To Catch A Whiff

I’m on a 2012 mission to try 52 perfumes in 52 weeks. I was looking for a minor project that didn’t involve sitting on my arse.

I’ve never been a perfume person but I suddenly became possessed by the idea of being a perfume person. As learned from Impulse Body Spray ads in the 80s (I think?), I would need to apply scent while naked and silhouetted in front of a sunny window, with a light breeze stirring the drapes. Then I’d get dressed, saunter down the street and blokes would drop their power tools or briefcases, sniff the air, then trail behind me in a besotted daze.


But instead I am wandering into shops and nicking a spritz of this or that, then taking uninformed notes. The plan is, come Christmastime I’ll review my findings, declare a winner and treat myself to a big bottle.

I’m up to Perfume #13 and really enjoying it. It’s a great excuse to wander around the shops without spending any money. I’m very careful to hit up as many different places as possible so I don’t look cheap and/or creepy.

So far my favourite is the very first one I tried: Chanel’s Coco (as sampled from Debenhams, Dunfermline). It smelled earthy and dramatic and foxy as hell, all at the same time, and made me feel rather earthy, dramatic and foxy as hell. Even Gareth “I only know three adjectives” Reid said I smelled, “really nice”.

The worst was Paris by YSL (Boots, Edinburgh). Notes: Smells like an old lady I once knew. Who? Ew!

(I need to learn better words to describe smells. So far I can’t get beyond “old lady”, “powdery”, “flowery”, “sweet”, “meh” and “foxy”.)

Last year my mission was to read 52 book and 52 weeks and I ended up reading a lot of crap just to hit my target. I have a feeling this project will eventually go the same way – come November I’ll be down to the dregs of Celine Dion or Brittany Spears’ latest creations.

If anyone is out there, do you have any favourites to share? Anything really honking that I should avoid? Any favourite perfume shops? Thanks for any ideas!

Image source: Google LIFE

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for January 2022.

125 thoughts on “To Catch A Whiff

  1. Cabochard! My grandmother was a great beauty and this was her signature scent. Talk about earthy and foxy: the notes in this are wood, leather, and nicotine, plus an extra something that guarantees no one will mistake you for a man while you’re wearing this.

  2. I love Stella by Stella McCartney (roses, scones and jam, swish), Mitsouko by Guerlain (tread carefully, potent!) (old, rich ladies, oriental, eating blinis) and Flower by Kenzo (young, floral, downright kicky).

  3. I’ve just spent the last 2.5 years as the replenishment analyst for perfume at Priceline so I get to see and smell all the latest fragrances out on the market.

    I have so many that I love it’s hard to pick just one. I love all the heavy oriental fragrances, so Lou Lou is my number one.

    Also love the Bvlgari Omnias, Amytheste, Crystalline, Jade Green, followed by D&G Feminine.

    Can’t go past Marc Jacobs Daisy & Lola either. Also DKNY Be Delicious and Be Delicious Fresh Blossom.

    Gucci Guilty is nice too, as is Chanel Chance.

    Have you tried any of the celebrity fragrances? Beyonce’s are very sweet, as are Britneys. The Beckhams are very popular out here, as are Mariahs and JLos.

    Okay, I’ll stop there….I could go on forever πŸ™‚

    1. Cheers Jaykay, making notes here! πŸ™‚ I haven’t tried any celeb ones yet, I gotta see what David and Victoria have cooked up, hehehe.

  4. My current perfume is Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling, which is a Gin themed perfume. The price is a little eye-watering (I have the small bottle) but it smells so good and I got it as a joint birthday and Christmas present.

    I’d def. recommend popping into their Edinburgh store and trying their perfumes out as they have some lovely ones (also, their ” scent library” is only Β£16 and gets you sample versions of the popular ones).

    Other than that, I have worn Kenzo’s Flower for the last couple years and have tested the Kenzo Flowertag (spicer than Flower) and quite like it.

  5. My favourites are Stella by Stella McCartney and any of the Marc Jacobs perfumes. I also have a Gucci perfume (can’t remember which one, it’s in a pink bottle) that I love and I keep meaning to buy Comme Des Garcons number 2 but don’t because in reality I hardly ever wear perfume so it just sits around gathering dust!

  6. Hi Shauna, the original Stella is my current choice – beautiful, light and summery. It might be too light for you though, if you are a Coco girl. You must try Amouage Homage Attar – shockingly pricey arabic fragrance but it’s pure heaven and unlike anything else you will ever smell. Not in the least “perfumey” it just smells pure and timeless. Find it in Selfridges, Harrods etc. Try Shamilar by Guerlain – it’s an old-school bad-girl perfume from the 1920’s. Creamy, dark vanilla. Too powerful for many wimpy modern noses but it’s a classic and should be experienced. Tommy Girl is lovely – was inspired by the smell of a Parisian loose-tea shop. If you haven’t already done so you should check out the scholarly reviews on Basenotes and also Katie Puckrik’s youtube channel. Would be lovely if you could tell us what you’ve already tried, along with your thoughts and we can make more recommendations. Yay this is so much fun!

    1. “Old school bad girl perfume from the 1920s” … SWOON! Love your description. Thanks so much for those sites Claire, I will check them out. This is strangely addictive!

