Monday Question – What Are Your Favorite Delicate Perfumes?

A reader recently asked me about my favorite gentle, delicate scents. As she is pregnant right now, she can’t go for her usual beloved oriental bombs any longer, so she hoped for tips.

We thought it would be a good idea to bring this question to you all.

What perfumes are especially tender, light, gentle and soft?

Which delicate fragrances can you recommend?


My Answer:

My light and gentle perfumes are the ones I use almost exclusively right now, so that is an easy one for me.

Light citrus scents, cloud-like powdery confections and soft, warm muscs are my idea of delicate.

Il Profumo Nuda is one such tender scent that never overwhelms and always comforts.

Hermès has, thanks to Jean-Claude Ellena’s gentle and clear sensibilites, a huge array of light perfumes, so I recommend many of the Hermessences and most of the mainstream line (let’s pick Jardin Sur Le Nil and Santal Massoia as special mentions today).

Chanel Eau de Cologne is a wonderfully uplifting option that is gentle but bright and happy and never inappropriate.

Musc Nomade is my favorite gentle musk for its unobtrusive skin scent quality.

What are your top five delicate perfumes?


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72 Responses to Monday Question – What Are Your Favorite Delicate Perfumes?

  1. LeSputnik says:

    I also love oriental bombs, but when i was pregnant and breastfeeding, I went for Kenzo love. It has the vanilla and frangipani hedge, but even in eau de parfum concentration, it is very bearable. It’s not complex or heavy, and i didn’t continue using it afterwards, but it is a light gourmand oriental. Good luck to your friend!

  2. rosestrang says:

    If I’m feeling slightly fragile my favourite delicate perfumes are Iris e Nuit, Drole de Rose and Cristalle. I think those have a gentle feel. Drole de Rose reminds me of my Grandmother whose house always smelled of fresh air and Nivea cream, such a soothing perfume.
    I’ve just remembered Passage d’Enfer, also very restful. (Two by Olivia Giacobetti I notice, she does capture lovely dreamlike scents)

  3. Vanessa says:

    Musc Nomade, Nuda and Santal Massoia are good examples to highlight. You might say rather surprisingly for me(!), I don’t have anything like a top 5 delicate scents, but Oolong Infini might be another. OJ Champaca too. Others may come to me as the day goes on…

  4. Lynley says:

    Wit by Delrae and Osmanthus Interdite by Parfums d’Empire are gentle florals i often turn to. I agree that pretty much any Jean Claude Ellena would work too.

  5. empliau says:

    I’m not sure I have a list of five, but the most delicate thing that I know and like is La Chasse aux Papillons. It’s springlike and beautiful.

  6. Etomidac says:

    I am definitely not one to usually go for delicate fragrances… (One of my signature is Youth Dew in Bath Oil form.. 😛 )
    Maybe my taste of delicate might still be strong for some but I will try to go to the very end of that spectrum.
    Top choices (more than 5. Let me cheat!) in no particular order:
    1. L’Eau d’Hiver – Frédéric Malle
    2. Lumiere Blanche – Olfactive Studio
    3. Jersey Extrait – Chanel
    4. Bois Farine – L’Artisan Parfumeur
    5. Jour de Fete – L’artisan Parfumeur
    6. Jour d’Hermes Parfum – Hermes
    7. Knot – Bottega Veneta

    Some other choices:
    1932 – Chanel
    Beige – Chanel
    L’eau Couture – Elie Saab
    Osmanthus Yunnan – Hermes

  7. ringthing says:

    My collection could be described as “brooding” so delicate isn’t my thing, but when I want something lighter I wear one of the Bulgari tea scents in white, green or red. They have some complexity and presence but aren’t heavy. The body products are lovely too.

  8. Suzanne says:

    I don’t really have a top five, but here are five that I really enjoy:

    Frederic Malle Angeliques Sous la Pluie
    Le Labo Gaiac 10
    Hermes Eau des Merveilles
    L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’Enfer
    Ormonde Jayne Frangipani

  9. Sabine says:

    My go to perfume for gentleness is Nirmal by Laboratorio Offattivo. Cuir de Nacre by Ann Gerard is also a good choice in the same direction.

  10. Mahesh says:

    I actually have guerlain vetiver in an aftershave spray bottle which is unusual. I find that very gentle but enveloping. I always spray that when my nose is fatigued. I also find prada infusion De iris very light and I bought prada Leau ambree last week which takes me to heaven. That has been discontinued so I might stock that more.

  11. anitathepianist says:

    There used to be a gentle scent from the people who made White Shoulders. I think the name was “Most Precious”.. It was so light and lovely, yet not too sweet. My little daughter loved it and I gave it as gifts to girls who worked as teacher “assistants”. I hope that it is still available somewhere for all those gentle girls out there.

  12. Dear Birgit, while I am generally not one to go for delicate, I would say Eau de Narcisse Bleu is what saves me whenever the circumstances require such a fragrance.
    Teint de Neige (parfum or body oil, the EdT projects a bit too much) and Violetta di Parma are helpful too.

    Have a lovely week ahead!


