Smell is the most associative sense. For years, they have dyed both men's colognes and sports drinks like Gatorade the exact shade of blue of the absorbing liquid in maxi pad commercials and nobody seems bothered by this, except me — and, well, maybe now you as well. Something I never overhear: "I can't listen to Bartók anymore, because John Bonham of Led Zeppelin has ruined me for timpani." Yet every scent enthusiast is familiar with the type of scenario where you apply careful dabs of your most cherished new sample and you are snuffling away at the baptized spot on the back of your hand, squinting and considering every facet, when your spouse breezes in and announces casually: "It smells like Lifebuoy soap in here." And you are NEVER ABLE TO WEAR IT AGAIN. The band-aid aspect of fragrances with black pepper, the ham in lily soliflores, a whiff of Creamsicle wherever and whenever it is found: once smelled, it haunts you forever.
Perhaps no note in perfumery has suffered more for its associations than mint. The cost of our modern obsession with smelling fresh has been that there are some of us who regularly wear fragrances that evoke the burnt dust of a blown computer CPU, but refuse to wear minty scents on the grounds that we are reminded of toothpaste, mouthwash and chewing gum. Really, the logic of this seems suspect: we use mint for such purposes because it smells good. Why not explore more often a note that cues so much for us?
When I think about it, my childhood smelled of mint. My father has always supported mintiness, viewing products like bubblegum-flavored Crest Kids or Big Red cinnamon gum as aberrations, not to be tolerated, like sugar cereal with marshmallows. I remember sleeping over at a friend's house when I was nine and her house was like a foreign country where the mouthwash was yellow, the toothgel was sweet and sparkly and they ate Lucky Charms for breakfast. (For some reason, I remember thinking that you were allowed such stuff only if you were Catholic.) Meanwhile, though she disapproved of its weed-like hardiness and spread, my maternal grandmother grew mint in her garden to make sauce for lamb and mushy peas. As children, my brother and I were encouraged to ruthlessly raid her mint patch before meals and rub the leaves on our hands and arms, which no doubt made us sweeter-smelling tablemates. Oddly, Grandma also regarded the Grasshopper as the proper after-dinner cocktail for small children. (Why let the Catholics have all the fun?) Lately, I've been wearing the fragrances below and thinking that four out of five dentists — plus my Grams — can't be wrong.
Thierry Mugler Eau de Star: Why are all the Mugler Angel variations so much better than the copies put together by other brands (Bond No. 9 Nuits de Noho, Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, Chopard Wish, etc., etc.)? When Eau de Star launched in 2007, I expected to hate it. The ad copy raved on about aquatic freshness and "powerful patchouli", while an early reviewer referenced both cucumber and Serge Lutens Borneo 1834. I had visions of needing to rid myself of a possessed sampling hand, à la Evil Dead II. As it turned out, all that talk of oceanic accords boiled down to a touch of salt, while the heart notes of patchouli and mint proved to be natural partners (see also Histoire de Parfums Noir Patchouli). Some report that Mugler's A*Men smells like mint fudge ripple ice cream to them, but I think Eau de Star is more likely to satisfy that craving, as I get more lavender-coffee-tar from the former.
Humiecki & Graef Eau Radieuse: This is another fragrance starring Christophe Laudamiel as Mad Scientist. After what was doubtless a baffling, high-concept brief from Sebastian Fischenich and Tobias Muksch, you picture Laudamiel retreating to his lair, turning on his Tesla coils and running blue Gatorade through bubble tubes, until he had a tea-like mint-and-citrus cologne with the half-life of plutonium. If he had presented me with a beaker of this fragrance, glowing like neon, I would have called it "Great Scott!" Or perhaps "Muwahahahaha!" (Careful —only four "ha" sounds.) One day, a bottle will be mine.
Gorilla Perfume at Lush The Smell of Weather Turning: Mark Constantine, co-creator of this scent with his son Simon, tells the following story about seeking inspiration for the fragrance: "Then we did some work with musician Simon Emmerson, who is also a bard and part of a druid order. He did some pieces of music, which reminded me of staying in Finland at a place where the lady had decided to make it as it would have been back in the Iron Age. She fed us nettles and dark rye bread. One morning, I watched a man outside weeding, but it turned out to be our lunch." (via Gorilla Perfume). This does indeed smell like a salad of the ancient plains or fjords, with a cleansing top of mint and a warm, slightly bitter base, reminiscent of Serge Lutens' Chêne.
Heeley Menthe Fraïche: Like most of the Heeley perfumes, this little ditty seems deceptively simple, with the sharp, open air green of torn peppermint leaf. It is, of course, a complex abstract composition, as Chandler Burr detailed in his glowing review of two summers ago. Why the Heeley website references Christine Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho is anyone's guess: the character may be slicked and angularly handsome, but to my mind, he is not an ideal spokesman for this or any other commercial fragrance.
Frédéric Malle Géranium Pour Monsieur: Another natural-smelling, well-groomed, quietly leafy scent, with a pleasant bitterness and the odd effect you sometimes encounter in incense fragrances of disappearing up close, only to blink back into focus at a distance. Recommended.
