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  1. #1
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    Default Help Out a Newbie's Unsophisticated Nose and Struggling Quest for Scents!

    What you should know about me:
    I think I hate department store scents. I've smelled them. My mom and sister love things like Gucci Rush and Givenchy Irresistible and Ralph Lauren...Yucks. To me, most department store scents are overly sweet, overly floral...just completely overwhelming. I hate the alcohol-y tinge that seems to sting my nose at first. I sometimes like the way they smell on other women, to be sure. But, not me. Sephora and Macy's smell "too much" for me. Help!

    The thing is - I love scents. I love the way my *favorite* scents smelled, and made me feel. I love sniffing my wrists all day long! You'd think that I just wasn't a "perfume" person, but the truth is - I like everything about perfume - I just need the right perfumes.

    So, I've mostly used essential and blended oils over the years - Egyptian Musk is my everyday scent, and I've liked some others, too - watermint, some custom blends...I love verbena and lemongrass. The problem is I'd like some more complexity, and some more sillage (oils are great, but usually people can't smell them on you, they stay so close to the skin, you know?).

    What you should know about my old faves:
    My favorite scent was a "green" scent: Minteva by The Body Shoppe (also a fan of their very green-smelling Beleaf). This is how it smelled to me: like cut flower stems and vase water, and only slightly minty. It was like there was an "idea" of floral, but a concentration on the green part of the flower. Yum.

    My other favorite scent was surprisingly a floral: Fuji Flower by Stacked Style. This scent was slightly fruity (kumquat, I think, is the proclaimed scent there), and described as having a mostly Jasmine note - although from my experience with Jasmine essential oil (smells pretty, but too "much" for me), this was either understated by the fruity scent or mixed so well with the other notes that, again - it wasn't overwhelmingly floral to me.

    Finally! One other scent that I adored was Zinzibar by The Body Shoppe. I have an old bottle of this, and I think the scent has started to "change" due to age, either that or I completely grew out of liking it. It has a distinctly earthy, clove drydown that I find overbearing now - like a clove cigarette. The other notes seem washed out by this after the first hour or so. I love it's "pink pepper" opening, though. It was spicy, peppery, and yet "clean" smelling to me, instead of earthy.

    Unfortunately, for me - all of these scents have been discontinued. They were all on the cheap-y $15-$30 range. I'm sure most people would consider them a little juvenile, not sophisticated. So, maybe someone can help a girl out.

    In summary:
    What are some more variations on a theme (a fresh, green; a soft, fruity floral; a dry, peppery oriental) that I can try to add some complexity without getting that strong department store vibe? Basenotes has been great for me so far (my to-try list is HUGE now). I have been looking up perfumes based on notes I "might like." Fun!

    But, real-live people giving recommendations would be better, I think. So far, by checking out reviews, I have come up with some replacements for Minteva: less-fancy (Hampton Sun's Privet Bloom), fancy (Guerlain's Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca), super-fancy (L'Artisan's L'Eau de L'Artisan)! Any others?

    For the record, I think I am averse to a vanilla base in perfumes. I am also not usually a fan of a heavy incense-y base (think pure patchouli), either.

    Love to hear your thoughts. Also, did anyone else here consider themselves a "not a perfume person" - only to realize you were smelling all the wrong things? ;-)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Help Out a Newbie's Unsophisticated Nose and Struggling Quest for Scents!

    burberry london is a good peppery oriental fragrance.

    a fresh green might be taste of heaven by killian.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Help Out a Newbie's Unsophisticated Nose and Struggling Quest for Scents!

    I would take my to test list and start sampling some of them. It's the only way to find out if you will like a perfume or not without paying for a full bottle and possibly being disappointed. You can find sample for sale cheaply online at (myperfumesamples.com),(Surrendertochance.com),(Cr ystal Flacon-look this one up on Google).

    Welcome to Basenotes!
    I'm not OLD...I'm VINTAGE!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Help Out a Newbie's Unsophisticated Nose and Struggling Quest for Scents!

    Go to the stores, sample, sample, sample. And then, sample some more. No one can tell you how a particular fragrance will develop on your skin. You Must Sample the juice on your own skin. After a couple of hours you will know if the fragrance is right for you. Don't blind buy and save yourself a lot of money.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Help Out a Newbie's Unsophisticated Nose and Struggling Quest for Scents!

    Thanks, whitelight!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Help Out a Newbie's Unsophisticated Nose and Struggling Quest for Scents!

    You should look into the Atelier Cologne line. They have a very casual, natural style and are not overly perfume-y. My favourites are Orange Sanguine, Trefle Pur and Oolang Infini.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Help Out a Newbie's Unsophisticated Nose and Struggling Quest for Scents!

    Wow, SuperKid, that is some "to-test" list! A place I've had good luck getting samples online is from Aedes de Venustas. They have a sample program where you can get 7 samples (1 ml each) for $15 (includes shipping), and they carry a number of the brands on your test list, including Carthusia, Diptyque, Kilian, Heeley, L'Artisan, and Miller et Bertaux. I am not affiliated with them in any way, just a happy customer.

    http://www.aedes.com/Aedes-Sample-Service_p_908.html

    Not to send you further down the rabbit hole, but I bet you'd like fragrances from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz/ DSH perfumes. I am thinking of her Yuzu and Menthe Moderne to name a couple. She also makes a dynamite Pomander fragrance.

    Welcome to Basenotes! Lisa, semi-newbie

  8. #8

    Default Re: Help Out a Newbie's Unsophisticated Nose and Struggling Quest for Scents!

    Something tells me that within a year of starting your perfume explorations, you'll be longing for Bandit and Amouage Ubar.

