And 25 more fragrances every perfumista should smell

Amouage Jubilation

Five years ago, I wrote an article called 100 Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try; since then it's been the most-read article on Now Smell This. I was less than satisfied with it when I published it, and 5 years on, it's really showing its age. This week I've made some corrections and adjustments to bring it up to date, but I'm still not satisfied with it and I probably never will be.1 Meantime, Angie and Kevin have joined in the list-making effort with 26 Vintage Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try and 50 Masculine Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try.

So this post is something of an addendum: 25 more fragrances every perfumista should smell. It's in the same mold as the original article, that is, it's not a list of the best fragrances, but rather, more fragrances that you ought to know in the interests of furthering your perfume education. Some of them are fragrances I wish I could have found room for in the original 100, some of them are just newer fragrances that I think are brilliant, and some of them are from brands that aren't quite so brilliant but that I think you ought to be familiar with anyway. The list only includes brands that were not on the original 100 Fragrances post.

And as before, the list exposes the massive gaps in my own perfume education. You would think I'd be better informed 5 years later, but it's turned out quite the opposite: every year they release more and more and MORE new fragrances, and every year I fail to smell more than a small percentage. It's a losing battle. 

1. Amouage Jubilation 25

The explosion of niche brands over the past 5 years has been astonishing, and whatever assumptions one could make in the past about the quality of niche perfumes are now best thrown out the window — niche fragrances are usually more expensive and less widely distributed than mainstream fragrances, but they're not necessarily any more interesting or better-made. Jubilation 25, made to celebrate the Amouage brand's 25th anniversary, is a good corrective when you're feeling a bit cynical about niche. I happen to prefer the men's counterpart, Jubilation XXV, and was happy to see that Kevin included it in his list.

2. Byredo Pulp

The Byredo line has lots of fans, but by and large the brand doesn't appeal to me. Pulp got my attention for the simple reason that it's great fun, and fun is something that is all too often missing from niche perfume. At least, I think the "huge burst of fizzy-sweet juicy berries + green fig + peach" is great fun, but admittedly, some people just find it disgusting. Consider yourself warned. More fun with fruit: Comme des Garçons Red Play.

3. Chloé Love, Chloé

Since I wrote the original 100 list, we've seen a sort of mini-trend of cosmetic powder fragrances, both niche and mainstream; Love, Chloé is one of the more notable examples of the bunch.

4. Etat Libre d'Orange Tilda Swinton Like This

The French niche line Etat Libre d'Orange loves to shock, but the products don't always live up to the hyperbole. Still, there are plenty of gems among the nearly 30 fragrances they've released since their debut in 2006, including this deliciously odd scent for the deliciously odd actress.

5. Givenchy Organza Indecence

When I wrote the original 100 list, Indecence wasn't easy to find. It's back, get it while you can.

6. Jo Malone Lime, Basil & Mandarin

The Jo Malone brand soldiers on without its founder. After a brief "experimental" period (Blue Agava & Cacao, Sweet Lime & Cedar, & etc) they've mostly gone back to the sort of solid, well-crafted basics that fans have come to expect. I'm not always among the fans, and have especially disliked the inoffensive, dewy-clean florals they've emphasized lately (English Pear & Freesia, Sakura Cherry Blossom, Wild Bluebell, London Blooms trio, & etc).

I've selected Lime, Basil & Mandarin despite my abiding dislike for it; it's a long time bestseller and probably as good an example of the brand's style as any. Dark Amber & Ginger Lily (introduced as a limited edition and now part of the "Cologne Intense" collection) was more to my taste and is worth a try if you happen upon it, and the new Blackberry & Bay is a bit more lively than some of the other recent offerings.

Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey double advert

7. Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey

One of many classic fragrances that really should have been in the original 100 if only I could have found room, although the fact that I don't care for it made the omission less of a hardship. But you ought to know L'Eau d'Issey if only because of its historical importance — as Michael Edwards notes, after the success of L'Eau d'Issey, "the aquatic trickle became a tidal wave". That it's a grande dame of perfumery is not necessarily something you'll deduce from smelling it, mind you. As Tania Sanchez accurately points out, it "reminds us mostly of Windex now".2

If I were including vintage fragrances, the long-discontinued Le Feu d'Issey would certainly get a nod. If you happen across a botttle, buy it, and if you hate it, do just send it to me.

8. Lancôme Trésor

Another classic that ought to have been in the original 100.

9. Les Parfums de Rosine Ecume de Rose

More roses than you can shake a stick at — French niche line Les Parfums de Rosine is a rose-lovers dream. Many of them are wonderful, but it's more rose than I have the appetite for. I picked Ecume de Rose just because of was one of my early niche favorites, but I'll admit I have not kept up with all the new releases. When Jessica finishes her post on must-smell rose fragrances, hopefully she'll tell us which Rosine is the best (or if you know, do comment).

10. L'Occitane Verbena

L'Occitane, for the rare reader among you who might not already know, is another mall chain, perhaps a step above The Body Shop (see below) in price and ambition. Verbena is perhaps their longest standing best seller. It's a pleasant if unexciting citrus, and most years they do a limited edition flanker or two (the last one we reviewed was Verbena Summer Secret). There are a few other standbys at L'Occitane, including the likewise pleasant if unexciting Thé Vert, but otherwise fragrances and fragrance collections seem to come and go, among them the occasional beauty — the lovely Immortelle de Corse, for instance. Invariably I find that everything is priced just a little higher than I expect or am willing to pay.

