This week's subject is Ksenia, who has been sampling like mad this year but finding that her "success rate" is not so hot: she's yet to sample a perfume that she'd like to buy in a full size. She wants to find something "interesting and special", and was hoping we could give her some assistance in planning her next sample orders from Aedes and Beautyhabit.
Here is what we know about Ksenia:
She is in her 30s and has one young child.
She lives in Northern California, where it is dry much of the time and there are only minimal seasonal changes in the weather.
She describes her personal style as "fairly subdued"; she is not looking to "make a statement" with her clothes or her perfume.
She looks best in cool tones, and is also drawn to "cool" fragrances.
She loves the outdoors (hiking, backpacking).
Ksenia likes earthy/woody florals that are cool rather than sweet, and she also likes green chypres — two of her favorite fragrances are Yves Saint Laurent Y and Jean Luis Scherrer. She would like to find new fragrances that are understated yet confident, and quietly elegant without being stuffy. She does not like prominent citrus, fruity or gourmand notes, over-the-top florals, heavy orientals or too much musk.
Ksenia has recently purchased a number of fragrances unsniffed:
Gianfranco Ferre, which she bought by mistake after confusing the name with Jean Louis Scherrer. It is "too floral" but she might wear it as a special occasion perfume for summer outdoor events.
Patou Forever: "The opening is like being hit with a bowl of fruit salad over your head, but the drydown is not too bad." Ksenia is using this one to scent her dryer sheets.
Hermes Hiris: "Instant love", although she isn't thrilled with the staying power.
Prada Infusion d'Iris: "Lovely, more crisp and transparent (and a touch sweeter) than Hiris."
And some of the perfumes she has sampled recently...
L'Artisan Premier Figuier (regular and Extreme): too much coconut.
L'Artisan La Chasse Aux Papillons: a "romantic floral"; not her style.
L'Artisan L'Eau d'Ambre & Tea For Two: neither scent was to her taste.
Hermès Un Jardin Sur Le Nil: "not very memorable".
Hermès Caleche: "ouch, the soap!"
Hermès Kelly Caleche: "shrill fizzy leather".
Hermès Terre d'Hermes: "too masculine".
Serge Lutens A la Nuit, Fleurs d'Oranger and Fleurs de Citronnier, all too floral/not quite right, Miel de Bois ("eek!") and Douce Amere ("sweet and medicinal").
Serge Lutens Chypre Rouge: her favorite of the Serge Lutens she has tried, but she is not lemming a full bottle.
Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Figue-Iris: "too jammy and botanical".
Amouage Jubilation 25: a "special occasion scent only".
Bvlgari Omnia Crystalline: "too musky".Keiko Mecheri Gourmandises: "too cough syrup".
What say you? My recommendations:
My top picks are all by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, a perfumer who tends towards an understated style that could be a perfect match for Ksenia, and who handles iris notes beautifully: L'Artisan Dzongkha, Eau d'Italie Sienne L'Hiver and/or Paestum Rose. Note that Eau d'Italie is listed under "Le Sirenuse" at Aedes.
Aede's new Une Histoire de Chypre is also very much worth trying, as is The Different Company Bois d'Iris. I don't know if Ksenia likes incense, but for some reason after reading her "profile" one of the first scents that came to mind was Comme des Garçons Ouarzazate.
And not at Aedes or Beautyhabit, but fragrances Ksenia might seek out in the future include Bond no. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory, Divine L'Homme de Coeur, Caron Alpona (although I hear wildly varying things about its reformulation), Chanel 28 La Pausa and 31 Rue Cambon, Antonia's Flowers Tiempe Passate. And if she can get her hands on it, Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, of course.