This week, we're (hopefully) helping Rae. She's a student in her 20s, studying arts and design in a large city. Here are a few more details about her:
She says she usually strikes people as older than her age.
She is interested in all fields of art: music, performance arts, photography, literature.
She wears muted colors much of the time, but owns more dress shirts and blouses than T-shirts, and can pull off a red lipstick any time of the day.
Rae is looking for a calm and soothing fragrance, not too commonly worn but also not too weird. She does have local access to many niche brands, but she needs something that will fit into her student budget — hopefully, $100 or less for 100 ml. Here is what we know about her fragrance preferences:
Other fragrances she has liked and worn in the past include Fresh Pear Cassis, Bvlgari's Eau Parfumée au Thé Rouge and The Body Shop's White Musk Body Lotion.
She tried Jo Malone's Black Vetyver Cafe, and liked it but found it too masculine to wear. She didn't like Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey, and the newer White Jasmine & Mint smelled nice on a strip but not on her skin.
She loved the opening of Donna Karan's Black Cashmere, especially the smoky notes, but something in the dry down gave her a headache. Donna Karan Cashmere Mist made her think "office", so that is out.
She did not like Thierry Mugler Angel, Hermès Eau des Merveilles, or Hermès Jardin Sur Le Nil ( Jardin en Méditerranée was "pretty nice"). Serge Lutens Bois Vanille was nice in the opening, but too medicinal in the dry down.
She does not like strong white florals, prominent notes of amber or patchouli, or very green scents.
More "no" scents: Perles de Lalique, Dior Poison & Midnight Poison, Dior J'Adore, Chloe.
Her boyfriend hates rose, so rose is out.
She likes wood notes, subtle, sweet spices, and tea & coffee notes.
Please comment with your recommendations for Rae! My picks:
Playing on the "smoky" notes and the fact that Rae liked the opening of Serge Lutens Bois Vanille, she might want to try Annick Goutal's Vanille Exquise (the 50 ml Eau de Toilette can be found at discount for less than $60), L'Artisan Vanilia (most unfortunately now nearly $100 for 50 ml) or i Profumi di Firenze Ambra del Nepal (don't let the amber scare you, but another expensive one at $89 for 50 ml). For a younger, hipper take on vanilla + smoke, she might try Apothia's Velvet Rope ($75 for 50 ml), but I'm not sure that one fits the "calm and soothing" part.
For a spicy tea + woods scent, Rae might want to try Bvlgari Omnia. It is perhaps more widely worn than the four listed above, but it isn't that widely worn, and it's a relative bargain (a 65 ml bottle can be found at discount for less than $50). For tea + vanilla + wood, Kenzo Amour might fit the bill (Kenzo Flower Oriental would have been even better, but I don't think testers can be found anymore).
I considered recommending Comme des Garçons Kyoto, but decided Rae would likely find it too masculine. Can anyone think of a feminine version of Kyoto or Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe?
Note: image "Letter box in a house-wall of San Giorgio in the community Resia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy" by Johann Jaritz, via Wikimedia.