Berry Bowl (by Nava)

It’s funny; I love the scent of fresh berries so much more than the taste. More often than not, they taste sour to me, and I can’t stand their texture. Raspberries give me the willies, as does peach fuzz and wooden ice cream sticks. Strawberry seeds get stuck in my teeth and blackberries feel like a sponge that’s been left to decay next to the kitchen sink for oh, maybe a decade or two. I can tolerate blueberries as long as I can eat them with a heaping spoonful of sugar and and even bigger spoonful of sour cream. But, damn, I love how they smell!

Berry scents are hard to get right, and let’s face it – more often than not they are marketed to the under-18 crowd companies believe must go through a fruity “rite of passage” before moving on to more sophisticated fragrance choices. And, of course, they find themselves in the ubiquitous fruity-floral, fruitchouli mash-ups we all love so much.

Believe it or not, there are some sophisticated berry scents out there that have nothing to do with the stuff that’s competing for real estate in the local department store. Many of them are accented with red or black currants as well, which also smell wonderful, but for me are impossible to eat. Mind you, I’ve never been able to suck lemons either, so you can see this is a recurring theme. Maybe I’ll need to compile a list titled, “Food Nava Loves to Smell but Hates to Eat”. Somehow, I don’t think steak and chocolate cake are going to make it onto that one.

In the meantime, I have compiled a list of some favourite berry scents. Again, heavy on the fruit, light on the flowers:

Trish McEvoy No. 9: This one started me down the path to berry-ruin. When I first heard that the notes were blackberry, vanilla and musk, I believe I invented an excuse to leave my desk and race to Nordstrom to check it out. Of course I walked out of the store with a bottle. I wore this to death until I discovered the less expensive, but spot on duplicate, Falling in Love by Philosophy. I don’t know how these two co-exist together without legal action. They are exactly the same, save for the price. Right now, Falling in Love perfume oil is my stalwart, although for an oil, it doesn’t last very long. I’m also quite fond of the shower gel and body lotion.Trish’s “Sexy” version of #9 is just wrong.

Philosophy Unconditional Love: I guess you’d consider this a flanker to Falling in Love. It’s got some woods in it which warm it up, and a more concentrated blackberry/black currant note as well. Yes, fruit and woods do work well together.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc: When I first smelled this, I thought it was downright vile. It took me years to even go near it again. Then I said, oh what the hell, and gave it a spritz. About an hour later, it was true love. This one can be tricky because of the high concentration of musk. If you can pull this off without it smelling like berries and B.O., you’re set. I’m not sure I can handle that these days, and that’s all I’ll say without risking crossing the line into “TMI” territory.

True Religion for Women: I think this one has already been relegated to e-tailer purgatory after a too-short stint in the department stores. It had a citrusy/blackberry/cassis blend that I fell in love with during my one hot summer in Virginia. I also thought the bottle was adorable.

Antonia’s Flowers Sogni del Mar: Fruit? Check. Salt air? Check. Love? Yes. This blend of bergamot, cassis, rhubarb, and orange says it has lotus in it as well, but all I can smell is fruit and the ocean. In a good way, I swear. Luckily this was one of the bottles that was rescued from the clutches of my diabolically insane aunt.

Bond No. 9 The Scent of Peace: I was working my way through a third bottle of this gem when… Anyways, grapefruit, black currant and musk are the notes and it is the scent that solidified my status as a bona-fide “Bond Whore”. I just love this one so much…

Now for the really lowbrow stuff I can’t get enough of: Bath and Body Works Strawberry Lemonade, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Secret Wonderland, and their newest, Carried Away. Guess who walked out of one of their stores schlepping a dozen bottles of shower gel when they had their Buy 3, Get 3 sale last week? Unfortunately, Strawberry Lemonade is only available on their Web site.

And my all time favourite strawberry scented anything is a Bonne Bell Strawberry Lip Smacker. It doesn’t get any better than that; unless we’re talking about a Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker.

OK, your turn: Time to fess up your berry faves.

  • annie says:

    Ya’ll FORGET Mure et Musc….it is ENTIRELY different than the Extreme version…I think Luckyscent has the true notes listed….Anyhoo,I’ve used the latter for years…the M et M(not the Extreme),is caca-doo-doo…..

    • annie says:

      I was wrong…fragrantica has it….basil,grapefruit,bergamot,blueberries,mandrian orange,jasmine,and a touch of musk,for the plain M et M…Now Smell This likens it ,as smelling like a personal hygiene product….

  • Marlene says:

    I grew up with berries all season long- picking them, cobblers, jams, jellies, pies so I haven’t met a berry I don’t love. Especially freshly picked and warm. My mother’s raspberry peach jam is a thing of joy to behold, especially as she make it watery so it was a perfect complement to warm fresh filled crepes.

    Tauer’s Une Rose Vermeille is taming my warm berry fix right now.

    I’m also crazy about the taste of lichee. There’s almost a second wave of an ephemeral rich sweet heady taste that you almost expect to be too heavy, then it’s gone.

    Strangely enough, I can’t summon up the scent of blueberries. I don’t know if they actually have a fragrance.

    • Nava says:

      I used to eat strawberry preserves straight out of the jar with a spoon. There’s something clearly wrong with me.

  • nozknoz says:

    Nava, you’re cracking me up with the fruit texture descriptions! In my case, berries are the only fruits I really love except for maybe mangos. And, well, persimmons (kaki), except that I can never find ripe ones here.

    I enjoy PdN Violette in Love, a lovely raspberry, violette and oriental/musk base ice cream sundae.

    • Nava says:

      And I love mangoes, pineapple, melons, apples, oranges and of course, peeled peaches. Berries are better smelled than eaten!

  • Claudia says:

    I don’t really like fruit-y perfumes, but I’ve never met a berry I didn’t like. I almost can’t control myself around cherries, and don’t even show me blueberries. One summer my parents rented a lakeside cottage in northern PA. There were high-bush blueberries growing everywhere. My Dad would get up early and pick a pail every morning. We had fresh berries on our cereal, blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, blueberry pie, you name it. My brother and I invented blueberries marinated in gin. Blueberries soaked in gin, breath-takingly cold, hidden in the fridge from his kids (and my mother). A couple spoons of those on a hot afternoon, and then you find an inner tube and float in a sunny patch of water for awhile…….
    Is it summer yet?

    • nozknoz says:

      That sounds so wonderful,Claudia!

      I’m very fond of blueberries with honey and cognac. First encountered this in Julia Child’s clafouti recipe and soon decided to skip the pancake batter ;-)

  • Parisa says:

    I agree, SB is nothing like Angel and it has to be my fave berry-infused fragrance. It’s a staple for Summer for me.

  • pyramus says:

    If you want to get REALLY technical, and I won’t but just for the record, citrus fruits are berries, as are watermelons and pumpkins and grapes (and bananas and tomatoes!), but raspberries and blackberries are not (they’re actually clusters of many tiny fruits rather than a single thing), nor are strawberries–basically, if all the seeds are on the outside, it isn’t a berry.

    But we all know what we mean when we say berries, and my favourite ever berry scent is pre-reformulation vintage Poison esprit de parfum, with its dense, heady compote of blackcurrant and raspberry and grape. Such gorgeous stuff. Present-day Poison can’t even touch it.

  • Natalie says:

    I really love Cartier X (L’Heure Folle, I think?) — perhaps not enough to splash out $250 on it, but my big fat sample is divine! Tart berries, not sweet at all, and oh so luscious.

  • Elisa says:

    According to Wikipedia, blackcurrant is a berry! So that means L’Ombre dans L’Eau and Pulp count. I *love* the tart fruity note in LODLE. I also like Mure et Musc, Moschino Couture (another tart red note but I think it’s supposed to be pomegranate?) and Funny (mostly grapefruit but some blackcurrant too), and Hanae Mori for the strawberry almond thing. And I find Liz Zorn’s Honeysuckle Bird to be a niche version of Hanae Mori.

  • Kym says:

    I’m the opposite: I adore eating berries (and they are sooo good for you), but I do not want to smell like a berry, or any fruit for that matter :)

    • BBJ says:

      I like citrus scents, and Keiko Mecheri Ume, and that’s about it for me and fruit.

      I LOVE eating berries, though. Plain, with cream, with sour cream, with sugar, without sugar…

      Is there a good blueberry scent out there?

  • odonata9 says:

    My husband won’t eat berries either – he hates all those seeds. I never really noticed them all that much until he mentioned it, but I still love eating them. I don’t really have any berry scents at the moment – I went through a bottle or 2 of Body Shop Dewberry back in the day. I need to try those Philosphy scents – I always assumed they were clean laudry like scents, so will sniff them all next time I’m in Sephora.
    I have a sample of Sublime Balkiss, but didn’t get much berry from it the 1 time I tried it. Will have to try again!
    And I went to B&BW last week and almost ended up with a bunch of stuff too, but I’ve been trying to be more “green” with my skin products (no parabens or pthalates – but not in perfumes, since that would pretty much cut out everything!), so B&BW is a no-no there. Too bad, because I like a lot of their scents.

  • Dionne says:

    Count me in as another Pulp fan – juicy but not too sweet. And although I love peaches, I can’t stand eating peach skin – ick!

  • jen says:

    Midnight Fantasy, of course. And I loved the berry -tea mix of dewberry.

  • March says:

    Mure et Musc, for sure. When it’s feeling too sweet I throw Mandragore on top of it. Also the Ines de La Fressange in the leaf-bottle.

  • tania says:

    Byredo Pulp – is that berry? Anyway, that. I like the tarter side of fruit. I don’t feel like it often, but when I do, it’s great. Lasts no time at all on me though, which is why I’ve never bought a FB to go with the sample I won in a draw at the lovely I Smell Therefore I Am.

    Hmmm…. I may dig out Falling in Love again. Oh, and there’s an old bottle of Bodyshop Dewberry oil in the drawer somewhere (talk about lowbrow….)

    I feel you about Foods I Like To Smell Not Eat. Berries, totally! They smell great but they taste like Punishment Snacks to me. You know, the stuff diets tell you to substitute for actual treats. *shudder*.

  • Abyss says:

    Diptyque L’Ombre dans l’Eau is great zingy little thing. Tart currants, fresh greenery and just a touch of flowers to soften things up a little. Sugar-free and better for it, imo.

  • Meliscents says:

    I’m not usually a big berry fragrance fan but I just got a sample of Andy Tauer’s UNE ROSE VERMEILLE and it has a beautiful berry note. It’s just sweet enough. And although it has no berry note, his newest ZETA is gorgeous! Just perfect for Spring. The sample I’m LOVIN the most though is LE MAROC POUR ELLE. WOW! Where have I been that I’m just trying this? Oh no, I think I’m “crushin” on Andy!! :d

  • karin says:

    Yum! Berries! I really like Par Amour Toujours – it has notes of black currant and raspberry. Mistral Wild Blackberry is a nice berry scent, too. I’ve been wanting to try the PdN Balkis for ages!

  • Debbie R. says:

    Bois de Paradis with its blackberry. I thought Byredo Pulp might be one, but then it has blackcurrant as its fruit note….which doesn’t really count as berry, does it?

  • Tara says:

    My favorite berry that makes me laugh out loud is Pulp…I just love it, but don’t wear it that’s soo big I get intimidated.

    I am totally with you on the texture issue. Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries and those little seeds icks me out!!!

  • Furriner says:

    Hmmmmmm… now you got me so I need to wear Mûre et Musc today. It smells good on me (I think!). While it is not a berry scent per se, I like the berries in Back to Black.

  • Hi Nava, nice post! Got a laugh out of the texture issues and the “love the smell, can’t do the taste” thing, because I have a similar case with some things: I like some notes in frags and not in real life (the banana note of jasmine sambac although I don’t like bananas) and vice versa (like melon but hate Calone).

    One of the very underrated berry fruity florals that is actually quite good is Gucci EDP II (the pink one). It’s restrained on the sugar and has a backdrop of musk which makes it a mainstream less sour version of Mure et Musc. It’s quite lovely in its way.

    For some reason all the Philosophy ones are barely detectable on my skin. Wonder why. Usually I don’t have that problem.

    • Nava says:

      Philosophy’s scents are funny. I think they mess around with the formulations way more than they should, because I’ve had bottles of their scents that hang on for dear life, and others that disappear on contact. Weird…

      I’m not totally skeeved by melon notes in most scents, but that Calone stuff is a tough one.

  • DJ says:

    oooh I know someone that wears the L’artisan mure and it smells so good on her. On me, not. so. much. That note, the musk one, just smell like the Body Shop on my skin (not a good thing on me).

    I love smelling it on others. Come sit by me ;)

    • Nava says:

      I haven’t tried to wear Mure et Musc in a really long time, and I’m afraid with things “evolving” as they’ve been lately, it might not be so pleasant. 8-|

      • DJ says:

        so I’m not the only one that find things changing on them! Last summer Like This smelled great on me. Not so great this year.

        try Mure et Musc some times & let us know, if you dare ;)

  • Austenfan says:

    We are funny aren’t we in our likes and dislikes.

    Two berry scents that I like are Parfums de NIcolaï Balkis and Goutal’s Quel Amour. But they are both grandly dressed up berries, not like the Body Shop’s Dewberry at all. ( fortunately!)

    • Nava says:

      Oh God – I looooved the Body Shop’s Dewberry!

      • Austenfan says:

        I did too. And I think I would still like it as a soap or a shower gel but not as a perfume.
        I like both the smell and the taste of all berries. So does my dog, and she is supposed to be a carnivore.

  • FragrantWitch says:

    Dr.Pepper Lip Smacker! I had one of the huge ones on a lanyard- when you are 11 these things are cool. :”>
    Haven’t tried any if your list but admit to being intrigued by BBW Dark Kiss ( I have to say my inner Goth likes the name) and the Philosophy oil sounds like a good beach- bag item (and one that if my daughters play with it it won’t really matter). Sublime Balkiss and the Antonia’s Flowers sound very intriguing – berries and salt water…Roll on summer! Actually, we are having a run if gorgeous weather here in the UK- 22c/74 f for the past few days and lasting into the weekend!!!

    • Nava says:

      I remember the big Lip Smackers on lanyards. I believe I had a Strawberry one like that! I may not be 11 anymore, but Lip Smackers will always be cool. 🙂

  • dinazad says:

    I find it remarkable that you can smell Mure et Musc at all. That one disappears on the way between the sprayer and my skin – I can’t smell it at all.
    Now I love berries, but I don’t really want to smell like one. With, perhaps, the exception of PdN Balkis, which is raspberry from beginning to end, from green shoots to ripe berries on a hot afternoon to caramelized mille-feuille with raspberries and cream.

    And then there’s the sublimely happy Miss Rocaille – raspberries and champagne, which I don’t want to smell like but love to smell!

    • Nava says:

      OK, you and Musette have got me very curious about Balkis and Sublime Balkiss now…

      • Musette says:

        Balkis, as you probably know, is the Arabic name for the Queen of Sheba. Interesting that both perfumes are berry (Sublime is chockablock with every berry known to man)…I thought perhaps there was some connection between Sheba’s Queen and raspberries but would have to do too much research for that one :”>

        But both are lovely!

        xo >-)

    • nozknoz says:

      Thank you, Dinazad – I can barely smell Mure et Musc as well. It’s like a sound that it just on the edge of my audible range.

  • Kristin says:

    It’s said that there is berry in Bath and Body Works Dark Kiss and that there are berries in YSL’s Elle. I happen to like both and also Bath and Body Works Amethyst which I find similar to Dark Kiss.

    Berries by the sea…oh man, I’ve been craving beach scents. I guess i really need some sand and sun :)

    • Nava says:

      Dark Kiss smells like Angel to me. Therefore I don’t go near it. Dark Amethyst was the first scent they did that really impressed me.

  • lulllull says:

    I really like the litchi note in Coco Mademoiselle. It stays for a long time on me. But perhaps litchi is more of a fruit? :)

    • Nava says:

      I think litchis are actually nuts…?

      The only thing I get from any of the Coco scents is patchouli. 🙁

      • Nina Z. says:

        Litchi is a kind of fruit, that to me, tastes rather grape like. Mostly sold in the US in dried form, is available when the season is right in its fresh form. (I heard that the early Chinese trade routes were set up to keep the Emperor’s favorite concubine supplied with the stuff.)

      • BBJ says:

        All I get out of Coco Mademoiselle is grenadine. Stuff smells exactly like a Shirley Temple to me.

        • lulllull says:

          Thank you Nina for clearing up the fruit, berry nut question. I agree on the grape taste.
          Skin chemistry is such a fun thing. Some get patchouli other grenadine (loved that one)

  • Amy K says:

    I like Nica by Profumi di Pantelleria for its blueberry note. Girl, you’ve got some texture issues! :d I’ve got a pretty wide variety of my own, but they’re more about things I hate to touch. I practically have to wear gloves to remove squeaky-clean glasses from the dishwasher, for example. And the feeling of chalk on my hands? Let’s say my career as a gymnast was doomed from the start.

    • Nava says:

      Yes, I know I’ve got some “texture issues”. I’ve been known to actually peel peaches before eating them, but I happen to love the feel of squeaky clean dishes right out of the dishwasher! :d

      • Musette says:

        I’m with Amy on the dishwasher-feel. Something….:-?

        xo >-)

      • nan says:

        I was going to suggest you peel peaches. I do. And I too can’t stand the texture of fresh rasperries, although I love a strained and slightly sweetened raspberry puree. I’m okay with clean glasses from the dishwasher, but I can’t stand washing lettuce (thank the heavens for bagged salads) or putting my hand into a full sink of soapy dishwater (so much for water conservation, and thank the heavens we’re on our own well).

        As for fruity scents, I used to really like Delrae’s Bois de Paradis, but these days I think it’s a bit shrieky. In fact, I’m looking for a nice fruity floral from the indie side of things.

      • I can’t bear to touch unglazed flower pots. And the chalk thing. . .eww. Wood ice cream spoons? Non. Just maybe, you have never had a perfectly ripe berry. I hate them from the store, I go pick ’em myself, and they are sweet and taste like they smell. Divine Balkiss is oh so wonderful. But in general I’m not a berry fan. No wonder I have trouble finding a great scent I love. I don’t like rose, berries, apple, dirty musks, cumin, or imortelle. But I did sniff Terracotta by Guerlain today and loved it instantly. Go figure.

        • Nava says:

          Thanks for all the votes for the Balkiss scents. I’m definitely going to give those a sniff at the earliest opportunity.

          And I’m glad I’m not the only one with the weird berry texture issues. 🙂

  • Musette says:

    For me, it’s TDC’s Sublime Balkiss. It’s a whole bowl of berries by the sea. I can’t smell any patch in there, though it’s listed as a base note (I think)….I think it’s the only berry fragrance I like – or can remember – and it’s great on a hot day. Luckyscent compares it to Angel :o……..did I miss something there? Angel smells like somebody just vomited up one of those Death by Chocolate desserts.

    but I digress…

    xo >-)