The Mainstream Monday: Sniffing a Popular Scent:

This scent created by Olivier Cresp back in 2003 is a woody floral based on jasmine growing in his grandmother’s garden in Grasse. The scent is made for the “free, real, and somewhat wild” woman. I think this is a pretty scent, especially if you like floral musk scents. However, I wouldn’t call this a “wild” scent at all. In fact, it’s pretty tame and “comforting”. It’s more grandmother’s garden than heady jasmine. It’s a very soft, feminine scent.

At first the scent is a pretty floral white musk. It wears closely to the skin. It’s warm. It smells lightly of pepper, a gentle spice against the vanilla-ish florals/heliotrope. The scent really attaches itself to the skin. I guess this is the “lifescent”. I assume this is a type of “skin musk”. The white heliotrope is very pretty in this blend. It adds a sweetness and a soft, delicate powdery element to this warm, white musk scent. After 10-15 minutes, I don’t notice the pepper or spice in the fragrance. I really just get that heliotrope against white musk that I keep talking about. The musk is not animalic at all. In fact it seems “natural” like ambrette seed. After a little more time, the scent smells like ambrette, skin “musk” and sweet floral powder and very faint jasmine. It is such a soft scent that reminds me of a lightweight cashmere sweater. It’s the kind of scent that you would only notice with a close embrace. The light, warm musk floral begins to wear over a soft Mysore sandalwood base. I love Mysore sandalwood. It adds such a soft “roundness” to scents. It completes this scent. Lacoste Pour Femme has a warm woods base that is very feminine. It reminds me of the dry down of many soft, popular, modern floral-woods fragrances on the market.

For a scent based on jasmine, I can barely notice it. Usually jasmine in perfume takes over and steals the show. The jasmine in this is very, very mild. It’s a wallflower in the mix. The real show stealers are the heliotrope, white musk, and Mysore sandalwood.

I really like this scent. It’s warm and comforting. It isn’t the most exciting or “wild” scent on the market, I can safely say that. I really think Lacoste bombed that marketing campaign. They should of went an entirely different direction. It actually smells very comforting and somehow like the skin of a very young infant! I find this is a very nurturing scent that is nice for everyday wear and is appropriate for professional spaces. For an EDP, it doesn’t wear very long. It’s a soft scent to begin with so one doesn’t notice it too much. I really don’t notice this scent on my skin after 3 hours of wear. This doesn’t bother me. It is a “soft” scent and I like to wear it on the days when I feel a bit “anti-perfume”. Yes, even I have those days.

Notes listed include: Jamaican pepper, purple freesia, white heliotrope, Iranian jasmine, hibiscus flower, Bulgarian rose, Himalyan cedarwood, velvet skin “lifescent”, incense and Mysore sandalwood.

Give this scent a try if you like soft, warm white musk scents or fragrances like the discontinued Clinique Simply EDP, Gucci Pour Femme EDP, Editions de Parfums L’Eau d’Hiver Splash, Emporio Armani She EDP, Victoria’s Secret Dream Angels Heavenly EDP, Donna Karan Cashmere Mist EDT, Philosophy Amazing Grace EDP, and/or the scent of Mysore Sandal Soap.

It is available at Lacoste’s fragrance website and drugstore.com. The larger bottle retails for about $50.


Lacoste Femme Perfume for Women Eau De Parfum Spray 3.0 Oz by Lacoste

From: BigDiscountFragrances.com

La Maison de la Vanille is a French “vanilla” perfume house that really channels French colonialism, trying to make that aspect of history glamorous. They have a few different blends of vanilla. And with a name like “La Maison de la Vanille”, it’s pretty obvious that they are members of the cult of vanilla.  I’m not a vanilla fan but I am not a vanilla hater. I think vanilla has a time and a place and sometimes I really crave it during cool, wet, gloomy weather. I live in the PNW, so there are 9 months out of the year that I can potentially crave vanilla based scents.

