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  1. #1

    Default I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    Hello, everyone! I'm new to niche fragrance, and frankly, I'm rather surprised about that! I've always been "sniffy" (as a child I was very particular about the way different houses smelled to me, for example, and so many of my memories are very scent-specific) and my general tastes have always been particular. (For example, I always thought I hated Scotch because I hated the taste of most of the "entry level" blends I tried...but then I sampled a "difficult" Islay single malt and it was LOVE!)

    At any rate, I'm in the process of filling up a shopping cart over at TPC as part of my ongoing quest to find a favorite scent. (or five!) What makes it difficult for me is that my tastes are a bit different, and also I think that my body chemistry does not interact with many fragrances the way that others' do.

    Certain terms like "wearable" and "light" don't work for me...they are subjective for anyone, of course, but on my body sometimes it seems like Opposite Land. For example, my last batch of samples included a variety of the Chanel Exclusives. Bois des Iles, the "wearable" choice, fades quickly to a headache-inducing flowery powder for me, while "acquired taste" Cuir de Russie sinks in to my skin and smells natural and wonderful all the way to the last. My mother-in-law smells lovely in her favorite florals like Amazing Grace and Calvin Klein Escape...they smell like dish detergent on me! And, contrary to common wisdom, I actually find florals to be even more difficult in the summertime, when they seem to hang in the humid air. I'd prefer a subtle spice that merely smells warm and rich to the "sweaty chick bathed in air freshener" that I get from most so-called summer scents.


    In general, I think that I like a Woody Oriental type scent, but preferably one with little to no powder. I like only a few types of flower, and am VIOLENTLY opposed to so-called "white florals." Not difficult enough? I'd also like to smell somewhat feminine! I have no problem with truly unisex fragrances, but many tend to lean a little too much to the masculine side. I just don't want to smell like a lady in aftershave, you know? (I'm looking at you, CK One!)

    I have tried two Serge Lutens scents, and I suspect that I will enjoy many of his fragrances. I love Cedre and so already have Feminite du Bois in my shopping cart. Are there any others in particular that you'd recommend? (The other I have of his is 5 O'Clock au Gingembres, which I did like on me OK, but loveloveLOVED on my husband.)


    Phew. Sorry about that long-winded intro that is doubtless very confusing. I appreciate your recommendations!

  2. #2
    kess's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    We seem to have similar tastes -- I'm also into Woody Orientals, although I also like gourmand orientals (let me know if you need any recs there!).

    Here're some of the fragrances I really liked and would recommend trying to start with:

    Ava Luxe: Teakwood (dry woody), Opoponax Intense (my fave!!)
    Sonoma Scent Studio: Wood Violet
    Diptyque: Eau Lente (cinnamon opoponax)
    Guerlain: Shalimar (classic oriental), Terracota Voile d'Ete (carnation)
    Donna Karan Essence: Wenge (lovely woody)

    Do you like amber note? Here are a few of my all time favorite amber scents, which I also consider orientals:

    Parfums Berdoues - Ambre Oliban (incense amber)
    Parfum d'Empire - Ambre Russe (boozy amber)
    Serge Lutens - Ambre Sultan (herbal amber)
    Armani Privé - Ambre Soie (anisic amber)
    Yves Roche - Voile d'Amber (sweet amber)

    I can probably think of more just straight up orientials -- there are so many that I liked.

    Welcome to BaseNotes!
    Last edited by kess; 18th May 2009 at 07:07 PM.

  3. #3

    lightgreen22's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    Welcome to basenotes, based on what you said I think you should definitly try out Dityque's Tam Dao, one of the best "spiced woods", I have ever tried
    [COLOR="Purple"]I am not afraid... I was born to do this.

    -Joan of Arc [/COLOR]

  4. #4
    mcjra's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    Hello Mo!

    Welcome to Basenotes! Now on to business!

    SL Diam Blonde - a rich white suede fragrance that I love and own, it's very feminine, but I like the smell so much I just wear it for myself.

    FM Musc Ravageur - a must try! It's THE most seductive scent in my wardrobe. I love smelling this on myself, but even more on a lady.

    Bond no.9 Nuits de Noho - The top is a refreshing pine-apple accord that gives this fragrance its umph! Very tropical, very summery, it's grey musk drydown works very well in the heat.

    Amouage Homage Attar - THE most beautiful rose scent I have ever smelled, it's considered unisex, but IMO it's more on the feminine side of the scale.

    Carnal Flower - I know you said you absolutely HATE white florals, but you gotta give this Tuberose fragrance a chance. It's an intense white flower that will change your perception of what a white floral is supposed to be...I know it changed mine.

    Those are my recommendations for samples. Happy sniffing! Please don't forget to give us your impressions after you've had a chance to analyze the scents!

  5. #5

    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    Oooh, thank you! I haven't even heard of some of these, which gets me excited!

