Monday Question: Which Perfumes Have Won You Compliments?

By Tara

Have you had unsolicited compliments on your perfumes, if so which ones?

Are the compliments only from friends and family or have you received them from strangers?

Do you live in hope that someone will one day recognise that wonderful “Scent of the Day” you are wearing and congratulate you on your good taste?

Do some perfumes get more of a positive reaction from men than women or vice versa?

Do you only wear perfume for yourself and therefore have no desire to illicit such attention?

My Answer:

Recently the husband of a friend of mine pronounced my perfume “Gorgeous” and asked me its name. It was Une Rose by Frederic Malle and I was quietly thrilled. The reason I was so pleased is that I hardly ever get complimented on my fragrance. I wear perfume for my own pleasure and would never wear one chiefly to gain praise, but because it is such a big passion of mine it’s nice when it’s appreciated by others.

I like to blame it on the traditional British reserve but the fact is I can remember each of the handful of times I have received fragrance compliments since Perfumania set in a few years ago. My sister told me I smelled great whilst I was wearing Parfumerie Generale’s Aomassai, my work colleague once remarked that my perfume was nice (Osmanthus by Ormonde Jayne) and when wafting Portrait of a Lady (another Malle), my mother commented on how lovely my perfume was.

It’s common sense that high concentration fragrances are most likely to get noticed and that a lot depends on whether your perfume is appealing to others’ tastes, however it’s always interesting to hear about the fragrances that others respond positively to. So please tell me about the occasions you have received compliments on your perfume, so I can live vicariously through you!

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44 Responses to Monday Question: Which Perfumes Have Won You Compliments?

  1. Marie says:

    It’s only lately that I received compliments for my fragrances and it’s mainly been from co-workers. They’ve liked JHAG Lady Vengeance. EL Sensuous, Teo Cabanel Oha – my GP’s secretary proclaimed “that smells d… good” – other hits have been Parfums de Rosine Rose Kashmirie and Stella McCartney Stella. So the people around me seem to like rose notes and comfy scentr or maybe it’s mainly lovers of those scentsrose notes that care enough about fragrance to bother commenting – I don’t know, but I do like the occasional compliment.

    • Marie says:

      Sorry about the messy sentence – am writing this on my smart phone on a train that moves at high speed :-)

    • Tara says:

      It’s interesting, I think rose scents and gourmands do seem to be particularly appealing to non-perfumistas. What’s not to like about roses and comforting, foody aromas have a high feel-good factor.

  2. lady jane grey says:

    The only ever parfume compliment from a complete stranger was in a Vienna tram for Chanel’s Allure (must be more than 10 years ago though…). My main reason to wear parfume is to please myself, but I’m not unhappy when others like it as well – however, I’m aware of the fact that I often wear scents not entirely consistent with the popular taste. My colleagues in the office and friends, of course, know already that I’m a parfume nerd and they often compliment. The easiest is with Guerlain’s Double Vanille…
    6 of my neighbours came over for dinner yesterday and they were quite enthusiastic about the scent I wore – LeLabo’s Oud27….

    • Tara says:

      Allure is very sweet to me and SDV has the comfort factor, so there’s definitely a theme emerging here! Oud 27 sounds like a bit of curve ball but I ‘ve never tried it.

  3. andrea says:

    I do wear perfume for myself but feel very pleased when someone else notices and comments, so far I have had comments on Prada Candy, Jo Malone Rose Water and Vanilla, Guerlain Apres L’ Ondee, Diptyque Eau Duelle, Serge Lutens Datura Noir, Parfumerie Generale Tonkamande and Hermes Elixir des Merveilles.
    I also got a comment from my son yesterday (I am trying to persuade him to become a perfumer as I think he has a talent for it but he has dismissed it already) that I smelled nice, I was wearing a sample of Le Labo Vanille 44, what a shame that we both thought it was lovely what with the high price tag and exclusives line, I have 2 days to decide if I want it desperately enough.

