The Monday Mail on Tuesday ~ help Robin find a new perfume


We're a day late again (my bad!), but today we're helping Robin (another Robin, not me) find two perfect fragrances: one for everyday office wear and one for special occasions. Her requirements: complex, beautiful, feminine scents, preferably not mainstream, and that fit her personality and style. Ideally, she'd like to sniff her own arm and be transported from the office. Her fragrance should be grown up but not too old, and young enough but not teenager-ish.  She'd like to stay under $250 and she's happy to shop online. Here is what we know about Robin:

She's in her late 20s; she's from Charlotte, NC and recently moved to Florida. She's a former 6th grade teacher and now works at a radio/television station as the resident education expert. She has degrees in English Literature and Political Science.

She says she's an extrovert and an introvert: she's very social but still loves to be alone and to herself. She has a bright personality, but is also sarcastic, over analytical and very picky. She enjoys cooking, reading, hiking (she went to college in the mountains) and of course long walks on the beach.

She likes to dress casually-glamorous and pretty classic, like a fashionable nerd, glasses and all.

Robin likes perfumes with undertones of citrus. Her favorite notes include mandarin, grapefruit, tea, green notes, plum and apple. Her current wardrobe includes mainstream fruity florals with some sweetness: Marc Jacobs Daisy, Creed Aqua Fiorentina, Clinique Happy, Kate Spade Twirl, Chanel Chance Eau Tendre.

Robin doesn't like most rose notes (but she does like Lush Rose Jam body products), and gourmands and/or heavy fragrances tend to make her nauseous.

Here is what she has recently tried:

Giorgio Armani Acqua DiGoia: had a strong metallic watery note that was horrible on her skin.

By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses: too much rose.

Bond I Love New York: the blueberry muffin note with the spices made her nauseous.

Huitième Art Vohina: too dry.

The Different Company Sienne d'Orange: too rooty (it has a carrot note).

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 Rose Praline from Parfums de Rosine (it’s not overly rosy) or the similar Pretty & Pink from DSH (kind of an apple tobacco scent); Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé vert (green tea); and Moschino Funny (grapefruit, blackcurrant, tea and a bit of rose). Good luck!

    • galbanumgal says:

      Since you mentioned DSH, recommend The Beat Look. Fruity and refreshing, while less synthetic than the Clinique.

      • rrenee91 says:

        You certainly hit the nail on the head with synthetic, in reference to Clinique Happy, I think that I wear it more for growing up nostalgia rather than scent, if that makes sense lol! And, I will definitely look into The Beat Look! Thanks!

  2. melissa says:

    That sniff-my-arm-and-be-transported feeling is exactly why I wear Cartier Baiser Vole EDP at work most days — it has a wet green plant angle and a glamorous cosmetic powder angle, and both can take me someplace better in a flash. It’s also a good balance for work, both elegant and contemporary, and stays present but subtle.

    • rrenee91 says:

      I actually tried this at the suggestion of the salesperson at Neimans, I liked it but had to layer Jo Malone’s grapefruit to lessen the powdery smell and give it a bit of oomph, it worked on the card like a charm, but the Jo Malone turned a little metallic, on my skin. But, it wouldn’t hurt to revisit as it is easily accessible to me! Thanks!

      • melissa says:

        If you tried the EDP, the EDT is less powdery and more fruity, though it lacks a bit of the tenacity.

      • C.H. says:

        Oh this makes me wonder–have you tried all the Jo Malones? French Lime Blossom and Lime Basil & Mandarin particularly come to mind.

        • rrenee91 says:

          For some reason, I just don’t really find Jo Malone that appealing. I could have overworked my nose when I went to Neimans to smell and therefore I had ol factory fatigue by the end of the line…lol. But, I smell things on paper, then spray them on me and everything just seems to not smell as good. My skin is so funny with fragrance. hence, making it that much harder to find something that really fits the bill.

          • C.H. says:

            I totally understand–I really love a couple of the Jo Malones, but many of them, I don’t see the appeal at all.

            As for things turning on skin–if ever there’s something you really love on paper but not as well on your person, do keep in mind you could just spray it on your clothes instead of skin. We won’t tell anyone :)

          • rrenee91 says:

            Lol. thanks for keeping my secret!! And, for the suggestion!

