Perfume On Mount Olympus – Scenting The Greek Goddesses

By Guest Writer Alexandra

Editor’s Note: Please let us welcome regular reader Alexandra, who graciously agreed to write a post on scenting Greek Goddesses. Alexandra is a museum professional and lives in London.

 A few weeks ago Birgit offered some beautiful perfume suggestions for a selection of her favourite characters; I have always found scenting people difficult because of the subtleties and contradictions of human nature. I am slowly building up my perfume wardrobe: I have formal scents, sexy scents, scents for relaxing, for working hard, for making a good impression at work and scents for warm spring days – I can’t ever imagine finding one perfume that sums me up entirely.

But the exercise did get me thinking: there is no such difficulty when it comes to the Greek Goddesses; they represent the extremes of human nature made manifest. Aphrodite is sexy, she doesn’t have to worry about an appropriate scent for a quiet night in.

I have always loved the Greek myths and have a soft spot for the Classical gods in films:

Ursula Andress as Aphrodite – GENIUS! But my perfume-loving soul now needs to add an extra dimension to them, so below are my own humble offerings to the Goddesses that make up the Greek Pantheon:

Hera – Queen of the Gods and sacred guardian of marriage and family.

Easy! A regal, grand dame of perfume that still smells like a loving embrace, for me this could only ever be Shalimar. And as Queen of the Gods she can have as many crystal flacons of the extrait as her heart desires.

Artemis – Virgin Goddess of the hunt.

Mysterious and proud, Artemis is most at home running through the depths of the forest in wild pursuit. For me Artemis wears Ormonde Woman, the bewitching scent of a dark green forest, sliced by shards of sunlight.

Athene – the Goddess of wisdom, skill and justice, born in full battle armour.

I see Athene in Mitsouko, the very epitome of civilised perfection, classical and true.

Aphrodite – not a romantic Goddess, but the goddess of pure unadulterated lust.

I was torn on this one, I initially chose Penhaligon’s Amaranthine (has Amaran-thigh ever been so appropriate?), which always reminds me of sweaty bodies (in a good way…), but in the end I opted for Fracas. Fracas is fleshy and re-blooded, but also attention grabbing, it can not be ignored – Aphrodite’s kinda perfume.

 Demeter – Goddess of seasons, nature and the cornfield.

This has to be Parfumerie Générale’s Bois Blond, the only perfume I have ever smelled where you can follow the grass through summer to the hay of autumn, perfect!

 Persephone – Queen of Tartarus

OK, so Persephone is not officially of the Pantheon, but I love the name, and I knew immediately how to scent her. Persephone is the daughter of Demeter and was abducted by Hades while collecting flowers. What could suit her better than L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Voleur de Roses? A beautiful flower shrouded in earthy darkness.

Finally, my knowledge of men’s fragrances let’s me down when it comes to the Gods, do let me know if you have any ideas


– may I just offer Serge Lutens’s Muscs Koublai Khan for the violent, philandering Ares?

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This entry was posted in Fragrance Reviews, Guerlain, L'Artisan Parfumeur, Ormonde Jayne, Parfumerie Generale, Robert Piguet, Serge Lutens and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Perfume On Mount Olympus – Scenting The Greek Goddesses

  1. chris says:

    Zeus : The King of the Gods = Xerjoff Homme by Xerjoff
    Aether : The God of the Upper Air and Light = La Myrrhe by Serge Lutens
    Erebus : The God of Darkness and Shadow = Or Black (VINTAGE) by Pascal Morabito
    Pontus : The God of the Sea, Father of the Fish = Tirrenico by Profumi Del Forte
    Chronos : The God of Time = L’ Heure Fougueuse by Cartier

    • Alexandra says:

      Fantastic, thank you! I especially like La Myrrhe for Aether (it really is an elusive scent) and of course Cartier for Chronos.

  2. Ines says:

    This was so much fun to read! :) Good choices (I especially like Amaranthine possibility for Aphrodite).

    And I really like Chris’ addition of gods.

  3. Alexandra says:

    Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it; Amaranthine really was only just pipped at the post!

  4. tara says:

    I loved this Alexandra, many thanks. I have been meaning to get a kind of beginners book about Goddesses for a long time, so it was nice to get these little snapshots. I think your perfume picks are inspired too. I especially loved Bois Blond for Demeeter. It is the smell of grass through to hay!

    • Alexandra says:

      My pleasure and I am glad you liked Bois Blond – I was tempted to include Heeley’s new L’Amandiere as a ode to spring grass, and I find the two perfumes remind me of each other.

  5. Olfactoria says:

    Thank you for agreeing to write this post, Alexandra! It is great! I love the perfumes you assigned the Goddesses, very inspired matches.
    Chris’s God perfumes are just perfect, thanks!

  6. Sara says:

    I am going to rely on my memory for this, and have not googled it yet (a very daring – or lazy- thing!), but I seem to remember that Persephone had to eat a pomegranate and the number of seeds in her mouth dictated how many months she’d have to spend in Hades. So I would definitely add Jo Malone’s Pomegranate Noir to her collection.

  7. Thank you for such a wonderful post Alexandra! Amaranthine and Fracas for Aphrodite are wonderful choices :D

  8. Caro says:

    Welcome Alexandra!
    I too thought of Fracas for Aphrodite but I think Amaranthine would be more fitting.
    Ormonde Woman is a wonderful coice for Artemis and so would be Bois d’Ombrie.
    Passage d’Enfer woul do for Persephone too i think.
    Thanks for a lovely post.

