Monday Question – Have You Been On A Perfume Quest?

By Tara

Have you undertaken a long and exhaustive search in order to fill a particular gap in your perfume collection?

What kind of fragrance were you hunting for?

What perfumes did you try along the way?

What was the perfume that finally filled the gap perfectly?

Or are you still looking for that perfect incense, green, rose, vanilla (etc.) fragrance?


My Answer:

I was looking for the perfect beach fragrance for a long time. Not something to wear on the beach, but rather a perfume that would recall that feeling of lying on the sand in a tropical locale. A major stumbling block was the fact that I’m not a fan of overly coconutty or salty notes. I tried Perfumista favourites Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder and Eau de Merveilles by Hermes, but neither of these worked for me.

Then Olfactoria told me about her recent love of Prodigieux Le Parfum by Nuxe. I ordered a bottle and it turned out to be the perfect blend of tropical flowers and very subtle, suntan oil style coconut. I had found my Holy Grail beach scent.

Please share your own perfume quests in the comments.

Editor’s Note: Since Tara is out with her delightful niece during the day, she will be answering your comments in the evening! So please don’t feel abandoned! 😉


About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
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64 Responses to Monday Question – Have You Been On A Perfume Quest?

  1. Véronique says:

    I am on quest for a day time perfume. I tried many, but always end up disapointed after a couple of time wearing them. I recently tried many niche brands, but it’s not any better. It’s like I couldn’t find that one with this little “plus” in it, that makes me feel it’s mine. I use to wear Agent Provocateur. But I smelled a woman in the bus who was wearing it, just in front in me. I felt disapointed that someone else was wearing my perfume…. made me feel so common ! Don’t want to wear it anymore and I am looking for another one.

    • Tara says:

      Veronique, it is such a shame that your special perfume was spoilt for you and you can’t find a replacement. AP is a great fragrance. Other musky florals worth trying, if you haven’t already, are Narciso Rodriguez for Her and Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely.

      If you’d rather go niche to help prevent the same thing happening again, L’Artisan Parfumeur has a great line with something for nearly everyone.

  2. Jordan River says:

    Well Tara, I’ve spent all my life, on a search to find,
    a ‘fume that will last for eternity,
    that heaven-sent to fulfill my needs,
    but when I turn around,
    again that perfume had not been found,
    How did you get here? – Jublilation XXV.

    • Tara says:

      Jordan, how wonderful that you’ve managed to find that perfume which is everything you’ve been looking for. Hurrah for Jubilation XXV!

  3. poodle says:

    I feel like I’m always on a quest to find my all around perfect scent or a perfect type of scent. Lately though I’m starting to feel like I’m happy with what I have and that need to test and sample isn’t as strong as it was. I bought two bottles this past week of perfumes that have been haunting me and I feel somewhat content at the moment. That could change with one good review though and another quest could begin.

    • Tara says:

      poodle, I know what you mean. That feeling of contentment that comes with a new purchase – or two – doesn’t last forever for people like us 🙂

      I started out looking for that perfect scent but gave up on that pretty soon because the idea of having a fragrance wardrobe appealed to me a lot more.

  4. Alice says:

    My quest is a little like Veronique’s – a day scent, in my case something for work. I have many perfumes, a lot of which I love dearly, but somehow ‘the one’ that I can easily grab, sprtiz and go forever eludes me.. It needs to be: unusual enough to be interesting, but also low key (so won’t feel awkward at meetings), modern (not keen on projecting a ‘retro’ vibe), not too pretty or demure…. and to leave a pleasant scent in my office at the end of the day.. Not too hard you would think! But nothing is ever quite right..all suggestions welcome!

    • Tara says:

      Alice, actually I can understand your problem. It’s relatively easy to find a striking evening scent but something that is right for the office but still interesting is not so easy.

      Some suggestions for you –
      Chanel Les Exclusifs, Coromandel
      Infusion d’Iris Absolu,, Prada
      Safran Troublant and Seville a l’Aube, L’Artisan Parfumeur
      Bois d’Argent, Dior
      Equistrius, Parfums d’ Empire
      Ormonde Woman, Ormonde Jayne

      Fingers crossed you find something that fits the bill.

      • Alice says:

        Thank you…amazingly, you picked one I have been considering…I liked Equistrius when I tried it a few weeks ago. I don’t have a sample, so will need need to try it again, but it is certainly a good candidate!

  5. Nina Mayleas says:

    Some time in the 80’s, in Paris, a woman passed by exuding a fragrance I have never forgotten. It is imprinted on my olfactory memory. It was clean, fresh, not flowery and I’ve been hunting for it ever since! It wasn’t a Guerlain nor a Dior scent. Guess I’ll have to keep on trying to find it!

    • Tara says:

      Nina, that is so frustrating! It must have made such an impression to be imprinted on your olfactory memory like that. I guess it’s a lesson to ask strangers what perfume they are wearing, but I’ve never had the guts to do it. I must admit.

      Fresh and clean, non-flowery perfumes weren’t even big in the 80s so it really is a mystery. I do hope you manage to solve it one day.

  6. Melinda says:

    Yes. After reading reviews and people’s comments/opinions about Apres L’Ondee by Guerlain, I wanted to try it – badly. It’s not sold in my country, and I’ve been coveting it for a while. So when a friend of mine went abroad for work, I got her to bring me a bottle.

  7. Vanessa says:

    Like an earlier commenter, my quests have been more logistical than note or style oriented. I have gone to great lengths – deploying droves of perfume mules and MUA swappers – to obtain specific obscure perfumes, such as Annam (sp?) from China, Shared Water by Michel Comte from Switzerland, Guerlain Plus Que Jamais and Ava Luxe Fig Wood. To name just a few of my historic lemmings. 😉

    • Tara says:

      Vanessa, I can just imagine you deploying all your contacts around the world and using all the resources at hand to secure that elusive sample! Those quests can be fun though and I bet others enjoyed helping youto track them down. I do wonder if the thrill of the chase is a big part of the pull for a lot of us.

  8. Suzanne says:

    Interesting post, Tara. A quest to find a perfume that was uniquely “me” is what got me into collecting, and within a year I’d satisfied it by having acquired enough bottles that I could wear a different perfume everyday for almost two months straight. (Since most people in the real world don’t wear perfume that way, this aspect of having many perfumes instead of a signature made me unique, I realized.) Since then, I haven’t been on any quests to find a certain kind of perfume; my main quest now is to remember that I have more than enough perfume for several lifetimes and don’t need more (easier said than done). 😉

    • Tara says:

      Well said, Suzanne.

      It must be hard to keep reading the blogs and resist the urge though. Something appealing always pops up to tempt us. It is scary when you think about how many years’ worth of perfume we have already. I guess I’m in a pleasant state of denial.

  9. scentatorium says:

    I have been searching for my hoil grail rose. Actually, just a rose that moves me enough to say, “i’d like to buy a bottle of that.” Rose is the only fragrance that induces a headache and light sneezing for me.

    I have had luck with som of the Rosines and a couple from the JHAG line. Today, I’m trying out Rose Reble Respawn by A Lab On FIre. After about an hour and a half of wear, I’m still undecided. It’s nice enough, but there’s this cocoa note that I could do without. Not that it’s bad, I’d just like to find a soft, light rose that does contain noticable hints of chocolate, vanilla, fruits, or anything else edible!

    • Tara says:

      I have a soft spot for rose perfumes. Nothing makes me feel more feminine. I strongly recommend the carmelised rose of Parfumerie Generale’s Rose Brulure. It’s not heavy either.

  10. Dubaiscents says:

    I tend to do this quite often (find the perfect rose scent or tuberose, etc. ). I think it helps to narrow things down in the enormous world of fragrances. My current search is the perfect almond scent since I have been using a wonderful natural almond shampoo on my kids recently and want something that reminds me of them. Profumum Roma has several great ones in their line and I love Guerlain’s Tonka Imperiale. I have also been searching for the perfect gardenia scent with Hothouse Flower by Ineke being my top choice thus far but, I’m still not ready to commit. :-).

    • Tara says:

      I know what you mean. It has to be just perfect to make that full bottle committment. Sometimes you need to try lots just to be sure the one you found early on is the best.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who likes to find perfumes in certain categories. Guerlain do almond notes so well, I think they’ll be hard to beat.

  11. Genie Gee says:

    Yes…YES, YES! I have been on many perfume quests, some have been fulfilled, some proved to be more illusive.

    There is one that I continue looking for….SABI. I don’t know what smells *LIKE* it but I am at the point where I may get someone to *make it* for me and as long as its a good clone of SABI, I will be happy.

    Many years ago, (in the 70’s), I also came across an oil in a *head shop* called RUSSIAN MUSK. I would LOVE to find that oil once again. Nothing I have smelled since comes close to it.

    Hmmmm, I could go on…there was also a gorgeous GRASS OIL that I know I will never find. I wish all the lovely oils & fragrances from the 70’s & 80’s would come back. GREAT times – GREAT scents!

    • Tara says:

      Genie Gee, oils can be really wonderful but much harder to find at a later date. At least a lot of vintage perfumes can be found on auction and swap sites.

      I hope you manage to successfully re-create your SABI fragrance. It must be very special to you.

