Viewer Mail: Fragrance Investment Advice

Hi Katie,

I need your help! I'm a 27 year-old-guy who works in a private bank no fewer than 10 hours a day, meeting managing directors and wealthy clients daily.

Despite the obviously serious and rather conservative context I work in, I wouldn't mind a touch of eccentricity to defy or challenge the common prejudice about gray and dull investment professionals. Actually, I think some feminine notes would be intriguing. And from a practical standpoint, it would have to be something quite persistent through the long working day.

Lately I've been wearing Eau de Cartier, which I still like, but I have grown a bit tired of it. Any suggestions?


Andrew, I like your approach of subversion through scent. For masculine fragrances in touch with their feminine side, how about the spicy rose sandalwood of Chanel Egoïste (the original, not the Platinum version), or the smoky chai of L'Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two?

Or, employing the “context is everything” rule, you could try Christian Dior Diorella (savory citrus and melon with mossy wood), Thierry Mugler Womanity (fresh fig and green pepper on a bed of ambery wood) or Lolita Lempicka Minuit Noir (violet/patchouli sandwich with extra licorice). All three are marketed as feminines, but they work great on men.

I polled my Perfume Pen Pal Dan Rolleri for his take on the matter, and here's what he had to say:

Well, when I think unisex with a little eccentricity, I fall back to Chanel Coromandel and By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses. Both are male enough, I think, though if he's starting from Eau de Cartier, maybe one of the Dior Colognes might be a more natural step.

For longevity, why not Heeley Cuir Pleine Fleur? That might be perfect: soft leather and violet.

And how about Bulgari Black?

I like all of Dan's ideas (though I think Coromandel and Liaisons Dangereuses are too large-scale for a day at the bank), and out of the Dior Colognes, I'd recommend the honeyed myrrh of Bois d'Argent and the fenugreek/lavender of Eau Noire.

Fumies, any guidance for Andrew on how to sneak some quirk into work, scent-wise?


  1. Hi Andrew,

    I would add L'Artisan Parfumeur Bois Farine to Katie's and Dan's wonderful suggestions, it captures the "old money vibe" perfectly and works great in the business environment, without loosing its grace.

    Good Luck!


  2. I don't feel at all knowledgeable enough to make a recommendation but immediately Ormonde Man sprung to mind. Only because it has a very distinguished, austere vibe that I feel would be in keeping with your work environment but also it doesn't smell tradionally 'masculine' to my nose. Not sure about the lasting power though - some say it's a bit of a problem but nothing a few extra (oh, I don't know, maybe 6 or 7) sprays won't fix!

  3. I read a recent interview where Rita Wilson mentioned that Tom Ford wears his own Private Blend Tobacco Vanille, and if anyone can be successfully argued to come across as conservatively eccentric, it's Tom Ford. Plus the stuff lasts all day.

    There's also S-eX by S-Perfume -- a fresh and quirky leather with a light ambery drydown (Luca Turin described it as a space-age leather). I think you once mentioned that Dan likes S-eX, so it might get the thumb-up from the Dan department, as well . . . ?

  4. Hello Andrew!

    My suggestions are Lancome Cuir de Lancome, Lord's Jester Demeter, and Liz Zorn Soivhole Bottle Blues.

    For more suggestions, consult Turin and Sanchez's list of best "feminines" for men in the Perfumes A-Z Guide. Among them are Aprés L'Ondée, Diorella, and Tommy Girl. (For sake of brevity, I won't list all, but if you don't have the book, just say the word.)

  5. Sabrina, I'm intrigued by your Bois Farine suggestion. I get that bready/flour/peanut association everyone talks about, but are you saying it literally conjures paper money for you? (That would be "dough" in both of its meanings.) Because I like the idea of banker Andrew wearing a fragrance that smells like money!

    Can anyone suggest other fragrances that smell like cash?

  6. RM, I love Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Man, too. That is indeed a very distinguished and classy smell - more distinguished than some of my off-the-wall recommendations.

    nathan, good on ya for suggesting Tobacco Vanille. I hemmed and hawed about including it, opting for Tea for Two as its smoky, milky chai alternative. But you're right, it lasts forever, and if it's good enough for Tom, then that's good enough for me.

    JoanElaine, I'm not familiar with the Demeter and the Soivhole. That Lancome leather is a cool suggestion, and I was kicking around Guerlain Aprés L'Ondée, owing to the violet it distantly shares with Andrew's Eau de Cartier (along with Chanel No. 19 and Balenciaga Paris). But I concluded that they were all a bit too somber and watery. But hey Andrew, if you're going down a violet-lined path, check those out, too - along with the arid-extra dry iris of Chanel No. 18. Oooh - No. 18 might qualify as a "money smelling" fragrance, too!

  7. Wow..
    I'm a bit embarassed for not knowing any of the scents you all guys just mentioned..but hey, that's why I asked for your advice!

    Interesting your money smelling idea, Katie and Sabrina, I'll definitely try the couple of names from L'Artisan Parfumeur you suggested.

    RM, I'll try to get my hands over Ormonde Man but that seems a bit more difficult to find here in the Swiss Alps. Do you know any easy way of getting a sample? Their online store perhaps?

    Thanks nathan and JoanElaine, Lancome Cuir, Apres L'Ondee, Tobacco Vanille and the Dior fragrances will be on my wrists tomorrow for sure.

    As well as Dan's suggestions and yours of course Katie. I guess I'll need a pretty long lunch break tomorrow..and most importantly more than two wrists..I'll let you know how that goes..

    And keep posting new ideas, I love this ;)

    Thanks all!

  8. If he's willing to skip down the violet strewn pathway, there's also Comme des Garcons X Stephen Jones -- now *that's* what I might call a truly subversive little investment banking scent. Powdery violet hooked up with flinty meteorite and a spicy cumin.

    It has that slightly feminine tinge that Andrew mentioned he might be looking for, while still keeping things eccentric and *just* masculine enough.

    The bottle, however . . .

    And speaking of eccentric, I read a comment on the Lucky Scent website where someone wrote that Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 smelled like money to them: "Do you know what this smells like to me? Money. Seriously. If you ever get a crisp 10 or 20 from the bank, smell it...this perfume to me smells like money."

    So there's that.

  9. Well, if He can't get Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 easily, then he can always order Iso E Super and some alcohol, and do the same thing...

    These Escentric Molecules Molecule frags are really puzzling, when they are one single molecule, and they even tell you what it is....

  10. andrew - ask and ye shall receive! Go to for samples of Ormonde Man. I don't see them listed on the website, but I know such a thing exists, because I've seen them. Tell them the nice people at KatiePuckrikSmells recommended it to you, while you're at it. OJ perfumer Linda Pilkington is a delightful talent, and one of the very first perfumers to make herself accessible to me when I started my YouTube channel back in 2008.

    You'll need more than a couple of lunch hours to plow through this cavalcade of scents, though. And that's just lifting the lid of the Pandora's box of scent that awaits you!

  11. nathan, my mind's eye flickered over the Stephen Jones violet, but I thought it would be too oddly aldehydic wafting off of Andrew. But what the hell! After all, I threw Lolita Lempicka Minuit Noir in there.

    And andrew, if the word on the street is that Molecule 01 smells like money, maybe you should check it out. Despite the brand being called Escentric Molecules, it's not very eccentric-smelling. It's a clean, crisp cedar / sandalwood scent. Go to to see where it's sold near you.

  12. Ormonde Jayne Man was the first scent that sprang to my mind too. Notable also for its edgy hint of black hemlock, which - if it were an investment vehicle - would be the hedge fund to juniper's gilts or sage's Index-Linked Savings Certificates.

    Then Kristiansand NY might fit the bill, which I think of as the scented equivalent of the boyfriend cardigan on account of its soft ambery/lavendery vibe, though I think it could probably scrub up to a pin stripe suit and braces. : - )

  13. Vanessa, thanks for casting another vote for Ormonde Man.

    Andrew, as and when you try any of these fragrances, I'd love for you to report back on any yays or nays.

  14. Well, Katie, Gucci Envy smells like "cash" to me too, but the woman's version... I don't know if Andrew would like to go that far in the white flowers side, but also worths a try. I personally find Bois Farine more appropriate for a business environment and yes, it does smells like money:)



  15. Sabrina, Andrew had better get his nose limbered up! Between Bois Farine and Gucci Envy, he's got a lot of twists and turns ahead of him.

  16. Yep, the only things those two have in common are the sleek bottles and the smell of cash:)



  17. I think Balenciaga's Quadrille would be a fab choice.

  18. DomPerrier, trust you to weigh in with a blast from the perfume past! I've not experienced that one.

  19. What's your addy?(You can send it to my e-mail

    Providence arranged it such that I strolled past a perfume supplies store(which I didn't know existed) in an almost invisible corner of town, and I bought fifty 1ml sample vials!

    Now, as promised, I can send the vintage Shalimar (blasted from the past) your way together with the Quadrille, which happens to be discontinued.

  20. I can't give you suggestions for anything that smells like money--but I will say that Ormonde Man is *the* fragrance. It makes me swoon. I wouldn't have known that it existed if not for Katie. Thanks!

    Oh my gosh, I have got to go put on perfume now.

    Oh, yeah, and concerning wearing a feminine as a don't want to ask me.

    If I were a man working in a bank, I'd go out and out Prince and be the prettiest thing ever.

    And I'd wear Lolita Lempicka. Oh my gosh, I'd be delicious.

  21. Haha Nora, isn't it funny how suggestible we can be about perfumes? "I read the words 'Ormonde Man'. I must now put on Ormonde Man. I...cannot...resist..."

    And now I want Prince to be my bank teller.

  22. Hi Katie: Could you please recommend a fragrance for an 18-year old girl, just graduated from high school and off to college. She presently wears Live by JLo. I was hoping to bump it up a bit for her. Thanks and love, love, love your blogs and you tube videos.

  23. Anonymous, I had to give this some thought, because since she's plugged into the full-on fruity caramelliness of Live, it's going to be hard to budge her too far from that aesthetic. Staying with mainstream fragrances, she might like D&G 10 La Roue de la Fortune, which is a sheerer Angel featuring some of Live's pineapple. To go to the caramel-sweet side of things, she might dig Flowerbomb. She could go for Kat Von D Saint. I wonder if she'd find Kate Walsh Boyfriend too spicy? It does have a tropical hint to it. Also check out Estee Lauder Sensuous Noir and YSL Belle d'Opium.

    Niche-wise, she might like Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille.