The Monday Mail ~ help Lori find a new perfume

Pink letter slot

The Monday Mail is back from the holiday break, and we're kicking things off with Lori, who wants to find a versatile fragrance she can wear everyday, but that is sexy enough for a night out. Her ideal scent would be something that could be worn lightly or with a heavier hand, depending on her mood and the setting. She has been wearing Thierry Mugler Angel for years, but would love to find something less widely worn, or something she could layer with Angel to make it less recognizable. Lori can spend up to $200 and is happy to shop online; she also has good access to brick 'n mortar stores.

Here is what we know about Lori:

She's in her early 40s and is married, no children.

She lived outside San Francisco for 10 years, and is currently living near Baltimore.

Lori likes travel, yoga, running, reading, musical theater, knitting.

Her style is eclectic and ranges from 80's, to vintage, to modern and simple. She likes unique, one of a kind things, mixed with classics — think Desigual meets the GAP, meets IKEA, meets thrift shop. All worn with black leggings.

Lori likes gourmands, fruits, spices, chocolate, and caramel when it's mixed with something more sophisticated and complex. She also likes smoke, tobacco, leather, incense, and sometimes tuberose, jasmine or honeysuckle.

Lori doesn't like soapy or heavily floral fragrances, and hasn't liked anything by Chanel so far.

Here are the fragrances Lori has tried:

Origins Ginger Essence: she loves it, but it disappears quickly and feels limited to summer.

Neela Vermeire Créations Trayee: she is loving her sample so far.

Thierry Mugler Angel Fragrances of Leather: a maybe. 

Vera Wang Princess: too floral.

Bogetta Venetta: she finds it elegant, but her husband doesn't love it. 

Jo Malone Blue Agava & Cacao: nice, but maybe a little young or simple.

Tokyo Milk Dead Sexy: she likes it but doesn't love it.

What say you?

Note: top image is pink post [cropped] by jenny downing at flickr; some rights reserved.

Shop for perfume

Parfums Raffy


Leave a comment, or read more about commenting at Now Smell This. Here's a handy emoticon chart.

  1. lucasai says:

    Hi Lori! (waving) I think you should try 1969 from Histoires de Parfums. It’s gorgeous composition based on peach and chocolate. Gourmand Coquin from Guerlain might also be a scent for you. Ver Profumo Kiki has some caramel, and Prada Candy of course, it’s all caramel.
    For leathers etc Serge Lutens Daim Blond, Comme des Garcons Kyoto as incense scent.
    I also suggest trying Tubereuse trio from Histoires de Parfums. They’re really fine tuberoses.

    • lbsimmons says:

      can’t wait to get samples of them all… making a (long) list. Thanks!

  2. ladymurasaki says:

    I think Lori should try the following.

    Anima Dulcis by Arquiste. A spicy cocoa scent with notes of Cocoa Absolute, Mexican Vanilla, Cinnamon, Chili infusion.

    Petit Fracas by Robert Piguet. A chocolatey, fruity floral with notes of bergamot, mandarin, pear, tuberose, jasmine, gardenia, cocoa, musk and sandalwood. Yes, it’s floral, but I think it’s worth a try.

    • lbsimmons says:

      Thanks, I have a sample of the Amina waiting for me, and adding the Petit Fracas to sample!

    • austenfan says:

      I second the Anima Dulcis.
      Have you ever tried Borneo by Lutens? It’s more cocoa than chocolate but very interesting never the less. I doubt it would do as an everyday scent but smelling it will certainly be an experience!

    • SuddenlyInexplicably says:

      Anima Dulcis was the first thing that popped into my mind!

  3. chrisskins says:

    Dior Hypnotic Poison. I’d bet my firstborn on this recommendation. (Okay not really).Your husband will go crazy and it’s got an Eau Sensualle flanker you can use in the office.

    • lbsimmons says:

      I would like my husband to go crazy! Top of the list!

    • Ari says:

      I would also bet Chrisskins’ firstborn. :) Hypnotic Poison is so sensual.

  4. Cybele says:

    try Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule and Hermes Santal Massoia

    • lbsimmons says:

      Thank you! Seeking samples! :)

  5. ChocolatEyes613 says:

    Perfumes Lori should try:

    Thierry Mugler Alien – Les Parfums de Cuir
    Tom Ford Black Orchid
    Lolita Lempicka Le Premier Parfum
    Estee Lauder Sensuous Noir

    • lbsimmons says:

      Thanks! I’ll sniff ’em!!

