Viewer Mail: Help Me Find a Bohemian Perfume








Hey, Katie!

I need your help. I need an everyday perfume that suits me. I'm 18 years old and really shy, but I'm also intelligent with an admittedly sharp tongue. I live with my nose in books like Lolita and Alice in Wonderland, and I love indie music, bohemian clothes, nature and everything sultry, whimsical, and nostalgic. I seem to come off as innocent, but I curse like a sailor and have wanderlust like a motherf**ker. I love leather, sunshine, the woods, red lipstick, and vintage clothes.

Shelby


Hi Shelby -- I some of my younger self in your salty/sweet self-description! Let's hook you up with some whimsical and wanderlustful choices. Lolita and Alice are heroines whose innocence is a powerful weapon, who don't shy away from breaking taboos. Your description also reminds me of the character Sally Bowles in Cabaret, played so deliciously quixotically by a 26-year-old Liza Minnelli.


Juliette Has a Gun Lady Vengeance hits a lot of your beats: it's a sweet fan dancer of a perfume, a smokey, caramelized rose that would work well with vintage clothes and your innocent aura. I've been quite impressed with Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial L'Eau, which is drier (less sweet) than its predecessor Parfum Initial, and presents a scaled-back but still coherent rendition of flapper fave Shalimar. Parfum Initial L'Eau will underscore your red lipsticked boho babeness while referencing the risque twenties.


Let's talk about leather, the woods, and all things off the beaten track. I like Christian Dior Bois d'Argent, with its mysterious myrrh and warm woods. It's indie but friendly. This is not exactly a budget option, so you could always scale back a bit and investigate Agent Provocateur L'Agent, which is a bewitching blend of tropical flowers, dark fruits and almost edible leather. It's complex but still playful, and would work just fine on a playfully complex young woman. (I happen to know that the inspiration for L'Agent is Helena Bonham Carter's personal bespoke perfume, and HBC fits your adjective list to a "T".)


Hmm...wanderlust. Hermès Eau des Merveilles just popped into my head: an amber/orange seashore, the departure point for all of your future adventures. Bond No. 9 Chinatown suggests a sensation-packed excursion to a My Little Pony version of Mott Street. And how about a sophisticated tropical trip via Tom Ford Voile de Fleur (officially discontinued, but still available online)? It's a diva-lite version of Robert Piguet Fracas, and the heady gardenia would satisfy your sultry/nostalgia needs.

Fumies, what would you recommend for salty/sweet Shelby?

34 comments:

  1. As soon as I read her bio I know exactly what she needs. Kerosenes Whips and Roses.

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    1. Don't know that one of Keronsene's. But you reminded me that I was thinking of Etat Libre d'Orange Rossy de Palma, with its tough rose.

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    2. That's a good one. I think Black Aoud might be a bit too much for her at this point!

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  2. I'd say go against type and hook her up with Habanita by Molinard. Nothing says bohemian like a massive blast of 1921 flapper oriental energy.

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  3. Sounds like me back in the day. If Shelby is channeling Sally Bowles, what about Gres Cabaret, a woody, salty and sweet rose perfume? I second Etat Libre d'Orange Rossy de Palma and also suggest exploring other nouveau retro fragrances in that line, especially Jasmine et Cigarette, Tilda Swinton Like This and for something a bit more flirty, Bijou Romantique.

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    1. Marvelous suggestions! Hear hear on Cabaret (why didn't I make that connection since I through Liza in there?) and Like This.

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  4. Methinks this girl could rock some Jolie Madame, if she could get her hands on the vintage stock.

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  5. How about L'Artisan Parfumeur Traversee du Bosphore or By Kilian Back to Black or Liaisons Dangereuses? ~~nozknoz

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  6. Thinking about Hippie Rose from Heeley....

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  7. Hi Shelby,

    I'm thinking of Siwa by Memo-Les Échappées.

