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  1. #1

    Question Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    I'm stumped. I know we all see reviews for scents that pass them off as only suitable for the elderly, but now that I want to buy a fragrance for my grandmother (who doesn't have a signature scent and rarely wears perfume) I don't know where to start.

    I was thinking a fresh floral that's not too cloying, like 5th Avenue. I think steering clear of orientals would be a good idea, as well as anything too sweet. (She doesn't like sweet things and I doubt she'd wear a heavy oriental.)

    Am I barking up the wrong tree entirely with my idea of 5th Avenue? Has anyone got any other suggestions?

    Answers on a postcard please - I need to get it posted to her by the end of the month for her birthday. Please don't make me have to buy the poor woman more knitwear!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    Oh!!!!! Now do not judge a book by its cover.

    What smells does she like? Flowers: roses etc? You said she rarely wears perfume, but she has worn it what was it?

    Please, Elizabeth Arden! you'll get done for cruelty to the elderly.

  3. #3
    Laureline's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    Amsterdam, Holland

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    hello Cherryred

    I dont remember that my own grandma's actually wore much after their 80th birthday. It seems as if the sensitivy changes. But I remember we gifted one of them with Thierry Mugler's Cologne for it's easy floral freshness -as a eau de cologne that wont invade and is easily re-applied. And she was quite pleased.
    I am also thinking of a simple pleasure of mine : Iris by Crabtree & Evelyn (from their website). It is nearly a candied violet but not quite and it has a woody base. this edt is quite refreshing and pretty, with some of the aloofness of the iris preserved and holding it away from the girly scent. IMO. also, not powdery.
    if white flowers can become complicated and sweet/fruity or vanillic smells are not her thing, a nice soliflore could give an elegant personnal twist without making it to complex or to formal.
    Pretty bottle to boot for the ones by C&E.
    Good luck with your nice pursuit !
    Vivre d’erreurs et de parfums.

    Pour comprendre le bonheur, il faut le voir comme étant une récompense et jamais un but. (Antoine de St Exupéry).

  4. #4

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    Does she (or did she) enjoy gardening? Which flowers did she prefer? A fresh, clean-smelling floral such as rose or lavender might be good, although it's a bit of a cliche for older ladies.
    My own grandmother always liked green scents, such as Coty Chypre, Bronnley French Fern, or Alliage. She also like Ma Griffe, but I'm pretty sure that too has been discontinued.
    I always you can't go wrong with florals, because they're in so many fragrances and most people love them. If she has scented soap, a floral with rose or jasmine would likely go well with whatever she already likes.
    What a thoughtful grand-daughter you are!

  5. #5
    Leesee's Avatar
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    May 2008

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    I don't know 5th Ave so I can't comment on it, but have you ever sniffed Estee Lauder Private Collection? It has a grown-up-without-being-stuffy feel to it and it is lovely -- a balanced green floral scent that lasts a long time. On the softer side, perhaps a scent by L-Occitane or, as has already been suggested, Crabtree and Evelyn would work. Redrose is correct -- you are a thoughtful granddaughter!
    Last edited by Leesee; 12th June 2011 at 08:50 PM. Reason: changed "ae" to "are" and "with" to "without" - yikes

  6. #6
    Lean in closer, dear
    Quarry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    I'd opt for a boxed collection of fragrant soap varieties. There's a good chance any perfume you buy is just going to end up sitting on a shelf. Normally I'd recommend buying a gift of perfume samples, but pulling open or spraying sample vials requires dexterity and vision which may be faltering at age 80.
    "I live in the garden, I just sleep in the house." -- Jim Long
    Currently wearing: Bel Ami by Hermès

  7. #7

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    I buy Youth Dew for my grandmother. She's ninety-one. Sometimes I take bottles over to her house, so I know she also likes Tocade, Imperial Opoponax, and Coromandel. She enjoyed L'Heure Bleue, and J Del Pozo's In White, and Oriens. She loved L'Air du Desert Marocain when I showed it to her. Basically, I know that if I like a perfume, she'll probably like it, too. We have very similar tastes when it comes to perfume, clothing, and makeup.

    You know your grandmother best. I suppose my advice would be to discard any notion of some perfumes being more suited to "mature" women, and any preconceptions as to what a woman in her eighties might like. Believe me, you can never, ever tell what will strike a chord! I think the best thing you can do is to think about your grandmother and her hobbies, the kind of person she is and the life she's lived, come up with some scents with notes that you think will bring have positive associations, and from that list buy the best quality fragrance you can afford.

    For instance, with my grandmother, I sometimes pick perfumes that were created in or are reminiscent of her "era", the period in time when she was young and free, perfumes that she could have owned, or aspired to own (she was dirt poor as a youngster and probably didn't own any fragrance at all). So that gives me some decades: forties, fifties, sixties. Or I think about her hobbies - gardening and baking - and pick perfumes with floral notes, or gourmands. She likes vanilla a lot, and rose - Tocade and Youth Dew are really perfect for her. She also loves lavender, she used to grow it in her garden and dry it to scent her drawers, so I should probably try her with Jicky at some point.

    Anyway, that's kind of what my thought process looks like when I'm choosing perfumes for my grandmother. I hope it helps a little, at least!

