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  1. #1

    Default I don't know a darned thing about women's perfume

    I don't know anything about women's fragrance other than I am bored of smelling the same three perfumes on every girl at college.

    I know a crap ton about men's scents. Nothing about women's. I want to learn! Mind you, I'm not interested in learning in order to wear them myself. I just want to learn about them and be able to discuss them like I can discuss the men's ones. I can't say to people "I'm a perfume connoisseur" and not be able to tell the group what the lady is wearing.

    Where do you think I should start? I'm thinking designer scents but I'm not interested in the safe, easy perfumes like Euphoria, Victoria's Secret and Light Blue. Not that I don't like them, but I already know them. I want to know the Dior Hommes and the Infusion D'Hommes and the Gucci PH's of the women's designer genre.

    Maybe I mean ultra-popular rather than safe or easy. I love Shalimar and consider it easy. I also consider Chergui easy. By easy I mean easy for a mass audience to appreciate. I think you know what I mean though. I'm not interested in the equivalent of men's aquatics and fresh sporty scents.

    What are some trends? Like, are there tons of aquatics for women like there are for men? What are some common or not-so-common note combos (like rose + patchouli, or iris + leather for example)?

    Thanks guys. Much appreciated

  2. #2
    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Aug 2007

    Default Re: I don't know a darned thing about women's perfume

    You're missing more than half of the best designer scents out there. Trust me; I'm a guy.

    First, there are a huge range of classics, to the point where it's hard to know where to start. The Guerlains are a good place, though: Shalimar for a classic oriental; Mitsouko, arguably THE classic chypre nowadays; Jicky is an early classic that would be pretty much unisex or even male noways. There are many more, and many more informed Guerlainophiles to guide you here.

    From Chanel - well, I'm SURE you've smelled No. 5, but it's good to revisit to refresh yourself on how this archetypal perfume smells. No. 19 is a great example of a galbanum heavy green-floral. There are so many classic Chanels I'll let others guide here, but a smell around a well-stocked Chanel counter is a fragrance education in itself.

    On the subject of green florals, you must try Dior's Diorissimo, the archetypal muguet - lily-of-the-valley - fragrance. You know those '80s male powerhouses like Kouros and Patou PH? They had their female counterpart in Poison, an explosive and complex floral-oriental fragrance that remains unique.

    Estee Lauder has one of the classic female orientals - Youth Dew. It's spicy oriental-amber, very heavy and old fashioned; I love wearing it. White Linen is a great example of aldehydes pushed to the max. If you can find some Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia you'll experience a gorgeous modern floral that's very true to nature.

    Robert Piguet is probably not as mainstream as the line once was, but Fracas is the classic tuberose and Bandit is a classic leather chypre.

    I'm not a fan of them, but you should try Thierry Mugler's Angel and Alien if you want to get to know some modern classics for those with a big sweet tooth.

    Tom Ford's Black Orchid is loved and loathed by men and women alike, is readily available, and in my opinion, is still the star of the TF line.

    I'm trying to stick to mainstream designer stuff, but I've barely even touched what's on offer. Go to your local perfume counters and start sniffing - it'll tell you more than any of us can tell you with words.

  3. #3

    Default Re: I don't know a darned thing about women's perfume

    I found this list very helpful when I first started exploring scents:

    There's also a "101" list, but this is aimed at people with more experience of fragrance generally, which you have.
    "So many scents, so little skin"...

  4. #4

    Default Re: I don't know a darned thing about women's perfume

    You might just find yourself ending up wearing one or two of them, after all.

    Galamb made you a very comprehensive list of the classics - by all means, start there. I take it you're looking for hidden gems, right? One or two come to mind:
    Agent Provocateur
    Bvlgari Tea series (White, Green, Red) and Omnia
    cK Obsession & Secret Obsession
    Dior Hypnotic Poison (and original Poison, too)
    Dior J'Adore
    D&G Feminine
    Estée Lauder Sensuous
    Givenchy Organza Indécence
    Gucci EdP I (brown juice, not to be confused with the awfully pink EdP II)
    Gucci Rush
    Jil Sander Sun
    Kenzo Amour & flankers
    Kenzo Jungle l'Éléphant
    Versace Crystal Noir
    YSL Elle

    Of course, this list is highly coloured by what *I* like and/or consider landmark scents, ask anyone else and you'll get a completely different list.
    By the way, the scourge of modern women's releases equivalent to men's aquatics is the much-maligned fruity floral. Smell any two celebrity thingies and you'll recognize a pattern.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: I don't know a darned thing about women's perfume

    There's also the 100 Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try:

    They're not all women's, but many of them are, so there should be some new material here.


  6. #6
    beachroses's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    North Carolina

    Default Re: I don't know a darned thing about women's perfume

    You could go around to dept stores and get samples of what the best sellers are, look up the notes, and that will give you info you can discuss with college women regarding what they are actually wearing, as well as some basic knowledge too. Also peek in at fragrance board where a lot of them post their latest obsessions.

  7. #7
    kumquat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: I don't know a darned thing about women's perfume

    The gateway frag for me was Dior - Miss Dior. If you try that & really think about it, it will take you into classic women's perfume.
    Then try - Madame Rochas & Houbigant Apercu.
    Currently wearing: French Cancan by Caron

  8. #8
    Diamondflame's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: I don't know a darned thing about women's perfume

    I tried on Guerlain's Mitsouko recently; a man can wear it, no problem. Also looking forward to sampling some Chanel this week... But SAs do give me funny looks whenever I browse at the women's counter. Not that I care. And whenever I try to engage them in a discussion about the notes, they give me a priceless blank look and start inspecting the bottle for the 'cheat sheet'.

    No shortcuts to learning I suppose. Sample & sniff your way the way you did with men's frags. Unless you're Frank Slade, identifying a specific scent among hundreds will take a great deal amount of luck in 'educated' guessing. But I think its a great conversation starter nonetheless.
    Last edited by Diamondflame; 11th September 2009 at 05:09 PM.
    Currently wearing: Panama 1924 by Boellis

  9. #9
    N_Tesla's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Center of the Universe; California.
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    Smile Re: I don't know a darned thing about women's perfume

    IMO frgrances made "for women" are generally better made with better materials for a larger purchase group segment of the market because competition drives quality in order to capture market share. Fragrances like Mistouko, for instance, are unrivaled in "made for men" designer fragrances. Therefore, fragrances like Mitsouko, Chanel #19, etc. are better values and better fragrances for the dolllar in my opinion. Test and buy fragrances that you like and feel comfortable with regardless of the gender designation.

  10. #10

    Default Re: I don't know a darned thing about women's perfume


    Prada Infusion d'Iris is to me a better version to the Infusion Homme (I tried again the Infusion Homme yesterday, only to have my opinion confirmed).

    Dior Homme's equivalent in "feminine" perfumery would probably be Chanel's Chance.
    Q: How do you make a feminine fragrance masculine?
    A: Add 'Pour Homme' to the bottle
    - Pierre Bourdon

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