Note: top image is mint leaves by SummerTomato at flickr; some rights reserved.
Erin, fresh mint rocks! I love raiding my MIL’s patch. She makes this pineapple lemonade thing with mint that I absolutely love.
I still want to sniff The Smell of Weather Turning. And Geranium pour Monsieur, though I fully expect it to be too masculine for me.
On the subject of marshmallow cereal, if you replaced “Catholic” in the phrase, “For some reason, I remember thinking that you were allowed such stuff only if you were Catholic,” with “not Baptist,” you’d have *my* childhood assumption.
My assumption was if you had young parents. Such things were Not Allowed in my house, but my cousins had sugar cereal and pop galore. I still remember, though, that every time I spent a summer week with them, the first thing I did when I walked through the door at home was head for the fridge and pour a glass of milk. Ahh.
Ah, the coveted young parent: I envied those kids, too. Just to re-emphasize how wrong our assumptions can be: my hubby’s parents were very young, and they only gave him pop heavily diluted with water or milk (ick!)
LOL. I had young, [nominally] Catholic parents, and we never had sugary cereal, and only rarely soda.
It’s like MythBusters around here.
Young-ish parents, a-religious, Cheerios or NON frosted mini-wheats only allowed, no pop except for birthday parties. My Catholic cousins got chocolate milk, sugared cereal, and donuts. Mythbusting continues…
Ah, but once or twice a year, I was allowed ANY cereal. My cereal of choice? Lucky Charms. (The green ones were not mint flavored. )
I had non-young non-religious parents, and we had soda, sugar cereal, and we ate our cereal with half-and-half, not milk. My mother even adds extra sugar to orange juice.
LOL! I was sneaky, with a horrible sweet tooth. Mom bought Rice Krispies and Cheerios only, but it didn’t stop me from putting either a) Hershey’s syrup, or b) powdered coffee creamer and about 4 heaping spoonfuls of sugar on them. She’d probably have been better off just getting the sugar cereals. I do appreciate it now, though, as I see so many struggling w/weight issues and having no clue what healthy eating even looks like. We had pop only when we had pizza (rare), and then, we had no dessert. Catholic parents, in their 30s, for purposes of science.
Funny, I had a set of cousins like that, too: BooBerry cereal and Froot Loops, and Pepsi in the fridge. In the FRIDGE! Multiple bottles! Treasure trove! Shock and jealousy! (They had a dairy, so there was fresh unhomogenized milk in the fridge too.)
I vividly remember my youngest son, age four, being offered a snack at a church function: there were doughnuts and soda, but he kept insisting he wanted milk. I was so proud.
And my middle kid, then 6, didn’t know how to pick a flavor of soda at a birthday party. He’d never tasted any of them.
Milk, three meals a day. They oughta have good bones.
Count Chocula, how I yearned for thee. Funny to think of now, since I haven’t bought a sugar cereal any time in the past dozen or so years, when I was free to do so. And what church do you go to? Every function I’ve ever been to has had that day-glo orange gutwash that’s supposed to be peach or orange drink, I always forget which.
Grew up moderate Baptist, married a Presbyterian and attended his church for, oh, 15 years. Felt increasingly out of touch with the way things were going there, and left for a nondenominational church.
Which turned out to have very Baptist principles.
Count Chocula! When I was first in college my roommates and I went all over town looking for it. My brother came to visit and I fed him a bowl of it, and he said, “Aren’t you glad mom never let us have this kind of stuff?” And then proceeded to eat three more bowls of it.
I’ve been known to go into raptures over anything involving mint and lemonade: Pim’s & Ginger cocktails with lemonade, mint, cucumber, ginger beer and Pim’s Gin are my favorites. And those new JD and fizzy lemonades in a can could really cause me to fall out with some stricter Baptists – pop some mint and ice in a glass and away you go!
I think the Smell of Weather turning is going to be a sleeper hit. I can’t say I love the other new scents I’ve tried from the Constantines, but this should tie over fans of minty scents until Dirty (from B Never) is re-issued. Hey, the Gorilla website is just now down b/c of hackers! Better keep my eye on my credit card statements….
One of my co-workers says the difference between his Catholic friends and his Baptist friends is that his Catholic friends wave at him in the liquor store.
The Baptists are in there, but they don’t wave? I’ll have to do a religious survey next time I’m in the liquor store. My own answer will be “Other”.
My husband and I used to be Baptist (we now call ourselves Methodist), and we have run into people from our former church in a casino. They seemed really embarrassed to be “busted”, although they could very well have asked what WE were doing there!
It takes two Episcopalians to change a lightbulb: one to call the electrician and the other to mix the martinis.
That Heeley has popped up a number of times recently… sounds like I need to try it. The Finland story cracked me up (my husband is a Finn), so now I’ll probably have to add that one to the list as well, if only so I can make fun of him with the story. Thanks Erin!
I almost bought Menthe Fraiche before Christmas, but it was sold out at the local place selling Heeley. Should be back in stock around now. Hmmmm. *checks credit card statement*
Nettles and rye bread sounds pretty tasty, really! I love the interaction between the exuberant Mark and his normally understated son at Lush/Gorilla Perfume. It seems like Dad is always coming up with wild ideas that Simon has to find a way to execute.