  13. Missionista says:

    I second the vote for Chanel’s 1932, Creed’s Fleurissimo is pretty light also. And as many others have said, pretty much any JCE scent.

  14. Musc Nomade and Chanel Eau de Cologne are wonderful choices within the gentle fragrance category, dear Birgit. I love these types of scents. 4711 edc and Guerlain Imperiale come to mind. Pinaud Clubman, which is somewhere between an aftershave and edc is a favourite of mine. I might include Dior Eau Sauvage and Caron Pour un Homme, too.

  15. anon says:

    4711, eau d”Hadrien EDT (vintage), eau de Ciel (also an Annick Goutal), Heaven (discontinued GAP) and Nocturnes de Caron (vintage, not current formulation).

  16. Sun Mi says:

    I haven’t tried a ton of perfumes so my knowledge is limited, but yesterday I did sample SL Clair de Musc – and I thought it was delicate and nice. I second Oolang Infini as well. I’m generally very sensitive to scent and it took ~6 sprays of Oolang Infini for me to be able to smell it very well!

  17. Johanob says:

    Frederic Malle’s L’Eau d’Hiver first comes to mind!I also enjoy The Different Company Pure Eve on days I want a soft sillage!Serge Lutens Clair de Musc is just gorgeous.And for my cheap thrill:Kiehl’s Musk Blend No 1.Soft musks are such comfort scents to me.Almond and Heliotropin are also two favorite notes, when used as whispers in perfumes!(Etro Heliotrope deserves a special mention!)Happy Sniffing!

  18. Lady Jane Grey says:

    I found Nabucco delicate… Or Bel Respiro, or Chemise Blanche by Mazzone
    Or the old Jo Malone scents were fleeting & fine, like Grapefruit, or Nectarine Blossom, or French Lime Blossom


    Oh pregnancy. Quelle challenge for quite anything, isn’t it?
    I like Bulgari’s Petits & Mamans, it’s as sweet and powdery and cosy as candyfloss with just a hint of oriental – it’s like the loukoum version of baby powder 😀
    Here’s a fragrantica link:
    DISCLAIMER: I don’t know how safe it is, ingredient-wise. Everything can cause an allergy or prove toxic, so your reader has to find out herself.

  20. Hamamelis says:

    Delicate, light and tender…these are the ones I think of:
    OJ Champaca
    SL Douce Amere
    Anything by JCE, one of my favourites not yet mentioned, light but not really tender as a masculine is Terre d’Hermes Eau Tres Fraiche
    Yves Rocher Moment de Bonheur, not often mentioned on the blogs, but it has such lovely and soft (not sour) rose and ceder notes (by Annick Menardo), and it doesn’t break the bank
    Pozzo di Borgo 23 Janvier 1984, a lovely citrus, fig, cardamon and iris.
    And another not expensive tender musc SJP Lovely

  21. Connie says:

    Definitely agree with the Hermessences! Also l’Eau d’Hiver, Santal Carmin, Verte Violette, and Cuir de Nacre.

  22. allgirlmafia says:

    Heure Exquise Annick Goutal and Chanel 22

  23. Julee says:

    I am the pregnant reader 🙂
    Thank you all for your suggestions!
    I will try Cuir de Nacre, Nuda and will revisit Santal Massoia and Angeliques sous la pluie (Already own many OJs and Oolang Infini) Thank you again, I enjoy to read your comments 🙂

  24. Cybele says:

    my top 5 are Osmanthe Yunnan, Clair de Musc, 28 La Pausa, Chanel 18, Bottega Veneta Eau Legere

  25. Ines says:

    First thing that comes to mind is Penhaligon’s Artemisia. 🙂

  26. Dionne says:

    I mostly bring out my delicate fragrances in the springtime. In no particular order:

    Après l’Ondée by Guerlain (both pre- and post-2011 reformulation)
    28 La Pausa by Chanel
    Bel Respiro by Chanel
    Fleur No. 1 by 1000 Flowers
    Vetiver pour Elle by Guerlain

  27. Pixel says:

    For me, Teo Cabanel Meloe is just right when I want something light.. perfectly balanced between citrus and musk, never heavy, never too sweet. Makes me wish for spring :^)

  28. Cathy says:

    After reading about Jardin Sur Le Nil (previously about Eau des Merveilles), I decided to send for a Hermes sample set. Many years ago, I had a sample of Rouge and really loved it, and I also added a sample of that to my order. The samples arrived the day after Christmas and well…I think I’m in trouble. I tried Jardin Sur Le Nil yesterday and Eau des Merveilles today, and I am totally in love. I keep smell my wrists and catch soft whiffs of the fragrance while I’m working around the house. Bells are ringing and angels are singing!!!

    Thank your for recommending these lovely fragrances. I can’t wait to try the other samples!!

  29. Marianne Wynn says:

    Byredo’s Mojave Ghost – smells light and sun warmed – asian pear – love to wear it when I am looking for a lovely light touch

  30. Marianne Wynn says:

    I have the same experience with Hermes hiris that you described with musc nomade – very strange

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