    You will find there a very special creamy vanilla mixed with whiskey (good for the sailor in you) and lightly gourmand popcorn :-)), not too heady narcissus and soft musk...

    The inspiration for this beautiful scent is Siwa, an oasis located in Egypt... a sunny place that still interests the archeologists... The inhabitants there are wellkonwn also for the jewellery and fashion they create.

    Back to the scent itself... it always put a smile on my face at the first spray and then... this little "innocent - funny" thing slowly acquires a more sensual and exquisite presence.

    I wish you lots of fun by discovering some (or all!) of the scents evocated here above... I quite agree with Back to Black by Kilian(I'm wearing it today) and Whips and Roses by Kerosene (a wonderful soft creamy lightly green rose scent).

    And of course I wish you to find THE scent of your dreams!

    Kind regards from Berlin,

    Isabelle

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  8. Hey,
    I just happen to be wearing Ambre Russe by Parfum d'Empire today. It fits the profile I think.
    Boozy, smoky, rosy, pipe tobacco, that certainly feels like it's been with a few sailors.
    Portia xx

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  9. I liked Elisa's suggestion of vintage Jolie Madame, if she can find the right stock. For a more contemporary twist on the leather and floral theme, Heeley Cuir Pleine Fleur comes to mind. Although it's not vintage, it has that leathery, cool, woodsy (violets in the spring) vibe, and it's easy for every day wear. The contrast between dry/cool scent and eye-catching, bright red lipstick could be a hit.

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  10. For nostalgia - Ambre Muscadin by LM Parfums
    For the woods - The Unicorn Spell by Les Nez
    For Leather - Aleksandr by Arquiste

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  11. Hi Shelby, I am thinking of Ormond Jayne Woman and Man or L'Ombre dans L'Eau by Diptyque for a fairytale forest scent. For leather try Daim Blonde by Serge Lutens and Bottega Veneta. Cybele

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  12. Dzing! because what could be more bohemian than running away to join the circus?

    Also, Elisa and Melisa61, is the current Jolie Madame awful? I haven't smelled it yet.

    Nora

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    1. I'm not sure, actually! I have an older bottle, I've only heard the current version is not at all the same.

      And you know, I just remembered -- Aramis is a great affordable leather chypre that reminds me a lot of Jolie Madame and could easily be worn by a saucy boheme.

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    2. Love the idea of Dzing! circus and leather, Cybele

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    3. Nora, I sniffed a more current Jolie Madame a few years ago and it just wasn't the same. I wouldn't bother with it. Vintage can still be found on online auctions and it isn't terribly high priced. But the prices are starting to climb a bit.

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  13. Hippie Rose by Heeley has already been named so I'll suggest GS02 by Geza Schoen for Biehl Parfümkunstwerke. I always thought it was a young yet dirty fragrance with which I associate sweet Peaches on leather seats, apparently it's about campari and absinth!

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  14. Katie,
    Yes! Lady Vengeance by Juliette Has a Gun. What could be more perfect?

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  15. Just thought of Cannabis Rose by Fresh for you as well.

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  16. Oh my God, I seriously can't believe that you, Katie, actually made a blog post about this, but also that there are so many lovely fumies giving me suggestions!!! Thanks so much to everyone, and I'm definitely getting a tester of all of these fragrances as soon as I possibly can! Actually, to be honest, I've already ordered a few samples of Katie's suggestions online, especially the Lady Vengence since I hear so many wonderful things about it. I'm still so flattered--and freaking out inside, honestly--because of this. If I could give you all hugs, I would. No joke.

    xoxoShelby

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  17. It's fun to try to interpret a personality through perfume, Shelby. Do check back in to let us know if you find a fume that makes your heart sing.

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    1. It really is!! I don't think I've ever had so much fun. I ordered samples of all the perfumes y'all have recommended me, and every time I come home after class, I just fall in love with them all again.

