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  1. #1

    Default ANOTHER newbie/former lurker trying to make a decision

    Looking for a signature fragrance... or at least re-start my wardrobe by committing to an initial full bottle, with the knowledge that I probably can't afford another for a while... Any insight or advice would be great appreciated!

    In general, I'm looking for something special and nichey, but at least somewhat accessible and work-appropriate (I'm a 29 year old PhD student, researcher, and teacher, BTW). I feel like my body doesn't really maintain OR project perfumes, so something assertive (but not overly so) with staying power would be nice!

    Finally ran out of my last drop of the two fragrances-- Marc Jacobs - Men and Tom Ford - Black Orchid-- I'd been wearing for the last couple of years. Honestly, I liked them both *okay,* but am not really in love enough with either to buy another bottle. The MJ-M was woody and figgy, which I liked, but nothing special and kinda boring. The Tom Ford was amazing in theory and actually somewhat bipolar. SOMETIMES it smelled rich and comforting and sexy and mushroomy and creamy and unique but often it just turned into big heavy mess of flowers(?) that didn't smell that interesting or good. If I could get consistency with Black Orchid, I might go for it again. But then again, it's also somewhat played out.

    I'd been slllowwwly going through samples I found some things I liked and somethings I hated. First round, I got a bunch of spicy things and a bunch of sweet things and some that were both/in between. I didn't like too much on either end... I thought I was into chocolatey gourmand scents, but HATED most, like Pilar and Lucy - Exact Friction of the Stars. I liked some sweet things, like Calypso St. Barth - Lea, but usually layered them with other stuff that I also really liked but found too masculine, like Satellite - Padparadscha.

    In general, stuff I was into was:
    Lubin - Idol
    Profumi di Pantelleria - Jailia
    Hermes - Eau de Merveilles

    Recently, my boyfriend gave me the MUA 2007 Top 23 Sampler Pack from The Perfumed Court and told me he'd follow up by buying a full bottle of anything I wanted! Lucky me!

    At first, I really liked:
    Serge Lutens - Chergui
    Hermes - Ambre Narguile
    Andy Tauer - L' Air du Desert Marocain
    Creed - Angelique Encens

    Since wearing all the samples, my nose has really improved, and now I also like:
    Guerlain - Shalimar parfum (smells clean and soapy but also spicy)
    Guerlain - L'Heure Bleue EDP (cold and icy but in a good way)
    Chanel - Bois des lles (dry and creamy and classy)

    In general, I can appreciate others a lot more, even if I don't see them as "me" or everyday scents.

    I will say, I'm not really a fan of:
    Narciso Rodriguez - For Her EDT (borrrrrring as heck on me! I don't get it!)
    L'Artisan - La Chasse aux Papillons (ditto!)
    Guerlain - Vol de Nuit Parfum (makes me vaguely nauseous)
    Serge Lutens - Un Lys (annnd ditto)

    So, yeah, I'm torn. Do I get more samples before deciding? If so, what? I'm all out of some of my favorites (Jailia, Eau des Mervailles, Idole) and running low on others, so I feel like I can't even really compare anymore. Should I just go ahead and take the plunge? And on which?

  2. #2

    Default Re: ANOTHER newbie/former lurker trying to make a decision

    When in doubt, do try more samples to get an eye for what does and doesn't work for you. That might help narrow the field until you find at least one or two scents you just have to have.

  3. #3

    Default Re: ANOTHER newbie/former lurker trying to make a decision

    Quote Originally Posted by Hob Dobson View Post
    When in doubt, do try more samples to get an eye for what does and doesn't work for you. That might help narrow the field until you find at least one or two scents you just have to have.
    Can't stress that enough!The Perfumed Court is one of your best resources.Don't know if you saw it but you can also order sample packs by fragrance type(oriental,floral,chypre,etc.)and by fragrance house.These are a great way to get to really know your tastes.I do think Eau des Merveilles(or any of this series) is quite a practical choice as it seems to me to fit all seasons and occasions.You may also like Eau Claire des Merveilles-I think it was released as a summer version but IMO could work year round.
    The nose wants what it wants!

