Tuesday, July 14, 2015

10 Perfumes I Still Don't Like


From the very beginning of this blog I've been telling you stories of changing my mind about various perfumes. Years of constant perfume testing have taught me to never say never because today's scrubber might turn into my next true love. Except for when it doesn't. And this can happen with classic fragrances, huge best sellers, or niche favorites. Sometimes it just doesn't work, and even Uncle Serge can't change this basic fact. Here are ten perfumes I've never learned to love.

  • Dior- J'Adore. Not even Charlize Throne can make it work for me. Kind of like Sean Penn.
  • L'Artisan- Mure et Musc. I've tried every version and concentration. It's still a fruity nightmare.
  • Thierry Mugler- Angel. Do I really need to explain? 
  • Guerlain- L'Instant. The same also goes for the Homme version and most flankers. It's a matter of skin chemistry, of course, but on me this modern Guerlain becomes a shrill mess. I blame the apple note. Or something.
  • Guerlain- Insolence. Even Maurice Roucel's magic touch doesn't help here. Too much fruit, too little violet and iris, too high expectation.
  • Serge Lutens- Datura Noir. I came around to Arabie, I can now deal with Serge Noire, but Audrey II is still my nemesis.
  • Frederic Malle- Lys Mediterranee. I wrote the review on a rare week that Lys actually worked for me. I'm pretty sure it hasn't happened since.
  • Montale Black Aoud. As far as I know, Black Aoud is the perfume that made Montale into a niche sensation. Sadly, it's also the classic example where a rose note turns sour and rancid on my skin.
  • Chanel- Coco Mademoiselle. Reports say that Coco Mademoiselle have surpassed No.5 as the biggest seller for Chanel. I want to cry tears of fruitcouli.
  • Hermes- The entire Jardin series. I'm not even talking about the melon bomb of Apres la Mousson. Even the figgy Jardin En Mediterranee doesn't sit well with me, and you know where I stand about fig. All the Jardins screech, they stick, they claw at my nose and skin. It's not me, Jean-Claude. It's you.
How about you? are they any mega bestsellers or revered classics you never want to be around?


Photo via The Daily Mail

39 comments:

  1. Have you ever gotten a whiff of the Maison Margiela whatever Replica in Beach Walk? That one makes me want to vom. I'll assume this is a safe space and I can say that... I know I've offended people before with my opinion on this one...

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    Replies
    1. I'm with you. The Replica line is insufferable.

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  2. Clinique's Happy - it should be self-explanatory, but it's extremely screechy on me.
    Bond No 9 China Town is a red hot mess on me and puts a spike in my sinuses each and every time.
    Diptyque's Philosykos, get's unbearably sweet on my skin, nuclear strength as well. It takes forever to scrub off.

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    Replies
    1. Liz, I'm in total agreement about the first two. Totally vile.

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    2. I think how a perfume smells is a matter of how it works with your own skin chemistry, as is the case with Clinique perfumes and me. Happy works with my chemistry and smells wonderful on me. Aromatics Elixir is the opposite and smells terrible on me. This is strange because on paper I should like Aromatics more as the scent notes listed appeal to me more.

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  3. Basically any post 00 scent. As for classics, Samsara. Sad to say I don't get it. And I've done a 180 turn on Poison. From hate to almost love.

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    Replies
    1. I also had a change of heart about Poison after a lifetime of hate.

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    2. I remember that Une Fleur de Cassie didn't work for you. Any chance you might give it another go? It's a difficult scent, but once you get it, it's magic! :-)

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  4. Too many to list! (LOVE that expression on Her Majesty's face!)

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  5. God, this was a funny post. Mure et Musc--yech! Though I have to say, I am in the small camp of Serge Noire lovers.

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    Replies
    1. Francesca, incense really loves your skin, so I'm not surprised about Serge Noire.

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    2. Add me to the list of Serge Noire lovers, though I should add that I am very careful where and when I choose to wear it. Definitely not at work!

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  6. LOL! The picture is killing me. :D
    Angel really makes me feel ill. Although it's funny that scents I have nostalgic (and positive) memories of like Poison or Calyx makes me ill when I smell it now. I guess fragrance tastes seem to go the other way, too.
    Belly

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    Replies
    1. I used to hate Calyx - in the 90s when everyone wore it. Funny, I sniffed it recently and kind of loved it! We're a fickle bunch!

