Monday Question – What Is Your Go-To Perfume For Special Occasions?

Which perfume do you choose for a day you want to remember?

What is the one scent you reach for on days when something special happens?

What do you wear when you need some comforting and confidence-boosting?

What perfume do you select on a special day?

Are you going for something tried and trusted or will you wear something new to make memories with?

What is your perfume of choice when it really matters?


My Answer:

Today is my older son Paul’s first day of elementary school. After a year of pre-school the real deal starts today with an hour in the classroom and another one in church (it’s a Catholic School).

And of course I have been thinking what to wear. Not clothes-wise, that’s easy: black pants and blazer and a colourful Hermès scarf (in this case a pink and grey Carré GM silk dip-dye called Brazil II for the Hermès fans among you) are my fool-proof uniform.

But what perfume to wear?

That is a lot harder to answer for a Perfumista. The choices are not exactly few in my closet after all.

I want to wear something discreet first and foremost, no fumigating of innocent bystanders with floriental bombs.

I think I want to wear something I already know, it is not a day for something new that I’m not sure about and where I don’t know the development very well. Distraction is not needed.

I am tending towards elegant, light, sophisticated and calming.

The one name that pops up in my mind again and again is (no surprise here!) Hermès. Rose Ikebana is a strong contender.

A safe choice would be Chanel N°5 Eau Premiére.

One other perfume is beckoning me too, though: Prada Infusion d’Iris. Iris’s cool, calm and collected charms are always a good bet.

Which one should I wear?

What would you wear?

What is your safe, but much loved choice for a special occasion?


About Olfactoria

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71 Responses to Monday Question – What Is Your Go-To Perfume For Special Occasions?

  1. Jordan River says:

    Ah, is this Monday Question or Monday Questions? Lol. For you; the rose to match the scarf for invincibility.

  2. Dubaiscents says:

    Wow, as Jordan mentions, how difficult to narrow it down to one answer! For a daytime important event where, like you, I don’t want to risk offending anyone I often go for an iris based scent like FM Iris Poudre or Chanel No. 19 EdT. The cool crisp iris is confidence building but soothing at the same time. Also, OJ Rose Ta’if is a good choice since it is quiet yet still a little bold (maybe with some Ta’if rose oil).
    If the important event is something in the evening or at a location where I can be more bold I will always go for an Amouage (doesn’t really matter which one) and preferably layered with an attar for a little something extra.
    And I definitely will go for something familiar for any important event, I don’t want to risk some crazy skin chemistry reaction or even worse, that the scent dies before I even get to the event!

  3. Marie says:

    Hm, a difficult question, I have never thought about a “to go special scent”. Maybe a soft leather like Bottega Veneta or Evody Cuir Blanc. Both would compliment a special day without stealing the show.
    For a day like your son’s first day at school, I would go for something fresh and sunny. Rose Ikebana is excellent as is Ninfeo Mio or Eau de Shalimar. All tree are lighthearted but chic and would be a perfect match to your Hermes scarf and the event.

  4. Lady Jane Grey says:

    I think Iris is a very elegant note – especially if it is done understated, like the one by Van Cleef&Arpels (Bois d’Iris). I also found Ormonde Jayne’s Nawab of Oudh a universally matching scent for any occasion. However, when I’m allowed to go bolder then it’s Mona Di Orios’s Oud …

  5. Vanessa says:

    Definitely Eau Premiere, which I have worn myself on such occasions. I would have said Bois des Iles if it had been colder. Or Taif, as someone else mentions. Prada L’Eau Ambree has also got me through situations that involve a challenge and the need for something familiar. All the best to Paul in his new start!

  6. Sabine says:

    If the occasion is very special I would love to buy a new perfume for it. Right now, after having tested it at Liberty’s on Friday, that would be Aedes de Venustas Iris Nazarena, So beautiful it made me sigh and with the painful price tag to match.

  7. Undina says:

    My voice goes for Infusion d’Iris!
    Congratulations on the Big Day in your son’s life. Everything will be just perfect, you’ll see!

