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  1. #1
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    Question Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    I've been haunting the boards, and have noticed 'syrupy' sometimes come up with Andy Tauer's work, and spices mentioned frequently when it comes to Luten's work. What are some well-known perfume houses, and what are they known for? I'm especially interested in hearing about Chanel (adhelydes?), Guerlain, Tom Ford, Tauer, Montale, Lutens, and Parfum d'Empire, as those are a few of the brands that my neophyte self has heard of. Mentioning any other brands and what comes to mind when you think of them is welcome too; I'm here to learn

    Also, not to be a noob... But how do I bold the titles of my posts?

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    Basenotes Junkie anomie et ivoire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    I'm interested in this topic, too. Being not very experienced, I can't offer much insight, but so far:

    Guerlain: powdery
    Caron: darkness to the base
    Chanel: deft mixes of very fine naturals and synthetics
    Mugler: loud, high-longevity

    Usually noses have more of a signature than houses do, so if a certain house uses the same nose for many projects, it shows, ex. Lutens.

    Would love to hear from those who know a lot more than I do (pretty much everyone here).

  3. #3

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Adding to anomie and ivoire, other simplifications could be:

    Chanel : iris. In general, cold and elegant
    Guerlain : vanilla and herbs, and the base called Guerlinade (sort of like spicy, nutty). In general, warmer, more powdery, rich, complex.
    Caron: traditionally, mousse de Saxe (the dark, mossy and carnation base a&i talked about). And in general bolder, full of character. Both the mousse de Saxe and the character have been mostly removed by the current, controversial perfumer. Also, now there is a huge difference between expensive extraits and cheaper eau de.
    Hermes: (recent stuff developed under Ellena, so that's more the perfumer's signature) light watery ethereal
    Tom Ford: too many to define a style. But it must be pointed out that he is considered the clothes designer most interested in perfumes (as shown also in his previous jobs at Gucci etc).
    Prada: (my judgement) smooth, nice, but uninspiring, the opposite of her clothes. Clearly, a designer not interested in perfumes.
    Estee Lauder: bold, confident, loud for working gals
    Dior: the worst offender in quality declines of its past masterpieces.
    Mugler: loud, courageous, novel

    Tauer: rather than sweet, I'd say the so called Tauerade, a dry, resinous, dusty base.
    Montale: very loud, intense oud woods. Inspired by the bolder, intense Arabian perfumery style.
    Lutens: saturated, woods and candied fruit (programmatic in this sense is Feminite du bois). Oriental feel.
    CDG: experimental synthetic, avant-garde, as the clothes.
    Diptyque: light naturals
    JAR: focus on a particular material and amplify it to its extremes.
    Etat Libre d'Orange: quirky, humorous one-liners.
    Amouage: rich, complex western style perfumes with oriental touches (unfortunately, more of a thing of the past nowadays)
    Creed: simple accords with decent materials (very bad or very good, depending on taste)
    Bond no 9: see above (but a touch less controversial)

    cacio

  4. #4

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Cacio coevered pretty much all

    I'll add Diptyque as spicy and Santa Maria Novella as "rustic"


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    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    What alfarom said, and I'll add that vintage Weil manages to marry the elegant and the animalic. A typical Weil traverses the aldehydic, then the the floral, to a mossy civet destination, never shouting. Quietly seductive.


    Quote Originally Posted by alfarom View Post
    Cacio coevered pretty much all

    I'll add Diptyque as spicy and Santa Maria Novella as "rustic"
    What do insomniac perfumers do to fall asleep? They count chypres!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Welcome AlexD! Thanks for starting a great thread.
    A Scent Rescuer
    Every great perfume deserves a good home

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    Dior: the worst offender in quality declines of its past masterpieces.
    Sad but true!

    Fortunately Dior is a top selling house, so
    the market is still flooded with vintages.
    But, that'll not last forever. HOARD UP!!!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Guerlain signature is plush powdery vanilla like heavens bakery.
    Hermes signature is expensive leather undertones as is fitting.
    Creeds signature is creamy soured ambergris (ambroxan), rich and classical.
    Amouages signature is shimmering white frankincense and dense animalic and fruit tones.

