As I wrap up the week of scents for the twelve categories I so confidently described on Monday, I’m left with a lot of bottles in my cabinet and a lot of situations that call out for a particular perfume. Clearly, I’m full of baloney. Twelve is not enough. So let’s get on with it:
The Killer White Floral: Everyone needs a spectacular, lush, white floral perfume in her arsenal. Some of you may think you’re not the type, and for a long time I thought the same about myself. So I stuck to my spicy, incense-y scents. Then I smelled L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger. I realized that white flowers don’t always mean Ricci L’Air du Temps, but can mean Woman (with a capital “W”). If not now, then some day you’ll want to smell the knockout funk of indolic jasmine, the dreaminess of frangipani, the diva hit of tuberose, and creamy gardenia. Put away a bottle of Annick Goutal Songes or, if you’re up to it, Piguet Fracas, Chanel Gardenia, or Serge Lutens Tuberose Criminelle. You’ll be glad you did.
Kayliana’s request of scents for rock concerts, the opera, football games (from a comment on Monday’s article): For rock concerts, you can go in one of two directions. You can cut through the body heat and cigarette smoke of a late-night club by wearing a classic cologne, like 4711, Santa Maria Novella Eva, or even Chanel Cristalle. These will help perk you up, too, if the headliner isn’t coming on until two in the morning. On the other hand, my preference would be to give in to the smoke and thick air and make a statement with Caron Tabac Blond. Etro Shaal Nur would be good, too, with its combination of lemon and incense.
The last opera I saw was Don Giovanni, and I wore Songes, which on reflection probably had too much sillage (although I loved it and expected everyone in front of and behind me to congratulate me during intermission on my excellent choice). A scent to wear to the opera should be subtle, so not to disrupt the audience’s enjoyment, but complex and have some drama. Hmm. What did Maria Callas wear? I’m going to suggest Balenciaga Quadrille for cooler weather. It’s a hardcore chypre and takes a while to appreciate, but it keeps to itself and unwinds in an interesting way. Let’s pick a Guerlain, too. A measured application of L’Heure Bleue would be beautiful for the sadness of Madama Butterfly.
Football? Until Eau de Lager and Brats is made (and let’s hope it never is), I’m going to suggest something with a strong coffee note, like L’Artisan Navigateur. On the west coast football games always seem too early on Sunday mornings. If your team isn’t doing well, a zen scent like Bvlgari Eau de Thé Vert or Shiseido Relaxing Balm might be the ticket. If you don’t like football, try Andy Tauer L’Air du Désert Marocain and pretend you’re somewhere else.
Oh no! We’ve run out of space, but so many bottles beckon: L’Artisan Piment Brûlant for barbecues; Estee Lauder Azurée (the original) for hot afternoons in air-conditioned sports cars; Serge Lutens Bois de Violette for focused time at the library; Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu for rainy assignations; and Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie when you need to be alone. Alone, say, to contemplate perfume.
See also: The Fragrance Wardrobe Part 1, Part 2 ~ Comfort Scents, Part 3 ~ Scents for Business and Special Occasions and Part 4 ~ Perfume for Seduction.
Oh! How much fun is this? We could go on and on with these lists. Great choices Angela! I love the football ideas, something to transport me elsewhere, LOVE that! For me my creamy white has a little spice to it, the sleeper hit, Marc Jacobs Essence or Serge's Datura Noir. To the opera, something Italian inspired dare I say Tuscany Per Donna? I always loved that one or Fendi Theorema, mmmm! Rock concert, I'm stumped cuz I always wanna get backstage. How do I get backstage??!!
The “I Vant to Be Alone” scent is very important in any girl's repertoire.
One protestation I must make: L'Air du Temps (or at least the L'Air du Temps I know) is a dark carnation!
I love this series! It really makes me consider the many possiblities. My most favoriet White is Fracas but I'm actually one of the lone few who really likes Creed's Love in White. I also really love Do Som (sp?), which may not count as a White.
Oh, what fun!
But I agree with Tania: L'Air du Temps is the bomb! I wear it when I'm feeling a bit of the snuffles coming on. Maybe it's the perfect fragrance for when one is feeling under the weather? LOL!
Mitsouko for the opera, especially Madame Butterfly!
