The Monday Mail ~ help Nebbe find a new fragrance

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Today we're helping Now Smell This reader Nebbe, who wants to find one or two new spring / summer fragrances — scents that she can put into heavy rotation for the next six months. She can spend about $75 - $125. Nebbe works in an open office environment, where perfume is allowed but the employees are asked to keep it subtle. She'd love to find something that will last through an 8 - 12 hour workday without re-application, but with light sillage (preferably, others won't notice it unless they're in her personal space).

Nebbe is relatively new to the perfume world (the last six months) but is already addicted to sampling, reading about perfumes, and more sampling.

Here is what we know about Nebbe:

She's in her mid-30s, and works in professional services in the Pacific North West.

She loves reading, listening to podcasts/local news talk, enjoying a great meal with friends, and thrift store shopping.

Her style is a mix of classic and modern, with a sensual twist on the weekends. She is outgoing and friendly, and loves meeting new people.

Nebbe likes soft, creamy, well-blended scents; notes she appreciates include amber, vanilla,  sandalwood, gardenia, tuberose, orange blossom, ylang ylang, honey, musk, citrus and neroli. She also likes powder, but since she already owns many powdery scents, she is looking for something without powder. She likes the new L'Occitane Neroli & Orchidee (she likes it better than Elie Saab) but is not ready to pull the trigger. Fragrances that she wears often include Prada Infusion d'Iris, Donna Karan Cashmere Mist, Chanel Beige, Barbara Bui Le Parfum, Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black, Cartier Baiser Vole, Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Ylang & Vanille and Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess.

Nebbe dislikes anything cloying or too sugary sweet, thin / cologne scents, leather, sharp scents or heavy patchouli. She thinks oakmoss might hate her. She doesn't often love fruity florals, and since she already has Kate Spade Twir she is not looking for another.

Here is what Nebbe has tried so far in her search:

Bulgari Omnia Crystalline & Green Tea: both were nice in the bottle, but disappeared within seconds from her skin.

Elizabeth & James Nirvana White: she kind of liked it, but the musk was overwhelming after a couple hours.

Narciso Rodriguez For Her EDP (pink bottle): she has worn it four times, twice it was pleasant, twice it was unpleasant. 

Diptyque Tam Dao: pleasing but too singular. She gave her decant to her mom, who loves it. 

Marc Jacobs by Marc Jacobs: she got this when it came out and loves the tuberose/gardenia. But it is too...too...something; she likes Chanel Beige more.

Botega Veneta: horrifying burned chemical stench.

Ellen Tracey Bronze: burned powder chemical stench.

Thierry Mugler Angel: too much patchouli and sugar, emphatically not for her.

Estee Lauder Sensuous: plastic note that bothers her; otherwise honeyed sandalwood is right up her alley.

Tory Burch: not full-bodied on her, was bored of it within 2 hours.

Givenchy Play & Ange Ou Demon Le Secret: insta-headache from sugary-sweetness from both.

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. Kelly Red says:

    I recently bought L’Artisan Parfumeur Jour de Fête and you might like this one. It’s a soft almond scent, not too sweet by my nose. It’s very light and close. Perfect for an office. But it does seem to have a limited sillage, I don’t think it would last 10 hrs. I could also say SL Daim Blonde, but that might be too $$. I also wear the original Balenciaga and love it in the spring. The light violet is nice again for an office. Nothing in any of these 3 scream at you.

    • nebbe says:

      Thank you Kelly! I have tried Jour de Fete and it is pretty. I will have to give it another try. Love the Daim Blond name, that’s going on the test list, too!

  2. C.H. says:

    Ormonde Jayne Champaca always comes to mind for me for a creamy floral, but it’s not too heavy for a PNW summer, I wouldn’t think. I bet Cartier Panthere could work, although maybe with its clean-but-mossy character, it could feel too close to Nebbe’s powdery scents. But maybe not! As we were discussing this weekend, Kelly Caleche is quite low on leather, so might work well here, as a very office-compatible but still beautiful option. I’ve only ever tried the EDP but from Angela’s review, it sounds like the EDT is also wonderful: “more than once I had that lovely feeling of forgetting I was wearing perfume at all and then suddenly noticing that something smelled _really_ good.”

