The Monday Mail ~ help Kisa find a new fragrance

Boites aux lettres

Today we're helping Kisa, who wants to find her new signature scent. She'd like something sophisticated and somewhat exotic, and preferably something available in a range of concentrations — she likes to wear Eau de Parfum during the day and save Parfum for special occasions. She has a preference for classic orientals (see below) and lasting power is a concern; she says even heavy perfumes like Opium don't last on her. Here is what we know about Kisa:

She's in her early 60s, and has dark hair, fair skin, medium height and build. She is of Italian, German and Belorussian ancestry.

She retired from teaching (French and Italian) 2 years ago, and married one year ago.

Kisa lives in Long Island, NY; but loves both the city and country.

She enjoys gardening, classical music and reading, and she loves animals. She is also studying the piano for the first time.

Kisa has always had one signature for long periods of her life and they mostly been in the oriental family or something close to it. She found her first signature when she lived in Paris as a student: Millot Crèpe de Chine. She later switched to Guerlain Mitsouko, and wore that for about 25 years. When she was widowed at age 55, she switched to Caron Parfum Sacré. She loved all three of these fragrances and now wants something new for this next phase of her life.

Kisa dislikes anything very fruity or with an overly dominant vanilla accord. She hates Coty Éméraude and Joop.

What say you?

Note: top image is Boites aux lettres [cropped] by besopha at flickr; some rights reserved.

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  1. Jillie says:

    I just have to say that I think Kisa sounds absolutely amazing, gorgeous and glamorous!

    Maybe if I were to recommend anything, it would be Ormonde Jayne’s Woman, as it is mysterious and deep, but it perhaps isn’t spicy enough! However, it does come in edp and parfum concentrations. As does her Ta’if, which is mellow rose layered with pink pepper and saffron, but that might be just a little sweet. I love it, though, and I think it would suit Kisa.

    Good luck, Kisa!

    • Bradamante says:

      now, that’s what I thought too! And what an excellent taste you have!

    • austenfan says:

      Second Ormonde Woman.

    • ladymurasaki says:

      Yes, to Ormonde Jayne Woman.

    • Kisa says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Jillie. I’d love to think of myself as “bsolutely amazing, gorgeous and glamorous! ; but I am afraid you are being overly generous. I will definitely give Ormonde Woman a sniff.

  2. Rappleyea says:

    What wonderful taste in perfume, Kisa! My recommendations would be:

    Guerlain Vol de Nuit
    Solange Cosmic
    Sonoma Scent Studio Nostalgie

    Good luck, and I hope you weren’t damaged too much by Sandy.

    • Rappleyea says:

      I thought about this at lunch and think you should also try Chanel Cuir de Russie – a very soft floral leather. The parfum has more of an oriental base than does the edt, but both are lovely.

      • Kisa says:

        Thanks so much for your suggestions. We were amazingly lucky in Sandy. No damage to speak of (one tree on down on the fence); didn’t even lose electric.

  3. Bradamante says:

    To be honest – I never smelled them, just read all these amazing stories about them, but shouldn’t you check out the works of Vero Kern? Onda, Rubj, Kiki and Mito?

  4. Dawnkana says:


    I immediately thought of Chanel 31 Rue Cambon from their Exclusifs line. A beautiful and modern chypre.

    “Warm Chypre accord is freed, made luminous and modern with inviting notes of bergamot, patchouli and citrus oil. 31 Rue Cambon is a rich woody-floral fragrance, powerful, authentic, elegant and warm.”

    I hope you find a great new signature scent! :)


    • Kisa says:

      Thank you, Dawn. It sounds wonderful. I will definitely try.

  5. austenfan says:

    As someone suggested above maybe try the Vero Kern line. The oldest 3 are available as EDP and extrait (She has quite a good sample programme, but living in the USA you might want to order samples from a US shop that carries the line.
    Very different but a wonderful modern chypre with a great retro vibe is Goutal’s Mon Parfum Chéri par Camille.
    Etat Libre d’Orange has some wonderfully original scents: L’Eau de Protection ( Rossy de Palma) is a very bold dark rose. And I know no perfume with more tenacity than their Rien; a wonderful leather perfume.
    Other’s that crossed my mind were: Andy Tauer’s Une Rose Chyprée, Malle’s Portrait of a Lady and Noir Epices, and Delrae’s Bois de Paradis.

    • AnnieA says:

      Eau de Protection changed my mind about rose scents, and Rien can last through a shower. The latter is extremely chic, like a lady executive from the Fifties: powerful and feminine.

      • austenfan says:

        So true about Rien. It’s my only full bottle that is in quarantine. It sits in it’s own box, within a box that used to contain a teapot, in a separate cupboard.
        It is gorgeous though.

      • Kisa says:

        Thank you, sounds great!

