What Are Your Workhorses?


My workhorses aren’t necessarily my favorite or most valuable perfumes; they’re the ones that I actually wear. These are my most-worn perfumes, the bottles I reach for again and again.


Hilary Duff With Love. DON’T YOU JUDGE ME. Everyone compliments this perfume. It’s sweet and juicy without being obnoxious.

Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe. This is the most severe perfume in my collection, so I like to wear it with black outfits. And I wear a lot of black.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Poivre Piquant. This is my go-to perfume when I need something that’s sweet but still sophisticated, thanks to the unusual pepper note. This is the only decant I’ve ever actually finished!

A Lab on Fire What We Do In Paris Is Secret. My bedtime perfume! Nothing says “turn off your brain” like a cloud of honey and heliotrope.

What are your workhorse perfumes?

41 thoughts on “What Are Your Workhorses?

  1. Yesterday I finished a purse spray of DSH Pretty & Pink, which I’d had for under a year. Like you I rarely actually finish things that are larger than samples, so clearly it was doing a lot of work for me!

    But for the most part, the perfumes I love the most end up getting worn the most. Stuff like DK Gold and Tabac Aurea.

  2. Dear Nerd (hehehe)

    An interesting thought.
    I rarely wear things very frequently – one of my top five perfumes ever I don’t think I’ve worn in a year – except for bedtime and after bathing. Ahem.
    Then I do have two notes I turn to a lot lavender and more recently Lily of the Valley.
    For the former Caron’s Pour Un Homme still works but so does Caldey Island – as it holds childhood memories for me…
    For the muguet, Yardley’s is bracing for post shower or to merely freshen, whereas Diorella is a recent buy that has the makings of a go to…
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    1. Dandy, I also wear perfume much less often than someone who owns so much should, but mostly because perfume can worsen my eczema. Diorella is both interesting and beautiful!

  3. Mine are:

    Summer: Ormonde Jayne Frangipani and SL Fleurs de Citronnier (Vero Profumo Mito and Neela Vermiere Bombay Bling are likely to be added as workhorses this coming summer!)
    Fall: Ormonde Jayne Ta’if edp and Neela Vermiere Mohur
    Winter: Diptyque Tam Dao and Mona di Orio Vanille
    All seasons: Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee, l’Artisan Seville a l’Aube, Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay
    Special nights out: Vero Profumo Rubj edp

    I’ve heard good things about the Hilary Duff perfume!

    1. I love so many fumes on this list! I can easily see how MdO Vanille would make a perfect winter workhorse. So warming! With Love is definitely worth seeking out if you’re curious- my 1 oz bottle was only $5 at TJ Maxx!

      1. I’ve been meaning to let you know I received the Iluminium package–oh my gosh, there are a LOT in there! What a generous giveaway–thank you so much!!!

  4. Gosh… stuff I WEAR. Especially without thinking about it… just, you know, you see it and you think, “Yeah, hey, that would be nice today,” without going for the FULL ON EXPERIENCE. I mean, I love the vintage Coty Chypre and my Tabac Aurea, but both of those, for example, give me mad chillz (ha) and are major sinks of drama. (In case you missed it, Tabac Aurea smells like my high school boyfriend, he of the leather jacket and the drumsticks and the mental illness. So wonderful to smell, so complicated in terms of enjoyment.) So I cannot count those, even though I wear them.

    We are talking about the stuff that you put on and enjoy without getting your brain cells all up in a wad, right? okay, so for that list I have Le Temps d’une Fete, MG Plum, Mariella Burani, Cuir de Lancome, maybe Silences. Vinty Emeraude, too.

    1. Yes, yes, we’re talking about the non-FULL ON EXPERIENCE perfumes. I need to wear my Cuir de Lancome more- it’s such a great perfume. By the way, you are one of the biggest Plum fans I know- have you tried the new MG Lemon??

  5. Love this post….my go-tos are L’artisan Premier Figuier, L,eau d’Italie Jardin du Poete, Chanel #22 and Hermes Eau des Merveilles.

  6. Workhorses is a GREAT way to look at them, lately my most worn have been
    Sun by Jil Sander
    Premier Figuier Extreme by L’Artisan Parfumeur
    Iris Noble by Acqua di Parma (This is the only one not bought on holidays)
    Vetiver by Guerlain
    Cartier II L’Hueres

    Just a snapshot
    Portia xx

    1. I’m sooo jealous that you’ve gotten to try one of those Cartier L’Heures! They are awfully hard to find. I’d love to try the horsey one!

  7. Hello (my first contribution here!!)
    Like anyone with a large collection, I try not to have favorites. But, some do get more use then others, especially during given seasons.
    Summer: Gianfranco Ferre Bergamotto Marino and L’Eau de Courrèges are clear winners. Vervaine de Durance and L’Artisan Parfumeur Coeur de Vétiver Sacré also get a lot of use.
    Spring: Perles de Lalique, Balmain de Balmain, and Krizia Uomo. Nothing else will do.
    Fall: Lutens Chypre Rouge and Chergui, Encre Noire, Bulgari Black
    Winter: Coromandel, Antaeus, Lutens Ambre Sultan, L’Artisan Parfumeur Bois Farine and Méchant Loup, and Trussardi Uomo are just perfect with a warm cashmere sweater

    1. Hi, platinum15! I’m so glad you decided to comment! You sound like a hardcore oriental lover like me. I’m a huge fan of Bois Farine!