    • nebbe says:

      Champaca sounds lovely. To the test list!
      I have sampled Panthere and all I got was a strong gummy bear scent.
      Kelly Caleche I haven’t tried either – sounds like a good candidate for my entry-level into to leather.
      Thank you for the suggestions C.H.!

      • C.H. says:

        Sure thing! Another thought, also from the weekend palaver–if you somewhat like Sensuous, it could be worth trying the flankers (Nude and Noir). A good number of people were saying they prefer those to the original (Noir’s my personal favorite.)

        • nebbe says:

          Nude didn’t work for me But i will look into Noir!

  3. nebbe says:

    I want to thank everyone in advance for reading and suggesting! This is very exciting for me, since I have been reading NST for a few months and grown to really appreciate and respect your varied scent experiences and good natured sharing!

    I will check in through out the day as I can, and anm looking forward to reading and selling your suggestions!

    Thanks to Robin for making this a reality :D

  4. nebbe says:

    Selling = smelling.
    Silly smart phone.

  5. ladymurasaki says:

    Okay, here’re my suggestions.

    Estee Lauder’s Tuberose Gardenia – Very pretty. I would say it’s office-friendly.
    Arquiste Flor y Canto – a soft tuberose scent.
    Aftelier Cuir Gardenia – although this one has the leather note, it is soft, and it’s more about the gardenia (tiare/jasmine) and stays close to the skin.
    Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule – gorgeous honeyed sandalwood. It has more depth than Tam Dao. A little goes a long way.
    Van Cleef & Arpels Gardenia Petale – a soft, green gardenia.

    Most of these are probably over Nebbe’s price range (I’m in the UK, so I’m guessing), but they might be available on ebay. One could also consider getting a decant.

    • nebbe says:

      I have had my eye on EL Tuberose Gardinia – top of the list now. Will look into your other suggestions too. That SL sounds like a nice match for me. Gracias Lady M!

  6. Jonette says:

    I would suggest Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine. It includes three of your likes: citrus, amber and sandalwood. This is a quiet but lovely scent and also fits in with your budget. You can order a sample for $3 from the AC site.

    I’d also suggest exploring some of Jean-Claude Ellena’s fragrances, as these are also good scents for the office and always pretty.

    Any of the above will probably not last through the workday, though. What about Keiko Mecheri’s Peau de Peche, or is that too fruity for you? It lasts for a full day or longer and stays close to your skin.

    • nebbe says:

      Orange Sanguine – mmmm. JC Ellena will get some attention from me, too. I haven’t tried any Keiko yet, nor any peach scents (am I reading that French correctly? ). Might give it a shot. Thanks for your suggestions!

  7. lucasai says:

    Suggestions for Nebbe:

    Arquiste Fleur de Louis
    Sonoma Scent Studio Yin & Ylang
    Sonoma Scent Studio Sienna Musk
    Atelier Cologne Ambre Nue
    Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier
    Le Labo Neroli 36
    Donna Karan Mandarin Neroli
    VC&A Gardenia Petale

    • nebbe says:

      Lucasai! I hoped you would have some ideas! The SSS Y&Y was on my radar but not the Sienna Musk. Both to be tested! Haven’t tried any LeLobo yet – N36 looks like a great place to start. And I love me some DK and have not heard of your suggestion yet. Lovely! Thank you :D

  8. sayitisntso says:

    Try Avx Luxe’s Nude Musk. It’s an perfume oil, so it’s long VERY lasting and will stay close to the body. Its notes are bergamot, vanilla, sandalwood and a slightly powdery musk. It’s been part of my rotation for a few years and never fails to put a smile on my face.

    • sayitisntso says:

      Sorry: That’s Ava Luxe.

    • nebbe says:

      On the list for sure – I haven’t tried any Ava Luxe fragrances yet but wanted to. Thank you!

      • Aparatchick says:

        Just chiming in to say that Ava Lux scents are very long lasting.

        Ava Luxe’s No. 23 is a lovely and office-friendly sandalwood.