  9. Alexandra says:

    Oh I have never tried Bois d’Ombrie, and Ormonde Woman is a favourite of mine. You have completely inspired me – it sounds glorious – thank you!

  10. Suzanne says:

    It’s nice to meet you, Alexandra, and I loved your guest post! I saw that movie, the one that is pictured here, and was so amazed at how young and pretty Maggie Smith was in it. (N0t that I should be amazed, since everyone was young once, but I’m much more familiar with her in her present day roles).

    At any rate, your matches for the goddesses was perfect — and so were Chris’s for the gods. I can think of another … how about Frapin 1697 for Dionysus? Although Dionysus better be hot to wear it . In fact, no, I don’t think I’m going to let him have that one now — he doesn ‘t have enough tact. But there should be an easy one for him, yes? Maybe Ginestet Bortrytis (which I haven’t tried, but I’m thinking it sounds appropriate)?

    • Dionne says:

      My name is a variation of Dionysus, and I LOVE Frapin 1697, so I say go for it. (Although maybe it is a big tampered down, as I’m not quite the partyer of my namesake.)

    • Alexandra says:

      Thank you very much, I didn’t recognise her immediately either, but she does have amazing cheek bones! You have intrigued me with Frapin 1697…

  11. Fernando says:

    Of course Apollo wears Ineke’s Field Notes from Paris. Hephaestus relies heavily on Fumerie Turque, Poseidon uses Cool Water most days. I’ve never smelled Xerjoff Homme, but I’m willing to bet that when he’s out to seduce someone Zeus prefers Ambre Sultan. And Hermes wears L’Air du Desert Marrocain. Dyonisos doesn’t wear perfume, he wears wine.

  12. Dionne says:

    Great post, Alexandra. Many of these would be my own choices as well. I recently tried Amaranthine, but unfortunately it did that sour-floral thing on me, and I really did want to smell thighs. Fracas doesn’t work either, unfortunately. For those of us who can’t channel lustful Aphrodite with Amaranthine or Fracas, I suggest Rochas Femme as an alternative.

    • Alexandra says:

      Oh I am sorry about Amaranthine, but Rochas Femme is a great choice too thank you – sigh I would love to try the vintage version although the peach note scares me…

  13. deeHowe says:

    Welcome Alexandra! And what a fantastic first post! I loved your selections for the goddesses, and today plan to channel my inner Artemis and wear Ormonde Woman :)

  14. Kimberly says:

    Excellent and entertaining post Alexandra. I’ve loved stories about the Greek gods since I was in the 4th grade and that was our reading assignment! I think Fracas is perfect for Aphrodite, right down to the name, since she causes a commotion whenever she enters a room (or stays, or leaves:)). And I think I’ve just selected Bois Blond as my first tester from PG.:)

  15. Alexandra says:

    Thank you very much and do enjoy testing PG – it is a dangerously good line! ;)

  16. Undina says:

    Welcome, Alexandra!
    I enjoyed you pairing so much especially taking into the account how bad I am with scenting characters.
    Let me try to choose a scent for Hestia – Virgin goddess of the hearth, home and cooking. She is a daughter of Rhea and Cronus and sister of Zeus. She was depicted as a modestly veiled woman, whose symbols are the hearth and kettle. In some accounts, she gave up her seat as one of the Twelve Olympians in favor of Dionysus. How about Serge Luten’s Jeux de Peau?

    • Alexandra says:

      Hello! What a lovely suggestion for Hestia, the smell of bread is always so evocative. I did idly wonder if each person has their own scent for Hestia as a true symbol of what home means to them.

  17. flittersniffer says:

    From my distant recall of studying Greek myths in Latin class I would say these are excellent choices!

    Was Cassandra a goddess as such? Only it might be amusing to scent her in something that is not popular and where she is the lone voice trying to get people to believe in its merits!

  18. flittersniffer says:

    Right, so Cassandra appears to have been a figure of “epic tradition and tragedy”but not a goddess after all. Aha, you could have Ajne Calypso for Calypso! She waylaid Odysseus as I recall. (scurries to check she was a goddess…)

    • flittersniffer says:

      Okay, can we accept a “goddess nymph”? Regular sea nymphs are excluded, right?

    • Alexandra says:

      A scent that encapsulates both epic tradition and tragedy, hummm how about Guet-Apens/Attrape Coeur? A Guerlain in its finest epic tradition and a tragedy that it was discontinued?! I am sure Calypso would have been thrilled with your suggestion – thank you for including it!

  19. behemot12 says:

    ..and Pegasus wears Dzing!

  20. Joan says:

    Behemot12: I love Pegasus in Dzing.

    I think what Alexandra picked is perfect. I’d definitely put Aphrodite in Fracas. I’d put her earthy rival, Psyche, in something less cartoonishly feminine, like Joy. Hestia wears Bois d’Iles, because it’s comforting and gorgeous. I might put Hera in Chanel No. 19 though, because she is beautiful but they say she’s cold. I’d put the nymphs in Tocade because it’s simple, beautiful, and joyous. I can see Demeter in Borneo 1834.

    As for the gods, I’d put Apollo in Habit Rouge, because it’s sunny and vaguely androgynous like him. I can imagine Zeus in Tabac by Maurer & Wirtz, because it’s so five-o-clock-shadow masculine. Hermes, of course, would wear something by Hermes. Their scents are airy like him, but I don’t know which one I’d pick because I’m not all that familiar with their perfumes.

    Helen of Troy wears Juicy Couture.

    • Alexandra says:

      I actually snorted at your Helen comment, pithy and perfect – thank you so much! Oh and the nymphs in Tocade is such a lovely idea.

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