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  1. #1
    Basenotes Member Janjanjan's Avatar
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    Default Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    This is my first year in fragrance. I have been trying (and failing) to find a cold weather scent - please help!

    I want something with a backbone, sturdy and a bit warm, to hold me through the season. Normally I've got a taste for greens, aromatics, and odd balls, but most of these fall in the summer category. No thanks if it's conventionally feminine (death to fruity florals), sweet, or heavy on the vanilla. I gravitate towards unisex, and a step to either side.

    My progress so far (in case it's relevant, likely just confounding):
    - I thought an absinthe accord might be the ticket, but all my samples missed the mark: Nasomatto, L'Artisan, Guerlain, Goutal
    - Oud seems promising. Though the few Ouds I checked had a plastic edge that took forever to mellow into a more natural scent (is that how agarwood is, or is that from the synthetic sourcing?) The exception was Creed's Royal Oud, which was grand, but it turned too sweet for my tastes and just a smidgen too mature. Also I don't like rose and that's a common pairing.
    - Was also thinking woody aromatic or woody spicy, though I don't want it too "creamy". Ex: Tam Dao was too creamy, I don't know if that's how I would feel about sandalwood in general or just the cream that rises when you put sandalwood and cedar together. D.S. & Durga's Bowmakers (crisp wood + rich resin, no cream) is my plan B if I don't find anything else.
    - maybe winter vetivers for the unisex woman? whatever those would be? Sycomore was great but I didn't care for the bubbly aldehydes...

    I think I'm just too picky!

    Thanks in advance for sharing any thoughts you might have!

  2. #2
    jacona's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    If you don't mind trying men's scents, give Caron Yatagan a try, it's dry, woody, spicy, leathery, incense - not creamy. Etro Shaal Nur might be another to test - citrus top, woods, incense and a little vanilla to round it out - very unisex. Paloma Picasso is a dry, peppery, woody, chypre. Mauboussin Histoire d'Eau maybe, it has spice, incense, woods, suede and some vanilla to round it out - not a foody vanilla. Aromatics Elixir perhaps, floral chypre or Marilyn Miglin Pheromone - floral incense, green, dark, really unusual - I wouldn';t consider either of these big florals, but they do have floral notes, far more complex that just floral.

  3. #3
    Basenotes Junkie saminlondon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Have you tried Guerlain's Songe d'Un Bois d'Ete? Despite the name (which they must have pulled out of a hat at random), it'd be an excellent a fragrance for winter. It's Guerlain's take on the oud theme - very unisex, warm, spicy, no obvious synthetic notes. Just an idea.

  4. #4
    Dependent DaveStPaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Hi janjanjan,

    Hey, don't knock picky. Picky is a good thing. Maddening and frustrating at times, but mostly good.

    You might be an incense gal. And you definitely might be a Comme des Garçons gal. They make some of the most interesting fragrances around. There are:

    Avignon -- frankincense, a little smoke, somehow the feel of the cool dusty stones in a cathedral
    Kyoto -- white smoke, light Japanese incense, a fresh green outdoors feeling, somehow the feel of being near a Japanese temple
    Zagorsk -- church incense, smoke, pine, snow (snow?!? they did it, somehow), the feel of a Russian Orthodox church in winter

    Comme des Garçons also does a "Red" series, and two of those are:
    Sequoia -- simple, but really interesting; the smell of a giant redwood tree, sap and all!
    Palisander -- rosewood, a little creamy, and this interesting buzz in the background (chili? Red Hots?)

    Which L'Artisans did you try? If you haven't yet, try:
    Dzongkha -- more incense, mixed with iris, very light (but good!) spices, and something like stones warming in the sun. I don't know how to really explain the feeling, but it really does feel like you're in Bhutan. (And have *I* been to Bhutan? Uh . . . no.)

    Sorry to be so "this perfume takes you on a joooooourney!" Usually the "story" behind a fragrance is completely worthless, or worse; but all of these suggestions do something interesting, and it's more like they came up with a great smell first, then talked about what it actually does to them when they smell it.

    Anyway, good luck.
    Currently wearing: Brooklyn by Bond No. 9

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    I am thinking about a warm patch like Chanel Coromandel.

    Green to my nose always gives a fresh impression. Exception mentioned above is the supermacho Yatagan. But I don't see a problem with a woman wearing it - it's not Kouros after all ...

    Sweet, mineral, and plasticky ("band aid") notes are indeed typical of oud, but ouds are all reconstructions anyway, so it depends on which aspect the perfumer decides to stress. Dior Leather oud, which goes for smoked oud rather than oud oil, has none of the sweetness and mineral, but remains dry, warm, and animalic.

    cacio

  6. #6
    Lifelong Sniffaholic
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Try Hermessence Vetiver Tonka by Hermès. I'm enjoying using it in cooler weather, and it's certainly unisex.
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  7. #7
    Splash Bottles Suck
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Have you tried Frederic Malle's l'Eau d'Hiver? It is one of my winter favorites. It is an almond-heliotrope accord and unisex - no big florals or sweets. It also has a surprising amount of projection and tenacity when sprayed from a full bottle.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    +1 on the CdG recommendations. I'd add Hinoki to the mix.

