Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Perfume Recommendations According to your Zodiac Sign

Astrology is a minefield for any scientist such as myself, steeped as it is in a cloak of half-truths and half-lies about the universe and as old as man himself, but there is no doubt that it is an entertaining past-time, especially if you disagree with it. Purists would of course argue that specifics, such as ascendants, moon signs, Lilith positions, personal chart of houses and other intricacies would account for much variation within the generic 12 types and that much is true.

via astrologicalchartinfo.com
Astrology combined with perfume sounds like too much of a guilty pleasure (don't you just love the perverse pleasure of breaking out the Secretions Magnifiques on a Virgo, who should be most appreciative of its chlorine-like nuances?)
and we're in the pleasuring business, so here it is: a small perfume guide into the zodiac circle (For all practical purposes, and for better or worse, I'm restricting myself to standard Western astrology for the moment).

Sun illustration from the Nujum al-'Ulum (Stars of Sciences), a manuscript from the 16th century AD,  probably commissioned by 'Ali' Adil Shah II of Bijapur, India
The recommendations are lifted off The Perfume Zodiac by John Oakes: I only included the perfume names recommended by him for every sign, but in the book there is a description of each one, some more recommendations meant as "wild cards" (when straying from character…) and some more distinctions on a table that recommends which fragrance to wear at which time (day/night), at which age (young/mature) -commentary with which you might disagree-, on which skin colour (fair/dark) [ditto] and which season(summer/winter). Alas they only include scents marketed to women (is it because it is assumed that women are more eager to follow astrological recommendations?) but as usual on these pages, men will flock and freely adopt what they feel suits them regardless. Since most people into perfume don’t abide by the strick rules set by Oakes I didn’t think it was necessary to elaborate, plus I'm sure the publishers would disagree anyway. But the zodiac recs are fun, not to be taken TOO seriously, so please do get the book if interested in further exploring the subject; it’s quite fun reading and oddly educational about perfume too.

Aries : Le feu d’Issey, Calandre, Ma griffe, Escape, Ferre original, Rive Gauche
Taurus : Femme, Fendi (original), Casmir, Chanel #5, Chanel #19, Roma
Gemini : So pretty Cartier, Bulgari pour femme, Joy, Yvresse, Jean Paul Gaultier classique, Champs Elysees
Cancer: Romeo Gigli, Amarige, Boucheron femme, Diorissimo, Cabochard, White Linen
Leo : Coco, Knowning, Gio, Donna Karan NY, Dolce Vita, Panthere
Virgo : Mitsouko, Arpege, Amazone, Parfum d’Hermes, Sublime, Nahema
Libra : Dolce & Gabanna original (red cap), Cabotine, Paris, Organza, 24 Faubourg, Deci Dela
Scorpio : Shalimar, Poison, Obsession, Must de cartier, Allure, Narcisse Noir
Sagittarius : Jicky, Quelques Fleurs, Madame Rochas, Crabtree&Evelyn Evelyn, Pleasures, Coriandre
Capricorn : First, Bal a Versailles, Youth Dew, Ungaro , J’adore, Private Collection
Aquarius : Eau d’Eden, Anais Anais, L’eau d’Issey, Diorella, Jaipur
Pisces : Samsara, 1000 Patou, Vent Vert, L’heure bleue, Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum, Dune.

You can also find astrological recommendations on these links :
A niche selection of recommendations, courtesy of Luckyscent
International discussion of real people on Fragrantica boards
Sampler packs per sign on The Perfumed Court decanting site

Some (indie) perfumers also manufacture specific "zodiac signs perfumes", such as used to do Ayala Moriel. Sadly those are no more (apart from a couple on Etsy), but I'm sure if you asked nicely and she had the ingredients at hand, she might repeat the recipe for a commissioned work.
It looks as though Roxana of Illuminated Perfume indulges too in some sign-related recommendations amongst her line. Another one is Alexandra Balahoutis of Strange Invisible Perfumes, specimens of her work you can witness on the picture. Estee Lauder only this last holiday season brought out a limited edition collection of solid perfumes and compacts (in her regular products, please note) taking the guise of each of the 12 star signs.

There are various  other  examples of scented products/fragrances (in various permutations) on Amazon, though I have no experience with them. Last but not least, in passing, let it be said that sculptress Niki de Saint Phalle, well-known to perfume aficionados thanks to her pine-forest smelling chypre eponymous fragrance, had issued a line of limited edition bottles bearing her designs of each of the zodiac signs.

Niki de Saint Phalle "Sagitttarius" via luraastor.blogspot.com


  1. I'm kind of underwhelmed by my Taurus suggestions ... rich, smooth orientals and classic abstract Chanels. I did use No 5 bath oil in the shower, when it was available. Perhaps I should do so tonight after the gym-or even wear a spritz of the edt before - the works quite nicely there.


  2. Not bad! I'm a Capricorn and I do love Bal à Versailles and Private Collection, though the latter holds special meaning to me because it's my Mother's signature scent (and she's Aquarius).