I’m crazy about Mojitos. Love them! That combo of mint and lime (and the rum, of course) is to die for.
I wore Herba Fresca when it first came out. Definitely minty, grassy, strange. Another refreshing minty scent – the limited edition Histoires de Parfums Défilé New York. Mandragore has a touch of mint, as does the scent I’m wearing today – 3 Fleurs by Parfums d’Empire!
Haven’t tried any of the scents you listed, Erin, except for the Eau de Star. I bought a bottle unsniffed. On me, there’s something so awfully off-putting when I first spray it that I immediately have to scrub it off!!! No idea if my bottle is bad or if it’s just part of the scent, but it’s really awful! Now I’ll need to try it again…
Karin, you get mint in 3 Fleurs? I love that fragrance! I’ll have to see if I can detect the mint, but I’ve never noticed it.
I’ve missed that one AND Wazumba so far, I’m in sorry shape.
Herba Fresca is like the grandfather of all great recent mint perfumes. I think it and Pamplelune are the only survivors of what I’m increasingly regarding as the Aqua Allegoria car crash. Love them both.
Have you tried that Malin & Goetz Mojito? Or their Dark Rum? I keep hearing they’re fabulous. Sorry the Eau de Star didn’t work for you! Your bottle is probably fine, it’s just that Angel structure can do weird things on some people…
Oh, but I LOVE Angel! Perhaps it’s that aquatic accord? Dunno. Need to respray and figure out what it is.
Don’t know anything about Malin and Goetz. Just checked out their website – looks like they’re candles?
I was surprised to quite like a few of their sprays I tried, one of which was maybe the Rum Tonic mentioned by o9 below? Can’t remember. Have heard the candles are good too, and speaking of mint, Jessica recommends the Peppermint shampoo…
I tried the Malin & Goetz rum tonic and thought if I combined it with the M&G lime tonic I would get a mojito – it didn’t turn out well for some reason – but looks like they make a mojito one already! I do like the rum tonic very much and would like a bottle.
Thanks for the rec, that’s #1 on my list to try (or re-try?!) All this M & G talk has reminded me that Kevin put their eucalyptus deoderant on his best of the year list – he says it smells of limes. He also mentions the Pattern body washes, and I’m pretty sure they have a mint one.
I need to re-try Défilé New York. I don’t remember getting mint during its many incarnations (that stuff changed on me for what seemed liked hours but that’s not a complaint)!
Hey Erin. Mint is indeed a difficult note for me.
However, one of my summer staples is Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Mentafollia, and I have a vat of it. It reminds me of a sweet, somewhat floral mint tea.
The Heeley didn’t seem to work for me, but I do like the Malle Geranium pM — I find that the mint blends seamlessly with the geranium somehow, since geranium itself has a very sharp, astringent, bracing quality. You’ve reminded me that I’ve yet to try Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint; I have a feeling that might be a nice warm-weather scent as well.
Heeley makes another scent , Esprit du Tigre — with mint and camphor — that really doesn’t work for me at all. Far too medicinal.
For what it’s worth, though I’m a fan of Tom’s of Maine spearmint toothpaste, I really enjoy their cinnamon-clove as well. It’s actually kind of nice to try a different flavor of toothpaste from time to time. Come to think of it, my favorite chewing gums are spearmint and cinnamon as well.
Hey, that Mentafollia keeps coming up! I don’t even remember it, and will have to trot down to Guerlain to check it out. Sounds more floral than Herba Fresca?
In a moment of rebellion a few years ago I tried a few of those strange Breath Palette toothpaste flavors: I think lavender, Fresh Yoghurt, Lemon tea, plum and cola. The lavender and plum didn’t taste like much. I think the winner was the lemon tea, but I can’t remember. Pumpkin Pudding (?!?) seems quite popular online.
Mentafollia was in the AA line a few years back. I love and own Herba Fresca too, but it’s definitely more grassy. I think HB, Pamlelune, and Mandarin Basilic are the “permanent” line (for now) and they bring in others for just a season.
Those toothpastes sound a little crazy. I’ve tried Tom’s Apricot and the Fennel flavor, but neither are really up my alley.
I love both apricot and fennel (and clove, for that matter)! I never thought I’d be searching the interwebs for toothpastes to purchase…
Joe: How I long for Tom’s of Maine Ginger toothpaste! It was great but they didn’t make it for long.
Anyone know of a good ginger+mint fragrance?
That Tom’s sounds great! I don’t remember being wowed by it myself, but Kevin liked the new Ralph Lauren Big Pony 3, (“the green one”) which is all mint and ginger. He’s probably more reliable since I gave it only a cursory sniff. There must be another one…
It’s in the vaunted Charmes y Leaves. You will either love it or hate it – I love it. Geranium pM is another gorgeous mint, as we all agree – it’s got more of that ‘geranium mint’ than ‘toothpaste mint’ which is what I think makes it more wearable.
I get a little bit of minty accord (again, the geranium mint) in my darling Diorella. Chandler and I agree (here’s what he has to say about it) : ” what is wonderful about Diorella is that it smells like a new fur coat that has been rubbed with a very creamy mint toothpaste. Not gel. Paste”
I love Diorella – so weird and minty-wonderful.
How are you, dear heart? You know, I love Diorella, but I never really got the toothpaste on a fur coat thing. But it makes conceptual sense to me. Mint and melon smell great together, of course. I love the clementine note in opening of TDC Charmes et Feuilles and the 5-spice powder effect. Once the first minute of Chinese grocery dies out, I still like the next 20 minty minutes, very relaxed and natural-smelling. I start to get politely bored after that, though. I wish the drydown interested me more, because I really like the opening and I would have liked to include it here.
Hey, sweets! How are the babies?
I am FREEZING here (-4F) – I know you feel my pain! Joe, on the other hand…..(drumming fingers in envy)…
I actually just closed my mouth from sheer flabbergastedness! I get NONE of that from CyF. Maybe 1/1000000000th of a clementine hit….I’m going to have to revisit the 5-spice powder (the actual stuff) against the scent. I…..wow! I want YOUR nose. Seriously! I get the faintest hint of violet stems and iris – but so faint that it might as well not exist.
Diorella, to me, smells exactly as Burr describes it – that waxy smell I get from a cold mink coat, just warming up, with a touch of Colgate toothpaste (not gel) smeared on the cuff.
The babes are fine, thank you, though M has been home for three days with a nasty cold. We’re on the mend, though. And hey, maybe I just need to wear more mink coats! I’ve never owned such an elegant item, I admit, so that be why the comparison baffled me.
Wonderful article! Caron Aimez-Moi and Guerlain’s AA Anisia Bella are the only fragrances I own with mint, though it plays a much larger role in the former.
My husband can’t stand citrus or white florals because he things they all smell like bathroom spray. I blame his mother.
“thinks” not things, cannot spell today!
No penalties for that around here. Apparently, I can’t spell “Led Zeppelin”.
I kind of forgot there was mint in Aimez Moi – it’s such a great scent! Anise and mint make such a natural pairing that I found myself considering scents for this article and then realizing they weren’t particularly minty, just licorice fresh.
I do like Aimez-Moi! It’s only vaguely minty for about 12.7 seconds on me, though.
I got my second bottle of Eau Radieuse for Christmas since I was about to run out of it, and I can’t live without it. For me, it is a 12 month fragrance. Love, love, love Eau Radiuse. It is sui generis!
Holy Sillage, Batman!!! I’m super impressed, both that you have had two (pricey!) bottles and that you’ve managed to use almost 100 mls of such a strong, long-lasting fragrance. It really is a little island to itself in sea of “freshness”, I love it, too.
Hi Erin! Love love love mint. I just steep some fresh leaves in hot water and enjoy Or throw some in cold water during the summer and it’s so refreshing.
The only frags I’ve tried from your list are the Freddie Malle, which was too earthy on my skin, and the Lush which was in the same vein as Breath of God which is painful to my nose.
My favorite mints are AL’s Moroccan Mint Tea (better than Tylenol for a headache!), Guerlain Herba Fresca and Mentafollia. Oh! And like Mr. Joe mentioned, I do love that JM White Jas & MInt
Interesting remarks about the GPM and Smell of Weather Turning! I don’t think of the former as particularly earthy, but I can see how the the spiciness of cloves and what I interpret as a faint warm, gray mineral smell could “read” as earth. Similarly, I hadn’t noticed a similarty with Breath of God and SoWT, but they’re both very “foresty” scents – and they’re admittedly sort of difficult, although I would think Breath of God could be more painful.
Hey, have you tried the new Cire Trudon Abd El Kader room spray yet? I haven’t gotten to it yet, but I love the exotic mint tea smell of the candle and would love to try the spray on skin…
I have mint in my garden too and use it to make tea in the spring/early summer when it is growing. (the extreme heat of our summers makes it die down and go dormant from about July/August until February or so.) Have you ever tried adding anything else to it? Once last spring when the lemon tree was blooming, I picked a few blossoms and made mint/lemon blossom tea.
Yum, sounds delicious!
I’d love to buy a sample of Moroccan mint oil if you have one : )
I’ll be trying the Gorilla and the Malle for sure.
And now some irrelevancies, to show how entertained I was by your fun article. Band-aids: Iodine! My wife occasionally rejects shrimps that “taste like band-aids.” It’s the flavor of iodine, one that can actually be desirable in scotch whiskey, like Laphroaig. How it relates to pepper, I don’t know. And toothpaste: my child’s new tube of Aquafresh Tartar Control is a minty cinnamon flavor, strong like Dentyne, and not acknowledged on the label.
Laphroaig is definitely one of the best single malts out there.
It is great. Love Bowmore and have been wanting to get into the Ardbegs, but our government-controlled liquor stores have lousy vintages selection for scotch.
Another Islay Scotch fan! When I’m not here or checking Basenotes, I’m over at Malt Advocate, looking at the scores of unreasonably priced vintages of my “house” brand, Bowmore. As a result, I know that iodine taste/smell, but oddly I don’t associate it with band-aids. (My mom never put iodine on our wounds, so maybe that’s why?) As for the Aquafresh: I hate that. They should outlaw “color-based” or fine print labelling for flavor or fragrance.
