The Monday Mail ~ help Michele find a new perfume


This week we're helping Michele, who says she is a sniff-a-holic. She'd love to find a fragrance that won’t send her family off screaming when they smell her. Something sultry for those rare nights out without her children would be great, but she'd also like to hear suggestions for a fabulous every day signature scent.  Her general preference is medium sillage and good lasting power, and she'd like to keep the cost below $200. She has excellent access to perfume stores. Here is what we know about Michele:

She's in her late 40s, and is told she looks like Claire Danes (if Danes were middle-aged, mind you).

She's on the professional staff in a school and works regularly with teachers and elementary school children.

She lives two hours from Manhattan in the suburbs with her  husband, father, and two sons. Her 11-year-old son has a genetic disorder and life with him is challenging.

Fragrance and make-up are her refuge — they lift her mood on difficult days.

Other loves: cats, birds, cooking, and creating crazy, funny music videos to celebrate the teachers in her school when they retire.

Here are the fragrances Michele already owns: Kai, By Kilian Beyond Love, Love & Prelude to Love, Hermès Eau de Merveilles & Kelly Caleche, Calypso Herbe d’Ete, Dior L’eau de J’Adore, Moynette Paris, Dumont’s Tendre Madeleine, Serge Lutens Datura Noir, Parfums de Nicolaï L’Eau a la Folie (pleasant but maybe too masculine), Loukoum (not sure if this is Keiko Mecheri or Lutens, but she finds it overly sweet and powdery), Narcisco Rodriguez (black bottle) and Ginestet Botrytis.

Michele likes white flowers such as tuberose, jasmine, orange blossom, and gardenia. She'd like to break out of that rut, but she tends to be drawn to those notes (her favorites: Kai, Beyond Love, and Kelly Caleche). In the winter she loves Botrytis because of its interesting warmth. She also likes vanilla scents, citrus notes, florals, fruity florals, gourmands, musk, peach, pear, apricot, pineapple, coconut, leather, cardamom, sandalwood, amber, beachy smells, prune and salty notes.

Michele dislikes aldehydes, patchouli (Flowerbomb and Angel make her ill), marine notes, ozone notes, too much powder, passion fruit (too sharp), clove, cinnamon, heliotrope (too close to Playdoh) and carnation. Fig and rose are ok in small amounts. She doesn't like the Creed or Bond brands.

Here are some fragrances Michele has tried recently:

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess: smelled heavenly, but had zero lasting power.

L'Artisan Traversee du Bosphore: she bought this recently and likes it, but says it's not "The One". 

What say you?

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

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  1. SuddenlyInexplicably says:

    Parfumerie Generale Indochine for your cardamom. 31 Rue Cambon for a beautiful every-day amber that’s very wearable and not powdery. Keiko Mecheri Peau de Peche for peach. Annick Goutal Musc Nomade for a beautiful, wearable musk. My favorite vanilla is the slightly smoky Vanille by Mona d Orio. Amazing orange blossom is the new L’Artisan Seville a L’Aube. Also, check out Annick Goutal Heure Exquise–it’s just the most beautiful green floral, and very different, because of the galbanum, than your usual go-to florals.

    • Shellibelli says:

      What wonderful suggestions! I cannot wait to sample all these scents. They really sound like “me.” I have received several recommendations for the new orange blossom from L’Artisan. I have yet to smell it, but have read that it has aldehydes among its notes, so I’m a little worried. How aldehydey (ha! a new word!) is it? I don’t like aldehydes such as those in Chanel #5… Hmmm. I’ve been flirting with Peau de Peche for a while now. Maybe it’s time…

      • maggiecat says:

        I don’t get a lot of aldehydes from this scent at all – it’s very pretty, even if I’m not a huge orange flower fan right now. By all means try it.

  2. SuddenlyInexplicably says:

    Also, check out Ormonde Jayne Tolu for a beautiful, very wearable amber, also not powdery, but more seductive and intoxicating than the 31 Rue Cambon. One of my husband’s favorites.

    • Shellibelli says:

      I don’t think Ormonde Jayne delivers to the US. I may have to hit the Perfume Court unless you know of another website.

      • hajusuuri says:

        Ormonde Jayne 100% delivers to the U.S. I’ve ordered from there before and had taken advantage of their free shipping days. The website is (www.)ormondejayne(.com) [remove the (s and )s…I am not affiliated].

        • Shellibelli says:

          Thank you so much! I will go to the site today.

          • cassieflower says:

            Hi Michelle
            Ormonde Jayne are offering free shipping at the moment, so now’s your chance.
            I notice a few white floral-rich perfumes in your collection, and I would like to throw in Guerlain’s Mahora as a suggestion. It is rich, long-lasting with quite good sillage. I always think of it as Bronze Goddess on steroids, for some reason

      • dolcesarah says:

        ORMOND Jayne does deliver to the US. That’s how I got mine, which I cannot stand that I paid that much for THAT. PLEASE. ANY SEPHORA FRAG IS BETTER. MY BOTTLE HAS BEEN SPRAYED 16 times. Anyone want to buy it !?????
        Email I’ll give you a good deal. But everyone I personally know are with me. They don’t get it.

