The Monday Mail ~ help Lea find a new fragrance

Kildale Post Box

Today we're helping Lea. She's in her early 40s and says she is a serial monogamist when it comes to perfume. She needs to find a new scent to replace Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien, which she says does not smell the same as it used to. Her new fragrance should be distinctive but not overpowering. Lea is willing to shop online, and she doesn't have a price limit.

Lea likes citrus, woods, and subtle spices. She liked Eau d'Hadrien for its lemon, its lightness and its "woody, unfloral clarity" but says the current version smells like "the cleaner they use in the bathroom of a Greyhound Bus." Before Eau d'Hadrien, she wore Le B by Agnes B, which she loved for its "fresh lightness", and before that she wore Givenchy Ysatis.

Lea does not like heavy rose, heavy musk, civet, lily, lavender, or patchouli. Fragrances she does not like include Jean Patou Joy, Jo Malone Grapefruit, Christian Dior Poison (rotten grape kool-aid), Chanel No. 5, Lanvin Arpege, Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps or anything in the Annick Goutal line.

Here are some of the fragrances Lea has tried in her search:

Jo Malone Verbenas de Provence: she likes it, but it might be too short lived.

Parfums 06130 Yuzu Rouge: she likes it, but doesn't love it.

L'Artisan L'Eau de L'Artisan: too masculine.

Aftelier Blond Tabac: "like lion piss and rubber gloves".

Liz Earle Botanical Essence No 1: too soapy/powdery.

Le Labo Bergamote 22:  too "one note, and over-fruity and sweet".

Jo Malone Sweet Lime and Cedar: "too big and masculine".

Heeley Cedre Blanc: too masculine.

L'Occitane Verbena: "funky chemical smell".

Hermès Osmanthe Yunnan: Cloying.

What say you?

Note: top image is Kildale Post Box by deargdoom57 at flickr; some rights reserved.

Shop for perfume

Parfums Raffy


Leave a comment, or read more about commenting at Now Smell This. Here's a handy emoticon chart.

  1. lilydale aka Natalie says:

    Ormonde Jayne Woman. That is all. (No, seriously — I think it’s right up your alley!)

    • lilydale aka Natalie says:

      Oh, OK — here’s one more: FM Bigarade Concentree, a wonderful, subtly spicy citrus. Happy sniffing!

    • dee says:

      Seconding OJ Woman… that greenish-cast hemlock is divine!

      • Lea says:

        Alas, I tried Ormonde Jayne Woman and did not care for it. There is a note in certain fragrances which, if I knew more, I could isolate but whatever it is, it gets rank on my skin. I think of it as a kind of a meaty, mushroomy, primal scent that doesn’t agree with me. The way I describe it, it’s like how umami might smell versus taste. It occurs more frequently in perfumes that register to me as sophisticated and grown up. I have probably stopped making sense/scents.

  2. Karin says:

    Lea – I’d say try out the Atelier line of colognes. They’re long lasting and well-made. They have many of the notes that you like. I love Trefle Pur. Notes listed on the Atelier website:

    Top notes: Bitter orange, cardamon, basilic
    Heart notes: Clover absolute, violet leaves, Tunisian neroli
    Base notes: Patchouli moss, musk

    I wouldn’t let the mention of patchouli scare you away. I don’t remember even noticing patchouli in it.

    You can get samples of these from Luckyscent or Perfumed Court.

    • Karin says:

      BTW – here’s the Atelier website if you want to read more about the line:

    • victoriaf says:

      I completely agree with Karin on Atelier Cologne suggestions. It was the first line that came to mind.
      The moment I saw that Lea liked in AG “its lightness and its “woody, unfloral clarity”” I thought of Atelier Cologne Bois Blonds.

    • Dilana says:

      How citrus do you want to go. Atlier’s Orange really is like a fresh squeezed glass of juice. (I’m not a citrus person, so I love their Trefle Pur).