    For the similar event I’d choose one of my all-time favorites. Right now Amouage Ubar and Chanel No 19 come to mind.

  8. Georgy says:

    h first school day, I guess that’s very exiting for Mr. O. as well,…..perfect outfit for the “scotts” btw, hope you picked your BV as well, scent should be calming and relaxing for P. and M. as well, your choices seem perfect, maybe MKK e.g. would have been out of place maybe, hope P. had a good start into school life, and M was not too nervous at all;-)

  9. lucasai says:

    On a special occasion I go with Prada Amber Pour Homme or its Intense version. I think you should go with Prada too!

  10. Sandra says:

    Good luck today! Bittersweet. Beautiful choices today. Love your scarf. I wore Angelique Noire to calm my nerves today. Something tried and true.

  11. Alice says:

    A very special day for you and your son – hope all goes well!
    For that type of special event (ie an important day event, rather than a glamorous evening event – not that I go to many of those!) my real choice would be very similar to those above; Chanel 19, SL daim blonde, Chanel 5 elixir (the oil is softer than the edt).. my imaginary choice (as I always have a couple on the horizon which I don’t actually possess but are part of my fantasy wardrobe)..maybe Equistrius or an Atelier Cologne, eg Mistral Patchouli.

  12. annemariec says:

    Do you stay for a while, or drop, kiss and run? Where I am parents are welcome to stay if they like, but generally the hope is that they don’t stay beyond a short time, so that the teacher can take over and get everyone settled. With so many kids in full time care anyway, before formal schooling, the day is not quite the big event that it was when I started school. Perhaps what you need is something that Paul identifies with you, but not to the point where he won’t let you go! Something sunny but brisk. Le Temps d’une Fete would be my pick, if it were me. Eau Premiere would be a fine choice too. Theorema if the day is cool.

    I keep 31 Rue Cambon for special occasions in summer, and Parfums de Nicolai’s Maharanih (so warm and colourful!) for winter.

    • Olfactoria says:

      The first day the parents are there the whole time, there is only one hour in class getting to know the teacher and the each other, then mass in the school yard. Afterwards we went to the Wiener Prater, an amusement park for lunch and enjoyed the rides. It was a fun and exhausting day!

      Sunny and brisk was my reasoning as well, thanks for your tips, Annemarie!

  13. How bizarre. Rose Ikebana is my scent for these exact occasions as well. An amazing coincidence. I ONLY wear it for these formal occasions; in fact I wrote a whole (surreptitiously scathing) review about it, ‘The Good Boy’…..

    Great minds think alike. x

  14. Ana says:

    My go to scent for when I need something with a presence but not an overwhelming one,one that’s a crowd pleaser but doesn’t bore me is Miller Harris Geranium Bourbon.I also find Tolu very elegant and bourgeoise ,but I prefer the sunnier disposition of the Miller Harris one.

  15. Lynley says:

    31 Rue Cambon is my go-to when I want a beautiful scent that doesn’t announce my entrance, I’d also wear Bois des Iles, Infusion d’Iris, or Dior New Look 1947 depending on weather and mood, but these are my favourites for more serious special occasions.

  16. I’d go for the Rose Ikebana – one can never go wrong with a double whammy of Hermes.

    As for me, my go-to special occasion scent is MFK’s OUD. It goes remarkably well with a sharp suit I find.

  17. Tora says:

    Oh that first day of school! My only goal was to be brave and not tear up till I got back to the car. I think perfume might not be on my radar, as it wasn’t 24 years ago when I took my son to his first day of school. I think I might pick the perfume he loved most on me, so that when I gave him his goodbye hug, it would be the lingering memory of Mom as he ambled off to his classroom and new friends. The many votes for Rose Ikebana have me curious to try it. I hope the day goes well, and I imagine you will smell fabulous.

  18. I think your Chanel or Prada ideas would work well. I haven’t smelled the Hermes.

    My standard choice for special occasions is Chanel Pour Monsieur. Though sometimes I do change it up and wear something different.