  8. #8
    Guest 3

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    I wish my grandmother was here to buy fragrances for! She loved perfume. Her last signature scent was Giorgio Red. If she were here I'd buy her Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, or maybe one of the others - Jasmine & White Moss or Amber Ylang Ylang. She could wear any of those well. Or maybe one of the Prada fragrances. Or Chanel Beige. My grandmother liked to be stylishly dressed, made up, etc. I guess you need to think about the type of scents your grandmother enjoys, and the scents you associate with her. If she doesn't actually wear perfume, it may be because she doesn't want to. On the other hand, she may enjoy wearing any fragrance YOU give her.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    My Grams is 80 and I gave her Lolita Lempicka's Forbidden Flower (the purple box with the greenish yellow apple bottle) she liked it but thought it was a little strong.She's really enjoying Lucky #6 a magnolia /peoney musk scent .
    Currently wearing: Mitsouko by Guerlain

  10. #10

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    My grandmother's favorite scent is Estee Super Spray, which smells fabulous on her. Another one she wears well is Norell. Both are affordable and more 'special' and rare than 5th Avenue.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    You are a sweetheart, but I think an 80-something woman can wear whatever she likes.

    Take her shopping to see what she likes!
    "The sunset is deeper and longer. The scent of the jasmine is stronger." Miracles. Pet Shop Boys

    "Thick dome of jasmine
    (Under the dense canopy where the white jasmine),
    Blends with the rose,
    (That blends with the rose),"
    "The Flower Duet," Lakme by Leo Delibes, 1881

  12. #12

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    If she doesn't wear much perfume something quiet like Balenciaga Le Dix might be appreciated. The SA I bought it from thought it was an old scent, but I find it classic and perfect for young or old - I recommend it more for something classic and quiet.

    If you can take her out shopping though that is definitely the way to go - make it an adventure, and who knows what she might pick. If an impromptu shopping trip seems a bit daunting you could spec out a few fragrances at one or two locations ahead of time and go straight to them when you have her with you.

    Some places have spray samples - does Sephora do sprays? So you could get her some samples that way (rather than the glass vials with caps.)

  13. #13
    Super Member Paper Moon's Avatar
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    May 2011
    Orange County, CA

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    I think its all about personal preference at any age. My grandma hated the same kind of scents and loved certain scents her whole life. Her mother used to wear Tabu and she absolutely hated it. She used to beg her not to wear it, and her mother would respond by spitefully spraying even more on, for dramatic effect. I heard that story many times. My grandma also hated any fragrance with rose or gardenia, though she loved the smell of the flowers themselves. She just felt like fragrances never captured them correctly. She always gravitated towards the lighter and the fresher. The scent she wore the most the last couple years of her life were Cotton Blossom by Bath and Body Works (they still make it, but they changed the name slightly, I forget what it is), Burberry Brit and also Evening in Paris. She had fond memories of Evening in Paris from her youth, and though I am pretty sure it is reformulated (what isn't), she still loved the new bottle I bought her. This was just the last several years. She passed away in October 6 days shy of her 81st birthday.
    "I don't mind living in a man's world, as long as I can be a woman in it."
    — Marilyn Monroe

  14. #14

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    Such a lot of good advice here - I just want to add that you might find something you feel is suitable from the Jo Malone line, as their scents are very sheer and lovely, not overwhelming but with definite presence. And their packaging is to die for! My own favorite from that line is Red Roses, but she has a number that would appeal to any age, I think, such as English Pear and Freesia; French Verbenas; Vintage Gardenia. And many more. Here is a link to their site:
    They also throw in two samples with each cologne, so that your grandmother could make her own bespoke scent

  15. #15

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    +1 on the Le Dix and Jo Malone suggestions

    Another great one that is not overwhelming is Chanel Gardenia, very light and pretty.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    Not that I really know -- neither of my grandmothers ever wore perfume, that I know of -- but it might be good to get something that ISN'T a classic that she might already associate with someone else or another time.

    Heck, I'd make my best guess, keep the gift receipt, and either take her shopping for a replacement or offer to go get something yourself if it turns out not to be something she enjoys. It can be an opportunity to talk about perfumes, what she likes, what she's used in the past, etc., which could be interesting and fun and ultimately even more important than the present itself. Or you might find out she thinks perfumes are for painted hussies and how dare you! Well, probably not.

  17. #17
    devilcat's Avatar
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    Feb 2010

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    Quote Originally Posted by mel_lou View Post
    I suppose my advice would be to discard any notion of some perfumes being more suited to "mature" women, and any preconceptions as to what a woman in her eighties might like. Believe me, you can never, ever tell what will strike a chord!
    I agree entirely with mel_lou. A few months back I was surprised to find some Givenchy Pi in my mother's bathroom cabinet. She is 80. I thought perhaps she had a 'gentleman caller', but no, she had bought it for herself and had used up almost the entire bottle! She also adores Ungaro Diva, but that may be a tad loud for your grandma. Balenciaga Paris is a nice, understated, gentle fragrance and J'Adore L'Absolu is a lovely floral. Take her out and see what clicks, or else try out some samples with her at home.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    There are a lot of great suggestions here, so I will just add one that is kind of out of left field, but bear with me. Does your grandma have a sense or humor or like discovering new things? Is she always doing puzzles and games to keep her mind sharp? You might get a few bottles from the Demeter fragrance library, such as Dirt or Laundromat or Wet Garden (use your knowledge of the things you know she likes to do, for instance, gardening), and then spray each one in her presence and make a game of trying to guess what it smells like. Or, if you live in a different city just send it to her and she can use her own imagination. It might just give her a laugh to imagine that there's such a thing as a perfume that smells like dirt.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    Thank you all for your replies. It's given me a lot to go on! I'll have to try out some of the suggestions.

    Unfortunately I can't take her shopping as she lives in soggy Scotland and I live in slightly less soggy Sussex! I'll post back once I've decided and have got my mother's feedback on what she thought of it. Thanks again all!

  20. #20

    Default Re: Fragrance for an eightysomething woman?

    My beloved Grandma wore Miss Dior, ut I love the idea of one of the EL Private Collection scents.
    Currently wearing: Bluebell by Penhaligon's

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