Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Honey Perfumes: My Top Picks

Right now I'm completely under the spell of To Bee by Roxana Illuminated Perfume. It's encompassing the idea of raw honey and the beehive it came from, comforting yet feral, with a sexy musky dry-down. Naturally, I started thinking about other honey perfumes. This is one of my most favorite perfume notes, yet I'm rarely satisfied with honey fragrances. The mainstream ones tend to be cleaned up and stripped from everything that makes the honey note so unique, mainly the animalic facets. Others are more fake sugar syrup than real honey, and lean very strongly towards edible. It's probably because a great many people perceive this unique note unfavorably. Where I smell honey dripping on skin they smell cat pee. I have no idea what they're talking about (as a cat owner I can vouch that my whiskered darlings do not pee Absolue pour le Soir), but look at online reviews of Miel de Bois and you'll see what I mean.

In any case, here's my shortlist of honey perfumes, in no particular order:

  • To Bee (Roxana Illuminated Perfume). See above.
  • Wildflower Honey #359 Premium Accord  (CB I Hate Perfume). A delicate floral honey with enough heft to ground it.
  • Miel de Bois (Serge Lutens). If you only ever smell one honey perfume, let it be this one.
  • Ginestet Botrytis.  Quince suspended n honey. A rich and golden gourmand like no other.
  • Absolue pour le Soir (Maison Francis Kurkdjian).  A wickedly animalic perfume, forever remembered as the honeyed kitten. 
  • Honey and the Moon (Tokyo Milk). A cheap thrill that goes from an almost true to life honey to a soft skin musk. 
  • Back to Black (By Kilian). Honeyed tobacco or a smoky honey. Dark, cozy, and very gender-neutral.
Gone but not forgotten:
  • L'Occitane Eau de Miel was part of their incredible Miel range from the early 2000s. I went through countless bottles of the body wash and body cream, but never bought the actual eau because it had absolutely no longevity (I think it was labeled as a mother & baby perfume, or something along these lines). I'd sell my soul for this stuff in a rich extrait version.
  • MAC Creation Hue Naked Honey & Africanimal. I no longer remember which one of the two 2009 limited edition fragrances from the makeup company was my favorite, but both were pretty awesome. I actually went to the Bloomingdale's counter to buy one after testing them a couple of times, but the lady at the counter was unbelievably rude so I left empty-handed. It sold out everywhere by the next day.
Artwork: Golden Honey by Kandy Hurley.


  1. Oh, Gaia, your Bloomingdale's experience was awful! Part of me would have wanted to complain about the SA, but when that feeling comes over me I remember a play I was in called "An Inspector Calls" in which my character was responsible for the suicide of a shop girl whom she had got sacked. So whenever I am in that situation I bite my tongue and say nothing.

    I am one of those people who can't bear honey notes - to me it's not so much like cat pee, just pee in general. My cats' wee smells like blackcurrant and their poo like jasmine. They are obviously fragrant kitties!

  2. I wish they'd bring Eau de Miel back, too. =(

  3. Oh, nice list. I never get "cat pee" from honey fragrances, either. And I really do miss L'Occitane's honey line; it was perfect.

  4. My favorite honey scent is Smell Bent's Prairie Nymph - it's honey and carnation and smells like summer.

  5. I recently got a sample of To Bee and I like it so much, I may actually go back to that messy Etsy site to buy a FB. I have mixed feelings about Miel de Bois, I have not yet decided if I love it hate it. I did like the CB scent a lot.
    To my nose, vintage Poison has an extraordinarily beautiful honey note in it, but it's hard to concentrate on it during the onslaught of tuberose.
    Our cats smell mostly of that funky warm note, sometimes with added bits of crushed catnip. I don't think there's anything in honey scent that really smells like them, but there is something about its animalic warmth that just reminds me of cats. In the same way that DSH Bancha does not smell like twig tea smells but it smells like the twig tea FEELS. Hope that makes sense!
    In that vein, I really like my sample of a scent called Winter Kitty from Etsy store called For Strange Women. The scent of a cat that just came in from the cold. Very nicely done and all-natural to boot.

  6. I still have a bottle of the L'Occitane Eau de Miel, it was labeled as Honey Gentle Water, and yes, your memory is correct, advertised for mothers and babies. It is divine. The longevity is pretty good on me, especially in the heat it is wafting up at me.
    I also had a bottle of the Mac Naked Honey back in 2009. One of those days I want to try the Ginestest Botrytis.


  7. Like everyone else, I miss that Miel line from L'Occitane. I liked throughly enjoyed it, and it was my mother's favorite. But To Bee is fantastic, too (in a very different way)! I need more--thanks for reminding me.

  8. I have several honey scents I enjoy.
    -Shiseido's Feminite du Bois, my first scent that I got an obvious animalic honey-inspired note. I was hooked from the start.
    -Givenchy Ysatis (actually, it was my grandmother's signature scent). Wearing this in it's full glory made me think my grandmother was a woman to be reckoned with.
    -Givenchy Gentleman, patchouli and honey.
    -Lancôme's Magie Noire, vintage perfume and eau de toilette. That perfume works magic on skin.
    Tom Ford's Moss Breches - it's beeswax not honey, but I get a bit of both.
    SL's La Myrrh, deeply sexy (dabbed) in a disturbing sort of way, but I love it.

  9. Adore HaTM. Bought for the song refernece, but loved the juice.

  10. I love Naked Honey! Other honey favorites are Rumba (beeswax), Moss Breches (also beeswax) and the honey note in Del Rae Amoureuse is wonderful. Thanks for a great read!

  11. Soir de lune is also a honey perfume, even if it is not among my favorite ones!


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