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    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Thank you! And thanks to everyone for responding, this is very informative.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thank you cacio, this makes it a lot easier to narrow down all the perfumes available by looking at a few houses that sound interesting to me. Caron, Serge Lutens, Montale, Amouage, and CDG sound very interesting to me. Guerlain stood out too, but I've tried on Mitsouko and Shalimar, and while both are beautiful, they don't smell right on me. I think its the powderiness. I'm so young, it just doesn't seem right in a way.
    Last edited by AlexD; 7th July 2012 at 07:42 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Gees -- you guys are good. What poignant observations. Thanks for fitting words to sensations.
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

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    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Does anyone have anything to say about Frederic Malle? Or someone trying to put words to Tom Ford could be interesting. My mom just got Jasmine Rouge for herself, and it smelled really nice to me even if I wouldn't wear it myself.

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    Basenotes Junkie anomie et ivoire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Frederic Malle: painterly, impressionistic, foglike in progression (I get lost in smelling them), enveloping, vintage and futuristic at the same time, rose!, strong unisex floral

    Tom Ford: aggressively chic, going for sexy but achieving something closer to office sexy, kind of herbal, the men's are to me very strong and dandyish while his women's scents are more elegant and subtle--good everyday scents

  13. #13

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    As a&i was saying. Some of the TF character suggested by a&i is actually even more evident in stuff he supervised for Gucci, such as Gucci Rush.

    Malle is a little different than most niche houses because it is perfumer-focused. Malle hires top perfumers and gives them a lot of freedom and a large budget. If you note, they are the only house to feature the perfumer's name - and prominently on the box, almost as if it were a library of top authors. As a results, the perfumes vary a lot. In general, however, the budget and the perfumer imply that quality is extremely high, and the scents tend to be complex, interesting, and novel, as they are not bound by focus groups, budget limitations and the like. (Parfums MDCI follows a somewhat similar strategy).

    cacio

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    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    That sounds really intriguing, maybe I need to pick up some samples from his house. And Malle sounds absolutely amazing. Does anyone have any favorites from that house that they'd like to recommend? I like orientals.

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    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    From Malle, if you like orientals (these also happen to be my favorites of what I had briefly sampled):

    Portrait of a Lady
    Noir Epices
    Carnal Flower is not an oriental, but it's as strong as one.

    Also Musc Ravageur is most beloved.

    I don't know if you live near any brick and mortar stores that sell Malle, but it's easier to find Tom Ford at Sephora and department stores to sample in person, and most of them can be evaluated pretty directly.

    Malle's complexity and semi-rarity is good for send-off samples. Malle's website has a survey you can fill out, which, is kind of a strange one, as it's very proper and fashiony (what is expected of most perfume enthusiasts), then they will take their time getting back to you and probably eventually offer three samples of your choice, for which you pay shipping and handling--a good way to try Malle rather than sourcing them piecemeal. The people at Malle are very helpful and thoughtful in giving recommendations. Aedes allows you to sample the Malles with their promotion of seven smaller samples for the cost of shipping option.
    Last edited by anomie et ivoire; 10th July 2012 at 01:02 AM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    What a fascinating thread - really enjoying reading it, thanks a lot!

  17. #17

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Most Nicolaï scents that I have smelled have something in common, I'm just not capable to discribe them. They are round, filled and feels often drinkable, like peach juice or something but I don't mean that they smell like peach juice. Thats the best description I can give. I'm thinking of Sacrebleu, Maharanih, Number One, Le temps dune fête, Vanille Tonka, Kiss me tender and even Odalisque.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    What a wonderful thread! Thank you so much - I love this. And what an insightful question to ask, AlexD

    Cacio - I think your analysis is beautifully perceptive, and I also agree with what A&I has offered on Tom Ford and Frederic Malle.

    Does anybody have impressions of Ormonde Jayne? I think the base is strikingly similar every time I smell one of that house's creations. But I'm not sure how to language it.

    I'm a relatively new perfumista myself (only been sampling about 2 years) - but as a beginner, I have certainly found that pursuing houses and perfumers with distinctive signatures has been the most informative and rewarding. It really helps you understand what is being expressed when you are able to smell a series of perfumes, and compare what is similar/different, etc.

