Rhonda is our subject today. Rhonda is a petite brunette in her 50s and "in the throes of menopause", and therein lies her perfume problem: her sense of smell has "intensified tremendously". All of her old perfume loves no longer suit, so she'd like our help.
Up until a couple years ago, Rhonda wore Dolce & Gabbana's By Woman, and she found it "just about perfect". Now, it smells intolerably sweet to her. She also liked Bond no. 9's New Haarlem and some of the Montale Aouds, but they're likewise now too intense, too sweet, too flowery or too vanilla.
She'd like a new wood or spicy fragrance that doesn't make her gag, and she'd like her new scent to be $100 or less.
Rhonda does have reasonably good access to perfume stores, and she's willing to buy samples online.
A few more details about Rhonda's scent preferences: she'd like her perfume to be feminine — she finds citrus and herbal scents too masculine — but she doesn't care for florals or heavy amber. She also doesn't like leather, heavy aldehydes, iris, chypres, vetiver or powder.
Here are some of the scents she has tried in her search:
Serge Lutens Rousse, Five O'Clock Au Gingembre, Chergui, and Santal Blanc: all too sweet.
Sonia Rykiel Woman Not for Men and Bogner Wood Woman: too creamy sweet.
Tauer Perfumes L'air du Desert Marocain: too sweet.
Bvlgari Black: too strange.
Caron Tabac Blond: too sharp. She also didn't like Guerlain Mitsouko or Robert Piguet Bandit.
10 Corso Como, Diptyque Tam Dao, Donna Karan Wenge: all too "one note", and not as feminine as she'd like.
CB I Hate Perfume Lavender Tea Water, Serge Lutens Encens et Lavande and Caldey Island’s Lavender: too soapy and too masculine.
Other "no" scents: Estee Lauder Sensuous, Bond no. 9 Lexington Avenue, and everything she has tried from Parfumerie Generale, Sonoma Scent Studio, Tom Ford, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, Chanel (she tried most of the exclusive collection) and Ava Luxe.
There are, however, a few scents that almost work:
Miller et Bertaux For You No. 1: Rhonda owns this and likes the early stages, but by the end of the day, it's "pure, powerful, overwhelming pencil shavings".
Donna Karan Chaos: again, Rhonda really likes the early stages. Later, it's too musky.
Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille: It isn't perfect, but it's almost perfect. She wishes it were a bit more feminine, but it isn't too cloying, and it doesn't make her gag. It is, however, way beyond her price point.
What say you?
I'm stumped. I do think Rhonda might find it worth her while to try Donna Karan Black Cashmere, Parfums de Nicolaï Vanille Tonka, L'Artisan Vanilia and Comme des Garçons White, but I wouldn't lay money on any of them. I hope ya'll are going to have better ideas than I do.