    • Agree with these suggestions as well as the ones I listed below. Am wondering if you might enjoy their Oolong Infini — the tea reads woody to me.

      And along those lines would also add Parfumerie Generale’s L’eau Matale, though you might find the opening a bit too smoky for your taste.

    • KRL says:

      Hey, I’m testing that today (along with Cartier VI, which is said to be Gin and Lemon…both are great!

    • nozknoz says:

      Love that Trefle Pur! Worth reading Jessica’s review here on NST, too.

      • Lea says:

        Looks like a sample of Trefle Pur and Bois Blond are on my list!

  3. monkeytoe says:

    Eau de Guerlain or Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat (also Guerlain), Heeley Vervaine, and Hermes Eau d’Orange Vert are all citrus-y colognes worth trying, but as with most citrus they are long-lasting.

    • elise says:

      Eau de Guerlain (is this the one also called 68?)…is wonderful!

      • austenfan says:

        The Cologne 68 is not the same as Eau de Guerlain. I have never smelled the 68, but I love EdG.

    • nozknoz says:

      Enthusiastically seconding Hermes Eau d’Orange Verte (or Concentree) and Heeley Verveine!

    • Erin says:

      Monkeytoe, what a list! Those are some really great uncluttered citrus fragrances and among my very favorites, in one of my very fave genres: seconding Cedrat, Heeley Verveine and Eau or (my preference) Concentree dèOrange Verte.

  4. capillary says:

    Chanel Cristalle! A classic zingy lemony citrus scent with light floral notes and a dry, woody drydown. The EDT is tarter and drier than the EDP, to my nose, but it’s worth trying both. No. 19 is lovely as well, although not citrusy – more of a soft green chypre. Both of these are fresh, feminine and have backbone, which sounds like what you are looking for. Good luck in the search!

    • elise says:

      I was thinking of 19 as well, but maybe 18 is greener..or how about Bel Respiro?

      • capillary says:

        I’ve not tried that one, but the list of notes looks right. Two more: Ormonde Jayne’s Frangipani, which is a lime-spiked floral with a cedar drydown, and Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil. Both are bright and distinctive, and delicious!

        • elise says:

          Oh yes! I’ll bet Sur le Nil would be perfect!

          • Dixie says:

            Definitely Un Jardin Sur Le Nil or Mediterraine

          • Lea says:

            Jardin sur le nil is on my short list. I have tried it and liked it, but it did not sweep me away. Someone suggested that perhaps it is time to end the serial monogamy and move toward polygamy, but I am not yet ready to give up the dream!

  5. elise says:

    A few suggestions, though I’m not usually a citrus person:
    Chanel Bois de Iles
    The Different Co. Sublime Balkiss
    Kilian Prelude to a Kiss
    any Carthusias (Aria or Via Camarelle come to mind)
    …and I always like to recommend anything from the Ormonde Jayne line…is there a citrus in the OJ line?

    • Helle says:

      Sublime Balkis, exellent suggestion! Love this one.

      • Erin says:

        Ton of patchouli in Sublime Balkiss, though. All those suggestions are lovely fragrances, but very little citrus in any of them. Nice recs for somebody looking for restrained spices, though…

    • dee says:

      Via Camerelle is great! It’s so sunny–a perfect pick-me up; though, I will complain that it only lasts about 3-4 hours on me, even with five spritzes. :)

      • PekeFan says:

        Second the Carthusia Via Cammerelle suggestion as well as Mediterraneo, which I prefer. What about Bulgari The Vert?

      • Erin says:

        …. except for the Camarelle, I was going to say! (I do love Aria, but it is more powder and light spice and herb.) I prefer Mediterraneo, too, and enthusiastically second that one.

  6. JeninDC says:

    Another Chanel might be the Chanel Exclusifs Eau de Cologne, although the lasting power isn’t spectacular

  7. GalileosDaughter says:

    Seconding the recommendations for Cristalle, Bel Respiro and Carthusia Mediterraneo.

