The Monday Mail ~ help Sondra find a new perfume

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Sondra wants to find a new perfume with "significant green notes and some floral notes". She can spend up to $150, and while she doesn't have great access to perfume shops, buying online and sampling through decants is her usual method of trying fragrances anyway. Here is what we know about Sondra:

She's a therapist in her early 50s.

She's an outdoorsy person who would rather spend a day hiking or with a book than at the mall or indoors.

Most of her clothes come second-hand, partially because she likes the aesthetic of gently used things. Her favorite articles of clothing are preppy, but not in a polished, chirpy way, more in a slightly worn and comfortably rumpled way.

Sondra likes galbanum, rose, hawthorn, lilac and heliotrope. So far, Laura Tonatto Albi is the closest match she's found to what she's looking for. She also likes Guerlain L’Heure Bleue (but it is too formal), BPAL Death on a Pale Horse (but it’s a little too masculine), and Estée Lauder Estée (but she'd like something lighter and more spring-like).

Sondra dislikes sweet and/or cloying fragrances, and most fruity florals,  although she did wear Prescriptives (now Clinique) Calyx at one time.

What say you?

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Note: top image [cropped & tripled] is courtesy of Victoria at Bois de Jasmin.

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  1. egabbert says:

    I recommend Week-end a Deauville by Parfums di Nicolai. Lovely spring chypre w/ green notes.

    Other ideas: Ralph Lauren Safari (BIG floral, tons of galbanum), Puredistance Antonia (probably out of price range), Jacomo Silences.

    • Jillie says:

      Second Silences! It was the first thing to pop into my head while reading this. So lovely and green, but with rose underlying the chypre.

    • Safran says:

      I’d like to second Week-end a Deauville, it fits perfect imo.

  2. C.H. says:

    Perhaps more floral than Sondra is looking for but based on the notes mentioned, Ineke After My Own Heart (green + lilac + heliotrope) or L’Ombre Dans L’Eau in EDT (green + rose) come to mind as at least worth testing.

  3. Squirrely says:

    I don’t think Chanel’s Cristalle gets the love it deserves. It is crisp and fun.

    Chamade might be above your budget (it’s above mine, but I waaaaant), but it’s green and gorgeous.

    If you don’t mind soapy, Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene is a cheap thrill. It’s definitely “masculine” but can be found for $15 at places like TJ Maxx and you can treat it like a cologne in the summer and spray away. I like to layer it with scents that are grapefruit dominant.

    • AnnieA says:

      You say “Cristalle” and I say “Jasmine White Moss”. TomAYto, toMAHto…

  4. martha24 says:

    My recommendations: Chamade by Guerlain, Chanel N°19, Diorella. The great greens of the late sixties/early seventies. Lilac is not used so often in perfumes but it is also one of my favourite notes. Try Idylle Duet Jasmin-Lilas and Champs-Elyseés both by Guerlain. Tocadilly by Rochas is also often mentioned as a lilac-scent, but I haven’t seen it in any shop for ages.
    Grand Amour and Heure Exquise, both by Annick Goutal, might be interesting for you too. Great rose perfumes with a lot of green.

    • Nightingale says:

      I second No. 19. I think I read somewhere that it is unapologetically green. It’s a very confident fragrance but by no means overpowering.

    • Another worthy Goutal that Sondra might like is Nuit Etoilée. Also a green fig like Philosykos could work…?

    • mals86 says:

      Love all these except Diorella (whatever the fruity note is is really garbagey on me) and Champs-Elysees, and I’m a big green floral fan. (Okay, so I don’t LOVE Tocadilly, but it is nice. Very hard to find these days, though.)

      I’m not affiliated, but might it be worth trying a “green floral” sampler at Surrender to Chance or The Perfumed Court?

      Also, YSL Paris is not particularly green, but the lighter “printemps” flankers (there’s a new one every year, I think) are truly lovely.

      • mals86 says:

        forgot to say, Silences is a favorite as well.

    • elise says:

      Oh yes! Heure Exquise is wonderful!

  5. Jennifer1977 says:

    I would try Aliage, by Estee Lauder. I thought it was discontinued, but last night I was able to add it to my cart.

    At $46, it is well within the budget mentioned. It’s really heavy on the galbanum, so it has a very green smell, but also has jasmine, citrus and nutmeg.

    The first time I smelled it, I hated it. Now I love it! Perfect for spring.

  6. Aria says:

    Jo Malone’s Red Roses is a nice, uncomplicated ROSE scent to me, though my first suggestion would have been Creed Fleur de The Rose Bulgare (probably out of the price range though the counter at Norstrom is very nice about handing out samples).

    BPAL’s Kumiho is a tea and ginger scent that is very fresh, cool, and outdoorsy, more in the idea of what you like rather than actual notes. Which occasionally works. Best of luck perfume hunting!

