Perfume Pedigrees


We used to play this game every time a new fragrance launched. Though it had no official name, it would go something like this:

“So what does it smell like?”

“Well, if ____ and _____ had a baby…it would smell like ____.”

Lineage is all well and good in the upper crust of society, but I for one prefer my fragrances to be more of the bastard child variety.



And who am I to argue with a customer who tells me that something from the Gap, for a fraction of the price, smells just like the designer fragrance I’ve sprayed for them? Especially when I investigate it myself and find it to be true? It’s a tad heartbreaking, that for all the money and talented noses that go into creating a scent for these unique designers, you can still end up with something entirely generic.

Maybe I’m the only one that cares. Maybe I should be spending more money for the ‘hand blended’, customized, niche scents of the world. But despite all of my ranting, it is JUST a fragrance. Is it too much to ask to find something that doesn’t smell like anything else? That truly delights my nose when I spritz it every morning?

Luckily there are still a few mainstream scents, that have broken away from the family fold and renew your faith in the powers …err… noses, that be.

This is just a small sampling of some of the fragrances I’ve been impressed by over the years, so feel free to add, or correct me should you know who the parents of one of these scents are!

1. YSL Elle
Sometimes the strangest smells make the best combinations. I’ve always thought this smells like woodsmoke, in the best way. It’s a very sharp fragrance, so let it die down a little bit before you judge it.

2. John Varvatos Woman
I’m so biased, but Varvatos is like a fragrance god. His colognes are deadly. As in…weak knee inducing sexy, scruffy, man in a bottle. Sigh. Vintage is my favorite. For the ladies, it’s a mixture of oak moss, patchouli, apricot and lily – it’s always smelt vaguely like a fruity scotch. Is that possible?

3. Gucci by Gucci
If I could only wear two scents for the rest of my life – one each for day and night, naturally – It would be the Eau de Toilette for day, and Parfum for night in this scent. I’m a sucker for patchouli-esque smells, and mixed with pear and tiare flower? I don’t actually know what tiare flower is. But oh, it’s lovely.

4. Euphoria Calvin Klein
While not all of his scents are this unique, he has become, dare I say, as classic as a Chanel fragrance? I can’t think of one launch that has been a failure, adding to a collection of timeless and ageless scents.

5. Dior Pure Poison Elixir
This is the only scent I’ve ever actually purchased on my own. I’m not usually one for sweet scents, but unlike the rather boring original Pure Poison, this has just a hint of sweetness and a little bit of a powdery smell. It’s actually intoxicating. At least I think so. And then they had to go and discontinue it.

Writing this brings back so many memories of when I used to work more with fragrances – I do miss it! Every time I think of Burberry now, I remember a friend of mine who used to layer all three from the Brit collection…and it smelled amazing. Have you ever tried mixing scents? What are your favorites?


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