25 Rose Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try

aged roses

A few weeks ago, Robin posted an update to her much-loved post 100 Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try, adding twenty-five more fragrances worth seeking out. Angela has pitched in with a tempting selection of 25 Vintage Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try, while Kevin has expanded our view with a list of 50 Masculine Fragrances. And what’s my “beat” here on Now Smell This? I’ve always gravitated towards florals, particularly rose-based perfumes, so I’ll do my part with a run-down of some must-try rose scents.

True roses1

1. Annick Goutal Rose Absolue

Annick Goutal was one of my “gateway” houses into perfume obsession, partially because it offers several rose-inspired fragrances. Rose Absolue is the most “true” rose of the group. It brings together essences of six different roses (May, Turkish, Bulgarian, Damascus, Egyptian, and Moroccan) into a radiant bouquet…

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And 25 more fragrances every perfumista should smell

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Five years ago, I wrote an article called 100 Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try; since then it’s been the most-read article on Now Smell This. I was less than satisfied with it when I published it, and 5 years on, it’s really showing its age. This week I’ve made some corrections and adjustments to bring it up to date, but I’m still not satisfied with it and I probably never will be.1 Meantime, Angie and Kevin have joined in the list-making effort with 26 Vintage Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try and 50 Masculine Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try.

So this post is something of an addendum: 25 more fragrances every perfumista should smell. It’s in the same mold as the original article, that is, it’s not a list of the best fragrances, but rather, more fragrances that you ought to know in the interests of furthering your perfume education. Some of them are fragrances I wish I could have found room for in the original 100, some of them are just newer fragrances that I think are brilliant, and some of them are from brands that aren’t quite so brilliant but that I think you ought to be familiar with anyway. The list only includes brands that were not on the original 100 Fragrances post.

And as before, the list exposes the massive gaps in my own perfume education. You would think I’d be better informed 5 years later, but it’s turned out quite the opposite: every year they release more and more and MORE new fragrances, and every year I fail to smell more than a small percentage. It’s a losing battle…

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50 Masculine Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try

“So many perfumes, so little time,” we perfume fanatics think. I not only ponder the scents I’m missing today, but all the perfumes from long ago I never got the chance to smell. I like to peruse glossy perfume books but often feel “bitter” as I admire beautiful illustrations and photographs in old perfume advertisements. Many famous perfume houses, and their creations, disappeared long before I was born — companies like L T Piver, Gilot, Corday, Dorin, Delettrez, Rimmel’s Perfumery. Whenever I see certain famous perfume bottles, I get greedy and regretful: Molinard’s “1811” in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte, with a bicorn hat stopper; Schiaparelli’s Snuff (a pipe-shaped bottle housed in a cigar box!); or, perhaps my most coveted bottle, D’Orsay’s Toujours fidèle from 1909, topped with a crystal bulldog.

What’s a man to do?

Five years ago, Robin compiled a list of 100 fragrances every perfumista should try; most of those fragrances were for women (with some unisex perfumes and four masculines included too). Today, I’m presenting a list of 50* perfumes geared towards men, especially newcomers to perfume adoration…

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26 Vintage Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try

Bourjois perfumes advertParfums Caron advert

[Ed. note: 5 years ago, I wrote an article called 100 Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try. Every year since, it has turned out to be the most-read article on Now Smell This. I was less than satisfied with it when I published it, and 5 years on, it's really showing its age. This week, Angie and Kevin are adding to the fun with lists of vintage and men's fragrances respectively, and I'll be making some updates to my original article. Jessica will join in with a list of rose fragrances next month. Robin]

How to choose 25 vintage fragrances of the thousands of discontinued and reformulated perfumes out there? In compiling this list, I tried to choose fragrances that are important yet have changed substantially over time, or that have been discontinued yet left a significant mark in perfume or cultural history.

For instance, Guerlain Shalimar, while a landmark fragrance, is all right in its current incarnation, so I don’t mention it. Chanel No. 5 and Patou Joy have been monkeyed with, but they’re still recognizable (although real fans may want to hunt down the older versions). On the other hand, Lanvin Arpège is a whole new story these days. I aimed for perfumes that will add to your olfactory knowledge, even if you don’t love them. I also included a few that are just plain wacky and, I think, deserve a sniff.

So, let’s go. In alphabetical order:

1. Balmain Jolie Madame

A tough Germaine Cellier sharp green-violet-leather that is still in production, yet has lost its teeth over the years. In molding Jolie Madame to the times, her fusty goodness has been smoothed away…

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The long haul perfumista ~ a not-rant and a quick poll

Way back in 2007, Angie wrote a great post called Becoming a perfumista, in which she identified four stages of perfumista-hood. Many of you will recognize the symptoms: strong interest (stage one), beginning perfume mania (stage two), full-blown perfume mania (this is stage 3, and for many of us, it’s when we drain our bank accounts) and connoisseurship (stage four).

A bit later that same year, while reviewing Gucci by Gucci, I added a stage five, which I called rampant cynicism:

This comes, I think, of already owning enough perfume to scent a small town for the foreseeable future, and then not only looking for more fragrances that you might conceivably love and want to own, but also trying (in vain) to keep track of all the new perfume releases and to smell as many of them as you can possibly manage. You can tell you’ve reached stage five when almost everything you read about a new fragrance makes you either laugh out loud or roll your eyes, depending on your mood.

In other words, it’s when you start to get jaded, and I think it’s a natural reaction to trying to search out the gems among the ongoing lunacy of 1500+ new fragrance releases a year. Perhaps it’s also a natural byproduct of blogging, and especially of blogging about new fragrances…

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