  12. ringthing says:

    I’m at a pretty good place in my perfume life. I still look forward to smelling the new releases that excite the blogosphere but my need to smell everything! now! has thankfully abated. Like Suzanna, I realize that I have plenty of perfume to love and enjoy. I am lackadaisically looking for the right white floral and I have lots of samples to try, but I get tired of samples and revert to my favorites most of the time.

    • Tara says:

      ringthing, isn’t it funny how at the start of our journeys we go mad for samples but much later on they become more of a chore to get through. I guess it’s partly because we know the success rate isn’t that great.

      I hope you find your perfect white floral. I never thought they were for me until the ones by Ornmonde Jayne changed my mind.

  13. Undina says:

    I’m not really looking for nowadays. If the industry would have suddenly collapsed completely or moved into celebuscents-only territory, I would have had enough wonderful perfumes for life (I do not mean quantities, those might have to be replenished). I doesn’t mean I stop trying. I always hope to meet the next perfume that, from the first sniff, will be “love” and “need it now!” but even if it never happens I’ll be fine.

    • Tara says:

      Undina, I think many of us continue with that hope in mind, no matter how much perfume we already have. There might be that perfume out there that captures our hearts and makes us want it immediately. But you’re right; most of us are perfectly fine with our current collections.

      Luckily for us there’s no sign of the industry collapsing (far from it) but the move towards celebuscents is another matter…

  14. patricia says:

    Most definitely on a quest, seems like i’m accually getting further away than when i started. Maybe it just seems that way. But i do know i’m in the right place (here) to look. My Holy Grail would need to be soft, a little powdery, balmy, unusual, not too sweet and fresh. I used to love Roger and Gallet almond blossom that is discontinued now. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated-Thanks

  15. Figuier says:

    Good question. For the last 6 months or so I’ve been on a quest for the perfect ‘fresh’/green scent. I generally tend to go for heady fruits/florals/orientals or dark, woody chypres, and the only light green floral I own is Cristalle. Gorgeous, but somehow not what I’ve been craving. I think what I need is a very bright, airy jasmine with a light vetiver base; or a dry-ish green tea that avoids the cliche factor; or a rich green scent that mimics the crispness of fresh sugar snap peas; or maybe even a herbal, citrussy cologne…clearly, the problem with my quest is that it’s v ill-defined!

    • Tara says:

      Ha ha! Too funny. Only a perfumista could come up with so many variations on a fresh/green perfume, but I must say they all sound great.

      Some suggestions for you –
      Thé Pour un Eté, L’Artisan Parfumeur
      Green Tea, Roger and Gallet
      Jasmine White Moss, Estee Lauder Private Collection
      Sampaquita, Ormonde Jayne
      Eau de Campagne, Sisley
      (untitled) Maison Martin Margiela
      Granville, Dior Collection Privee

      It’s probably good not to define it too much. The more different options you test, the better idea you’ll have.

      • Figuier says:

        Thanks for the list! The Pour un Ete and Eau de Campagne are actually already on my list of potentials, but I definitely need to try out/revisit the others. I’d love to try Sampaquita in particular.

        • empliau says:

          I’m no perfume expert, but for years I was devoted to a very green honeysuckle – Eau de Camille by Annick Goutal. I wore it for a very long time, but remember it fondly – if you like green florals, it’s definitely worth a try!

        • Tara says:

          Great! I’m sure you’ll find at least one you love. Ormonde Jayne does wonderfully fresh white florals. Champaca is my fave but they’re all good.

        • Alice says:

          Some more suggestions:
          Weekend by Patricia de Nicolai (green, aromatic, sense of open air)
          By Killian Bamboo Harmony (tea, but a bit different from the norm – not got much love on the boards but I really like it!)
          I used to wear Cristalle a lot, but now find it a bit sharp, so hvae been exploring slighter softer, green alternatives (I’ obsessed with the notion of ‘aromatic’ but not too cologney)

        • Figuier says:

          Thanks all for the further suggestions! They all sound great, and the By Kilian especially has me v curious – I really like this house, despite the crazy packaging and price.

          • Tara says:

            Figuier, By Kilian prices are off-putting but the travel sprays are gorgeous and the re-fills are fairly priced.

            My favourite tea is Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan just to throw another one in the mix!

  16. Nadja says:

    I have been on a couple quests… One is still on going and I am slowly working my way through a variety of library inspired scents, mostly indie. Still haven’t found the perfect one, but I have a few left to try… I have yet to try CB I Hate Perfume’s library scent among others. I am I librarian so this quest of mine is rather easily explained.

    My other quest was short lived and ended in tragedy. I wanted to find a scent that really smelled like absinthe, because while that drink tastes aweful, there is something about the scent of it (and the color) that is addictive. I tried a couple of scents and was planning on sampling some more when a care package from a fellow perfume addict included the perfect absinthe perfume. To my horror both the scent and the company it was from was defunct so now I have 1 ml of the perfect absinthe scent and when it is gone it is truly gone for ever… :¨( Defunct scents from small businesses is the horror of horrors to fall in love with!

    • Tara says:

      Nadja, that is really too bad about the absinthe perfume. You’re definitely right about the perils of falling in love with a discontinued perfume from a small brand. Maybe it would be worth checking out L’Artisan’s Fou d’Absinthe, though you’ve probably tried it already.

      Hope you also find your perfect library perfume. A lot of people – including me – are very fond of the smell of old books.

  17. Belle says:

    I picked up the 1998 October edition, which had scratch-and-sniff samples of Napoleon’s cologne and the ungent most likely worn by Cleopatra. The scent and its history captivated me. Sadly, I rubbed it till I couldn’t smell it anymore. I don’t exactly remember the scent anymore, but I’m sure to remember it when I smell it again. Now I’m on a quest for a perfume that smells exactly like it. Here’s a link to an article that has some of its ingredients listed:

    • Tara says:

      Hi Belle

      I had trouble viewing the web page you linked to but for a modern day perfume that I can imagine Cleopatra wearing I would for for Mata Hari by DSH Perfumes. It won’t smell just like the perfume you fell in love it but it is 100% natural and features sensuous spices and resins.

    • Nadja says:

      I have just recently discussed that article and the scratch-and-sniff samples on another blog… It’s funny how that article has left such deep imprints in so many people! It was the first time I can remember being fascinated by perfume and I still have those scratch-and-sniff samples somewhere though I doubt that they smell anymore… I only vaguely remember the Cleopatra scent but I remeber that I did enjoy it! I know there are a lot of Kyphi perfumes inspired by the perfume and incense of Ancient Egypt, maybe one of them will be similar?

      • Tara says:

        Good call Nadja. I think Olympic Orchids do a kyphi perfume and DSH do one called Cardamom & Khyphi. I can understand why that article struck a cord. Who wouldn’t like to smell like Cleopatra? 🙂

        • Belle says:

          Thanks a lot for your suggestion Tara and Nadja! Do you think I can get a link of that discussion, Nadja? However, from what I’ve read, Kyphi was a sacred scent, so I’m not sure if she could wear it… But then again, she considered herself as the goddess Isis, so why not?
          Here’s a copy pasted section of the article. The link strangely works fine for me though.
          “The scent of her perfume was reconstructed from ancient formulas, using resins like balsam and myrrh and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, iris root, lotus and saffron.”
          I’m honestly half-hoping it isn’t, or else I’d be breaking the bank!

          • Nadja says:

            I’m sorry to say that I have no idea where in the blogosphere that discussion took place… On another perfume blog I guess, but I have no idea which. Cleopatra definitely had the stature and position to wear somthing considered sacred as a perfume, but even if she didn’t wear kyphi itself her scent would definitely have included many of the same fragrant ingredients.

  18. Jamboree says:

    James Heeley Sel Marin my HG sea scent

  19. Pingback: Rose Rebelle Respawn Review |

  20. alexandra says:

    i am praying to the gods you respond to this.
    i have been on the quest to find a special perfume for about 3 years now.
    my first love was ysl cinema, then dior hypnotic poison, bulgari jasmin noir, thierry M. Alien. my more recent attractions have been tom ford violet blonde, elie saab perfume intense and more recently since getting into the more niche perfumes SL Ambre Sultan (love) and Fourreau Noir (ultra love) and oddly enough i combined LM hard leather with FT tobacco vanille and got something quite heavenly( i hope i haven’t commited a blasphemy:)) )
    i don’t know if you can make anything of my preferances but maybe you could recomend something for me?

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi alexandra,

      you seem to love warm and dark ambers and orientals, well, you are at the right place then. 🙂
      Some perfumes you might enjoy are: Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Ambre Precieux, Armani Privé Ambre d’Orient, Mona di Orio Ambre, Frapin 1697, Dior Mitzah (unfortunately discontinued) and Ambre Nuit, Chanel Coromandel, Ormonde Jayne Tolu and for a classic maybe Guerlain Shalimar.
      Let me know if there is something in there you liked.
      Have fun sniffing!

      • alexandra says:

        thank you so much for the lovely sugestions. i have sampeled chanel coromandel (a bit too medicinal on my skin) and dior mitzah – better than chanel but a bit too much frankinsence for my taste( i live in a orthodox country and frankinsesce makes me think of priests, a little F. is ok but not too much) and dior is just at the border of too much, for me anyway.
        i was planning on getting a sample of shalimar, the madagascar one, i am thinking the vanilla scent is more pronounced. and dior ambre nuit (thinking that one has less frankincence in it) and now i have even more lovely samples to try out. can’t wait.
        if you have any more of your awesome sugestions to share with me i’m all eyes :p

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