  7. Omega says:

    Pacifica French Lilac, darned good, esp for the price.

    • C.H. says:

      Ooh thanks for this–have been wondering about it but nowhere nearby to test. But at the price, I think this rec justifies a blind buy!

      • Nightingale says:

        If you need a push…I did a blind buy for Pacifica’s Mediterranean Fig and am so glad I did!

        • C.H. says:

          Ha yes–if anything maybe my problem is, once I get started, there might be five or six I’d be tempted to buy blind!

  8. Blimunda says:

    En Passant is a lovely fresh greenish lilac.

    Green and outdoorsy?! What about Ormonde Woman? That’s a green woody scent that is often compared to a dark forest floor! Not particularly floral, but it has hints of jasmine and violet that give a certain floral sweetness.

    • Eroica says:

      I second En Passant. It’s one of my favorites. Robin suggested it to me a couple years ago and when I think of March/April (spring) I can’t wait to wear it.

  9. Rappleyea says:

    Thirding or fourthing Chamade. Another great Guerlain that uses galbanum is Vol de Nuit. The vintage edt (greener and drier than the extrait) is available in your price range on ebay.

    I’d also recommend Sonoma Scent Studio Forest Walk for a wonderful outdoorsy, woodsy vibe. Her Voile de Violette and Fig Tree might also work.

  10. Cybele says:

    Ormond Jayne Frangipani

    • AnnieA says:

      That’s a pretty one…

  11. AnnieA says:

    As for a galbanum-orama, that’s what I found Maison Martin Margiela’s Untitled to be.

  12. elise says:

    2nd Silences and Chamade!
    Adding Parfums de Nicolai Vie de Chateau, OJ Woman, the new Arabian Horse (who does this one?), Caron French Can Can for something with a bit more dirty-ness, and this odd little number I got on sale Sarah Horowitz Wings…
    Hope you report back what you like!

  13. perthgirl says:

    I second L’ombre dans l’eau, in edt or edp, and OJ Woman.
    I also add Roma Imperiale by Profumi del Forte, it has orchid and light vanilla but also tomato leaf and other green notes, Odalisque by Parfums de Nicolai, Jour d’Hermes is a light floral but it opens fresh and green and juicy on me, also Chant d’Aromes by Guerlain, Jardin du Poete by Eau d’Italie, and for something very cheap and galbanum heavy, Bug by Gorilla perfumes at LUSH

  14. tomate farcie says:

    I’d suggest L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier, Frederic Malle L’Eau d’Hiver, Etro Heliotrope, Parfum d’Empire Osmanthus Interdite. good luck!

  15. sllat says:

    I’ll second the suggestion of Maison Martin Margiela: Untitled and add Niki de Saint Phalle. Niki de Saint Phalle is a green floral chypre and is one of my most successful blind buys. I’m kind of thinking you should try some things from Etat Libre d’Orange like: 1.)Afternoon of the Faun or 2.) Like This.
    Best of luck!

  16. Taffy says:

    You would want to try this in a decant first, but how about Miller et Bertaux Green, Green & Green? It is a welcoming floral green, once it settles on the skin, and has a lovely drydown.

  17. sweetgrass says:

    Somebody beat me to Niki de Saint Phalle, so I second that. Also, if you like iris, Serge Lutens Bas de Soie might be worth a try. Calandre would be a good one to check out too. Parfumerie Generale Corps et Ames would be worth a look as well. I think there are two versions, the original in the “private collection”, and a 2012 version. For a different outdoorsy scent, you might also try Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles.

  18. trixiesweet says:

    What lovely recs!

    Fourthing or fifthing (is that a word?) Silences – I love the bitterness in the opening. Also, L’Ombre dans l’Eau, Osmanthus Interdite, Chanel no 19, Cristalle, Jasmin White Moss.

    Green florals being my favourite family, all other recs are going on my test list.

  19. helenviolette says:

    Agree with Chanel no. 19 and Crystalle (my immediate thoughts). Also Afternoon of a Faun and will add Tom of Finland by ELDO. Good luck!

  20. Merlin says:

    Private Collection Estee Lauder (the original one)

  21. SmokeyToes says:

    I would say the following might work: Clarins Eau des Jardens (black currant, bergamot, cedar, vetiver, patchouli), Niki de St Phalle (black currant, oakmoss, marigold & vetiver), L’Ombre dans L’Eau (black currant, violet leaf and rose) or Parfums Nicolai Eau d’ ete Fraiche (citrus & greens), Bond No 9 Eau de NY (Bergamot, mandarin, petitgrain leaves, green watery accord, neroli, gardenia, cyclamen, white lily, basil verbena, jasmin, vetiver, oakmoss, musk, woods) . All are green and refreshing with a touch of floral notes to soften things.

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