  3. ladymurasaki says:

    My suggestions

    Un Parfum d’Ailleurs et Fleurs by The Different Company. It is a bright, citrusy floral with a perfect balance of sweetness and dryness.

    Orangers en Fleurs by Houbigant. A sophisticated blend of orange blossom and tuberose. Although rose is one of the notes contained, it is very subtle and well blended.

    Plum by Mary Greenwell. A beautiful fruity chypre.

    Narcisse Noir by Caron. This is mainstream, I suppose, but I must mention this as it has to be tried if you like the orange note and want something sophisticated. A classic/classy fruity floral. The extrait is best in my humble opinion, but the EDP is just as wonderful.

    Fleur d’Oranger 27 by Le Labo. This is a pretty straightforward orange blossom. Lush, juicy and mouth-watering.

    • mals86 says:

      Plum is really wonderful.

      • rrenee91 says:

        I was over on Luckyscent and really thought about Plum though I was a little nervous that it would be a bit too much chypre…is that the case?? I know that some reviews can at times be misleading.

        • ladymurasaki says:

          It is definitely a chypre but not sure if it’s “too much”. It is beautiful and worth a try.

        • egabbert says:

          IMO it’s barely chypre at all, just a lovely floral.

  4. C.H. says:

    The Hermes Jardin line sounds like it could be a good fit–lovely and sophisticated but still totally accessible and contemporary. I feel like L’Artisan may have some good options along similar lines. Is Mimosa Pour Moi still in production? Thé Pour Une Eté? If Robin feels like checking out some roses, Rose d’Eté and Zeste de Rose from the Rosine line are both very light/accessible, juicy-citrusy roses.

    • rrenee91 says:

      Hi! I do love the Hermes Jardin Sur le Toit. It just doesn’t quite hit the mark of The One.

      • C.H. says:

        Oh, if you like Sur Le Toit, have you tried Pamplemousse Rose from the Hermessence series? Or Pamplelune from Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria line? If Sur Le Toit is nearly but not quite the perfect grapefruit…

        • melissa says:

          +1 for the opportunity to use world “pamplemousse” anytime someone compliments your fragrance, this is deeply important to me.

          • rrenee91 says:

            Agreed! Lol!

  5. Anna Stromberg says:

    For office: Une jour d’Hermes. It’s the classiest intrepretation of a fruity floral one can ever wish for. Easy and clean but juicy and beautiful.
    For special occasions: YSL in love again. Sparkly citrus and passion fruit. A lot of pzaz and fun.

    • rrenee91 says:

      Hi! I went and tried the Hermes that you suggested at Sephora! I am still trying to really try it out. At first sniff it was a bit heavy but we shall see after a couple days with my samples! Thanks!

  6. Safran says:

    I’d like to second Jour d’Hermes and another suggestion would be Rivages des Syrtes by MDCI, it’s bright, happy, citrus-y and strong enough to last in the Florida humidity.
    Good luck!

    • rrenee91 says:

      I am definitely going to try the Jour d’Hermes and Rivages! These sound great possibilities! Thanks for the recommendations!

  7. Eroica says:

    I recommend Fresh Hesperides. I like it alone but think it’s best layered.

    • Eroica says:

      Sorry – 1 more because Spring is coming I think you’d enjoy L’eau de Chloe

      • rrenee91 says:

        The Fresh Hesperides was a bit too…ummm stringent(?) for me when I tried it, I may have to revisit soon as this is available in my local Sephora! Thanks

  8. caffeinequeen says:

    For grapefruit scents, I really like LaVanila’s Vanilla Grapefruit. It’s the only grapefruit scent that doesn’t turn rancid on me. It’s also fairly cheap and quite easy to find; I know Sephora has it for sure.

  9. austenfan says:

    I wholeheartedly second the recommendation of Jour d’Hermès and the Hermès Jardins, and while you are at Hermès do try Cologne Pamplemousse Rose. I also second Moschino Funny and Cartier Baiser Volé.
    You mention liking Daisy, another great floral in that line is Marc Jacobs Woman.
    Have you ever tried Prescriptives Calyx ( now called Clinique Calyx)? I’m only familiar with the original and apparently there have been some changes. It was a very citrusy floral with decent staying power.
    For grapefruit/citrus you may wish to try Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune, Parfums de Nicolaï’s Balle de Match and L’Eau Mixte, Parfums d’Empire Yuzu Fou and Azemour les Orangers.
    Another line you may wish to explore is Atelier Cologne, they are not my personal favourite but they have a very wide range and have lots of options within the citrus and tea department.

