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  1. #1

    Default What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    I know this is not too "democratic" to ask...but I have always been intrigued with those perfumes that smell "elitist", "expensive", "inaccesible", "sophisticated".
    I am not sure if "pretentious" is the appropriate word - but I am just curious which scents do you associate with these words?

    I read on this forum that Bond no 9 is trying to cover that "pretentious" niche. Is that true?

    It is just something I am curious about though I have not decided yet that I would actually want to wear this type of perfume. I normally like "sophisticated" yet "warm" and" sensual".

  2. #2

    Default Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    Hmmmm.... I'm not sure what I have that I would say smells expensive, thought some of them certainly are, but sophisticated could be offerings from the great old houses like Guerlain (Mitsouko, L'Heure Bleue), Caron (Nuit de Noel), or Chanel (Nos. 5 & 19, Cuir de Russie), as well as some of the newer ones. I find Donna Karan's fragrances (Black Cashmere, Cashmere Mist) to be quite sophisticated, they tend be understated and the quality of ingredients seems high. One of my favourites, Prada, is quite sophisticated, yet warm. I'm familiar with only a few of the more nichey perfumers. Serge Lutens has some fragrances that I'd classify as sophisticated, Iris Silver Mist & Gris Clair come to mind. I find L'Artisans's Premier Figuier to be quite a sophisticated scent.
    I have only tried two of Bond's offerings, Little Italy and Chinatown, and I honestly, I wouldn't consider either of them sophisticated. They are well-made and interesting, but they lack refinement, IMO, which is needed for sophistication. But they certainly do qualify as expensive!
    Another belief of mine; that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.

    Margaret Atwood

  3. #3
    moondeva's Avatar
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    Default Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    Welcome to Basenotes, syracusa! :wave:

    This is a very brave, intriguing question to ask.

    I am British / English and tend to associate the old style, British barbershop / Victorian toiletries scents with true elitist, sophisticated perfumes. The types of perfumes / colognes that Crown Perfumery, Czech & Speake, Aqua di Parma (Italy), and Penhaligons have built strong reputations on. This type of scent brings to mind the sporty, country based estated elite.

    Examples: Penhaligons Blenheim Bouquet, Crown Perfumery Crown Fougere, Czech & Speake Neroli, Aqua di Parma Profumo, Penhaligons Elisabethan Rose, Crown Perfumery Marechale, Czech & Speake No.88, Crown Perfumery Crown Imperial.

    The more modern, nouveau riche, city based version of this is Creed (they may be great quality and have an established history but their attitude / marketing approach is common), Jo Malone or Annick Goutal.

    Examples: Creed Fleurs de The Rose Bulgari, Jo Malone Lime, Basil & Ginger, Annick Goutal Eau D'Hadrien, Jo Malone Grapefruit, Creed Himalaya.

    The more sophisticated elitist, inaccessible perfumes call to mind the vintage extrait parfums from the classic houses: Guerlain, Caron, Jean Patou, Houbigant, Lanvin.

    Examples: Guerlain Mitsouko, Jean Patou Normandie, Caron En Avion, Houbigant Essence Rare, Lanvin Arpege, Caron Yatagan, Guerlain Heritage, Jean Patou Moment Supreme, Guerlain Chamade

    The modern super rich, unfettered by history, business, or land will enjoy costly ungents from different corners of the globe, that we commoners may only dream of. Amouage, and Montale parfums allow us brief glimpses into that world.

    Examples: Amouage Gold for men / women, Montale Black Aoud, Amouage Dia for men / women.
    Favourite (Winter) Crazy Combos

    Tabu + Orange Blossom * Hermes Rouge + Bellodgia* Voleur du Roses+ Rose Ispahan * Rasa Extreme + Paris * Wood Coffee + Cafe Noir *

  4. #4

    Default Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    Dear moondeva,

    Thank you for your really interesting reply. I always felt that if you want to talk about class-related issues in a frank manner you have to approach the Europeans, the British in particular. In America class is fuzzy and politically incorrect. From an American, this may indeed be brave, but I am European (Eastern) with US residence - so "big mouth" over here and few inhibitions when it comes to talking about class.

    I am fascinated by such aspects mostly because of my profession (I am a Sociologist) not because I would have a systematic plan to climb in a particular high spot.
    At the same time, I have to admit that some perfumes exuding that "expensive" smell are indeed very..."up"-lifting.