    Some I'd recommend AlexD:
    - Chanel Les Exclusifs line. They have offerings in many different categories (Green - Bel Respiro, Iris - 28 La Pausa, Oriental - Coromandel, "Vintage Gorgeous" - 31 Rue Cambon, Leather - "Cuir de Russie," etc, etc). So you get a good idea of what the "house signature" is, as expressed through different genres. These all express the vision of Jacques Polge designing for Chanel. Which, as others have mentioned is elegant, vintage in style, restrained, chic, high-quality - slightly aloof. And often features Iris as a note. I find this house is good for when I want to feel like a "lady." But Chanel has a huge range outside the Exclusifs line - I just mentioned starting there because you really get a sense of solid artistic control, and you will learn a lot by smelling them (and, they are beautiful!) But many other things from this house are great - for example - the legendary "Chanel No.5" and also its smiling, successfully updated younger flanker, "No. 5 Eau Premiere" and too many other reference classics to mention (No. 19, No. 22, Cristalle, etc) - not to mention the younger perfumes like Coco Mademoiselle which is extremely popular and accessible (I think was #1 in the US last year? Maybe also in France?) Anyhow - point is, this is a "reference" house. And I think it's the easiest reference house to begin with.

    You will also want to get to know Guerlain and Caron, but personally I have found them more challenging to understand and learn. Worth the effort! Too many grand classics here to name! But perhaps not the easiest place to begin. Often, exploring these houses is as much about learning the history of perfume, as it is learning about the present state of perfume. (In other words, you will be smelling a lot of vintage things. Which is great! It's good to know whether you adore vintage. Personally, I find it difficult to wear without feeling like I am in "period costume" but many, many people love the old greats from these houses. So it's just a matter of taste.)

    Hermes Hermenessences line, and also the Jardin line. As others have mentioned, here Jean Claude Ellena is the house perfumer. And you will get an excellent sense of his style (modern, spare, light, minimalist) as he explores different materials such as Amber, Rose, Vetiver, Tonka, etc. I mention Hermes because it has a strong house signature in the Hermenessences line - which in many ways is VERY different from Chanel, while still exploring the idea of "luxury." JCE has a very different style than Jacque Polge, and he is a very influential modern perfumer. Also, I think his perfumes are relatively accessible as well. They smell good! And they are not as challenging as some other more avant garde houses. There are other good perfumes from Hermes as well, but outside the Hermenessences you will not always find the same signature. Still - many of their other offerings are worth exploring. You will know more about where to invest your time once you begin to understand what you like.

    Frederic Malle. This is my favorite niche house I couldn't agree more with the others that the quality and variety just shine through. This is a good way to sniff out specific genres - such as the "Big White Floral" of Carnal Flower - and see how they are expressed by master perfumers - in Carnal Flower's case, Dominique Ropion. (It truly is an amazing, amazing scent.) I think they produce magnificent works of art. I enjoy the perfumes the others have mentioned, and will add that L'Eau d'Hiver by Jean Claude Ellena is one of my favorites (the only one I own a full bottle of). It's my go-to "comfort" perfume and easy to wear (quite sweet though.) Musc Ravageur is gorgeous - it's unisex, but I think leans masculine. It's a wintery, spicy, musky, vanilla scent that has a woolen feel and was done by Maurice Roucel. Many people find it the perfect intersection of sexy and comforting. Too many here to name! I recommend sampling as many as you can to educate your nose - the quality here is impeccable.

    Serge Lutens. This is not a house I can wear - HOWEVER - it has many, many avid fans who worship Christopher Sheldrake's work and is such a THING that you have to try it. I agree with the description that it's about "saturated wood" - specifically saturated with spiced fruit, though this doesn't describe every work in the house. Begin with Feminite du Bois. Many people adore Ambre Sultan - for a warm, rough, delicious amber. Other raves are Iris Silver Mis - the quintessential "cold iris", and Un Bois Vanille - vanilla wood, like it sounds Too, too many to name here. Some of the more accessible scents that aren't as challenging are Un Lys (simple, classic lily) and Clair de Musc (clean, white musk).

  19. #19

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Lorenzo Villoresi has a very earthy, somber, dense yet sensitive base. Full of woods and oak moss. Very natural.

    for swap/sale:





  20. #20

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    pussinboots:

    I do also perceive a common note in most OJ. To me, it's a sort of clean and light cedar (with citrus). Very evident in OJ woman, but it's there in most (though not all, eg I don't detect in Tolu). In general, I find OJ's to be classical but relaxed, traditional french done by a less uptight Briton.

    cacio

  21. #21

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Etro fragrances tend to have a "museum vibe", Messe de Minuit being the ultimate library/archives scent.
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Now, could somebody be so nice and run down the oud fragrances ?