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    2. Fragrance tastes are a funny thing. Twenty years ago I couldn't have imagined that I'd love some of the things I cherish today.

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    3. I wore both Poison and Calyx and the late 80's. I really think they were reformulated, because they smell different to me now and I don't like them. Or my tastes have changed.

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  7. Oh man. ANGEL x 100. D&G Light Blue and anything else with that strident cedar lemon nightmarish screech. I love Mure et Musc (my first l'Artisan back in '91!) and Datura Noir. Everything else I am onside with!

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    Replies
    1. Jane, the only reason Light Blue isn't on this list is that I try my hardest to forget it exists.

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    2. Angel is love or hate. There is not even need to discuss it it's that simple with Mugler. On some smell amazing on other group smells like cat pee.

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  8. Great picture! Love her face!
    There're many perfumes I still don't like, but especially all those flankers of scents I love or loved in the past: Chanel 19 Poudre (that I call Chanel 19 Podrido, podrido is rotten in Spanish..); Tresor anything; Cristalle Verte..
    Like you, I cannot stand Coco Mademoiselle and J'Adore. In fact I have problems with any Dior scent post Dioressence....

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    Replies
    1. Chanel flankers make my heart ache.

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  9. Over the years, we grow and mature (Polite way of saying we age! LOL) and our body chemistry changes as does our sense of smell. Consequently, many fragrances I wore and loved as a much younger woman smell terrible on me now. Well, maybe not terrible, but they no longer work their magic on me. So, I simply relegate those old loves to the fond memory category. Bal à Versailles, Jolie Madame, L'Interdit, are just a few that no longer charm me. Sigh.

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    Replies
    1. Eileen, you just listed some of my absolute favorites :) But, yes, sometimes the magic is gone and there's nothing we can do about it. About ten years ago I sold a good percentage of my old floral favorites. Haven't looked back.

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  10. Love that picture - completely cracks me up. And a great list. I especially agree with the Hermes Jardin series. How did he go from First to these?

    There are several Creeds that simply don't work on me (the worst has to be Zeste Mandarin Pamplemousse - bilge water, an absolutely vile scent on my skin). The one I've tried the most to like is Green Irish Tweed, but it stubbornly continues to refuse to make friends with my skin chemistry.

    Dior Dune - a good friend adores this and I love how she makes it sound, but on me it is overwhelmingly evocative of plastic dolls in a market in Tokyo. My impression of it hasn't changed over the years and repeated testing.

    Balmain Ivoire - Depresses me that this one doesn't work on me - it should. Beautifully, even. But it doesn't. I've tried all formulations, different time periods, but they all end up smelling like very cheap soap from a public restroom on my skin - the sort of soap that makes you immediately want to run find another place to wash your hands to wash off the scent of that first offensive soap (I actually have both Purell and a small spray bottle of pure alcohol in my bag at all time for just such an olfactory emergency). I continue to try it, hoping I will find that one elusive vintage formulation that will work for me.

    And Diorissimo. I really, really want to love this. I am such a huge fan of vintage Diors, but on my skin it remains a simple LOTV scent that isn't terrible, but in no way gives me the joy that I get from the real flowers in the spring. It's just a bridal boutique scent on my skin - I simply don't get the richness and complexity other people find in it. And, yes, I've tried all formulations and time periods. As with Ivoire, this is one I will continue to try, but I don't really have much hope that it will ever work for me.
    Anna

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  11. Long time reader, never posted so far:
    I hate to say it, but I never got Chanel No 5. I tried, I really did, got presents, bought it myself, but they all ended up with a friend who is mad about it. She gave me her vintage Poison in exchange, which I first hated, then loved and now it's meh.

    I read once somewhere (can't remember where) that people who hate No 5 hate fresh cilantro as well - which I do. there must be a chemical ingredient they have in common. Are there aldehydes in cilantro?
    I quite like the Eau Premiere though.

    Eileen, I agree, our taste and body chemistry changes over the years, as do the reformulations of old favourites.

    Oh, and Coco Mademoiselle is just vile. And don't ask me about Opium Noir. As an Opium fan from the get go I was utterly repulsed by this sugar water. I literally got toothaches from that ... whatever it is.

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    1. Petra, you hit the nail on the head about reformulation. My love affair with L'Interdit came to a crashing end when it was reformulated for the first time :-(

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    2. Hi Gaia, I agree with you on every single one of these scents but the one that sends me spinning is Obsession... OMG I can sniff that out like a bloodhound... hate it!