Vanille Noir de Mexique is described as a “mysterious, dark, and seductive” vanilla fragrance. I don’t know if it is all of these things but it is a nice vanilla scent. This fragrance knows how to do vanilla without doing “cupcake” or cheap. Vanilla is sniffed throughout the entire wear of this EDT. Vanilla is always present. I love the top note and first 15-20 minutes wear of this scent. It is a rich and raw vanilla with a heavy dose of bergamot. This makes for an interesting vanilla fragrance. I imagine vanilla as round and smooth and bergamot as a bit rough. These two notes together compliment each other without being too complicated. And it isn’t “orange cream”. It’s bitter and sweet, not desserty. The mid notes are a bit “powdery” vanilla, like an updated and less complicated and “modern” Guerlain Shalimar EDP. It is powdery in an old-fashioned rose and iris way with lots and lots of vanilla making it “new”. The dry-down is “sexy”. It is pretty much just a generic tonka bean, patchouli, woods that is heavy on vanilla. It reminds me of many dry-downs of many mainstream fragrance. From start to finish, this is a vanilla heavy scent. I love to picture myself wearing this and wearing a cashmere sweater dress, sipping rich, dark Mexican hot cocoa in front of our fireplace in the dead of a snowy winter. It’s a comforting vanilla that is interesting enough to purchase.

The company and the packaging remind me so much of Comptoir Sud Pacifique but I like La Maison de la Vanille much better. Their blends smell more expensive and less foody. Many people complain that this scent isn’t long-lasting. It is an EDT, duh. But, I find that it wears on me all day, at least 12 hours. I think vanilla based scents have a tendency to “stick” on me. Perhaps I am freak, don’t comment. Notes listed include: vanilla, rose, jasmine, iris, tonka bean, and bergamot. I would say that you would like this if you love rich vanilla scents, Guerlain Shalimar EDP, Solange Stoned,  Montale Chypre Vanille, Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka, Profumum Dulcis in Fundo, Creative Scentualizations Perfect Vanilla, and fragrance by Comptoir Sud Pacifique  and LaVanila.  It retails for $60 for 1.7 oz and is available on luckyscent.com.

This is a rich and comforting fragrance that reminds me of Santa’s cookies and winter baking. It is a sweet, gourmand fragrance but I still like it. It is a blend of nutmeg, almond, orange blossom, vanilla, tonka bean, and musk. At first it is a spicy floral. You can smell the light, playful aroma of orange blossom mixed with spicy nutmeg. The orange blossom is a flirt and doesn’t hang around very long but you can tell it’s there even when it is “gone”. You soon smell the rich nuttiness of almond. I love the scent of almond. Nothing beats a nice Italian almond fragranced soap. I can smell the almond and rich, sweet creamy vanilla with a touch of “cocoa”. The almond gets sweeter, like it has been toasted in brown sugar. It smells like a delicious dessert (great vanilla almond cake recipe here) and it makes me want a strong cup of black coffee.It is a sweet fragrance. This is not an understatement. It is sugar and spice. It is the kind of scent that is too heavy/sweet for year round wear but it is perfect for cooler weather and winter, especially Christmas time. Sometimes fragrances like this are just what you need when the frost settles in.  The dry down is a comforting blend of tonka bean, musk, and vanilla.

This scent reminds me of sitting in a charming and cozy café, reading a used paperback book, holding it with cold hands as it rains outside. You order a hot latte  or a macchiato to warm yourself up. You’re wearing your favorite scarf and kind of the enjoy the cold because it is one of the first really “cold” days of the season. You look out the window to glare at the drizzle, look back down to continue reading. You hear your name, look up and to your surprise, it’s an old friend. It’s just going to be a good day.

This is a long wearing fragrance and wears for many hours. I would say that you would like this scent if you like gourmand, sweet scents that are heavy on vanilla or toasted almond, scents like Malzzolari Alessandro, Carol’s Daughter Almond Cookie, Crazylibellule & The Poppies Poule de Luxe Vanilla Macarons, LaVanila Vanilla Spice, and/or Burberry Brit EDP. The 1.7 oz. EDP retails for $95. It is available at beautyhabit.com and sarahhorowitz.com.

This is the most delicious fragrance that I have ever smelled. This is the kind of “foody” scent that I wear happily and won’t stop sniffing myself. Cielo is described as a “modern green chypre”. I like to describe it as a “edible”.  Notes include: sweet daphne, grape leaf, honeysuckle, fig leaf, honey, oak, and sandalwood. It is a sweet fragrance but not like something marketed to teenage girls with notes of chocolate syrup and vanilla frosting. Cielo is sweet like fig and honey. That being said, if you love honey or fig fragrances then you’ll be a fan of this. I really don’t know why they call it a “chypre” fragrance. No citrus, oakmoss, etc. but it has some sandalwood. Anyways, at first spritz  you can smell the daphne and honeysuckle. But, it isn’t very “floral”. It has been “greened” by the fuzzy grape leaf. It’s  a really interesting mix. The daphne scent reminds me of jasmine and I love when it blooms in late winter/early spring. So there is this lush floral with green, fresh grape leaves. I love the smell of grape leaves and every time I pass a vine I have to rub the leaves to release that odor. After about 15 to 30 minutes, I get a coconut milk like sweetness from the fig leaf. I am a fan of anything fig, so this part of the fragrance brings me much delight. It is warm, green, fruity. It’s everything. This fig leaf aroma is mixed with a little bit of honey but more like the “honey” nectar from a honeysuckle. The dry down of this fragrance is rich, lush, and amazing. It’s sticky golden honey in an oak barrel. This honey wears so nicely on me, many honey scents do not. This smells warm and comforting especially with the dried out woods in this blend. It smells like taking a sun break in fall. I love this fragrance. But, I am partial to fig and grape leaves. It’s funny because this scent is described by the company as “evoking the mood of a leisurely stroll through the sun-dappled vineyards of the Napa Valley on a warm autumn afternoon, this sophisticated green fragrance is built around the unusual combination of grape leaves and sweet daphne.” Before I even read that, that is what I thought. Maybe not Napa Valley, Washington and Oregon have vineyards too. I know we have daphne here in the PNW and I hear it grows better here than California…anyways. I wore this and thought this is a sunny fall day fragrance. I see myself wearing this with my favorite pair of worn out boots, light weight super-soft cardi, and a statement scarf, strolling through the farmer’s market on its last few days of being “in session” buying what’s in season. It’s comforting, warm, and somehow fresh. This fragrance will be apart of my fall wardrobe for sure.

It’s an EDP and it wears for about 3 hours tops on me that I can notice. It retails for $60 and is available on beautyhabit.com. Do give this fragrance a try if you like fig or honey scents.

L’Artisan Parfumeur describes Thé Pour Un Été or Summer Tea as  “An invitation to a far-away land, a moment of tranquility in an exotic oasis, the fragrance is as refreshing as a glass of iced green tea infused with jasmine and mint. Delicate and versatile, this is a scent for all seasons, a tender reminder of the happy days of summer.” It is an Olivia Giacobetti creation. Thé Pour Un Été isn’t what I expect for it to be. I don’t think the description is very fitting or even the name, for the most part. It is a pretty scent that wears very sweet and almost powdery on me. It wears very closely and intimately. It’s soft and romantic. I do not dislike the scent, I just find it not what I expected. In fact, I thought my sample was mislabeled!

At first it smells very creamy with a hint of jasmine tea. It’s floral but rich. It seriously hits me as a jasmine green tea latte hot, not served chilled, with a slight dash of lemon. My nose does not pick up the crisp or coolness of bergamot or the crispness of mint. I get a creamy blend of dried jasmine petals, freshly brewed green tea, steamed milk, and the faintest suggestion of lemon. When I wear this fragrance I don’t fell it screams “summer”, when I wear it in the dead of summer on those 90+ days, it doesn’t feel refreshing. (But, what does when it gets that unbearable). It just hits me as sweet. This scent hits me more as comforting, romantic, cuddly. This is something that I would rather wear in early spring. I drink lots of iced teas in summer from Persian mint to black tea with rose. This fragrance doesn’t remind me of those elixirs that I make for myself to beat the humid heat. This scent is more like the tea lattes that I get at my favorite tea bars, when it isn’t cool enough for coffee but not warm enough for an iced beverage. So, I guess it is accurate to say that it is a “reminder of the happy days of summer”. It’s how you may remember summer, it’s comforting like those first few warm days of late spring and thaws your cool body out from the wet, brisk days of the cooler seasons. We call this “sun breaks” in Washington. It feels so good to feel the sun again after months of the same old weather. It’s like this fragrance, it isn’t “summer” it won’t refresh you, it just comforts you and it is like you feel the warmth of those rays on your skin. It’s a fragrance that warms and doesn’t cool (like a mint, rosemary, or citrus scent). The dry down is about the same, with a bit more of the green tea and less of the jasmine, still sweet and almost like it has a hint of white chocolate.

