My Kingdom for a Candle

My candle obsession comes in waves, and I have the lack of choice and awareness of candles to thank for that. Most of my collection comprises of Bath and Body Works candles of varying degrees of fruity florally-ness. The rest is a perplexing medley of luxury candles that I use sparingly. And after about the hundredth time, lighting up B&BW’s Eucalyptus Spearmint candle, I decided it was time I gathered the old collection together and assess my candle needs.

Cire Trudon Candle

Cire Trudon Candle

One of my favorite candles of all time is aforementioned, Bath and Body Works’ Eucalyptus Spearmint. Of which, they must have realized was very popular because the last time I bought one, it was in a beautiful frosted glass container. Now it sits in a uniform, rather boring, clear glass container with a metal lid like their other candles. They also have a much larger line-up of products. I found myself somewhat intimidated by all the Eucalyptus Spearmint-scented products and decided I might file away the candle for now.

Another of my favorites was a pricy little piece from Diptyque. Their Chevrefeuille Honeysuckle candle brings a smile to my face and a nice, pleasant creamy honeyed scent to the home. I love coming out of the shower and getting a big whiff of Chevrefeuille. What I don’t like is the price tag. At $60.00 for a candle, I find it difficult to even take the thing out and use it most of the time.

Cire Trudon is another one of those candle makers with beautiful candles and crazy prices. Their Pondichery candle is one of my favorites. Lovely crisp and fresh scent, nice projection and the packaging looks great sitting anywhere. It’s a bit difficult to find their candles unless you head to a higher end department store, and when you do the price tag hurts even more than Diptyque’s candles.

What I wouldn’t give for a beautiful, less expensive version of Pondichery or Chevrefeuille. I’m tired of Eucalyptus Spearmint. So if anyone has any candle suggestions, I am all ears!

Don’t Worry, They Have a Scent For That

“Don’t worry, they have a scent for that” has become something like a catchphrase for me. There’s a bit of a game my friends play where they go away and think of the strangest things that someone might want to smell like and come to me telling me they want to smell like it. Then I spent some time researching and getting frustrated. I know it’s just a joke and they don’t really mean for me to find and test these things, but it’s the principle of the thing. A lot of the time I have no answer because their requests are akin to, “I want to smell like that awkward feeling you get when you don’t know whether you should help someone or not then by the time you decide that person already solved their problem”.

It Exists

It Exists.

Sometimes, I get easy requests. This is a post about three of those requests.

“I want to smell like bacon.”
I want to know if people say they want to smell like bacon because they read Perfumes: The Guide by Turin and Sanchez. Or if they picked it up elsewhere. Whatever the reason, I get asked what smells like bacon a lot. I get asked so often, that I’ve begun to wonder if my choice for bacon perfume is really the best choice. Fargginay Bacōn, smells just like bacon. Probably a really obvious choice for perfumistas, but for everyone else, finding out that a bacon perfume does exist surprises, pleases and bewilders them.

“I want to smell like a balloon animal at the carnival.”
My friend had thought he was being rather smart with this one. Afterall, who in their right mind would want to smell like rubber and sugar? Too bad I had already experienced this one and he can go out and get himself a bottle of Gucci Rush and bathe in the stuff for that sweet rubbery smell.

“I want to smell like the garage.”
I get a lot of smart comments from men who say perfume isn’t for them unless it smells like motor oil, gasoline, or the garage. Thankfully they don’t have to look very hard. Classic Fahrenheit by Dior smells of gasoline and reminds me quite a bit of being in the garage. Though word has it that the reformulated version is weaksauce.

So there, three things I get told people want to smell like. And three rebuttals. I don’t have a suggestion for everything though, and I’m still stumped every time someone tells me they want to smell like “old socks stuffed in a box and left in the attic”.

Adding Niche to a YouTube Fragrance Collection

One of my guilty indulgences at lunch time during a work day is watching YouTube videos of perfume collections. There are thousands out there, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say all of them are starting to blend together. I prefer the videos where the person gives me a reason as to why they own a particular perfume. A few life stories are intermingled among the collections. A clear description of the fragrances they own. And of course, if one has a massive collection of niche fragrances, my ears often perk up.