    • Tara says:

      Lots of vanillas in your list there which makes sense. A nice homely smell. Too bad your son doesn’t want to become a perfumer. How cool would that be to have one in the family?

      Good luck with the Vanille 44 decision, that’s a tricky one!

  4. Marie says:

    I have not had many compliments on the perfume I wear (only exception: my mother). Actually, this makes me a bit sad – I don’t need the affirmation for myself but I’d like to know about the general appeal of the perfume I wear and a positive or negative reaction would give a hint.
    The only three perfumes that men have commented on were Infusion d’Iris, Nuit de Tubereuse and Carnal Flower.
    Strangely, women never ask me about my perfume…
    However, my mother likes to say what suits me, what doesn’t and what she thinks will rather suit her (and although she is by no means a parfumista she is mostly right. “Dark” perfumes wear me and do better on her – her favorite samples were Une Rose and POAL by Malle. “Bright” perfumes compliment me while they do not suit her).

    • Tara says:

      I agree, apart from the fact that everyone likes a compliment, it’s just nice to get the feedback. I’m always asking those around me for their thoughts but an unsolicited compliment says a lot. Interesting to read that two tuberose perfumes were such a hit with men. I wonder if it’s because they are so “va-va-voom” feminine.

      It’s useful that you and your mother have worked out your two very different perfume personalities. That can help a lot.

  5. Sandra says:

    I wear pefume for myself mainly. I too have received only a few comments on my perfume. They were with Osmanthus Yunnan, Amouage Memoir, Parfum MDCI La Belle Helene. Generally the people around me do not comment on my perfume of the day. The only person to be consistently happy with my perfume is my two year old, but that is because he likes smelling various bottles.

    • Tara says:

      Those are three very classy, wonderful perfumes so it’s nice to hear they were appreciated by others.

      That’s cute to hear about your two-year old. Just smelling things at that age is interesting to them. I hope he retains his interest!

  6. Julie says:

    I’ve received compliments twice; both times I was wearing SSS Femme Jolie. Once was from my son-in-law after a greeting hug. The other time was from an older female patron in the library where I work. I wound up writing it down for her and telling her about Laurie’s website. I was terrified my boss would overhear and make me go wash it off, since she feels we should be “above wearing scent”. I’m the smelly reprobate of the department.

    • Tara says:

      Can’t get over your boss’s attitude that you should be “above wearing scent”! That’s very sad. I’m glad you were able to pass on the information about SSS all the same. Laurie’s perfumes are generally very well liked, good quality and value for money.

  7. civava says:

    I got compliment long time ago from one of my not so close friend for Byzance. I don’t remember any other but I’m sure they were some, mainly form women. I also recieved some negative response in my office whilst wearing some hard to wear perfumes just to test them.

    • Tara says:

      Yes, it’s hard to test those more “challenging” scents around others. I do sometimes wonder what they must be thinking but there are only so many hours in the day and we have to test them when we can!

  8. deeHowe says:

    I love it when people comment positively on my fragrance, especially because it so rarely happens! I think that this is probably because I don’t usually wear enough for anyone to smell it unless they are at close range.

    However, two strangers (men) and my husband recently commented on my fragrance: SSS Champagne de Bois. I was reaching over one customer to shelve a book, and he told me I smelled wonderful, and then proceeded to tell me about his hunt for a fragrance that he once smelled on a woman and spent ages trying to locate again. The other stranger was a much older man (on another day) who told me, “your perfume takes me back 40 years.” He seemed to be caught up in reverie, and didn’t tell me the rest of the story, but it was a fun experience. Then, of course, my husband, who, despite smelling me in up to three different perfumes s day, always notices CdB! Usually during a hug ;)

    • Tara says:

      Another hit for SSS! The two stories are intriguing, dee. It’s fascinating how a scent can get into your soul and take you back in time. I can easily imagine the need to hunt for a certain perfume without knowing the name but it must be so difficult and frustrating.