I think your choice of Songes for the opera was very appropriate. It's just a gorgeous fragrance no matter where you wear it.
Gosh, to get backstage you'll have to consult a different blog! I was also thinking that Serge's Borneo 1834 might be a good choice, too. You know, counter skank with skank.
Of course you're right about L'Air du Temps. Why am I thinking lilies–armloads of white lilies? Is that Je Reviens, maybe?
I though Love in White was pretty popular–I'm sure you're in excellent company!
I actually almost included Mitsouko–what a coincidence you brought it up! In the back of my mind I was thinking that there is an opera called Mitsouko, but I couldn't find it in my book of opera plots. But the Japanese name led to Madama Butterfly, which led to L'Heure Bleue. I do love Songes, though.
No, not lilies, I mean lilies-of-the-valley! (I've been out in an orchard picking peaches all morning and my brain is cooked.)
Hmmm… A white floral? I used to wear L'air du temps also. Fabulous! I also used to wear this fragrance by St John called White Camellia. Its a really subtle floral and when you think no one can smell it on you, they really can. I used to get loads of compliments on that one. But now, I can only buy it online. Perhaps I need to check that one out again.
Argh! I wish L'Artisan had not been so silly about the names; I was about to go “But it is L'Eau du Navigateur with the coffee note, not Navegar…” and then went “Oh.” The names are just too similar. The former is one of my faves… Do you like Piment Brulant? It seems like the unloved child of the spices trio, but the notes so intrigue me. As for white florals, the one that may convert me is Amoureuse, though, as I said in my MUA review, I'm finding it a bit of a test of will.
Yes yes! It is L'Eau du Navigateur (what was going on when I was writing this article? Note to self: pay a little attention) and not Navegar. I think Navegar is the cedar-y one. I do like Piment Brulant. I like the crisp, sheer red bell pepper. It's a good one for summer, and wearing it while standing around the Weber with tongs in one hand and a plate of kebabs in the other just seems natural. I'll have to check out your review of Amoureuse and order a sample–I've been really curious about it.
Yikes! Those N names had me fooled, too. I see above, after I posted my last comments, that the text actually does say “Navigateur”, but I think if I wrote “Navegar” in my original draft and Robin changed it to save me the humiliation. (Thanks, R.)
Hello! Wouldn't Beck's Instinct be just perfect for a football match? Kenzo pour homme, although a nice spicy aquatic, sometimes smells like beer on me (funny as I rarely drink it), so it might also do the trick. But Angela, Borneo — a skank? Nooohoo!
Ok, I'd definitely wear somethin' oakmossy to the opera, say Chanel PM or Habit Rouge, both classy scents. I might even take my chances with Burberry Brit or Jaïpur Homme or Amouage Dia (for men) if the latter didn't turn uriny on me. In lieu of florals, I spritz myself with a nice fougere like the original Burberry for men or Clinique Happy or… gosh I could go on and on with this. Thanks, A, it's been such a fun week!
Chanel No. 22 is a gorgeous white floral bouquet spiked with incense. I would call it a perfect scent to wear to an Easter midnight mass!
A fine topic to get our teeth into!
White florals for men are (as we know) hard to come by but recently mine came in a tiny bottle from Calcutta!!
My partner was in India recently and due to my consistant begging he was able to find numerous perfumes in a mosque. These perfumes are to enhance the spiritual state of the men during prayer.
One of these tiny bottles has I believe a jasmine clear note and is easily worn by men. Not overpowering and nicely balanced. All of the bottles are nameless and cost as much as a song.
White Camellia? Sounds really intriguing. There are so many terrific fragrances that appear and then disappear a few years later to online discounters. (Sigh) Maybe a good subject for a future article?
Dusan, I've been so happy to have your comments and great humor–a guy's perspective! My Borneo comment is tongue-in-cheek, although the first 20 minutes are a little hard to take for me. And I wholeheartedly agree with oakmoss for the opera. (In fact, I'm nearly inspired to write an opera called “Oakmoss”. Too bad I don't have the talent.)