      So far I’ve tried:

      1. Coco
      2. Tresor – too flowery for me
      3. Chanel No 5 – i know it’s a classic but smelled old lady to me!
      4. Paris – YSL – urgh as mentioned before
      5. Daisy – Marc Jacobs – bit sweet and meh
      6. Narcisco Rodriguez for Her – quite liked! somewhat foxy
      7. Prada Infusion d’Iris – nae bad
      8. Dune – whiffs of the 80s, next!
      9. Shalimar – kinda OTT but quite liked!
      10. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Cherry Blossom – cocktail of evil!
      11. Elie Saab – orange blossomy, grown up, nice!
      12. Chanel No 19 – tried on at airport and can’t remember!
      13. Coco Mademoiselle – kinda disappeared on me

      my favourites have been
      Elie Saab

      i think some of them deserve a second go – like anything tried on in an airport when half asleep didn’t really get a fair go. hehe.

  7. For YEARS I wore Rapture from Victoria secret. It made me feel like a hot klassy lady. (yeah, classy with a k.) Maybe it’s not the smell you are looking for, but I too am a big fan of Coco. So you might enjoy it!

  8. I am in love with “Amor Amor” by Cacharel. It smells “flowery” like roses..and I really can’t describe it! But everytime I try to change my parfume my boyfriend says “Nooooo!” and I love to smell it on my scarves or clothes.
    I also liked “Sun” by Jil Sander but I think it’s really sweet and I feel too old for it at the moment…

  9. I like Chanel Chance a lot – current favourite! I also really liked Jill Sander Sun (not a very expensive perfume for some reason!?). Boyfriend bought me J’Adore for Christmas and it’s nice, but I feel it fades fast. I think he thought I would look like Charlize Theron if I put it on(!) but alas that transformation has yet to take place!

    Lancome Tresor in Love & Chloe were also bought for me by bf and are nice. Hugo Boss Femme/Nina Ricci Nina, Givenchy Amarige/YSL Elle I’ve all tried and liked.

    Miss Dior reminds me of being younger – I used to borrow it from my mom! All Estee Lauder fragrance smells like cats pee on me …

  10. Oh this is a brilliant project. I share your position re fragrance in general, but am also dogged by the suspicion that anything I spray on my wrist starts smelling naff after 20 mins subjected to my body chemistry, and by that time I’ve lost all objectivity so can never decide.

    But these names mentioned by yourself and commenters sound so alluring I’ll have to start trying again.

  11. My personal favorite is Eternity – I’ve worn it for years. Clean with a bit of flower. 4711 is also very nice – light and summery. Cook Water is a good one, but a bit on the sweet side. I guess I’m pretty old school. I also like White Shoulders which my grandmother wore – that’s old school! A bit on the sweet side for me, but good memories. πŸ™‚

  12. DUDE it looks like there is a whole lady world of perfume that I’ve known nothing about all these years! Thanks for all your ideas πŸ™‚

  13. I don’t wear perfume anymore, so I am not really up to date with them but I do love fragrances. I love COCO most of all!
    Other ones I have loved:
    Silver Rain by La Prairie
    White Linen by Estee Lauder
    5th Avenue by Elizabeth Arden
    the men’s acqua di Gio, by Giorgio Armani
    Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger (its a teenage perfume in my head though)
    Romance by Ralph Lauren (I wore this one to death so I went off it) and same goes for Happy by Clinique (which I find pretty nauseating now actually) .

    I should stop there.

    I tried one recently that smelled like freshly cut grass in Summer, it was amazing. Not sure about wearing it though…

    1. Especially when you could just roll on the grass for free! πŸ˜‰

      I like the sound of Silver Rain! Adding that to the list, cheers fd!

  14. I almost never wear perfume, but when I wore Clinique Happy, strangers would ask why I smelled so good. Yes, I know it’s very dull and mass-market of me. Can’t wait to read more — these are great descriptions and make me want to run to the perfume counter.

    1. Oh I would love that strangers asking you why you smell good thing… hehe… these popular fragrances are popular for a reason! πŸ™‚

  15. I’m biased, because I used to work there, but I really recommend going into a Lush shop and get a proper perfume consultation. They’re happy to do it, you’ll hear some great stories, and you might get some good tips on HOW to smell and describe perfume.

    The best thing is that Lush perfumes are really, really different, so it’ll be an experience whether you like them or not! πŸ™‚

    I adore their “Breath of God”

    1. I like the idea of a perfume consultation… will have to investigate next time in edinburgh, cheers Siv πŸ™‚

  16. Kenzo’s Flower is a favourite. It’s quite sweet, though, whereas their L’eau (pour femme, naturellement) is very light and clean and nicer in the summer, I find – and I’ve got compliments for it. I had a bottle of Burberry London once and really liked it but got tired of it. The Kenzo ones are less obvious, and I’ve been able to alternate since I’ve asked people to bring me the travel size collections of different scents from airports. That way I’m more likely to use them before they turn as well.

  17. @Tuuli – I like Kenzo too, such pretty bottles.

    And Shauna, try any of Hermes’ Jardin perfumes. (I always do in the airport!) Jardin sur le Nil, Jardin apres le Mousson (after the monsoon, I think) fancy names and herby-fresh scents.

    Bon weekend!

    1. The names alone sound goooood…. Bon weekend to you too, are you doing another croissant run? πŸ™‚

    1. Philosykos sounds ace Brittany, definitely need to try that, cheers! I have this Korres Fig Shower Gel and it’s hard not to lick your own arm!