    Also, how about 10 Corso Como? Sandalwood and incense and no sweetness, to my nose.

    Serge Lutens Gris Clair might also fit the bill -- it has lavender, but is mainly smoldering, ashy incense. A really lovely, warming winter fragrance.

    If patchouli is a possibility, a straight up patch with no amber or other sweetness is ELdO's Nombril Immense -- a straight, woody patchouli without much ornamentation.

    Good luck!

  9. #9
    Dependent rubegon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    If you are interested in an absinthe scent, you should try both Amouage Memoirs. One of these may work well for you.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Just a quick addition Encre Noir or Dior Vetiver for drier smokey vetiver. Maybe Chanel Bois de îles (cosy, cosy, cosy) EdT is lovely and the parfum is especially nice.
    We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting. ~Kahlil Gibran
    Currently wearing: Sycomore (new) by Chanel

  11. #11
    Dependent RHM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    YOSH Omniscent, Bottega Veneta, Dior Homme, Bandit…..and I agree with Xscent, Bois de Iles.
    We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. ~Herman Melville

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    I don't think anything can beat Chanel Bois des Iles, comfort and warmth in a bottle.
    Currently wearing: Guess by Marciano by Guess

  13. #13
    Dependent danieq's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Have you tried Amouage Ubar or Interlude? They both read warm, but also are unusual scents.

    Others that come to mind are Frapin 1697 or Caravelle Epicee (spicy and warm)

    Do you like Leather? I'm feeling nicely wrapped up in Cuir de Lancome and highly recommend Cuir Mauresque (Serge Lutens)

  14. #14

    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Theorema is my go to winter scent. Of course, it's also discontinued. But not impossible to find.

  15. #15
    Basenotes Member Janjanjan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Oh my goodness, I didn't expect so many thoughtful, great responses! They've all been transferred to a word document which I will meticulously research to make sampling selections. It's about to get REAL intense y'all!

    I have tried *none* of these if you can believe it. With a half exception - I just blind ordered Encre Noir yesterday, my first blind ever. The price was right, and reviews made it sound like Sycomore without the aldehydes. I'm so anxious. Aight, off to compulsively read reviews of all these great tips...

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    I have several favorite fragrances based upon vetiver, and the one rooty and smokey is L'Artisan Parfumeur Timbuktu, enveloping and cozy. Another one is Etat Libre d'Orange Fat Electrician (but it is sweeter).

    Definitely try Bois des Iles, as recommended above by many.

    I was also thinking about non sweet figs and patchouli.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Maybe you'll find interesting Hindu Kush by AbdesSalaam Attar:mossy green in the opening, woods and incense in the heart and a bittersweet drydown.
    "Your fragrance with a fume of iodine" L. Cohen

  18. #18

    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    I've thought of a couple more possibilities.

    • Frederic Malle Bois d'Orage/French Lover (very woody, no sweetness at all)

    • Frederic Malle Angelique Sous La Pluie (cedar and juniper -- not warm, exactly, but very interesting)

    • Donna Karan Black Cashmere (wood, incense, and the warmth of a cashmere sweater with, to me, only a touch of sweetness in the cashmere; don't let that put you off trying it, though)

    • Sonoma Scent Studio Forest Walk (wood and vetiver with an amber underneath that warms but doesn't sweeten -- seriously beautiful stuff in parfum extract strength, so just a dab'll do ya!)

    Happy hunting!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Hi Janjanjan, and welcome. My word, can I tell you the suggestions here are really terrific! There are some very special fragrances here that seem to meet your spec, and lots of ideas for the rest of us too.

    I like DaveStPauls suggestions. I have a feeling that you might like CGD Kyoto.
    Now, greens, aromatics, oddballs, not creamy, dry, androgynous.......that road leads to Eloge du Traitre by Etat Libre D'Orange. Jacona suggested Yatagan so we are thinking along the same lines, but IMO Eloge du Traitre is just a bit more contemporary and a bit easier to wear, although still way out there. It's a dry as a bone fougere.

    Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac might be another good one for you to try.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    I was going to throw in Chanel Bois des Iles, but I see that is already well covered

    What about Ormande Jayne Woman - may be too creamy though with Iso E, but worth a try, and has oud
    Currently wearing: No. 23 by Ava Luxe

  21. #21
    Basenotes Member Janjanjan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Thanks for all these great leads! I am putting together a sample order now based on the recommendations. Though I am finding that not everything is carried at The Perfumed Court (ex: Comme des Garcons RED series). Are there other services people recommend? I've only used Posh Peasant and TPC.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    There are a few good, warm-ish leathers out there such as Cuir Ottoman and our own Paul Kiler (PK Perfumes') Red Leather. And I think Rubegon mentioned the Memoirs from Amouage which do absinthe incredibly well. Last, I'd look to Slumberhouse which are big, encompassing scents that are oftentimes quite dark and idiosyncratic. I'd suggest Ore, Norne, Jeke, or Vikt for what you're looking for.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Sycomore - Chanel

    Look no further

  24. #24

    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan. I like Chergui better but it may be a bit sweet for your taste.

  25. #25
    Dependent rubegon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Quote Originally Posted by Janjanjan View Post
    Thanks for all these great leads! I am putting together a sample order now based on the recommendations. Though I am finding that not everything is carried at The Perfumed Court (ex: Comme des Garcons RED series). Are there other services people recommend? I've only used Posh Peasant and TPC.
    You can get samples from Luckyscent.com and they carry the Red series:

    http://www.luckyscent.com/shop/categ...es_2:_Red.html
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  26. #26

    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Chiming in primarily because you sound as though you like the sort of things I like (death to fruity florals and sweets!)

    I second deadidol's suggestion on sampling Slumberhouse. Definitely try Slumberhouse. You might like Norne (hyperreal pine forest) or Jeke (leather, wood, lapsang souchong and a gorgeous vanilla endgame - deep, well-modulated, not cloying, and this is coming from someone who normally can't wear vanilla). Sova was recently discontinued but if you can get your hands on a sample, it's well worth trying too.

    Speaking of greenery, herbal notes and oddball, you'll also want to try O'Driu Linfedele Haiku (or any of the others from that line, for the matter). Supercilium and Subcilium are both fantastic takes on vetiver.

    Good luck, and report back on your choice!
    Currently wearing: Kiste by Slumberhouse

  27. #27

    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Hi Janjanjan,

    Wow, you are going to have FUN looking for your perfect winter scent! My favourites seem to work best in winter, here are my suggestions to try. These are all Serge Lutens, all unisex and all sweet-dry (if that's even possible):

    - Borneo 1834 - Probably my ultimate favourite. I went completely off it during the summer, but now it's back Thick, dusty, yummy patchouli and chocolate. It has a weird camphor aspect, but if you can handle oud you can handle this Definitely not for everyone, but I love it.

    - Jeux de Peau - An alternative sandlewood to try. My perception of this switches depending on factors unknown to me. Sometimes I get unpleasant sharp wood/pencil shavings, other times I get yummy milky goodness with a touch of smoke - like creme brulee with the tiniest amount of cigarette ash (and this somehow manages to be a good thing...)

    - Ambre Sultan - Out of these three, this is the one I'd really recommend you try. After a strong aromatic opening, it dries to the most delicious warm, resinous warm goodness, with a sharp-dry aspect that keeps things interesting.


    All the best with your search, and do let us know your thoughts/choices!

  28. #28
    Basenotes Member Janjanjan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    I just wanted to check in quickly and say how grateful I am to everyone's advice. I wasn't able to order everything recommended, but a few also made it onto my list for the next sample round. Out of what I got, this was the most successful sample order I've had yet, hands down, and it's thanks to you all!! Which is a blessing and a curse: I'm over the moon with a few of these fragrances already, but it bodes poorly for my bank account I need two weeks to give most of them a good wear and develop an informed opinion. Two thoughts to start:

    (1) Amouage Memoir Man: THIS is the absinthe fragrance I was looking for!!! (But that full bottle price is outta this world). I wore it home to visit family, my sisters and mother were convinced I smelled like a man well beyond my age. Which, after reading reviews, seems to be a roughly general consensus. I see where they are coming from, but my tastes do wander far from my demographic at times. Go figure, I loved it.

    (2) Avignon: I am already budgeting for a full bottle of this. It puts me in such a peaceful, deep place. I was raised Catholic until age 7. I also dated a man for 4 years who left me for the priesthood (true story, and he was an atheist when we met). So this perfume has two powerful holds on me. One is a childhood association with architectural grandeur and an aloof spiritual power, as well as my Irish roots. The other is the prospect of wearing this around Christmas, when the "one who got away" is coming back after two years abroad in a Catholic outpost on the opposite side of the globe. Will he smell this and feel disgusted that I've taken a sacred scent for my personal indulgence? Will he feel an attraction and internal conflict? Either works for me!

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    Thank you for taking time and writing back to us. Delighted to hear some of the suggestions worked for you.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Woman's winter scent? No big florals or sweet fruits

    You might enjoy Estée Lauder- Azureé. Tangy and green. It is still only about $40 and available at the dept store. Also, Annick Goutal- Eau D'Hadrian; cypress and tangy lemon. Get the EDP. The EDT has no silage.


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