    • C.H. says:

      Ah you beat me to it with Pamplemousse Rose and Pamplelune! Seconding the Ateliers, too.

    • Aparatchick says:

      I’ll add Osmanthus Interdite to the Parfum d’empire list. Lovely, feminine fragrance that stands up well in the Florida heat.

    • rrenee91 says:

      So, I tried the Calyx and thus far, I am a fan…it seems easy enough to wear on the weekends! Maybe a little much for the office but a definite purchase! Thanks!

  10. helenviolette says:

    I think a full exploration of all Hermes is in order- Jour dhermes is a great rec. Also Osmanthe Yunnan (day) and Eau de merveille (day and night). For a sultry going out perfume I think you might like Natori. Have fun in your quests :)

    • helenviolette says:

      Also Ormonde Jayne Frangipani.

    • foxbins says:

      I second the Osmanthe Yunnan and Eau de Merveille–light, pretty fragrances that don’t smell like everything else out there.

  11. trixiesweet says:

    Seconding Osmanthus Interdite (I received my FB today, after having been recommended it in this very column lays year – yay). It is grown up fruity with some black tea and works well for the office in warm weather. I love it.
    Other recs:
    Seconding Azemour too (the other FB I received today)
    Eau des Merveilles – but I use it in cooler weather.
    Acqua Universalis Forte – tested this today. It’s a citrus jasmine, very bright but well rounded. I was impressed by its longevity. It’s light enough for office wear but with nice sillage.

    You might also want to try 1873 by Histoires de Parfum. It is citrusy but on a warm base. It’s been called citrus gourmand, but I don’t find it sweet or cloying, to be honest (I am not into gourmands either).

    • trixiesweet says:

      Typo in the second row. I meant *last year*. Sorry about that.

  12. Cybele says:

    second Osmanthe Yunnan, Jour d’Hermes, and Hermes Eau de Pamplemousse Rose. And try Stella McCartney LILY it’s really pretty!

    • yukiej says:

      Your tastes remind me very much of my friend, so I have lots of suggestions! I third/fourth the Osmanthe Yunnan, Jour d’Hermes, and also along the same lines maybe try Rose Ikebana, Cereus No.9 and Stella by Stella McCartney (all very beautiful but light and crisp roses with some citrus). You may also like Creed Original Vetiver (which is mostly citrus to my nose, and very fresh as well).

      • rrenee91 says:

        Great! Someone similar to me…are these that you suggested heavy??

        • yukiej says:

          Nope! None of them are heavy, and some tend toward “zesty” :) I just realized many of my suggestions have rose, but I hope you might find a rose you like, too!

          • rrenee91 says:

            Do you know of any that have a hint of citrus but not the zest(the rind)? I am not looking for anything too astringent. I want something softer with citrus in the background….I hope that makes sense.! Lol.

  13. perthgirl says:

    Maybe Les Nuits d’Hadrian by Annick Goutal. Citrus with an amber drydown so it’s versatile for seasons or time of day, and it’s not too heavy.

  14. Dilana says:

    I’d explore the Atalier Cologne line for fine citrus based perfumes that are a little off the beaten track (but are carried by some luxury department stores). For those humid Florida summers, you might want to consider Eau Imperial from Guerlain, which is a lovely splash.
    Another good office scent is Prada Infusion D’Iris. It’s sheer and elegant and lightly sprayed, can be one of those scents which you smell during the day on your arm, without being heavy enough to cause office controversies

  15. Sarah K says:

    How about Chanel’s 1932, or Beige?

    • rrenee91 says:

      Hmmmm never heard of either!! Can you tell me a little about them?? Thanks!!

  16. rrenee91 says:

    Hi all!
    I am the Robin from the article…does anyone know any fragrances with a less sporty or astringent smell? Something softer than a typical cologne type citrus?

    Thanks for all of the suggestions thus far!

    • Rappleyea says:

      Two that I personally love that might fit your “softer than a typical cologne type citrus” request are Sonoma Scent Studio’s Citrus-Vetiver (part of her new naturals line) and Guerlain’s Cologne du 68, which is both softer and more complex than the usual citrus cologne.

