This is going to be so much fun! I will start the online ordering of samples right now! I will let you know what I chose. The OJ women sounds nice so does the Amouage and many others. My husband thinks I’m nuts with all the samples I ordered in the past but this was only the tip of the iceberg! Much more to come! Thanks again!

    • Robin R. says:

      I’m sure you’ve told your husband that, far from being crazy, the idea of ordering samples is highly rational. ;-)

      I have no doubt you’ll find at least a couple of new loves here (and please do try that Van Cleef & Arpels Bois d’Iris!).

  29. Philippe says:

    Hi! It happens I also live near Montreal and I love En passant too. I would consider L’Eau de Lierre, de Diptyque. I like to think of it as a slightly fresh and green fragrance, much like En Passant.

  30. fluffypuppy says:

    Hi! I think any of a few of the Van Cleef and Arpels Collection Extraordinaire might work. Have you tried the Orchidee Vanille? It’s an elegant, wafty, not-at-all-heavy floral vanilla. It’s got the tiniest bit of salt, and it’s sexy in a “I-smell-sooooooo-good” kind of way. (Sorry about the enthusiastic use of hyphens!) Gardenia Petale also has a lot of fans–for many of the same reasons, I think.

    Cartier Panthere is probably too heavy and sweet, but there’s an eau legere version that might successfully straddle the sexy perfume/delicate scent divide.

    Good luck!

  31. susanstar says:

    mylene, you can trust these guys! they recommended me great stuff for a perfume hunt in new york, i really like l’artistan la chasse aux papillons, maybe not so sexy but light and really wears well on my skin.
    I also got gifted a bottle of Estee Lauder’s Sensuous, its inoffensive and I think worthy of a sniff if sexier is where you want to head. It’s warm but not too spicy or heady, I think you might like it!
    Also, what about Tom Ford?

    • susanstar says:

      also, the sensuous is a ‘molten woods’ … just saw that you mentioned woods in your likes!

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