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  1. #1
    Basenotes Member jadelotus's Avatar
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    Default Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    Like another new member posted here in the last few days, I love fragrance but hate shopping for it. For one thing, I have asthma, so sniffing in a department store is the surest route to the inhaler and a headache. For another, everything I sample at Macy's, Sephora, Ulta has the same overly sweet floral or baby powder feel, which on my skin is unbearably cloying. I can't scrub it off fast enough. I was taken in by the citrusy/peppery topnotes in Marc Jacobs Lola yesterday, and within 30 minutes it made me a little ill.

    I'm a complete fragrance noob, but I THINK I gravitate towards white florals with a base of musk, amber, and sandalwood. In my teens, I wore L'Air du Temps. In my 20's, I wore L'Eau d'Issey and Chanel Allure. In my 30's, I've worn Michael Kors (which I really quite liked, I don't remember why I changed--probably just time for a change) and I currently own Kenneth Cole Black.

    The KC Black is fine, it just lacks a little... dimension. I sort of think of it as my favorite black blazer which goes with jeans or a pair of slacks for a business meeting. It's not particularly interesting, but it's inoffensive. I do like that on me it has a hint of floral sweetness without being girlish. I see that DK Cashmere Mist is sometimes recommended for white floral lovers around here, but I personally can't stand it. I think it may be the vanilla.

    Any suggestions? I'd love to find a lighter fragrance I can wear on a daily basis, as well as something a little more sultry for an evening out with my husband. I've been tempted to raid the men's fragrances because I find them more interesting, but in the end, I've not worn anything at all for 4 years because I'm so frustrated by everything I've tried.

    Thanks in advance! After lurking around the forums, I know there are much greater minds (and noses) at work here than mine.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    How about a floral leather, like Cuir de Lancome?

    I have no better nose than you, but I know what I can't stand and what makes my lungs close up. Lisa

  3. #3
    Basenotes Member jadelotus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    I do like leather notes, but the reviews make me think Cuir de Lancome might not be my cup of tea.

    I realize I may just be averse to the more mainstream "department store" offerings. I was hoping to find a less expensive fragrance I liked before venturing into niche perfumes. The problem is, Denver is not exactly New York or San Francisco, and I wouldn't begin to know where to find niche fragrances in person. I may have to resort to guessing and ordering samples/small decants online.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    Chanel no.19 is a masterpiece of light florals and moss. Very smart and tailored. Read the reviews here http://www.basenotes.net/ID10210633.html
    Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity - COCO CHANEL

  5. #5
    Basenotes Member jadelotus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    southerngardens, that sounds intriguing. I've added it to my sample list for everyday frags. Anything come to mind for an evening-only perfume? I'm looking for warm and sensual, possibly with a strong amber note. Not overtly floral, I would think.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Well, knock me over with a feather. Who would ever have thought I'd actually like Pure Poison? If I can get past the first 15 minutes of the truly ghastly blast of gardenia, it dries down to a nice amber and jasmine with a sharper note that I can't for the life of me identify. No dryer sheet comparison on my end, nor do I think it's "dirty" as other Basenoters have mentioned.
    Last edited by jadelotus; 25th November 2012 at 09:32 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    Jadelotus, let me say welcome first because I didn't earlier! You may want to try Ambre Gris by Pierre Balmain it's lovely. Midnight Poison by Dior has a strong amber note in it's drydown. It is fantastic because it is very unisex and I wear it myself and just love it! Another must try is the infamous L'Heure Bleue edp by Guerlain; it seems to have been made for the night. It has a neroli, carnation, iris and a vanilla almond basenote, but is a dearly loved fragrance by many on the board. It was created in 1912 and is still being sold today...now that's a history!

    PS. Please read the reviews from our members under the Fragrance Directory at the top of the page.
    Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity - COCO CHANEL

  7. #7
    teardrop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    Welcome to basenotes, jadelotus!

    l highly recommend Samsara to try as an evening perfume; sultry jasmine, sandalwood & amber.
    "What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.

  8. #8
    Basenotes Member jadelotus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    Thank you, southerngardens and teardrop for the welcome! And thank you for the recommendations. I have been spending much too much time reading reviews on Basenotes. Whenever I jump into something new, the OCD takes over immediately.

    It's clearly just a starting point for sampling, though, since nothing ever seems to smell the same on me as it does on anyone else.

    This quickly becomes an expensive hobby, doesn't it?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    i have been trying out the colognes from john varvatos maybe try the artisan

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    Yes it can become expensive Jadelotus. That is why I recommend you take it slow and just sample, sample, sample until your sure about a fragrance or you will waste a lot of money. You can find samples for free at dept. stores and Sephora, but you can also find samples cheaply online at places like Surrender to Chance, The perfumed Court, Crystal Flacon is a good one, My perfume samples and Lucky Scents. If I have missed any please feel free to comment.
    Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity - COCO CHANEL

  11. #11
    Basenotes Member jadelotus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    I ordered myself a few samples to live with for a while (and a few for my husband - we have wildly differing expectations for men's frags). As a writer, though, I enjoy the lushly evocative reviews as much as the perfumes.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by jadelotus View Post
    I ordered myself a few samples to live with for a while (and a few for my husband - we have wildly differing expectations for men's frags). As a writer, though, I enjoy the lushly evocative reviews as much as the perfumes.
    Great! Please come back and share your thoughts on the samples after you have had a chance to wear them for a little while!
    Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity - COCO CHANEL

  13. #13
    Basenotes Member jadelotus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    Will do. Thanks everyone for the suggestions!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Christmas shopping is dangerous for the newly fragrance-obsessed. I had a chance to test the Samsara that teardrop recommended, as well as revisit an old favorite Allure. Interested to hear your thoughts.

    Samsara- This should be one gorgeous perfume... I bet it would be on someone else. It's lovely out of the bottle with a really prominent jasmine note, then it moves into JASMINE JASMINE JASMINE! DID I MENTION JASMINE? After about an hour, the vanilla overpowers everything else. Then about four hours later, I get a bit of the jasmine back, but never any sense of sandalwood or amber. I think this is a case where body chemistry trumps perfumery. This is why I try to avoid vanilla-based fragrances, because vanilla turns into an ice cream shop vibe. The dry down is pretty, but nothing spectacular. This is definitely worth a decant, but I think the pronounced vanilla would really get to me after a while if I bought a bottle. A shame, because the bottle is really pretty.

    Allure - I don't know why I ever left this one, because I still love it. Is it just me, or does it have a similar opening to Samsara? I smell more jasmine and honeysuckle initially, then the Bourbon vanilla and a sharpness that must be from the Citron shows up quickly. Anyone want to weigh in on this? Doesn't change much (that's the concept, right?) but stays very light and pretty. Reminds me of the fragrance equivalent of a pink Chanel suit- feminine but tailored. I'm hoping the No. 19 sample on it's way is in this vein, because I'm oh so tempted by this one.

    Any thoughts? Agree/disagree? Sometimes I'm not sure if it's just my unschooled olfactory ability or the fact that my skin really does turn everything overwhelmingly sweet.
    Last edited by jadelotus; 28th November 2012 at 12:16 AM.

  14. #14
    teardrop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    lsn't it interesting how differently our skins & noses can react to the same fragrances? l also wear Allure on a regular basis, & l find the vanilla much more prominent than in Samsara, which for me has masses of sandalwood. l get what you mean about a certain similarity between the two; l think it's the jasmine note. For me, Allure is mainly jasmine, rose & vanilla.

    Thanks for posting your thoughts jadelotus, sorry Samsara didn't work for you, but do keep reporting back on your successes or failures!
    "What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.

  15. #15
    Basenotes Member jadelotus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    Ah, teardrop, I'm sorry I missed your reply. Somehow, I'm not subscribed to this thread, even though I started it? Strange!

    After some sampling, I decided on Burberry London for my everyday fragrance, and I really love it. It's just...happy. Kind of a home run with all my favorite notes: citrus, white flowers, sandalwood, musk. I can never pick out rose in anything, but I'm told it's there. It's definitely requires a light hand; this has got some staying power and serious projection.

    Sampling Tom Ford Black Violet for my evening frag. So far, it's just what I'm looking for. It has a dark powdery sweetness I like over a strong woody/oakmoss vibe. Is it the patchouli that gives it that syrupy scent? A full bottle is way out of my price range, but it would take years to go through it anyway, so I'll go for a small decant when I'm ready to commit and save it for special evenings.

    Some other wins:
    Chanel No. 19 - lovely, lovely, lovely. I like the review that called it bitchy. I can rock that. I am finding it to be a bit too mossy for the cold dry weather: not a winter fragrance. I'm going to hold onto my samples and try again in spring.

    Chanel Cristalle Eau Verte - Hands down my husband's favorite fragrance on me so far. He says it's "expensive evening fragrance." I agree with the first part, but not so much with the second. Gorgeous though. Could be my warm weather everyday.

    Not so awesome:
    Chanel Coco Noir - The only Chanel fragrance I've ever scrubbed. Too sweet for me. Vanilla strikes again. I had to shower before I left the house. (Yes, I spent some time at the Chanel counter. ) After reading some interesting blog posts, I wonder if I might like Egoiste on me, though...

    Still to be sampled (I love little glass vials in the mail!) - Diptyque Olene, Creed Love in White, and the backordered Malle Un Fleur de Cassie.

    So what we've discovered is that I mostly like chypres.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Wearing Creed Love in White today. It's nice. Smells like clean laundry. Unobtrusive. A little uninspiring. I'm not one to jump on bandwagons, but I was expecting more considering Creed's reputation and cult following. If it was $30 or $50 or even $80, maybe. At $150-300, not so much.

    (Interestingly enough, of the samples I got my husband, guess which he picked as his favorite? Yep. Green Irish Tweed. Figures.)

    - - - Updated - - -

    Today was Diptyque Olene. Maybe I underapplied, but it was just okay. I love jasmine, but I once bought a tiny vial of blended jasmine absolutes from an indy perfumer at a craft fair, and by comparison this feels a little synthetic. I'll try again another time. Revisited Pure Poison earlier today, and I might have been hasty to dismiss it. I had a completely different experience second time around. Almost didn't smell like the same perfume. The difference between an old spray tester and a freshly decanted sample?
    Last edited by jadelotus; 4th December 2012 at 04:38 PM.

  16. #16
    Basenotes Member jadelotus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    Last one, guys. Finally got to my sample of Malle's Un Fleur de Cassie. I was all set not to like this one (hoping that I didn't, actually, based on the price point) but even a noob like me recognizes something exceptional. I don't get the skanky/fecal note that everyone likes to talk about-- I get the floral side of indole. This smells like someone bottled the night air in southeast Asia, humid and heady with the vague echo of blossoms in decay. Something weirdly compelling about this one. Maybe I'll bribe myself with the promise of 30mls of this for finishing my next project ahead of deadline.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Looking for 2-3 not-too-sweet fragrances

    I recommend you to sniff two of the Chanel Exclusifs: Chanel No 18 and 28, La Pausa. Also try the new Hermes Jour d'Hermes and Narciso Rodriguez For Her

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