  17. Lucy says:

    Almost everything that came to mind has been suggested already. The only one I have left to offer is Chanel Cristalle. I think you’ll find the Eau de Toilette most pleasant, but you might as well try the EDP and the flanker (Eau Vert?) while your there.

    Add another vote to try Hermes Eau de Pamplemousse Rose, Stella McCartney Stella, and the Atelier line. You can order samples from the Atelier website for a reasonable price if you don’t have access to stores that carry them.

    • Lucy says:

      I just saw your last message about something less astringent. Atelier’s Vanilla Insensee starts with lime but is quickly softened with vanilla. Don’t let the name fool you – it sounds like it would be heavy/gourmand but is actually light and somewhat refreshing.

    • Lucy says:

      Please also try Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Thérèse and Serge Lutens Nuit de Cellophane while you are out shopping/sampling. Both have a bit more oomph than what you’ve been wearing, but one of them just might be the right next step for you (or at least steer you in the right direction.) They are also much less mainstream than my other suggestions and neither has that cologne/astringent quality.

  18. ChocolatEyes613 says:

    Perfumes Robin should try:

    Chloe See by Chloe
    Hermes Jour d’Hermes
    Bvlgari Eau ParFumee au thé Vert – a.k.a Green Tea
    Prada Infusion d’Iris
    Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere
    Christian Dior Dune

  19. Laurels says:

    They’re right up at the top of your price range, but M. Micallef Pomelos and Ananda might be worth a try. Pomelos is much less astringent than Pamplelune, and a bit floral without being really flowery. Ananda is a tart, but not sour, plum/violet. Also, have you tried Hermes Un Jardin sur la Nil? If you liked it, but weren’t crazy about the tomato/green mango thing in the opening, Tocca Cleopatra is similar, but less sour, although it doesn’t have good longevity.

  20. rrenee91 says:

    Hi all! So, I tried the Hermes and I am not sure but the tester may have been rancid because all I smelled was nail polish remover! Is there anywhere besides Sephora that carries this fragrance so that I can give it another shot. With all of the rec’s for it as a contender, I really want to give it a good try!

    Thanks and I am having a ball ordering samples, my wallet…not so much though!!

    • C.H. says:

      If you’re thinking of Jour, yes it’s now in a number of department stores–the websites of whichever ones you have near you should say!

    • Lucy says:

      I’ve seen them at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales. I’m willing to bet Saks has them too, I just don’t know for sure. If you find a store that has some, but not all, check the men’s section. Eau de Pamplemousse Rose and others from that line are often found there.

    • rrenee91 says:

      When you (C.H. and Lucy) smelled the Jour, did it smell anything like nail polish remover or in the least, really strong?

      • Lucy says:

        No, I didn’t. However, I can see from your comments and current wardrobe that a good weight for you is barely there for me and light for most of us commenters is too strong for you. (I think that’s why so many of us jumped on the citrusy cologne category. That and the fact that you are in Florida, where perfumes go to strangle people.)

        I didn’t care for Jour de Hermes. It was too light and girly for me. I do appreciate in as one of the better widely available fragrances though. If it smelled like nail polish remover then you either got a bad tester or have some great smelling nail products. Sadly, I’m guessing it’s the latter. That’s a fairly new scent for Sephora. I doubt the tester was opened more than a few months ago.

        • C.H. says:

          Yup I cosign with all of this. The only thing I have to add is to wonder additionally whether it feels quite strong because it’s more straightforwardly floral (and particularly, a white floral)… At least in the context of U.S. fragrance trends, fruity perfumes are, I think, the standard for what feels most accessible or “wearable”, and if that’s what you’re used to, I can imagine that a white floral could feel like a lot of perfume, even if within the category of white florals, Jour feels like a light one to many of us.

          Odd that it should actually smell bad though. I’m with Lucy: it’s not my favorite perfume, but my complaint is that it’s pleasant but too tame.

      • Lucy says:

        I don’t know where in Florida you are at, but there are four Hermes boutiques in the southern part of the state (Palm Beach, Naples, Miami, and Bal Harbour). If you can make a trip to one you can try everything, including the Hermessences. If not, call and tell the fragrance person about your interest and what happened with the tester. You might be able to get him or her to mail a sample.