    AL HARAMAIN - .....................
    SWISS ARABIAN - ....................
    RASASI - ........................

    Thank you.
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  23. #23

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by Novis2007 View Post
    Most Nicolaï scents that I have smelled have something in common, I'm just not capable to discribe them. They are round, filled and feels often drinkable, like peach juice or something but I don't mean that they smell like peach juice. Thats the best description I can give. I'm thinking of Sacrebleu, Maharanih, Number One, Le temps dune fête, Vanille Tonka, Kiss me tender and even Odalisque.
    I agree with this; there's something in Nicolai perfumes that I can detect a mile away, some common combination of notes (I suppose) that is her signature.

    I don't get a similar thing with Malle, but I think that's because most of them are by different perfumers and aren't necessarily trying to have a uniting undertone. But I could be wrong.

    One house that hasn't been mentioned yet is Mona di Orio. There's a definite signature there, too, although I can't describe it very well. But to me it's slightly animalic and skanky, or suggestive of skanky.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Could expand on your Estee Lauder comment:

    "Estee Lauder: bold, confident, loud for working gals"
    .
    Why do you say it is for working girls? Why do you say it is confident?

    Every single Estee Lauder fragrance makes my nose hurt and I find them quite offensive. I figure there has to be a common ingredient or ingredients in all of them.

    I love Opium so don't tell me it's because they are bold.

    Anyone else have this problem with EL fragrance?
    Betsy
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  25. #25

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    I find that Estee Lauders (here including Aromatics Elixir) are very unapologetic, direct, in your face, they have strong notes which they do not try to tame down or hide behind syrups or light flowers. The comment on working gals was because I could imagine them being worn in the 1960s and 70s by women entering the labor force and having to fend for themselves-of course whether that is true or not i do not know. Also, they are very durable, one can put them in the morning and then they last through the end of the workday and even through an impromptu evening out; and they are a good bang for the buck (if one likes them).

    In terms of style, it is interesting to note that when the priorities changed and the three showers a day model started to become prevalent and a necessity for a career, EL took out the animalics with the new offerings and came out with Pleasures, which gives the convincing impression that the wearer has just stepped out of the shower.

    cacio

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    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    BUMP

    Since the end of this topic, July 2012, more than a year ago, quite a few more scents have been launched.

    Any special vibes about these?
    There are no answers, only choices. (Stanislav Lem)

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    I haven't read the whole thing, but I'll add a couple

    Atelier is known for a citrus foundation, not that they are base notes, but all the fragrances begin there and are all created as colognes

    I find Keiko Mecheri to tend toward jammy notes and many of them feature rose pretty heavily.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    An easy one, lol..Lolita Lempicka, licorice. Hehe.
    Lancome lately...sweet musk fluff
    Tom Ford- Oud. Hehe.
    "One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." Proverbs.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Montale is pretty good with their ouds.
    Hermes has a good blend with woods
    L' Artisans tend to be syrupy but good.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    danieq, a few years ago we have summed up KM fragrances as: "More kittens, please!" (her sitting in a movie-director chair and sniffing the vials), meaning soft, cuddly, enveloping musk (none of her scents work on this skin, BTW).

    Andy Tauer -- grease monkey on vacation, still reeking of his daily responsibilities even while visiting other places.

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    Super Member VintagePoison's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by BetsyMeszaros View Post
    Every single Estee Lauder fragrance makes my nose hurt and I find them quite offensive. I figure there has to be a common ingredient or ingredients in all of them.

    Anyone else have this problem with EL fragrance?
    They burn my nose too! With the exception of Pleasures. My mom wears Pleasures and it's a nice scent.
    Looking for THE femme fatale scent. If you think there is something I should smell please PM me!

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    Default Re: Are certain perfume houses known for certain flourishes or feels, and what are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by Twolf View Post
    danieq, a few years ago we have summed up KM fragrances as: "More kittens, please!" (her sitting in a movie-director chair and sniffing the vials), meaning soft, cuddly, enveloping musk (none of her scents work on this skin, BTW).
    Perhaps it's my baby nose, but I'm not getting that at all. LOL

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