  18. I don’t have any recommendations, I just want to speak for all the migraineurs out there and encourage you not to go too heavy in the application of perfume since it can trigger a headache in us. I will actually move away from someone at the movies or a concert if they smell too strongly of perfume because I’m afraid it will aggravate my headache. There was one time I walked into a changing room at a department store and then walked right out because it smelled like someone had bathed in Chanel No 5 in there. A little is fine! A lot is not!

    1. Good point Jennette! I always go for a small spritz out of respect to colleagues! Next time we catch up I’ll skip it altogether πŸ™‚

  19. Great project you have! I’m trying to read 100 books this year and … yes, probably will end up to read all thin comic books to get all 100.

    My long time favourite is Issey Miyake’s L’eau d’issey. The “original” one, not the “fire” or any other specials. I like the freshness of it. And just before Christmas I found Clean. There are several different of them: Clean linen, Clean shower fresh and Clean warm cotton – 6 -8 all together, I think. I bought Clean skin, for it’s fresh and not too strong. I don’t want to make other peoples’ eyes water near me πŸ™‚

    1. Oh cool Armi! I love those clean, just out of the shower kinda ones when not in the mood for the foxy ones

  20. Ahhhh I want to try them all !! Can’t wait to read more about this project, it’s so interesting, I love perfumes πŸ˜€ Here’s a link to my perfume mentioned on the fb I’d agree with what they have to say, but these people are paid to sell so you never truly know πŸ˜‰ It’s a fun description in any case! Will you be writing about this on the other blog as well? Happy perfume hunting!! Cheers, Cat

  21. I love SJPNYC. It is light, breezy, and just smells good. I am not sure if you have Sephora over there…but maybe you can get these online? They have these great sets that come with 10 samples and a certificate to get a gull size bottle of your favorite scent. It is a great way to really try out some different scents. I found DKNY pure through one of these sets. It is also really lovely.


    I suggest FLOWERBOMB by Viktor & Rolf.

    I sprayed it on a card at Myer the other day, and keep sniffing it from its spot in my handbag, right next to the biscuit crumbs. Is absolutely scrummy, I keep getting a whiff of freesia. The bottle is shaped like a GRENADE and according to someone on a product review site: “the menzzz are suckers for it.”

    I usually wear Coco Mademoiselle or Miss Dior. Time to upgrade from the Miss Shop and go the whole Flowerbomb, I think.

    You must also have 80s power-dressing week:

    Poison (my preferred perfume from 1991-93, late to the 80s party!)
    Red Door
    Gloria Vanderbilt

    (Might give you a headache.)

    1. OMG samone. I saw that grenade today, it looks cool as f*ck! Wow sounds like it smells the business too! (truly rofl-ed at Miss Shop comment :))

      And love the 80s theme week idea…. Thou art a genius! Am going to do celeb week too… EAU DE BIEBER here we come!

  23. I’m not a regular perfume-wearer, but when I do wear it, I am a loyal Chanel customer. No 5 is my favourite special occasion perfume, and I love Coco for daytime wear.

    Estee Lauder have some gorgeous scents too. Beautiful & White Linen are a couple I like.

  24. Posion the old eighties orignal purple one still available, will always be my favourite. Also Youth Drew and Opium. Do not know any modern ones. Note to self I really need get out of the eighties πŸ™‚

  25. I alternate between Inis Arose and regular Inis, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you had a hard time finding either one, since they’re Irish. Inis Arose is really light, floral and feminine; Inis is a uniscent, so it’s a bit more masculine. I also really like Burberry Brit (nice, warm scent), Jessica McClintock #3 (feminine, almost retro), and Victoria’s Secret Heavenly (also very feminine and lovely if you use Love Spell lotion as a base).

  26. I’ve only seen one recommendation for Elie Saab! SHAME JOB! It’s super expensive, though, but SO GOOD.

    Fracas is a great retro choice, with a cute pink frame and HELLO IT’S CALLED FRACAS, YOU SHOULD TRY IT EVEN IF IT SMELLS LIKE CAT WEE (it doesn’t)

    I like all the Marc Jacobs fragrances, Daisy is the best.

    Tiempe Passat is lovely, but SUPER expensive – $350 AUD a bottle! I sneak a spray every time I’m in Mecca Cosmetica.

    La Chasse aux Papillons is reliably awesome.

    And for the classics, John Paul Gaultier Classique is always wonderful.

    I’m always in the shops trying on perfumes and I own heaps of samples (I keep finding them everywhere, like commemorative coins). Have fun!

  27. Hey Shauna , I used to be a Chanel 19 girl back in the day – was perhaps even my signature scent. In the summer I also dabbled with Chanel Christalle, and occasionally with Eau de Rochas. I was lucky to have a sophisticated older ( by 11yrs ) sister who introduced me to proper French perfumes early doors , so I had only minimal dalliances with ‘Charlie’ and the like.
    Not being a girly girl – perfume was my entree to that world – I might not shave my legs but I did smell nice!
    At some point my skin decided to reject my favourite perfumes so I had to review and now I have reluctantly abandoned Chanel 19, but have discovered expensive but delightful Miller Harris perfumes Eau de Fleur my current choice and sometimes Jo Malone Vetiver or Grapefruit & lime cologne . Eau de parma by Colonia was another indulgence for a while. I discovered Clarins perfumes in the 80s and they are much lighter so each summer I switch to Eau Dynamisante, and buy the whole shooting match( perfume , shower foam, lotion ) for my summer vibe.
    I have never embraced the celebrity perfume – well would I ? But my girls love Marc Jacobs Daisy and Lola. Ultimately it is a personal choice as all perfumes smell differently on everyone so good luck with your quest.

