The Scent Enclave: Perfume Recs from Magpies.

By: Jen Shoop

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Wow, did I tumble into a lucky conversation in the comments section on this post or what? I’d asked Magpies to share their favorite parts of winter and several chorused that they look forward to wearing a seasonal scent, which led to a rousing conversation on perfumes that has cross-stitched its way through several posts and comment threads over the past few weeks. I wanted to pluck out a few star, and repeated, recommendations from the enthusiastic cognoscenti (pun intended) among us:

From Sara: “My winter favorites (well this week, anyway!) are: Guerlain Mitsouko, Le Labo The Noir 29, Serge Lutens Chergui, L’Wren Scott’s eponymous fragrance she did for Barney’s awhile back [ed. note: no longer available], Ormonde Jayne’s Woman. I have always thought of fragrance as seasonal; heavier clothes and drier air work better with heavier fragrances. I go much lighter in warmer weather as humid air and lighter clothing seem to call for lighter fragrances.”

From Kelly: “I collect perfumes too, I’d love to join your little society.

This week: Replica Maison Margiela Coffee Break, Tom Ford Oud Wood, Hermes Jardin Sur Le Nil, Jacadi’s baby perfume to layer (a gift from a french friend intended for my newborn)

Winter in general: Replica Maison Margiela By the Fireplace, any of the Alkemia perfume oils with incense in them.”

From Aoife: “Year-round: Diptyque Geranium Odorata, Le Labo Thé Matcha 26, Le Labo Bergamote 22, Le Labo Baie 19 (the juniper, cade, and green petrichor notes are incomparable), Nuxe Body Oil (classic), Jo Loves Fig body lotion (ongoing layering fragrance), Skybottle Muhwagua body lotion (more fig because I just love it so, so, so much), my own body oil blend of vetiver, geranium, rose and frankincense (to evoke the Diptyque Kyoto ltd ed. EDT (that I stupidly never bought, ugh!).”

Aoife used to work for Le Labo and provided a detailed and stirring description of their celebrated scents in the comments here, but I want to pluck out this suggestion in particular, because I’m going to Le Labo store to smell it based on her recommendation:

“My final wild card is my personal favourite — Baie 19 — an exaltant green masterpiece. This fragrance is entirely poetic as it’s inspired by petrichor and the feeling when the drought breaks. Some say it’s like walking through the rainforest floor, driving through a long, wooded road when it’s cool and foggy, or walking across steaming tar at the beach after a rainstorm. The mix of green oils (the plants actually release these when it finally rains [!!]), two forms of juniper (leaves and berries along with cade tar), and leafy patchouli make this creation simply sublime in the most transcendent sense of the word.”

And finally, from me: I have been wearing Byredo’s Mojave Ghost nearly every day for over a year now (maybe longer?) and am obsessed with it. It always makes me feel lifted, more pulled-together, more elegant? The site describes it as: “a woody composition inspired by the soulful beauty of the Mojave Desert. In this xeric wilderness, rare are the plants that dare to blossom. With a light and graceful character top notes of musky Ambrette combine with fresh Jamaican Nesberry. Powdery Violet then unfurls to reveal Sandalwood.”

I also really love Byredo’s clean Blanche scent (“Blanche explores the scent of texture and skin; bodies beneath fresh sheets; laundry baskets; a punch of detergent”), and understand many women layer this beneath other scents. Finally, I have been wearing Jo Malone’s English Pear and Freesia — it’s a bit more dressed-up and powerful than Byredo.

The perfume brand Who Is Elijah sent me a few scents to test recently. The Nomad scent was a bit too strong for my liking (it reminded me of Houbigant’s Quelque Fleurs, which my grandmother wore — a strong floral scent that follows you everywhere; very elegant but very powerful), but I’m making my way through their testers to see if any other jump out at me.

I shared most of the recommended scents in one “shelf” here for quick reference.

Your turn: what are your favorite scents?

P.S. Time is a thief.

P.P.S. When was the first time you experienced rejection?

P.P.P.S. Twilight on the Potomac.

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30 thoughts on “The Scent Enclave: Perfume Recs from Magpies.