    But one must proceed in baby steps. As already suggested, I think that a niche brand that specializes in lighter, more natural smelling scent is Diptyque. Examples are Philosykos (green fig), Jardin clos (green-white flowers), Eau lente (spicy floral), etc.

    In mainstream, Hermes has also many lighter things, like the Jardin series.

    cacio

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Help Out a Newbie's Unsophisticated Nose and Struggling Quest for Scents!

    Carbone de Balmain perhaps.

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    Default Re: Help Out a Newbie's Unsophisticated Nose and Struggling Quest for Scents!

    Fresh, green floral = Carnal Flower; a beautiful tuberose, as cool & green as a florist's fridge.

    Dry, peppery oriental = Costes; clove, pepper, dark rose & clean sandalwood.

    Welcome to basenotes!
    "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.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Help Out a Newbie's Unsophisticated Nose and Struggling Quest for Scents!

    Quote Originally Posted by southerngardens View Post
    I would take my to test list and start sampling some of them. It's the only way to find out if you will like a perfume or not without paying for a full bottle...Welcome to Basenotes!
    Thanks, southerngardens!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks to everyone! Such great replies!!

    I will take all your advice into consideration, and I think its safe to say that I will definitely try out some of the more "natural" and casual niche lines recommended (so far looked at Atelier, Diptyque descriptions...) and I will make the best effort to sample, sample, sample. Thanks to everyone who suggested specific perfumes, too - I've got them on my list!

    :-)

    Finally, I really enjoy reading a lot of the reviews and forum posts here on basenotes. So, for the most part, I will be a lurker - just cuz of my sheer lack of experience - but, please know I appreciate all the goings-on here on basenotes, even when I am not commenting...

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Help Out a Newbie's Unsophisticated Nose and Struggling Quest for Scents!

    Glad you're enjoying it here, superkid! Do please report back on your samplings & don't worry about feeling like a newbie. Even those of us who've been here a while are always learning, & it's interesting to read other people's opinions, no matter how long they've been here.
    "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.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Help Out a Newbie's Unsophisticated Nose and Struggling Quest for Scents!

    Checking in! In the past couple of weeks, I have sampled some great scents! I have acquired samples of:
    Tocca's Cleopatra
    Heeley's Menthe Fraiche & Oranges & Lemons Say The Bells Of St .Clements
    Diptyque's Eau de Lierre and Jardin Clos
    Atelier's Orange Sanguine
    Comme Des Garcons Green [Play]
    L'artisan's L'eau de L'artisan

    So far, I have tried them all except Jardin Clos.

    I officially LOVE Eau de Lierre (so pretty, fresh, and green!) and Orange Sanguine (orange, yes, but gorgeous!). Green [Play] is also great - though all three have longevity issues on my skin, especially Green Play. By the middle of the work day, they are just...gone! :-(

    I am going to try the Heeley's and L'Artisan again...for a full day each.

    Menthe Fraiche is a sweet and comforting scent - I just don't know that I would want to wear it on my person - it really is strongly minty! Better than toothpaste-mint, for sure, but maybe not so far off from simple mint oils that it warrants a wearable scent. Oranges & Lemons was also great - although something in the opening note was sharp, almost like a tamarind or curry or exotic spice - and I am not sure I would want to straight-up wear it around. Considering the price of Heeley perfumes - I had better be sure I want to wear it around!

    Admittedly, L'eau de L'artisan was, so far, the biggest disappointment for me. Someone on basenotes compared my old discontinued favorite, TBS Minteva, to L'eau de L'artisan and I've been itchin' to try it ever since. Now, I know my nose is new and clunky and hardly-differentiating - but L'eau de L'artisan was so off the mark from the fresh green that I expected from 1. the list of notes and 2. the reviews - that I almost think I got a wrongly-labeled sample! For me, and on my skin, L'eau de L'artisan was more like a soft, powdery (vaguely green), white scent - not the fresh, vase-water green I was looking for. Bummer. Will try again, though. It deserves another chance!

    The other big surprise (a happy one) was Tocca's Cleopatra, which is described as a fruity-floral - but which is MUCH more like a nice, clean musk (my safety zone scent - Egyptian Musk being my signature forever). It smelled great on me, and lasted all day long - unlike the mints and greens and citruses. One day, I layered it over my Egyptian Musk (which is very faint anyhow), and I liked that, too. It seems surprisingly complex considering the simplicity of the listed notes. Will review soon. Yum.

    Round two won't happen until after the holidays, then I'll place a new order for samples. As much as I love the Atelier and Diptyque, it will be a while until I can afford full bottles!

    Much-thanks,
    superkid268

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Help Out a Newbie's Unsophisticated Nose and Struggling Quest for Scents!

    Hmm. If you think most things are overly sweet, I would recommend trying some "noir" varieties. Also, some of the unisex or more feminine mens frags might work for you.
    Might try:
    Carnal flower- earthy tuberose
    Portrait of a Lady-noir floral with some rasberry
    Black Orchid-one of the more unisex florals
    Tobacco vanille-if you don't like sweet and think you hate vanilla, I would try this befre you rule it out completely.

    As a note: are you sure you like Orientals? Just asking because as a rule they have an incense/vanilla base.
    Noir Epices-oriental without vanilla.

    I know I only gave you two houses to try, but that just makes it easier to find them all

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    Default Re: Help Out a Newbie's Unsophisticated Nose and Struggling Quest for Scents!

    +1 for Carnal Flower, which l already recommended up-thread; if it's "fresh, vase-water green" you want, you really must try this one!
    "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.

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