  28. Coco has been my signature scent for 20 years…I love it! And I love that people tell me whenever they happen to smell it they think of me. It’s a good classic scent.

  29. I totally love:

    Eternity – Kelvin Klein (musky, sensual and alluring)
    Hypnotic Poison – Dior (what it says on the tin – heavy, sexy, smoky and seductive)
    Alien – Theirry Muglar (sexy, musky and sweet)

    Also – although also no longer avialable: Body shop – Mostly Musk oil. (to die for!!)

  30. The nicest perfume I’ve ever noticed on someone else was Insolence by Guerlain. Unfortunately it smells like cat piss on me.

  31. Oh… perfumes. My all time favourite is Jardins des Bagatelles by Guerlain. Floral and gorgeous. I remember wearing Paris and Lulu and smelled them again recently and they were, well… you know. I did accidentally pour some 4711 on myself at a vintage shop some time ago and that was hilarious. The stuff just lasts and lasts and while not really a perfume, it’s a smell, right… Good luck, Shauna!

  32. Power 80’s: Diva, by Ungaro, one of 2 perfumes I’ve ever LOVED. “Fragrance notes: forest notes of oakmoss, sandalwood and patchouli, with a hearty middle blend of rose, narcissus, jasmine and iris, with traces of fruity lower notes.” Discontinued in stores, I believe, got mine from, but I see it’s at Amazon. Perfume for women, not girls, as the name implies. is fun reading for reviews, as some get quite elaborate if not over the top in their descriptions. But it’s great for learning the vocabulary of perfumes, and it’s how I discovered that Diva is classed as a chypres. The wikipedia entry lists 6 subtypes, and fruity chypres include Guerlain’s Mitsouko, which you mention above is on your short list. (Chypres has a bergamot note, and I do loves me some Earl Grey tea….)

    Then I looked up Coco… and it’s classified as a chypres! One of the top 10 chypres in the world, supposedly. So you might like Diva and Mitsouko, though it sounds as though Coco is lighter, which is not a bad thing.

    So thanks for this blog post, as it’s introduced me to 2 new perfumes to try! Best of luck in your search for a signature scent. I thought that’s what Diva would be for me, but right after I bought it my office became a scent-free zone, as is my current place of employment. I ended up using my perfume to scent my sheets so it wouldn’t go off before I could use it up. : (

  33. I generally like ‘light’, not too flowery or overpowering perfumes. My current choice for general daytime wear is Pure by Jil Sander or Light Blue by D&G. I do like the stronger scent of Chloe too, very flowery – leaves a lingering trail of scent wherever you go. Versace do a good light one too and just recently had a whiff of the Gucci latest which is quite pleasant. Having said all that, i currently smell like regurgitated baby milk – best get in shower and freshen up!

  34. I’ve been wearing Guerlain perfumes for years now. It’s been Insolence for a while now. I love its lightness. Before that it was Champs Γ‰lysΓ©es. And before that Shalimar.
    I agree with everyone else about Kenzo’s Flower, it’s the quintessential summer fragrance.
    I was once given a bottle of Opium as a present but couldn’t wear it because it was soooooo heavy, it gave me an instant headache.
    I think the names of perfumes are really important too. I would love to wear White Linen because It would instantly turn me into a willowy woman wafting dressed head to toe in gorgeous linen outfits. Unfortunately I didn’t really like the smell.

  35. Lots of delicious sounding perfumes here. I can feel a shop coming on…

    Quite liking Viktor and Rolfe flowerbomb at the moment but it’s not v. “signature”

    My favourites is Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune by Guerlain. It smells of tart but sweet grapefruits and oranges and I can’t stop sniffing my arm once I’ve sprayed some on. Quite a summery one though.

    Jo Malone’s wild fig and cassis is a bit more sophisticated and wintery and is earthy without any patchouliness.

  36. My absolute favorite is Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana. Followed closely by: The One (also by D&G), Poppy by Coach, Juicy Couture (original) and Viva La Juicy by Juicy Couture

    ps. D&G also make a Light Blue for men. Absolutely yummy!

  37. I almost never wear perfume, but last week I was hanging around the airport waiting for my flight to Gatwick, and trying perfumes seemed like the sort of thing a VERY GLAM person on a VERY GLAM trip to Sussex would do. So I sniffed a few and sprayed them onto the wee bits of card, commenting on a few to Al. I sprayed some Chloe Eau de Toilette, took a sniff and went, “EW! It smells like cat piss! Cat piss by Chloe!” It stank like wee and, as Al’s Mum has a cat called Chloe it was a perfect match.

    However, about ten seconds after first mocking it, I sniffed it again and it was… quite nice. Sort of like lemons and honey. Yup, basically it smelled like Lockets cough sweets. And I kept sniffing it… and kept liking it… In the end, I bought it, and now every day put on some “Cat Piss by Chloe”!

    It’s the green one – you can’t miss it, it smells of pee and Lemsip!