    • annemarie says:

      I must try Rien, it sounds stunning. But speaking of leather, Kisa might enjoy Bottega Veneta or Cuir de Lancome.

    • Kisa says:

      Thank you for all the thoughtful and thought-provoking suggestions. You have certainly given me plenty of homework! :)

  6. JolieFleurs says:

    I will jump on the Vero and 31 Rue bandwagons and also suggest Jubilation 25. They have an extrait, an EDP and body creams and lotions. Expensive, but worth it. We have similar tastes and it is in my Top 5.

    I’d also suggest Caron’s Nuit de Noel (especially the parfum/ extrait) and The Party in Manhattan.

    Fifi Chachnil is a fun one and comes in extrait and EDP, I believe

  7. Cybele says:

    Ormonde Jayne Tolu!
    and for something different try
    Chinatown Bond No9 (contains fruits but it’s interesting, give it a shot!)
    By Kilian Back To Black (Aphrodisiac)

    • Abyss says:

      I agree about Ormonde Jayne Tolu! It’s an oriental in a classic style that’s neither fruity nor heavy on vanilla with plenty of heft and it comes in both EDP and extrait.

    • Liza says:

      I third Tolu. Another one to consider is Teo Cabanel’s Alahine. It comes in EdP, I’m not sure whether a fluid parfum version is still available, although there is still a solid parfum.

    • ojaddicte says:

      I fourth (?) Tolu. Another Ormonde that could work is Orris Noir. My skin DEVOURS fragrance, but the OJs actually have great longevity on me.
      I know that my next suggestion may be greeted with a less than enthusiastic response, but Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew is absolutely gorgeous on the “right” skin. It lasts and lasts and is available in a number of different iterations. There is nary a whiff of vanilla only spices and incense (to my nose, anyhow). Kisa sounds like the kind of lady who can pull it off!

  8. annina says:

    Chanel 31 Rue Cambon and Sonoma Scent Studio’s Nostalgie sound like perfect choices for Kisa! They get my vote!

  9. capillary says:

    Chanel Bois des Iles or Frederic Malle, Le Parfum de Therese or Une Fleur de Cassie. Bois des Iles is a gently spicy amber-sandalwood. Therese is a floral chypre with some very sophisticated fruity topnotes (more Mitsouko than mall scent). Une Fleur de Cassie is a very complex oriental. All three are classic, timeless and stunning.

  10. hongkongmom says:

    Congrats on your new marriage, may you have many years of health and happiness
    …for a woman whose signature perfume was mitsouko for 25years,,,
    Jubilation 25 amouage
    Ormonde Jayne tolu
    Cuir de russie chanel..i have only the parfum and it is exquisite

    these are 3 incredible perfumes

  11. poodle says:

    I’m casting my vote for SSS Nostalgie too. Also, I think that Jour Ensoleille or Champagne de Bois might be nice too.

  12. helenviolette says:

    I think a good plan would be to order the Ormonde Jayne discovery set, sniff through Hermes and the Chanel Exclusiffs.

    • annemarie says:

      Yes, there is much beauty to be discovered in all those lines.

  13. Bee says:

    Ormonde Jaynes of course, but I also suggest the puredistance scents (expensive, but it’s worthwhile ordering the samples), amber oud (by Kilian), Lumière noire (Francis Kurkdjian) . Other options could be “masculine orientals” , I was thinking of dsquared potion (for men), Prada amber (for men)..
    just for the fun of it try Jungle (elephant) by Kenzo, rather whacky, maybe too sweet?

  14. dora says:

    How about Dzongkha by L’Artisan? Some of the fancy Tom Fords like Jasmin Noir might appeal.

  15. maggiecat says:

    Agreeing with all who recommended the Ormonde Jayne scents – all sound perfect. I wish Kisa lived next door to me – she sounds like a kindred spirit (at 57, I’m celebrating my 3rd anniversary today!)

  16. sllat says:

    I love Cuir de Russie, but feel it is too special to be an everyday scent. Cuir de Lancome is also lovely and seems more subdued and casual, perhaps more versatile for a signature fragrance. Both are certainly worth a try!
    The scent that comes to my mind as a suggestion may seem a bit obvious, but could be just the thing. I am thinking of Clinique Aromatics Elixir. It has excellent lasting power, is complex enough to remain interesting from day to day and seems sophisticated enough for a woman of such classic tastes.
    Best of luck, Kisa!

  17. Kisa says:

    Hello fellow fragrance enthousiasts,

    I just noticed I had made it to the Monday Mail last November. I had somewhat given up on my request finally making its way to the top of the queue and had stopped checking in. So I apologize for not responding sooner. I do thank you all for your suggestions and am making my way slowly through the posts. I know I will have lots of fun trying all the wonderful fragrances you describe. They all sound thrilling! I promise to return and let you know what I have settled on. Kisa

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