I know many scotch lovers and I’m famous for complaining that it smells like band-aids. Of course, band-aids don’t smell that way anymore!
You sound almost nostalgic for scotchy band-aids.
Parfumerie Generale – Harmatan Noir has mint in it and it adds a subtle “freshness” that never becomes toothpasty. It mixes well with the rest of the fragrance although after a few minutes becomes undetectable (by my nose).
Yeah, love mint tea scents like HN. Have you tried the Abd El Kader (candle or spray) or the Ava Luxe Lovethescents and I were discussing above?
I enjoy minty fragrances and am surprised I haven’t tried any of these. AA Herba Fresca is probably my favorite – AA Mentafolia is nice also, and Jo Malone White Jamine & Mint. I’ve seen that Eau de Star in TJ Maxx many times – maybe I’ll grab it next time1
Hey, I just found out my local Zeller’s is turning into a Target because of the recent takeover. Us Canucks are rejoicing. If only we could get TJ Maxx up here, then I’d be all set in the discount and liquidation fragrance department.
Hmmm, the Jo Malone again – I remember thinking it was pleasant, like a minty version of Diptyque Ofresia, but it didn’t make a huge impression. I should re-test.
Well, I have a fondness for Winner’s ever since I bought a bottle of Lancome Cuir for $40, so I do think of it as the Canadian TJMaxx. Oddly the only time I’d been to the latter was in England at some outlet mall.
I do love Winners. TJ Maxx comes, and I’m set.
A friend of mine actually asked me for some minty perfume recommendations recently – I was shocked since my friends are mostly signature scent types with 1 or 2 perfumes. I sent her some recomemndations and gave her samples of Herba Fresca, Mentafolia and White Jasmine & Mint. I need to check in with her and see what she liked – I’ll send her this link as well for more ideas!
Happy coincidence! Please feel free to report back on her favorite.
Had to go find my Biotherm Aqua Sport for this, mmmm minty!
Don’t know that one! But you smell yummy, so my work here is done.
Represent! I love mint and yes, sometimes I feel like I’m the only one on Basenotes.
I haven’t tried the Gorilla, Heeley or Mugler, although the Heeley has been on my To Try list for quite a while. The Eau de Radieuse is just WONderful isn’t it? I love that faint, green banana note that rises up off of my skin when I wear it. A BN buddy gifted me a decant and I am eeking out sprays here and there, hoping I don’t run out.
One of my HG mint scents, that you didn’t mention: Mint by Comme des Garcons. NOT the Series 5: Sherbet Peppermint! The original (now discontinued) Series 1: Leaves Mint. It is a leafy mint fragrance, extremely linear but icy cool and is quite giggle inducing. I usually spritz some on when I wake up for a 7 am boot camp class at my gym.
Yes, I’m feeling very “West Side!” at the moment. Glad you’ve got my back. Good thing that Eau Radieuse is perfect to eke out, too. It’s supposedly an EdT, but it reminds me of an Andy Tauer EdT – freakish lasting power! Shout out to my buddy Dane of http://www.peredepierre.com, who must have bought a bottle of Multiple Rouge: his new reivew suggests that you get good packaging design with H &G as well, at least, for your big bucks.
And so *you’re* one of those fans who snapped up the last bottles of Series 1: Mint. I tried to track some down before writing this post, but I never pulled it off.
The Smell of Weather Turning is the only one I can vouch for from your list – I currently have a very strange relationship with it. It certainly has that thunderous opening of a mint bush being pulled from slightly damp earth. It actually wears and develops beautifully… some days I yearn for it. Other days it grates on me around noon. Maybe this makes for true genius?
I get you. Initially, I thought the mint was nice, but I wasn’t riveted. The first time I wore it, though, an hour in, I had that magic moment where you can’t figure out why the wind smells so good today and then you realize *you* smell so good. Strangely true to its weather inspiration, it’s a moody sort of fragrance, so I could see that it might grate on the wrong day. Have you ever tried the obscenely expensive JAR Bolt of Lightning? That’s another weather one that wears almost like a state of mind. I think I like it, but it makes me aphasic, I can’t talk fluently or process language smoothly wearing it, I swear.
Great article Erin! Speaking of mint, I have always favored peppermint over spearmint. However, in the world of fragrance, I do agree it is a tricky one. Can you suggest a good earthy mint, if there is such a thing?
Thanks! I too prefer icy blue peppermint over bright green spearmint (darn you, Trident marketing people, I normally prefer green, but I can’t think of this any other way now). For earthy, your best bet here is probably Weather Turning… but have you tried Cartier Roadster? It’s warmer and has a bit more solidity to it because of the vetiver and patchouli.
Thanks for the tip Erin. I have not tried Cartier Roadster, but I will check it out.
While I’ve never had any desire to wear mint as fragrance …. I love this article and can relate to the scent/life associations.
I loved Pamplelune until I read that some people think it smells like bathroom spray. I actually hate citrus bathroom spray, but it’s harder for me to wear Pamplelune now.
