Smell Like A Girl

I came home today with a headache, having smelled a gazillion tween-y frags in search of something appropriate for my grade-school-aged niece, at the request of her mother (and my close friend) Kate.   I am telling you, sprinting through a field of land mines would have been less fraught for me.  I want Kate to like me after I present the fragrance(s).

It was an interesting conundrum: given all the complaining I do about the fruity-floral-fresh hell of mass market fragrances that seem like the equivalent of cupcakes on the sophistication scale, how hard could it be to choose one for a young girl?  I am here to tell you — way harder than it sounds.

It doesn’t bother me buying perfume for a girl who’s outgrown Disney’s Tinkerbell cologne, at least in her own mind. But girly fragances are tricky.  This is not the time for the entry-level adult stuff you got from your aunt in high school, like Joy, which can be forgiven (or even admired) for a whiff of sexuality.   Even a middle school girl can be forgiven for a little musk — but a girl less than 12, no. There are three legs to the girly-frag stool: sweet/fruity; fresh; and musky.  Kate had already asked me not to go too gaggingly sweet or strong, which eliminated a lot of scents off the bat (hello, Pink Sugar!).  But what I was left with either tended to smell pretty fresh — which I don’t personally like — or surprisingly musky, which can read as too sexy for a girl in minute amounts that would barely register on me, a woman who (stupidly) wore Addict to go shopping.  Also, I wanted the bottle to be cute, if possible, rather than hip or plain or weird.

So here’s a short list of what was left after I eliminated everything else:   Tommy Hilfiger Dreaming; Mariah Carey M or Luscious Pink (bonus points for cute butterfly bottle); the Ferragamo Incantos (okay, a little sweet for me but the girls love the scents and the bottles); Lacoste Inspiration or Touch of Pink; Vera Wang Princess or Flower Princess (bonus points for cuteness) and can I say in hindsight how surprisingly well done Princess smelled compared to most of the competition in the pale pink universe?  I feel compelled to mention the Harajuku Lovers here — in some ways their light scents are perfect, and the wee ones at Macy’s are only $25!   But I think the hip humor of their whimsical doll bottles are better appreciated by slightly older tween/teen girls who are in on the joke and have clearly outgrown dolls themselves, whereas for my niece who is probably unaware of the brand, I thought they looked too much like the Disney-figurine scents she was fleeing from.  I still haven’t made up my mind, and I’m heading for Sephora and Nordstrom next week (MJ Daisy?  the Guerlain AAs?), so any other suggestions you have are welcome.

Brands for slightly older (but still young teenage) girls with more hip factor: the Ed Hardy fragrance, which is apparently all the rage in 9th grade; the Ralphs (Hot, Rocks, Cool, take your pick);  Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche, the J. Los.  Full disclosure: I bought a bottle of J Lo Live and have decided the sweet vanilla-musk drydown, pretty and young as it is, reads as too sensual for my niece; I am giving it to my girls, who liked it a lot and in fact helped me choose it.  Better that than giving them their own bottle of Addict, which they want but would probably kill me in the quantities they put on.

My personal favorite discovery of the day for me rather than my niece: the new Calvin Klein Secret Obsession.  One whiff of the cigarette-tinged beard that is the 1985 original Obsession (and how could I have forgotten that?) reminded me how much popular conceptions of “sexy” have changed in the last two decades, and I cannot imagine that bitter and strange and twisted original topping the charts in this Age of Angel and Pink Sugar.  Secret Obsession is a somewhat different proposition.  Notes are plum, mace, rose, jasmine, orange flower, tuberose, cashmere woods, burnt amber, vanilla and sandalwood.  So, while being considerably less pushy than Obsession, as you can see, it’s not a light fragrance, and I predict it will be irritating the fragrance-averse in a mall near you very soon.  It’s got something akin to that cracked-out hairspray note of Rush, and a perfect balance of ambery sweetness and a slightly naughty cigarette-in-the-next-room spiciness.  The longer I wore it the more I admired it; like Rush it is simultaneously comforting and profoundly strange and synthetic-smelling, all big hair and dance music.  In the far drydown it reminds me a bit of Eau de Merveilles’ salted amber.  I find Secret Obsession less engulfing than Rush — which on the wrong day is like squirting Aqua-Net up your nose — while retaining Rush’s sense of playfulness.  Bottle’s fun too.