        • maggiecat says:

          Is it OJ Woman or one of the others? OJ Woman is my Holy Grail!

  3. songeuse says:

    I wonder if Dior Pure Poison might be a good one to try? It has jasmine, orange blossom, gardenia, and maybe a few of the other notes you like too. The lasting power is quite good on me (I have a bottle).

    • Shellibelli says:

      This sounds lovely. Thank you for the suggestion, Songeuse.

  4. Dilana says:

    For a change of pace for a long lasting, proffesional day perfume, you can try Seville D’Aube. It’s starts out as orange blosom but has a deep mysterious incense base that lasts and lasts.
    Ormonde Jayne T’aif is a fine sparkling gardenia for those night’s out. She is currently offering free international shipping.

    • Shellibelli says:

      I will have to go to the Ormonde Jayne site. I did not think they delivered to US.

  5. Wonder how you’d like Annick Goutal’s Gardenia Passion – yes, a white floral, but very rich and warm. How about Dior’s Hypnotic Poison? Jasmine-root beer-vanilla. If you like Kelly Caleche, how about Cuir de Lancome? Also a floral leather.

    • Shellibelli says:

      I do love a rich, buttery gardenia, so Gardenia Passion sounds good! Hypnotic Poison was too heavy on the root beer on my skin. You know, scent is so funny that way. I just sampled Heeley’s Bubblegum Chic and on me it smelled like Bubblegum Bandaid Bugspray Not-So-Chic! Sometimes I fear I have perfume-killer skin :0

  6. sweetgrass says:

    Parfumerie Generale’s Cuir Venenum might also be one to try if you like orange blossom. It’s orange blossom and leather, but the ob is a pretty dominant note throughout.

    • Shellibelli says:

      This sounds intriguing. Thank you for your suggestion, Sweetgrass.

  7. ladymurasaki says:

    I suggest Frederic Malle Carnal Flower. It’s tuberose with a hint of coconut and much more. Also try Daim Blond by Serge Lutens. It’s suede with apricot, but not too sweet, and Serge Lutens Un Lys – a gorgeous lily scent with a musk-vanilla dry down.

    • Shellibelli says:

      I recently used up my Carnal Flower. It is an amazing fragrance. I have found that I actually prefer By Kilian’s Beyond Love. It does not have that wintergreen/eucalyptus note that Carnal has. I will try Daim Blond and Un Lys. If I remember correctly, I sampled Daim and it vanished rapidly on me. Do you have that problem with it?

      • ladymurasaki says:

        Daim Blond is not the most long-lasting, but it lasts a good few hours on my skin.

        Have you tried Vero Profumo Rubj, MDCI Parfums Peche Cardinal or En Voyage Perfume Peche Noir?

        • Shellibelli says:

          No, I haven’t. Thank you for these great suggestions.

  8. austenfan says:

    Why not order some sample sets and play?
    Houses I would suggest are: Divine, don’t be put off by the name. It’s a small French house that offers gorgeous florals, two beautiful masculines ( one Iris based), and a very elegant eau. I think you might be charmed by the original Divine as it is an abstract white floral (with coriander and peach).
    Have you tried any other Nicolaï’s? Number One might suit you as might Juste un Rêve.
    If you have never tried any of the Ormonde Jayne’s now might be a good time as shipping is free as someone else commented as well.
    Etat Libre d’ Orange’s Like This and Fils de Dieu might be worth a sniff at least. Don’t be put off by the copy around the scents; they have done some really good original fragrances and are also very affordable.
    I hope you find what you are looking for!

    • austenfan says:

      And I forgot to mention one of my favourite tuberose-based perfumes: Vamp à New York from Honoré des Prés.

    • Shellibelli says:

      Thank you for taking the time to list so many options for me. I think I must hit the Ormonde Jayne site among others…

  9. ChocolatEyes613 says:

    Some perfumes Michele should try:

    Estee Lauder Sensuous
    Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude
    Christian Dior Pure Poison
    Thierry Mugler Alien
    Thierry Mulger Womanity
    Bvlgari Pour Femme
    Bvlgari Jasmin Noir
    Lancome Tresor
    Kenzo Amour

    • Shellibelli says:

      Great ideas here. Thank you for helping me.

  10. Cybele says:

    You already have so many nice fragrances (I can hardly imaging your family running from those), so what is exactly is missing? Of course, as a sniff-a-holic you need more!
    Try Estee Lauder’s beautiful Private Collection line: Tuberose-Gardenia, Jasmin- White Moss (maybe for day time?), and Amber-Ylang (evening?)

