Chart of Most Frequently Used Perfume Notes by Deborah Dolen

I often do a highly detailed perfume analysis as a gift for friends just for pure perfumers interest. It is very surprising how what you think is varied taste is actually not at all. Ask any friend or do one yourself. Write a list of all the perfumes you have ever worn as staples or really love. Then possibly add a few if you liked them but not so much. Look up your notes and the real story will unfold in front of your very eyes. It has never failed to surprise me yet and I have done loads of them.

I have just done one for one particular friend and she only gave me four examples, Chanel 5, Guerlain Jardin de Bagatelles, Cherruti 1881 and a not so favourite Chanel 19 but she didn't know why. Upon analysis, it becomes very obvious she loves a huge flower garden, tamed and cultivated but in full bloom. The one she doesn't like has more green bushes and a leather satchel left in it.

Another friend gave me seven perfumes, and out of seven seemingly 'random' perfumes bearing no apparent relationship with each other. It turned out that five out of seven contained a pomegranate note, one a mulberry and the other blackcurrant bud. Amongst many other similarities. That then gave me the ability to suggest a whole load of other perfumes for her to try that she stood a better chance of liking. I haven't yet asked her if she tried any of them.

Here is the first for you.

perfume analysis

Jardins de Bagatelle by Guerlain
loved, stayed on, one squirt lasted all day, not too floral, not too musky

Top:- Violet, Aldehydes, lemon, bergamot,
Middle:- Gardenia, Rose, Neroli, Tuberose, magnolia, Ylang-Ylang, Orchid, Muguet, Narcissus
Base:- Guerlainade accord + Cedarwood, Musk, Patchouli, Tonka bean, Vetiver

The perfume unfolds at first by suggesting a spicy musky rose on a sensual animalic background of something even possibly racier than musk, civet or its impression. The rose then turns more liquorishy as it becomes suffused by a sweet and juicy jasmine. In the eau de toilette version the floralcy in general is more clearly counterbalanced by the woodsy notes of violet, iris, vetiver, cedarwood, and patchouli. As the tuberose appears more prominently it is also made less exhuberant thanks to the relative dryness of the woods. The fragrance then develops a characteristic and lasting impression of smelling like the contents of a bottle of sparkling Champagne in which a bouquet of narcotic and indolic flowers would have been put to macerate for the longest of time. It reminds me of what someone said once, that French perfumes are so characteristically successful and part of daily life because they are made to accompany food and blend harmoniously with the aromas of a meal. The soft powdery and dreamy drydown is scented with orris as well as being lightly sweetened by what seems to be dominant accents of Tonka rather than vanilla.
Overall the impression is one of great elegance. It easily evokes a classically beautiful caryatid sculpture in a park, that of the Château de Bagatelle, a theme after which the flacon was designed with its motif of draped shoulders. If the edp version might suggest more centrally a garden in which luscious white flowers grow ready to enrapture the passer-bys, the edt version makes you think more of the presence of the nearby woods, while remaining as suggestive of divine lushness and its counterpart, human intoxication.*

Chanel 5
Chanel 5 preferred to 19 because it was less floral and heavier

Top:- Ylang-Ylang, Neroli, Aldehydes (bergamot, amalfi lemon)
Middle:- Jasmine, May Rose (Iris, Orris root, Muguet)
Base:- Sandalwood, Vetiver (Musk, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Amber, Vanilla, Civet)

Chanel 19
Found a bit grassy and sharp compared to 5

Top:- Galbanum, Bergamot, Neroli, Hyacinth
Middle:- Rose, Orris, Jasmine, Narcissus, Muguet (lily of the valley), Ylang-Ylang,
Base:- Musk, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Leather, Cedarwood (Vetiver)
Luscious green and woody. Very crisp and dry.

Cerruti 1881 pour femme
currently worn

Top:- Bergamot, Freesia, Mimosa, Violet, Blond Woods (Rose, Iris, Muguet)
Middle:- Rosewood, Chamomile, Coriander, Jasmine, Geranium, Neroli (Narcissus, Galbanum, Iris, Tuberose,
Base:- Sandalwood, Ambrette, Musk (Cedarwood, Vanilla, Amber)

Analysis of four.
We are seeing a very similar story with all four fragrances despite their differences. A citrus beginning, softened by orange blossoms and supported by unusual more gentle, subtle florals. Then the full monty of a flower garden consisting of some huge fat white florals which would be loud if it wasn't for the darker tones appearing in a different way for each. The narcissus is an unusual flower for a composition and appears in three out of four. This is like a shader in the perfume notes and tones down the brightness a bit all over.
These vibrant gardens of perfumes have regimented flower beds and are strongly supported by woods and greenery to keep them from being haphazard. The dry downs are classics of lovely woods, rich earthy greens, mossy touches to add richness and a tiny addition of sweetness that isn't the sickly kind but more subtle and resinous. There is an animal presence in these gardens that keep the whole thing strong and alive and fertile.
The sharper of the three is the 19 and in that one only has the addition of a stronger hand with the galbanum at the top, which is giving the green harsher notes and the undercurrent of the leather accord which pulls it from the flower bed a bit and into dryer territory. This may explain why it is liked but not as much because it still possesses all the other elements.


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