        Also, I am not positive that the US boutiques have it, but Guerlain’s Après L’Ondee might be a good fit for you. It is a very light, slightly sweet, damp violet. There are other notes too (bergamot, neroli, aniseed, hawthorn, violet, heliotrope, iris and musk), but I mostly get violet. The aniseed and iris are barely noticeable to me. Your best bet would be to order a sample from The Perfumed Court, Surrender to Chance, etc. Then, if you like it, see if they have a full bottle at the Guerlain boutique in “France” at Epcot. (No idea if they have it and/or will ship it. They may only sell to ticketed guests.) If you want something that no one else has, this may be it. I had to get mine in Paris.

        • rrenee91 says:


          Thanks for that! It really helps me. Are there any of the suggestions made thus far that you would suggest as I am getting ready to order a bunch of samples from LuckyScent and a couple of other places, but don’t really want to waste my full bottle purchase money on a million samples! Thanks Lucy!!

          • Lucy says:

            Because you liked the Rose Jam I initially thought of Stella McCartney Stella (also possibly Stella Nude) and Hermes Eau de Pamplemousse Rose, so those would be my first suggestions. I also like the idea of trying the Atelier line because their fragrances start with the lightness of cologne (though not necessarily the astringent quality) but have the lasting power of most Eau de Parfums. But you have a lot of great suggestions here and I’m only familiar with about two thirds of them. Just remember you don’t have to pay for samples of everything. You can try some in store and Sephora and Nordstrom will make you a few samples if you ask. When you do get samples home try them at different times of the day, week, month, and even year. Skin changes so much…don’t be afraid to put them away for awhile and revisit them later.

  21. Holly says:

    Hi Robin. I agree with you that some “citrusy” perfumes can contain a note that I experience as a chemical shriek. I think you might really enjoy the Atelier sample set, which you can purchase from their website. It’s only $20, and includes all 14 of their scents. Don’t be put off by their use of the word “cologne.” Each of their scents is quite distinct. You might even discover that what starts out as an office scent in the morning transforms itself in the drydown into a sexy, special occasion fragrance. And they’re fun to layer.

    • rrenee91 says:

      Hi Holly–

      I will certainly order that sample set, any that you think I should really put at the top of the list to try straight away?


      • rrenee91 says:

        Hi again Holly! I just placed my order for the sample set and I am excited to receive it!

        • Holly says:

          Yay! I hope you will find at least one you really like. I’ll be honest and tell you I have not tried them all, but I ordered the sample set myself and I’m really enjoying it. Perhaps Grand Neroli would be a nice place for you to start, judging from what you’ve said about your preferences. I personally am in love with Sous le toit de Paris for the time being, as I adore the violet note. There’s such a wonderful selection available in this set and it’s a good place to start. If you decide you really like something, their full bottles are quite affordable which is another benefit. Let us know what happens! I’d love to hear your thoughts. :-)

          • rrenee91 says:

            I certainly will keep you guys posted and thanks a lot for the suggestions! If anything else comes to mind please keep the suggestions coming!!

            Thanks again!!

  22. Cybele says:

    “citrus in the background” makes me think of Chanel 5 Eau Premiere!

  23. nebbe says:

    Hi – don’t know if you are still checking this thread Robin, but have you tried Folle de Joie?

    It is super fresh, with citrus and woodsy floral.

    Lovely and enchanting :)

    • rrenee91 says:


      Yep! I am still checking it…I’m really hoping to find THE ONE! I have a sample of Folle de Joie! I tried it and like it, just not as a signature. Do you know of any others?


  24. C.H. says:

    Thinking on this a bit further, you might also try some from the Tocca line (I don’t know these well enough to say which offhand, but reading the descriptions should make pretty clear which are your style) or the Grasse collection or the Eaux de Provence series from l’Occitane. As a rule, all of these are pretty, and also pretty easy-going.

    • rrenee91 says:

      Cool. Thanks for the suggestions!!

  25. Wino says:

    Robin, if you are ordering samples from Luckyscent, you might want to try Yuzu Rouge by Parfums 06130. It has yuzu, which is grapefruit-ish, cassis, verbena, nutmeg, cardamom, gray amber, and a bit of rose. It’s light enough for the office, and it’s really pretty!

    • rrenee91 says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, will do!

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