Ah, first (fragrance) loves

HavanaWell, another Valentine’s Day is in the books, and still in the spirit of love, let’s talk perfume.

You always remember your first perfume loves, don’t you? And especially your first niche perfume loves.

Here’s my first big memory: The year was 2009 and I had been happily sampling various scents from decanters for a year or two, but not quite yet with the intensity to come later in my fragrance journey. L’Artisan’s Havana Vanille was about to be launched and the blogs were all abuzz about it.

As soon as I could, I sampled it and fell instantly into love. After blowing through a sample or four, I got what was probably one of the heftiest decants I’ve ever had in my perfume life (I had just been laid off so couldn’t afford a FB). It was the It Perfume for quite some time, if I recall correctly. Then something else came along and became the Next Big Thing for perfumistas. I continued to wear and love Havana Vanille for a good while, but eventually, as things tend to do, it got relegated to the middle of the pack, and then eased into the back of the drawer where, alas, it languished.

But lately, craving something warm and cozy and a little bit different, I pulled Havana Vanille back out. Mmmm … I had forgotten how lovely it is. A not-too-sweet vanilla, spices, and hints of tobacco and rum work their magic in a subtle, creamy blend — nothing there to hit you over the head, and nicely smooth from start to finish. And oh, my, that drydown. Also, it seemed to last for an extremely long time from one spray, I noticed this time around.

I’ve often thought that Havana Vanille / Vanille Absolument would be divine on my DH, who doesn’t like overpowering scents that look like he’s trying too hard to smell good. This one’s definitely a unisex winner. Such a shame that it’s not readily available anymore.

Anyhoo, what about you — any scents that were all the rage for you for a while, perhaps early in your perfumista life, but seem to have gotten overlooked as time goes by? Just for fun, pull ‘em out and see if the love is still there or if you’ve grown out of them for good.

  • Jessica M says:

    Remember Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum?! It was all the rage on MakeupAlley around the time I became a regular on MUA’s fragrance board. I bought a full bottle. No idea where it went…swapped or sold off when I eventually decided that it was just a little too sweet for me. I probably still have a sample somewhere in my stash. I should revisit it!

  • maggiecat says:

    I really liked a lot of perfumes in my teens (Sweet Honesty by Avon was one) but my first LOVE! MUST HAVE! was Aliage by Estee Lauder. I wore the perfume and had a candle which I burned illicitly in my dorm room. When I revisited the scent some years ago…well, either it changed a lot or I did.

  • cinnamon says:

    I wore Opium when it first came out and then L’Artisan Mure et Musc (for a long while). Neither move me now, but I remember the incredible pleasure of finding and wearing both.

  • Bee says:

    My first ever perfume love was probably Fidji but that’s changed beyond recognition since 1970! My first niche was Habanita but that was before I knew anything about ‘niche’. My first conscious niche fragrance was LADDM – and that was thanks to The Guide which opened up a whole new world for me.

  • Musette says:

    Can you believe it? I have NO idea! I ……… (blank stare)…but I do remember when I first ‘got’ orris root – does that count? Blame Patty – and Xerjoff’s Irisss. xoxoxo

  • cbsutcliffe says:

    Perfumer’s Workshop Tea Rose as Gina mentioned above, Pavlova and Paris were ones I fell hard for. I still have Tea Rose and Paris at home.

  • Dina C. says:

    My perfume hobby started in 2008, and two of the first things that bowled me over and I purchased were L’Artisan Premier Figuier Extreme and Miller et Bertaux No. 3 Green, Green, Green, and…Green. I still love them both. My favorite from childhood was Skinny Dip.

  • Matty1649 says:

    In the early 60’s Mitsouko. In the early 80’s my sister bought me a small bottle of Jardins de Bagatelle. I know that the latest versions are reformulated, but I still love and own both.

  • Tanja says:

    First niche perfume was Petit Chérie, but I gave the rest of the bottle to a friend. For her it’s a heavy winter perfume, lol….

  • taxi says:

    At 15, I had a holiday job wrapping gifts at a non-chain local department store. The job came with an employee discount & I bought Chanel Bois des Iles. I’m not sure why I chose it, probably because I didn’t know then that what’s in the bottle smells different on skin. I kept the bottle for a long time even though I wore the juice only a few times.

  • Portia says:

    Hey Ann,
    My first FB niche purchases were LDDM for my BFF Kath and L’Eau d”Epices for me by Tauer
    The Whole experience was amazing. The bottles, the hand written not, the scents!
    Such memories
    Portia xx

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I remember when I was in high school, my first loves were Clinique Happy, Estee Lauder Pleasures and BBW Cucumber Melon. My true rabbit hole first was Chanel Cuir de Russie.

  • Tara C says:

    My first perfume loves were Poison, Byzance and Cabotine. First niche scent was People of the Labyrinths. I still pull it out once in a while and still enjoy it.

  • Gina T. says:

    My first perfume loves still are my loves: Woods of Windsor Forget Me Not, Perfumer’s Workshop Tea Rose, Opium and Obsession. I own them, wear them and love them and am glad they get lost in the world of niche that drives up the cost of everything that you could get for $5-20 three years ago.

  • Kathleen says:

    Coco Chanel EDP will always be a first perfume love. Before I was even sophisticated enough to pull it off. Even though there are not many wears these days with so many perfumes in my collection, I always love this perfume when I wear it. Mostly for dinners out, in the winter.