  38. Hi Shauna, sorry if this has been mentioned above and I’ve missed it, but if you are feeling experimental I highly recommend the book “Perfumes: the a-z guide” by luca turin and tania sanchez – the descriptions are so good it is completely riveting in the manner of an excellent cookbook. Also there is a legendary posh perfume shop in London which has a sample service (though at Β£5p&p per sample it’s a bit pricey these days) xx

  39. You should definitley try ‘Elle’ be Emporio armani if you liked coco and narcisco rodriguez – Its gorgeous! or go 90’s and try CK1 – awesome!

  40. I know it’s already been mentioned but Marc Jacobs – Lola totally rocks my socks!

    Also love Anna Sui – Sui Dreams. It’s BLUE and comes in a chunky frosted bottle yum yum.

    I like (for a kind of unusual fragrance, not flowery or girly) ones by Thierry Mugler, I think Womanity is my fave, but they’re all pretty interesting. And STRONG – very strong – so tread carefully!

  41. I also love Stella by Stella McCartney, but my other favorite is my mum’s perfume called “Feminite Du Bois” by Serge Lutens. This smells incredible to me, but its really hard to find in Australia (unless you want to hand over your life savings to Mecca Cosmetica), but maybe its more common in Europe?
    It’s very feminine, very classy, warm and woody and spicy and slightly floral. I also LOVE the classic bottle design which I know is really shallow but I’m I girl and I like pretty things so…yeah.
    Anyway, I’ve always wanted to head to Paris to visit Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal, it sounds like a temple of smell with an awesomely huge spiral staircase!

  42. Loads of great suggestions here – I did a year of perfume a few years ago and still have loads of sample left – you can get Les Senteurs to send you a batch of the more obscure fragrances. I LOVE Paris, so it’s me buying those bottles. I’ll also suggest the Hermes range – my faves 24 Faubourg and (for Winter) EAu des Merveilles which is completely non floral. Contact me either by email or via Sali Hughes Facebook group and I will send you some stuff xxx

  43. Hi Shauna, I already left a comment over on Dietgirl but just wanted to say that I LOVE your perfume project and everyone’s comments!! My all time fav is Samsara by Guerlain which I’ve worn when I go out in the evening now for 20 years and it still gives me that excited, butterflies in the tummy feeling when I put it on. I also love Issey Miyaki, Eternity (Calvin Klein), Jo Malone Lime, Basil and Mandarin, Marc Jacobs (the original one), La Chasse anx Papillons (L’Artisan Parfumeur), Eau d’Hadrian (Annick Goutal). Might need to venture to the shops myself and try out a few of the recommendations here πŸ™‚

  44. Oooooh, love this topic. I can often be found killing time in David Jones, spritzing all the perfume samplers onto little cards just for fun. If I didn’t put on perfume that morning, I’ll pick one out, spray myself all over, and see how I like it by the end of the day.

    Currently wearing the following (alternatively, depending on the day, not at the same time!):
    Coco Mademoiselle
    Burberry Brit
    Diesel Plus Plus Feminine

    For a few years all I wore was a pure vanilla perfume from the Body Shop, and I’d happily go back to that one day. It made all my clothes smell delicious. I also own Heat by Beyonce, which I feel like I should be embarrassed about, but it’s a great party night-out scent. Very intense and sexy! I also don’t really like Chanel No. 5 – good to know it’s not just me!!

    Look forward to hearing more about your perfumed adventures – based on the comments, this is clearly a hot topic!

  45. Another vote for Jo Malone! I’ve been wearing her ‘Blue Agava & Cacao’ for a couple of years now, and I love it. It starts out tart with citrus and sharp spices (think star anise and cardamom) and dries down to a lovely, soft, deliciously chocolate finish. It makes me think of a warm sweater on a rainy day.

  46. My personal favourites (and not to pricey!) are CK 1 and Eternity (obviously a bit of a Calvin Klein thing going on) Boss Femme is lovely too and Hugo Boss Woman, and Ghost. I have to say I find a lot of the “lighter” fragrances are a)reminiscent of Anais Anais or similar which although lovely, lasted approximately 3 seconds. The current “sleb” perfumes are all scarily sweet and reminiscent of the vile, vile, vile 80’s “Lou Lou” a perfume you could smell 10 years after putting it on!

  47. Right now, I am in love with “Very Hollywood” by Michael Kors and “Twirl” by Kate Spade. They are both light, yummy, juicy. They are not very complex perfumes, though – not a lot of “notes” to them but delicious nonetheless.

  48. Ooh, what a fun idea!! My favs are: Floret by Antonia’s Flowers – as the name suggests, it’s a flowery one! L’eau de Issey is amazing, Cucumber by Marc Jacobs – lovely and light and fresh. Not sure if you can get Mor products there, but they have some deliciously scented perfumed body oils too. Happy hunting!!