    You brought up something that I was not very well aware of: the attitude/marketing approach of different perfumes and their class target. Hmmm...
    So you are saying that Jo Malone and Creed have a marketing approach that caters to the "commoner" in any "noveau riche"...whereas Guerlain and Aqua di Parma hint to the age-old elites of France and England...

    Am I getting the hang of it?...Really interesting.

    My family - though not aristocratic - has always been a fan of the "old-school" everything and even disdainful towards the "noveau riche" mentality. So those things kind of rub off on you if you are raised with a certain mindset.

    "The modern super rich, unfettered by history, business, or land" sounds bad to me - obviously due to the bias in my family.
    It's kind of funny because my sister hates any fragrance that smells fresh, citrusy or in any way modern. She thinks these scents are puritanical, superficial and mediocre, just like the modern mindset.

    My new mission is definitely to explore the house of Guerlain.
    Maybe I will find there my long searched for signature oriental.

  5. #5
    moondeva's Avatar
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    Default Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    Quote Originally Posted by syracusa
    ...So you are saying that Jo Malone and Creed have a marketing approach that caters to the "commoner" in any "noveau riche"...whereas Guerlain and Aqua di Parma hint to the age-old elites of France and England...

    Am I getting the hang of it?...Really interesting.
    May be it would be more politic to say that the newer perfume houses such as Jo Malone pitch their lifestyle fragrances to the 'self made' affluent professional.

    Aqua di Parma and old school Guerlain, Caron, etc cater to those that have a keen appreciation of their personal history and linneage which transcends / supersedes their current socio-economic position. Sadly, many of the Guerlain & Caron modern releases of the last few years have catered more to the generic then to the original. I appreciate that this may be something they need to do to remain effective in the current mainstream market but it is disappointing all the same.

    Creed is a bit of anomaly which has a rich and complex history but choses to maintain marketshare by balancing an awkward elitist / exclusive atititude with a reliance upon unverified custom from individuals in current popular culture. For example, they can boast of providing blends for the royalty of Europe and yet will market a scent on the fact that actor Sean Connery or singer Frank Sinatra wore it. That approach is quite 'common'.

    Quote Originally Posted by syracusa
    ...It's kind of funny because my sister hates any fragrance that smells fresh, citrusy or in any way modern. She thinks these scents are puritanical, superficial and mediocre, just like the modern mindset.
    I have to admit that I agree wholeheartedly with your sister. The current long term trend of insipid, clean, ozonic, aquatic, fresh, fruity, floral generic blends is paving the perfume industry's road to hell.

    Quote Originally Posted by syracusa
    ...My new mission is definitely to explore the house of Guerlain. Maybe I will find there my long searched for signature oriental.
    I definitely recommend you explore the house of Guerlain, and Caron especially the older blends to catch a glimpse of the fading beauty that was the world of perfumery. Finding a signature oriental depends on what oriental means to you and what mood / impression you seek the blend to create. Please note that when sampling the classics it is best to obtain samples of parfum / extrait or Eau de Parfum. Eau de Toilette rarely convey a good impression of what the perumer sought to achieve in the perfume.

    A few Guerlain Orientals to try:

    Vol de Nuit - smooth citrus leathery vanillic oriental
    Shalimar - complex herbaceous vanillic oriental
    Guet-Apens / Attrape-Coeur - a wonderfully smooth vanillic beauty, only available from the Paris store.
    Chamade - unique blackcurrant bud oriental
    Samsara - heady jasmine and sandalwood woody oriental
    L'Heure Bleue - melancholy rich floral
    Aqua Allegoria Winter Delice - woody oriental
    Nahema - rose dominated fruity floral oriental
    Jicky - herbaceous floral oriental


    A Few Caron Orientals to try:

    Parfum Sacre
    Nuit de Noel
    Montaigne
    En Avion
    Aimez-Moi
    Narcisse Noir

    I would like to say that your desired signature oriental may be found from once great perfume houses that are now drugstore favourites or discontinued. Crown Perfumery Eau de Russe is a wonderfully sweet ambery oriental that may appeal. Unfortunately it is rather rare and hard to find these days.

    May I suggest you sample Dana Tabu (a much maligned classic oriental which inspired such greats as Estee Lauder Youth Dew, YSL Opium, Estee Lauder Cinnabar, Prada For Women... among others). It is widely available in cologne strength which is equal to the modern day Eau de Parfum! They definitely made them to last in the old days!