  1. Gosh, tare so many!

    Always in rotation are Hermes Caleche, Creed Love in White, Diptyque Les Hesperides, Guerlain Cologne du Parfumeur, Ormonde Jayne Frangipani as well as OJ Man, L’Artisan Piment Brulant, Narciso Rodriguez For Her, Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentree and Lys Mediterranee. . Just to name a few.

    1. Thanks for sharing these, Shari! I love Narcisco for her!! I’d forgotten about it. So sultry but not overpowering.


  2. I’m love perfume but am put off by anything particularly floral or fruity, which narrows the selection quite a bit. I was looking for a new signature scent last year and ended up with Gris Charnel by BDK Parfums. It’s spicy and complex with a subtle fig scent, so more of a fall/winter feeling but I love it so much I will probably continue wearing it through the year, alternating with my favorite spring/summer scent, Thé Matcha by Le Labo. It’s a nice fresh scent with subtle sweetness, but again not at all floral.

    1. So inspired by all of the Le Labo fans! I have been wanting to make a little trip to the store in Georgetown since this conversation first started forming — I’m going to officially calendar it into my planner!


  3. I had never thought to change my perfume with the seasons, and now reading through the comments it feels like I’m the last one to discover the earth is round! It must be because I’m a born and raised LA girl, where we are basically season-less.

    Adding my favorites that I alternate year-round because they haven’t been mentioned yet: Jo Malone Mimosa & Cardamom (powdery mixed with citrus that keeps it youthful), Diptyque Eau Rose (a greener version of a classic scent), Jo Malone Poppy & Barley (berry & floral sweetness cut with a light musk), and Byredo Bal d’Afrique (woody and floral, maybe a little magnolia?).

    1. Love these descriptions — “maybe a little magnolia?” Wow! You all have such good noses!

      I also had not thought to swap my scents out seasonally, and I DO live in an area with seasons, so I’m way behind!


  4. Adding to Aoife’s and Kelly’s earlier comments–very honored and delighted to have had my comments included! I have happily begun wearing some of my Spring scents this week; seeing all the daffodils and cherry blossoms during my neighborhood on my runs (wearing SHORTS! yay!) has been delightful. I veer toward more green/floral scents in this weather: Ostara by Penhaligon, Le Temps d’une Fete by Nicolai and the eponymous Niki de Saint Phalle are spring favorites. Again, thank you and happy spritzing to all!!

  5. This is such a wonderful highlight of that brilliant comment section, and so perfectly timed – I’ve just finished my “winter” samples (Akro Dark, Prada Paradox, and Kayali’s Vanilla Mud) and am running low on an all-time favorite (Organza Indecence by Givenchy), so I’m looking for new fragrances for the upcoming seasons. If there ever was a Magpie Scent Enclave as a standalone group, I’d be head over heels to be part of that!

      1. Hi Jess and Jen, loving your comment energy! I’ve gone way out of my comfort zone (also, I need to be braver about connecting with people so here we go), and made a Google Sheet for people to share their details + see about maybe figuring out a way to connect:

        If anyone wants to do this, maybe we could aim to have a first Scent Enclave chat/similar in about a month, post-Easter? Thank you all for being so lovely. It’s really uplifting and inspiring xx

        1. So thoughtful of you!! Thanks for kicking this off! I am doing some research into possibly asynchronous chat/board type experiences so people can chime in when convenient…will let you know if I find anything! xx

  6. Autumn: Last Light by Henry Rose or Wood Sage and Sea Salt by Jo Malone
    Winter: Rose of No Man’s Land by Byredo
    False Spring: Un Jardin Sur Le Nil by Hermès
    True Spring: Bergamotte 22 by Le Labo
    Summer: Amyris femme by Maison Francis Kirkdjian or Nectarine Blossom & Honey by Jo Malone OR Blanche by Byredo
    New addition: English Pear & Sweet Pea by Jo
    Malone purchased today, at Cos Bar in Santa Fe! I love this one and will likely wear it as soon as I’m back in TX through the end of Spring (thanks for the wonderful customer service, Allison, and all the Wednesday Crew!)