11. Lush 25:43

Lush has grown into a worldwide chain, but still has the feel of an operation run out of somebody's garage, and that's the way Lush likes it. All artifice, perhaps, but Lush's fragrance range, under the name Gorilla Perfumes, lives up to the brand's "we are different" ethos: they may come from the mall, but the perfumes don't smell like it. The emphasis on ethically sourced, high quality materials is a bonus, as is the more than reasonable price for the finished products — the perfumes, oddly, seem far more of a bargain than some of the scented body products. If you can brave the intensely scented stores (and get over the stark black packaging), all of the line's perfumes are worth exploring; if not, there are sample sets sold online. I should note that not all stores have all the fragrances, and some scents appear to be online-only.

25:43 makes a nice introduction to the line, and I'll also give a shout out to two of my favorites, B Scent and Silky Underwear. If you'd prefer something bolder, try Karma, Lust or Breath of God.

Marc Jacobs Daisy, girls in field

12. Marc Jacobs Daisy

If you were wondering why so many modern perfumes had vinyl flowers on the bottle, here is your answer. Packaging isn't everything, a likable fragrance isn't everything, and good advertising isn't everything, but when all three mesh just so, you get Daisy, a cheerful, perfectly constructed and presented youth-oriented cash cow that Marc Jacobs hasn't quite managed to replicate, although Lola and Dot have done their valiant vinyled best.

13. Pacifica Tibetan Mountain Temple

Even perfumistas need a cheap thrill now and again. It's worth getting to know Pacifica, a reasonably priced and easy to find brand with 20+ fragrances ranging from French Lilac to Hawaiian Ruby Guava to Spanish Amber. Tibetan Mountain Temple, my personal favorite, can be found in a $9 solid perfume or a $22 spray, and is every bit as satisfying as incense fragrances that cost far more.

14. Parfum d'Empire Azemour Les Orangers

One of my favorite niche perfumes of the last few years, and one of the few fresh chypres (still) around that actually smells like a fresh chypre.

15. Parfumerie Generale Felanilla

Parfumerie Generale is a niche house worth getting to know. They make fragrances in a wide range of styles, from basic-but-lovely cologne (Cologne Grand Siècle, on Kevin's list) to a near-perfect tea (L'Eau Matale or the more concentrated Hyperessence Matale) to tropical florals (Gardenia Grand Soir, Tubéreuse Couture). But when I think of the brand, I tend to think of the unusual twists on the gourmand genre. Unfortunately some of my favorites along those lines (Un Crime Exotique, Praliné de Santal) are now out of production, but the lovely Felanilla is still being made, as are Musc Maori and Aomassaï, both also worth a try.

16. Prada Infusion d'Iris 
17. Prada Amber Pour Homme

There was nothing by Prada on my original 100, and I'm happy to have the chance to correct that since it's one of my favorite fragrance brands. Like Hermès, Prada has quietly built up a range of quality, well-built perfumes that eschew flash and blatant commercialism (ok, Candy had a little flash and blatant commercialism, but I liked it anyway). It's way too soon to call Infusion d'Iris a classic, but I predict it will earn that name in time; if you like it, do try the lusher Infusion d’Iris Absolue.

I was not surprised that Prada Amber Pour Homme didn't make Kevin's list of must-smell masculines, but I'd call it a must-smell masculine for a woman, especially a woman who likes to cross-scent.

18. Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure

Sonoma Scent Studio is a small indie line with an avid fan base among perfumistas, and it's easy to see why: the fragrances are well-crafted, reasonably priced, and have a grown-up, 'modern classic' aura that provides comfort when the pink fruity things at the mall seem so overwhelmingly pink. When owner Laurie Erickson reformulates an existing scent, as she frequently does, it's usually in response to customer feedback, or just because she has found a way to make it better. Incense Pure is in my own collection, along with Vintage Rose, but try as many as you can.

19. Tauer Perfumes L’air du Désert Marocain

The Tauer brand is another perfumista favorite, and again for good reason. It's also one of the great indie success stories; anyone who wants to know how to grow a viable perfume brand from scratch would do well to read owner Andy Tauer's blog from start to finish.

I don't happen to love L’air du Désert Marocain, but many people feel it is one of the brand's best. If it turns out that it doesn't suit you either, try one of my favorites, Incense extrême. Or just try them all, there's a sample pack and it's well worth the investment.

20. The Body Shop White Musk

How many perfumistas grew up on fragrances from The Body Shop? The ubiquitous mall store is still selling the original White Musk 30+ years later, and they update it every so often, most recently with White Musk Libertine. Frequent discounts mean you don't have to pay full price for White Musk or anything else, and explain why I own a bottle of White Musk Libertine myself. The other offerings vary, but some of them are really quite good for the price — Moroccan Rose is worth a shot.

21. The Different Company De Bachmakov

This scent from perfumer Celine Ellena for French niche line The Different Company is (in my humble opinion, obviously) a little masterpiece.