    Adding Dior Escale a Portofino.

  8. Dolly2 says:

    How about CdG Red Carnation? It does have that wonderful peppery carnation in it, along with clove. If she wants something lighter, then perhaps Czech and Speake Citrus Paradisi, which has the citrus tone of grapefruit she’s looking for along with some wood notes.

  9. sarahbeth says:

    L’Eau Mixte by Parfums de Nicolai!

    • Oh, yes to this one, too! Had forgotten all about it. A softer, slightly sweeter citrus then Hadrien but very lovely and unfloral.

      • Correcting myself–it has a citrus rose note in it similar Yuzu Rouge, but it doesn’t announce itself as rosy, if that makes sense…

    • Aparatchick says:

      Sarahbeth, you beat me to it! I’ll second that recommendation. :-)

  10. JennyM says:

    If you’re looking for something similar to Eau d’Hadrien, I highly recommend trying out Voyage d’Hermes. It’s got the light citrus sparkle, soothing woods, and a side bonus the seriously awesome bottle. It will be perfect in spring. Good luck!

  11. Hello Lea, I have 3 recommendations:
    1) Bvlgari Au The Vert edt
    notes of bergamot, bitter orange, orange blossom, Ceylon cardamom, pepper, coriander, Bulgarian rose, jasmine, green tea, and smoked wood.

    2) Eau de Givenchy edt *my personal fave from these three*
    bergamot, spearmint, tagetes, greens, fruits, honeysuckle, jasmine, lily of the valley, tuberose, rose, cyclamen, orris, musk, cedarwood, sandalwood, and moss.

    3) Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Mandarine-Basilic edt
    orange blossom, white peony, green tea, ivy, Roman chamomile, mandarin, basil, amber and sandalwood.

    Best of Luck!

    • Lea says:

      There is a sample of Bvlgari au The Vert waiting for me….Will keep you posted.

  12. Tamara says:

    I say try OJ Osmanthus.
    It’s citrusy sweet and dries down to a fruity floral that makes me happy when I wear it.

  13. Rictor07 says:

    Acqua di parma – Colonia Assoluta.

  14. Abyss says:

    I would recommend Grain de Plaisir by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier. I’m not so big on citrus usually but I tested this recently and it was lovely. Woody, citrusy and light but with a decent lasting power.

    You might also like Hermes Eau d’Orange Verte and Voyage. Or you could stay with Goutal and try Mandragore Pourpre which I think is more interesting than Hadrien. And there’s always Diorella which, imo, is about as wonderful as woody citrus can get.

  15. Liza says:

    You might try Miller et Bertaux Green green green and green and Guerlain Vetiver pour Elle.

  16. That’s a tough set of parameters, especially if you find Osmanthe Yunaan cloying. The thing that was special about Hadrien is that the citrus note went on sparkling and stayed that way for a long time. Most of the time you will have to trade that crisp sparkle for longevity and vice versa, but here are a few ideas.

    Did you sniff Rose Ikebana while you were at Hermes? I know you said no heavy rose, but this one is extremely crisp and citrusy, and it opens with a wonderful tart rhubarb note. In line with Yuzu Rouge but prettier, I think.

    In the L’Artisan line, you might try Mandarine Tout Simplement (think that’s the name) which goes on like tangerine peel and dries soft and slightly floral/woody. I’d give Mimosa pour Moi a sniff, too, though it is definitely a soft floral

    I second Bel Respiro for you. Soft, crisp green and wood, with no cedar, which seems to be the note that’s making you think “boy.”

    • dee says:

      Bel Respiro is a good one; Seconding!

  17. TallulahRose says:

    My suggestions are:
    – FM Bigarade
    – de Batchmakov
    -Divine Bergamote
    -DSH Celadon
    -Baume de Doge
    -Eau d’Italie
    -Sienne l’Hiver

    Have fun sniffing!