  4. #4

    Default Re: ANOTHER newbie/former lurker trying to make a decision

    Take your time. Your tastes will change quickly as you start sampling.

  5. #5

    Default Re: ANOTHER newbie/former lurker trying to make a decision

    Ohhh I haaate delaying gratification! I kinda wanna just go for *something* in a full bottle. My (empty) Black Orchid looks sooo lonely!

    If I had to choose tomorrow, I would probably go for Jailia or Eau des Merveilles. Or maybe Chergui. Or maybe...

    Yeah, I should probably get more samples.

    Suggestions?

  6. #6

    Default Re: ANOTHER newbie/former lurker trying to make a decision

    And I guess to help with suggestions, I think I'm looking for something along the lines of Eau des Merveilles and Jailia-- citrusy (but like bitter orange, grapefruit blood orange, or peel), dark chocolate, candied spices, but still spicy.

    Still, I want something with the ooomph of Black Orchid, which I'm still not totally sure Eau des Merveilles or Jailia really have. They are kind of nice girls. I want something with a *hint* of not being a nice girl.

    And a nice bottle would be great...

    Will take all suggestions!

  7. #7

    Default Re: ANOTHER newbie/former lurker trying to make a decision

    Lunchtime Basenotes! Woohoo!

    OK, then: Based on the scents that you mention and your reaction to them, I'm interpreting your taste as one that craves complexity and interest and novelty, and shies away from extremes - not too sweet, not too much of an aldehyde kick, not too knock-'em-dead floral, and so on. Based on that perhaps-completely-erroneous evaluation, I'd suggest sniffing:

    - L'Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two. If you like Chergui, try Tea for Two. It's more undemandingly pleasing than Chergui, but not so eager to please as to be boring.

    - Bois 1920 Sushi Imperiale. A gingery/spicy scent, but they're sparkling spices, not warm foody spices. It's both very unconventional and very well-behaved - I can't see anyone being offended _or_ bored by it. Try the men's fragrance department when looking for Bois 1920, though even then few department stores carry it - you'll probably have to order samples from The Perfumed Court. Get a spray sample for this one.

    If you do find a Bois 1920 display, also try Sutra Ylang and Sandalo e The. Unlike Sushi Imperiale, which makes its charms apparent pretty quickly, both of those require a full drydown evaluation.

    - Chanel Cuir de Russie. A glorious combination of leather and iris. If you don't like it now, try it again in a year - I suspect that I wouldn't have liked it before my Iris Reconciliation. It does have that hint of not being a nice girl.

    - Bvlgari Black. Clean bicycle tires soaked in vanilla. Seriously. But it's great. It's also available in many department stores, unlike the above suggestions. Don't take this as a recommendation for the other Bvlgaris - all of the others just make me shrug.

    - Balmain Ivoire. A ladylike powdery textured green that I love in spite of generally disliking both ladylike and powdery. Try it all the way through the drydown, for at least three or four hours, before you decide - it has several phases. It's also pretty cheap from the discounters, and unlike Balmain Vent Vert, the modern version is still quite nice. (At least, it was a year ago when I bought my bottle.)

    - Estee Lauder Jasmine White Moss. An old-fashioned-style green floral, and available in department stores, so it's easy to sample. While you're in there sampling greens, also seek out Issey Miyake A Scent - it may be too featureless and sweet for you, but I love it even though I don't like featureless and sweet.

    - Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan. If you find yourself craving florals in theory but disliking them in practice, Osmanthe Yunnan might be a good choice - the soft floral is intermixed with tea, so that it's not too cloying or giggly-ruffles pretty.

    - Parfumerie Generale L'Eau Rare Matale. Tea and burned wood. Refreshing but not television-commercial-waterfall refreshing. Oh, and Parfumerie Generale Harmatan Noir. Love these two. I only own the first because they're a little too much alike for me to justify both, but I want both.

    - Serge Lutens Serge Noire. Spicy smoke. You might hate it. You might love it. Let it dry for _at least_ three hours before you make up your mind; the beginning is utterly different from the middle and end.