Tom Ford Black Orchid, another nude

22. Tom Ford Black Orchid
23. Tom Ford Oud Wood

You could substitute Violet Blonde for the Black Orchid, either is a good representation of the Tom Ford style: polished chic, albeit in a rather loud voice. Tom Ford does not tend (on the women's side of the Signature line, anyway) towards quiet. 

And I wanted to include at least one oud fragrance, insofar as we have seen so many oud launches recently that I was eventually forced to give them a tag in protest. Kevin stole Montale Black Aoud and Yves Saint Laurent M7 for his masculine list, so I'm including Tom Ford's easier-to-wear (and closer to unisex) Oud Wood, from the expensive Private Blend line that I admittedly have little use for otherwise. Or, for a Westernized version of a traditional rose-oud-saffron blend, try Czech & Speake Dark Rose.

24. Vera Wang Princess

Proof, in case you needed it, that youth is wasted on the young. Princess and its myriad flankers (they may be over now, I can't tell) are prime examples of recent trends towards pink girly-girl packaging with pink girly-girl juices to match, all reaching towards an ever-younger target market.

25. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb

The little engine that could. Even more than was the case with Thierry Mugler Angel, Flowerbomb has made the brand widely known, rather than other way around, and again in parallel with Mugler, Viktor & Rolf have struggled to match that success with a subsequent offering (goodbye and thanks for the memories, Eau Mega) but have kept Flowerbomb alive with any number of special edition bottles, most involving some new use of ribbon. Anyway, Flowerbomb, while hardly massively original even when it launched, has been so widely copied that you might as well give it a sniff if you haven't already.

1.  And, while making those corrections and adjustments, I found 2 typos that had been sitting there for 5 years. Ack. So let me just take this opportunity to say please, if you find a typo, do us a favor and tell us about it!

2. First quote from Michael Edwards, Perfume Legends: French feminine fragrances, p. 275. Second quote from Tania Sanchez, Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, p. 231.

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  1. Janice says:

    I love these lists! I just went back and looked at your updates to the original article, which for a long time I used as a sort of roadmap. Some of my favorites are on this new list but I’m surprised to find that I haven’t even sniffed about half of them—I’ll work on that!

    • Robin says:

      You know, it’s a good thing I never knew that post would have such staying power, or I probably never would have been able to make myself publish it in the first place. There are days when I think I’d like to stop publishing new posts and just go back and rewrite all the old ones, over & over again in a loop, until I get it right ;-)

      • Merlin says:

        Eventually you would craft them all into poems!

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        Robin, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a lot of newer perfumistas do as I did–once I committed to wanting to know more, I went straight to that list and started ordering samples. I wanted to be “in the know,” and I wanted to feel informed in these conversations online and when I was out shopping. And while it would do me good to go back to those scents and give them a better-informed, more-experienced-nose sniff, I still think it was as good an early education as anything I mighta done.

        • Robin says:

          Well, I’m glad if it helped. It makes me uncomfortable to think that anybody feels they have to spend money, though.

        • Annikky says:

          I feel like this is an appropriate time and place to finally de-lurk. Because as Marjorie Rose, Janice and others have said, the original 100 Fragrances was a crucial milestone in my early (and it’s still early) perfume education. I have always loved lists and this was what I needed, something concrete and helpful. But it was not only about that list, I read every one of Robin’s introductory posts and they helped me enormously to make sense of all those new and strange and wonderful things. And, no doubt, avoid costly mistakes. I realise that my experience is far from unique, this has happened many times, to many people. Actually, I was finally moved to comment because of Alyssa’s Coming to My Senses. I started reading yesterday evening and it is almost eerie how much of her story I can relate to (although my own trajectory was not as drastic and I am never to be a perfumista of her quality). I had always appreciated NST and especially Robin a lot, I was fully aware that my perfume interest was largely sparked and definitely sustained and shaped by her. I knew that I loved Robin’s attitude (and also that of the other writers and commenters) and her tone, her use of language, her quiet commitment. Still, Alyssa’s words somehow crystallised all this, made me see it more clearly and really want to express my gratitude and appreciation.

          So, thank you Robin, for everything. There are too many things to list and I am not going to try, but there is a moment in my life that could very well be named after you. It happened last March, when it was still a deep, cold winter in Estonia with mountains of snow. Winter can be beautiful here, with all that severe whiteness and covered-up beauty, but four months of it makes one desperate for spring. I was at the mall, browsing, and remembered that I should try Diorissimo, because you kept praising it. I had read your review, but somehow forgotten every word in it and was expecting a heavy, opaque classic. So you can imagine my shock, when it turned out to be this sparkly thing of beauty, an instant transportation in time and space – to my grandmother’s garden in May, where lily of the valley was threatening to overtake everything else on the flower bed. I was sitting in the taxi later, driving through the dark, chilly city and sniffing my wrist – probably the only person in Tallinn at that moment who really believed, knew, that the spring was coming.

          • Robin says:

            Oh, thank you so much Annikky — you made my day. SO nice to read about your experience with Diorissimo!

          • Rappleyea says:

            What a beautiful post! You brought tears to my eyes. Please keep posting, Annikky. And welcome!

          • AnnS says:

            Welcome Annikky – what a beautiful post! NST was crucial for most of us in our early perfumista endeavors. How else would we know what to search for?

          • Annikky says:

            Thank you for the kind words and warm welcome. Sometimes, when I’m about to loose faith in humankind, I come here, click on a random post and read the comments.

          • alyssa says:

            Oh, wow. I just now came back to this post to see if I’d managed to nudge Robin a little closer to buying Azemour (do it, R!) and am so happy to read this beautiful post. Thank you for the kind words, and hurrah for Robin and all she’s done for us. Your description of Diorissimo in the cold will stay with me a long time.

  2. Tama says:

    Good list, and, as usual, there are many I have not sniffed. It is impossible to keep up.

    Funny, but I was in Ulta one day and sniffing around the usual fruity-floral new things, and decided to try Tresor. I liked it way better than anything else I had on, and procured a sample as soon as I could. Funny how some of those older perfumes come back to tap you on the shoulder and let you know they have always been there, waiting.

    • Robin says:

      Tresor is SO not me! But a little dab is lovely, now & again. Sophia Grojsman is another underappreciated perfumer.

  3. Arielle says:

    Robin, thanks for another great list! I truly appreciate how you include fragrances that you don’t care for, and that your admitting to missteps as well (totally agree with you about Tresor).

  4. Bradamante says:

    Caution – this is a bragging post. But anyhow: Damn! I was good when I was young. Why? Because I wore: le Feu d’Issey, Inoui by Shiseido, Samsara and Chamade de Guerlain, and Diorissimo. I mean, really… I seem to have had taste before I even knew something like that could exist!

    • Robin says:

      Oh, you have bragging rights then! I can claim Diorissimo since it was one of my first perfumes, but never heard of the others until I was a perfumista.

      • Bradamante says:

        I just walked into them. Inoui was a forgotten bottle on the outdoor market of our town, Chamade & Molto Missoni (which I dearly miss) were last bottles on sale in our department store, Le Feu d’Issey ditto (several times in a row!), albeit at the local perfumery. Diorissimo and Samsara were the only ones I used to buy full retail.

  5. ringthing says:

    Thanks for this week of posts. I always love these lists; it’s a chance to kind of mark my progress on my perfume journey, and to sigh over all the things I’d like to smell that I still haven’t gotten around to. I’ll just mention that as a rose lover, the Rosine line does offer some real treasures. Just recently I swapped for a bottle of Rose d’Homme and it’s my favorite yet, totally unisex. And I really like Tom Ford’s signature line and was glad to see Black Orchid on the list.

    • Robin says:

      Rose d’Homme was a great scent — & love that they’ve done 2 more for men. I need to try the last one, Rosissimo.

      • Joe says:

        Robin, I FINALLY got to try Rosissimo at Barneys SF just a couple weeks ago and it was everything I wanted. I love Un Zeste de Rose and have a huge decant, but always wanted the citrus amped up even more. Rosissimo fits the bill. I really loved it.

        • Robin says:

          Oh, so good to know! And now that reminds me of Parfums 06130 Yuzu Rouge, I wonder if they still make that.

        • AnnS says:

          Hey Joe – thanks for the tip!

  6. Celestia says:

    For those of us who enjoy good writing, correct spelling and grammar, typos can be very frustrating to discover in our own works. One of the many reasons I read this site above all other sites (which can have some glaring errors), is that there are very, very few errors in the various authors’ writing, if ever. I would feel so critical if I pointed out any typos. Thank you for being open to correction.
    I am gratified that you included Givenchy Organza Indecence. When I first smelled it being sprayed liberally in a store, my initial impression was that it was the vilest swill ever. Once I got to know it, I realized that I was wrong about it. It is a cinnamony, sexy fragrance that is perfect for Xmastime. I think it is very well done for what it’s supposed to be, but alas, is in a category that is not mine.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, do not ever feel critical — I absolutely LOVE to be told about typos, and very few people point them out. There is nothing worse than looking at an old article and finding a glaring typo that has been sitting there for weeks or months or years. Anyone who sees one is more than welcome to comment, or to send me an email, either method works.

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      Sadly, in a side-by-side vintage and reissue comparison, I do not like the newer version of Organza Indecence. I wish I did, because the original is very nice. But I found the reissue to be thinner, less complex, and very quick to dry down to something not nearly as interesting as the original. :(

      • Robin says:

        Oh dear. Do you mean the “original” Mythiques version in general, or are you saying they’ve reformulated the Mythiques?

        Either way, I have never tried them side by side.

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          I ordered samples from TPC, one listed as the original and one listed as the reissue. I don’t recall them mentioning Mythiques at all . . . [just checking now] . . . no, no reference at all. Both are just listed as Givenchy Organza Indecence, so I guess that doesn’t answer your question? In any case, I didn’t prefer the reissue, sadly!

    • L says:

      Just an “amen” to what Celestia said about this cleanly edited blog. It is one of the reasons I prefer NST, too.

  7. Merlin says:

    Yay! A bragging post from me too. For the first time ever I I have smelled most of the frags on a must-smell list. Hold on while I do a somersault – whoopee!!
    By the way – I don’t think Pacifica is available at all in South Africa…

    • Robin says:

      Yay :-)

      Yes, Pacifica probably isn’t outside of the US at all, should have thought of that.

