Note lists are hardly the most reliable way to predict how you’ll feel about a perfume (case in point: the various reports trickling in that Lady Gaga’s new perfume, said to have notes of “blood and semen”, is a standard floriental). Still, you can’t buy as much perfume as we do without eventually developing some note preferences. Today I’ll be sharing the five notes that are most likely to make me seek out a perfume, and the five notes that tell me to stay far, far away. What are your favorite and least favorite notes? Please share them with us in the comments!
- Coffee. Nothing will ever convince me that the aroma of freshly-ground coffee beans is not the best damn smell in the world.
- Saffron. Saffron is my favorite spice, and my least favorite Firefly character. (I don’t even know why! I like Christina Hendricks and everything!) This delightfully tangy note goes perfectly with everything from rose to chocolate.
- Vanilla. Call me unsophisticated (how could I be anything else? Do y’all know how much Jersey Shore I watch?), but vanilla is a crowd pleaser for a reason. Its sweetness gives a roundness to the perfume’s other notes.
- Violet. I have a major sweet tooth when it comes to perfume, and candied violets are about as sweet as a floral note can get. Bonus points if it smells like Choward’s Violet Mints.
- Birch Tar. Birch tar is what adds that deliciously savory edge to perfumes like Cuir de Lancome and Tauer Perfumes Lonestar Memories. It usually smells like barbecue to me. Om nom nom!
Least Favorite Notes
- Jasmine. Yep. One of the most important ingredients in perfumery, second only to rose. What can I say? I hate it. I have yet to smell a jasmine note that I didn’t find crude and overwhelming. Please don’t send me hate mail over this.
- Raspberry. I like real raspberries just fine, but in perfume, raspberry notes always seem to be too sweet and not fruity enough. A badly-done raspberry note is like nails on a chalkboard for me.
- Pepper. I’m allergic to pepper (large amounts make me break out in painful blotches), and that unpleasant association seems to have carried over to my perfume preferences.
- Orange. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by an American childhood, which involves endless glasses of orange juice, but I’ve always found oranges to be one of the more boring citrus fruits. I don’t like them much better in perfume, although I will say that I enjoy the orange notes in L de Lolita Lempicka and Anna Pliska.
- Sweet Pea. Bath and Body Works Sweet Pea was the perfume of choice for my fellow eighth-graders, and sweet pea notes bring up middle school memories that really ought to stay repressed.