The Monday Mail ~ help Tiffany find a new perfume


This week we're helping Tiffany, who wants to find a pretty scent to take her from from day to evening all year round. Tiffany lives in a dry, hot climate and many of her favorite orientals feel too heavy for much of the year. She's just finished grad school and is still on a student budget, so she'd prefer to spend less than $100 on a bottle, but she can be flexible if she finds something amazing. Here is what we know about Tiffany:

She's an environmental scientist in her late 20s, and lives in a mid-size city in California (not one of the fashionable ones).

She spends lots of time outdoors and loves hiking and rafting.

She also loves English novels from the 20s and 30s, like Enchanted April and anything by Dorothy Sayers or P.G. Wodehouse. For movies, she likes classics like His Girl Friday, Born Yesterday and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

She describes her personal style as 90% classic and 10% Stevie Nicks.

Tiffany likes spicy notes, gourmands and florals that aren’t too sweet, powdery scents and slightly retro perfumes. Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert was her daily standby, but now she's tired of it and it feels too citrusy and dry. She's currently wearing Prescriptives Calyx (pretty but too sharp) and Bourbon French Mimosa (gets too bare in the dry down). Her favorite winter perfumes are vintage Lancome Magie Noire, Guerlain Shalimar & L’Heure Bleue, Annick Goutal Sables, Bal a Versailles and B&BW  Twilight Woods.

Tiffany dislikes very sweet perfumes, citrusy perfumes, strong white florals, most ambers, ‘clean’ musks and everything by Chanel and Caron. She has yet to meet a celebrity perfume that she likes. Also, while she does like rose, perfumes that are predominantly rose often seem too sharp or too loud.

Perfumes Tiffany has tried recently include:

Bvlgari Pour Femme: She likes it, but it’s maybe a little too sweet and conventional.

Bvlgari Rose Essentielle: She's allergic to something in it.

Yves Saint Laurent Paris: Very pretty, but TOO MUCH.

Balenciaga Paris: Too little.

Borsari Violetta di Parma: Too sweet and simple, although she liked it layered with Piguet Bandit.

Cacharel Anais Anais: Doesn't work well with her chemistry.

Kenzo Amour: Pretty but turned a little sour on her skin.

Prada Infusion d’Iris: Too much of an office scent.

Estee Lauder Pure White Linen: Too clean and citrusy.

Estee Lauder Private Collection: More green than what she's looking for.

Guerlain Chamade: The narcissus is beautiful but she doesn't really want to wear it.

Lolita Lempicka: Too sweet and she doesn't care for the anise.

Dior J'Adore: Smells like shampoo.

Dior Hypnotic Poison: Too heavy.

Balmain Jolie Madame: So pretty, and very close to what she would like, but has virtually no staying power, even sprayed on clothing.

Love, Chloe: Pretty, but something goes a little off after a few minutes — sort of sour and yeasty?

L'Artisan Drole de Rose: She can barely smell this even when heavily applied.

Chanel No. 19 Eau de Toilette: She fell in love with it, despite it being 1) Chanel and 2) a green scent which she said she didn't want.

What say you?

Note: top image courtesy of Victoria of Bois de Jasmin.

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Parfums Raffy


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  1. lucasai says:

    I think that Annick Goutal Sables might be suitable for Tiffany. What else comes to my mind are Andy Tauer Eau d’Epices, Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile or Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille.

  2. egabbert says:

    I think you might love YSL Cinema.

  3. Apparently says:

    For someone who likes mimosa (as in Bvlgari Pour Femme & Bourbon French Mimosa), but does not want to be too innocent: Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie. Spendy, but easy to find decants.

    Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Toit is green and refreshing, but grounded with an earthy “compost” note.

  4. SuddenlyInexplicably says:

    If you love Chanel 19 but want something a little softer and warmer (but very similar) run don’t walk to Annick Goutal L’Heure Exquise! It is so beautiful! I recently bought a bottle. Check the blogs for reviews (there was recently one on the Perfume Posse, but there are many).

    • Emily says:

      Seconding this, too.

    • mals86 says:

      Thirding. Though to be honest I love No. 19 better (but then I’m a greenie gal.)

  5. Abyss says:

    It’s funny, the first thing that popped into my head was OJ Ta’if. It’s a dry, peppery rose that works equally well for day and evening without being too heavy. I don’t care (to put it mildly) for the vast majority or rose perfumes but this is a really excellent take on it; not sour, or sharp or dull. A set of travel sprays costs around $100.

    • Jillie says:

      Great minds think alike, Abyss! Ta’if was my immediate choice as I read Tiffany’s list. There is nothing quite like Ta’if, and I think that Tiffany would find it meets all her requirements – it’s soft but not a wimp, gourmand but not sickly, slightly spicey and rosey but not screechy. You can tell that I love it!

  6. farouche says:

    I think you would like Cuir de Lancôme. It’s a lovely leather, fairly long-lasting, and very reasonably priced.

    • mals86 says:

      I do love it. It is elegant, floral without being too-floral.

  7. Emily says:

    How about Etat Libre d’Orange Like This? It’s a not-too-sweet gourmand-ish scent, completely appropriate for everyday and evening wear, but not at all bland. If you like the immortelle in Sables, you’ll probably like that aspect of Like This.

    And have you tried Estee Lauder Youth Dew? Spicy, not too sweet, slightly retro yet not dated, and very budget-friendly (even if, like me, you also buy the bath oil, dusting powder, and body creme).

  8. Emily says:

    Also wondering if Tiffany has tried vintage Jolie Madame. That might be worth seeking out, especially in parfum.

    I’m also going to toss out a curveball: Knize Ten. Ignore the label that dubs it “The Gentlemen’s Fragrance”; women who like Bandit can definitely wear it. It’s a delicious retro leather with some dark floralcy and a lovely, deep cinnamon-like note in the drydown. (I know the Guide calls it a leather-amber, and amber is a nonstarter for Tiffany, but I don’t really get a lot of amber from it.) And it’s yours for a mere $75, so it’s free in perfume-math terms.

  9. mals86 says:

    (Adore vintage Jolie Madame extrait. I have several teeny bottles, all of which are different but all are beautiful. Patience is necessary — well, that and/or maybe good access to well-stocked thrift shops. :) )

    I recently tried a lightweight oriental with a tea note that I liked very much – Penhaligon’s Malabah. There is amber in the notes list, but it is unobtrusive; the scent is more about cardamom, tea, rose, and sandalwood and the “amber” is more a lightly-powdery vanilla that stays in the background. I see BeautyEncounter has it for just under $100 (worth sampling, anyway).

    Wonder if Tiffany would get on better with one of the YSL Paris Printemps versions, which are much lighter versions of the original? I own Pont des Amours myself. Any of the spring flankers (some of the names: Eau de Printemps, Roses des Vergers, Jardins Romantiques, Roses Enchantees, Roses des Bois) are easily findable on ebay for about $60 or less.

  10. Sunski says:

    My favorite spice fragrance that to my nose is not too sweet, is Idole de Lubin. Rum and spice at first and leather and sandalwood at the end. I think it’s about $130, so creeping over the $100 mark, but if you’re trying to avoid sharp or loud, you can’t go wrong with an Olivia Giacobetti scent.

    • Abyss says:

      Oh, nice one, I’m seconding this!

  11. maggiecat says:

    Seconding T’aif, and you might try Bottega Vanetta as well. Or go with the Chanel! I’ll also toss out Ormonde Woman as a suggestion – it’s long-lasting and a truly amazing scent, good in most any type of weather.

  12. I was thinking of some of the drier/spicier florals in Andy Tauer’s line, particularly Une Rose Chypree and Incense Rose. Le Maroc pour Elle could also be an option.

    Also, if you like L’Heure Bleue and powdery scents, try the Esprit d’Oscar (the 2011 flanker). Has aspects of L’HB and is powdery, while staying very modern and behaving like a skin scent. Great stuff, my favorite mainstream perfume of 2011 I would say.

    • mals86 says:

      Esprit d’Oscar is really nice.

    • Emily says:

      Seconding the spicy Tauers, especially Incense Rosé.

  13. Aparatchick says:

    Like Tiffany, I live in a hot climate where for a good part of the year my beloved orientals are just Too Much. Which is why I often reach for Jacomo #8. It’s a spicy, oriental gourmand chai tea which does very well in the heat. I don’t know how it manages to be spicy and light, but it does. And it’s a bargain – well under $100. A good review here:

    • Emily says:

      Ooh, yes. #08 is terrific.