  49. I wasn’t a perfume wearer until a department store included a sample of Boucheron (eau de parfum), and I totally fell in love. The scent haunted me for a year, until I finally spent the money to get a bottle. I wear it nearly every day, and still love it. It is a bit spendy, but you should be able to get a good sample of it at … well, I don’t know where in Scotland. I get mine from Nordstrom, which is a nicer department store in the States. I also found it here (French site): . Good luck! Sounds like you should be carrying around a wee sac of coffee beans with you as well. ^_^

  50. I love Opium but it’s a bit heavy to wear every day, especially in the heat. My current fav is CK IN2U (for her).

  51. It is nice to have different perfumes for different occations and feelings.
    I love perfumes and at the moment I am using:
    Clinique Happy, at work with kids
    Estee Lauder Beautiful, for my admin/office days
    Channel Chance, for weekend fun
    Prada Amber, for special occations
    Guerlain Shalimar, for evening outings
    Chacharel Anais Anais, for summer parties
    + my everyday aromatherapy puff Eau Dynamisante comes from Clarins and I use it everyday when I need a moment of escape…
    “Invigorate your senses with the mood-lifting essence of refreshing plant extracts. An instant antidote to exhaustion or stress.” If nothing else it is a bit of fun. All four Ivigorating Frangrances are fantastic but my all time favourite is the classic red one, Eau Dynamisante. Try and tell what do you think.

  52. Merja you are so right… different moods = different scents required.

    Am totally overwhelmed by all these brilliant ideas *sniffs virtual coffee beans* THANK YOU so much everyone! πŸ™‚ I think I will write them down in the back of my notebook so I have a good starting point when I hit the shops… otherwise it’s like that mental blank when you go into a bookshop “what did want to read again!?”

  53. I just made a spreadsheet for this project. OF COURSE, a freaking SPREADSHEET! Why didn’t I think of that before?! πŸ™‚

  54. I concur on Michael Kors Very Hollywood- smells like summer and the beach. Jennifer Aniston’s perfume is a lighter version of MK, but still smells like sunshine and beachy. I enjoy White Musk by The Body Shop, but I don’t recommend it unless you like a musky-note scent. My absolute favorite, go-to scent is Philosophy’s Amazing Grace. Sweet, not grandma-ish, and light.

  55. Shauna I have half a bottle of Kenzo flower you are very welcome to! If you email me an address its yours. My (now ex!) gentleman friend bought it the Xmas before last. I had never smelled it or tried it. I tried explaining that one really shouldnt buy perfume for someone if you dont know they like it etc but this was HIS ex’s fave and he, generous to a fault if a bit dim, thought I would like it. To me it is just like Zoflora disinfectant. Andrea x

    1. Hiya Andrea, thank you gazillions for the offer but I agree with you! I tested this one on a card on Friday and really didn’t like it at all… too many flowers for me πŸ™‚

  56. Have you tried any of the Estee Laudee perfumes? Back in the seventies, my Mum and I loved Estee Laudee Youth Dew, and in the past couple of years, for the sake of nostalgia, I have gone back to it, wonderful, glamorous stuff!

  57. I love “White Musk” from the body shop. I am not a huge perfume person but this is one that I just smelt ages ago and fell in love with it. Hard to get in Scotland I would agree but if you want some let me know and I will fly it over to you πŸ™‚


  58. I can’t believe no-one has said Issey Miyake – L’eau de Issey.. I always get compliments on it, it’s a wonderful scent – grown up and beautiful without being too flowery or smacking you in the face – just brilliant!

  59. I love Lolita Lempicka … a beautiful blend of violets, liquorice, praline, vanilla and cherries. Its florally without being over the top. Its my signature scent, and I am complimented about it wherever I go!

  60. Try some of the Etro stuff – summer in a bottle, esp. Pegaso or Paisley, or anything of their more citrus/flowery stuff. Italy in a bottle, for real! Miller Harris, Creed, Balenciaga, and I have a soft spot for Comme des garcons (warning: edgy). Longtime signature scent was YSL’s Rive Gauche because it complements a leather jacket and red lipstick with no makeup very nicely (very Sixties).

  61. For daytime I like Eau d’Issey Miyake.

    For going out at night, I sometimes wear Bulgari Jasmin Noir or Un Jardin Apres le Mousson, but my favourite is definitely Kiehl’s No. 1 Musk. It’s a classic, velvety, dense, deeply sexy smell. I get a lot of compliments on it and several male friends have told me it is their favourite of my perfumes.

  62. *apols if these have already been mentioned*

    I was a Clinique Happy girl for many a year – still wear it sometimes. Nice and light, citrussy, lots of the darker note perfumes with musk and whatever give me an instant headache. So I stay light and fresh, much like my approach to life in general (ahem). Sometimes I wear the scented moisturiser instead of the perfume and find that this is enough.

    Jo Malone makes some utterly gorgeous and delicious, authentic smells. Her tea rose perfume is to die for, much like sticking your nose in a big, sun-warmed rose out yer mam’s garden, unfortunately the price tag might hold you back. I found it when I was on a mission to buy a very ‘true’ smelling rose perfume that reminded me of the one my mum used to wear when I was little. I thought it might have been Paul Smith’s Rose but that smells a bit fake and cloying. Jo Malone won that epic battle.

    These days as Mumma Bear I feel compelled to wear something a bit more grown up, and have headed over to firmly rest my laurels in the Miss Dior Cherie range. Favourite of all is Cherie L’Eau. Mostly light and summery but hints of darkness. Good staying power without being too overpowering. I love it. Pricey but not excessively so, I don’t think. Still get it in Boots with the bonus of adding mega points to your loyalty card!

    My uncle recently gave me a Issey Miyake one for my birthday and I don’t mind it. A bit sweet but I’ll use it occasionally so the Cherie L’eau lasts longer.

  63. I almost forgot two of my favourite perfumes (both, unfortunately, hard to find here in Argentina): Eau Duelle (it’s a vanilla-y perfume with a hint of musk and smells much better on your skin than in the bottle — it also lasts very well) and Quatre Reines, which is a very pure tea rose smell (you might not like it so much, if you’re not a floral person, but if you like the smell of roses you will enjoy it).

