The Monday Mail ~ help Aliza find a new perfume


Today we're helping Aliza, who is searching for a signature scent she won't get bored with. It should be an interesting, grown-up scent she can wear around campus (she's a college student) in a pair of jeans and boots or a summer dress. Her fragrance should be beautiful and versatile, express her creativity and sensuality, and not cost more than $80. Here is what we know about Aliza:

She's an anthropology major in her early 20s. She describes herself as quirky, musical, creative and artistic.

She plays percussion, and also loves painting, drawing and collage.

She has a funky style...lots of loud colors and tribal patterns. Her favorite color is red, and her signature accessories are brightly-colored scarves and belts.

Her favorite real-life smells are grapefruit rind, fresh-cut grass and campfire. She also loves incense, cardamom, exotic woods and the smell of turpentine.

Aliza's might like something a little woodsy or musky if it isn't too sweet. Right now she wears Marc Jacob Lola (she loves how it smells after it wears off a little) and Victoria's Secret Heavenly (too powdery in the early stages, but she likes it after several hours). Her boyfriend gave her a bottle of Narciso Rodriguez Essence Intense, and she loves the idea of a modern musk. She also used to wear L'Artisan Vanilia, and she finds it comforting on cozy, rainy days.

Aliza doesn't like overly-sweet perfumes. She was given a bottle of Burberry Brit but can't get herself to finish it.

What say you?

Note: image is Buzon-de-correos [cropped, doubled] by alicedice at flickr; some rights reserved.

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  1. lucasai says:

    Hi Aliza!
    Consider trying Histoires de Parfums 1826 Eugenie de Montijo it’s a nice a little woodsy scent. 1876 Mata Hari might be also a choice with it’s woodsy, floral and powdery facets.
    You wrote you don’t like overly sweet perfume so I’m going to suggest you Prada Candy. Yes, it’s sweet, but it’s elegant and not sugar-overdosed. Perfectly combined caramel, benzoin and musk. You can at least give it a try :)
    Good luck!

  2. Janice says:

    I’d suggest Dzongkha (notes are lichee, cardamom, peony, iris, tea leaves, and incense). It’s a very unusual scent, not sweet at all.

  3. ladymurasaki says:

    If you like grassy note and the smell of turpentine, you might like Marc Jacobs Woman. To my nose, it initially smells of fresh cut grass, white florals and something that is akin to petroleum or turpentine.On dry down, the petrol/turpentine aspect softens to fresh green floral. Although gardenia and honeysuckle are included in the list of notes, it is not very sweet. I was taken aback first by the petrol-like note, but have come to appreciate and love it.

  4. Cybele says:

    try Commes de Garcons White and Commes de Garcons 2
    both very distinct with spices, woods, ink and more
    also Hermes Santal Massoia for soft yummy milky wood, though out of your price range
    and Gucci Rush (the original one)!

  5. Abyss says:

    I was going to suggest Commes de Garçons fragrances as well. The sheer, woody, incense-y turpentine scents are very much their thing.

    I’m also going to, once again, suggest Diorella. It’s a woody citrus that’s definitely interesting, grown up and very versatile.

  6. Lys says:

    It’s more than $80 but you should sample Filles en Aiguilles, which has a dominant terpenic pine note and a woodsy incense-y vibe. A definite signature scent IMO. I love that the name means Girl in (Pine) Needles/Girl in High Heels.

    For under $80 go with Bulgari Omnia (the original, brown bottle) – woody cardamom and warm spice. I think it’s been recently discontinued but should be easy to find cheap!

    • Lys says:

      After rereading your profile, also suggesting Narciso Rodriguez for Her Intense (pink metallic bottle, and not the “in color” one) which has a nice modern musk like the Essence.

      Also adding Essence in Color (new one in the purple metallic bottle) because on fabric it has a long-lasting incense note that’s very nice (on skin you might find it too sweet/ambery but depends on your skin type).

  7. egabbert says:

    How about Spicebomb? It’s smoky and spicy and under $100.

    I suspect you’d like OJ Woman but it’s a little outside your price range.

  8. elise says:

    I think you’d love OJ Woman too! Why don’t you try the Ormonde Jayne Discovery Set?

  9. Blithie says:

    I suggest 10 Corso Como. It’s woody and spicy without being very sweet. There’s a little warm rose in there too. It’s very versatile.

  10. Desirae says:

    Have you tried any of the Sonoma Scent Studio range? They tend to have a woody sort of signature and they have a musk called Sienna Musk which is a warm spicy musk that sounds right up your alley (notes: musk, cedar, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, etc). A couple of others you might want to try are Wood Violet and Nostalgie (dries down to creamy-musky sandalwood beauty). They carry a bunch of sizes at different price ranges as well, so their scents are very affordable.

  11. Merlin says:

    Like others I think you should definitely try Comme de Garcons. Their frags are all quite avant-garde. They have a series of incense frags and you would probably like a few of those. Their ‘Wonderwood’ is a straight up woods rendition. Also, it doesn’t necessarily match the vibrant arty vibe but you may still like Prada’s Infusion de Iris which has a certain addictive sharpness to it (like turpentine, maybe?) Another idea is Estee Lauder’s Sensuous which is soft, woody-amber and VERY versatile. It may not, however, be very distinctive.

