Viewer Mail: Summer Jasmines, Winter Musks and Foggy Lavenders

Hi Katie,

I'm very pleased to see you've started your own fragrance site as I've been tuning into your YouTube channel for a while now to enjoy some quick perfume desserts. Perhaps you have some recommendations for me. I'm looking for three perfumes: one for summer, one for winter, and one odd little ambiguous one to be worn on foggy days regardless of the season.

The summer one should be a really hardcore jasmine scent. Serge Lutens À la Nuit would be my choice - heady, very sexy, kind of green just before it disappears - but I'm wondering if there's anything a bit weirder or even sultrier out there (don't worry, I would only wear such a fragrances after sunset). I like L’Artisan Parfumeur La Haie Fleurie du Hameau as well....

For winter I would like to try a musk. My favourite so far is Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur, but I really don't like the chocolate/vanilla/cinammon territory it enters after a few hours. I like Il Profumo Musc Bleu, too, but first of all its staying power as horrible and secondly I find it a bit too tame, even a tad boring.

My favorites for the hybrid one are Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur, Frédéric Malle Angeliques Sous La Pluie (can you tell I admire Ellena?) and Santa Maria Novella Melograno, but I would like to explore some more options before I invest in anything.

If you have any ideas, even just for one perfume, I would looove to hear them!


Nadine, I love all your choices, and I’m sure you’d be happy with any of them. But just for kicks, I’ll throw in a few more options.

Summer: I know you’re looking for a “death by jasmine” jasmine, and Serge Lutens À la Nuit is probably it. But I’m grooving on a weird, sultry summer fave that’s all about Polynesian flowers and sweat: LesNez Manoumalia. I think it’s fantastic! And another “wowie” sultry number is Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower, with its creamy tuberose (along with jasmine) framed in crisp leafy green. For a spicier jasmine, try The Different Company Jasmin de Nuit. And to make friends and colleagues gasp, "Who invited the jasmine bush to the party?" try Bruno Acampora Jasmin. It's an intensely indolic, realer-than-real jasmine that will have folks peeking up your skirt to try to see your roots.

Winter: For years I’ve loved wearing Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur in the oil form, which I feel amplifies the musk element. But I’m with you on not favoring its cinnamon/spice aspect. That’s why I did little mountain goat leaps when I discovered Le Labo Labdanum 18, another Maurice Roucel creation. Labdanum 18 has all the dirty moose oomph of MR, but without the distracting spice sprinkles. It lasts forever and a day on the skin, and smells sexy and mmmmm the whole way through. I feel confident that you will love this! And for a pure, lovely, simple white musk, I like C.O. Bigelow Musk perfume oil. This one is all-purpose, but might hit you as borderline boring.

Foggy hybrid: Yves Saint Laurent Kouros (barbershop and incense) and Nasomatto China White (smoky roses, powdery leather, violets and shattered porcelain). Thinking of your Monsieur de Mouchoir lavender: Guerlain Jicky (lavender, vanilla and full diapers), By Kilian A Taste of Heaven (menthol lavender, absinthe and woody vanilla), B Never Too Busy to Be Beautiful (now renamed Gorilla Perfume) Breath of God (menthol lavender, leather and fall leaves). The last two are tip-offs from my Perfume Pen Pal Dan, who is also is a big jasmine lover. I shall summon him, like a genie from a lamp, to share some of his findings.


  1. Oh, I thought you'd be impressed with the snazzy stationary I picked out!

    Balmy palm tree greetings (and big warm thanks) from N-E-Europe,


  2. How about Parfums Delrae Amoureuse as another candidate for the summer jasmine-heavy scent? Tons of jasmine, dirty, spicy goodness without being a jasmine soliflore. One of my faves.

  3. Spot on, ahsu! I was just smelling Amoureuse at Barney's yesterday, and it was an oversight not to include it. Amoureuse is big, decadent I-am-jasmine-hear-me-roar, with a romantic heart.

  4. Hi Nadine,

    I've been summoned. San Francisco, where I live, is the foggy-hybrid capital of the world (I hear they're considering changing the city's name to "Foggy Hybrid"), which makes it a great perfume region because thick, bold fragrances never have to move to the back of the line.

    But jasmine first. Along the lines of Katie's suggestion of Malle's Carnal Flower is Ormonde Jayne's Frangipani Absolute, not quite as heady as Carnal Flower but still a sultry tropical jasmine, perfect for summers away from San Francisco. As for very sexy post-sunset jasmines, I urge you to try two of the Parfums MDCI's from Francis Kurkdjian: Promesse de l'Aube and Enlevement au Serail. Both are bold, gorgeously feminine chypres and while they're expensive, they're also available from MDCI as part of a reasonably priced sample set. (And a little goes a long way.)

    Jumping back to foggy hybrids, my two favorites, Bulgari Black and Le Labo's Patchouli 24, are both sweet and weird (and both are from Annick Menardo), the first a vanilla rubber, the second a vanilla smoke. They work beautifully on foggy days and especially foggy nights. Also, while it's an aquatic, Heeley's Sel Marin is also a weird one, a salty ocean scent that's somehow more reminiscent of a cold, windy Northern California beach than a sunny one to the south.

    By the way, it's currently foggy and 60 degrees in San Francisco. On July 29. Lovely.

  5. Oh, thanks so much for your ideas, everyone!

    Ahsu - I'm off to sniff Amoureuse today, I have a big romantic heart, too, so perhaps it'll be a good fit.

    Dan - I am v. keen to try the entire Ormonde Jayne line, oh my mouth is watering just thinking about it!
    And as for the Parfums MDCI you suggest -- in the past I've done a bit of tourism on the MDCI website and read a few reviews of some of their fragrances. They are really pricey, and guess what, I utterly dislike the horrid little statue stoppers, so I thought I wouldn't have to try them, but now you've unleashed a lemming...
    I recently sniffed Patchouli 24 for the first time and will revisit it.
    And I'll definitely look up the Heeley, which I'd never hear of till now. I can imagine it being right for San Francisco -- I spent part of last summer there and wore my winter hoody in the evenings.

    Katie, I have two other musks on my list: SG Muscs Koublai Khan and PG L'Ombre Fauve.

  6. Nadine,

    Regarding MDCI and Ormonde Jayne, you're in luck because both have the most generous sample programs on the planet. And the cost of MDCI's samples is deducted from your next order.

    And, yes, MDCI's little statue heads are difficult to defend aesthetically, as is the company's website, which looks as if it were designed by a despondent person with no computer skills. But the perfumes are utterly gorgeous and if Grace Kelly were here, she'd back me up on this. (And then she'd probably want to know who I am and why I care so much about perfume.)