      • Merlin says:

        Yes, you have to remember you have an international readership! :)

        • Robin says:

          I try, but don’t always manage! Also very hard to tell sometimes where things are distributed.

  8. mals86 says:

    A very good list/addendum to previous list! Everything on it is there for a reason, if only for “so this is what the tweens are wearing” or “this isn’t my style, but I’m glad I smelled it as a representation of the genre.” Thumbs up.

    Of these 25, I’ve smelled 18, and of the 7 I haven’t smelled, I’ve managed to smell something else from the line. Several of these I don’t care much for (VW Princess, Black Orchid, Love Chloe, Pulp); several of them I’d substitute another fragrance from the brand for (Incense Pure, Lime Basil Mandarin, L’AdDM, Ecume de Rose) ; some I enjoy but wouldn’t wear regularly (Tresor, Like This, Verbena); a few I love (Infusion d’Iris, Daisy). But all are listworthy.

    Incidentally, I really disliked the Id’I Absolue I smelled recently: too much orange blossom, unpleasantly soapy on me. Much prefer the original. And hate Black Orchid, but am devoted to the now-discontinued edt version, Voile de Fleur.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you!

      Good to know that you found Id’l Absolue MORE soapy than the original.

      And hey, for any other readers (including me) who want to know, do tell me what you’d substitute from those brands!

    • austenfan says:

      I didn’t like the Absolue either. Didn’t find it soapy just thick and missing the point. Love the original.

      Great list although some brands are not available where I live.

    • AnnS says:

      I made sure to get 2 BO VDF bottles last year – it’s my fav from Tom Ford.

  9. C.H. says:

    Infusion d’Iris is a fascinating one to me, because I agree completely: it likewise strikes me as smelling ‘like a classic’…and then I wonder, what exactly do I mean by that? Since it hasn’t been around long enough to establish longevity, is there some olfactory quality that signals ‘classic’? What would that be?

    Venturing a guess, I’m imagining it has something to do with at least smelling like (if not actually being made up of; I assume this is unknown?) expensive ingredients; having a certain amount of restraint that I’d think likely facilitates timelessness (it’s very difficult to imagine that even decades down the road, anyone would ever find this embarrassing…although I suppose the overly light would risk being forgettable); …and what else? Love to hear what Robin and others think; seems like a question those with a more extensive set of references will be much better able to comment on than I. (E.g. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it has certain commonalities with older classics that I couldn’t name but which may have wafted past my nose in the wild enough to condition my brain!)

    • C.H. says:

      (Not that I think Id’I is overly light; just that I realize even restraint could be taken too far!)

    • Robin says:

      To me, it’s not any olfactory quality that makes me think something will be a classic, it’s more like a confluence of properties, many of which have nothing to do with smell. There are some fabulous scents that are incredibly well done, but will never be classics because they aren’t widely known or appreciated. Then there are scents that are widely known/appreciated, but that just don’t seem likely to stand the test of time.

  10. bluepinegrove says:

    Robin, you always do such a great job of navigating in a realm of strong opinions, preferences, and emotions. It really is cool that you list things you don’t personally like, and that you don’t even claim to be an expert after all these years! What you do is quite masterful.

    One reason this blog is so great is that all the writers acknowledge their own inclinations about fragrance, while creating an open atmosphere in which everyone is entitled to his/her valid opinions and tastes.

    • Robin says:

      That’s sweet, thank you!

      I’ll never be an expert, and don’t aspire to it anyway — that’s not what this blog is all about.

    • tulp says:

      Wholeheartedly agree.

    • Rappleyea says:

      Thirding this! Well said!

  11. moore says:

    I didn’t know Felanilla is a female fragrance. Daisy is soooo god!
    Loved you put Prada Amber Home in your list! Nice fragrance! :)

    • Robin says:

      Oh, I don’t know if it is — that is, not sure how PG was marketing Felanilla.

  12. daisy8 says:

    Yes! The Body Shop White Musk! Still wear it to bed every once in a while. Princess too….

    • Robin says:

      Obviously you’re not alone — they wouldn’t keep making it if it didn’t sell!

  13. Abyss says:

    Some great additions, Robin, and I really enjoyed this week’s posts in general.

    I’d have included at least one of this bunch though – Diorella, Cristalle or, even, *whispers* OJ Tiare. Those types of citrus floral with a touch of chypre mossy-ness in the base are such classics that I’d recommend sniffing them if only for educational purposes. The latter is also a nice example of how the genre can be brought up to date although I know you weren’t all that moved by it.

    • Robin says:

      You know, on the original 100 list, Diorella didn’t make it because I picked Eau Sauvage instead. Is Diorella still good? Sad but I don’t even know.

      Cristalle didn’t make the Chanel list because I assume the EdT is either less good already, or will be less good eventually. And I don’t think the EdP fills the same “slot”. Totally know what you mean though. Funny though, never would have stuck Tiare in that category, although I know others do too. I guess I need to keep smelling Tiare until I “get it”. Meantime, Azemour des Orangers has to fill in for all of them I guess!