    There are other, more modern, blends that may be what you are looking for but I would need to know more about your likes and dislikes, as well as what kind of oriental scent you are looking for.

    Good Luck & Happy Sniffing!
    Last edited by moondeva; 9th January 2007 at 08:54 PM.
    Favourite (Winter) Crazy Combos

    Tabu + Orange Blossom * Hermes Rouge + Bellodgia* Voleur du Roses+ Rose Ispahan * Rasa Extreme + Paris * Wood Coffee + Cafe Noir *

  6. #6

    Cool Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    I am a newbie to fragrance, and sociologically speaking, my asian background holds values such as family, education and literacy, as keys to success and respect, in other words, these types of social "markers?" "characteristics?" etc. are held in greater esteem than "material" achievements. The way to the "top" is through diligent learning.

    Maybe this is a fancy way of saying I am a poor bibliophile with lots of mouths to feed!!! hee hee hee
    HOWEVER! I love the intricacies of fragrance and allow me to attempt to answer your question.

    ahem.

    Sophisticated: All the Chanels I have come across reek of sophistication and elegance. Even Coco, for example, which is spicy and a bit more kicky than no.5, is very sophisticated imo. Like Jackie O in Keds.

    Other fragrances that come to mind are those in the House of Caron ,
    Bellodgia, Infini...

    Also Creed's Eugenie is very smooth and elegant, regal, I would say. I believe this is an older formula, (1870)

    Malle's Carnal Flower is a serious sophisticated fragrance. The more I sample this, the more its beauty is revealed to me.

    Hermes, 24 Faubourg, if you can wear it without asphyxiation, is also very Place Vendomish.

    Regards.
    RTamara
    "Like a lobster with a pearl in its claw, the beet held the jasmine firmly without crushing or obscuring it. Beet lifted jasmine, the way a bullnecked partner lifts a ballerina, and the pair came on stage on citron's fluty cue. As if jasmine were a collection of beautiful paintings, beet hung it in the galleries of the nose, insured it against fire or theft, threw a party to celebrate it. Citron mailed the invitations." Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins p. 189

    What I am loving right now: Shalimar vintage extrait, Chanel Bois des Iles, Chanel no. 22, Le Labo Iris 39, Guerlain Iris Ganache

  7. #7
    Bois et Musc's Avatar
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    Default Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    Iris Silver Mist, more than sophisticated and expensive smelling, very aristocratic scent

  8. #8

    Shycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    Serge Lutens Un Lys is the one fragrance that immediately made me think upperclass. It brought to mind well bred young matrons, fresh from finishing school, down at the country club for a spring garden party in sleeveless silk dresses and widebrimmed hats so as not to freckle in the sun. Specifically for me though, I thought of Julia Roberts' "Pretty Woman" at the polo game, fresh and beautiful but completely natural--and like I would be, completely out of place!

  9. #9

    Wink Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    Any chypre scent, including Chanel Cristalle, Hermes Caleche, Guerlain Mitsouko. However, if you don't like that genre, try iris-based florals, which whisper coldly rather than blasting your neighbors with petals....

  10. #10

    Default Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    The fur perfumes. These seem to have an independent arrogance that causes them to stand apart from the wearer.

  11. #11

    Default Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    Please give examples of what these "fur" perfumes are.

  12. #12

    Default Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    Thanks everyone for your examples. I would be so curious to try them all but one big problem is that I am not sure how I would get to do that.
    I live in Atlanta, US and the most "fancy-schemncy" place I am aware of here is Saks 5th Ave. There may be smaller, exclusive boutiques hidden through this weird city set in an actual forest - but given that I don't even drive, I have no idea where these would be hidden.


    For example, where could I find the likes of Serge Lutens, Iris Silver Mist, Malle, etc?

    Should I look for some samples online from a reputable dealer? Who would that be?

