5 Perfumes: Dressing Table Fragrances

Carole Lombard at her dressing table

Sometimes I want a glamorous perfume. I don’t mean a blatantly sexy fragrance, but one that oozes retro allure. Imagine Carole Lombard, swathed in silk charmeuse, warm from the bath, with bowls of roses in every room. That kind of perfume. I think of these fragrances as “dressing table” perfumes. They’re resolutely feminine and are usually dosed with rose, violet, iris, and powder. The best of them carry an animalic purr. They’d be right at home perched on a vintage dressing table with a postcard from a lover in Paris clipped to the mirror.

Here are five of my favorite dressing table perfumes. With each perfume, I add a dressing table accessory that suits it. In the comments, please share your favorite dressing table perfumes…

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Parfums Raffy

Amouage Journey Woman ~ fragrance review

Amouage Journey Woman

So often with Amouage, I feel like Opposite Woman. Most perfume critics laud Fate Woman as a masterpiece, but I found it a cloying powder bomb. Tons of perfumistas cherish Memoir Woman, but it’s a train wreck on my skin. Now, Journey Woman. I’ve read reviews hinting it’s simple, thin, and cheaply made. Naturally, I adore it.

Let’s start with Journey Woman’s basics, then get to Opposite Woman’s experience with the fragrance. Journey Woman came out in 2014. Its notes include apricot, jasmine tea, osmanthus, nutmeg, cardamom, jasmine sambac, mimosa, honey, cedarwood, pipe tobacco, saffron, vanilla, cypriol and musk. Amouage describes it as “floral, fruity and leather.”

Some reviews have called Journey a simple fruity floral…

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5 perfumes: Euphoria


It has been said of great poetry — as well as of pornography, of course — that you know it when you see it. A few perfumes have struck me with an analogous revelatory force.1 Many of my favorites have crept up on me, gaining in beauty and mystery over the course of several exposures. In a small number of cases, though, a first encounter with a fragrance has been more like being within 50 feet of a lightning strike: no immediate definition or description does the matter justice. Since my perfume hobby started, I’ve watched the epiphanies of several of my fellow fume-heads. Upon processing the first sniff, two enthusiasts have wept. One friend laughed in surprise, and another pirouetted. My reaction to such new love is to blush beet-red, regardless of whether there is anyone around to witness my surrender. Apparently, if I am greatly moved, my sympathetic nervous system must become involved.

Does it say something about me that I have spent a great deal of time ruminating on these singular events, trying to identify a unifying thread? (Short answer: yes.) In fact, I have noticed there are similarities between my own heart-struck moments…

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