    Today (inspired by you) I tried and rather liked Burberry Brit FOR MEN (the women’s version had very sweet topnotes, too sweet for me — rather like sugared almonds).

    1. Love the sound of both of those SAS! I really do love rose and Eau Duelle sounds rather foxy πŸ™‚

  64. What a fun experiment! I like Vera Wang by Vera Wang, which is a floral, for special occasions only. I’ve heard men like the smell of vanilla, so I hope you get the descriptive words down (foxy! really?) so I can benefit from your adventure and find the vanilla ones.
    One to stay away from, although I think this is common sense, is Opium by YSL. Years ago I received a free sample and wore it for a week. My husband was allergic to it! A co-worker heard about his symptoms, asked if I had switched perfumes recently, and the lightbulb went on!

  65. My favorites are:
    1. Any Prada
    2. Perry Ellis “Reserve”
    3. Shiseido “Femenite Du Bois” (French spelling sucks)

    Unfortunately 2 and 3 are very hard to find in the U.S.

  66. Apparently a lot of lovely Chypres of the last 40 odd years have suddenly had to change their formulations because oakmoss is now subject to restrictions as an allergen. So todays Cabochard is not the same as the pre-200? Cabochard (before the restrictions came in). I have a tiny sample of vintage Cabochard and it is utterly beautiful. This was my first ever perfume, my dad gave me a little bottle in the shape of a crown when I was twelve.

    One you might like is by Theo Fennell and just called “The Scent”, I got mine incredibly reasonably priced from a UK based online perfume store with the unfortunate name of “Cheap Smells”, but despite that unpromising provenance, it is truly divine, earthy and not too sweet. Maybe Ted Lapidus’ “Creation” would be ok too but again, its formulation has changed with less of that lovely earthy mossiness of the old version. I love some of the Coffee based ones as well, if you love the odour of coffee it can be a lovely winter scent, but the one that I adore to distraction is just far too expensive for me and only available from DSH in Boulder, Colorado.

    I hope you have lots of fun sampling, it is such a personal choice, with so much depending on your own skin that sometimes the things that really suit you will be surprising, don’t let price be your guide either, one of the absolute classics Bal A Versailles can be had for a song.

    All the best,
    A passing Stranger.

  67. Someone has already meantioned these guys Luca and Tania who came up with my favorite ever description of anything about my favorite ever perfume – Mitsouko:

    “It’s like someone with fantastic bone structure married someone with fat in all the right places and they had a perfect child,”

    Sadly I spent my youth too poor to do anythink except occasionally sneak into House of Fraser and squirt the tester all over my coat and now I can afford it I tried it out on him indoors who said (wait for it) “Meh – you smell like my mother . . .”. Gah!

    My current fave is Spring Flowers by Creed – both foxy and floral – like a fox made of flowers if you will. For about 1.5 seconds every morning it makes me feel all sexy and sophisticated like a mature confident woman in charge of my destiny. Must work on the other 23 hours 58.5.

    Also adore Eau d’Orange Vert by Hermes which smells like a sun soaked mediteranian orange grove; and Pluie by Miller Harris – which smells like rain – but in a good way – perfect for Scotland . . .

  68. My favourite is ‘Samsara’. But how annoying to buy expensive perfume because ‘you’ – ‘the wearer’ like it but you only get the one damn smell of the stuff – as it goes on. I need to convince everyone around me to wear it. πŸ™‚

  69. An old school classic is White Shoulders. I loved it growing up. Its very floral almost sweet seek it out just for fun.

  70. Hi Shauna! I wear Coco Channel since I was 16. I’ve got it from my parents for christmas. Now, in the age of 40 I still love it! ;-))

    I do love your blog and your book makes me happy and fills me up with hope everytime I read it! Go girl, you rock!!!

  71. Go the Impulse spray. You know you want to. We used to soak ourselves with it in high school and the guys used to use the spray to set fire to their Rollers (shoes – see pics near the bottom of this thread Such versatility for only $3 a can! I went to such a classy high school.

  72. I use Irresistible by Givenchy and I love it. It was given to me as a birthday present by my mum (which is always a risk as people’s tastes can be so different) and I was immensely pleased that I didn’t have to just pretend to like it.

  73. Jicky by Geurlain. I don’t know if it still exists, I wear perfume so often that I’ve still got my bottle 15 years after being offered it… but I love it

  74. I would like to add : the “perfume” for which I have had the most comments, is the Garnier vanilla perfumed conditioner for long hair (in an orangy bottle). I used to have very long hair, so the perfume would hang around, and I would regularly get asked the name of my perfume by elegant French ladies. They always seemed a bit miffed when I said “none – but it may be my conditioner you are smelling”

  75. Flora by Gucci! Oh sweet baby Jesus does it smell amazing…I usually look deranged because when I’m wearing it I just can’t help but sniff myself constantly πŸ™‚

    1. TOTALLY with you on the Flora by Gucci…it smells heavenly. Just the right about of floral, sweet, and warmth…all rolled into one.