John William Godward - The New Perfume 1914

John William Godward – The New Perfume 1914

There’s something about knowing what someone’s fragrance collection looks like that helps me form an idea of what other scents they would like and what kind of similarities in fragrance choices I have in common with them. YouTube features a large population of young women who fit into my demographic or younger. They often have big collections of perfumes. And from what I’ve seen, I can draw a few conclusions:
1) Most of them love sweet, candy-like, floral perfumes.
2) “Smells good”, “smells fruity”, “sweet and happy” are words often used to describe their collections.
3) I see the same four or five fragrances in everyone’s collection.

So it’s hard to see how someone with a big collection of mainstream fragrances can get a decent recommendation these days when they have most of what they want and so do most people they go to for perfume advice. So for all those folks who already have Miss Dior Cherie, Coco Mademoiselle, Marc Jacobs Daisy, Britney Spears Fantasy, and Viva la Juicy here are some niche, harder-to-find, more unique recommendations for your collections:

Aroma M Geisha Pink
Sampled during one of my sweet tooth phases, Geisha Pink smells like sugared flowers and fluffy, puffy vanilla pastries. It screams “girly” and if you’re looking for an alternative to the sugar rush of Viva la Juicy or Vera Wang Princess, Geisha Pink has you covered. It’s priced at $55 for a roll-on of perfume oil.

Annick Goutal Eau de Charlotte
Eau de Charlotte is a beautiful full-bodied berry scent that will make you think you’re wading through gourmet jam. It’s a more natural interpretation of blackberries with a wonderful base of vanilla and cocoa. Perfume for the person who wants something fruity and sweet but hates the apple jolly rancher smell of DKNY’s Be Delicious. Eau de Charlotte is $128 for 100ml.

Calypso Christiane Celle Bellini
Bellini is my answer to a spring, summer light fruity floral. It’s got the basic building blocks of a mainstream fruity floral but does things in a much more delicate manner and with a flare of understated sophistication. Bellini is a good alternative to most fruity floral Bath and Body Works or Victoria’s Secret scents. At $60 for 100ml, it’s not too bad.

Il Profumo Musc Bleu
Musc Bleu might scare some way because they’re tempted to say, “Musk? Ew, I hate musky fragrances”. But don’t judge the musk before you try it. Musc Bleu is actually the opposite of what one would consider, “musky” in that it’s a bright, clean, and soft perfume with a nice light dry down and it might just change your mind about the word, “musk”. Musc Bleu is $110 for 50ml or $165 for 100ml.

Penahaligons Amaranthine
Looking to smell a little tropical without resorting to lathering yourself in coconut? Amaranthine is a lush tropical perfume with a rather prominent banana leaf top note and a very complex composition. Possibly too complex if all you’re looking for is an easy tropical, but if you want to sample something with a lot of personality and challenge your nose then give this a try. Amaranthine is available for $135 for 100ml.

Going niche for me has been something of an adventure. I still have a collection of fairly mainstream fragrances and a lot of mainstream offerings are fabulous, but the niche market has been rather nice to me too and it wouldn’t hurt to start investigating the niche side of things–especially when you already have most of what you want from big perfume houses with big perfume marketing budgets.

Some Fragrance Collection Videos I Enjoyed:
Deathscythe77 – Parfums Noir II
BaptismbyFragrance – Niche Perfume Part1
KatiePuckrikSmells – Collection Part 2

My Favorite Demeters

I don’t think I can argue for any Demeter fragrances being works of art, unless we felt like having a long drawn out conversation about Marcel Duchamp (I never want to have a long drawn out conversation about Marcel Duchamp). But they are very fun to try and some of them are just spot on in terms of what they’re supposed to smell like. With the buzz surrounding the upcoming release of Demeter’s Dragon Fruit scent, I decided to go through my list of tried Demeters and pick out some favorites.

While some argue that it doesn’t smell much like a thunderstorm, this one takes me back and entices some memories of a rumbling sky and rain falling from a thatched roof. I also have to give it credit for teaching me an awesome word; petrichor.

My Childhood!

Babar! Demeter! My childhood!

Earl Grey Tea
For those times when I want a cup of tea, but am too lazy to actually go make one. Demeter’s Earl Grey Tea comes the closest of all fragrances I’ve tried to smelling like actual earl grey tea. It falls apart a bit at the end, taking on a bit of dirt and grit, but it’s a great approximation nonetheless.