PS A Question for Club Kids, Current and Former: In Denyse’s review of Rush, a commenter said Rush has the smell of amyl nitrites or “poppers,” of which Rush is a known brand.  This was news to us, and of interest given the fragrance’s peculiar synthetic vibe (and the hunch that Tom Ford would know what poppers smell like).  Chandler Burr made a similar comment about the smell of poppers in the new Dianne Brill fragrance, which would make sense as Brill was an 80s club queen.  The wiki article was somewhat informative (apparently the larger drug class is alkyl nitrites) but nowhere is the smell discussed.  Do they all smell the same?  Are poppers “scented,” like room spray?  What do they smell like?  Anyone care to share any light on the topic, please do so in the comments and no, not gonna call your mommy and tell on you.  BTW clarifying — I am not suggesting that these fragrances contain poppers, and won’t be shooting them up my nose to test that theory, as I am sure they don’t; I am merely curious as to whether there is a recognizable “popper” smell in either, and wondering how you’d go about recreating that for a fragrance.  Same way they fake everything else, I suppose.

  • Flora says:

    If it’s not too late, may I suggest the folowing as suitable first frags for young ladies: 1. YSL Baby Doll – bad name, fantastic scent with a rhubarb kick. 2. Creed Spring Flowers – a bit spendy but it’s really, really good and she can wear it well past her tween/teen years. 3. Guerlain Chant d’Aromes – yes there IS a Guerlain other than the Aqua Allegoria line that an ingenue can get away with! I used to wear it myself, and I was not really even a Guerlain fan at the time. 4. Patou For Ever – lovely fruity floral (the good kind) and the fruit part is a light fresh pineapple. I adore this one and I am WAY past my teens…. 🙂

  • Natalie says:

    Two more thoughts, based on what seemingly everyone (although not me!) was wearing back in high school: Anaïs Anaïs and Lauren. I don’t think I’ve smelled either since the ’80s, but I remember them as being quite demure.

  • monkeytoe says:

    AG Quel Amour.

  • gud info!!! hope with only one drop i can have better scent perfumes after this!!!!

  • rogue says:

    – coming to think of it- my daughter has 3 distinct categories (‘auld lady’, ‘barbie’ & ‘trash’) – but she got extremely intrigued by some Brosius etc. titles I ordered. I guess if you catch them in the right age, they won’t get so much fooled by peer-pressure/marketing? (I spent most of my 43 years hating perfume…)

  • rogue says:

    LOL it is quite a conundrum indeed! My girl (16) after several tedious ‘classmate-gifts’ seems to have found her niche in Jardin sur le Nile, as she puts it “a perfect G&T with Bombay Sapphire”. (We’re not that boozy, only old-school continentals…) Well, her being 16 in many ways equals a10 – 11-yrs boy, thankfully.

  • Mitral says:

    Hmm… Missoni or Missoni Acqua? The latter is sweet and melony.

  • multitasker says:

    Oh–forgot to mention HDuff w/Love–I think it’s a great choice for a young teen. My niece wears it, and she is very down to earth. My 4 yr old also loves it.

  • multitasker says:

    I bought my 4 yr old daughter Midnight Fantasty. She likes it, and it smells just right on her. But, given a choice of everything I own, she will knowingly over-spray herself with Bronze Goddess (4 pumps)–and then swooooon. She LOVES it.

    Ah, Secret Obsession. I was scared–very scared. But it has nothing at all to do with the original. It is wonderful, sexy, yummy-delicious.

  • Mary says:

    The comments here are as interesting as the reading!

    I always keep a bottle of Clinique Happy on my dresser. I rarely wear it, but I love it, always have. My niece always asks if she can have it when she comes over…I always give it to her and replace it for next time 😉

    • March says:

      The lady wouldn’t let me smell Happy. /:) Not any of its variations either. I’ll try it on my own.

      • Musette says:

        Huh? Who wouldn’t let you smell Happy? Are they selling Happy at Hermes now?

        oh, another earworm (my dad likes bar soap rather than gel so when he was staying here I put a bar of Dial in the shower)

        “Aren’t you glad you use Dial….don’t you wish everybody did?”



        • Musette says:

          Ooops! Forgot that our li’l whistler has scarpered. That was meant to be him.>-)

        • March says:

          Whee — the alien just morphed!!! (Firefox just upgraded)

          Nah, the perfume store I always go to. She said “they’re too grown up” or some such. How grown up could Happy Heart be, anyway?:-?

          • Mary says:

            That is about the silliest thing I have ever heard! Happy smells very clean and very young. I always think of Jr. High when I smell it. Its just clean and fruity. You can always over apply without gagging anyone, its a good standby! They actually have a set of 3 vials in roller tubes that you can order online. My 4 year old is always misplacing mine for me!

          • Musette says:

            It’s actually fun now, watching him morph, rather than being totally weirded out, thinking I was seeing things.