    • austenfan says:

      I second the Divine Bergamote by TDC. It’s currently called Bergamote. They have dropped the Divine, but it still smells very good.
      Other suggestions:
      Balle de Match- Parfums de Nicolaï, citrus and incense.
      Eau de Cartier
      Eau Sauvage, Dior
      Angéliques sous la Pluie- Frédéric Malle
      L’Eau Divine- Parfums Divine

      • Haunani says:

        I keep seconding things, because you all beat me! I agree that Divine Bergamote (just called Bergamote now) and Eau de Cartier would be good to try. I love them both!

  18. Cybele says:

    Cristalle EDT
    Bel Respiro
    Comme des Garcons Citrico

    • Cybele says:

      31, RUE CAMBON, Chanel

  19. Meg says:

    I was going to suggest AG’s Ninfeo Mio, but then I saw you ixnayed the line. Really?!? Won’t you reconsider?? But it’s such a lovely lemon-y woody thing!

    Otherwise, I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that you try (if you haven’t already) *gasp* Womanity. It’s got citrus (lots), and later woods and fig, fig and woods. Both have are definitely “unfloral,” as you wish.

    • Lea says:

      Hello, Meg. I actually didn’t nix the whole Annick Goutal line — its just the other AGs I have tried didn’t suit me at all. Nuits d’ Hadrien and Eau de Sud in particular. I will definitely consider the Ninfeo Mio. Thanks!

  20. Ladyslipper says:

    It wouldn’t hurt to even try Sycomore….ya just never know!

  21. dee says:

    Puredistance Antonia!

    Or, as others have recommended: Chanel no. 19, Bois des Iles, or Eau Premiere.

  22. loledinburgh5 says:

    I second or third Un jardin sur le Nil, also Pamplemousse Rose by Hermes,Lime,Basil and Mandarin by Jo Malone,Prelude to love By Kilian and Promesse de l’Aube by MDCI Parfums.
    By the way ,have you tried Les nuits d’Hadrien? I know is from Goutal but I find it more interesting than the Eau.
    Mediterraneo by Carthusia is really nice as well.
    Good luck.

    • wilz says:

      i second Pamplemousse Rose…soft citrus scent i’d say with good lasting power! miller harris citron citron also worth a try! (i’d say it’s unisex but you might find it a tad masculine..)

  23. alotofscents says:

    Clarin,s Le Jardin. It doesn’t smell anything like a garden. It is a very uplifting citrus with woods. It’s part of their aroma therapy collection AND it’s good for your skin. It’s $48 at most any department store. It may not work as a signature, but it will most certainly brighten your mood-honest.
    Pure poison is very citrus to start: Mandarin, bergamot, green mandarin, blood orange Heart: jasmine, gardenia, orange flower (not cloying at all, more soft. Base: amber, musk and some sort of wood. It drys down to a ambery woody base with jasmine peaking through. If you don’t mind very pretty, it could work.

  24. maggiecat says:

    I second both Chanel’s Eau de Cologne and Atelier’s Oolong Infini – I thought about both of those at once. Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria line (Laurier Reglisse, Tiare and Mimosa, etc.) features lovely light and fresh scents you might enjoy sampling. You might also like Histoire de parfum’s 1873 (Colette), a citrus-y fresh scent. Have fun sampling!

  25. rziest says:

    Lots of good suggestions here! I’d add John Varvatos Artisan — orange-heavy citrus and woods with just enough herbs to fill in the cracks and make it a bit distinctive.

    • GalileosDaughter says:

      Oooh, good pick. Artisan is lovely, it really deserves more attention than it gets. Well-played!

    • Meg says:

      I third this! I bought this for my boyfriend but I think I wear it more than he does. Also, *heart* the bottle.

  26. helenviolette says:

    I hate to say it- but the new L’heure Fougheuse (spellin?) might be right up her alley. However- I just checked and she says no price limit so….

