Monday Question – Is There A Note In Perfume You Are Obsessed With?

Is there a particular note you seek out in every perfume you smell?

Do you crave some notes more than others?

Do you obsess over one note?


My Answer:

I go from one mini-obsession to next, but there are some notes I crave with a passion. The funny thing is that these obsessions wax and wane, mostly associated with the seasons. Every year in summer, faithfully and like clock-work an obsession with one note in particular surfaces. It is a note I almost despise during the rest of the year, and if despise is too strong a word, I certainly don’t seek it out in the colder seasons: coconut!

In summer I invariably start craving coconut as soon as the temperatures start to soar. My ideal coconut scent is Honoré des Pres Love Coconut, but to be honest, the cheap as chips Noix de Coco by Yves Rocher (even available in a mini-obsession friendly 20ml bottle for 3€) is just as satisfying. My coconut is not thick, sweet and creamy, but more milky-fresh, reminiscent of my favorite drink in the world – fresh coconut juice.

I also love coconut in tropical alignment with tiaré, jasmine or tuberose, I love the sun-screen scents, I love coconut with vanilla. Summer time is coconut time and I am not ashamed to admit it!

Iris is another note I go through obsessive phases with and some iris-heavy perfumes are among my all-time favorites (Armani Privé La Femme Bleue, Prada Infusion d’Iris, Malle Iris Poudre, Guerlain Iris Ganache, Parfum d’Empire Equistrius and By Kilian Prelude to Love). My collection without an iris scent is unimaginable to me. The obsession with iris peaks during the moderate seasons (spring and fall).

In winter nothing beats a good amber (here is an interesting one). Rich resins, thick, treacly, dark, that is the smell of cold winter nights… but you knew that about me, didn’t you?

What are your notes of obsession?

Any coconutty recommendations for me?

About Olfactoria

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108 Responses to Monday Question – Is There A Note In Perfume You Are Obsessed With?

  1. It’s funny: I have a coconut post in the pipeline, and I have raved and raved about the Yves Rocher in it. It is my staple, all round, particularly in winter. In my top ten scents of all time (and I am not joking…possibly even better than the I love Coco I would say in wearability)…coconut rocks.

    Vanilla and coconut: there you go.

  2. Did you try E. Coudray “Vanille & Coco” ? You might love it for the summer 😉

  3. Melinda says:

    I love jasmine! I love no5 and also most of my fragrances have jasmine in either top, middle or base notes.

  4. Vanessa says:

    I love how you plot the seasonality of your obsessions, especially the peaking of iris! 😉

    Not mad on coconut myself, so can’t think of any recs for you, but year round my ears will prick up at the mention of ylang-ylang, saffron and my top note of all, vanilla.

    Oh, thinking about it, I do enjoy a chilled Bounty Bar on occasions, but never last thing at night, which can have major flossing implications.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Lol, I’ll remember the tip about the early day consumption of Bounty bars. 🙂

      Ylang and saffron are notes I like a lot as well, and vanilla too of course.
      What is your favorite Ylang scent, V?

      • Vanessa says:

        Ooh, that’s a tough one! The shortlist would include Lys Soleia, New Look 1947, Vanille Galante, SIP L’Invisible and Cuir de Lancome, which also has the benefit of added saffron. Oh, and how could I forget Plus Que Jamais! Okay, that’s my answer…;-)

  5. Ines says:

    I really don’t need to answer this question, do I? 😉

    And of course, amber in the winter.

  6. lucasai says:

    Iris is the note I always crave for. In my small perfume collection iris centered perfumes dominate. But I also love when my perfume has grapefruit or neroli.

    • Olfactoria says:

      The latter two are so uplifting and make us smile, what’s better than that? 🙂

      Glad to hear you are a fellow iris lover.

      • lucasai says:

        Yes I am Birgit.
        My faves are VC&A Bois d’Iris, Carner Barcelona D600 and Prada Infusion d’Homme.
        I also covet my leftovers of L’Artisan Iris Pallida.

        grapefruit and iris are both in Acqua Nobile Iris from Acqua di Parma, right? I bet the smell is divine

  7. Sandra says:

    Vanilla is a definite obsession- as well as tuberose. Iris seems to be creeping up on me and that makes me nervous as I do not need something else to obsess about. 🙂

  8. poodle says:

    Incense. That’s the one that always gets my interest. If I had to pick a few others I’d say jasmine and sandalwood.

  9. 1 year ago I would have said amber, but that has changed (and will probably change frequently)…I would say that my one consistent note is oak moss although I’m not quite obsessive about it, but I do love a yummy chypre!

  10. haefennasiel says:

    Jasmine, jasmine, jasmine! But I’m also starting to develop an appreciation for other floral scents and sandalwood.

  11. Jackie b says:

    Definitely iris…love your iris list too!
    And as a note it seems to go with so many others, like leather or rose or…chocolate! Mmm
    Amber is recurrent with me too, but it is cold here now so that may account for my craving.

  12. Codi says:

    I love the idea of wearing a coconut scent! I will have to keep my eyes/nose open to that!
    For the summer days I always go for almost a candy smell, like CK One Shock for her. At night I like a sweet, musky smell, currently using Ultraviolet by Paco Rabanne. During spring and fall I’m attracted to a nice rose note.

  13. Asali says:

    HI Birgit, not too much of a coconut fan myself, but if you like it so much, there’s a Bumble and Bumble coconut shampoo, that I think you’d enjoy.
    I agree that notes are often seasonal. Notes I always like to explore in their different combinations are saffron and iris. Seasonal is always the hunt for a good lilac just when I long most for spring to arrive, or a firsap comfy scent in time for Christmas.

  14. Tora says:

    I think I need to explore Iris. I am so very unfamiliar with that note. I love Patchouli. Psychedelique, Nerides Patchouli Antique, Mazzolari’s Patchouli, Cristina, and many more are my ultimate comfort. I do love incense and amber as well.

  15. Tara says:

    Fabulous question, B!

    Like you, I go through mini-obsessions. These have included rose, leather, incense and orange blossom. The latter comes to the fore in summer, though I’m now wondering if I could get over my coconut aversion in the hot weather. I do like the smell of sun tan lotion. Is PG’s Cadjmere too heavy for you to wear in summer? I remember getting a fair amount of coconut from that.

  16. annemariec says:

    Good question! At least coconut tends to be cheap. Have you tried the Nicolai – Just Une Reve is it?

    I’m not a note obsessive. I almost wish I was, for then I could claim a pattern to my perfume madness. I have smelled my way through offerings of iris, fig, rose, neroli/orange blossom, and at the moment I’m on tuberose, but none of these have been obsessions. Juniper and maybe vetiver are going to be my new paths once the summer comes. I think my attitude recently has been to try and educate my nose as far as possible, rather then obsess over notes. Sandalwood is another one I would like to smell more of, in different forms. Because a lot of ‘notes’ can smell quite different, can’t they, depending on how the perfumer treats them.

    Iris is probably the most represented note in my collection (apart from musk and vanilla, which are in almost everything of course). Leather is often too rough for me but I have a bottle of Cuir de Lancome on the way, at which point I will cross leather off my list. Sadly, I cannot smell Cuir de Russie, and Bottega Veneta I found rather boring, though I wanted to like it.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Haha, that’s true. And a season obsession better come cheap. 😉

      I love Juste un Reve, so lovely!

      And I’m happy you are finally getting Cuir de Lancome. It was the definitive leather for me too.

  17. Safran says:

    Hello Birgit,
    have you tried the “Cocos and Tiareblüten” Bodylotion from DM? Not sure, if it’s available in Austria (I could send it to you, if not). I like it a lot, it’s light and fresh and if you need full on, fresh coconut, the Cocos Bodycream from DM is also great. It has a slightly fruity touch though.
    Also, have you tried Almond Coconut Eau Gourmande by Laura Mercier? It’s sweet, but not as heavy, as it sounds. Simple, a bit heavy on musks for my taste, but very nice and comforting.
    And Volo AZ 686 by Profumum is a nice coconut scent too. The notes are coconut, vanilla and gardenia and it starts off quite strange and a bit masculine, but it turns into a very nice and soft scent. At least on my skin. I also love Cococabana once in a while, but it’s hard to get nowadays.
    Another one, unfortunately also hard to get, was L’Eau Nirique by Stephanie de St.Aignan, coconut paired with tuberose and other white flowers, very pretty.
    About notes obsessions, I obviously have these phases too, mini or large obsessions about
    leather, incense, amber, gardenia, fig, green, citrus, coconut, pineapple and of course tuberose.
    And the latter is still on top of my notes list ;o).

