Thursday, April 24, 2014

Excursus: Flattery Will Get You Everywhere...

I am still deep in the midst of my twelve-step program for recovery from The Big Move, part of the therapy for which is naturally my multi-part series, "The Scent of Moving." However, I received a lovely missive from one "Madie" at Fragrantica, so I thought that I'd act on her request, which I share here for your full consideration (I trust that she is protected from trolls by her pseudonym):


Hi Sherapop,
Firstly I just want to thank you for your numerous insightful posts on fragrantica! I have been spending many an hour browsing here to learn more about different perfumes.  I have also spent some time on your blogs and have thoroughly enjoyed it!
I am very saddened by the death of your cat.... I am a cat lover too and have a beautiful Cornish Rex called Cleo(she has diabetes and has to be monitored closely).
Secondly: I am very new to the world of perfume(where have I spent my life before??!!) and am now obsessed about it(I do have some OCD traits;-)).  As I am a perfume virgin(just my saying), I would like to be introduced to perfume the  right way! Sooooo,  I have been wondering if you could compile a list of say 50/100(or as many as needed) must have perfumes(works of art/memorable/just plaingoodsmelling/personal loves/etc).
You can either email me or post it on your blog. It is just that I am completely lost and with a limited budget it is difficult to know where to start! I am also not in an area where I have free access to perfume in general and not even closely to  any of the niche/better perfumes. I have to buy online and am completely overwhelmed by the selection!
Thirdly: Could you also please recommend some trustworthy online retailers? I am looking at Fragrancenet and FragranceX. I am in NZ and am moving back to South Africa soon. I will make sure that retailers deliver to these countries.
Thanks again for all your beautiful writing!
Hope your move went very well and that you are settled in already...
ps: I wish I could write as well as you but English is my second language... How did you learn to write this good?
It all starts with adverbs, Madie. (Sorry, I could not resist...)

It's always nice to find signs of intelligent life and gestures of civility out there in the vast universe of perfume users and aspiring perfumistas, and it occurred to me that Madie's request for a list of "must sniff" perfumes is an excellent idea. In fact, as I packed my (ahem) hundreds of bottles of perfume, many of which I have not worn in recent memory, I started reaching for some "must sniffs" because I could not gamble under the circumstances with scents which might necessitate an extra bath. Time was of the essence! So what are my "top fifty or one hundred must-sniff perfumes"?  I think that I'm just going to list these in whatever order they pop into my mind. Let's try five at a time, starting with:

1. Robert Piguet Fracas: because a shinier and pinker tuberose perfume there could never be!

2. Guerlain Chamade: because, well, smell it, and then you'll know why!

3. Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie: because a rose is a rose is a rose and would smell as scrumptious by any other name!

4. Etat Libre d'Orange Putain des Palaces: because some people think that it smells like dirty private parts, but I think that it smells as clean a newborn babe's bottom!

5. Prada Infusion d'Iris: because according to the database, I've logged this perfume more than any other since January 2012--though I have not worn it since I drained my first (ahem) 200ml bottle! This summer I'll definitely be cracking open the splash bottle the size of a San Pellegrino--yes, that's right: 800ml (courtesy of, in case you were Madie was!) Looking forward to smelling all clean and powdery and wafting of cedar and iris throughout the hottest months of summer!

That's all for today, but I'll add five more items to the list tomorrow... stay tuned... And many thanks to Madie for suggesting that I do this!  (entries 6-10)