    I'm not sure if I like the Gourmand Orientals or not. Those are food-noted, right? I suppose I like certain spices, like ginger, clove and cinnamon, and I don't mind a hint of vanilla. But I really don't like sweet or syrupy scents, and I'm not in to chocolate at all. No offense to the 8000000 (or so it seems out there in the wild) ladies who wear it, but Angel smells cheap and trampy to my nose.

    I do enjoy some amber. It has that nice, warm feel to me that draws me to the woody scents.

    I'm still trying to learn to isolate and identify certain notes. My internal description of fragrance usually is much more impressionistic, with references to color, tactile sensations, and climate. Evocative for me, but nearly impossible to describe to another person!

  6. #6
    anais's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    Welcome to Basenotes!
    I will suggest the Montale line:
    Aouds: Black Aoud, Aoud Rose Petals, White Aoud (this one is sweet but you might like the woodiness - Damascan rose, saffron, oud, cardamom, jasmine, patchouli, Mysore sandalwood, precious woods, amber, vetiver, vanilla and labdanum.)
    Non aoud: Bois Vanille (not a sweet vanilla scent)
    Last edited by anais; 18th May 2009 at 07:40 PM.
    ~ Anais ~

  7. #7
    anais's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    If you enjoy "some amber" you can try another Montale from the non aoud line - Blue Amber.
    ~ Anais ~

  8. #8

    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    Mo, I think you might want to give Guerlain's Vetiver a try. I know it's typically a guy scent, but it seems to fit in with what you like. And I think it would smell fantastic on a woman.
    - E.J.

  9. #9

    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    I suggest you try Luckyscent. Their samples are cheaper than TPC.

  10. #10
    kess's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by fperdices View Post
    I suggest you try Luckyscent. Their samples are cheaper than TPC.
    good point. With luckyscent, if you enter coupon code MUA, you get free shipping.

    Also, you can try Aedes for scents that they carry (i.e. Montale). Speaking of Montale, you should try their Sweet Oriental Dream (it's a gourmand, but nothing like Angel, which I find interesting, but do not adore).
    Last edited by kess; 18th May 2009 at 11:08 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    Shoot I ordered samples last week and I forgot all about that code. Oh well I guess I'll oder some more.

    Quote Originally Posted by kess View Post
    good point. With luckyscent, if you enter coupon code MUA, you get free shipping.

    Also, you can try Aedes for scents that they carry (i.e. Montale). Speaking of Montale, you should try their Sweet Oriental Dream (it's a gourmand, but nothing like Angel, which I find interesting, but do not adore).

  12. #12
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    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    Hmmm...woody orientals..my favs:

    Comme des Garcons Series 2: Red:Sequoia
    Eau d'Italie - Bois d'Ombrie
    L'Artisan Parfumeur - Fou d'Absinthe
    Lubin: Le Vetiver
    Oliver Durbano - Rock Crystal
    Serge Lutens - Serge Noir
    The Different Company: Jasmin de Nuit

    Have fun

  13. #13

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    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by mcjra View Post
    Hello Mo!



    SL Diam Blonde - a rich white suede fragrance that I love and own, it's very feminine, but I like the smell so much I just wear it for myself.
    my favorite of the SL line
    [COLOR="Purple"]I am not afraid... I was born to do this.

    -Joan of Arc [/COLOR]

  14. #14

    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    I think LT recommended Antaeus for women in his guide book. Definitely a woody, but perhaps only mildly oriental.
    Last edited by Bigsly; 19th May 2009 at 03:16 AM.

  15. #15
    Hob Dobson's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by YouCanCallMeMo View Post
    while "acquired taste" Cuir de Russie sinks in to my skin and smells natural and wonderful all the way to the last.
    I wonder how CdG Zagorsk would work for you - a birch tar incense instead of a leather? Or maybe give some of the other leathers a try - Cuir Ottoman, Bandit, Diorella, Knize Ten ?


    Quote Originally Posted by YouCanCallMeMo View Post
    In general, I think that I like a Woody Oriental type scent, but preferably one with little to no powder. I like only a few types of flower, and am VIOLENTLY opposed to so-called "white florals."
    Le Baiser du Dragon comes to mind. Floral, but not very "white".
    You might also enjoy incense fragrances like Ouarzazate and Timbuktu.

  16. #16

    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    MPG's Bois de Turquie is quite nice. It almost smells like cream soda, but also has a suede like note in the heart with the orris. Some cinnamon and other spices along with myrrh give it a slightly exotic feel, but it is kept light enough that it is wearable in far more situations than if it had gone full out oriental.

    Someone said it was "in the vein of" Five o'clock Au Gingembre, although I have not smelled that so I can't confirm or deny. It is likely less gingery and more sweet/oriental than the SL.
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  17. #17

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    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    Sinfonia di Note's Fleur de Santal, simply gorgeous wood

  18. #18
    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    Going on the notes you've mentioned...