    • Shellibelli says:

      Yes, a sniff-a-holic always needs more (geez, at least I don’t drink from the bottles- although with Botrytis…). I am intrigued by the idea of the Jasmine White Moss. I will have to sample that one.

  11. friede says:

    I like and dislike a lot of the same things as Michele, and this is what I own (that she doesn’t) in that vein:
    – FM Carnal Flower
    – SL Tubereuse Criminelle & Fleur d’Oranger (both might be good twists on old favorite flowers, but also might be a bit off-putting to the fam) as well as Jeux de Peau (which is my day-to-day scent in sweater weather)

    I also just fell a bit into crush with Boadicea the Victorious’s “Intense” which is a muted, fall-like honey without being at all sticky. Dries to a beautiful skin scent, so might be right for a day-to-day scent.

    • Shellibelli says:

      Now since we are kindred fragrance spirits, I must take your suggestions and sample Jeux de Peau and Intense. Off to Luckyscent!! Thank you.

  12. poodle says:

    Hothouse Flower by Ineke is an interesting gardenia. It’s got a green, earthy quality to it.

    • Shellibelli says:

      Ineke makes lovely scents. I just finished my bottle of her lilac scent, so I’ll have to go to the city and try her gardenia fragrance. I do like a good green gardenia. Do you know if it is anything like Kai?

      • Filomena says:

        The Ineke gardenia fragrance is not like Kai in my opinion. It is a soliflore like Kai but is much more interesting with more depth.

      • Cybele says:

        have you tried Private Collection Tuberose-Gardenia? I personally prefer it over Kai and Beyond Love.

        • Shellibelli says:

          I have not tried anything in the Private Collection. I will have to hit my local Saks…

  13. tomate farcie says:

    If you’re looking for “the one” I’d suggest ordering some discovery sets. i.e. Ann Gerard, Ineke, Ormond Jayne. Often Luckyscent has sample packs of new releases for the season. For a gourmand I like Keiko Mercheri’s Gourmandise. I’d also suggest Botega Vanetta. I just tried Diptyque’s Veloutes. I haven’t been this in love with a new scent in a long time–fabulous!

    • Shellibelli says:

      I was just thinking of trying Gourmandise the other day, so now I will absolutely have to! I have not smelled Veloutes either, but this sounds like it might work for me too.

    • farouche says:

      Second the Veloutes suggestion. It’s probably worth trying both the EDT and the EDP, but I found I preferred the richer, warmer tones of the EDP. Besides, it lasted longer on my skin, always a plus!

  14. bluepinegrove says:

    For a pineapple note you could try Histoires de Parfums 1804. Lucky scent offers samples. I found it to be very interesting but not for me.

    My new easy to wear scent is Rance Laetetia. Amber, vanilla, and yum.

    Serge Lutens Cedre might be a good tuberose for you. Very warm and comforting.

    • Shellibelli says:

      I have not smelled Rance Laetetia and SL Cedre. Thank you for these great suggestions.

  15. nozknoz says:

    What you deserve is Amouage Gold or Dia!

    Also wonderful and reasonably priced is SSS Tabac Aurea.

    • Shellibelli says:

      I must surely take advice from a fellow cat lover! I’m feeling woefully perfume-uninformed because I do not know what line SSS is. Can you help me?

      • Rappleyea says:

        SSS = Sonoma Scent Studios, an indie line based in N. Ca. Exquisite quality and very reasonable prices. She also has sample sets. I’m a big fan!

        • Rappleyea says:

          Oh, and her website is

          • Shellibelli says:

            Rappleyea, thank you so much for the SSS info. I will check it out.

      • nozknoz says:

        Apologies for the acronym! Some of her perfumes, including Tabac Aurea, can also be found at Indie Scents, a branch of LuckyScent. (No affiliation.)

  16. hajusuuri says:

    Chanel Gardenia from the Les Exclusifs line is lovely, it has a smooth round fullness to it without the BWF scream.

    Oh…and Prada Candy — woody gourmand oriental, with musk, caramel, benzoin (smells like sophisticated vanilla). This one is on my Fall lineup – all I can say is YUM.

    Also, what Poodle said above with Hothouse Flowers — I would describe it as Carnal Flower’s little sister and I mean that in a very good way.

    • Shellibelli says:

      I have a sample of Prada Candy here. I’ll have to sample it. Hothouse Flowers sounds like a must now. I’ll have to find it!

  17. Monzeitia says:

    Vittoria Apuana Profumi del Forte very similar than Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess but with much better lasting power

    • Shellibelli says:

      I am excited about this one. I tried Bronze Goddess and loved it, but it vanished in a flash. I can’t wait to smell Vittoria Apuana. Thank you.