  19. ringthing says:

    Another vote for Rose Ikebana to go with your elegant attire for this special day. As for my own choices, Chanel 19 for confidence and comfort; Bottega Veneta, 31 Rue Cambon, and Tom Ford White Patchouli for understated elegance. Or maybe a drop of Shalimar perfume, always appropriate in my world 🙂

  20. Nadja says:

    On special occasions I reach for my Slumberhouse samples. Full bottles of my Slumberhouse favorites are beyond my meager means at the moment, and some of them are discontinued, so I use them only for very special days! Jeke for empowerment, Kere for comfort, Norne for mystique, Baque for sensuality, Grev for elegance.

  21. Figuier says:

    I often forgo perfume altogether when I have a special, slightly scary/overwhelming, daytime event. Otherwise something that veers towards subtle base rather than shrill treble: Terracotta (which come to think of it has a good iris to it) or, in Winter, PG Indochine (dabbed not sprayed)…and your choices sound great 🙂

  22. During the days when i was a teacher of young children, I found that they complained if I wore anything other than Shalimar. I usually wore only a small amount, but constantly had little ones who wanted to be held so they could sniff behind my ear. You just can’t go wrong with that one in a scene with young children.

  23. florence raab says:

    Dear Birgit, all my best wishes to Paul!!! a great day for him and……his parents.
    I have no children but Tolu would be, as suggested, a good choice, I know you like it very much it’s very elegant, and warming for you and will remain like a warming memory for Paul too, we never really forget those days and the perfumes of our mum…….

  24. Flora says:

    For a truly special occasion, I would most likely choose my beloved vintage Caron Parfum Sacre. Another good option would be Lelong pour Femme, an opulent floriental. Of course vintage Miss Dior is always perfect too, and I might even decide on one of the Shalimar Odes – I love the “extra” vanilla and to me they are what Shalimar should have been like all along.

  25. dgambas says:

    My first choice for special occasions has been Opium pour homme edp. Newer choices are Jubilation XXV and Trayee. Sometimes I plan to wear some other fragrance, but I always wear one of these. No exceptions in this moment. I’m so curious which one will be my fragrance for son’s first day of school next year. Maybe, he can choose it.

  26. Dionne says:

    I definitely understand about wanting to wear something special for a day like today. Tomorrow is the first day of Grade 1 for Spud, my youngest, and after 20 years of being a SAHM I find myself feeling a bit… adrift. For special occasions, if it’s a fancier affair, I’d pull out my beloved Ormonde Woman. First day of school feels like 28 La Pausa, discreet and elegant with a bit of backbone, and one of the perfumes my friends call “the smell of Dionne.”

  27. j says:

    those 3 are all lovely scents; infusion d’iris is my favorite of the three but rose ikebana is definitely a good scent for formal events. very polished and likeable (while infusion d’iris, on the other hand, was scathingly referred to as “toilet cleaner” by my best friend…)

    for formal or special occasions, i like to wear floral scents – SL’s nuit de cellophane, OJ’s sampaquita, etc.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh no, that is not something you want to hear, but I understand: my husband also has the ability to take down perfectly good perfumes with one scathing comment.
      I love your floral choices.

  28. Melinda says:

    I think Chanel no 5 premiere is a perfect choice. It’s elegant, light and definitely a safe choice.
    I think that Prada Infusion d’Iris is very similar to Chanel no19 poudre and I like the latter more.

    If it was me, I’d try Chanel Beige – I don’t own it, but I’ve smelled it a few times (and have a few testers) to know that it’s light, floral and the sweetness in it makes it smell enveloping, and somehow “comforting” to me.

  29. Safe and I do not get along too well, but among my non-offensive special occasion fragrances I can name Mohur, Iris Poudre and la Rose de Rosine.
    When the occasion to celebrate arises, I go for Ubar or The Party in Manhattan (I know you are gasping for air)


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