    Comme des Garcons Original - rich, very spicy cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg over an intruiging rose, honey, sandalwood base. This is gorgeous, transparent, and despite the rose note not floral or powdery in the least.

    Penhaglion's Elixir - a very intriguing woody-spicy transparent rosy oriental. Very hard to describe, but it's almost like steamed wood and spices melded to a subtle rose.

    Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental - this takes the typically masculine vetiver note and softens it with warm, grassy, floral and gourmand notes to the point where it's truly unisex. A very intriguing take on vetiver; very much a Lutens.

    Ava Luxe Midnight Violet - the answer to all those simpering over-sweet powdery violet fragrances out there! Midnight Violet is a bold, woody-oriental violet fragrance that's dry, animalic and almost spicy. A totally unique take on violet that remains my favorite.

  19. #19
    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Hob Dobson View Post
    Or maybe give some of the other leathers a try - Cuir Ottoman, Bandit, Diorella, Knize Ten ?
    Good idea! I particularly recommend Cuir Ottoman.

  20. #20

    Default Re: I'm sample shopping! Noob seeks recommendations

    OK, kiddies. I've gone through shipments from Luckyscent and The Perfume Shoppe over the last few weeks, as well as hit up my local Sephora for freebies of the few classics they still carry. (Opium, Shalimar, Chanel No5...)

    I'm almost up to $75 at TPC for a discounted order, when I get there, I'll be staring at my mailbox again! Eep. I'm an addict. Since you asked, here are my notes so far:

    Chanel

    Once upon a time, there were three sisters.

    No.5 was the belle of the ball. Perhaps she seems a bit abrasive at first, but once you get to know her she is the epitome of elegance. She is well-known, and recognized immediately. She is the queen of high society.

    Her sister Bois des Iles is more sweet, more gentle. She's a more retiring beauty, and is content to aspire to nothing more than president of the Garden Club.

    Meanwhile, Cuir de Russie wears her leather riding boots everywhere, even in the house. This is because it's where she hides her flask of Scotch that she nicked from Daddy's study. She has frequent affairs with the stable boys, and possibly the chambermaids, but she says that was just a rumour.


    I refuse to consider what it means that I like Cuir de Russie best of all.


    I also tried the Parfum formulation of Coco Mademoiselle. I had sampled the EDT in the past, but like all Chanels, it had TERRIBLE longevity on me. The good news was that the fragrance does last longer than an hour or two in the parfum formulation. The bad news was that I really don't like Coco Mademoiselle for more than an hour or two! Too floral, too sweet.


    Serge Lutens

    Well, I was right, Mr. Lutens has a fan in me! I found something to like about all the scents I've managed to get so far:

    5O'Clock Au Gingembres -- Nice, fresh, but too masculine for me and too feminine for my hubby. Oh, well.
    Cedre -- my fave Lutens so far...
    Serge Noir -- Black Licorice and Patchouli. Like Bassets Allsorts at a Phish concert. Freakishly long lasting on me. Like, DAYS and showers and other frags and it's still there!!
    Santal Blanc -- Nice, clearly in the Daim Blond family...but very poor longevity on me.
    Daim Blond -- Very apricotty to my nose, I definitely get the bitterness of the stone, even. Quite nice, though.

    I am still tracking down Ambre Sultan and Feminite de Bois.




    Montale

    Wood and Spices: The name seemed descriptive enough of what I'd like, and I like it OK, I guess....but it really smells like Cherry Pipe Tobacco to me more than anything else.

    White Aoud: This smells EXACTLY like the very first perfume I was allowed to wear as a child, and so all I get here is nostalgia and a powdery rose.





    Comme des Garcons

    THANK YOU to those who recommended this line...I didn't even know it existed, and I love it! These are not the scents I chose to create an impression, these are the scents I wear because of the feelings they evoke in me when I smell them. I have Incense: Zagorsk, Incense: Avignon, and Red: Sequoia. I like to put them on right before bed and I drift to sleep smelling ancient churches and forests. Amazing. I wish they had more sillage and longevity on me, though...



    Also, thanks for reminding me of EL Knowing...I remember back in High School, all my classmates were obsessed with "Beautiful," but I always preferred "Knowing..." I can't recall the smell, I just remember thinking that it smelled like the kind of elegant, sophisticated woman I hoped to be someday...



    ON THE LIST:

    Diptyque Tam Dao
    Ava Luxe Opoponax Intense Eau de Parfum
    Ava Luxe No. 23 Eau de Parfum
    Dior Dolce Vita
    Shiseido Feminite du Bois
    Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan
    Serge Lutens Cuir Mauresque
    Estee Lauder Knowing EDP
    The Ten Party
    i Profumi di Firenze Sandalo Misore EDP
    Caron Tabac Blond Pure Parfum
    Caron Tabac Blond Eau de Toilette
    Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere EDP
    Bond No. 9 Chinatown

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