Often I can’t eat mint/chocolate items because it tastes like someone put toothpaste in my chocolate !
What a terrible, novel way to ruin Pamplelune! You normally hear people catching a B.O.’ish or urinous smell from that one, so getting bathroom spray seems almost ironic. And don’t worry about mint and chocolate, there are lots of other sinful combinations to enjoy…
What perfect timing – I just sampled the Heeley for the first time a few days ago and it’s already made it to the FBW list. I have boatloads of summery citrus but needed something different for warm weather and it will be perfect. Tried the FM some time ago – love love love Geranium Pour Monsieur and am seriously lemming a bottle for Spring. I already share a number of bottles with the SO so I’m not at all opposed to wearing more masculine scents. Honestly found that one completely unisex though.
I wish I could talk my SO into some Geranium Pour Monsieur. I do love citrus colognes, but I work them all winter and spring and sometimes need a change by the summer as well. A kind of minty one I can’t believe I’d clean forgotten about until now is CdG #3, which also makes a great hot weather alternative to hesperidia.
I loved your article, Erin, and that your grandmother made you grasshoppers for after dinner.
You have me wanting to try the Heeley, Eau Radieuse, and the Malle. My only fragrance with mint (peppermint) listed among the notes is Eau du Sud. I just spritzed some on, and while the mint doesn’t really pop out, I think I detect it as part of that wonderful refreshing herbal blend.
Sigh. I love Eau du Sud. Basil is also minty and the combination is very nice in EdS, distinctive but not overpowering in the cologne structure. There’s something smoky there, its very unique. Thanks for reminding me!
Erin, I’m also noticing that Eau du Sud has surprising lasting power. It really is good, isn’t it?
Yup! I’m kind of baffled I don’t own a bottle. Has it been ruined recently, though, b/c of the citrus regulations, like Hadrien?
I don’t know. A friend send me a partial bottle as a gift and I don’t know how old it is!
Yayy! I have been dying for a NST rundown of mint in fragrance for months! Was starting to think I was the only one who liked it. I’d really love to find a single mint note or good oil to layer with things. Tom Ford Azure Lime would be insane with a little mint.
A mint and rose scent I would die for. Is that strange? Maybe the Malle would be similar…
Not strange at all. Another perfume fan sent me a sample of a rose and mint fragrance called Diabolo Rose by Parfums de Rosine. I just looked to see if it was easily available in the US, and couldn’t find it. It’s on the company’s website, and NST has a nice review. . .It is a bright, fresh take on rose. There may be others, but this one came to mind when I saw your comment.
I love the Malle GPM, but it does not strike me as rose, more geranium. Very refreshing. Unisex to my nose, at least. Be well!
Agreed that it’s unisex…
Welcome to our little mint support group. Glad you could join us. Hmm, a layering oil, now there’s an idea! I have not been a big fan of the Tom Ford PBs, but I did think Azure Lime was a winner.
On my defunct personal blog, I once reviewed Diabolo Rose and wrote about the diabolo menthe, a delicious drink of carbonated lemonade and peppermint syrup popular in France. I did not find DR overly minty, but it was fun and less staid, I thought, than was suggested by TS in Perfume: the Guide.
Amanda, rose and mint make such a great physical bouquet, so looking for a fragrance isn’t odd to me at all! Have you tried Cartier’s Roadster?
Does Roadster have rose? I’d forgotten that. I do remember a floral amber, as in Laurent’s Attrape-Couer for Guerlain.
Amanda, I crow about this scent all the time, but I very much recommend Ava Luxe’s Moroccan Mint Oil. I layered it (with a citrus, Calyx) for my wedding, and I love it madly, and it’s still my mint of choice. And I think it would add a lovely mint note to just about anything – and it does come in an oil fomulation.
Ooo thanks guys, glad I am not alone! Haven’t tried Cartier Roadster or the Ava luxe morracan mint oil but both are definitely on my Must Smell and Aquire ASAP list! The combinations could go on and on….. My favorite note is tuberose and I’m sure someone might make a slightly minted tuberose that didn’t make everyone throw up perhaps one day but it would be hard. Rose comes to mind easier. And coconut. I used to love minty drinks and I had this method of infusing vodka over time to be naturally mint flavored for cocktails (I did it with vanilla and rosemary too,) but alas I no longer drink so my creations have stopped there! It’s a wonderful herb though, so potent and like nothing else.
Ah ha ha. Ah HA HA ha HA HA HAAAAA!! Yes!! That blue, thank you very much!!!! I nearly snarfed my own spittle on that one. For a while, you could also get that blue in certain iterations of mouthwash (I think you can still?), which kind of brings it all around now, doesn’t it?
Well, FM Geranium Pour Monsieur didn’t read so minty on me. I’m going to have to go back. Because I kinda dig it in a weird way in AA Herba Fresca, and in Charmes et Feuilles–say, no one’s mentioned that one yet, right? I still am not a fan of it in a fragrance…my mind tells me it belongs in gum and the green colored Lucky Charms. And, for that matter, a Grasshopper, a drink which also happily haunted my youth and which is still the occasional “I’ve had a total brain melt and have no idea what cool drink I wanted make it a Grasshopper please” kind of way.