    Also second the OJ Woman.

  27. Benj says:

    Eau de Guerlain. Citrus heaven.

  28. Illertissen says:

    How about Santa Maria Novella’s Eva?

  29. nozknoz says:

    I’m enjoying FM Le Parfum de Therese, which is so classic and fruity in a way that is almost citrusy. Also, PdN Maharanih is a lovely oriental – not too heavy – with orange.

    Enjoy the hunt, and let us know what you choose after sampling!

  30. Dixie says:

    Perhaps Kelly Caleche or Eau de Merville

  31. DJ says:

    Lubin’s Gin Fizz – sparkling, softly lemony, really lovely.

    Also second…
    Jardin sur le nil
    Cristalle or no.19 in edt
    A scent by issey miyake
    Bel respiro

  32. L says:

    Several have mentioned Cristalle and I think Cristalle Eau Verte should be sampled as well. It’s like a sparkling lime soda.

  33. hongkongmom says:

    so timely. Last week i smelled profumum roma “aqua vivre” and to me it smelled exactly like Eaud e Hadrian… It is not a cheap line and I didn’t smell it on the skin as I still have a older botlle of eau de hadrian eau de parfume, adn felt it was too similar to try further

    • hongkongmom says:

      sorry that is acqua viva

  34. PinoiPerfumista says:

    I recommend Esprit de Gingembre Pour Femme by Angel Schlesser. I finished a bottle and loved it.

    From Fragnatica: “Top notes are pink grapefruit, bergamot and tangerine; middle notes are white pepper, ginger flower and lotus; base notes are oakmoss, cedar and white musk.”

  35. Lea says:

    Ooooh, oooh, thank you, everyone. This gives me many new paths to explore.

    Though I said I don’t have a price limit, it does feel awfully indulgent to spend a fortune at Perfumed Court. Still, it’s such a great service they provide, I think they’ll be getting quite a bit from me in the near future. Even better, I have a dear friend who has been supplying me in the past month or two with her own samples. So as a reward, she will get whatever I try and cast off!

    Now, I’m going back to your posts and poring over them again. I so appreciate your noses, and your wisdom about putting scent into words.


    • Lea, the ladies at Perfumed Court are an excellent resource, but don’t forget that Nordstrom’s and Sephora have a store policy to make up samples for you (many of the above are available there) and that Aedes des Venustas has a very reasonable sample program as well.

      And then, when it gets really hard core and you have stuff to trade, you can hit up Makeup Alley. (Speaking here, as one who could have bought some very expensive bottles of perfume with what I spent on samples!)

  36. Jillie says:

    Miller Harris Jasmin Vert – not citrussy, and not jasminey either, just lovely soft, fresh green with a certain sweetness and a surprising depth. Quite expensive, but I believe MH use real essences.

    And I, too, think you should try Cristalle!

  37. BlackCat says:

    Late to the party, but on top of the excellent suggestions above, have you ever tried Prescriptive’s Calyx? I haven’t tried it in a while, but at least it used to be this lovely zippy green guava. Although I have heard that it’s very changeable in the bottle and that you want to try to get the freshest bottle possible.

  38. Santemon says:

    How about the most citrussy Ormonde Jayne around… Isfarkand? Might be a little too masculine? Also worth having a look at Geo. F. Trumper GFT, a kissing cousin to Hadrien. Of course there is also Goutal’s Hadrien Aboslu… Finally Francis Kurkdjian’s Cologne du Matin or Aqua Universalis are both wonderfully fresh.

  39. egabbert says:

    Moschino Funny is a very nice pretty light citrus, mostly grapefruit. You might also try Byredo Bal d’Afrique.