      • Abyss says:

        It’s been a while since I smelled Diorella in store. Last time was when Dior re-packaged things and it smelled different but I’m not sure if it was just the top notes that got tweaked. I think I was too busy being horrified by Diorissimo. So happy to have my earlier bottles of both but I keep thinking about getting back ups before the prices start going stratospheric.

        Cristalle was never my thing, it’s one that I respect from afar but can’t ever see myself wearing.

        I adore Tiare but I’m well aware that I’m in the minority since most perfumistas seem pretty indifferent. It’s unquestionably modern but, to my nose, there’s some family resemblance there.

        • hajusuuri says:

          Abyss, OJ Tiare had taken over OJ Woman as my favorite in the line. I also agree that it shares properties with Cristalle. If one could describe a scent as “shiny”, that’s the word I would use to describe what is similar between the two.

          • Marjorie Rose says:

            After all these comments on Tiare, I think I’m gonna have to go back to my samples (when I find them in the box!), and give it another go. My original notes say that I like the sense of flowers and citrus, but that it felt like a “special occasion” perfume to me–which usually doesn’t end up translating into FB status, since I have so few special occasions to warrant such scents! But, I could use a little sophistication these days (been reaching for my sample of Ubar quite a bit), so maybe it’s time for another go at it!

          • Abyss says:

            hajusuuri, Tiare was the OJ that finally broke me. I like a few of them but this is the one that I just had to buy.

            Marjorie, that’s interesting because, for me, this is one of the perfumes that I reach for on days when I want something wearable and “other people friendly”, if it makes sense. Perhaps not an everyday perfume but definitely a day perfume, not an evening scent. Same as Diorellla, really.

        • Robin says:

          Abyss, “too busy being horrified by Diorissimo” is exactly why I haven’t smelled the new one. It is probably the only one that would make me cry, although Cristalle would be a close 2nd — those, along with Coriandre (long ruined) were my early fragrances.

          • Abyss says:

            That’s probably wise, I found it very harsh.

        • Annikky says:

          I agree with the family resemblence, to my nose it’s quite strong. I tried Diorella (latest version), Cristalle and Tiare at about the same time and found them all similar. I even tested Diorella and Tiare side-by-side and on my skin there was a point where they seemed almost identical. However, this can also be because my sniffing-experience is limited and my nose was too eager to find some sort of pattern to cling to. No matter, I like all three and think Tiare is the most straightforwardly beautiful of OJ scents (though I would buy Woman and Champaca first).

          • AnnS says:

            I may be my funny nose, but I found that Annick Goutal’s Eau de Sud has a bit of that funky swampy “Cristalle” smell to it, albeit with more citrus. It may be a nice choice for those disaffected with current Cristalle edt. I myself prefer the Cristalle edp, which from what I can tell, is still good.

          • Robin says:

            So glad to hear that about Sud, I always liked it better than Hadrien anyway.

          • Abyss says:

            Sud is another AG (along with Sables) that I keep meaning to try but can never find in stores. I’m not a massive fan of citrus, though, so that one could probably go either way for me.

      • annemarie says:

        Diorella still smells fine to me but people complain it has lost funkiness. My complaint is that in its current iteration I find Diorella’s longevity quite poor. But maybe it was never great to start with?

        • Jillie says:

          I’ve worn Diorella since it first came out (yes, I am ancient!), and sadly can not wear it now as they have added cumin to it, which I hate! And you’re right, as with all reformulations, the current juice is so much weaker (maybe that’s a good thing for me at least).

          The same fate has befallen Cristalle edt, which Chanel actually started tinkering with about four years ago – I dread to think what the future holds for it. Again, I wore it as soon as it was introduced and it was my wedding fragrance, so I am quite gutted that my lovely scent is no more.

          I can sort of see why Tiare is always mentioned as being similar to these two, but I wouldn’t immediately put it in the same group as it has a more woody feel to it. But I do like, even though it has a strange “urinous” effect – vetiver? – half way through!

          At the risk of repeating myself (‘cos I keep saying this), my current love is PdeN’s L’Eau a la Folie, which I have said is a love-child of Diorella and Cristalle, and which has the oomph that they have now lost.

          I wonder why reformulations are so weak? I suppose it is much cheaper to make perfumes if they are watered down ……..

          • annemarie says:

            Oh yes, if you hate cumin you hate cumin. End of story. I’m generally okay with it. Sorry to hear your great loves have been lost to you. I absolutely MUST try that Nicolai! I’ve heard only good things about it, and your comment encourages me. My problem is that none of the decant services have L’Eau a la Folie. I don’t want to blind buy a FB because although Nicolai is not expensive, international shipping from the e-retailers that carry Nicolai is very expensive. (I’m in Australia.) Luckyscent does not seem to be offering a sample. Dang!

          • Jillie says:

            Annemarie – I would be happy to send you a decant from my bottle. I am used to sending things to Oz as my sister emigrated there from the UK! If you would like this, please email me at: jillieh at btinternet dot com. But I am sure you would love it!

          • Robin says:

            Folie is a great scent, totally agree.

            I think many of these scents seem watered down now because they’ve added modern fresh notes to make up for the loss of other ingredients that previously added “sparkle”. At least, that’s how Eau Sauvage seems to me know.