      As for having favorites… as a child, I tried to play with my stuffed animals equally so that none of them would feel left out. 😉

  8. If that Poivre Piquant sprayer ever gets TOO empty & lonely, bear in mind that I got a much-adored FB at Sniffa (under your venerable influence, I like to think!) and am at your beck & call for sharing, anytime. 🙂

    1. I like to think I am that bottle’s godmother 🙂 Thank you for the extremely sweet offer! I will only take you up on it if your bottle is 100 ml. A 50 ml should be kept all to yourself!

  9. Juliette Has a Gun Lady Vengeance, Chanel No. 5, Jo Malone Red Roses, Histories de Parums 1889, Santa Maria Novella Melograno, Aqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta, Montale Oud Rose Petals, Robert Piget Bandit. It really depends on the time of year, and what mood I’m in. Chanel No. 5 is usually worn to bed — taking a page from Marilyn. I also go through phases, though, where I’ll wear something nonstop for weeks on end. My current obsession is 1889. During the summer I wear Melograno, Colonia Assoluta and Red Roses almost nonstop. Which reminds me, I need to go buy bubble wrap so I can send you that bottle of Melograno.

    1. Only for you could Bandit be a workhorse!! 😉 I am so excited to try Melograno! And Zelda is so excited for the bubble wrap.

  10. Aww, looks like kitty luffs perfume too.

    I tend to use L’AP Passage d’Enfer, Dzing, Infusion d’Iris, Tom Ford Bois Marocain, No 5 and Bois des Iles a fair amount. My comfort perfumes for night time are Rochas Tocade, Shalimar and Madonna Truth or Dare.

    1. I need to spend more time with Passage d’Enfer!! At my first Sniffa, the Henri Bendel gift bags contained mini L’Artisans. Everyone else got Passage d’Enfer, but IIIIIII got Patchouli Patch instead 😦

  11. My easy wear (not necessarily that frequently, but as frequently as it comes!) perfumes include – in no particular order, and probably with a seasonal bias: Kenzo Flower Oriental, Prada L’Eau Ambree, Cuir de Lancome, JM Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, Shalimar Parfum Initial and Dior Ambre Nuit.

    1. Dear Vanessa, I am awfully jealous that you have a bottle of Flower Oriental! I never tried it before it was discontinued. Does it really have a coffee note, as Luca Turin claims?

  12. My no worries perfumes are smell bent sunshine mama spiced tea- it is a lovely take on Constant Comment, my all time favorite tea. Eau de Lalique – fresh,crisp and light with a tiny bit of dill. John Varvatos Artisan- lovely orange blossom. I bought it for my husband and I know I wear it more than he does. Bulgari Omnia – the original and always the best. Un Jardin en Mediterranee- beautiful fig. Olympic Orchids Dev #1- warm cuddly spice and vanilla, it is very soothing. I have a bottle of Poivre Piquant but I tend to save it for “special occasions”, it was my first niche bottle/anniversary present so it is very special. Pet the lovely Zelda for me. She reminds me so much of our former kitty, Wolfgang – he was a snowshoe( tabby siamese mix) with very similar coloring.

    1. Rosie, Zelda is sadly not amenable to petting right now- she just had a vet appointment (only her second!) and is very, very surly. I have never tried any of the smell bent fragrances and really should, especially since they are so reasonably priced.

  13. I’m new to wearing perfume regularly, but I keep on reaching for my bottle of Elixir des Merveilles. I’m so picky (and generally allergic) it’s hard for me to find something else!

    1. Elixir des Merveilles is gorgeous! Have you tried any of the other Merveilles flankers? Maybe you’d like the new Ambre too!

  14. My collection is small so most of my scents tend to be in a regular rotation, but lately my most often sprayed were Absolu pour le soir,Rossy de Palma, Noix de Tubereuse, Oud Cuir d’Arabie, Ormonde Jayne Woman, Dzing!Also I wore a lot of Agent Provocateur Strip,because I’m trying to finish it.I like it but not enough to let it linger in my collection for too long,so it gets worn in work

  15. Glad you asked. I always feel like I’m supposed to be wearing my favorite perfumes all the time, but practically speaking, I don’t. Here’s the ones I do wear a lot:

    Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere
    Bvlgari Black
    Ivoire de Balmain
    Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe
    Honore des Pres Sexy Angelic
    Maurer and Wirtz Tosca
    Chanel’s Cuir de Russie (mainly because I have one of those massive EDT bottles)
    Badgley Mischka

    Oh, and I like Paris Hilton’s Can Can. Don’t feel bad about Hilary Duff.

  16. While reading your post, I’ve come to realize that there is no difference between my workhorses and my “special night out” perfumes. Interesting. I guess that I consider any moment of the day (of any day) as a potentially special one, and probably I spent too many boring “special nights out” to think that they deserve a special perfume of their own. Anyway, here’s the (extremely) short list:

    Une fleur de cassie by Frederic Malle;
    Arabie by Serge Lutens.

    These are the ones that never let me down.

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