  40. Rosabelle says:

    Bvlgari’s BLV

  41. Lea says:

    Just wanted to send you all an update — thanks again for your consideration and suggestions. My perfumista connection set me up with a bunch of samples, so here is a another round of just tried and about to try scents:

    Tried and eliminated:
    * Eau de Merveille – old-fashioned and powdery on my skin
    * Guerlain Cologne 68 – overpoweringly sweet to me — I had to shower immediately
    * Bvlgari Eau parfume au The Vert – I am wearing it now on my left wrist, and this is the fourth or fifth time I have confirmed that I am not a fan of the green tea note
    * Ormonde Jayne’s Frangipani – I am wearing it now on my right wrist, and although it smells very pretty, it’s too fruity/sweet for me
    * Hermes Eau d’Orange Verte — Nope. I don’t understand notes, don’t have a sophisticated nose, but is it possible that green in and of itself doesn’t work for me?
    * Dior Escale a Portofino and Voyage D’hermes both felt too sophisticated for me
    * Miller et Berthauyx Green Green Green and Green – one-note, and the green thing again
    * Santa Maria Novella’s Eva and Hermes Kelly Caleche I tried a few weeks ago and can’t remember why I disliked them.

    And a friend lined up these samples for me, so here are a few I am going to try over the next bit of time:
    *Hermes Pamplemousse Rose
    *Chanel Bel Respiro
    *Chanel 31 Rue Cambon
    *Annick Goutal’s Ninfeo Mio
    *Issey Miyake A Scent
    *Eau de Guerlain
    * Roxana Illuminated Green Witch
    * Hermes Un Jardin Mediteranee
    *Chanel Bois des Ile
    * Atelier’s Oolong Infini plus some other Atelier samples like Trefle Pur and Bois Blonds
    * Santa Maria Novella’s Hay

    And these are the samples I am planning to buy:
    *baume de doge
    *Eau de Guerlain
    *Carthusias Via Camarelle
    *L’eau mixte by parfums de nicolai
    *Histoire de parfum’s 1873 (Colette
    *profumum roma aqua viva
    *carthusia mediterraneo
    *The different co bergamote
    *Guerlain Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat
    *Promesse de l’Aube

    Again, thanks, and I will keep you posted!

  42. Lea says:

    Hi, everyone, and thanks again for all your help. I was asked to update you all on what finally happened in my search for a new daily fragrance.

    I was one of those embittered “they changed my perfume” types. My cherished fragrance was Annick Goutal’s Eau d’Hadrien. You all gave me scads of suggestions and a dear friend/perfume diva processed a lot of them with me, even going so far as to supply samples of MANY of the fragrances you suggested. Others I purchased from Perfumed Court. For this help and wisdom, I am grateful.

    The end of the story is a little embarrassing, though. I went on a trip this April to Chicago, intending to go to the Hermes store there and buy a larger bottle of what I thought would be my next fragrance, Un Jardin en Méditerranée. I liked it a lot. Yet I didn’t love it. I was in a state of deep ambivalence.

    Perhaps because of this, I made a detour on my way to Hermes, stopping at the Saks Fifth Avenue store on Michigan Avenue. And I entered into a nice conversation with Richard Feldmeth there, even having my head/nose turned by a few Penhaglion scents.

    And then I did the unforgivable-in-its-predictability.

    I bought more Hadrien. I tried some on. I knew in that moment I couldn’t live without its simple freshness, even if it was different than before. The fact that I said, in my original cry for help, that the current version smells like “the cleaner they use in the bathroom of a Greyhound Bus” either meant I had tried a bad sample of the new stuff or I somehow grew to like Eau de Greyhound.

    In fact, I am just about to call Richard at S5A and order the gunga refill bottle, since I have to use tons of the stuff to have a lasting smell. Please, Perfume Gods and Goddesses, smile upon me. May my refill bottle be the acceptable sentimental nostalgic version that I got in the small bottle I purchased in April.

    So long story short, I went back to EDH, and I now have Un Jardin en Méditerranée for the moments I am feeling mysterious.

    Thank you, anyway, from the bottle of my steadfastly AG EDH heart.

Leave a reply