They’re not nearly as fabulous as I remember them in my youth. It was like drinking a cold Andes mint. Hey, is there a perfume equivalent of that? Choco mint?
I enjoyed this immensely, thank you. Though I am slightly weirded out that I just spent 24 hours ruminating on the xylophone in “Under My Thumb”; that’s just an odd near zeitgeist.
I’ve had a grasshopper only once, and I didn’t much care for it. I kept feeling as if I were drinking a glassful of Scope.
Ha! Andes Mints! Another blast from the past that was available at my Grams’ – interesting. Yes, childhood distorts guilty pleasures. The big thrill at my other Grandma’s house was staying up to watch The Love Boat, and trust me, that’s now not nearly as fabulous as I remember, either.
When you think about it, there’s just no other color for that absorbing liquid to be. Obviously not red, yellow, brown, black or green. I guess you could go with light purple or Ziggy Stardust orange, but blue suggests all that is pure and naturally water-like. So they’re stuck with it.
Thought about Charmes et Feuilles for this post. I really do like the opening of that one. Ack, and Dior’s Fahrenheit 32 just popped into my head, after I completely neglected to mention it. Did I ever have a discussion with you about that one?
We have not discussed Fahrenheit 32. Could be amusing to do so now, while there is water at what is clearly sub-32ºF temps accumulating on my front window.
BTW, put me in the single malt club. I started off with oddballs, have made my way back to Macallan 12. Islay, Orkney, Jura…scotch has a way of revealing the terror in terroir.
I really struggle with mint notes. Sweet Anthem has a couple of perfumes with prominent mint notes… the two I’ve tried that have mint are Erin and Kathleen… and she has a few more that also list mint.
Sorry, please see my response below.
Smelled Herba Fresca, immediately thought of Crest. Have been suspicious of mint notes ever since. There’s also the, um, uncomfy effect of the presence of mint in body wash. I do, however, love mint in the form of Burt’s Bees lip balm.
I take searingly hot showers, so a little mint-soap effect is sometimes pleasant for me. (Yes, yes, Paula Begoun, I know you’re out there, telling me the cooling is producing irritation. I do it rarely.) And hey, Burt’s Bees is a much more affordable way to enjoy a little mint than niche fragrance…
Ha! I get the Paula Begoun Guilts too. It’s awful. All I want to do is wash my face in near-painfully hot water and scrub myself in Korres’ mint bar soap, but she’s ruined it. Curse that woman with her “research” and “evidence”. Like she knows anything.
Oh, man, yes, I have to be verra careful when I use Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap.
Now why on EARTH had I not heard of Erin perfume from Sweet Anthem? I once swore in a post that I’d try an Erin perfume whether it sounded appealing or not and that note list happens to have my name all over it (literally and figuratively). Kathleen’s notes sound even more appealing, if a bit of a mish-mash together. Thanks!
Oops, sorry breathesgelatin, this was replying to you.
She has a few more with mint notes as well, including a mint-mocha gourmand fragrance. You can search by notes on her website.
My grandma and grandpa used to give me grasshoppers, too, and my gramps got the stinkeye from a bartender when I ordered one at all of age 3 on one of my trips to the tavern.
I like mint! I just got an accidental mint in an indie perfume called Winter Kitty by For Strange Women. Made to smell like a kitty who has been out on a cold night in the pines.
I like the Heeley and the Jo Malone. I’m really annoyed that The Smell of Weather Turning has not come to my Lush. That was the one that made my heart beat just hearing about it. I have Breath of God and adore it.
I love the sound of Winter Kitty. And yes, I was annoyed about The Smell of Weather Turning not coming to N.A., too, along with some of the best re-issued B Never scents (B Scent! Cocktail!) I’m not enamoured of the ones that *did* show up and now I learn that my online order could have compromised my credit card – so, boo!
Speaking of associations, I’ve forever been gun-shy about mint since trying Miss Marisa. It smelled like Windex and mint chutney on me, and I’ve never gotten over it. It was just so wrong. Maybe I need to give mint a second chance.
I am really hoping for more stories about your grandmother. I had to laugh when I read about the grasshoppers because I had a friend with a crazy (and I do mean CRAZY) grandmother who fed us actual grasshoppers. I think I refused to eat them and she yelled at me. Who feeds eight year old girls fried grasshoppers? (“They taste just like Saltines!” she screeched at us. Well, then give us Saltines!)
Gack!! My aunt gave me chocolate-covered ants once but didn’t tell me until later. I was fine with it.
I’ve heard ants aren’t bad. What says you?
My husband fed my then 2 or 3 yr old Crickettes (google ’em). I was livid, esp since I had expressly forbidden it. He thought it was hilarious until I asked him what he would do if she picked up an insecticide-laced cricket or grasshopper from the sidewalk and popped THAT in her mouth.
Which flavor: Sour cream and onion, bacon and cheese, or salt and vinegar?
Salt and vinegar, I believe. And has since followed up with blood pancakes, for which he pretended to ask permission, only to have me discover (thanks to the 6 yr old) that he had already served them the day before. I was far angrier w/the cover-up.