You have often worn

Last time 278 days ago
Infusion d'Iris
Last time 9 days ago
Infusion de Fleur d'Oranger
Last time 48 days ago
Infusion d'Iris (Eau de Toilette)
Last time 56 days ago
Jardin d'Iris
Last time 36 days ago
Infusion d'Homme
Last time 39 days ago
La Perla
Last time 18 days ago
Poudre d'Orient
Last time 192 days ago
Féerie (Eau de Toilette)
Last time 16 days ago
Deva des Fleurs
Last time 197 days ago
L'Eau Ambrée
Last time 37 days ago
Last time 19 days ago
Attar de Roses
Last time 61 days ago
Last time 107 days ago
Vanilla & Cedarwood
Last time 99 days ago
Chelsea Flowers
Last time 10 days ago
Last time 117 days ago
Last time 17 days ago
Fleurs de Bulgarie
Last time 148 days ago
Eau de Noho
Last time 18 hours ago
Last time 226 days ago
Loup des Steppes
Last time 70 days ago
New York Oud
Last time 150 days ago
Last time 12 days ago
Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie
Last time 42 days ago
Rose Muskissime
Last time 86 days ago
Last time 63 days ago
La Rose de Rosine
Last time 119 days ago
Ambre Rose
Last time 9 days ago
New York Fling
Last time 108 days ago
Aromatics Elixir
Last time 371 days ago
Infusion de Vétiver
Last time 180 days ago
Last time 21 days ago
L'Eau en Blanc
Last time 32 hours ago
Last time 184 days ago
Last time 217 days ago
Last time 32 hours ago
Blanc Violette
Last time 311 days ago
Madison Square Park
Last time 197 days ago
The Scent of Peace
Last time 245 days ago
Little Italy
Last time 77 days ago
Vanille Absolument / Havana Vanille
Last time 101 days ago
Geranium Bourbon
Last time 229 days ago
Coeur de Fleur
Last time 267 days ago
Fashion Avenue
Last time 69 days ago
Noix de Tubéreuse
Last time 94 days ago
En Sens de Bois
Last time 176 days ago
Perles de Lalique
Last time 178 days ago
Prada / Amber
Last time 243 days ago
Collection Extraordinaire - Muguet Blanc
Last time 248 days ago
Last time 261 days ago
Eau des Merveilles
Last time 109 days ago
Eau de Cartier Goutte de Rose
Last time 296 days ago
Eau de Cartier Concentrée
Last time 383 days ago
Après L'ondée
Last time 10 days ago
Floral Curiosities - Poet's Jasmine
Last time 203 days ago
Eau de New York
Last time 243 days ago
Citron de Vigne
Last time 246 days ago
Les Fleurs de Provence Iris
Last time 26 days ago
Natori (2009)
Last time 269 days ago
White Citrus
Last time 303 days ago
Violetta di Parma
Last time 329 days ago
I Love New York for Earth Day


  1. I am amazed to say that your "top 64 list" (above) from Parfumo and mine do not have a SINGLE thing in common! As a matter of fact, there's only one on yours of which I've bought a full bottle (though I have smelled most of the ones on yours and, I would guess, vice-versa). Any rate, there are some fun lists out there in cyberspace on this topic. This is a much-cited one: (She has done some updates to it, but just lined out her original choices, so you can see the evolution of the list.I like the breadth of this one - not necessarily all things she likes, but a fair number of "reference" ones.) (Surrender to Chance sells samplers that include all of these.)

    1. How did I lose this comment, hmm... Well, let's try to reconstruct it.

      Good morning, pitbull friend! To be honest, I am not amazed at the disparity at all, given that you and I often smell completely different things in the very same perfume. Bear in mind that the "You Have Often Worn" is not really a "best of" or "must sniff" list. Instead, it's a documentation of perfumes which I feel safe wearing anytime and just about anywhere, up to and including right after a bath and right before bed.

      These lists are inherently idiosyncratic, of course. I predict that you will demur from today's entries, in which white flowers will figure prominently!

      Thanks for stopping by, pitbull friend! I look forward to your further feedback on this exercise...

  2. Dear Shera

    I've loved this brilliant idea about "must-sniff list"!
    I absolutely with 4 (I have a sample but I'm planing to get a full bottle) and 5 (yes! I have it!). I have to smell the other three now.
    Can't wait for the next ones!

    1. Thanks so much for the vote of confidence, Virginia! This should be a lot of fun. I don't usually do this kind of thing because I feel that perfume reception is inherently subjective. I have reviewed lots of perfumes (2300 and counting ;-), but I think of my reviews more as a personal log of what I've worn and what I was thinking about at the time, including what memories are evoked. While packing for The Big Move, I began thinking about the distinction between perfumes which I really cherish, and all the rest...


  3. Dear Shera Pop,
    I am absolutely delighted with the response to my humble request!!! I am definitely going to start my collection of worthwhile perfumes using your list as guide! Why should I re-invent the wheel so to speak??? You have definitely done the groundwork(2300 reviews!! WOW!!).
    Although my nose is not yet trained, I can see it getting better by reading good reviews(like yours which is mostly objective) and sniffing some good perfumes... I understand that perfume is a very subjective science/art but how can I learn if I don't have a reference point?
    Thank you again for your "much more than anticipated" response!!!!

    1. You are most welcome, Madie! I am happy that you found the posts and are enjoying the series!

      Please always remember that perfume appreciation is largely a matter of taste, so if you do not like violets and roses and cedar and iris, you may or may not agree with the items on my list... It will definitely give you a place to start, but I highly recommend that you try out a perfume (preferably from a large sample) before you buy. Some of the entries are not perfumes which I wear very often, but I feel that they are important enough to know about.

      Have fun, and please report back on your discoveries!


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