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I want to learn about perfume!

(20 Posts)
ilovetosleep Fri 16-Oct-15 13:38:34

I know there are a few perfume obsessed mners so wondered if I could pick your brains.

I know I like nice smelling perfume and I like what I have, but I don't know why I like them, what it is about them I like, and the same goes for a few perfumes that I actively dislike. I currently smell like a perfumerie after trying some out this morning and I'm a bit lost, and I feel like a fraud wandering around perfume departments and never knowing what to say when they ask what I'm looking for. I also can't help feeling that a lot of them feel a bit grown up for me, but on the other hand I hate young fresh smelling scents so don't know what I'm looking for really.

Firstly, is there a common feature in Thierry Mugler Angel, Black Opium, La Vie est Belle, and TF Black Orchid to a lesser extent (the last one I only sniffed the bottle so can't be sure)? Because I really dislike all of these. I thought it might be vanilla but I think some of the things I like have vanilla in.

I currently wear Chanel Coco Noir, Prada L'eau Ambree and YSL Elle. And Chanel 5 occasionally. I got some recommendations on the Autumnal perfume thread and have just tried some out, but they're all mixed together now and I feel a bit sick! They were:

Guerlain Samsara (I like this one)
Guerlain Mitsouko (love it but too grown up? Smells like mum)
Chanel Allure Sensuelle (I think I really like this but it got overpowered by something else)
Opium (Surprised myself by liking this but its a bit strong? EDT version)
Tom Ford Noir pour Femme ( this is weird. I think I hate it, it does a strange thing to my senses that only parma violets do and I hate, yet I can't stop sniffing it. Is it just that its too sweet? I think if someone else was wearing it too close to me I'd feel a bit overwhelmed by it)
Chanel no5 Eau Premiere (Really do like this but I want a bit more of a change from what I already have)
Tom Ford Neroli Portofino (AMAZING but way too £££ and definitely one for the summer)

Any tips, any glaringly obvious similarities that I should look for/avoid? Any suggestions? I think part of my problem is that while I do love certain perfumes I can't help feeling that they're too special or too grown up for me and my casual, low maintenance style!

Thanks in advance!

HopefulAnxiety Fri 16-Oct-15 13:53:41

Fragrantica should be your first port of call - it's free to sign up. You can use the site to a limited extent without an account but getting an account makes it easier and opens up more options.

It has a really comprehensive database of perfumes, notes, designers, perfume categories etc, and a forum.

You can type in perfumes and compare notes, so you can see what they share and what they don't share. You can also see what others who like the perfume like, and perfumes that might smell similar. For instance TF Neroli Portofino is going to have a lot in common with D&G Light Blue and M&S Azure.

It sounds like you might get along with chypres - I personally prefer orientals and florientals so not so helpful with advice, but there'll be loads of stuff on Fragrantica.

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Fri 16-Oct-15 13:57:55

Your likes sound 'powdery' (v untechnical term!)
Fragrantica, Base Notes etc. I spend far too much time on those.
MN uber perfume guru is FrugalFashionista. You could stalk her like I do!

niminypiminy Fri 16-Oct-15 13:59:16

If you can afford it (they're quite expensive) then one of Sarah MacCartney's perfume days is a fantastic way to explore perfume. My sister went on one where she made her own scent and she learned tons about notes, about how they combine, about what suits her and her body chemistry. SMcC has a huge collection of scents that she uses on her perfume days so a really good way to go and smell things.

I've never been on one myself (too expensive) but they do sound amazing.

niminypiminy Fri 16-Oct-15 14:00:54

Sorry, link - the perfumery is called 4160 Tuesdays. I don't actually like that many of the perfumes but I think what she's doing is great.

Dreamiesrcatopium Fri 16-Oct-15 14:12:43

Try Jo Malone. If you go along one of their staff will talk you through all the different smells and combination's and you will get a feel for which fragrance type you most lean towards. It's not cheap but it lasts for ages. I have had the English pear and freesia cologne, mixed with the lime, basil and mandarin body lotion for years now. I found this combination for my wedding day and have never found anything I've liked as much.
They spend a long time with you spraying different scents on swatches, and will give samples to take away and decide. A lovely way to spend half an hour or so. (I don't work for them I promise!)

