This week's Monday Mail is about Natalie, who was "a budding perfumista" in her teens (Hermès Calèche, Jean Patou Cocktail). As an adult, Natalie finds that she has drifted to "pretty-pretty, crowd-pleasing florals" (Christian Dior Diorissimo, L'Artisan La Chasse aux Papillons Extrême, Jo Malone Orange Blossom) that aren't a good match with her pesonality. She has started out exploring new fragrances but would like our help deciding what she should sample next. She doesn't mind splurging within reasonable limits (no JAR or Clive Christian), but she'd also be happy with a budget fragrance.
Here is what we know about Natalie:
She's a single mother in her late 30s.
She's happiest in either huge cities or "the back of beyond".
She's describes herself as moody, daring, complicated, or less charitably, difficult. She's also "eccentric, creative, and introverted, and my professions have included everything from glassblowing to managing professional boxers".
Her looks are "sweet, innocent", and she's been told her demeanor is "ladylike", but she dyes her hair red and has "a dangerously subversive streak and a caustic tongue".
So, Natalie is looking for a fragrance that will be a better fit with her "complicated and somewhat dark nature". Natalie likes...
church-y incense notes,
lavender, lily, lily of the valley, carnation, orange blossom, fig, anise, and tea,
violet, tuberose, citrus, spices, and woods.
She isn't sure about amber or vetiver. Natalie dislikes or can't wear...
middlebrow, department store stuff,
overly indolic fragrances,
Here is what Natalie has tried so far:
Incense: Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant (unpleasantly musty), Comme des Garçons Avignon (loves it, but not feminine enough), Etro Shaal Nur (heavy and common), Heeley Cardinal ( liked it enough to buy a decant, but sometimes finds it too "sweaty"), L'Artisan Passage d’Enfer (too soapy), Tauer Incense Extreme (too masculine), Tauer Incense Rose (gorgeous for evening, too sultry for day).
Florals: Lorenzo Villoresi Donna (gorgeously carnation-y but might be too pretty-pretty), Caron Bellodgia (elegant but borderline cloying), Guerlain Après l’Ondée (pleasant but not what she's looking for), Serge Lutens Un Lys (nice but too one-note), Serge Lutens Fleurs D’Oranger (a warm, mothball-y closet with yellowing wallpaper), Miller Harris Geranium Bourbon (not quite right), Parfums de Nicolai Odalisque (overripe), Parfums de Nicolai Eclipse (cheap and cloying), Mona di Orio Nuit Noire (smells like her parents’ bathroom closet), Parfums 06130 Feuille de Reglisse (too Pleasures-y), By Kilian Beyond Love (ok but not spectacular), Robert Piguet Fracas (too full and overripe).
Miscellaneous: Caron Tabac Blonde (wanted to love it but too stinky), Diptyque Philosykos (not exactly what she's looking for, but bought a full bottle for bad days), Etro Anice (disappeared in about 5 minutes), Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau pour le Jeune Homme (nasty and medicinal), Parfumerie Generale Harmatan Noir (like the opening, but dries down to a boring floral), L'Artisan Tea for Two (headache-inducing).
Fragrances Natalie has on her "to try list" include Armani Privé Bois d'Encens, Serge Lutens Encens et Lavande, Bond no. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory, Donna Karan Black Cashmere.
What say you?
My recommendations: Natalie should definitely try the incense fragrances she's already got on her "to try list", but if none of them work, she might buy a sample of Juozas Statkevicius Eau de Parfum (available from Beautyhabit or Luckyscent), which while still unisex, has less of a masculine edge than some of the others in this category. She might also play around with layering something like Comme des Garçons Avignon (or Heeley Cardinal, since she has a decant) with the "pretty-pretty" scents already in her collection.