    Thanks so much again,

    syracusa

  13. #13

    Default Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    syracusa, aedes.com has a sample option , seven vials for 15 dollars, or some such thing, they carry some of the serge lutens, and a sample vial lasts for several good wearings of the scent.
    otherwise check basenotes marketplace. a good number of members carry wonderful niche samples and decants and I have had a good experience with several myself. Most will offer a sample or two with a purchase.
    "Like a lobster with a pearl in its claw, the beet held the jasmine firmly without crushing or obscuring it. Beet lifted jasmine, the way a bullnecked partner lifts a ballerina, and the pair came on stage on citron's fluty cue. As if jasmine were a collection of beautiful paintings, beet hung it in the galleries of the nose, insured it against fire or theft, threw a party to celebrate it. Citron mailed the invitations." Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins p. 189

    What I am loving right now: Shalimar vintage extrait, Chanel Bois des Iles, Chanel no. 22, Le Labo Iris 39, Guerlain Iris Ganache

  14. #14

    TaoLady's Avatar
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    Default Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    Quote Originally Posted by syracusa
    Dear moondeva,

    Thank you for your really interesting reply. I always felt that if you want to talk about class-related issues in a frank manner you have to approach the Europeans, the British in particular. In America class is fuzzy and politically incorrect. From an American, this may indeed be brave, but I am European (Eastern) with US residence - so "big mouth" over here and few inhibitions when it comes to talking about class.

    I am fascinated by such aspects mostly because of my profession (I am a Sociologist) not because I would have a systematic plan to climb in a particular high spot.
    At the same time, I have to admit that some perfumes exuding that "expensive" smell are indeed very..."up"-lifting.

    You brought up something that I was not very well aware of: the attitude/marketing approach of different perfumes and their class target. Hmmm...
    So you are saying that Jo Malone and Creed have a marketing approach that caters to the "commoner" in any "noveau riche"...whereas Guerlain and Aqua di Parma hint to the age-old elites of France and England...

    Am I getting the hang of it?...Really interesting.

    My family - though not aristocratic - has always been a fan of the "old-school" everything and even disdainful towards the "noveau riche" mentality. So those things kind of rub off on you if you are raised with a certain mindset.

    "The modern super rich, unfettered by history, business, or land" sounds bad to me - obviously due to the bias in my family.
    It's kind of funny because my sister hates any fragrance that smells fresh, citrusy or in any way modern. She thinks these scents are puritanical, superficial and mediocre, just like the modern mindset.

    My new mission is definitely to explore the house of Guerlain.
    Maybe I will find there my long searched for signature oriental.
    If "class" means being able to trace your rich ancestors back FOREVER, and aristocracy means that the crooks and robbers that made the money are further back in that history (here in the US it would be only about five generations to the fur traders, railroad magnates and oil barons - in Europe I guess it would be the Rothschilds and Medicis and the Kruppps) and you're looking for "Orientals" ....I would think you'd want to go to China.

    The oldest AND the newest!
    "The world is ruled by letting things take their course. It cannot be ruled by interfering." Lao Tze

  15. #15

    Default Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taolady
    If "class" means being able to trace your rich ancestors back FOREVER, and aristocracy means that the crooks and robbers that made the money are further back in that history (here in the US it would be only about five generations to the fur traders, railroad magnates and oil barons - in Europe I guess it would be the Rothschilds and Medicis and the Kruppps) and you're looking for "Orientals" ....I would think you'd want to go to China.

    The oldest AND the newest!

    I know. Sociologically and humanly speaking...it is sad.
    Unfortunately, these unworthy creatures everywhere and in all historical times, have usually been able to come up with the "nicest stuff" in just about everything. The more time and money they have in their hands and the longer their "great family" history, the more they occupy themselves with beauty, refinement, fine arts, true education and all things "fine". In the meantime, us "the mortals" are too busy working to survive to figure those things out without getting inspiration from them.

    Believe me, I know what you are saying.
    But they smell nice, don't they.

  16. #16

    Talking Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    Just today I found some Jolie Madame. I haven't worn it for years, but I am in love again with it!!!!! It's sophisticated and, IMO, doesn't smell like anything else out there. Do try it.
    Now I'd better go over to the Ernie Gallo discussion, cause I bought some Mitsouko, as well!!!! Too much Bath and Body works over Christmas.

  17. #17

    Default Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    Jean Patou Sublime is, for me, the epitome of the smell of sophistication and expense. I have to summon up a lot of attitude to wear it comfortably, but it's so worth it. I love this stuff.

  18. #18

    Default Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    Balenciaga's Cristobal

    Hermes Caleche

    Salvador Dali (namesake scent)

    Balmain de Balmain

    Royal Secret (original)

    Chanel No.19

    Rochas Femme

    These can all be found at very, very affordable prices online but they smell costly.

  19. #19

    Default Re: What smells "sophisticated" and "expensive"?

    Chanel No 5
    Ormonde Jayne Champaca
    Serge Lutens Daim Blond

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