How To Choose a Fragrance Gift

Raoul and Katie sittin' in a tree -- h-u-f-f-i-n-g.

Yep, I'm back at Fox 5 San Diego Morning News for another fragrance slot with anchordude Raoul Martinez, who's revealing himself to be quite the budding fume connoisseur. Before my “Fragrance Gift Tips” segment starts, Raoul leans in and fixes me with an earnest look. “How long does fragrance last?” he asks. He explains that he has a bunch of colognes from when his wife used to work at a perfume counter years back, and he's started to notice that they doesn't pack the punch they used to.

“They don't last as long, and there's something missing from the smell,” he explains.

A few quick questions determine that he's been keeping his bottles in a hot bathroom, and I set him straight on the no heat/no light rule for preserving one's collection. The upside of having your fragrances die on you is that it's the perfect excuse to wear something new, and after a quick sniff through my selection, Raoul takes an instant delight in Hermès Terre d'Hermès parfum.

“I like this!” he enthuses, holding his wrist out for anchorlady Shally Zomorodi to sniff. She obliges, then wrinkles her nose and shakes her head.

“No? This smells good!” he insists, as Shally marches back to her anchor desk.

“Naw. I like Chanel Platinum Égoïste,” she declares over her shoulder. “That's what smells good on a man.”

“What's that stuff you were wearing that made me crazy?” Raoul calls across the studio to her.

Shally thinks for a second. “Oh yeah! Coco Mademoiselle!”

Raoul turns back to me conspiratorially. “Someone had it and she tried some on and it made me --” he rolls his eyes back in his head by way of illustration. “I told her how amazing it smelled and she ran right out and bought a bottle. Now that smells good.” That's all for today's fragrance news from San Diego Fox 5.

And now for the recap of my holiday fragrance gift picks:


Chanel No. 5 Eau Première -- brighter, fizzier, younger version of the classic Chanel No. 5. Starting at $135 for 5 oz from


Guerlain Vetiver -- fresh, grassy and spicy. Starting at $45 for 1.7 oz from, and


Narciso Rodriguez for Her eau de parfum -- a kiss of orange blossom and a nuzzle of musk. Feminine with a capital “F”. Starting at $78 for 1.6 oz from, and


Hermes Terre d'Hermes parfum -- starts off fresh, ends up deep. Kind of like your man. $91 for 2.5 oz from


Juliette Has a Gun Lady Vengeance -- buttery rose patchouli. Baby's first bombshell perfume. Starting from $85 for 1.7 oz from and

Yves Saint Laurent Belle D'Opium -- peachy patchouli hookah pipe teen dream. Starting at $26 for .25 oz from


Lalique White -- brisk citrus'n'spice start, followed by creamy incense/pine woodsiness. Smells good without seeming like you're trying too hard. Starting at $45 for 4.2 oz from


  1. 1) Elbows always wider than hips, guys.
    2) "That's aspirational for you!" LOL!!

    Funny stuff, and you look like you were having fun. I am asking Santa for more Katie TV in 2011 (and a bottle of Kilian Pure Oud). Hugs, Scott

  2. Thanks, guys - and Scott, so nice to spend one of your Santa wishes on me!

  3. Quite funny! Is it really safe to order from I thought perhaps they might sell counterfeits.

  4. annie, I've ordered from,, and beautyencounter, and they're all on the level.

  5. oh, that's wonderful to hear! That makes things much less expensive for me this year. :D

  6. So Belle d'Opium is not a sacrilegious flanker? Should I make an effort to find and sniff? :)

  7. Marina, I guess it all depends on your definition of "sacrilegious". The only thing Belle Dope (as I'm enjoying calling this pretty dumb - but fun - perfume) has in common with Opium is "Opium" in their names. There's no family resemblance, unlike in Shalimar Ode à la Vanille or Narciso Rodriguez Essence Intense, where it would be hard for the casual sniffer to tell the difference between flanker and original.

    I think Belle Dope is a solid choice for fruitchouli lovers looking for further stimulation and exotica from their fragrances. I do think it's a stepping stone between Miss Dior Chérie and Chinatown. Admittedly, it's a pretty big step to get from Belle Dope to Chinatown, but that's my mental taxonomy of those scents.

    BonkersAboutPerfume Vanessa was telling me that she'd been wearing Belle Dope and enjoying significant incense and resinous mystery from it. When we met up in San Diego last week (due to a serendipitous dovetailing of both our work schedules), we both smelled her Doped-up arm and only got peachy-patchouli loud and clear.

    Vanessa was mystified by the disappearing incense, and theorized that the resins hung on longer back home in England's cold winter.

    And dear fumies, if you haven't already, please check out Vanessa's witty and entertaining blog, BonkersAboutPerfume:

  8. After you said "clear your throat a lot" I tried to replace the French R with a throat clearing noise, and it sounded like pr-hrm!-iere. Made me giggle. I usually tell people the French R is an "angry pug puppy noise" and it comes from the back of the throat. =)

  9. xaryax - I like the "angry pug puppy" grr idea - it's funny and it works.

  10. Hi Katie, I just wanted to ask for some recommendations. Currently I wear DKNY Candy Apple in Sweet Caramel and I wore Be Delicious before that. Very much a DKNY girl. But I feel like I've outgrown these scents and am searching for something different.You made Narciso Rodriguez For Her sound divine and something that I would consider wearing. But are there alternatives that I should be considering?

  11. Oh, I also wanted to say something about Coco Mademoiselle - I've decided it's time I admitted to myself that I fancy some of those teen fumes scorned by more mature niche enthusiasts... Coco Mademoiselle among them. After all, I *am* young, so I should live it up, indulge, and let myself drool over fruity things once in a while. If Shally & Raoul can like it, so can I! At least I know I'm not indiscriminate in my tastes. I hate Miss Dior Cherie. =)

  12. Sya, "listen" to your nose when you try For Her EDP - I think it's fab, but it may seem too musky for you after the crispness of Be Delicious. Also try For Her EDT, which is a bit sweeter/gourmand.

    There are 2 springy florals that I think are so appealing, and they might be right for you: Guerlain Flora Nymphea (uplifting honey and orange blossom), and the new Annick Goutal Le Mimosa. Le Mimosa's not out till March, it's worth remembering for its gorgeous fresh peach and mimosa, along with a certain grassiness.

  13. xaryax - Coco Mlle really hits the spot for its throngs of fans, and it's interesting to witness when it grabs someone new, like anchorman Raoul. He comes to it without any preconceptions, and just goes, wow, I like this!

  14. Hey, thanks for the name check, Katie. : - ) I was just going to remark that there must have been at least three costume changes on the day of the TV broadcasts...

    So, thanks to a minor aviation miracle I have just arrived back to our cold winter (snow and -10 C aka 21 F, which may have been my seat number, come to think of it). I plan to carry out further Dope testing in these extra "frigid" temperatures to see if I can prove our working climatic theory. I can confirm that it was still doing its fruitchouli thing in soggy Sonoma at the weekend.

  15. Vanessa - maybe your amplified incense perception in Belle Dope was wishful thinking -- or in this case, wishful stinking....