A fan favorite. Dirt smells just like what you expect it to smell like. Results may vary as my yard dirt smells a bit more bitter than this. But it’s a good approximation for those times when you want to smell like the earth but don’t want to rub actual dirt all over yourself.

I’m actually not a big fan of tomato smell. Or at least I keep saying that, but when you stick a tomato in my hand, my first impulse is to always smell it. Demeter’s Tomato reminds me more of the leaves than the tomato itself. It’s crisp and vivid and delightful–even for someone who doesn’t even like the way tomatoes smell!

I’m consistently surprised by how many people ask me about fragrances that smell like clean laundry. Laundromat reminds me of childhood, of pulling clothes out of the dryer with my mother and folding them. While I no longer have such affectionate feelings for laundry folding, I still love the smell of clean clothes.

Jolly Rancher Green Apple
Ever wanted to relive those youthful days during recess on the playground? Where the most you ever had to worry about was the math quiz on Friday, what to write about for your book report, and waking up on Saturday to catch those sweet, sweet cartoons? Jolly Rancher Green Apple takes me back to those days and, for some reason, reminds me of Babar.

Barbados Cherry
Barbados Cherry (Acerola) is one of my favorite things ever. The tiny little berries, the tart taste, the beautiful flowery aroma. Demeter does their best with this and I think it’s somewhat off. But Barbados Cherry still smells fantastic, and I gotta give Demeter credit for their homage to a very understated fruit.

What about you? What Demeters have you tried and which ones do you like best?

Get Dad Something Besides Acqua Di Gio

Father’s Day is around the corner and I got a Dillard’s flier telling me to celebrate my dad with some fragrances. And while I wish my father shared the same love of aromas as me, he’d rather be out in the full force of nature hiking, climbing mountains, or camping. I’ve never even seen him even attempt to smell a bottle of perfume as he probably prefers mountain air over anything else. So I don’t think celebrating my dad by buying him a bottle of Acqua Di Gio will go over well for me.

Heart Mountain by Glenlarson

Heart Mountain

But, that’s my father. For some, their dads are at least a little interested in fragrances and while I understand some of the suggested selections in Dillard’s flier I have to add three of my own suggestions that won’t be too hard to find in a pinch.

Guerlain Homme Intense
I love Guerlain Homme, and when the Intense version came out I gave it a try and also liked it for its fresh initial impression and smooth interpretation of floral, woodsy rum. Great longevity and projection with a nice sophisticated masculine style.

Hermes Terre D’Hermes
Beautiful impression of spicy oranges and woods that were beautifully blended. Terre D’Hermes remains one of the nicest fragrances marketed towards men that I’ve smelled.

Chanel Egoiste
Unlike its harsher, younger brother Platinum Egoiste, Egoiste is a warm spicy woodsy fragrance that’s blended nicely to make a strong, masculine scent that will last forever–or at least a really, really long time.

Happy Father’s Day to all present and soon-to-be dads out there.

Photocredit: Heart Mountain by Glenlarson

Perfumes That Smell Like Laundry

It’s interesting how popular it is to smell like laundry. Though the phenomenon can’t be a surprise to many people. Laundry, soap, and shampoo scents are some of the most brilliant compositions in terms of mass market appeal. There are a lot of people who can say they don’t like the smell of perfume. But a significantly fewer amount of people who would say they hate the smell of soap or clean clothes.

So it’s  not surprising to me that many people want to smell like clean clothes or clean laundry. The following fragrances are scents that hit it on the head when it comes to that fresh out of the dryer smell.

Bath and Body Works Cotton Blossom
Cotton Blossom’s best feature is it’s clean, sharp soapy composition that reminds me of dryer sheets. It’s also pretty strong for a body mist and the beauty if it all is that it’s cheap too. You can pick up a huge bottle (more than 200ml) for $12 or less and Bath and Body Works is always having sales. That’s not to mention that one wouldn’t have to drive very far to find a Bath and Body Works store. And if you happen to live in a small town, there’s always the well-stocked website. Cheap, smells like laundry, accessible, and pretty decent projection to boot. I can’t really ask for more. Review>>

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Wensleydale
Wensleydale is a double threat. If you want to smell like soap, it’s got you covered. If you want to smell like laundry, it’s still got you covered. The cotton note used in this makes it the perfect fragrance for laundry smell seekers. The soapy smell in this makes it great for those wanting to smell like they just stepped out of the shower. Wenlseydale can be purchased on the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab website under Neil Gaiman > Good Omens for $26 per 5ml of fragrance oil. Don’t worry, those 5ml will last you a very long time.