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you so much for your recommendations! I will look for the DM stuff.

      What is your favorite tuberose?

      • Safran says:

        Carnal Flower! But I don’t wear it very often, I am so in awe of it. Others are Sacrebleu, Rivage des Syrtes, Dunard by Oliver & Co. and Mona di Orio’s Tubereuse.

        • Safran says:

          PS: And I am so keen on trying Moon Bloom by Hiram Green. I loved the Tubereuse from Scent Systems and Hiram Green was one of their founders. So I have high hopes for his first scent with his new company, which is described as follows on his homepage: ” Moon Bloom includes generous amounts of tuberose absolute, jasmine absolute and ylang ylang. There are also notes of coconut, leafy greens and hints of tropical spices and resins”.
          Sounds exactly like my cup of tea!

        • Olfactoria says:

          It is hard to wear just every day, I agree.
          Please excuse me if I asked you that recently, I’m not sure if I did… (getting senile?!) 🙂

  18. Suzanne says:

    I don’t have any perfume notes that I would call an obsession, but I would say that complex florals, leather, incense and certain combinations of green notes are among my favorites. Tuberose used to be my obsession, and it will always figure near the top of my list of favorites, but I love so many notes that when I tried (several times just now) to list them out, the list is too long and I hate leaving anything off. 🙂

  19. Birgit, although I love perfume, the names of the notes are still somewhat a mystery to me. I can recognize the different ingredients and know where I’ve smelled a particular one. As far as an obsession is concerned, there is an ingredient in Patou’s 1000 that I love. I’ve guessed that it is what you have called a “cypher”. It shows up in other fragrances and I can easily recognize it. I hope to keep learning about these things and get to be more knowledgable.

  20. Amber and coconut are nice notes. When I think about the notes I am obsessive about- musk, vetiver and lavender are the ones I think of first. I have a feeling I’ve mentioned a couple of these before 😉

  21. ringthing says:

    I must seek out that YR coconut! Every time it’s mentioned on a blog I want to try it. Love beachy tiare scents in the summer, too. Can you get the Organix line of products? They have a lovely coconut body wash and lotion that’s very nice. I have little mini obsessions too, but the constants for me are incense, woods and spices, esp. cardamom. As I’ve said before, right now I’m exploring white florals but I prefer them to have that little dark edge.

  22. Alexandra says:

    My note craving also tends to be seasonal (mmmm winter sandalwood), but at the moment my obsession with roses continues, which is odd as I don’t like many of them! I see a bottle of Lady Vengeance in my future… Oh and coconut is glorious in the warm sunshine!

  23. Dionne says:

    Hmmm, I’m not sure if I would call them obsessions, but when I explore a note, I want to try aaaall the possibilities. Right now I’m working my way through about 32 fig samples, but nothing has toppled my love for Philosykos just yet. Typically once I’ve explored a note, there’s a feeling of “done-ness” and the lemmings rarely pop up for new releases of that feature it.

    The exception of course are my two big loves, incense and iris. I’m never done exploring those. “Atelier is coming out with a new iris, you say? I must try this.”

    • Olfactoria says:

      Wow, after 32 fig perfumes, I’d be done with them as well. 🙂
      I admire your thoroughness though, I’m much more of a butterfly, when not in the throes of a mini-obsession.

  24. beautycalyptique says:

    since I’m having a healthy & clean beauty Quest going on, my ultimate coconut idea for you would be: try using coconut oil in your beauty rituals. it’s great for taking off makeup, and if you wash your face afterwards, the light scent lingers… sweet and soft and white. the scent from the natural, virgin oil will *always* stick.
    and of course it’s fab in summer: skin, hair treatment with that sweet fragrance attached 😉

    as for my scent obsessions: sandal wood, ylang-ylang (I can slather on the essential oil – or Balm Balm’s single notes and feel happy, while my boyfriend thinks it smells of horse stall o.O), and I adore amber; I love a good tuberose, too, and can get lost in velvety iris notes or jasmine, when it’s ‘fatty’ and carnal and heavy.

  25. Lyubov says:

    Wow, difficult to answer, because I am like a teenager – my mood and cravings change daily! Well, powder violet in general, iris, vanilla and jasmine every now and then. But it happened that I have a sudden rush for salty fragrances – Sel de Vetiver and Sel Marine in particular, and since I don’t have even a drop from them to calm down, I use some cheese to soothe my nerves and nose 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Like a teenager – exactly, that’s how I feel too a lot of the time. That is why perfume is so great, it lets us indulge in wild mood swings. 😉

  26. Philipp says:

    Well, I looove iris and leather, so I always try to get a sample of the most promising new releases containing these two notes.

    Birgit, have you had a chance to sample the new Armani Prive Nuances?

    • Olfactoria says:

      I did, just today actually and I’m not impressed. I loved La Femme Bleue, Nacre was nice, but Nuances is merely okay, rather “uneventful”. Not worth the expense in my opinion, although the bottle is really beautiful, but that’s a mighty expensive pretty bottle…

  27. Lila says:

    I’m gonna have to go with tuberose. I just love it. I’ll try anything that has it in it b/c I know it almost always makes an appearance at some point, no matter how many ingredients are listed. I just patiently and expectantly wait for her ( tuberose HAS to be a she, right?). Coconut is hands down my favorite desert ingredient but I prefer my coconut to be very floral when it comes to perfume, i.e. Beyond Love. Of course I would choose a tuberose/coconut combo!

  28. Lila says:

    Haha. I typed “desert” ingredient instead of “dessert”. Although, coconut does go well in the desert too. 🙂

  29. Undina says:

    Mostly I prefer coconut in my food (I still love Bounty – hi to Vanessa 🙂 ) so no recommendations there from me.

    As to the favorite notes, in addition to iris and amber mentioned by you, I recently realized that galbanum always attracts my attention as well.

  30. Figuier says:

    I’m going through a definite coconut phase too, but as food not scent – coconut-flavoured Greek yoghurt and Lindt 70% with coconut flakes are my current favourites…should try that Yves Rocher though, it would probably be healthier 😉

    I definitely tend to latch onto notes – jasmine, fig, hyacinth, tiare… Often, though, these preferences just makes me fussier – everything has to be *perfect* with a jasmine note or I’m not satisfied. Whereas perfumes starring I’m not so focused on are often easier for me to enjoy, since I haven’t got the platonic ideal(s) in my mind already.

  31. Nadja says:

    I crave leather a lot of the time, tuberose some of the time (preferably together with that leather) and the rest of the time I crave iris!

  32. Dearest B
    Make that another for leather, especially of the birch tar variety.
    The Dandy is obsessed with it… but has discovered quite recently that his family owned a large tannery for around 250 years so it may be in the genes….
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  33. Bernadette says:

    Am I weird to crave the softness of Iris on hot days and boldness of Oud during colder weather? I feel like I’m on both ends of the wide spectrum of fragrances.

  34. laniersmith says:

    Last winter it was all about incense, myrrh, frankincense. Now i am obsessed with lily, iris, and amber. I just got a small bottle of Coromandel and I just want to swim in all that amber. I am looking for an amber soap. Oh and I also love Prada’s Amber powder after a shower….I am such a voluptuarie …a real Dandy! Lol.

  35. chamekke says:

    These days it’s dry woods, especially oud, and incense. With maybe a spot of leather and suede.
    There are other notes I enjoy, but these are the ones that make me snuffle excitedly, like a puppy.

  36. Irene says:

    This may sound weird, but since I tried 1740 Marquis de Sade I´ve been obsessed with immortelle, and I´ve been sampling everything I could find with it. My favorite till now, Sables.
    Other favorites of mine, galbanum like Undina and incense, that´s a reason why I find Untitled EdP from Margiela absolutely perfect for me! And in the winter I can´t resist something with cinammon in it…
    Regarding coconut, I´m not a fan myself of a very prominent one, but I really, really like what it adds to Fils de Dieu, by ELdO. That would be my recommendation for the summer!

  37. I go through mini-obsessions too! Lately it’s been leather and honey (not together).

    As for a coconut fragrance, there are quite a few in the Parfumerie Générale line, no?

  38. Annina says:

    I used to be obsessed with tuberose, but not lately. I’m totally stuck on iris perfumes – at least for the last year or so. I’m always up for a jasmine perfume. Currently, I’m obsessing about finding a good neroli/orange blossom.

    My favorite coconut isn’t a perfume, It’s a lotion. It’s called Skin Trip. The most perfect coconut I’ve ever found! Pacifica’s Coconut perfume is good, but not as long-lasting.

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