  9. Elizabeth W says:

    I don’t often get compliments on my perfume but one time my employer, also a woman, liked CB I Hate Perfumes Patchouli Empire on me. My husband has complimented me on Ralph Lauren Safari; he also likes Etro Shaal Nur.

    • Tara says:

      It’s interesting to hear that most people don’t seem to be getting a lot of compliments on their perfume. I had thought it was just me but obviously not. I’ve been fascinated by Etro Shaal Nur for a long time so I must make an effort to try it.

  10. Asali says:

    Hi Tara,
    Thanks for hosting the Monday Q.
    The ones that come instantly to mind are: La Belle Helene, Attrape Coeur and Iris Ganache. On the whole I’d say more or less vanilla-based scents are top of the compliment list and leather and incense bottom, which doesn’t keep me from wearing those though :-)

    • Tara says:

      Hi Asali! Attrape Ceour and Iris Genache are amazing perfumes and another vote for La Belle Helene, how intersting. I think your right about vanilla-based perfumes, it’s that comforting smell of home-baking I think. I also think you’re right about leathers being least popular, my friend looked appalled when she sniffed Cuir de Lancome on me! Like you, it won’t stop me wearing it, though.

  11. Elisa says:

    Just yesterday I got a compliment on SSS Winter Woods. And this summer, a saleswoman at an Estee Lauder counter raved and raved about Voile de Violette — she asked “What is that wonderful smell?!” and said I’d found my perfect perfume.

    I’ve also been asked by strangers to name my perfume when wearing Frederic Fekkai Eau Sensuelle (this was a guy who worked at a post office!), DSH Tubereuse, or DK Gold.

    My friends often compliment Rossy de Palma, and my boyfriend always notices NR for Her.

    • Tara says:

      I think SSS win the contest today for most complimented perfume line!

      Tuberose and lily perfumes are very feminine so maybe that’s the attraction for men. I don’t know Frederic Fekkai had a fragrance so I must look into that, as well as Rossy de Palma, which sounds well worth exploring.

      • Elisa says:

        Yes, I think it’s the richness and the sillage that works in SSS’s favor.

        FFES is a really lovely orange blossom cologne — I’m not sure if it’s discontinued, but I found a bottle for under $10!

        • Tara says:

          Elisa, I would say you’re exactly right about the richness and sillage of the SSS scents. They are very diffusive without being too heavy.

          As for the FFES, any decent perfume under $10 is a great find, well done!

  12. Vanessa says:

    I had almost given up hope of having anyone notice the perfume I was wearing till a male acquaintance went into raptures on sniffing my sillage of Ajne Printemps. Then a lady in a clothes shop said my Balenciaga Cristobal was very nice the other day, and Mrs Bonkers Senior said “Someone smells nice!” when I walked into the room wearing Labdanum 18. These are very rare instances though and I am resigned to mostly wearing perfume for myself. I would need to be really, for I have had to wait a long time to elicit even these three! : – )

    • Tara says:

      Considering you are the Queen of Understated Elegance when it comes to perfume, V, it’s no wonder that compliments are few and far between. You are definitely not one for sillage monsters like PoaL so that’s sure to be the main reason. Nice to hear you’ve has a few compliments of late, though. Labdanum 18 is such a warm, furry perfume. I’d love to get a decant of that, one of these days.

  13. Vanessa says:

    That should read “three compliments” – I had written “compliments” twice and in my zeal to avoid repetition managed to delete both…while leaving two mentions of “nice” instead. Sorry, but I am on a screen the size of an envelope with a poor signal in the middle of a forest!

    • Tara says:

      No problem! I appreciate you making the effort under the circumstances.

      I was in a haze of Gastroenteritis yesterday, hence the delay in replying. Apologies!

  14. Julie says:

    I wear perfume for myself (certainly not for my husband as he would rather I didn’t wear any due to migraines). Of course, a compliment is always nice but I don’t think I wear enough scent these days (again, due to the husband) for people to notice. Can’t think of any compliments recently. Obviously, I need to hug more people! Before my perfumista days, I got compliments on EL Pleasures and CSP Vanille Coco – that one, especially from men, it is a big sugar bomb.

