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  1. #1

    Default List of reference perfumes?

    Hi Basenoters,

    I am trying to increase my perfume-knowledge as a perfume-lover (not maker) and was wondering whether you can recommend reference perfumes for various families, styles, etc. For example, "Chanel NO. 5" is a reference perfume for aldehyde fragrances, and 'Shalimar" for an oriental and "Angel" for a gourmand, I assume?
    And what about reference fragrances for tobacco perfumes, soapy perfumes, powdery perfumes, lactonic perfumes, tuberose perfumes, amber perfumes, civet perfumes, chypre perfumes, floriental perfumes, cotton candy perfumes, heliotrophe perfumes, etc.?

    I'm open to any category!

    (I have a very important exam in two days and this will be perfect to take my down the perfume-blogs rabbit hole and forget about my exam-related anxiety )


  2. #2

    teardrop's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
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    Default Re: List of reference perfumes?

    Welcome to basenotes, tarata, & good luck with your exam!

    l'll start you off with what l consider to be the "Holy Trinity" of tuberose perfumes:

    Carnal Flower by Frederic Malle
    Fracas by Robert Piguet
    Beyond Love by Kilian
    "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.
    Currently wearing: Chergui by Serge Lutens

  3. #3
    Basenotes Junkie jkonick's Avatar
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    Feb 2019

    Default Re: List of reference perfumes?

    Encre Noire is a great reference for Iso E Super. The first time I smelled straight Iso E, my immediate thought was - "Encre Noire!" but minus the vetiver. Of course Molecule 01 is also a good reference, being entirely made of Iso E. But Encre Noire gives a good example of how Iso E can make just a few other notes (in this case vetiver, cypress and musk) really shine and cohere.

    Good luck on the exams! My own obsession with Basenotes was partly spurred by preparation for PhD exams, and I can verify that you will find no end of opportunities for procrastination here
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  4. #4
    hednic's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Reside in McLean, Va., Manhattan NYC, Manuel Antonio Costa Rica & Búzios Brasil

    Default Re: List of reference perfumes?

    For Tobacco, I'd cite Speakeasy from Frapin
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  5. #5

    Default Re: List of reference perfumes?

    The three jasmine reference scents for me (my fave note):

    Serge Lutens A La Nuit
    Serge Lutens Sarrasins
    Nasomatto Nuda

    Miller Harris Vetiver Insolent
    Armani Prive Vetiver d'Hiver
    Guerlain Vetiver

    Dior Feve Delicieuse
    Estee Lauder Modern Muse Nuit
    Prada Luna Rossa Black

    Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady
    Juliette has a Gun Miss Charming
    Aramis Calligraphy Rose

    Serge Lutens Borneo 1834
    Juliette has a Gun Lady Vengeance
    Boss Collection Cashmere Patchouli

    Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur
    Serge Lutens Musks Koublai Khan
    Parfumerie Generale L'Ombre Fauve

    Olibanum / frankincense:
    Montale Full Incense
    Comme des Garcons Avignon
    Heeley Cardinal

    Also, Sorong by Parfumerie Generale is probably the best saffron scent I had the pleasure of trying so far.

    Quote Originally Posted by teardrop View Post
    l'll start you off with what l consider to be the "Holy Trinity" of tuberose perfumes:

    Carnal Flower by Frederic Malle
    Fracas by Robert Piguet
    Beyond Love by Kilian
    Have you tried Tubereuse Couture by Parfumerie Generale? I usually dislike the note but it is a very refreshing take on it. Also, Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle surely has to be near the top somewhere?

  6. #6
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    tdem1961's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Staten Island, NY

    Default Re: List of reference perfumes?

    Reference chypres: Guerlain Mitsouko, Rochas Femme
    Reference ambers: Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Ambre Precieux, Etro Ambra, L'Artisan Parfumeur Ambre Extreme
    Reference powdery perfumes: Jivago Sweet Dreams, Lorenzo Villoresi Teint de Neige

    Good luck on your exams!
    "I felt something so intense, I could only express it in a perfume." - Jacques Guerlain

  7. #7

    Default Re: List of reference perfumes?

    Soapy perfumes are often found in orange flower scents, like the neroli in Penhaligon's Castile. Serge Lutens Fleurs d'Oranger is a reference orange blossom scent, as is the Fragonard of the same name.

    Powdery scents are often the result of orris root/iris notes, such as those often found in Chanel fragrances. Guerlain's L'Heure Bleu is a common one. Lorenzo Villoresi's Teint de Neige is a notorious powder bomb.

    A reference amber is Serge Lutens' Ambre Sultan. Some think Tom Ford's Amber Absolute is one of the best ambers.

    Historic orientals include Estée Lauder's Youth Dew and Yves Saint Laurent's Opium (which Mrs. Lauder sniffed was just Youth Dew with a tassel).

    Too many rose scents to even think about.
    How do you know what a French whorehouse smells like?

  8. #8
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    Starblind's Avatar
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    Oct 2013
    San Francisco

    Default Re: List of reference perfumes?

    These are not necessarily the best examples, merely the ones that come to mind first when I think of these "types" of perfume:

    tobacco perfumes: Feuilles de Tabac by Miller Harris, Fumerie Turque by Serge Lutens

    soapy perfumes: Muschio Orio by Santa Maria Novella, Castile by Penhaligons

    powdery perfumes: Teint de Neige by Lorenzo Villoresi

    tuberose perfumes: Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens, Rozy by Vero Profumo

    amber perfumes: Ambra Aurea by Profumum

    civet perfumes: Bal a Versailles by Jean Desprez

    chypre perfumes: Mitsouko by Guerlain

    heliotrophe perfumes: L'Heure Bleue by Guerlain

    animalic musk: Muscs Koublai Khan by Serge Lutens
    Currently wearing: Nuit de Noël by Caron

  9. #9
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    notspendingamillion's Avatar
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    Sep 2018
    Middleof, Nowhere

    Default Re: List of reference perfumes?

    Musk - Kiehls Original Musk

    Cade - Trex maybe
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  10. #10
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    Diamondflame's Avatar
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    Jun 2009

    Default Re: List of reference perfumes?

    ‘Reference’ is a loaded yet somewhat ambiguous word. Are we talking about fragrances in which the referenced note/accord is highlighted (front-and-center) or fragrances which made an exemplary use of it? If it’s the former perhaps getting acquainted with its essential oil /tincture version might be a better way forward. If it’s the latter, then I fear OP will see plenty of options as it can be rather subjective.


    - Sables by Annick Goutal for example achieves both definitions IMHO.

    - Dior Eau Noire while an excellent fragrance intergrating the immortelle note is not viewed as an immortelle reference fragrance.
    “...too many among us die at thirty and are buried at eighty.” - Robin Sharma

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