            The SA is a moron. Used judiciously, Happy would be delightful on a young girl. In fact, I think it embodies 99% of what it is you’re trying to achieve with this choice: it’s fresh, age-appropriate, relatively unobtrusive (that is: you know it’s there but you don’t mind it much – I gave it to my father’s housekeeper and I can stand to be in a car with her when she’s wearing it) And I agree with Mary, you can overapply and not wipe somebody out with it.

            Shame the bottle isn’t ‘cute’


          • Mary says:

            No, the bottle isn’t cute, but it can be personalized with a picture when you order online!

  • Aparatchick says:

    This is soooooo timely! I started looking today for something for my just-turned-13 niece. She’s not girly, like many people in the Pacific NW, she’s very outdoorsy. I’m at a loss, because when I was her age I was very much a girly-girl. I looked at some of the Demeters – wet garden, bonfire, snow, but I need help! Any ideas?

    • March says:

      It’s hard to guess, not knowing her … is she the sort of kid who’d appreciate the oddball humor of Demeter? If she is I’d definitely get her some of their ginormous minis, they’re dirt cheap and they are fun to layer. Even ones she might not like the smell of individually are still fun to try. I would stick with the whimsical ones like Dirt, Wet Garden, Thunderstorm, etc. and stay away from the candy ones, which are awfully cloying.

      • Aparatchick says:

        Good to know about the candy ones. I took another look at the Demeter website (she’d definitely get the oddball humor!) and thought that if I mixed Frasier Fir, Dirt, and Bonfire, I’d have something that resembles her favorite activity – camping! :d

        • March says:

          I think that sounds delightful! If you search for Demeter on here you will discover I am a fan of many of their scents, but go with what sounds appealing to you… I am very fond of Bonfire, which btw layers nicely with all sorts of things.

          On the comfort scent end of things, Honey and (believe it or not) Egg Nog are quite nice — I wear Egg Nog a LOT in the cooler weather. It’s not really eggnog, sort of a spicy vanilla, warm and perfect. Something like Mitten or Snow is nice… I love Holy Smoke. Coriander Tea and Beetroot are delicious… honestly, avoiding their “alcohol-type drinks” and their candies I can’t see how you could go wrong. I don’t care for their industrials (that’s just me) — oh, Ginger Ale is fun! You should throw a leather in there…. 😕

  • Brooke says:

    What about one of the Comptoir Sud Pacifiques? Reasonably priced, sweet, and not overpowering. Or Philosophy (Baby Grace perhaps?), which will smell clean but still give her that grown-up feeling.

    I wouldn’t get Daisy, maybe it’s because I’m not in grade school, but I find it really chemically cloying and just generally tacky smelling.

    • March says:

      And a vote *against* Daisy! You say chemically cloying like it’s a bad thing. 😉 I still find it funny that I have no recollection of what it smelled like.

  • aelily says:

    I recall that at 9 I was overdosing myself (and my headache prone mother) with Chloe (which aforementioned mother finally took away), then maybe it was sunflowers? Oh, how times have changed :)The bottle is boring, but I love Inis, and it is a light, marine like scent that would be hard to overapply.

  • Helen says:

    BTW, my 14 year old (who tells me I smell like “old lady” on a regular basis) is big on Christian LaCroix Tumulte, Chinatown, and Juicy Couture- she also likes and is out of (oh darn!) a grocery store body spray called Chica Bon Bon- smells like Pink Sugar lite…

  • tania says:

    At that age I was wearing Aqua Manda, Yardley’s Sea Jade, and my grannie’s Blue Grass. I think I was a weird kid….

    Anyway, how about the Body Shop? Not the oils, but they do that range of scents in coloured bottles, meant for layering. (They even do a ‘sampler’ set). Some are gourmand, some are light, citrussy, green or minty. I could see a girl that age wanting to collect a few and experiment with layering – they’d look cute on a dresser, too. Plus, fairly cheap.

    Poppers? I’ve never sniffed them, but I do recall some gay clubs smelling rather sulphorous under the cologne and smoke, and I assumed that was poppers en masse. Either that or every gay club I went to had a mad stinkbomber on staff! Or bad plumbing.

    • March says:

      The Body Shop def. has less expensive fragrances, good for layering, as you said. But (maybe it’s just me) the smell of their product, collectively, has gotten so overwhelming recently it’s difficult for me to bring myself to enter the store. It gives me a faint headache, as does BBW. 🙁 So I guess there *is* such a thing as too much fragrance.