Like I said, the fragrance wears very closely and is light. It wears for about 2 hours tops on my pulse points. Notes listed by the perfume house include: lemon, bergamot, mint, jasmine, and green tea. The 3.4 oz spray goes for $135 and the 1.7 oz for $95. It is available at beautyhabit.com and L’Artisan website.

Green tea latte

Green tea latte

I am not a huge fan of Bath and Body Works products but when they have something that I like, I usually find that I love it and always have it around, such as Brown Sugar & Fig and Vanilla Bean Noel in the winter. This Warm Vanilla Sugar home fragrance oil is one of those products. It smells so nice for the house. It is a bit gourmand, foody, comforting but not as offensive as something like cinnamon and apple spice or blueberry pie. This smells foody but not like you’ve been trying to convince others that you’ve been baking all day. This smells very nostalgic to me. Growing up in poverty in the dirty south, we ate “sticky” rice. A dish that consisted of rice, sugar, and butter. This was the best treat ever and it sure beat the hell out of the usual diner of pinto beans, rice, and ketchup. If Mama was feeling real uppity then  she would put a dash of imitation vanilla in it and you were dining high class. I thought my ghetto family was the only family that did this but talking to other Southerners from a background of poverty, they did the exact same thing with their rice on “special” occasions. (This has to have a tradition of some sort or at least a name…)

This oil has hints of “vanilla, coconut, basmati rice, and a touch of sandalwood” according to the Bath and Body Works website. So that “basmati rice” and “vanilla” is what reminds me of lazy Sunday mornings. The hints of coconut and sandalwood make this oil a bit more posh and nice for the home. It is a sweet fragrance but not too gourmand. It is just comforting, soft, and cuddley like my favorite cardigan. Unlike the body products in this line that are heavy on the vanilla part of the fragrance, this is heavier on the sweet rice. The vanilla is there but it doesn’t smell like a birthday cupcake. The coconut isn’t beachy but more of a coconut milk and the sandalwood is faintly there. (This is beginning to sound more and more like a Thai dish). I use about 10 drops in an oil burner with the rest of the dish filled with water. The fragrance is light but still present and lasts many hours after the oil has stopped burning. It retails for $7.50 for .33 ounces. And of course, I’m sure you can find it on sale if you just wait a few weeks. They always have sales.

This is my granny’s cooking of fragrance. It is the most “comfort” fragrance that I own. It is warm, soothing, and just as cuddly as a my favorite soft cardigan. Bvlgari Omnia is a fragrance that I will always have around, just like my grandmother’s recipes. It isn’t my everyday fragrance just like honey cakes and mashed potatoes aren’t my everyday meals. I always will have this around. This is my soothing fragrance and I have been wearing it a year after its launch in 2003.

The thing that I have learned about the original Omnia is that you will love it or not. And you can “smell” it or not. Evidently on some people it fades very quickly or their sniffers are “immune” to it. Others can smell them hours later but they can’t smell themselves, so they don’t bother wearing it because perfume should make you happy first. I on the other hand, smell it. Currently, I have been wearing it for 3 hours and it smells just as strong as when I spritz it on. I also smell it on my cardigans, scarves, clothes after I wear it and when they have been sitting in the hamper for a few days. But, that being said. I know that it isn’t a “strong” fragrance to begin with. It wears pretty close in the beginning and it continues to wear closely. It is a cuddle fragrance, it’s intimate.

Omnia is simple, really. It is described as a “modern oriental”, that it is. It is a warm blend with a slightly citrus top note. But what sticks with me is the masala tea. So imagine a sweet, slightly spicy blend of masala spices (think cardamom and saffron) with hints of milky sweetness like a condensed milk. It is more of a Kashmiri Chai seasoning (with notes of almond, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, cloves) but instead of green tea, an Assam rich, black tea leaves. So in essence, it reminds me of a very Northwestern version of Chai, something that Tazo or Oregon Chai would do. Because it is Kashmiri with dark tea but sweet with a hint of white chocolate and vanilla flavored steamed milk. Now you can see why it is so comforting! It sounds very sweet and spicy, but is “sheer” and just slightly gourmand. It is more like smelling the steam from a hot cup of chai served from your favorite coffee house. (Less spicy, than those served at Indian and Pakistani restaurants).