  3. Miss Heliotrope00:27

    I'm a Sagittarius, and have never found anything that's meant to be about me per star sign that correct.

    Now Chinese horoscopes...

    The whole lot of them are assuming more importance for people that we have in the universe, but it's a fun thing to play.

  4. Huh? Going by what I like I would be a Scorpio or Pisces, while in reality I am a Gemini... Lots of florals in that Gemini selection, lots of rose... and I abhor rose!

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  6. what fun! i've worn everything listed for my sign, at various points in time...wearing shalimar at this moment. the other signs' recommendations make some sense to me as well. clever and enjoyable.

  7. Mmmm - now if Mitsouko or Jicky was mentioned for a Scorpio - I would go for it!
    Oh , its a bit of fun all the same :)

  8. Interesting. I own three of the perfumes on my Pisces list - L'Heure Bleue, Paloma Picasso, and Dune. I wonder the reasoning behind the choices, and would have expected recommendations of more "aquatic" or watery floral scents. I think Eau de Merveilles would have been a good recommendation for us fish!

  9. M,

    I am looking forward to hearing how it behaved on you apres-gym!

  10. P,

    see, that's the intrinsic fault: we like things due to associations with other people too!

  11. C,

    if Sags are to be taken literally (as per the sign describes them to be), they shouldn't even be near the periphery of perfume fora and blogs!
    But we know it's not like that.

    Fun is the operative word, here.

  12. Nadja,

    I suppose perfume lovers are diverse! And so are you!!

    I'm a Scorp and the recs do happen to be totally on the spot (but then I do have many favs/styles which are not included; I'm particular within my all over the place categories)

  13. NFS,

    he has a clever way with his descriptions too! They're very entertaining without being crude or snarky. It's perhaps despite himself.

  14. M,

    we Scorps derive pleasure from doing the dark & brooding thing and clashing with what is imposed, so why not be contrary and opt for what you like? :-)

    *high five*

  15. Annina,

    good question.

    For what I recall Dune was advertised as a "marine" (though it's what venison is to soy sausage) and L'heure Bleue gets bonus points for being...well, blue, and dreamy. Paloma Picasso does intrigue, I suppose it's because she was made into a painting called "Paloma in blue" (I'm being a mind reader now, but I don't think I'm too far off the truth!)

  16. "FROM what I recall" .......urgh!!!!

  17. As any good Leo should do, I completely disagree with the suggestions and have formed my own list, thankyouverymuch :)

    Thank you for this post...very fun to read indeed!

  18. Anonymous23:54

    i have scents in every one of the signs, many of them favorites. i guess that makes me zodiacally ecumenical.


  19. Anonymous00:01

    Hmmmm, Cancer Sun a few Leo Planets, Sag Rising
    Let's see: I like White Linen, wore a sample of it back n it's 80s heyday, but never warmed up to it. I did wear and own, the same year it came out, Coco (still have the original everything.) I loved it. Also owned Panthere; enjoyed that scent as well.

    I currently have Jickey (Sag Rising). I am currently in love with Arpege (have progressed planets in Virgo). Also had a love affair back in the day with #19, though I don't have anything Taurus. Recently had a love affair with L'Heure Blue, again, perhaps of progressed Virgo planets?

    PS: Truman Capote is one of my favorite 20th century writers, and I well remember his Colette story from _Answered Prayers_, which led me to try Jickey. I also adore Colette :-)

  20. Anonymous12:53

    Having studied natal Western astrology for more than 20 years now, and finding that contrary to my initial conclusion that it was bunk, that it not only works well if you take the time to genuinely learn and understand its full intricacies, but is very useful to boot. I find myself consistently underwhelmed and even annoyed by the efforts of people, "astrologers" and otherwise, to associate things with the 12 standardized signs of the Western zodiac. (Gemstones, for example.) And while perfumery is a growing hobby of mine, and I think I might be able to create scents that fit what I have come to understand as the essence of any given sign of the Zodiac, associating scents with Zodiac signs will never work because there is too much complexity in a person as a whole to pigeonhole them into one sign. Which is why competent students of astrology almost universally abhor "sun sign astrology". The personality is indeed many faceted and each facet is represented in complex ways both in the person and in the birth chart. In fact most people I know who call themselves astrologers don't even know that well enough to be able to explain why some people see nothing of themselves in their sun sign. (I prefer "student of astrology", since it seems much less pretentious, given how deep and broad the field of study actually is.)

    I would say that in order to craft a perfume or cologne with any relevance using astrology, you would have to consider the the personal planet placements by sign and House, and then create the scent based on that complex personality accord.

