Mainstream Monday: An unexpected whiff of carnation

I know some of you are dyed-in-the-wool carnation fans. And frankly, there really aren’t enough good carnation scents out there, from my fragrance experience and what I hear from you all and other perfumistas.

Carnation was the furthest thing from my mind the other day as I was putzing around in Ulta, dithering on whether to get the medium brown or dark brown Wow hair powder, when I spied the latest from Kate Spade: In Full Bloom. I normally like most of her scents, so I spritzed without a second thought.

However, the moment I did, I knew it had “mistake” written all over it. Too much rose, too much sharpness, too much of something else to suit me. But I was a good half hour from my house and my handy-dandy Tide laundry detergent. So rather than poke around in Ulta, trying to find something to remove/dilute it, I decided to just live with it until I got home.

But as is the case occasionally, the fragrance universe had a surprise in store for me. As I kept lifting my wrist to my nose, I got a moderate impression of something besides rose. I had to think about it for a bit, but I wound up asking myself, “Do I detect carnation peeking through? Why, yes — yes, I do!!”

And that cheery thought banished the rose wrinkle from my nose and had me enjoying In Full Bloom much more than at first. When I got home, I looked up the notes, and here’s what I saw: top — Italian lemon, green tea, lush greens; middle — rose petals, rose centifolia, peony, lotus flower; base — blonde woods, peach skin, cedarwood. No carnation in sight, but perhaps the alchemy of the notes and my skin chemistry simply conjured it and created the gentle, powdery aura of carnation. At any rate, I wasn’t complaining. I’d be curious to hear if any of you have tried In Full Bloom and got the same effect.

What unexpected gifts has the fragrance universe given you lately? Or if you’re a carnation fan, what are your favorite carnation scents? I remember loving a ’90s-era Faberge fragrance with a hit of that note in it, but can’t recall which one it was.

  • March says:

    Oh, I love carnation, I know I have some carnation around here, seems like the right day to wear it! And I love, love, love that painting. I’d love to see it in person someday.

  • SHMW says:

    not cheap but Ormonde Jayne’s Black Gold has a really sensational carnation note. (I think Patty has reviewed it.)

  • Maya says:

    I like most of the perfumes in the Jean Patou Ma Collection of the 1980’s. My favorite is Adieu Sagesse which is a “sexy carnation”. Gorgeous!

  • Cyndi says:

    I always think of Guerlain L’Heure Bleue. Have worn it and loved it for years. To me, that is a true carnation. I also receive a lot of compliments when I wear it.

  • Tatiana says:

    I had a bottle of L’Air du Temps way back in high school. And I love the original, vintage Opium. Other than that, I haven’t really noticed anything with carnation that I’ve liked. I do love visiting the Tate to view “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose”

  • HeidiC says:

    Bellodgia is the only carnation-forward scent I think I have, and only a sample of that. But weird story — I never “got” L’Heure Bleue for years, though I appreciated its structure, until I caught a whiff of clove-y carnation in it, and for some reason, that’s what made it click for me.

  • Musette says:

    SO glad that worked out for you! A bad fragrance on your clothes is terrifying!

    Funny – but when I read your post the very first perfume that came to mind was Amouage Dia, which I always associate with carnation – and looking at the notes it has nary a carnation innit! My mom wore Coty L’Origan, very ‘pink’. I wear the vintage now and again – omg, the clove-carnation is strong in that one. Gorgeous.

    The only Caron I can wear well is Bellodgia. So maybe I’m a carnation magnet! xoxo

  • shiva-woman says:

    Vitriol d’d’œillet by Serge Lutens is the definitive carnation for me, and I love it. It’s not as popular as his other scents and is frequently discounted, but it’s a fiery, feminine carnation. Just lovely.

  • DinaC says:

    The first carnation that comes to mind is the old, discontinued Guerlain Terracotta Voile d’Ete. It’s warm, spicy and oriental with ylang-ylang and vanilla in the base. I lucked upon a bottle going for a cheap price somewhere, and it was the large round, flat bottle with the conical top. And it also came with a sprayer, too. (I love when bottles come like that and give you both splash and spray options.)

  • Tara C says:

    My mother’s daytime scent for years was L’Air du Temps, which I loved on her. For me, carnation is not a big favourite, but I really like Aedes Oeillet Bengal.

  • rosarita313 says:

    Hi Ann! Love carnation scents. My mother’s off and on signature has always been Nina Ricci L’air du Temps which I love but wouldn’t ever wear because it’s hers, but Etro Dianthus and En Voyage Fiore di Bellagio are favorites. Nice you had that experience!

  • pats133 says:

    My favourite carnation fragrance is Vitriol d’œillet (Serge Lutens), closely followed by
    Oeillets Rouges by DSH. I know there are a lot more out there that i have not tried due to being hard to find where i am, or the state of my finances. I guess its gonna be hard to try the Kate Spade here in Ireland too. I’ll always be looking for my next great carnation love.