Well, of course, salt and vinegar! (Bacon and cheese?!) At least we didn’t serve her the Larvets -my gag reflex is hair trigger and I’m having trouble, here. I also just found the following sentence in a blood pancake recipe: “Bottles of blood for cooking can be found from the frozen food section of the grocery shops in Finland.”
Sorry, meant “he didn’t”…
Thanks, Miss Kitty. My grams died when I was eight, but she must have been memorable, because I have a lot more stories and vivid memories about her. And mint chutney, good… chutney and Windex, not good. Real grasshoppers, also not good (I’m assuming.) My friend ate a silk worm in Korea because somebody told him it tasted like something harmless and familiar and he said it was the worst thing he’s ever eaten in his life. He couldn’t describe what it tasted like, just “BAD” repeated every time I’ve asked.
It make me think of all those things that are supposed to taste “just like chicken”. Why not just eat chicken? having said that, I will confess to having eaten alligator, which I find tastes like chicken with a hint of catfish. We visited an alligator park where we saw them feeding the alligators. And what do they feed them? Chicken! No wonder they taste like chicken–after all, you are what you eat, right?
I have to confess I was once chastizing and making fun of my brothers for watching the first “Jackass” movie until I came in and asked them what the guy in his jockey shorts on the screen was doing. “He’s running across an alligator pond with raw chicken in his underwear.” I ended up watching the whole DVD, mesmerized.
I am one of the people you describe… I associate mint with bubble gum and toothpaste.
Ruins a lot of frags for me….
I will try the Heeley though, if I get the chance
Do! It’s excellent (but VERY minty.)
Late to the party, but *had* to read all the comments first! Beginning last night, and then again this morning, I’ve been reading while my calves are covered in Bengay (darn that treadmill of mine!), so I now have an association for all these perfumes… LOL.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever met a minty perfume, and I’m not sure I’d like to. I refuse to wear chapstick or lipbalm in mint flavors, and I utterly dislike Mojito’s—I do, however, have mint growing in the beds around my house, which I love!
You must be sore if you used the Bengay! Hope you’re feeling better and smelling less like wintergreen oil….
It could be because the mint smell from actual mint is far less potent than what is in mint-scented or mint-flavored products. It takes a lot of plant material to make the essential oil, so a mint lip balm or perfume may contain more mint oil than in all the mint growing in your entire planting bed.
Hello from the Netherlands everybody, first time comment from me. I’ve been reading and enjoying this blog for a long time! Now is a good a time as ever to join this party, so here goes.
I really like JM White Jasmine & Mint, it never evokes a toothpaste association with me. I think Mandragore has a delicious combination of ginger, aniseed and a slight mintiness when freshly sprayed. It has been said before here: too bad it doesn’t last. I have the EDT (and the gorgeously decorated rectangular bottle).
Welcome! Sorry I am delayed in my response, I was away for the weekend. Mandragore keeps coming up; I don’t remember much mintiness from it, but I keep meaning to re-try it. I know it has many loyal fans, Robin and March at Perfume Posse included, so I must have missed many facets of it when I gave it a brief test upon release.
The inappropriate Heeley advertising reminds me of the commercial that freaked me out all December: Happy Honda Days, with this jingle: “A holiday, a holiday, the best one of the year.” That’s the beginning of “Matty Groves”:
Wonderful song, but I wouldn’t use it to sell anything.
Yes, a cheerful little ditty for selling cars over the holidays, isn’t it? Especially the part where he sticks her to the wall. *sigh* One of the things that really annoys me about holiday shopping is that the mall and big box store sound systems are forever playing “Big Yellow Taxi”, either the original Joni Mitchell version or the one by Counting Crows. “They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot…” Comon, doesn’t anybody listen to lyrics?
Erin: Little late to the blog today but just had to say it was a delightful post. I never spent much time with my grandparents (that I remember) so am always a bit envious when I hear stories like yours.
Mint isn’t something I seek out in scent or even food but after this I might not be as hesitant. Some of these sound great!
Little late in answering you, my apologies! And thanks. I always tell my daughter she is so lucky to live in an age when she can spend time with some of her great-grandparents, as well: she’s had to develop different names to keep all her grandmas straight! Hope you get a chance to try one of these, or one of the great scents mentioned frequently by commenters here.
Has anyone else tried Creed’s Sélection Verte? I quite like it for it’s “cool” (due to the mint) nature.
Zeram, Sélection Verte is my favorite Creed. I don’t like Creed much at all as a line, to be honest, but have considered buying SV. Just a lovely, straightforward, richly natural-smelling green fragrance, and a touch cool, as you say.
Forgive me if someone already mentioned this, as I did not read every comment above, but as I am a lover of peppermint, I must make a recommendation for other mint-o-philes. Abba shampoo and conditioner in “Moisture Scentsation” is really lovely and minty. Your scalp gets that fabulous minty tingle and your hair smells nice for hours! (Not just for winter use for me.)
I know it’s been mentioned above, but wondering if anyone could recommend a perfume/fragrance that is similar to the Cire Trvdon Abd El Kader candle. I’m absolutely in love with the scent and would love to find something similar to wear on my skin…