Help me choose a perfume.

Inspired by this thread.

I need a perfume. I’m rather picky, however.

I want something that’s not overpowering, just a hint of a scent. Something that can be smelled when near me, but not from across the room.

Nothing overwhelmingly floral, although a little bit of floral is okay, but not required.

I’m also hoping for something not all that expensive, if possible.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Go to a perfumery and smell them. Theres no way to reccomend something so personal over the internet.

Find some fragrances you like and jot down their names. Fragrances are categorized by “notes.” This list is from the Sephora web site.

Fresh: Citrus, Green leaves, Marine notes
Floral: Jasmine, Rose, White flowers
Oriental: Spices, Vanilla, Patchouli
Woody: Citrus, Warm woods, Moss

Use a site like this to find the notes in the fragrance you like. Then you can search for other fragrances with those notes or can go into a place like Bath and Body Works with an idea of which fragrances you want to try.

Don’t want to knock someone over at 20 paces? Perfume is the strongest. Cologne is one step down. I’m with you in wanting the scent to be discerned only when someone is close to me. I like scented body lotions for that.

I use Narciso Rodrigues for her. It’s nice, subtle and different, but it’s not cheap. You don’t need to use much, and the bottle is black, so it does last a while.

It’s mostly musk and wood, althought there is amber, vanilla and orange blossom in there too. Mostly I use it because my husband finds it deeply sexy and I have weird skin chemistry because most things smell like crap on me, especially “fresh” or “citrus” scents.

I find B&BW has nice subtle scents (their body splashes) and they’re not expensive at all. They have everything from floral to fruity to vanilla.

Alternately, you could find a perfume you like and use it sparingly. I usually use a tiny spritz, half an hour before I leave the house. (Dior, Fresh and Benefit are my favorites. stila has nice scents too.)

Think about 2 things before trying to narrow down a specific scent:

  1. How do you see yourself? Are you a glam queen? A nature/woodsy sort of person? Do you see yourself as quirky and unusual, or as a sunny, happy person, or particularly feminine? Think about your personality traits that define yourself as ‘you’, as that’ll help people suggest scents suited to you personally
  2. What are your favourite scents? Not ‘scents’ as in perfume, but just every day smells. Do you like cooking scents, fresh cinnamon rolls or perhaps baking bread? Do you love the green woody scent of a walk through a forest after rain? How about a windy day watching waves break on a rocky shore, would you like the ozone hit you’d get off that? Again, narrowing down what scents you enjoy would help.

For example, I wear Thierry Mugler’s Alien, described as “a fragrance which stands out from the crowd and isn’t afraid to be different”, which says a whole lot about how I see myself :wink:

I did the same thing about a year and a half ago – I decided it was time for me to get a “grown-up” perfume, and not use only the Bath & Body Works body sprays. So I went to Nordstrom, and told one of the nice salesladies that I was in the market for a new perfume, but that I would NOT be buying today – I wanted time to live with the scent for a while, and make sure I liked the way it smelled on me after a few hours. Also, it’s so hard to really smell the nuances when you’re in the perfume department, surrounded by all sorts of scents. She was really helpful, and helped me identify the types of scents I liked. She sent me home with lots of samples, so I could wear them for a couple of days each. I did this a couple of times, and fell in love with one – Hanae Mori “Butterfly”.

It was really fun to do – I highly recommend it!

Also, here is a really interesting New Yorker article about how they make perfume. Now that I think about it, this article is what prompted me to go look for a perfume.

Have fun, and let us know what you choose!

I really suggest popping over to Victoria’s Secret. They carry bunches of perfumes now, all of which I like. My favorites are Pink (a light scent that’s good for the day-to-day) and So In Love (a much heavier scent, but still pretty light).

The other plus of buying at Victoria’s Secret: for an additional $5-$15, you can get a cute bag filled with samples of perfume, hair stuff, and makeup.

Sounds like some good suggestions. Stargazer, I hadn’t even thought of going to a counter and asking for samples. Which makes me feel kind of silly, seeing as that seems so obvious, now that you mention it. Diosa, I didn’t realize Victoria’s Secret sold perfumes. I may have to check that out.

My mother stopped wearing perfume some years ago, when she suddenly decided she didn’t like scenty stuff. I borrowed a bother of her favorite scent from when she used to wear it, Caleche I think it was, but it really just didn’t feel like me. I can’t quite put my finger on why it didn’t, though.

Try to go someplace and test it on your skin before you buy it. Calvin Klein scents smell like soap on me and many expensive scents never seem to fade.

I just bought a new body wash called “Citrus Smoothie”. I smelled the bottle - a nice light orangy scent - and buy it without testing it on my skin. I used it this morning and smell ever so faintly of mild orange and vanilla. That’s right… I smell like a dreamsickle.

This site looks interesting

Years ago I remember smelling a perfume that smelled just like freshly cut grass. I can’t remember the name of it, but I remember it being pretty expensive. Anyone remember it?

From a man’s perspective my, all time, favorite is Sand & Sable. Subtle and not flowery. Wear a touch and I’d follow you anywhere. :wink:

I love Sand & Sable! But it is flowery – it’s gardenia! That’s why I love it. :slight_smile:

And I love you, I can smell it from here :stuck_out_tongue: . Seriously I don’t get flowery, in the sweet sense, when I smell it. It’s different from any other perfume I’m familiar w/.

Would it be Aliage by Estee Lauder? I love that fresh, just mown grass scent. One scent I really like but can’t find anymore is Benandre by Ben Rickert. JC Penney used to carry it but I can’t find it there anymore.

Well, the most compliments I ever got with a perfume, is whne I use the one mentioned in this thread.It is a neutral, light citrussy scent, that contains pheromones.

A new favorite scent is Pavlova. I don’t know who makes it. I bought a mini of it because I liked the bottle – the stopper is a ballet dancer doing that thing where they sit down and stretch their arms toward their toes. I didn’t bother to even take a sniff for several months, and now I don’t know where to get more.

The scent is simple and clean, like Ivory soap, which makes me think it’d smell nice on anyone.

Check out Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. (not linking since some of the Aubrey Beardsley illos might be a bit outre’ for a work environment, but you can find it easily) They sell essential oil blends. Basically, you dab on a tiny bit of the stuff, since it’s the concentrated smelly part of perfume/cologne.

BPAL carries a ton of blends, and once you’ve figured out what kind of scent families you like, you can explore a bit. You can also check out the reviews on and see what other people have thought. They offer scent sample six-packs that you can use to pick out the ones you want to try out before buying a bigger bottle. (a 5mL bottle lasts forever.)

I love BPAL because most other commercial perfumes smell overpoweringly chemical or have enough of an alcohol bite when applied that it turns me clean off. Plus, the range of scents is amazing. Today I’m wearing Fenris Wolf (a lovely woodsy and musky blend). Tomorrow I might wear Hungry Ghost Moon (a light green blend), which has had me turning around on more than one occasion to figure out where that fabulous scent was coming from. My storage box includes Miskatonic University (basically distilled Irish coffee and libraries).

Hi, my name is **lizardling ** and I’m a bpal addict. No, I don’t get paid for enabling, other than sharing in the squee. :smiley:

I’m not sure if it was Aliage. I did a search and there’s one by Marc Jacobs called Grass but that wasn’t it.

I did find Benandre on ebay but it’s a little pricy! :smiley: