Acquired tastes / a change of heart (by Ann)

Patty’s review last week of the new Chanel Jersey gave me some food for thought.

I’ve never been much of a lavender person. If truth be told, too much of it — especially in a concentrated form — tends to give me a headache. Ironic that something supposed to be calming and relaxing would have the opposite effect. So up until recently, I avoided it like the plague, but lately I’ve tried several that have me coming around a little. Caron’s Pour un Homme, and Vero Kern’s Kiki (very lightly dabbed) with its creme brulee effect,  have me in tentative “like” with the note.  They’ve paved the way to allow me to try more lavenders, most recently, the Jersey, which I really like.  Its lavender doesn’t run me over and the sidecar vanilla and musks suit me just fine. In fact,  I find it to be rather soothing, and — dare I say it? — even a “comfort” scent of sorts. I’m not so in love with it that I need a bottle, but I will happily use up my sample and perhaps get a bit more.

Leather is another note that I previously shunned, but lovely scents such as Cuir de Lancome and Serge Lutens’ Daim Blond have made a partial convert out of me. And the new Bottega Veneta has nearly boosted me all the way up onto the bandwagon. Now I may never be hard-core, but for a former leather-phobe, I think I’m doing pretty well.

So I’d love to know: What previously disliked notes have now made their way into your scent repertoire?

P.S. Major flooring installation set for today so my computer access will be spotty as stuff gets moved from room to room, but I’ll check in when I can. Thanks!

  • Flora says:

    I used to think I could not wear ambery perfumes; then I fell in love with Jean Patou Sublime, which is about as ambery as you can get. Naturally, it has been both reformulated and pulled from most U.S. markets. What IS it with me and discontinued perfumes?! Oh well, at least I am now free to love other ambers…

    Powder in large doses is still a deal-breaker for me; torture would be getting trapped in a elevator with someone wearing too much Teint de Neige. Ack. Double Ack. Naturally there are exceptons – I adore Datura Noir – but in general it is a no go. Too much cumin is also bad; I like it when it’s balanced but I don’t want to smell like something I am plannig to have for dinner, unless it’s dessert.

  • mary says:

    Late to the party on this one. The lily note in Donna Karan Gold is the only note I really just could not abide. But, I love Ineke’s Gilded Lily, where I think she took that same lily note and sweetened it with pineapple. I drained the little sample dry and keep huffing the bottle, because it is just such a cheerful and elegant smell. So there you have it. Same note, different complement and I love it. So I don’t dismiss anything without giving it a try.

  • nozknoz says:

    I think “pretty” scents are the last frontier for me. When I was young, I liked spicy oriental scents. When I plunged into the deep end of perfumery three years ago, I went for deep, complex scents, mostly (vintage Guerlains and Lanvins), weird Duchaufours and unusual (at first) notes like vetiver, leather, oudh, more orientals and incense, even patchouli. Then I warily approached scents like BK Liaisons Dangereuses and Beyond Love, Mary Greenwell Plum, etc., and decided, OK, maybe these are too young and “pretty” for me, BUT I’M ENJOYING THEM, so I’m gonna wear ’em.

  • Vasily says:

    The notes I couldn’t abide early on in my perfume journey are still a problem for me. Musk almost always gives me a sinus headache (and cheap male scents seem to all be heavy on the synthetic musk); I’m allergic to chamomile. What’s odd is, there are fragrances I love in the natural world that I can’t stand in perfume: lavender, nutmeg, rose, and cardamom are the ones that come to mind. I avoid calone-based frags like the plague, and hate the modern trend to light woods, greenery, pointless gourmandery, and fruit (usually something like black currant) that the young folks seem to love.

    Civet was mentioned … surprisingly (given my negative reaction to musk), three of my favorites are Creed Orange Spice, l’Artisan Al Oudh, and Knize Ten, all of them featuring civet and/or castoreum. And I’ve recently tried Soivohle Amberene, which has cardamom as a note and I love that. So I suppose there are exceptions to every rule.

    • Gwenyth says:

      “exceptions to every rule”

      In my journey toward becoming a Perfumista, I have discovered that, for ME, any note can be handled in a way that I can appreciate, if not outright love. Given enough different perfumes to sample, I can usually find at least one that I like which features a note I “thought” I didn’t like.
      It takes the “touch of a Master’s hand” — artistry and ability are wonderful things to behold.

  • Sherri M. says:

    As a rose (perfume, not the flowers) hater, I’ve come to love quite a few rose perfumes. My favorite is the heavenly Sinfonia di Note Petale di Rose, very tender and innocent, but I’m even wearing Portrait of a Lady which is much darker, lightly sprayed and enjoying it.

    I can enjoy almost any note in some form, except aldehydes like those in the Chanels, Caleche, etc. I’m okay with the aldehydes in Belle Helene though. Are those aldehydes different?

    Glad to hear your remodeling is coming along! Good luck and I’m sure it will be beautiful when it’s all through! :-)

  • AnnieA says:

    I used to think no veitver would win me over, but now I have Guerlain Vetiver pour Elle and Chanel’s Sycomore.

    Also on the not-liking list: patchouli, but I might one day buy ELdO’s Nombril Immense.

  • Faylene says:

    I’ve only been at this for about 6 months or so – though I’ve been reading and sampling fairly intensely – but have experienced some confirmations of likes/dislikes and some surprises.

    As many of you have mentioned, I, too, am not particularly fond of lavender or patchouli. I can take them when they’re a minor ingredient in the mix but not as the primary focus. Just got a small bottle of PdN New York and while it’s obviously a high-quality item, I’m having some trouble with lavender.

    Among the surprises have been the green frags – there’s a sharp and fizzy note in some which I don’t like. I think it’s galbanum or moss – or both. OTOH, after testing all the OJ frags, I’ve fallen in love with vetiver – it seems to be in the base of several of the scents.

    The other huge surprise has been the appeal of various Oriental subgroups: I’m stuck on woody and spicy frags, amber and vanilla, (dark)tea, tobacco,leather and even some florientals.

    And there’s a floral note that I find really sour and unpleasant – I think it’s linden / lime blossom.

    • Musette says:

      Have you tried Jo Malone’s French Lime Blossom? Loads of people love it. It brings up my lunch – there’s an oily back-note in there that hangs in the back of my sinuses and makes me b-(

      Vetiver is one of my favorites – the burnier, the better, IMO. But only in extreme heat. We’re coming into the frigid season here and the thought of vetiver is ooking me out!

      xo >-)

      • Faylene says:

        Nope. Haven’t tried FLB nor am I in any rush to do so. That’s quite a recommendation – talking about damning with less-than-faint praise! >:p

        I’m assuming that it’s lime blossom that I dislike; I’ve never smelled it on its own or as a primary scent. Rather, it’s by process of elimination as the common note in several frags I’ve tested.

        Ditto the vetiver; it seems to be the common note in several OJs; haven’t gotten around to trying any overtly vetiver scents.

        I don’t envy you your weather. I’ve lived in New England and northern Pa. so I’m not a total weenie but the coldest I’ve ever been in my life was at my father-in-law’s burial: there’s nothing like January on the Mississippi (Illinois/Iowa border), while wearing thin, funeral-appropriate attire to bring a bunch of people who seriously dislike each other into intimately close proximity! =))

        • Faylene says:

          Whoops! That should have been, “talk about damning . . .”

          Not sure why my emoticons aren’t emoting.

  • helenviolette says:

    Hmmmm….I was not too fond of LOTV until Un Lys. Still haven’t found another I need. And on the other side of this coin- I used to LOVE leather and incense and I find myself shunning those lately. I just want softer/airier stuff these days. But sign me up for some Bottega Vennetta- that is a lovely airy leather!

    • Amy K says:

      If you’re talking about Serge Lutens, Un Lys is lily, not lily of the valley. Big difference. I can’t do LOTV either, but I love Un Lys.

  • Lisa D says:

    I’ve come to appreciate cumin and leather (really, really like the new Bottega Veneta – thanks to Patty for the samples!). Still can’t get close to heliotrope, though.

  • Joanna says:

    Rose, tuberose, lily, almond and caramel are all scents that trip me up. I’ve been on the road to reconciliation with rose for a while now, thanks to Safran Troublant and then Dark Rose and now several other fragrances. There are many tuberose scents I love out of the bottle or on other people but wow, most of them do something funky on my skin. There are a couple exceptions though, like SL’s Fleurs d’Oranger. With both lily and tuberose I find that vintage perfumes work much better on my skin than new juice. I have a vintage bottle of Diorissimo that I adore and which has me investigating other vintage formulas that might convince me that florals aren’t out to get me.
    Almond and caramel just don’t work for me. I’ll keep trying but so far no love. I don’t even like almond scents on other people but I do like caramel, to an extent, on others.

    • Joanna says:

      Actually I do like Kilian’s Back To Black, which has almond listed in it’s notes. I don’t get that nauseating bottom note from it that I do from most almond scents though.

  • mals86 says:

    I’m a lavender-phobe, too. I have the same problem: it smells fine, but it gives me enormous honkin’ headaches. I’m not saying that nothing I own/love has lavender, but it is something I tend to avoid. I recently picked up an unsniffed bottle of Azzaro pour Homme, hoping to gift it to my just-turned-13 son; when I opened it and spritzed, I liked the smell, but it gave me an immediate and severe lavender headache. Oh dear. And I did have trouble with the opening of Alahine – bergamot and lavender – but luckily, it settles down pretty quickly.

    I have trouble with orange blossom frequently smelling like soap. Not always – I rather liked the note in Elie Saab – but typically that’s the direction OB seems to take on my skin. So that’s another note that’s sometimes problematic.

    And patchouli. (Cringe.) I have found that my reaction depends on a couple of elements: earthy, cocoa-like, dusty patchouli is an automatic GAH GEDDITOFFME! NOW NOW NOW! The aged stuff, which tends to smell more green and herbal to me, I like. And if you’re putting herby patch with rose, I’m probably going to love it. How’s that for freaky?

  • pam says:

    Good Luck with the flooring installation. Keep calm and think of the end result. Deep breath!
    I love lavender, but it was an acquired taste. Once I got into it, I LOVE it.
    However, I canNOT love tuberose. Yes, I will keep trying occasionally, but it makes me kinda sick. Which is a shame, since so many great frags contain it. As a major note.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Pam! Thanks for the good wishes; I keep telling myself it will all be over soon. I’m sorry to hear about your tuberose fail. Have you tried Carnal Flower or Diptyque’s Do Son? I wasn’t a fan of the note for a long time and still can’t do Fracas and some other really loud ones, but the aforementioned scents (in small doses) have helped me to embrace it. Maybe you can find one or two to enjoy …

      • Musette says:

        Ann! :-w

        I’m tellin’ Fracas that you called her LOUD! [-(

        xo >-)

        • mals86 says:

          (Ann better duck. Or move into another house, or sumpin’. Fracas takes no prisoners, baby.)

          • Musette says:

            I KNOW! 😮 On a whim I showered with the shower-stuff, then slathered on the body lotion and the dusting powder…then had the NOIVE to spritz on some vintage perfume!

            It’s now 16 hours later and the whole place STILL smells like a whorehouse on payday!

            xo >-)

          • Ann says:

            Whoa, Nelly! I’m duckin’ for cover and moving too!! :)

  • Vanessa says:

    Astonishingly, for a person with a sometime screen name of VM I hate civet, I am coming round to civet. Vintage Ysatis, Roja Dove Scandal, SL MKK – no bother!

    I also don’t care for lavender, but have ordered a sample of Jersey from TPC in the hope of a volte-face on the herb front too.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Vanessa. Funny you should mention the vintage Ysatis as I adore it, and am fond of the Scandal as well, but it’s the cumin in the MKK that does me in. If you ever see me post that I love cumin, you guys will know that an alien has taken control of my body! Hope you like the Jersey.