  6. egabbert says:

    Try the Taste of Fragrance flankers in the Mugler line — you might like the Alien version for a change-up. Also A*Men Pure Malt is fantastic.

    Other gourmands to try: Badgley Mischka (like fruity caramel), DSH Mahjoun (very complex, spicy gourmand, smells like a Middle Eastern dessert).

    For tobacco and amber, Sonoma Scent Studio Tabac Aurea is amazing.

    • lbsimmons says:

      Oopsy forgot to mention, I’ve got the taste of in the Angel, yums!
      The DSH Mahjoun sounds amazing! Oh, the list is growing!! :)

  7. farouche says:

    For a caramel and incense fragrance, you might like to try Hermes Elixer des Merveilles, or my favorite of this group, L’Ambre des Merveilles, an oriental vanilla.
    A spicy white flower with dark undertones is Tom Ford’s Black Orchid Voile de Fleur. And Parfumerie Generale’s Cuir d’Iris is a great chocolate leather. Have fun sniffing!

    • lbsimmons says:

      Thanks! The Hermes and the Parfumerie Generale’s sound wonderful. This is gonna be a big list!

    • juicejones says:

      I agree w/ Farouche about the Hermes! I think the Ambre is a nice middle ground between Elixir and Claire.
      I would also add Musc Ravageur. Perhaps in the oil (if you can still find it) or the body milk, which I have. When it settles down it is wonderful, and if you can wrestle that alligator, Angel, you can surely handle this.

      • Cybele says:

        second Musc Ravageur

        • lbsimmons says:

          Got it coming. Wrestling shoes ready!

  8. NeenaJ says:

    Get a small sample of Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille to try. It can be lightly dabbed for a day at the office or sprayed for an evening out. Smoked vanilla, burnt caramel and a touch of coconut drip with sensuality and provide a calming, cocoon-like sensation at the same time. It dries down to a musky skin scent on me.

    • lbsimmons says:

      Wow, that sounds terrific. Can’t wait to sniff!! Thanks!

    • aimiliona says:

      Second Un Bois Vanille.

      • solanace says:

        Thirding Un Bois Vanille. Serge Lutens seems to be an interesting house for you. I love many from that line, and if you order a few samples you should have fun. I’d also recommend Traversée du Bosphore from l’Artisan, a leathery loukhoum fragrance that is delicious, yummy yet subdued and elegant.

        • Ari says:

          Second the L’Artisan, and maybe also Havana Vanille?

          • lbsimmons says:

            Looking forward to samples! Thanks!

  9. jbordeau says:

    I’m going slightly off-script and leaving the gourmand momentarily: have you tried Second Cumming by CBIHatePerfume? I think this would give you a beautifully photorealistic tobacco/leather but with some introspection. Lots of men like this as well, but lovely on a woman.

    I think that Bulgari Black has something of the gourmand in its vanilla, though it’s beautifully modern (still sensual).

    Finally, something squarely feminine: I think Givenchy Organza could give you an all-around happy fragrance coupled with department store counter-convenience.

    Good luck. Choppy waters, these!

    • lbsimmons says:

      What?! No food? :)
      Second Cumming sounds interesting! I think I have a sample of the Bulgari, somewhere, I’ll have to dig it out! Definitely, will sniff the Givenchy next time I’m out, thanks!

  10. Abyss says:

    First thing that sprang to mind was Les Heures de Cartier: L`Heure Defendue VII

    It’s a sophisticated take on bitter cocoa (iris and patchouli are also listed) so it’s gourmand but not foody/desert-like. Not 100% sure how much they cost these days but definitely worth trying.

    • Rappleyea says:

      Seconding this! It’s gorgeous!!

    • lbsimmons says:

      I’m looking forward to finding a sample, thanks!

  11. Bee says:

    I would also recommend trying different Parfumerie Generale scents (maybe order a sample set). Other options: Kenzo: jungle l’elephant, 1000 flowers: réglisse noire, L’Artisan: travesée du Bosphore, Séville à l’aube, the havanna vanilla (I don’t remember what it’s called nowadays) and others

    • lbsimmons says:

      I like the idea of the sample set and I will look for these others, thanks!