      Love the pic of the Queen

      Theresa xo

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    3. Petra - well well, I also have tried, numerous times over the years, to love Chanel No.5 and to no avail. After wearing it for only a few moments, I find nausea starting to creep up on me. I also hate cilantro of ANY kind, fresh or dried. What an interesting mention.

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  12. Hi Gaia,

    Donna Karan's Cashmere Mist. I worked in the cosmetics department of a department store during college and that fragrance smells like a man's public restroom to me. It was also extremely popular at the time...go figure.

    I also loathe Angel and Dior's Hypnotic Poison for the same reason. Both make me feel like I'm being strangled by an evil vanilla sugar cookie.

    Finally, I cannot stand YSL's Opium or Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle. The patchouli in both makes me smell like I rolled around in a vat of three day old garbage, though I do not find patchouli so off-putting in other scents.

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  13. Great comments - very interesting about cilantro. I clearly remember how it disgusted me when I first tasted it. Now I eat it straight out of my garden. What ever that chemical is that I think is the aquatic/melon/fresh/citrus note is my scrubber. I am still trying a lot of perfumes, but if one has that - and it seems to come out in the dry down - it kills the deal. That is the smell that used to reek from the Hollister store in our mall. I think I can go along with really fruity, big patchouli, and yes I am a White Shoulders fan, as long as that fake clean smell is out of the mix. By the way, does anyone remember that there was a cucumber smell in some 1970's era scents that was sort of honeyed and was pleasant, at least in my memory...! Thanks again for the post!

    Kathy

    Bloomington, IN

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  14. To me, Prada Candy is vile, vile, vile. My assistant marinates herself in the stuff. I firmly believe she does, not so much for the juice, but because it's, you know, Prada. She's American-Italian (Jersey Shore, but from here in Ohio). I am not her only professional client, so I can't say "scrub that merde off," or even "try this, it's called Bellodgia."



    I used to love and wear Chanel Monsieur. Cannot stand it, even on other guys. They killed it in the reformulation.


    In "Scent And Subversion," Barbara Herman said that Heely's Bubblegum Chic was a passable substitution for Tuvache Jungle Gardenia. That is one of my few points of disagreement. When I smelled Bubblegum Chic on a recent elevator ride, I smelled Jungle, but not the Gardenia. The woman wearing it was surprised when I asked her if she was wearing Bubblegum Chic. I told a big white lie and said it was my sister's favorite. (Wrong! She loves White Linen, Flora Danica, and Anais Anais.)


    Lawrence and Rosa in Ohio

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  15. Funny but I feel exactly the same way you do about Datura Noir. I tried hard to love it; tuberose and white flowers in general work for me but no. Cloying, overwhelming, choking, ugly. After using it only a handful of times (with gritted teeth and breath held) I gifted it to my brother. He loves it.

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  16. Coco Mademoiselle! I've tried to like it because I'm SUPPOSED to--you know that feeling! I'm not adverse to a good patchouli scent, but CM is just a screamer on me. Headache inducing.

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  17. I am with on the Jardins. I am sure it's not you dear, it's just Jean-Claude's aromachemical palette on low budget

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  18. Hate most gourmand fragrances that are quite popular. In particular Viva La Juicy which the synthetic sweetness I find cloying and vomit inducing.

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  19. Joy still smells awful to me. I hated it years ago, and I still do. Shalimar is another one that I can't stand.

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  20. L'Heure Bleue is absolutely rancid on me. I get no dreamy-cool-iris or whatever I'm supposed to, just smelly old lady. And I normally LOVE smelling like an old lady.
    I also find Lipstick Rose repulsive; it actually makes me feel queasy.
    Lys Mediterrané is problematic on me, as well, btw - I think I love the concept more than the execution.

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    Replies
    1. Oh thank you for posting this reply Fiona! I actually thought I was only person on earth who was, sadly, appaled by L''Heure Bleue. I tried it in the '80's and it was hellish on me. I thought, maybe when I became a woman of certain age... Bought it last year... Tried diligently... Now it just makes me smell like a funky old lady. Hard to admit because I adore the story behind it. The truth is, I hate florals on me. Period.

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  21. Kenzo Flower
    Makes me sick!
    Fully agree with Mure et Musk
    Strangely Datura Noir I used to wear quite a lot for the evening out, but Arabie and Serge Noire are both too much for me.

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