  18. How about SSS Jour Ensoleille? It’s a big, spicy, ambery white floral, very warm with a great, milky, skin-like quality. It does have a bit of patch in the base but it doesn’t stand out to me compared to the other notes. Good luck!

    • Shellibelli says:

      I can tolerate minute amounts of patchouli, so I’ll try it. Thank you.

  19. Lotta says:

    Reading through those preferences, First thing that spring to mind is Diors Dolve Vita ! Woods and vanilla spice, slightly peachy floral .. With heliotrope listed though in drydown, but I do not find it the least playdoh- ish.Semi- sweet and warm.
    And then I remember, no cinnamon. Well I tried :)

  20. Shellibelli says:

    It sounds interesting. I will have to try it. Thank you.

  21. Blimunda says:

    Mmmmmm, white flowers! I love them too!

    Rich buttery Gardenia: Isabey Gardenia
    Green fresh gardenia: Gardenia Grand Soir by Parfumerie Generale
    Amazingly structured, knock-out gardenia: Tiare from Ormonde Jayne
    You might like to try Carnal Flower, for a gorgeous tuberose.
    Two very nice orange blossom fragrances from Le Labo are Tubereuse and Bergamote. Their Fleur D’Oranger is also pretty good!

    For the ultimate beachy/salty note you have to try the best one of the bunch – Sel Marin by Heeley.

    • Shellibelli says:

      Oooo. Must try Isabey Gardenia and Sel Marin! Obviously, I must check out many Ormonde Jayne scents because everyone is raving about them. Thank you Blimunda.

  22. egabbert says:

    Some white florals to try:

    By Kilian Sweet Redemption: Beautiful gourmand orange blossom, but not too sweet.

    Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia: I think you’d love this.

    Annick Goutal Songes: Jasmine and woody vanilla, very sensuous.

    To branch out:

    Teo Cabanel Alahine: This is a terrific floral amber that lasts forever and is economical, all things considered.

    The newish Sensuous Nude smells similar to Bronze Goddess — you might try it and see if it lasts longer on your skin. Sensuous Noir is also awesome for cool weather, a long-lasting deep woody scent.

  23. Squirrely says:

    I’m currently obsesed with Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Lumière Noire Eau de Parfum Pour Femme. It’s a sexy, mature floral. The notes are listed as spiced rose (cumin & hot pepper), patchouli, and narcissus, but don’t be afraid of the patch! Flowerbomb and Angel make me ill too, and to me, Lumière Noire is nothing like them.

    Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire Gardénia Pétale is a soft green gardenia that I like for day wear.

    • Shellibelli says:

      Thank you for the suggestion about the MFK scent. I am somehow comforted by knowing that I am not the only one who gets ill from patchouli. So many of my friends love it. I run from them the way my family runs from my scents! I have sampled the Gardenia Petale scent and you are right- it was delicate, green, and lovely.

  24. Kate says:

    How about:
    Hermes Vanille Galante
    Le Labo Vanille 44
    Le Labo Patchouli 24 (does not really smell of patchouli – I’m not crazy about it either!)
    Caron Tabac Blond
    Lancome Cuir
    Ormonde Jayne Tolu
    Chanel Cuir Russie
    Chanel 31 Rue Cambon

    • Shellibelli says:

      Thank you so much Kate. I will sniff them all! :)

  25. dolcesarah says:

    Chypre Rouge
    Nuit de Cellophane
    A la Nuit
    Gris Clair
    Clare de Musc
    Un Lys
    Santal Blanc
    Oud Immortele

    • Shellibelli says:

      Great ideas here. I love SL scents too!

  26. Dawnkana says:


    2 thumbs-up for the suggestions of 31 Rue Cambon and Jasmine White Moss.

    Jasmine White Moss to my nose is a soft jasmine with a subtle salty undertone.

    31 Rue Cambon – Best amber ever.

    Adding for your white flower (gardenia) fix – Fleur Blanche by Ajne. A really wonderful take on Gardenia.


    Fleur Blanche ~ White Flower
    Tropical Floral
    Fleur Blanche (White Flower) is our exclusive scent rendition of sultry, white gardenia. Because of the volatility of its delicate scent, the Gardenia is nearly impossible to capture naturally via distillation.So, Jane combined rich, powerful florals, woods and fruits to replicate its intoxicating scent. “We spent month’s smelling gardenia as we worked on replicating the scent”, says Jane. “Tough work, but someone has to do it,” she smiles! Of course, Jane is never content to simply mimic nature. So, Fleur Blanche contains one of her signature twists. The result is simply breathtaking.

    The ingredients in Fleur Blanche are reputed to help balance the heart and crown chakras.

    • Shellibelli says:

      Geez. If anyone needs their chakras balanced, it’s me!!! I will look into Fleur Blanche. Thank you Dawnkana.

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