HopefulAnxiety Fri 16-Oct-15 14:19:31

Personally Jo Malone lasts barely an hour on me. I don't find it brilliant quality unless you want something very simple. If OP likes the smell of Mitsouko and Opium then I can't see how JM would work with one or two exceptions. Also I think OP wanted more of the background stuff with perfume rather than recommendations?

mumsnit Fri 16-Oct-15 14:20:46

Yy to Fragantica website and also to Jo Malone. I spent a happy quarter of an hour yesterday chatting with a friendly Jo Malone saleswoman who told me loads about the different ingredients in their perfume and gave me lots of testers to try! <pomegranate noir now added to my Christmas list wish list!>

I've learned loads from here too. If you search for the perfumista threads that is a great start!

ilovetosleep Fri 16-Oct-15 14:38:43

Thanks for the replies. Actually last time I went into Jo Malone with a friend I couldn't find one thing that I liked! But that was a while ago and everyone raves about pomegranate noir so maybe I should try. hopeful yes I do want to know about the background but am always open to recommendations too. I will go and sign up to fragrantica now!
niminy I'd love to go on a perfume course, sounds fab! Unfortunately I can't afford one now (or a perfume habit for that matter...)

Judydreamsofhorses Fri 16-Oct-15 15:21:53

I'm no expert but your likes sound powdery (again, that untechnical term!) and gourmand to me. I absolutely love Mitsouko in autumn/winter, and I like its classic, old-lady scent - it makes me think of posh churches! I agree with Fragrantica, and if you're anywhere near London, the shop Les Senteurs is fantastic with really knowledgeable staff. Jo Malone's not my cup of tea personally - which is a pity because my sister in law works there and gets an amazing discount! - but I know a lot of people who really do love their products and the service tends to be very good.

HopefulAnxiety Fri 16-Oct-15 15:34:41

Actually powdery is a perfectly technical term to use - Fragrantica uses it. Common in perfume. I can't deal with a lot of powdery notes myself.

ilovetosleep Fri 16-Oct-15 15:54:32

It's funny that two people have mentioned that I like powdery scents but actually that's the problem - I like all of those perfumes I listed but the powdery ness is what puts me off them! It's what makes them feel too grown up if that makes sense.

HopefulAnxiety Fri 16-Oct-15 16:04:40

How old are you? What do you mean by 'too grown up'? I'm just curious.

Does it make them smell a bit 'grandma'

HopefulAnxiety Fri 16-Oct-15 16:06:13

I can understand wanting something that's not like your mum's though!

ilovetosleep Fri 16-Oct-15 16:27:04

I'm 34. By grown up I do mean smelling a bit grandma ish, and my mum does wear Mitsuko. my Chanel no 5 for example reminds me of my mum dressing up when i was tiny, but she swears she never wore it! I think when I say I don't want anything grown up its more because I am quite a casual person, not very smart or formal, I guess I veer towards quirky/trendy rather than 'dressy'. Make any sense? I am looking for a perfume that is different and sexy and unusual. Something I can wear day or night. I don't want anything that I would normally think of as causal or day timey eg citrusy, fresh, or too floral.

ilovetosleep Fri 16-Oct-15 16:32:19

Sniffing my arms again a few hours on and I think I really like the allure sensuelle.

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Fri 16-Oct-15 21:02:56

Bet you'd like Vivienne Westwood Boudoir and Diva by Ungaro. One of my best friends likes most of the ones on your list and those 2 are her favourites, along with good old 1990s Loulou!

I like the Jo Malone style perfumes when I sniff a bottle, but then a) they last approx 50 seconds on and b) they're too basic somehow.

goodasitgets Fri 16-Oct-15 21:04:06

there's a website called (I think)
That's useful to put perfumes in and get suggestions

ilovetosleep Fri 16-Oct-15 21:15:37

Thanks everyone! I have ordered a nose trial box and have been on fragrantica all pm. Putting in all the ones I like, it seems I like Oriental Floral, Oriental Woody, Floral Woody Musk and a couple of oriental spicy and floral chypre. I can't wait ti go out with a list of new things to smell smile

simonettavespucci Fri 16-Oct-15 21:21:42

Another good website that was recommended on here is bois de jasmine - it's more of a blog that some of the other ones and fun to read.

Also wanted to say I completely agree with you about Tom Ford noir pour femme. I tried it on one wrist and Mitsouko on the other - also inspired by the autumn perfumes thread - and I thought it was completely delicious. Then I tried it again in the airport with a view to buying and it was horrible and overpowering. Does anyone know why this is? What's the key ingredient?

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