One of my first serious fragrances was Chanel 22. I bought a bottle of the bath oil in a store at the mall, and I remember that it had clearly been used, and wasn't even in the original box, but I wanted it bad enough to fork over my allowance money. I must have been 13 years old. My mother gave me heck for wasting my money on perfume. I still maintain that a good perfume is certainly worth the same as a massage, or pair of shoes, or facial, or fancy dinner on the town.
TommiSooni, I love it that in India there are white florals for men to enhance spirituality! I long to go to India, and this is another reason. Now, if only there were more fougeres for women…
Thank you, dear A! I've really enjoyed myself and you know, you're not so bad yourself Seriously, I'm sure that “Oakmoss” would be a major opéra bouffe if you set your mind to writing at least the libretto, for which you certainly have the talent. Hey, you know what — I'll gladly cast myself in the lead role of Monsieur Mousse (de Chene, obviously)! Not that I can sing to save my life, but the opera is meant to be funny, right?
Half the fun of this blog is the comments from others.
Back to India. For your knowledge Angela, India was a big disapointment on the perfume front.
Alex searched high and wide for “exotics”, even the locals claimed perfumes were not made in India but in France and the USA.
Macy's in San Francisco used to sell White Camellia. That's where I bought it. Another one that disappeared that I liked was Noa by Cacharel. Its a powdery scent with a hint of pepper but the pepper is not offensive. Both of those fragrances are actually some of the few that I have completely finished the entire bottles!!!! I buy a lot of perfumes and end up giving some away to my sisters.
Your sisters are lucky!
D, then I will be Mlle. Patch Ooly, and we can sing a duet, Le Conte de Chypre.
I'm happy to go to India just for the food, but too bad about the perfume. One would think with all the incense, etc., there would be a thriving essential oil industry at the very least.
Brilliant! It's a deal, Mlle Patch. Off to practise my falsetto…
Oh yeah. Now they have just as much fragrance as I do!
Dear Angela, beautiful article!!!
I have never been to the Opera (planning on attending soon though), but I always thought, since having smelt it once in the late 80's or veeery early nineties, that Teatro alla Scala, by Krizia was dead on. It seems it was designed to evoke memories of a night at the Scala theatre in Milan.
I used the bath/shower gel.. it was TRULY intoxicating in the most positive way…. If you can find a vintage bottle… Go for it.
Yes, I meant that you (or Robin) originally had it right – I just read it wrong. Good to hear about Piment Brulant – I love the sound of the notes, but everybody seems to be big on the Safran Troublant in particular, and complain about Brulant's lasting power.
You had me thinking about Piment Brulant, so I sprayed some on for an early dinner at a friend's house tonight. About four hours later, I smell traces of it, it's definitely fading–but not horrible lasting power. I like Safran Troublant, too, but it is decidedly sweeter and more gourmand to me.
I will take your advice and start my hunt for a sniff of Teatro alla Scala! The name is certainly spot-on for opera.
How about fragrances for camping/hiking/rafting, etc? I'm a big outdoors fan from the pacific northwest but still want to smell fresh and good to my significant other on these outings. Most of the men I date want an all natural woman, but I can't bear going without any scent at all. What might work? Some of the fragrances I've tried have been Escada Sport Country Weekend (seems a bit heavy), Eau de Kinzo, Caudelie's Fleur de Vigne. Anyone have any other suggestions?
For a scent that mimics a night in woods full of doug fir, I'd try Tauer's l'air du desert marocain or Goutal's Les Nuits d'Hadrien. The Tauer scent packs a punch, FYI–the Goutal might be a little gentler. Goutal's L'Eau d'Hadrien might be perfect, too, citrusy and clean, but not particularly cologne-y.
Thanks for the suggestions! I also have Goutal's Eau d'Hadrien, which I'd forgotten about. I will try Les Nuits d'Hadrien.
How about what to wear to your own wedding?
Great question–I actually did a post on wedding fragrances a few months ago: https://nstperfume.com/blog/_archives/2006/7/17/2132574.html . There are lots of great suggestions in the comments to the article, too. (If this link doesn't work, just put “wedding perfume” in the search bar, and the article will be the first entry that comes up.
Also, per your camping perfume question, the Nuits d'Hadrien has cypress in it, which is why I thought of it for camping. Also, (see, now I'm thinking about outdoor scents) what about Guerlain Vetiver?