          • Abyss says:

            Ha, I think of Diorella as the more herbaceous/woody one (but less so than Sauvage) and Tiare as the more floral one. On my skin it’s the green jasmine that comes to the foreground (OJ SA took a sniff of my wrist and agreed) with just a touch of moss and wood in the base to keep it interesting. I also find that whatever citrus and Iso E Super is in it, it’s not as obvious as in, say, Frangipani so it’s much better balanced.

            I’ll have to try Folie. I really like Odalisque so I reckon they must know a thing a two about making a great green floral.

  14. alyssa says:

    Why don’t I own a full bottle of De Bachmakov?? *checks price* Oh yeah, that’s why. Keep looking for the travel set though, and may eventually spring for it. Wore it the other day in cold and rainy weather and it was just as good as it was this summer. Your review sold Azemour to me Robin and I am not one bit sorry I ordered it unsniffed. Love.

    And hey, lists are made to be discussed, right? This one is very well balanced. I love seeing a few more indies pop up.

    • Robin says:

      Ha…I don’t own DB for the same reason you don’t own DB. If you ever see that darned travel set (I look for it every so often) keep me in mind for a split.

      And absolutely. “Definitive list” is nearly always a contradiction in terms.

      • Merlin says:

        The Different Company is IMO totally over-priced.

        • Robin says:

          The original bottles, I think, were meant to be nearly as much of the point as the fragrances. I don’t care that much about bottles so would rather have the discount :-)

  15. hajusuuri says:

    I love this week’s posts! I was originally going to randomly pick perfumes to smell this weekend at Barneys…now I can bring a list although I do have to limit my sniffa since the longer I stay at Barneys, the less time I’ll have at the MAD Art of Scent Exhibit.

    Although I have never smelled it (I’m waiting for my decant in a swap), perhaps Mary Greenwell Plum may someday make a list of perfumes to try if only to have one that is well, Plum!

  16. nozknoz says:

    These are great lists! I like very much the addition of a masculine list, which is, surprisingly, so much more satisfying: there are far fewer great masculines, so it’s not such such a Sofie’s choice kind of exercise. I’m also very much looking forward to Jessica’s best roses post.

    I have to say I’m surprised not to see a single By Kilian!!! Calice Becker is a genius of beauty and balance – her Liaisons Dangereuses, Beyond Love, Back to Black, A Taste of Heaven, Pure Oud and Rose Oud are among my desert island perfumes. True, her original J’Adore was perfect, but Dior has damaged it. Her best perfumes are now the BKs.

    I also can’t live without La Via del Profumo’s Mecca Balsam and Sharif. I prefer them to the Aesops, personally.

    • Robin says:

      I considered adding the By Kilian Tubereuse. There is never enough space.

      But seriously(!) as I was writing this, I was thinking there should be (yet another!) list, of scents that I don’t think you necessarily have to know to be well informed, but just because they’re wonderful and not so widely known…more of a “personal favorites” sort of list, and La Via del Profumo belongs there, I think. His recent series (that I can’t remember the name of) is brilliant.

      • farouche says:

        Robin, that’s a great idea! And it would be interesting to learn about everyone’s favorite fragrance that is flying under the radar. Or, in the case of mainstream perfumes, hiding in plain sight.

        • Robin says:

          Will try to do that in 2013. But these lists are harder to write than they look :-)

          • farouche says:

            I’m sure! On to 2013 then :)

  17. Joe says:

    Hi Robin! Great additions! I’m ashamed to say I haven’t even seen Angela’s and Kevin’s lists. I understand how hard it must be to make these lists — and the number of scents out there is staggering! There are several in this addendum that I haven’t tried, and several I don’t like but agree with you on their “must sniff” status. (And wow, I just went and looked at all your edits to the original list!)

    The one thing I’d most definitely add is a scent from the category of “very far from traditional concepts of perfumery.” Examples of this might be Secretions Magnifique (perhaps the most infamous), Byredo M/Mink, or one of the CdGs: Skai, Odeur 71, Odeur 53, or the newish Eau de Parfum. I always like to encourage people to try this type of scent in order to really blow away their concept of perfumery and say, “Yes, *this* type of smell is perfume too.”

    I love these lists!

    • Robin says:

      Thank you Joe!

      ElDO’s SM is on Kevin’s list, and so is Odeur, and I wish CdG 2 or CdG 2 Man had made one of our lists, and I do think the Stephen Jones is brilliant. Eventually we will end up with a list of 500 :-)

  18. ChocolatEyes613 says:

    Such a great list, Robin. Thank you so much, for the update :)

    I am very familiar with quite a few of these fragrances. Tresor was my mother’s signature scent, when I was younger. Lol…. I must be the only girl in the world, who thinks MJ Daisy smells disgusting.

    So, glad to see Love, Chloe listed. It is so beautiful. When I first tried it on my skin, I thought it smelled awful. Gave it a few more test runs, because I refused to give up after one try. Now, it is on my “To Buy” list!

    • Robin says:

      Oh, I’m sure you’re far from the only one that likes Daisy! But I think they cast a much wider net w/ Daisy than they even meant to — I know lots of “grown-ups” who wear it, and tons of perfumistas have bought it as gifts for younger friends or relatives. It really does have an amazingly wide appeal.