    1. Oo a fellow Jo Malone fan — I also have that scent and love it, too.

      Can I say how much I love the way you distinguish between “false spring” and “true spring”? So poetic and observant. You’re the second or third Magpie to rec that Hermes scent. On my short list now.


      1. Hi Jessica! I *love* Santa Fe, we were visiting from Texas, and I miss it already. I’m dying to go back for the opera with my best friend, we’ve been talking about a trip for ages.

  7. Total stomach flip and shy delight to be included here, Jen. To echo and affirm Kelly below, it’s an absolute honour!

    I have such a long wishlist of perfumes to smell and perfumes to buy though Ichnusa by Profumum Roma, Sycomore by Les Exclusifs de Chanel, and Meander by Amouage are very high on my list.

    For memory building, I usually take around 2-4 2ml perfume vials on trips — maybe a mix of ones already owned that suit the season (decanted into glass travel vials with an atomiser) and then I buy/ask for samples at perfumeries. Then I make notes on what I wear each day in my travel journal. Doing this and taking notes on what scents/plants/anything I come across helps round out my sense of the place.
    For example, I had a sample of The Noir 29 on an anniversary trip to Sardinia a few years ago; I can still smell the hazy lingering sexiness of the fig, bergamot, bay, and tobacco as we are myrtle gelato under the stars or post-swim local wine apero wearing white linen. If you’re trying to think of notes that might match a place, I use Fragrantica a lot for this, too, to build that part of my travel aesthetic.

    Very excited to hear your thoughts on B19! xx

  8. Honored to be included!! I love English pear and freesia on other people; my little SIL wears it. On me all the wrong notes come out, I wind up oddly medicinal. My husband and I share many colognes and they smell completely different on us! He came out the other day wearing Autumn Vibes, which I wear all the time, and I couldn’t identify it even though I thought he smelled amazing!

    My son (2) is obsessed with the colognes he sees his daddy and I put on. He stands in front of my organizer and asks for lotions and potions; we let him have a little Weleda skin food, vitamin e oil, and Nuxe honey chapstick. He has claimed as “his” a tiny tester of Lilacs Along the Winding Drive from alkemia, a potent powdery floral with notes of rain. It combines with his little boy funk (a bit of wet dog some days) to be the most wonderful baby smell. I may actually buy him his own, they’re essential oils only. He’s become such a good tooth brusher now that we let him do a night time routine along with us, and I’m doing my skin care more often!

    1. I love this little detail about your son – how adorable?! Also love the idea of a ritual involving scent. Sometimes I think about how everything from the moment we finish our dinners is an elaborate bedtime ritual, a slow wind-down into bed. Like the washing of the dishes, the running of the dishwasher, the washing of little faces and teeth, the songs, then for me the watching of a show, the reading of a book…it all points me in the direction of sleep. When I fork the flow, I am up until midnight, 1, 2! Anyway, I digress, but I could see how scent, applied after brushing teeth, would be a powerful indicator: “time to start to wind down for bed.”


  9. I’m pretty picky about fragrance, but my current obsession is Book by Commodity. It’s technically gender neutral (my preference generally leans toward more masculine scents), and while I don’t think it smells like books (ha!), I do love the name and the scent profile.

  10. I feel like scent is so personal because of how they all interact with our individual skin oils, etc. That, and scent memory is so strong that I sometimes equate a certain scent with a time in my life (for instance, the Miss Dior I wore for my wedding.)
    I wore D&G 3 L’Imperatrice for a long time because I encountered a woman while on vacation who smelled like clean laundry, and she shared that she wore L’Imperatrice. Unfortunately, the scent wasn’t the same on me, but I did like it, so I continued to use it for a long time.
    At some point, I got a sample of Byredo’s Bibliotheque, and decided to switch things up. I wore it until I ran out, but I haven’t replaced it yet. I’m curious to read what other Magpies are wearing to see if there is something new I can try!

    1. Totally agree – my mom always smells much better in perfumes than I do. Ha! The only scent I’ve ever really felt at home in is the Byredo!


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