        • nebbe says:

          That is wonderful to hear. No. 23 – to the test list as well! Thank you for chiming in, Aparatchick!

  9. trixiesweet says:

    Probably outside of price range, but APOM pour Femme is a lovely, elegant, clean orange blossom that got me compliments at work.
    And I’ll just throw Osmanthus Interdite out there too – it’s osmanthus, tea and a bit of musk, quite delicate and office-friendly.

    • nebbe says:

      Ooo – very nice. I might just spend the summer testing all these great suggestions! No complaints here!!

  10. scentfromabove says:

    Like Ladymuriasaki, I also recommend Estee Lauder’s “Tuberose Gardenia”. It is a very pretty fragrance. Also, I was going through my samples last night and ran across a rollerball of Estee Lauder’s “Beautiful Love”. I was thinking of purchasing bottle for myself. Quite lovely.
    I haven’t smelled it yet, but I have plans in checking out “Roses de Chloe”. People have given it nice reviews.
    Good Luck! Let us know what you decide on and how it works for you.

    • nebbe says:

      Thank you Scentfromabove (great name!) I will definitely keep folks updated through the Lazy Weekend Poll or an update email to Robin.

      I like Chloe Love, I’ll look into Roses de Chloe too.

      Will maybe do some ebay trolling for the EL Beautiful Love. Definitely trying out EL TG, as I said above I’ve been curious about this one for awhile.

  11. LizzieBea says:

    You should try Annick Goutal’s Grand Amour. It leans towards being a white floral, but there are other flowers in there, too.
    If you like dark roses, you should try Serge Lutens’s La Fille de Berlin.
    Balenciaga’s Rosabotanica is an herbal floral that I find fun and interesting.

    • nebbe says:

      Interesting. Haven’t tried Annick Goutal – thanks for giving me a nice place to start!

  12. Dilana says:

    Kai Body Oil is a summery gardenia scent which stays close to the skin for office wear.
    Eau d’Hadrien (available at internet discounters and in minis) is a great summer scent. I don’t think its “thin” but it is a citrus and you may wish to test it
    Eau D’Itali Au Lac is a nice light floral, but I am not sure of the price.

    • nebbe says:

      Kai! I have the body mist and it is sooooo pretty. I need to put that in my dresser in pain sight. Good call! Thank You :)
      Will look into your other suggestions too!

  13. ChocolatEyes613 says:

    Perfumes Nebbe should try:

    Hermes Jour d’Hermes
    Hermes Kelly Caleche
    Marni by Marni
    Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia
    Bvlgari Pour Femme

    • nebbe says:

      Marni did not mesh with my body chemistry at all. Does it have pepper in it? That’s a note that typically turns bad fast on my skin.
      Will check the rest out – thank you Chocolate Eyes!!!

  14. kaos.geo says:

    Mmmmmm… Try Jimmy Choo! ;-)

    For summer I love citrus frags… I recommend O de Lancome and its flankers…. not the notes you love, but lovely (and not expensive) for summer…

    I don’t find the time you expect the (any) fragrance to last without reapplication as realistic for a summer frag.. the only ones that may last that long are heavier, IMHO.

    Good Luck!

    • nebbe says:

      That’s a good point about longevity in summer fragrances Kaos.geo. I hadn’t really thought about that. Okay – noted! Expectations adjusted!

      Will look into the EL & Choo suggestions – gracias :)

  15. austenfan says:

    I second the Bvlgari Pour Femme, it’s a lovely and easy to get your hands on scent.
    I also second ELPC Tuberose Gardenia and Jasmine White Moss
    Annick Goutal has quite a few lighter florals that might do:
    Le Chèvrefeuille, La Violette, Le Jasmin and Un matin d’orage.
    Another house that has quite a few great fragrances for spring and summer is Parfums de Nicolai:
    Eau d’Eté, L’Eau Mixte, Weekend à Deauville, Odalisque and Le Temps d’une Fête
    I would also second the recommendation of the Ellena Hermès fragrances. they are interesting and easy to wear.

    • nebbe says:

      Oh – thank you for reminding me about perfumes de nicolai -I been curious about that line.

      Definitely trying the ELs and Ellenas. They sound so pleasant.