  19. ockeghem says:

    Ooooh — thank you for picking up Felanilla! One of my favourite perfume finds…I would never have found it myself, but the impeccable Nazrin at The Perfume Shoppe here in Vancouver talked me into it on a lunch break. It’s a gourmand, which I normally don’t go for, and I didn’t know much about PG, but I just loved the combination of the banana and saffron, which is what comes out on me. It’s weird and yet so comforting at the same time. I had serious sticker shock walking out of the shop but haven’t regretted it since.

    And Body Shop White Musk! Not the world’s best fragrance, but a VERY memorable one. The soap (sadly, apparently discontinued) evokes strong, strong memories of an early 90s summer in Europe.

    Le Feu d’Issey — agree, I would gladly take a bottle of that off anyone’s hands if they find it too weird. Right now I just have a large sample. I love that one, even if apparently hardly anyone else does.

    And I’m a Jubilation 25 fan but have never smelled XXV, so need to try it. Though I have to be very careful with Jubilation 25 — too large of a single drop on one wrist can be enough to overpower my entire evening. I love the cumin note even if it puts others off, but the whole thing can make me smell like I just left the world’s most scented souk if I’m not careful.

    • Robin says:

      Jubilation — both of them — are best applied carefully by the drop, agree!

      Le Feu was “before it’s time” and wrong for it’s market. You could release it today as a niche scent and I’m sure it would find an audience.

  20. annemarie says:

    A wonderfully interesting and balanced list.

    I too find L’Occitane perfumes a bit too expensive, and many of them, including the verbena, seem very sour and short-lived on my skin. I cannot speak highly enough of the verbena foaming bath though. The scent holds up well and I find it so relaxing and yet energising at the same time. My kids love it too – many times I’ve heard their contented sigh as they lay back in a verbena bath. Kids do get stressed and its great to have something on hand that helps. This is is my favourite bath product and we are never without it.

    I visited someone recently who had the The Vert shower product in their guest bathroom and it was very good indeed. I’m now more inclined to put my faith in L’O’s body products than perfumes.

    • Merlin says:

      The bath products also seem very expensive though, and the famed ones (like verbena bubble bath) never go on sale.
      But here (in S.A.) the perfumes do sometimes go on sale: I’v got Delices de Fleurs, The Vert, and Citrus Verbena for about half the original price.

      • annemarie says:

        Yes, and I’m in Australia where they are comparatively even more expensive. That’s why the verbena bath about the only L’O product I buy, and I get it online these days. :)

    • Robin says:

      L’Occitane should take a note from Lush and offer more small sizes, more consistently — they often have rollerballs, for instance, but then they sell out and don’t get replaced. It is odd to me that Lush, where none of the perfume sizes go over 30 ml and everything is in a travel size or solid, turns out to be more affordable than L’Occitane, where it always seems like what I want is in 60 ml. That Immortelle was nearly $70, IIRC.

      And in my local mall, Lush is always crowded, L’Occitane is always empty.

  21. poodle says:

    I love when the lists have things I’ve actually smelled on them. It makes me feel like a real perfumista. I don’t like all of them but I can understand how they made the list and I do appreciate them for what they are.

  22. dolcesarah says:

    Every thing and perfume I’ve ever had an inkling of interest in was because of your writing. I remember your most recent review of Rubj by vero and I knew it was gonna be $$$$, but I saved up and bought it cause you, Angie, and Lucas, and Kevin said it was a must smell. I just ordered rochas Femme vintage and Amarathine and Champaca and Putin de Palaces bu ELO. I CANNOT WAIT TO GET THE LAST TWO. JULIETTE HAS A GUN AND SONOMA SEcent studios have stuck out for me this year. So have the L’Artisans and S Luntens. Thanks everyone

  23. dolcesarah says:

    No serge?

    • Robin says:

      There is lots of Serge on the original list of 100.

  24. Rappleyea says:

    Great list update, Robin! The constant change, evolution and learning is what keeps this so much fun. So many scents, so little time… ;-)

  25. AnnS says:

    Nice list Robin! It reminds me that I want to revisit my sample of Like This because I was pretty smitten with it when I first tested it a year ago, but I put it aside. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a serious lemming for something “new”. There’s a lot on your list that I haven’t tested!

    • Robin says:

      I’ve got a few “buy” lemmings at the moment. But hard to get me to buy perfume these days, I have so much already.

  26. Carine Yezn says:

    I suggest vera wang her first perfume not princess really. It’s timeless & ageless. I think it’s a must try even for those who don’t like soapy or flowery fragrances.

  27. austenfan says:

    Love your list! Also love the original 100. I think I would have chosen Rien over Like This, but the latter will probably have a wider appeal, plus it’s a fab scent for a fab actress.

  28. Omega says:

    I hate VW for sending us into a tween scented downward spiral..or should I blame DK? Those apples..:p

    • Robin says:

      Hard to say who is to blame! But I think Princess is geared even younger than the Be Delicious series.

  29. Annika says:

    I DO wish Balenciaga Paris (my favourite at the moment, so I’m biased) had made the list…

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