    • Aparatchick says:

      Jungle l’elephant was the first thing I thought of. And Tabac Aurea (Sonoma Scent Studios) – I have yet to wear it without someone complimenting me on it.

  12. JolieFleurs says:

    I’m going to recommend Back to Black (By Kilian) because you mentioned liking tobacco and because it Drives My Husband Wild.

    He doesn’t even notice my perfume 99% of the time, but I had him sniff this on my wrist one time and he held my arm to his nose for several seconds. I put some on my neck and had him sniff it a little later and one thing led to another and I won’t say anything else, except that he told me to buy a bottle for Christmas!

    • lbsimmons says:

      Do you think this makes good excuse to leave work early and head to the mall? Thanks!

  13. lupo says:

    Hi Lori, suggestions from a guy :) try some male gourmands: Dior Homme Intense or L’Instant Pour Homme Guerlain. I bet you can pull them off wonderfully. Plus, I would suggest Vetiver Tonka, a very gourmand take on vetyver, truly lovely although a bit on the pricey side. Tobacco Vanille Tom Ford might be an option as well, which is really true to its name, or maybe Cafe Rose Tom Ford, which is less rosey than the name might lead to think. Have fun sampling!

    • lbsimmons says:

      Good to have a male perspective! I like the idea of trying more masculine scents and the Vetiver Tonka and Tom Ford’s intrigue me. Thanks!

  14. Rappleyea says:

    Hi Lori! You sound like a candidate for the vintage Guerlains: L’Heure Bleue, Vol de Nuit and Mitsouko. All very beautiful and complex fragrances. Also try their newer Spiritueuse Double Vanille (my HG vanilla frag) as well as Attrape Coeur (discontinued now, but you should be able to find decants on the decant sites) and Iris Ganache.

    Seconding the SSS recommendations – an interesting and well-done line. I’m thinking you might especially like Nostalgie and Champagne de Bois. Also, Laurie of SSS is getting ready to come out with an all natural cocoa/sandalwood fragrance that is gorgeous!

    And finally, the Chanels mostly don’t work for me either with one huge exception: Cuir de Russie. Have you tried that one? If not, do give it a whirl.

    Good luck and have fun!

    • lbsimmons says:

      Love the idea of something vintage. I have read about the Cuir de Russie and have not had the opportunity to sniff it yet, but I’m open to it! Thanks!

  15. Desirae says:

    Lori, have you tried the new Alien Absolue? It’s truly one of the best vanillas I’ve ever smelled, with a rich almost woody undertone – it reminds me of Spiritueuse Double Vanille a little.

    • lbsimmons says:

      Haven’t tried that one, I always head straight to the Angel’s, but its going on the list. Thanks!

  16. SuddenlyInexplicably says:

    Another possibility is Sushi Imperiale, which is a spicy vanilla scent. My husband loves that on me. (The “sushi” part refers to rice, not to fish, by the way.)

    • lbsimmons says:

      Ha! yes, the fish-perfume is not what I was looking for! Thanks!

  17. elise says:

    Second Borneo and Black Orchid….adding Missoni!

    • lbsimmons says:

      thanks, looking for more samples!

  18. PetronellaCJ says:

    My suggestions are Donna Karan Chaos and Ineke Evening Edged In Gold.

    • PetronellaCJ says:

      And L’Artisan Nuit de Tubéreuse is a lovely, spicy tuberose scent, perfect for a night out!

      • lbsimmons says:

        Sounds great, thanks so much! Looking forward to getting a sniff.

  19. Dawnkana says:

    Two fragrances that popped into my mind while reading the post, are:

    Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille and Parfums Del Rae Bois de Paradis.

    Tobacco Vanille: Top notes are tobacco leaf and spicy notes; middle notes are tonka bean, tobacco blossom, vanilla and cacao; base notes are dried fruits and woody notes.

    Bois de Paradis: Top note is citruses; middle notes are french rose, blackberry, spices and fig; base notes are amber, woodsy notes, resins and incense.

    • lbsimmons says:

      thanks for the descriptions! Both sound worth finding samples, thank you!

  20. Merlin says:

    Others I would try from Serge Lutens:
    Ambre Sultan: spicy herbal amber
    Chergui: tobacco, warm hay and honey (my favourite)
    Fumerie Turque: similar notes, but more masculine and leather too

    Also from Parfum d’ Empire
    Ambre Russe: sweeter and more boozy than the Sultan

    From Olfactive Studio:
    Chambre Noire: cant describe well – but there are good reviews up.