    • Tara says:

      Yes, it seems to be beneficial to be in close bodily contact in order to get those compliments! Sugar bombs seem to work in the case of men too.

      It’s too bad about your husband’s migraines. That must be hard for both of you. Of course subtle application is going to be a must in that situation.

  15. Olfactoria says:

    I rarely receive compliments, which is a
    bit sad. :(
    Recently though, a friend commented on MdO Oud, she was quite taken with it, until she made me tell her the price… :)
    Thank you for hosting, Tara!

    • Tara says:

      Hi B, thanks for checking in on your holiday!

      I love it when you mention in a review that a perfume elicted compliments. I remember that Vanille Insensee got a good response. Again, another vanilla perfume.

      That’s interesting to hear about Mona di Orio’s Oud. You don’t expect an oud perfume to appeal to non-perfumistas but by all accounts it’s pretty special and not your straightfoward, typical oud composition. Too bad for your friend and the rest of us about the price!

  16. Undina says:

    I get enough compliments for my perfumes but since mostly they come from friends and co-workers who know I’m “into perfumes” I’m not sure if they really liked perfumes they’ve commented on or just noticed that I wore one and chose it as a polite remark. Do I care? Not really. I do not want my perfume to be unpleasant or offensive but other than that I wear it for my own pleasure and if I absolutely love the way I smell it makes me happy. I wouldn’t mind getting more compliments from my vSO though but due to allergies he often can’t smell well even perfumes with strong sillage so most of the time he’s probably unaware of the fact that I have a perfume on me :(.

    • Tara says:

      I’m sure your friends and co-workers aren’t just being polite!

      It must be a shame when your vSO can’t appreciate your perfumes because of an allergy or migraines. Your perfumes make you happy though and that is the main thing. It’s lovely to get a compliment but there’s so much more to perfume than that for people like us.

  17. wesleyhallparker says:

    You know – since I have started experimenting with niche perfumes or more niche-like lines of mainstream brands (Chanel, Hermes, etc), I do not get comments as often. I think because many niche lines do not have the high octane sillage and lasting power that you find in the department store brands? I have been wondering about this. What do you all think?

    My one more “niche-y” compliment I received this year was from my Dad, lol! We were dropping our daughter off for babysitting with my parents on one of my husband’s and my (rare) nights out to a fancy party and I had JUST applied 31 Rue Cambon. Maybe it was the perfume or the vintage 60s cocktail dress I was wearing or both – but Dad gasped, and said, “You smell amazing!” and then, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you smell just like my mother.” Which is fine by me, my grandmother had great taste :) I think she wore Chanel – though I’m not sure which one(s) in the mid-century. I do remember her smelling like Iris – and there is certainly a huge iris note in 31 RC. (But hey, proof from a non perfumista that it does literally smell like grandmother perfume, lol.)

    Other than that – this is embarrassing but back in the late 90s / early 2000’s, in my uneducated days I got tons of compliments from strangers on Hanae Mori Butterfly (EDP or parfum concentration; I didn’t like the EDT.)

    People like to slag on HM Butterfly – and it does have a bad hairspray-like opening. But the drydown is apparently intoxicating for non-perfumista types. Gay male friend (with great taste!) told me I smelled like “Vanilla witchcraft” wearing it, many female friends loved it, my now husband used to nuzzle up to me when we were dating and say, “You smell like a cookie.” And I quite literally had men and women stop me on the street in San Francisco and ask me what I was wearing so they could go buy it – frequently during the morning commute on Muni or BART when I had recently applied. I never did more than 1 or 2 spritzes because it was a sillage monster. So usually the compliments I received were from friends when they came in to give me a hug when arriving at or leaving a party. Which, in my book – is just the perfect amount of sillage! I no longer wear HM Butterfly – doesn’t suit me – but I sure would love to find a perfume with similar sillage, longevity and crowd appeal. Getting those compliments was always fun.

