My Perfume Likes, Loves & Hates

(including the ones that give me a headache – VOM)


I can’t remember exactly when I became a perfume wuss. Back in the day I would douse myself in the stuff; spritzing a cloud of Paco Rabanne Lady Million into the air and walking through it wearing a dress so body-con that I could barely breathe, before a night out or how I used to sneak sprays from my Mum’s CK One before school every morning. I amassed quite the collection over the years and even though the majority were citrusy, fresh affairs, there were some more headier mixes thrown in there too. Heck, I used to love Tom Ford Black Orchid! Then my mid-twenties came around and along with the realisation that SPF’s and eye cream usage MUST be a daily thing from now on, my once broad perfume tastes suddenly became extremely narrowed down. I’d give a new perfume a go and immediately have to wash it off my wrist for fear of throwing up, a walk through the fragrance hall of a department store was enough to trigger a banging headache and an air freshener in the back of an Uber meant I’d have to spend the whole journey with my head out of the window like a dog. My perfume collection was shared between friends and family and only the few that I could stomach were left.


So what survived the cull? Well Stella McCartney’s Stella had always been a firm favourite. Although the base is amber, which can be a bit of a no-no for me in large doses, the top notes are fresh blend of citrus, primarily mandarin. This means that the scent is light and kinda sparkling. It’s not a knock you out eau de parfum; more a ‘Did I forget to put perfume on this morning?‘ hint that wears nicely thought the day. Think freshly showered skin, with a tiny hint of citrus and floral.

The other was Escentric Molecule Molecule 01 – the fragrance with an underground cult following that apparently strangers chase you down the train platform to ask what scent you’re wearing. Now I’ve never had a tap on the shoulder, but it is the perfume that gets complimented most often by others. Lily can always spot when I’ve got it on. If you haven’t heard the spiel before, then the premise here is that it’s a unique formula because it contains only the one fragrance note – hence the name – Iso E Super if you fancy getting technical. It’s a tough one to pin down, but on me I’d say it’s a woody scent that’s subtle, but surprisingly hardy. I can still smell it on scarves that I spritzes weeks ago. It doesn’t make me want to vom and actually I like it paired with Stella during the summer to freshen it up a bit, as it’s more of a cooler climate scent to me.

The ones that went? Well seeing as it was rather a longtime ago, I’ve been racking my brains back to a time when I owned so much makeup that I could erect a small fort out of it. Off the top of my head I fell out of love with Paco Rabanne Lady Million because it just smelt too strong (I still enjoy a sniff when I go through Duty Free though for the memories), Tom Ford Velvet Orchid too heady, Gucci Guilty just got a bit too sweet for my liking and Tom Ford Neroli Portofino I still like, but it just got used up and I never repurchased. I had a fair amount of Diptyque scents that Mark ended up using, but I used up Philosykos to the very last drop and would still recommend. There were a couple of Jo Malone ones too, that although I liked the scent from the bottle, I can sometimes find their scents to be a little too heavy for me on my skin. The exception to this rule is Lime Basil and Mandarin which is bloomin’ beautiful.


Over the past year or so I’ve added another two into the ‘Don’t make me feel like I need to take a long lie down in a dark room’ category. First up is the unfortunately now-discontinued Kiehl’s Fig Leaf & Sage Aromatic Mist, which is similar to Diptyque’s Philosykos, just with a touch more herb. I really like wearing it during the summer and will be for at least a couple more years because I’ve got the biggest bottle you’ve ever seen stored as a back-up.

The other is a more recent addition that you can see me chat about in today’s video that is linked down below. It’s Glossier You (QUELLE SURPRISE!) and after initially finding it more sweet and feminine than I expected and being put off by the whole thing, I now find myself spraying it liberally in the mornings and loving it. It’s a fruity/floral whiff that they call a ‘scent enhancer’. It’s not one that’s going to be kicking and screaming on your skin after 12 hours of wear, but it’s warm and comforting and feels like putting on an old jumper that smells good *sniffs under the armpits and looks surprised*. It’s definitely taught me a lesson in persistence when it comes to fragrances, so who knows? Maybe it will be the one to get me out of my perfume funk? Maybe I’ll no longer have to sprint through the entrance of Debenham’s without worrying about gaging? A girl can dream, right?

Photos by Lauren Shipley

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