    Andy Tauer also does wonderful things with incense, leather and tobacco notes. He is best known for:
    L’air du desert morocain: very smooth smoky amber

    • Emily says:

      The Tauer line is a great idea. Also, Luckyscent’s Decennial Lys du Desert is by Andy Tauer — it’s a beautiful blend of spice, smoke, woods, amber, and white florals. I can recommend it in good conscience because I just ordered a FB!

    • lbsimmons says:

      The samples are on the way. Dying for the Olfactive set but can’t get the site to let me order in the US. Thanks!

  21. Lucy says:

    You already have some excellent suggestions. Add another vote to try TF Tobacco Vanille and Black Orchid, and also Prada Candy.

    I also think you should try Guerlain Tonka Imperiale. It’s a bit over your budget, but you should be able to find a decant or large sample online.

    L’Artisan’s Traversee du Bosphore and L’eau de Ambre might fit too. Actually, many lines have an Amber that approaches the gourmand/foodie feel. Prada has made quite a few. If you look them up under the perfume houses link here you’ll see that they vary slightly, but all follow the same pattern. One might be right for you.

    Finally, it seems that Chanel’s are out, but I’m wondering if you’ve tried Coco? (The original, not Mademoiselle or Noir.). It’s different from the aldehydic florals that they are known for in department stores.

    Good luck!

    • lbsimmons says:

      Can’t remember trying Coco, but I will now. Thanks!

  22. Emily says:

    A couple from the Parfums d’Empire line might suit Lori: Ambre Russe and Cuir Ottoman. I hear tell that PdE has a good discovery set.

    Ginestet Botrytis might be worth a sniff, too — honeyed fruits and spices with some white florals. Comes in an absolutely gorgeous bottle.

    • lbsimmons says:

      Samples on the way, thanks! The pretty bottle could definitely sway me!

  23. SmokeyToes says:

    Angel’s Cuir, SL’s Borneo and Daim Blonde are beautiful. TF’s Black Orchid are all wonderful. I would also suggest TF’s Noir de Noir or Oud Wood.

    • lbsimmons says:

      Thanks, I do like the Angel Cuir. Looking forward to sampling the others!

  24. Anat13 says:

    Vero Profumo Kiki edp might fit the bill–lavendar, caramel, and passionfruit that is complex and sophisticated yet not heavy.

    • lbsimmons says:

      Sounds delish! Sample’ heading my way!

      • Anat13 says:

        Great! Hope you like it! I’m also a huge fan of her Rubj edp (passionfruit and cumin–apparently also orange blossom but I don’t detect much of it) and Mito (green, citrus, floral).

  25. lbsimmons says:

    Thanks so much for all the thoughtful suggestions. I managed to narrow it down to 23 samples ordered. :) Such restraint! I’ll post back what works!

  26. Looks like some Angel flankers have already been recommended… I love Angel leather, but I also enjoyed the floral versions of Angel (the Garden of Stars collection). In particular, I loved the Lily one. Worth a try!

    • lbsimmons says:

      Thanks! I’m open to finding a floral that works for me.

  27. AnnieA says:

    Seconding the Bois de Paradis. Bond No. 9’s Chinatown is nice too…

    • lbsimmons says:

      Ah, I have a sample of Chinatown but it was too cute to unwrap. K, I’m going for it!

  28. hajusuuri says:

    I suggest Diptyque Volutes (either the EDP or EDT).

    • lbsimmons says:

      I’ve only sampled the candles. Will try, thanks!

  29. Blimunda says:

    To appeal to those days when you go modern, simple ‘minimalist chic'(!) I recommend that you sample the Heeley range. They are perfect with this kind of ‘look’! They are very clever and complex, but feel free and easy to wear. My faves are:

    Cuir PleineFleur (a smoky, fresh green leather)
    Esprit du Tigre (stylish, humorous take on tiger balm, quite masculine)
    Sel Marin (rugged, bright, ultra modern)
    Cardinal (stunning incense and spice)

    • lbsimmons says:

      Ooh love the descriptions. These sound really interesting. I’ll seek some samples, thanks!

Leave a reply