  14. JolieFleurs says:

    We are very close to being scent twins, though I am a total Caronista, and I am going to suggest you check out iris notes in perfumes, which I find satisfies my floral cravings without being too sweet.

    I’m going to second (4th?) Fleur de Cassie and the Pairs flankers. Also, since you seem to like some scents with violet in them, I’d suggest you try a sample of L’Artisan Vert Violette. It’s pretty much straight up violet, but it’s very dry, not too sweet and is greenish without being too sharp.

    • JolieFleurs says:

      Meant to add that the Ormand T’aif reminds me very much of the Bvglari Rose, so that might work well. I’d also recommend Annick Goutal Rose Absolue is you want a soft rose. It’s my favorite rose by far and I have a a zillion roses.

  15. SuddenlyInexplicably says:

    A very sheer and wearable oriental that would work in warm weather is The Different Company’s Oriental Lounge. It’s out of your price range, but maybe it’s the one! Also Tolu by Ormonde Jayne is a very beautiful oriental that I could imagine wearing in any weather. If I had to choose between the two, I’d choose Tolu. But Oriental Lounge is definitely the lightest and most sheer (though distinctive).

  16. Blimunda says:

    Yes, Ta’if, a total winner. And the Tauer scents mentioned by breathesgelatin are amazing, must trys!

    For some reason, Bois de Violette came to mind immediately…….probably the retro vibe, the spiciness, the woodiness of the floral.

    If you like powdery fragrances and want a good day-to-night, I would recommend L’Artisan Mon Numero 8. It is an iris/jasmine/musk and very soft and lovely, but when applied more generously and it takes on a tenacious, quite raw and sexy quality I find! Good for evening!

    My favourite powdery scent is Labdanum 18 from Le Labo.

  17. cassieflower says:

    FM Iris Poudré – Tonka bean, musk and vanilla with the base of sandalwood and vetiver. It has a soft, floral and dry warmth, really ladylike but so very wearable. From Ormonde Jayne, Champaca – Top Notes: Neroli, pink pepper and bamboo
    Heart Notes: Champaca and freesia absolutes, basmati notes
    Base Notes: Myrrh, green tea notes and musk
    Orris Noir – Top Notes: Davana, pink pepper, coriander seed, bergamot
    Heart Notes: Iris, sambac absolute, pimento berries, bay
    Base Notes: Incense, myrrh, patchouli, chinese cedar, gaiac. I know that these are a bit spendy, but there are travel sizes available in all three, which might bring them in near budget.

  18. Cybele says:

    I second Bois de Violette, especially if you liked Bulgari pour femmes but found it to conventional. If you like 19 and spices, try Clinique Aromatics Elixir lightly applied. For the powdery retro vibe try Infusion Iris Absolute (very different from the original) and second Fleur de Cassie. You might also enjoy Safran Troublant, translucent spices vanilla and rose.

  19. Lucy says:

    After thinking about this for awhile I came back to recommend Bottega Veneta and see someone else beat me to it. :)
    It’s the only leather I was able to wear over the summer. I don’t know of a light oriental, although Jacomo #8 has gotten a lot of love here lately.

    I know you don’t like Caron, but I’ll throw this out there anyway because I think there’s a huge difference in the quality of their men’s vs. women’s scents…I’m a big fan of Pour Un Homme. It wears like a Jicky light on me and is great in the summer. Given your like for Shalimar and LHeure Bleue, you might want to try this if you ever come across it. A big bonus is it’s pretty cheap too. For $100 you could buy enough to take a bath in.

    I feel like I can do better, I’m going to keep thinking on this one.

    • fountaingirl says:

      It’s so funny that you mention Pour Un Homme this way. I found PuH first, and then got a bottle of Jicky – and swapped it away. The two are nearly identical if the Jicky is in EDT. And the Caron is available at a much better price point.

  20. Dawnkana says:


    MPG Cuir Fetiche. A lovely dry, powdery, non-sweet, some florals – leather scent. I am just enamored with it and thought it may be one you would at least like to sample.

    Top: red mandarin, bergamot, lemon, geranium
    Heart: leather, ylang ylang, jasmine, rose, iris, vanilla
    Base: Musk, ambergris, patchouli, cedar, sandalwood.

    I realize it’s over your budget. Perhaps you can purchase a sample from LuckyScent and then if you love it, a decant of it can be purchased in the future.