I like the bottle, many people do not. It is plastic (cheap, I know) with warm tea colored plastic and chrome-ish accents. But, it does represent the infinity symbol and I like nerdy stuff like that. Even the name is soothing, it sounds relaxing/meditative and “omniah” is an Arabic word for “wish”.

The 1.33 ounce retails for $68 and the 2.2 ounce for $88. It is an ea de parfum and should last a long time. But, this is one that you should definitely try before forking over the dough. You may be one of the people that skin eats it. I recommend this one for those that don’t like floral fragrances, like light fragrances (Omnia is like a strange warm version of D & G Light Blue), fans of chai tea, like tea based scents and fans of comforting scents. It isn’t too foody or gourmand or sweet. It is one of my favorites. I wear it all year. It is available at fragrancenet.com.


Omnia Perfume for Women Eau De Parfum Spray 2.2 Oz by Bvlgari

From: BigDiscountFragrances.com

If you love sweet, foody scents then you need to give Demeter PMU Cologne in Dulce de Leche a try. It is a very sweet, milky fragrance that smells like well, its namesake. At first spritz it smells like a caramel-ish liqueur but then it dries down to sweet dulce de leche goodness. It’s a very “warm” and comforting scent that smells like caramel-ish milk and sugar. It smells very “toasted” and sugary. If you dislike gourmand food scents then please stay away from this one. It will give you a toothache. The lasting power is OK and seems to wear on top the skin and doesn’t really “stick”. It isn’t too strong and lasts about 30 minutes max. This is a great scent for fall or winter and could be too sweet for summer or spring. It is made to resemble the Cuban-American variety of dulce de leche, if this helps you understand the fragrance more. I like it but I don’t know if I will repurchase, for some reason I have two one ounce sprays…

I have been in a “figgy” mood lately and have been on a search for the most perfect fig scents. Maybe I am a little homesick thinking of huge ripe green figs hitting the ground to land on the hot red Georgia soil. I am a fig nut. I love them. The thing I am finding out about fig fragrances are that they are more of a “fantasy” scent made by perfumers. Which is fine with me if it doesn’t smell just like a fresh fig. I find myself liking the fig “idea” and the aroma that perfume manufactures have made based on the overall interpretation of fig.

I think that L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier is gorgeous. It is what I was looking for. It’s like my homesickness, it is actually prettier than the fig itself. I miss the “idea” of the South, not actually the South. When I smell Premier Figuier it is beautiful, more so than the actual figs that I bought at the store. The company describes their scent as “conjuring up an image of the entire tree.” And it succeeds. The initial spritz is fresh, green, leafy. It is playing in the trees when their is no fruit present. Then the fruit happens and it ripens. The fruit is thick, milky and ready to eat. It smells rich but still green. The middle notes are the harvest. It is “heavy” like a ripe fig ready to hit the ground. It is made more robust by almond milk and a hint of milky coconut water. Making it the harvest, grilled figs or fig jam. Finally, it dries down to a woodsy, earthy scent with enough fig to make it special. It is the cooler months when there is nothing on the tree but the bark. It feels warm and inviting even though there isn’t anything there to make it special. You just know that it is. It is warmed by sandalwood and it wears closely to the skin. It feels like it is apart of you, like the memories of playing barefoot in the fig trees. It is an eau de toilette and wears for about 4/5 hours. I love it. It brings back the memories that I needed without actually being my memories. It is more romantic than being in the hot Georgia sun being attacked by fire ants and living in the Projects. It is the romantic view that my memory needs. This is a very special fragrance. It is fresh, rich, sweet and woodsy. I feel like it was made for me. The L’Artisan Parfumeur website states:

“Why Premier ? Because it is the very first perfume based on the fig theme! Green like its sweet-smelling leaves, milky like the sap of the tree, fruity like the soft flesh of the fig; woody like its branches and trunk…It is unique as it conjures up an image of the entire tree. As surprising as a first kiss, as caressing as shadows on a bright, sunny day, Premier Figuier has captured, in its bottle, a whole host of summer memories… exactly under the fig tree!”

It is so true, that is an excellent description that I can’t beat. It is all of my summer memories of childhood. It is a “fig”. I really need this scent. The 50 ml retails for $95 and the larger 100 ml for $135. The soap goes for $18, body cream is $65, shower gel is $45, and the large candle is $60 and the small candle is $20. You can get it at barneys.com or artisanparfumeur.com.

Summer memories

Summer memories