      I do think that I'm going to buy the full size of Lady Vengence first, though, because it's such a lovely scent, and also because I bought the sample set and I get the price of said sample set deducted from the cost of the full size perfume. It's a wonderful deal and I just can't get enough of Lady Vengence. I mean, with a name like that, who couldn't love it? And the Bulgarian rose is heaven coupled with the patchouli and vanilla, and I usually steer clear of vanilla since that's my grandmother's favorite scent and she's sort of a bitch, but it all just smells so lovely!

      You have opened my eyes to a whole new world of happiness. Thank you all so much for this--I really appreciate it.

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    2. Glad you're finding some love matches, Shelby. Once all the samples come in, you've got yourself a crash course in advanced perfume appreciation. Lucky you!

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  18. Aw, thanks for the hugs, Shelby.

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    1. No problem!! I love hugs--if anything ever goes wrong, all I need is a hug and I feel wonderful, haha.

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  19. wesleyhallparkerJuly 27, 2012 1:46 PM

    Aw, I love this thread. I think Shelby may be Zoey Deschanel in disguise, judging by her description ;) So happy you liked Lady Vengeance, Shelby! Curious to hear what else you liked. I find that our perfume tastes follow our personalities - but also, honestly our noses. We tend to like certain notes regardless of what those notes "mean." Ya know? So I'm curious to hear whether you are digging florals, leather, patchouli, sweet scents, green ones, etc the most :) It will help the other perfumistas recommend other perfume loves for you.

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    1. Haha, oh my God, I love you. Zooey Deschanel is my spirit animal, no joke. I bought the Lady Vengeance in the full size and my aunt actually let me raid her perfume collection--she has two full bedrooms in her house dedicated to perfume, and she boarded up the windows from the inside and everything to keep all light from altering the scents, and just wow haha--and she actually gave me one of her bottles of Jolie Madame which I'm also in love with. She also gave me a bottle of Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial L'Eau. I'd always heard my great aunts talk about Shalimar and how their mother wore it constantly and had a cool flapper vibe and was just really bad*ss, so I'm really happy I inherited some of it, haha. I can't wait to get the full size of Agent Provocateur L'Agent because it's just like Heaven. I've found I love the floral notes the most with patchouli especially, and leather is just amazing and wonderful and ugh. Perfect. It reminds me of an old boyfriend I had--his car always smelled like old, worn leather and Marlboros which is quite possible one of my favorite scents in the world, haha. Actually, Portia's recommendation, Ambre Russe by Parfum d'Empire, fits that pretty well and I think I'm going to buy a full size of that as well if only to keep it around and smell it when I feel nostalgic. I'm actually really in love with patchouli now, actually. I've always loved it, but I never knew what it was until I went to my local perfume store, and it's just amazing. I've found that I don't actually like oriental scents overall, but there are a few that I really love and actually work well with my chemistry. Overall, I'm digging the rose scents, patchouli, leather, etc. I always thought I hated rose and vanilla, but once I picked up these testers, you have all just opened my world up to so many possibilities! I never would have dreamed I'd love so many scents, so thank you all so, so much! I'm so happy to have so many wonderful fumies guiding me, and thanks, Katie for absolutely everything! :)

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    2. Shelby! It takes a village: a village filled with online fumies and perfume-loving aunts, it appears. With so much fragrance information and inspiration, your nose is going to be busy for years. Thank you again for your inquiry.

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  20. Shelby what do you think of L'Air de Rien by Miller Harris?

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  21. If you live in classics and Lolita, then you must try Amaze from People of the Labyrinths. Henna, Saffron, Taif Rose, Orange Blossom, Wardia Rose, Agarwood, Sandalwood, Musk, Civet. The rose dominates. :)Kimberly

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    1. Kimberly, A*Maze is one of my top handful of high rotation perfumes at the minute. Let's see, I'm loving A*Maze, Bruno Acampora Musc, Amouage Ayoon Al Maha Attar, Clinique Aromatics Elixir, Diptyque L'Eau Trois and Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady.

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