      Bvlgari hasn’t worked for me yet, but I will give Pour Femme a shot since its so much fun to try new scents :)

      Thanks austenfan – I’m an Austen fan, too!

      • austenfan says:

        Bvlgari Pour Femme has a lot more presence than either Thé Vert or Omnia Crystalline. Whenever I wear Thé Vert I spray with abandon, which makes it last quite well. It does stay very close to the skin though.

        I’m glad to see another Austen fan!

        • nebbe says:

          Good to know!

          Whenever I need a relaxing retreat from the modern day I turn to Ms. Austen for her great mix of humor and intelligence. :)

  16. Lise says:

    Songes by Annick Goutal came to my mind. Vanilla, white flowers, creamy and very charming for spring and summer. Also thought of Ormonde Jayne Frangipani, if that isn’t too citrusy for you. My owa spring staple is En Passant. Soft, polite, but interesting and heartbrakingly beautiful spring scent…

    • nebbe says:

      You had me at “charming”- enticing! Have yet to try any Ormond Jayne so will start with Frangipani.
      En Passant…I think that is Frederick Malle? Will give that a sniff too.

      Thank you!

      • Lise says:

        Oui, oui! En Passant is Frederick Malle :-) Good luck finding your new scent.

  17. Bee says:

    I’ve been trying out some Heeleys in the last weeks and have wondered why they are so seldomly mentioned, some of them are quite nice…anyways, I think L’amandière could be worth a try, a creamy green floral, close to the skin and long-lasting, ideal office stuff.

    • nebbe says:

      I have not heard of these at all – and green creamy floral sounds right up my alley. Heeley, you say. I have some internet exploring to do after work tonight! Thank you for your suggestion, Bee :)

  18. kindcrow says:

    One dab of Golden Cattleya (Olympic Orchids) lasts all day on me. It has many of the notes you are seeking, and IMHO, it is a golden smile in a bottle. I don’t know how it would do in extreme heat. Very affordable and from your neck of the woods. A little goes a long way.

    • nebbe says:

      Interesting – will seek this out! I like a big bang for my bucks ;)
      Golden smile in a bottle really sounds like something I should enjoy.

  19. aspazy says:

    In your price range Prada Candy L’Eau is a nice choice. Not lasting 10 hours but office friendly for sure.

    • nebbe says:

      You know, I have seen this at Nordstrom but just walked by. Going to stop for a spray next time – maybe 2 or 3 ;)

      Thank you for your suggestion!

  20. Robin says:

    Posting for Tamara on FB: “With my limited knowledge, I would say Innocent, Thierry Mugler or Si, Giorgio Armani”

    • nebbe says:

      Thank you Tamara! Have been curious about the TM Innocent – good to know it could be a fit! Also haven’t tried any of Armani fragrances, and it seems like I should be able to find a sample of Si easily enough. Added to the list!

  21. Liza says:

    With almond-tinged mimosa, sandalwood, hay, vanilla, and musk, Caron’s Farnesiana is soft and delicate but remarkably persistent (I’ve known it to last over 12 hours). The eau de parfum concentration seems to be available in Nebbe’s price range at various online discount sites. It IS a bit powdery, but, if you like mimosa at all, it’s probably worth a try.

    • nebbe says:

      I have a hard time saying no to powdery fragrances. They can be so lady-like. And your Caron suggestion has lots of my favorites. Merci bien, Liza!

      As a side note: “remarkably persistent” is definitely how my mom would describe me. I am sure she wishes sometimes i would be more “soft & delicate” when it comes to sharing my opinion with her – I do try my best!

  22. sweetgrass says:

    If you like lily, I’d suggest Cartier Baiser Vole. The different concentrations (EDP, EDT, Essence, and Extrait) are all quite different from each other. The EDT is a delicate green rendition of the lily concept. I find that it is very light and has little sillage after the first few minutes, but it lasts well.

    • sweetgrass says:

      I’ll also add that you can find at least the EDT at discounters fairly easily. I got mine at Marshall’s.

      • nebbe says:

        I have the EDP, and it is super nice but gets passed over most mornings. I will have to sniff out the EDT to see if I like it better. My favorite part of the EDP is the green notes against the soft sweetness of the lily, so it could be a match for me!

        Another reason to visit Marshalls on the regular – thank you!

  23. yukiej says:

    I notice that Lucasai already suggested this one, but I will second SSS Sienna Musk, and also suggest SSS Cocoa Sandalwood!

    • nebbe says:

      Cocoa Sandalwood – yum! Merci!

  24. bookwyrmsmith says:

    My suggestions?
    I second the Annick Goutal ,Estée Lauder Tuberose Gardinia ,and Hermes scents . And I’ ll chime in with a few different options too.

    Giorgio Armani Shi/Elle/. Whiteish cream packaging I’ve seen it carried at Sephora .

    Ebay hunting time . Guerlain’s Un Air de Samsara .lighter samsara with mint . If you dab lots on it’s still office safe.

    • nebbe says:

      These sound great, thank you bookwyrmsmith :)

      Un air de samsara – I will seek this out since I haven’t tried any fragrances with mint yet.

      Will hit up Sephora for the Armani, too.

  25. Cybele says:

    Hi Nebbe, I am a bit late but I hope you will still read this. My first thoughts were Omnia Crystalline and Bulgari The Blanc – have you tried the new Crystalline EDP? I actually found it quite strong. Other scents you may like are Hermes (Hermessence line) Santal Massoia and Vanille Galante (more lily than vanilla), L’Artisan Safran Troublant, Dries van Noten par Frederic Malle (maybe too sweet for your taste), and Kenzo Flower. Let us know what you find!

    • nebbe says:

      Hi Cybele, I am still reading indeed! Don’t want to miss a thing ;)

      I can give the crystalline EDP a shot, not sure which I previously sampled. The Hermes you mention sound nice and save with L’Artisan.

      I have tried Flower and I was so-so on it, I think maybe because my wardrobe is already powder heavy.

      Thanks again – will for sure be updating on my adventure :)

  26. Lauriej says:

    Have you tried any Jo Malone scents? Oud and Bergamont is delish very long lasting …
    Tom Ford Black Orchid
    Alien for office is very nice long lasting and I get alot of compliments
    Happy sniffing….:)

  27. nebbe says:

    Thank you for your suggestions Lauriej! I will give them a try. Not sure if I know what oud smells like, even though I have read about it before. That will be a fun one to try :)

  28. Isabella says:

    I’m late to the party, but wanted to offer a couple of suggestions. Since you like neroli, have you given L’Artisan’s Seville A L’Aube a sniff yet? It’s a *gorgeous* orange blossom scent, with a lot of honeyed/beeswaxy richness to it that takes it in a warm and creamy direction rather than emphasizing the sharper, greener, more cologne-y aspects of orange blossom. I’d also recommend trying Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s Celadon, which is somewhat of a departure from your list of favorite notes but also completely sidesteps any of the notes you dislike, and is just so doggone lovely. It’s meant to be an olfactory representation of very pale green, but it departs from the standard perfumer’s interpretation of “green” in that it’s all about the violet! It’s a polite, office-appropriate scent, but is much more unique and interesting than many such. You can order samples on the DSH website. Happy hunting!

    • nebbe says:

      Will definitely check these out! Thank you for your suggestions – I am going to have my most fragrant summer yet! :D

  29. SmokeyToes says:

    I would suggest Bulgari Pour Femme too, it has a lovely powdery violet note and it’s easy to find, and wear. For a powdery/musk scent, I like Bulgari Eau the Blanc or Le Labo Ambrette 9.
    If you’d like a creamy sandalwood, try Guerlain’s Samsara, vintage if you can get it (sandalwood/Jasmine) or L’ Artisan’s Safran Troublant (rose/sandalwood/vanilla/saffron).

    One of my absolute favorite perfumers is Laurie from Sonoma Scent Studio, she has a scent with amber, sandalwood and labdanum called Champagne de Bois that is beautiful, not many people wear it and it’s affordable.

    • nebbe says:

      SmokeyToes: your cat is adorable. That expression on his/her face cracks me up.

      Your suggestions all sound lovely – I am even more curious about SSS now! Thank you for writing!

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