    - Feminite du Bois. I don't know whether to suggest that you try the Shiseido, which is no longer made and is vanishing from the discounters, or the Serge Lutens reformulation, which is still made but isn't as good. But it's a delightfully odd spicy plummy cedary thing that's worth trying, either way. It does have a shifting personality - all pencil-shavings cedar on one wearing and all gooey plum on another - that would be a problem if I didn't love both personalities.

    - Parfumerie Generale Tubereuse Couture. I'm torn between the fact that you kinda liked Black Orchid, and the fact that Un Lys made you nauseated. I think it's worth a try. It's a lovely tuberose with a wide enough streak of green to keep it from being humid and sticky.

    - Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle. For the same reason as Tubereuse Couture, but it's a fundamentally different fragrance, so try it even if you didn't like that one. It's a weird, weird take on tuberoses - instead of a streak of green, it has a streak of something that's been described as gasoline, or mothballs, or rotting meat. But try it - it would be sad to avoid it based on the weirdness described when you might be one of those that passionately loves it. I do.

    - Fendi Theorema. Spicy orange. This is cruel on my part, because it's almost unobtainable. But just in case you see a bottle briefly available on one of the discounters, it might be worth knowing if you love it.

    - Serge Lutens A La Nuit. In case you're looking for one more sample to fill out an order. This is jasmine, jasmine, and more jasmine. Drowning in jasmine. Death by jasmine. Jasmine shock therapy. Also, jasmine. I don't know why I'm recommending this, since it violates everything I said about my interpretation of your taste, but I am.

  8. #8

    Default Re: ANOTHER newbie/former lurker trying to make a decision

    Quote Originally Posted by velourial View Post
    And I guess to help with suggestions, I think I'm looking for something along the lines of Eau des Merveilles and Jailia-- citrusy (but like bitter orange, grapefruit blood orange, or peel), dark chocolate, candied spices, but still spicy.
    If Cuir de Russie is too much of a "nice" girl's scent, step over to the guys' side of the aisle and try CdR's cousin, Knize Ten. K10 is another of those that takes hours to fully evolve, but it's worth the effort.

    For a more mischievous take on leather, and moving away from the birch bark, Bandit has a bit of spice, combined with orange blossom mixed into the top floral notes, and a persistent petitgrain (crushed orange twig) in the heart/base.

    CdG's Jaisalmer, Ouarzazate, or Harissa might also be fun to check out for the spices.

  9. #9

    Default Re: ANOTHER newbie/former lurker trying to make a decision

    Try Noir de Noir by Tom Ford, in his private blend collection. It's similar to Black Orchid, but it's smoother and more refined.

  10. #10

    Default Re: ANOTHER newbie/former lurker trying to make a decision

    Japon Noir might make an interesting alternative to Black Orchid.
    Tom Ford Splits!!!!
    Tobacco Vanille, Tuscan Leather, Noir de Noir, Oud Wood
    Plum Japonais,
    Lavender Palm, Tobacco Oud, Café Rose, etc...



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  11. #11

    Default Re: ANOTHER newbie/former lurker trying to make a decision

    These are great suggestions! Thank you.

    I'm a little scared of the more floral recommendations, but there's certainly enough to sniff without going there.

    Also, I've noticed that very few scents have staying power or sillage on me... I thought my nose just got used to think quickly, but boyfriend double checked and agreed. Any thoughts on improving this?

  12. #12

    Default Re: ANOTHER newbie/former lurker trying to make a decision

    Also, I'd like to try to Bandit but I'm not sure which formulation...? If I fall in love with the vintage, will it be hard to get?

  13. #13

    Default Re: ANOTHER newbie/former lurker trying to make a decision

    Quote Originally Posted by velourial View Post
    Also, I'd like to try to Bandit but I'm not sure which formulation...? If I fall in love with the vintage, will it be hard to get?
    I've seen the vintage bottles fetch a hefty price on the 'Bay, but I would like to try the original myself. What I have is the current EdP, which is still rather good.

  14. #14

    Default Re: ANOTHER newbie/former lurker trying to make a decision

    I think you should also try some of the Malle's. Maybe Geranium Pour Monsieur or Musc Ravageur. Carnal Flower is one of my all-time favorites but I'm not sure it would suit you.

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