Boadicea the Victorious Pure
If you were looking for more niche and more prestige in your laundry smell quest, Boadicea the Victorious’ Pure is a clean, laundry-esque fragrance that hits it just right between crisp citrus, and clean clothing. It’ll cost you a pretty penny though as this stuff will run you $175 for 50ml. You can hook yourself up with some BtV Pure at Lucky Scent. Review>>

Philosophy Pure Grace
Philosophy’s interpretation of Pure Grace is a clean, crispy little floral with a very soapy interpretation. If you wanted clean and laundry then this is your stuff. It’s a bit pricier than a Bath and Body Works body mist but it isn’t going to break the bank like a niche laundry fragrance either. You can nab yourself a 60ml bottle for $40 at Sephora.

Demeter Laundromat
Nobody can quite top Demeter Fragrance Library when it comes to making literal interpretations of fragrances. Laundromat is exactly what you would think it is. The smell of clean laundry, plain and simple. The only downside is the lack of longevity for this fragrance. But hey, you can get a pretty hefty amount of perfume for a variety of reasonable prices on their website.

Clean Warm Cotton
The very fact that the company’s name is ‘Clean’ should tell you that these people know their laundry scents. Warm Cotton is a nice interpretation that will remind many people of their clean clothes and detergents. At $69 for 63ml of laundry smell, Warm Cotton will run you a bit more than Philsophy’s Pure Grace. But if you want to see how much this smells like your laundry you can get some of this stuff at Sephora.

And there you have it, a few laundry-esque recommendations. If you look at the lowest common denominator in the above recommendations you’ll note that most of those fragrances have some sort of relationship with the cotton note. So if none of these float your laundry boat, try looking for other fragrances that boast the clean cotton smell. If you have any further recommendations for laundry-esque scents, feel free to leave a comment. I love smelling like laundry too.

Valentine’s Day Fragrance Recommendations

So Valentine’s Day is creeping up on us again. If you haven’t yet, you still have three days to pick a perfume if you’re going that route this year. If you have someone in your life who loves perfume, always heed the most important advice anyone can give when it comes to fragrances; Know what they like and never blind buy. Blind buying, unless you are a major fragrance collector, can get ugly when you accidentally get a perfume the other person hates. So, make sure you profile them a little to see what kind of scents they enjoy.

Now, with that having been said, the following is a little list of perfume recommendations for your special someone ordered from affordable to lavish. Happy hunting. And remember, don’t blind buy these just because I recommend them. Go smell them first!

For Women

Affordable: Cherry Blossom from L’Occitane en Provence – $38.00 (50ml)
Cherry Blossom from L’Occitane is one of those pretty, sheer, easy to wear florals that’s done very well. It’s not the widely popular Japanese Cherry Blossom from Bath and Body Works so you aren’t getting her a fragrance that everyone else has. L’Occitane’s Cherry Blossom hits a more sophisticated level.

Mid-Range:J’Adore L’Eau from Dior – $88.00 (125ml)
J’Adore L’Eau borrows from the same concept as the original J’Adore but does it in a lighter, slightly sweeter, and fresher way. I find L’Eau a nice, clean, crisp scent that’s hard to hate. J’Adore itself was beautiful and L’Eau makes an already easy scent to wear even easier. Not to mention at 125ml for $88.00, you are getting a pretty good deal for a Dior perfume.

High End: Beige from Chanel les Exclusifs – $210.00 (200ml) or $110 (75ml)
Beige is one of the most beautiful fragrances from Chanel’s les Exclusifs line. It’s strong but elegant. Classic but modern. It’s an echo from Chanel’s days when the house was at its best. Beige is a gorgeous floral that evolves into a woodsy scent. Unique but very easy to wear and very obedient.