    Good luck and enjoy all of your suggestion. They are all lovely.

  21. Dawnkana says:


  22. Ann-Sofie says:

    Mitsouko – the supreme classic, perfect for a warmer climate. Preferably the eau de perfume. This one you might have sniffed already.
    Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant – very rich, try as sample first, it is a bit special but for the right person it radiates spicy triumph. To be used with moderation (spray in your hands and dab it on), it has great sillage and duration (to say the least).
    None of these are expensive and they are easy to find, but still they are finely made perfumes with as much depth and personality you can ever wish for.

    • Lys says:

      I like the idea of Kenzo Jungle (L’Elephant) – definitely try it first tho, Ann-Sofie is right it’s a winner on the right person.

  23. KRL says:

    I’d suggest that Tiffany check out Parfums de Nicolai. A great line that is reasonably priced. L’temps d’une Fete might work very well. A non-sweet floral somewhat similar to Charmade, but not nearly as sharp and a bit more transparent (I’m comparing to vintage Chamade, I’ve no idea what the current formulation smells like).

  24. helenviolette says:

    My pics for Tiffany:

    SL Cuir Maresque and Boxeuses and FM En Passant and Iris Poudre.

  25. poodle says:

    How about Flower by Kenzo or Habanita. Flower is more powdery than flowery to me. On me Habanita is great in warm weather but I would suggest sampling it first. I’ll also put in a second vote for Emily’s suggestion of ELDO’s Like This.

  26. Lys says:

    Try Infusion d’Iris Absolue, a different and better scent than original Infusion d’Iris EDP. It’s a streamlined and contemporary iris scent, a little spicy and husky-voiced the way Shalimar is, with prominent tonka-benzoin in the base and not too sweet. One of the best mainstream releases this year and for just over $100. A plus: No amber in this bad boy!

  27. thegoddessrena says:

    F or a spicy green that’s warmer than the Chanel, I’d recommend Ivoire from Balmain. For spicy wonderfulness I’d recommend Black Cashmere from Donna Karan and Sweet William from Ineke for Anthropologie)

  28. minty95 says:

    Try some perfume from the Jo Malone range, they are different than the standard run of the mill perfumes houses

    The latest Blackerry & bay for exemple is interesting and original

  29. capillary says:

    Try Chanel Bois des Iles! I know it’s Chanel, but perhaps one you haven’t tried since it’s boutique-only. It is a lovely woody oriental, with spicy and floral notes, that I find I can wear year-round – it blooms beautifully in the heat, but doesn’t seem too heavy or sticky. (My other summer favourites are much lighter!) It has a very classic, timeless feel and is quite unusual. My all-time favourite.

  30. Rappleyea says:

    Sorry, I’m late Tiffany, but hopefully you’ll still see this.

    From descriptions of you and your perfume preferences, I’d highly recommend a fellow Californian, perfumer Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studio. In particular I think you’d like Forest Walk, Champagne de Bois and Fig Tree. Maybe Incense Pure. She has so many beautiful scents that I forgot to mention To Dream and Nostalgie! You can order samples from her website: Not affiliated, just a fan!

    • Rappleyea says:

      Oh! And fantastic prices!!

      • Dionne says:

        I’m seconding Rappleyea, because the Sonoma Scent Studio line is what came to mind when I read your list. Very affordable and of stunning quality. Her Incense Pure reminds me of the pines of my nearby Rockies, I could see you enjoying that one while on hikes.

  31. Dilana says:

    You might try a discontinued Chopard Madness which is a spicy sandlewood rose and can still sometimes be found at steep discounts.
    I second the suggestion to consider some of the California niche artists who sell through their own web sites. You might try a discovery set from Ineke, a wonderful perfumer who has a lovely “discovery set”. The ones she sells herself seem to be much more lasting than those sold through Anthropolgie. Balmy Sunday might suit your weather.

  32. ChocolatEyes613 says:

    Some perfumes Tiffany should try:
    Bottega Veneta
    Bvlgari Jasmin Noir
    Bvlgari Omnia
    Hermes Eau de Merveilles
    Hermes Elixir de Merveilles
    Hermes Eau Claire de Merveilles
    Kenzo Flower by Kenzo

  33. Vincent says:

    Jeux de Peau and Arabie may be good choices.

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