  76. Hi Shauna – I’m allergic to many perfumes so found L’Occitane a number of years ago – something I could wear without an endless loop of sneezes. The shops seems to be everywhere now but I still love wondering around trying on all the lotions & potions, and sometimes they give you an herbal tea while you browse. See:

    Origins in the states also has little shops and the ginger perfume is not bad, but not for everyone. The fun is in the experience, because if you find one of the company shops (not a John Lewis or Boots) they’ll also give you an in-store hand massage or neck massage! (Can be dangerous b/c I’m way more susceptible to unplanned purchases after that experience.)

    Have fun!

  77. I don’t really do perfume, but I have some favourites (please note some of these are men’s colognes):

    – Calvin Klein Escape (do they even make this any more?), so very little goes a LONG way.
    – Estee Lauder Pleasures (the original one)
    – Davidoff Cool Water
    – Aramis New West

    You can tell which decade it was I stopped buying perfume. I don’t pong, I promise!

  78. I’m a fragrance addict…like “12 step special” kind of addict. I have rubbermaid bins/tubs full of perfume/lotion/shower gel in various fragrances and flavors. Of the hundreds that I own here’s my favorite, in no particular order (that’d be like being that Duggar woman with 20 kids and being asked which child is her favorite!)…I live in the US so I don’t how accessible some of these are, but worth a search if you’re so inclined…
    1) Angel -Thierry Mulger – to use your term, this is foxy as hell.
    2) Timeless – Avon (I know Avon isn’t high end, but this is a classic chypre largely unchanged since the 70’s)
    3) Tommy Girl – Tommy Hilfiger – I don’t care that it was once a teeny bopper fragrance and smells the way I imagine the High Schools hall on 90210 smelled. It’s still a fabulous “tea” scent.
    4) Miss Dior Cherie – Dior – has this yummy strawberry undercurrent while still possessing some earthy warmth to it. Divine.
    5) Be Delicious – Donna Karen – A good fresh smell, good on warm days, has a green apple vibe to it.
    6) Summer Hill – Crabtree & Evelyn – instantly you’re picnicking in an English meadow wearing a yellow sundress and bare feet. Smells like liquid sunshine and wildflowers.
    7) Zum Frankincense & Myrrh – Indigo Wild – smells like a 1960s headshop…incensey, sweet, smooth…deliciously hippie without drugs and B.O.
    8) Kiehl’s Musk – Kiehls – a lovely light musk that isn’t too strong. Men love this stuff.
    9) Flora – Gucci – an amazing concoction of flowers, sweets, and heaven.
    10) Norell – Norell – an oldy, but a goody. A chypre, which seems to be up your alley. Spray this and wait to pass judgement for a few minutes until the cloud dies down. Elegant, earthy, love. Faye Dunaway was the spokeswoman…nuff said.
    11) Ciara -Revlon – A sweet chypre. Totally chemistry dependant however.
    12) Aromatics Elixir – Clinique – Another chypre. Herbal, heady with a strong patchouli presence. Not for wimps or young girls.
    13) Bijan – Bijan – 80’s vibe. Strong assertive woman…with big hair and shoulder pads. But I still LOVE this scent.
    14) Tracy – Ellen Tracy – This has a heavy “peachy” top note that is lovely. Use a lot in Summer time and it’s a fun “warm weather” kind of scent.
    I could go on and on…these are relatively inexpensive so I was trying to stay under the $50/bottle mark. I do love the pricier ones as well, but I would rather spend less and buy more!

  79. Hi S:

    Just a note to let you know that I think the writer came long before the lard-buster (shouted in your best “Ghostbusters” impersonation).

    You could write about anything–perfume, lard (sometimes a component of perfume), meerkittens, Australiao-Scottish geo-politics, bike fear, rhubarb–and I would happily continue to read.

    No pressure, though.

    And, if you can have imaginary scented friends, then I’ve decided that writers I’ve never met can be part of my circle.
    Scented or unscented.
    Sue (who smells like apples today)

    1. Sue you have truly made my day with your comment, thank you! And apples is a fab thing to smell like πŸ™‚

  80. Got another recommendation for you, Shauny: Lush’s Dirty. It’s supposed to be a male fragance, but I bought it (finally a new smell, yay!) after sniffing at a galpal who was wearing it for three days in a row. It’s superintense and pretty weird, but I love it.

  81. The one perfume I have heard loads about, but haven’t actually smelled and won’t order online until I have is Gorilla Perfume’s ‘The Smell of Weather Turning’. I LOVE that name and the concept, also the story behind it is as mad as a sack full of cats ( I mean, be honest, smelling like an iron age witch describing a storm is um, special. I want that! They were only in London for a while, but I see that I can try the perfume next time I am in Glasgow, as Buchanan St Lush has a perfumery. Iron age witch! Take that as a concept, Coco Chanel!

    1. That sounds totally mental in the best possible way, and the name is tops! Will you give us a shout when you’re next in Weegieland? Would love to meet you after all these years if you’re up for it? πŸ™‚

  82. Hi , don’t know how far you are in your 52 perfumes but was wondering whether or not you can help me. I got a whiff of a couple of girls/ladies about 8 years ago (In London) and they smelt beautiful. It was kinda like fabric softener/ fresh linen/ clean smell. I’ve never smelt it on anyone since, and after spending 8 years in search of it I am stumped!! I’ve been in the airports duty free , asked in perfumeries but had no success. It’s frustrating and annoying I so wished I’d asked the people that they were wearing it what it was. It may even have been just a body spray. Would appreciate your expert advice or if anyone else reads this names / suggestions please.

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