Lavish: Un Lys from Serge Lutens$140 (50ml)
Un Lys is a beautiful piece of work from Serge Lutens. It’s a lily soliflore done so well that it’s won over many hearts especially those who love lilies and light florals.

For Men

Affordable: Arber from The Body Shop – $28.00 (100ml)
It’s hard to beat that price for an ultimately decent men’s fragrance that’s fresh, clean, easy to use and relatively well-composed. Arber’s watermelon note shouldn’t scare you away, it only adds to the crisp freshness of the scent.

Mid-Range: L’Eau au Masculin from Lolita Lempicka $83.00 (100ml)
The lighter, more woodsy and more citrus version of the feminine perfume, Lolita Lempicka. There is a very well done licorice note in this fragrance that gives it a little flair. Interesting, more complex than the standard mass market offerings and comes in a neat looking bottle.

High End: Vetiver 46 from Le Labo – $200 (100ml) or $130 (50ml)
Vetiver 46 is a great vetiver iteration. Vetiver being one of the more popular notes used in men’s fragrances. This is an interesting take and stays true to the sense of vetiver with a masucline darkness to it. It is recognizable, noticeable but not overwhelming.

Lavish: Memoir from Amouage$260 (100ml) or $225 (50ml)
Memoir is a complex, dark, and dense fragrance focused on a beautiful spicy, woodsy herbal blend that is, as usual, incredibly well-blended by Amouage. This is a fragrance for fancy dinners and special occasions but it can also work as an everyday scent if you want to feel luxurious every day.

And there you have it, a bunch of recommendations for fragrances. I tried to keep most of these likable but always, always, smell before you buy!

The Fruity Florals Recommendation List

Seems like everyone’s a fan of fruity florals these days. Perfume seems to work in trends and what used to be a classical chypre is now a fume faux pas. I do have to wonder if this fruity floral love will ever wain. But in the mean time, here is a long awaited list of my recommended fruity floral fragrances. In no particular order:

  • Britney Spears Midnight Fantasy
  • DKNY, Be Delicious
  • Victoria’s Secret, Plumdrop
  • Victoria’s Secret, Sexy Little Things Noir
  • The Body Shop, Love Etc.
  • Tommy Hilfiger, Tommy Girl
  • Bond No.9, Chinatown
  • Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, Fae
  • Jennifer Lopez, Miami Glow
  • Jennifer Lopez, Live Lux
  • Nina Ricci, Nina
  • Cartier, Délices de Cartier
  • Annick Goutal, Petite Chérie
  • Yves Saint Laurent, Elle
  • Ralph Lauren, Ralph Rocks
  • Dior, j’Adore
  • Molinard, Nirmala
  • Benefit, Maybe Baby
  • Clinique, Happy
  • Hillary Duff, With Love
  • Creed, Spring Flower
  • Givenchy, Very Irresistible
  • Guerlain, My Insolence
  • Harajuku Lovers, Lil’ Angel
  • Harajuku Lovers, Music
  • Hermes, Un Jardin sur le Nil
  • Juliette Has a Gun, Miss Charming
  • Thymes, Red Cherie

Have a fragrance you love that you feel should be on here? Or just want to share? Let me know!

Popular Young Fragrances

The following is a list of popular recommendations for young women interested in popular perfumes and wondering what everyone else is smelling like. In no particular order:

Harajuku Lovers Ad

Harajuku Lovers Ad

  • Britney Spears Fantasy
  • Britney Spears Midnight Fantasy
  • Britney Spears Curious
  • Juicy Couture, Viva la Juicy
  • Juicy Couture, Juicy Couture
  • Harajuku Lovers Collection
  • Aquolina, Pink Sugar
  • Jennifer Lopez, Glow
  • Jennifer Lopez, Live
  • Jennifer Lopez, Live Luxe
  • Dolce and Gabbana, Light Blue
  • Miss Dior Cherie
  • Dior J’Adore
  • Vera Wang, Princess
  • DKNY, Be Delicious
  • Paris Hilton, Heiress
  • Paris Hilton, Paris Hilton
  • Paris Hilton, Can Can
  • Calvin Klein, ck One
  • Calvin Klein, Euphoria
  • Marc Jacobs, Daisy
  • Marc Jacobs, Lola
  • Ed Hardy, Woman
  • Ed Hardy, Love & Luck
  • Ralph Lauren, Hot
  • Ralph Lauren, Ralph Rocks
  • Burberry, The Beat
  • Burberry, Brit
  • Gucci, Envy Me
  • Gucci, Flora
  • Chloe, Chloe
  • Escada, Marine Groove
  • Escada, Ocean Lounge
  • Escada, Sunset Heat
  • Thierry Mugler, Angel
  • Clinique, Happy
  • Hollister, August
  • Victoria’s Secret PINK Collection
  • Victoria’s Secret, Love Spell
  • Victoria’s Secret, Appletini
  • Victoria’s Secret, Juiced Berry
  • Victoria’s Secret, Sexy Little Things
  • Victoria’s Secret, Sexy Little Things Noir
  • Victoria’s Secret Dream Angels Collection
  • Bath and Body Works, Warm Vanilla Sugar
  • Bath and Body Works, Japanese Cherry Blossom
  • Bath and Body Works, Moonlight Path
  • Bath and Body Works, Coconut Lime Verbena
  • Tommy Hilfiger, Tommy Girl
  • Marc Jacobs, Daisy
  • Marc Jacobs, Lola
  • Viktor and Rolf, Flowerbomb
  • Anna Sui Dolly Girl
  • Anna Sui Secret Wish
  • Michael Kors, Hollywood

Notice any trends? First of all, fruity florals are quite well represented in the above list. So is sweetness and candy, and benign fresh and citrus scents. Which explains practically 80% of the things the perfume industry has put out in recent years.

Know something that should be on this list? Please leave a comment. I’m positive I’ve missed something!

The Popular Classics You Have to Smell

Anybody interested in perfume and perfume history would know about most of the popular classic fragrances. Many perfumistas probably own some. But for the rest of us who are fledgling perfumistas and curious bystanders here is a list of popular and accessible classics that I believe everyone should have a sniff of. The older the better! But smelling some of the new stuff will still lend you a pretty good idea–most of the time.

In no particular order:

Chanel No. 5 – Anyone with a nose has probably caught a whiff of this timeless aldehyde. Released in 1921, Chanel No. 5 continues to top the charts as one of the most successful and popular fragrances of the 20th and 21st century. If you want to know what a classic aldehyde smells like, look no further.

Robert Piguet Fracas – A bed of potent tuberose strong enough to clear the sinuses of everyone within a hundred yard radius. Fracas is the quintessential tuberose scent unleashed on the world in 1948.

Guerlain Mitsouko – Mitsouko is as relevant today as she was in 1919 when she was released. Built off of Coty’s Chypre, Mitsouko has stood the test of time and is now the scent to smell if you are interested in a fruity chypre.

Guerlain Shalimar – No list is complete without Shalimar, the elegant sensual oriental whose popularity hasn’t waned since its release in 1925.

Estée Lauder Youth Dew – The fragrance that people most often refer to as, “Smells Like Grandma”. Youth Dew is actually a beautifully done, extremely potent spicy oriental that rocketed to fame in the 1950s and was one of the first perfumes to be endorsed by Hollywood Starlets.

Estée Lauder White Linen – The classic clean rose aldehyde with a touch of civet. Released in 1978.

Ralph Lauren Polo – One of the most iconic and recognizable men’s fragrances. Polo was released in 1978, a true 70s Powerhouse.

Joy by Jean Patou – Released in 1930, Joy smelled like a little ray of floral sunshine during one of the United States’ most trying eras. Funny enough, it was once billed as the most expensive fragrance in the world.

Yves Saint Laurent Opium – Opium is the poster child oriental fragrance released in 1977.

Thierry Mugler Angel – The youngest classic that I’m willing to put on this list, Angel was everywhere following its 1992 release and it is still everywhere as a testament to its achievement as the first gourmand.

To  round things out, please remember that the fragrances featured on this list are accessible and popular. There are many, many classics that I wanted to add from Coty, Caron, Hubigant, many more Guerlains, and Chanels but this list had to remain accessible so anything that I couldn’t readily find at a department store had to be cut.

Start your classics sniffing with this list but don’t stop here. This is just a stepping stone as there are hundreds of classics out here that need to be sniffed too. If you feel that I’ve missed something on this list please leave a comment.