  12. FragrantWitch says:

    I also think Comme des Garçons fragrances are worth you checking out, particularly CdG 2. Also, Donna Karan Chaos with notes of incense and coriander. Sonoma Scent Studio is very much worth investigating. You should particularly look at Winter Woods, very woody/campfire- its gorgeous.

  13. Dixie says:

    Check out the Comme de Garcons incense line.
    Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure.
    Serge Noire-this one is more expensive but you could buy a decant.

  14. nozknoz says:

    I’d also suggest Anne Pliska – a great scent that’s only $55 – and Parfums de Nicolai Weekend a Deauville.

  15. Emily says:

    Seconding Dzongkha, Anne Pliska, and the CdG incense series. I’d also suggest Clinique Aromatics Elixir — timeless, versatile, distinctive, and $65 for 3.4 oz. Even the Perfumer’s Reserve extrait would be within Aliza’s budget. Estee Lauder Youth Dew might be another oldie-but-goodie (and cheapie).

    • Emily says:

      Ooh, and also try Jacomo Art Series #08 (spicy, slightly milky cardamom tea scent). Under $70 at Indiescents, last I checked. And while Aliza is at Indiescents, she should also get a sample of 1000 Flowers Reglisse Noire (the large bottle is $110, but a smaller bottle can be had for $50).

  16. ChocolatEyes613 says:

    Perfumes Aliza should try:
    Estee Lauder Sensuous
    Narciso Rodriguez For Her
    Chanel No. 19
    Lolita Lempicka Le Premier Parfum
    Bvlgari Omnia
    Guerlain Samsara

  17. An uncommon option – 460 Park Fragrance by Peter Thomas Roth. I don’t see much about it but it is ever-changing, versatile, attractive, and available inexpensively. This isn’t a bad description, from Amazon: “begins with a juicy apples and vibrant citruses, then wears to a light freesia and violet while drying down to amber and woods”. Ignore the blather about how it’s formulated to adjust to everyone individually and just enjoy it. I think it would suit you.

  18. L says:

    Hi Aliza,

    Etro makes a couple of incense-y fragrances: Shaal Nur and Messe de Minuit. Both are unusual and certainly not worn by every other girl on campus.

    Annick Goutal’s Eau d’Hadrien is wonderful for lemon and grapefruit. I think Goutal’s Mandragore Pourpre would interest you, too. Here is an excerpt of Robin’s review:

    “There are flashes of the original’s citrus and minty greenery in the opening, but almost from the start, it’s done in a darker, more mysterious cast, with fruity undertones and lots of peppery spices: it has less of an outdoorsy, herbal feel. The base is a very clean woody patchouli with just a hint of incense (the notes: bergamot, mint, star anise, amber, rosemary, geranium, black pepper, patchouli, myrtle, incense and heliotrope).”

    I believe you’ll be able to find those within your price range, but if not, remember: You can always get decants from places like The Perfumed Court or Surrender to Chance.

    On the cheap thrills end of the spectrum there is Tibetan Mountain Temple by Pacifica. It’s a light, gingery incense. Definitely worth a try, in fact, you might like several of the Pacifia offerings. They are available at Whole Foods and Sephora and the Pacifica Perfume website.

    Good luck!

  19. maggiecat says:

    I second Sonoma Scent Studio’s Sienna Musk, but most especially encourage you to try Ormonde Woman. I think it would be perfect for you!

  20. kp says:

    Timbuktu is nice this time of year.

  21. Apparently says:

    A quirky artistic person who likes the smell of fresh cut grass, incense, exotic woods and turpentine would probably enjoy People of the Labyrinths Luctor et Emergo. A bottle costs a lot more than $80, but easy to get decants. Probably the least boring fragrance I own!

  22. noetic owl says:

    The Pacifica line is all natural and extremely affordable. I would suggest: Tibetan Mountain Temple, Tuscan Blood Orange, Sandalwood and Brazilian Mango Grapefruit. You can custom blend all of them to your liking. (ie: TBT pairs nice with TBO, Sandalwood goes nice as a base for any of the three,etc).
    Sonoma Scent Studio perfumes are OUTSTANDING- Winter Woods, Fireside Intense, Incense Pure, Sienna Musk and Egyptian Musk is what I would recommend based on your preference of scent type.
    And definitely Gucci Rush- from the bright red package to the Patchouli it is a very unusual scent for someone who sounds pretty unique.

  23. PetronellaCJ says:

    Seconding Etro Shaal Nur and adding Etro Paisley. Also suggesting Byredo Oud Immortel and L’Artisan Passage d’Enfer.

  24. CrystalNoir says:

    How about YSL “Nu”? It has notes of incense, cardamom and sandalwood..

    It has recently been relaunched in a white, squarish bottle:

    I love this, it’s very warm and enveloping.

  25. dolcesarah says:

    The best bang is SSS’s anything, Incence Pur and Tabac Aurea are winners. Wood Violet too but I dropped my bottle and seemingly will never get it back because of PayPal. She uses PayPal which is a little tacky and she’s a bit paranoid but she does have the most lovely scents for what you are looking for.
    Satellite has Paparaduska (sp ) ?? But it’s not too $$ and I think u would love it. Parfumerie Generale has INDOCHINE. IT’S DIVE.
    COSTUME NATIONAL’s SCENT II, all perfect.

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