    • Tara says:

      Wow “Vanilla witchcraft” must be one of the best compliments ever! I just love 31 RC. It definitely has that vintage feel but it still manages to be modern at the same time for me.

      I think the niche-like perfumes do get less of a reaction because, like you say, they do not often have the throw that mainstream perfumes have. Also they tend to be more sophisticated and may lack the mass appeal that mainstream perfumes aim for. Niche-like perfumes are less likely to be “sugar bombs” (as Julie mentioned) which seem to be good for attracting compliments from a wide range of people. It’s not going to make me wear them though!

      • wesleyhallparker says:

        I know, right? “Vanilla witchcraft” is definitely the best perfume compliments ever. Too bad it was for my former “sugar bomb” perfume :) I agree – while I miss the smiles it got me, I wear perfume for myself – so I can’t go back to what I used to wear, now that my nose knows what else is out there.

        Is there a reason why the niche lines have less throw? And why they don’t last as long? Is it something in the ingredients or composition? Personally, I don’t like my perfume to have scary reach. I want it to be something you only smell when you come in for a hug (in short, if you’re not in my personal space – it won’t bug you.) But I find that many niche lines – particularly some of the Chanel Exclusifs and Hermenessences – which I LOVE – have *terrible* longevity, and I have to cram my wrist up to my nose to smell them.

        While some department store scents are tackily loud – many DO behave as I think many people desire – which is to say, you can smell them when you’re close, and they LAST. Why can’t niche fragrances operate like that?

        • Elisa says:

          I personally find Chanel, Hermes and L’Artisan to be the most “watered down” of the niche lines, in terms of sillage/lasting power. I’ve had good luck with plenty of others (Serge Lutens, Etat Libre d’Orange, Parfums di Nicolai, etc.)

    • elizabeth says:

      Just last week I complimented a friend on her perfume, and it turns out it was HM Butterfly! We were parting ways, and even before we were actually hugging I could smell that “vanilla witchcraft” (love that description for this scent!) wafting up. I know it’s been said before, but I do think we come to niche lines with different expectations (rightfully so in some cases), and I think Elisa has actually said something about how she suspects Aquolina’s Pink Sugar (a scent I love without shame, though often times not on others, and especially not when there’s no escaping it–I felt like I was eating caramel corn rather than popcorn at the movies once because someone was wearing it like six rows up (sounds better than it tasted)) would attract loads of niche fans if only it were repackaged and put out by a nice line (sorry if I’m misquoting you, Elisa). All this is to say: don’t feel bad about loving what you loved during your “uneducated days”! All those smells led you to where you’re sniffing now.

      • Elisa says:

        Close enough! :) I don’t think Pink Sugar is bad, just simple — but so is Prada Candy.

        I love HM Butterfly and don’t mind saying so! As I’ve said before, “It’s my Tocade.”

        • wesleyhallparker says:

          Y’all are making me feel better with the HM Butterfly love :) It was my signature scent for gosh… 10 years… after having my daughter it somehow didn’t feel “right” on me any more… but I still think it’s darling!

  18. Joan says:

    I’m an HM Butterfly fan too, Elisa.

    I get compliments mostly from friends (male friends, straight and gay). I’ve gotten them on Bvlgari Black, Parfumerie Generale Cuir Venenum, Mitsouko, Carnal Flower, and Habanita.

    Someone stopped me in the street the other day and asked what perfume I was wearing that smelled so good. It was Tokyo Milk’s Crushed, which smells like a green Fracas.

  19. Eva S says:

    I recieve compliments occasionally, mostly from women. I have recieved comments from complete strangers, once from a cab- driver who exclaimed “oh, you smell so good!” when I got into the taxi, that felt a bit weird…A SA once complimented me on Tauer Orange Star, probably because of the impressive sillage! Friends and colleges have appreiciated Kelly Caleche, Voyage D’Hermes and Fleur du Male. Yesterday I got a compliment on Bandit from a college who’s the only other perfumista I know in real life!

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