  • Helen says:

    My vote is cast for Fresh Sugar as a nice inoffensive tween scent. Lollia would be another line worth sniffing through (pretty “grown up” girly bottles)…

    No clue about the scent of poppers…but I appreciate that Chandler Burr is on the up and up…

  • annie says:

    Guuurl….As both my daughter & I are total frag-addicts (wonder how that happened??)The diva princess grand-daughter (6)was choosing her first perfume for the first day of school.(what;surprise her you say….HA,RIGHT)…she tested about 5,when she spotted Daisy,spritzed it,and I swear I saw her swoon…she’s a goner,and has officially become one of us…no baby perfume for her…and it really smells wonderful,& very appropriate on her,,,go figure…but,the greatest thing was,it was such a great way to do it,as it will now be a ritual before school every year…just seeing the ‘swoon’was sooo worth it. Lord,WHY did I not think to take a camera?…carry on my lil’ perfumistas…

    • March says:

      Okay, then!!! If your 6YO grand-daughter can pull it off, it just may be The One. And to be honest I’ve been wanting an excuse to purchase a bottle ever since I first laid eyes on it. 😡

  • karin says:

    What about the oodles of Demeter candy fragrances? I can see those being fun for young girls to wear…

    • March says:

      Fun yes but really REALLY STRONG. I made the mistake of handing a few of those out as birthday party favors in my home, and will *never* do so again. ~:>

  • Robin says:

    I vote for Daisy!

    • Musette says:

      Me, too, on the Daisy. I tried that once at a mall counter and found it to be very girly, yet inoffensive.

      I must confess that I am having a bit of difficulty with the notion of a 9yr old girl in perfume….but I suspect that is only because it has been at least 2 centuries since I was 9 years old!LOL! I’m sure I was spritzing something at 9 (or wishing I could – my mom was kinda strict about that sort of thing and it was back in the very early 60s, before things loosened up a bit, but there may have been some Coty in my life, stolen from my mom’s dresser) – later it was Heaven Scent. I was very much into that (early teens, maybe?). In which case Daisy is about 325 steps up. Remember Heaven Scent (Sent?). That smell just came roaring back into my memory and it’s burning my toast!


      ps. popper = head cleaner. Of course. Even if one didn’t actually ‘do’ poppers, there was no escaping the smell of amyl n on the dance floor!

      • March says:

        I do remember Heaven Scent! Remember the song? I can still hear it:

        Heeehh-veennn SCEEEEeeeeeEEEEENT

        earworm earworm neener neener! :d/

        Your comment about a child and perfume was what I was indirectly addressing in para 3, probably not clearly enough. Here’s a fuller answer: a few years ago, when my older girls were younger and I was not particularly interested in fragrance, I would have viewed buying a scent for a 9YO as like fitting her with her first thong: jumping one of the gates to womanhood by 5 to 10 years. However. In my time on the blog I have read so very many stories and comments, scent memories, by women (and men) from their childhoods — all those scents resonate with them, whether it’s Disney Princess or Mitsouko. And this is on another level a way to help keep that girl *out* of her mom’s Mitsouko parfum and etc. I’ve gotten over myself about the “appropriateness” of it other than to try darn hard to find something that is as devoid of any sort of carnality as I can make it. 😡

        • Musette says:

          March, I totally agree. I am sure I was into my mom’s stuff at 9, no doubt about it! And I’m sure I smelled ridiculous, wearing Shalimar!:o

          I really don’t think 9 is too young for a young, girlish scent (I applaud your care in selecting the appropriate type of scent) – it’s just that I can’t remember my own 9 year old self w/ fragance. But that was in another country and besides, the wench is old. My two goddaughters are 10 and 7 and I buy them sparkly lipgloss, which drives their father insane. They’re still ‘kid’ enough that it just looks silly/fun on them. I will probably buy the 10 yr old something like Daisy (or a light, marine scent – her mom gets migraines) for her birthday – she’s about ready for it. It, too, will drive her father wild, though her mother understands (they spend a lot of time in BBW). I think something inoffensive, young and forgettable will help all those who come into contact with the young overapplier – and at 9, we all overapplied!!!


          ps. Tania’s Body Shop suggestions are another way to go – anything ‘light and breezy’ would be best, in my aged opinion.

          • multitasker says:

            I remember that my mom wouldn’t let me wear black in middle school–that must have symbolized something for her. My 4 yr old wears make-up–very dramatic Barbie make-up–bright green shadow, etc. I let her wear it around–to preschool, on weekends, whatever. For some reason I think of it as dress-up (and I let her wear ball gowns to preschool, supermarket), but I’ve explained that she can’t wear it anymore once she starts kindergarten. I just see it as natural experimenting. Of course our girlies like perfume. Their response to scent is probably genetic, no? My mom and I often pick the same scents, and she never picks anything I dislike. When she smelled Black Orchid for the first time, she told me I would own it, and I do. My sister on the other hand. . . .

    • March says:

      Clearly Daisy is leading the pack. Funny I cannot recall one bit what it smelled like. I suppose that’s not surprising.

  • divinemama says:

    Sephora has Princess in a cute roll on thingie that has pink lip gloss on one side and roll on Princess on the other. I think I payed about $25 for it for my 8 year old budding perfumista. Very cute and hard to over apply with the roll on.

  • violetnoir says:

    Yes, Baby Doll! DD loved it when she was in Junior High!

  • violetnoir says:

    March, I am trying to think what dd liked aroung that age. I think it was Serendipitous, which I must confess I liked too, only it made me want to eat sweets! 8-|

    Right now, she likes Daisy and Princess. Sorry I can’t be of anymore help, because at that age, I was wearing L’Air Du Temps and Capricci. Don’t get me wrong, I was not that sophisticated, because I also loved Love’s Fresh Lemon and Chantilly. Oh de London! was great, but whatever happened to that one?

    I know a lot about dancing and disco music, having danced my way through HS and college, but I have no idea what poppers smell like. They have a smell???

    Hugs and have a great weekend!

    • March says:

      Love’s Fresh Lemon! I LOVED that thing, thanks for the flashback! 😡

      • Musette says:

        If you liked that, you/she might like Fresh Lemon Sugar. Some people say it smells like Pledge but on me it smells like (very) slightly sweetened lemons. Hard to overapply, which makes it great for a tween. the little bottle is $22 at Sephora, which also makes it great.



  • Shelley says:

    Erm, they’re not highly sophisticated, but I’d consider the Gap line of body scents. They’re somewhat Malone-ish, and offer simple broad stroke scents across the fragrance family range…yes, your hated marine, but also lavender, and citrus, and a flowery one, and a sweet one, a clean one….

    There’s also Zents, which comes in liquid and concrete, and offers various ranges of scent (they have an amber, for example)….

    Neither of those lines is too strong, I think. Penhaglion is an interesting choice, I think, if girly packaging and inobtrusive/non-sexy are among the goals.

    • March says:

      I did a review of the Gap scents (whatever their current lineup was) awhile ago and found them better than I expected. Oddly, I didn’t see them in the store last time I was there. Wonder if they’re disappearing in the store merchandise shake-up?

  • Natalie says:

    I was always more of a smoker than a sniffer/huffer, so no help in the popper department here!

    As for your niece, however, how about a Jo Malone, like Orange Blossom? The bottle’s boring, but the scent is pretty and appropriate. Penhaligon’s also makes some nice un-sexy florals, and their bottles are a bit cuter. Maybe I’m just an old fuddy-duddy, but I can’t stand anything even remotely sexy on a kid (I find inappropriately sexy teenagers kind of hilarious, though!).

    Oh, and I saw heaps of YSL Babydoll at TJ Maxx the other day, in case you want to save a few bucks on that one.

    • March says:

      I own an inappropriately sexy teenager x( whom I find only intermittently hilarious. [-x

      Hmmmm, TJ MAxx… those Penhaligons bottles are lovely, aren’t they? I like looking at mine.

  • Linda says:

    I think that Miss Marisa by Ebba is THE scent I would choose for a teen/tween — pleasantly fruity, refreshing, with a leaf of mint — but the bottle is a snooze. Or perhaps Max Mara, with its maple-syrup lemonade aroma, but that bottle is downright weird (and heavy as a mo-fo, because it comes in roughly a gallon container.) Getting ALL the requirements right is a tough job. 🙂

    • March says:

      You see my pain, here! There were a couple (I’ve already forgotten what) that smelled just fine but the bottles were so dull! [-x

  • barbara says:

    OMG-poppers???Imagine packed sweaty dance floor, small(amber) container going around and around the room to “ehance” your frenetic dance experience. You sniff, your head thumps- and pass it on.It was 70’s, early 80’s footstomping techno/disco…Stinky, sweaty, foggy gym, rank gym socks, dank, musty lockers and towels.Always the same funky smell-what would remain in your head is a tantalizing armpit funk-the one that is JUST beginning to lose the soapy smell, and you forgot to put on deodarant

    • March says:

      see, when you say “tantalizing armpit funk” you make me interested. 😕

      • barbara says:

        LOL….Gucci Rush has a note that reminds me of a faintly sweeter, greener version of what poppers smelled like, in my memory.It lingers in the same thoughtful manner..

  • Elle says:

    Glad to see you liked Secret Obsession! I went to the mall recently to sniff that LE Laura Mercier that everyone has been raving about and, as a sort of after thought, also went to sniff Secret Obsession. Much to my surprise, I was far more impressed w/ Secret Obsession than I was w/ the Laura Mercier Nuits Enchantees. The LM was nice, but somehow seemed to lack any real oomph. Been there, done that, sniffed that sort of thing. But SO w/ that fun I Dream of Jeannie bottle? I’m thinking that when it hits the discount sites, I’ll be placing an order.
    Can’t help you w/ the poppers question and even less w/ the choice of scent for a young girl. Am somewhat amazed at how few of those scents I’ve even sniffed. 🙁

    • March says:

      I’ve been askeered of the Laura Mercier dept. ever since she did those terrifying gourmand things. I am always afraid I will accidentally brush up against one of them and have to cut my own head off. :-ss

      So how was Nuits Enchantees? You sound less than enchantee, yourself. :-j

      Lord these emoticons are fun. Let’s throw in someone who never gets to play. How about … @-) or #:-s

      PS The Obsession bottle is somehow cuter in person than in the photos, which IMO make it look kind of dull.

  • Meliscents says:

    I like Secret Obsession too. I got the lotion thinking at the time the perfume was a little much, but now I may have to go back & get it. Besides, it’s kind of a cool bottle.

    As far as tween scents, I’d have to dust off my brain to remember. I was also a 70’s, 80’s child & back then it was either the Coty Sweet Earth choices, Jean Nate or a spritz of Mom’s Chanel No. 5 or Blue Grass. WOW I”M GETTING OLD & OUT OF TOUCH! Well I did recently buy a tiny bottle of Hilary Duff “With Love” at the drugstore marked down to $4.75. I’d read good things about it so at that price why not give it a try. It’s too sweet for but not quite as sweet as some of the Mall frags, plus the bottle was beautiful. I thought about giving it away but I’m finding it hard to part with the bottle. Maybe the perfume will “age” into something I’ll wear. Good Luck March on your daunting search for a perfume your niece will like!

    • March says:

      Just looking at your list makes me giggle. Ponder for a moment the difference in tone between those forceful scents and the sweet, girly candied scents of today.

      I love With Love! I have some myself. The sales people at Sephora said quite a few moms bought it, and I’d have snapped it up at the drugstore at that price — your drugstore is nicer than mine. I was quite surprised and pleased, it is not at all what I was expecting, although to be honest I dismissed it as too adult-gourmand for my niece, who I think might have a tendency to overapply it.

  • OliviaB says:

    I give a big vote to the MJ Daisy…it’s sweet and fresh without being overly so, and has a cute girly bottle that still is beautiful and grown-up enough that she’ll be proud to have it on her dresser. I personally don’t wear it, but it’s a good all-around pleasing scent…which is probably why it’s so popular!

    I was way too much of a hippie wannabe to have tried anything as synthetic as poppers, but I did recently watch a John Waters special called “This Filthy World” on Showtime in which he talks about his love of poppers…it’s hilarious. :d

    • March says:

      And another vote for Daisy. She would love the bottle, for sure. 😡 I don’t remember it being even remotely sexy, which has turned out to be more of a problem with these girly-musk scents than I’d anticipated. I mean, they are not SEXX-AY, but they are often sensual in a way that makes it inappropriate for such a young girl.

    • Kristy says:

      So weird. I’ve been living in baltimore for about 4 years now and I still don’t get the whole beehive-Hair (the musical)-“Hon” subculture/aesthetic around here. I am starting to like it a little bit though, which scares me.

      • March says:

        I love Baltimore. My best friend from high school went to college there and I used to come up on the commuter train to visit. Baltimore had interesting culture, cheap food and a genuine-ness to it that I found sadly lacking in D.C. Not sure things have changed much in 20 years. :)>-

  • Kristy says:

    and, I forgot to post: Have you tried any of the YSL Babydoll? I think those are extremely delicate and inoffensive scents, probably impossible to overspray to the point of suffocation.

  • Kristy says:

    Poppers have their own chemicaly ozonic “scent” similar to the way the Nitrous Oxide at the dentist does. It’s not “scented” but it is a recognizable chemical variation on… air, sort of. Similar to how the canned air that you might use to clean electronics smells.

    If you really want to get a feel for the smell, you can cleaning out your VCR with VCR headcleaner, which contains Amyl Nitrate and I imagine you’d be exposed to the scent in some manner of doing so.

    • March says:

      Matt mentioned VCR head cleaner, and I know that smell precisely, and bleh. /:) Won’t be gassing myself with that any time soon.

      I’m going to try Baby Doll at Sephora. The bottle is so cute. I ended up being surprised at the number of fragrances that are stronger than I’d remembered.

  • sybil says:

    Hmmm…my newly-minted 13 y.o. loves the Mariah Carey original, and it’s very nice on her. She also likes D&G Light Blue, which I’ve banned from the house on the grounds that it makes me feel like someone rubbed a wire brush up my nose. The 15 y.o., on the other hand, loves Black Orchid, of all things…thanks Sephora! I’d second or third the Crazy Libellule sticks. They are a big hit around here, for their portability, reasonable price and good smell. A big advantage also is it’s difficult to apply too much. The L’aromarines are also cute (although not in a Harajuku way), reasonably priced and not sexy. As for the smell of poppers, (not that I really know what I’m talking about, you understand) i’ve heard it’s a pretty strong funky/chemical/dirty sox odor. I’m not sure it could be effectively tarted up w/ any masking odor…

    • March says:

      L’Aromarines are a GREAT idea! I’d forgotten them, and they sell them locally at Anthropologie. I think she’d like the pretty bottle too; thanks!

      I have some Crazy Lib sticks I will probably throw in there as well. Wonder if her mom actually thought I’d be able to get my niece only *one* fragrance? /:)

    • March says:

      PS My 14YO wears Light Blue, which I bought her because I found it tolerable and figured it wouldn’t wear out its welcome. I was wrong. She puts a lot on, and you can smell it forever. Her bedroom and bath smell like Light Blue all the time. 8-x

  • Melissa says:

    So, sorry! I’m useless on both counts. As a tween and teen in the early seventies, my preferences ran toward perfume oils (you know the type, patch and sandalwood) and our substances of choice were were grown organically. 8-| No synthetics for us!

    Actually, I do like Masha’s idea of the Crazy Libellule series. The other (ridiculously expensive considering the juice inside) fragrance that came to mind was Feerie, but I have to admit that it is only because of the bottle. $110 for 50 ml seems pretty excessive for a tweener.

    • March says:

      I thought about Feerie for two seconds and dismissed it for the same reasons you did, more or less. I think she’d love the bottle but not so sure about the juice, either. I thought it was pretty and light but not sure if it is girly enough. I might be remembering wrong, though.

  • Nava says:

    OK, now I can admit to almost walking out of Macys the other day with a bottle of Secret Obsession. I was turned waaaay off to Obsession by a professor I had who used to marinate herself in it. And she was not possessed of the best chemistry, either. Rather an inappropriate fragrance for a university setting as well. Harrumph, harrumph! :d

    Have you considered the Juicy Couture scents, or the dreaded Jessica Simpson Fancy?

    • March says:

      So it’s NOT just me thinking that Secret Obsession is tasty! And something about the campy name “Secret Obsession” makes me like it even better. Don’t you want to tell people you’re wearing Secret Obsession? It sounds all Maxwell Smart to me…

      Juicy, lovely though it is (she admits grudgingly) is too strong for that kid, her mom would never forgive me. And my one sentence disappeared from the post, but my own … issues prevent me from buying my niece a fragrance by Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton or Britney, although Mariah and J Lo are okay by me. :)>- I’ll admit she’d probably love Fancy but her mom would hate it.

  • Louise says:

    What a darling friend you are to help on this mission-but I already knew that 😡 I also glad that my personal child-scenting experience involved with sneaky sprayings (on a teenage boy) of Silver Factory, CDG Play, New York. He has used Old Spice Original deodorant for years, and to very nice effect.

    I had no interest in any girly things like perfume when little, Much preferring the smell of fir trees, mud, horse sweat. I did like smelling my mom’s White Shoulders, and sneaked the occasional spray. I still don’t like tuberose, but the old version of WS has nice memories.

    I think I’ll give Secret Obsession a tiny try at the mall later. Maybe it’s OK 😕 I am so missing the days of mall finds-back so many years ago when Norstrom actually had some unusual things.

    Poppers, sweets? Unlike our enlightened posters above (shhh), I really can’t report. Now, on the true smell of various smokin’ things, I’m a good resource :d/ -but nowadays just from walking the halls of my school o:-)

    Hmmm…research to be done: are perfume fans (read: intense sensators) more likely to use/have used mood/sense altering drugs? What’s your guess:> ?

    • March says:

      You would have died! I wish you’d have been there if only to laugh and share your opinion. That woman at the perfume shop outside Macy’s Wheaton was so patient with me. I’ve actually bought two things there in the last couple weeks so I hope I’m off her hate list given how much time I have spent in there, and they have to hand you everything…

  • Kayliana says:

    MJ’s Daisy is Myley Cyrus’s favorite scent so with this you can’t go wrong. I may not know how to spell the damn girl’s name but I know what girls like! And the bottle is too cute.

    • March says:

      Unsurprisingly I cannot remember at all what Daisy smells like, but that is possibly a good thing in this case. I just remember light and inoffensive. The bottle could not be more perfect though and were I picking solely based on bottle it would be my first choice! I think she would love it.

  • MattS says:

    Hey, do you need a decant of Rush? I think I still have an old bottle in the back of my wardrobe, but it loses it’s potency quicker than fragrance, so you’d probably get a hint of the scent, none of the buzz, and all of the headache involved. :d

    I’ve never smelled any poppers with any kind of scent as far as room spray or air freshener. It’s a purely chemical smell like VCR head cleaner or nitrous oxide. It’s strong and dizzying and a surefire bet for a headache, quicker than Bath and Body Works.

    They can still be bought in most states, if you’re really curious. A lot of sex shops sell them. Just don’t ask for poppers, ask for Rush or by other brand names.

    So I’ve heard anyway. I think I read a magazine article once…

    • March says:

      Matt, thanks for the generous offer and … no thanks! I trusted you and Lee to come through and you did… (hmmmm, where is Tom? I’m sure he must have learned about poppers in health class as well, just like you two guys.)

      “VCR head cleaner” tells me pretty much all I need to know. Shudder. b-(

      • tmp00 says:

        Don’t know how I managed to miss this post…

        Due to uhhh, allergies? I did try poppers waaaaay back in the 80’s. As I remember they had a hyper-ozonic bitter chemical smell to them. Joy it wasn’t. Like Marihuana, it’s one that once you’ve smelled it, you never can’t recognize it. If Etat Libre had had one 8th of the gonads they think they do it would have been in Tom of Finland somewhere…

    • Billy D says:

      You can’t get them in Massachusetts…and yes, I WOULD know 🙂

  • Masha says:

    You know, some of the Crazy Libellule and the Poppies Crazysticks might be a lot of fun for either a tweener or a teen! Their gourmand series in particular seems appropriate, and they’d be easy to carry in a backpack, and not against school regulations, either (many schools ban perfume atomizers these days). Another possibility is Yves Rocher Cocoon, which a lot of girls seem to like, as it’s predominantly chocolate and vanilla. Of course, at age 12 I was wearing Cristalle, but then I’m a mutant perfumista, right??:”> My son wears his own creation that he developed for a science fair project on ancient Egypt, “Smell Like a Mummy”- so perhaps a basic perfumery kit would be a good gift?

    • March says:

      Cocoon! You’re right, I think she’d love that, and I have a rather large decant in a pretty bottle. Maybe I’ll give that to her. (It’s a baby step too close to Angel for me.) 😮

      I thought about the Crazy Libs. That would take care of the overapplication worries, wouldn’t it?

  • Lee says:

    Obviously I wouldn’t know, but at a guess I would argue they range in smell from that chemical estery fruitiness predominant in cheap ‘scents’ (used to mask the godawful smell of amyl) to a hideous chemical smell that stinks unlike anything else on earth – a sour, musky, sharp, roughly textured concoction of headache inducing nausea potential.

    Always hated poppers. At least in theory you understand. I have no idea what they’re really like. :d

    • March says:


      Reading what you wrote, it is becoming screamingly clear to me why I never tried them. For someone who loves perfume, which is often/mostly synthetic in my case, I really, really hate most of those chemical scents — from ozonic Oust-type room sprays to kitchen cleaners to bus fumes. I can almost feel the headache coming on just thinking about it. 🙂

      But thanks for your report! I was counting on our, uh, male contingent to provide the details.

  • carmencanada says:

    From kiddie frags to poppers, quite a conceptual span for a post (but I guess it’s only a matter of age… kids will be kids).
    Since one of my readers brought the question up on my Gucci Rush review, and I’ll most likely never find out firsthand, I’d be curious to know about la senteur des poppeurs!

    • March says:

      Yes, I did notice — quite the range of topics for a post that started off on kiddie frags, but it all worked together in my warped mind. 😉

  • AngelaS says:

    March, I’m sorry I can’t help much with the popper reference (although I can smell a martini from down the block), but my niece loves one of the Abercrombie & Fitch scents. She’s still young enough to spend a lot of her time drawing horses. She let me smell her “perfume” and it was a vaguely fruity, ozonic scent. Maybe a marine-type scent is the way to go?

    I must smell Secret Obsession now, and the Dianne Brill scent, too. I read her beauty book once years ago. All I remember is that she’s a big proponent of rubber dresses.

    • March says:

      I thought of the Abercrombie scent, thanks! Can’t make up my mind … it is inoffensive and she’d probably love it. I have been selfishly avoiding it b/c I think they pipe it into the air at A&F to the point that it wafts out the door, and I have thus developed a dislike for it. But that’s the concentration, one bottle would no doubt be fine. :)>-