    For example, a hypothetical man's chart with Pisces rising and Sun in Leo should have the top notes consisting of diffusive watery and possibly powdery notes (perhaps Calone, Isobutavan, Coumarin) to represent the character of Pisces, with strong, spicy and regal presence for Leo. This could be fresh ginger since it is a middle to top note, spicy and has associations with "heat", and perhaps a hint of lemon (solar reference), lime (strength/masculinity), a bit of Damascena rose as a nod to the rulership of romance by Leo, and a clove/nutmeg/cinnamon accord or perhaps a bit of black agar for regality, but this spice accord would be closer to a heart note, which would also make sense, as the sun is the "heart" of the conscious personality), These two aspects of the chart are what is noticed first, and they can be referenced, therefore, in the top notes. If the Sun were in the 6th House, we could reference that with a hint of Geranium and Clary Sage, both of which reference the planet Mercury through their effects on the awareness and then a bit of amber perhaps.

    If the moon were in Aries in the 2nd House, we might enhance the cinnamon and ginger a bit and add a hint of Vetiver. With Mercury in Leo again in the 6th House, we might add a bit of Ultrazur, lemon verbena and in a nod to the mental facet of Mercury, a bit of Geranium with a little more amber or some sandalwood for the Virgoan association through the 6th House. With Venus in Virgo in the 7th House, we might add in some sandalwood, perhaps the scent of lavender, a hint of clary sage and a bit more Geranium and Damascena rose as a nod to the Venusian aspect of the placement and the 7th House involvement. And if Mars were in Taurus in the 2nd House, we might add some Vetiver (dark earthiness), oakwood (impressions of strength), oakmoss (earthiness), and patchouli (again, earthiness) with a bit of muscone, civet and castoreum for animalics.

    But even with such specific considerations, to truly make a cologne out of this that matches the owner of such a chart, we must consider the current specific focus of expression and polarity of expression of said person, and then blend and prioritize accordingly.

    Naturally, the person in question should be consulted every step of the way as to what notes and ratios they like... so arbitrarily creating a "Zodiac cologne" really makes no sense otherwise.

    1. Anon,

      I admit that I share your view of not adhering to only the sun signs as the basic logical assumption if one does show an interest in astrology (which I don't accept entirely, seeing as stars and constellations are but distant memories of what was in cosmic time, but consider fun to pick elements from the completed chart because funnily enough they do tend to prove accurate for some reason). Since many people are interested in such a list of "zodiac fragrances" I chose to run it regardless.

      The breakdown of a perfume made according to a full chart is fascinating to watch and thank you ever so much for it!!!!

  21. Anonymous02:19

    The fault in that line of logic, which is essentially where I started from, is that you insist that if you don't understand how something can be true, and cannot explain it with your current understanding, it cannot be true. Which logically implies that you know everything and what you know is immutable. This is how "modern science" steps on its own feet a lot in trying to move forward.

    The truth is, there are a lot of things we know are true but cannot explain with our current knowledge and understanding. You may not have the understanding of the "true-ness" of astrology that someone who has studied it may have, and therefore skepticism and caution is not just understandable, but common sense. But remember that truth is stranger than fiction. I have no idea why it should be that any of the masses we call planets or plutoids should have any correlation of note on me. But I spent more than a decade testing learning natal astrology by casting the charts of people I knew nothing about but their date, time and place of birth who I would meet on the Internet through random chat in IM, and then ask them to critique where I was right and where I was wrong. Over the course of thousands of such experiments, I realized the following.

    1. This is statistically significant, if you understand the system well enough to use it properly.
    2. Not all the books on astrology are agreeing with the database of results and information I am accumulating.
    3. I can consistently and accurately know things about people who I have never met, never seen and don't even know the gender of, that I could not possibly know, just by correlating their personality to a map of the sky at the moment of their birth.
    4. I have no idea how to explain why this is happening, or how it is possible.

    That last one is what's kept me at it. I am dying to understand why there is this consistent specific correlation. So far my best understanding is that it represents some form of connectedness between the "out there" and the "in here", or as the ancients would say, "As above, so below." Maybe it's a form of quantum macro-englement that we don't yet know about or understand? But just because I cannot explain it with my current understanding, does not mean it is not happening.

    I'm not really interested in proving to anyone that it works anymore, or arguing for astrology. It's futile. If a person is curious enough, they will do what I have done, and arrive at the same conclusion. And I find it very useful for understanding how to communicate with and relate to people. Using it intelligently has saved friendships, landed me dates, made relationships last and even allowed me to understand how to better understand and communicate effectively with women. I find it very useful. For those who don't, they have their own path. I would rather spend my time learning new things instead, such as what I learn by reading your blog.

    By the way, I have to offer you my sincerest thanks for the awesome education you offer me by reading your blog here. I cannot thank you enough for sharing your knowledge with me, and allowing me to educate myself with your knowledge in this amazingly enjoyable field of perfumery! You've been a consistently excellent reference in my research into both perfumery in general, and how to create or understand the creation of other perfumes as well.

    1. No offense meant and absolutely no personal arrogance in "knowing everything". It's just that my scientific background has taught me that if someone claims the existence of something it lies within the claimer to prove the claim rather than the disclaimer proving their hesitation in total acceptance. This does not disprove your point; we just may need more time and enhanced knowledge to be able to accept things we cannot grasp completely now. Like I said, having being interested in the field a bit, some things (especially the passage of specific planets through the chart, plus the chart's north point and south point characteristics) do tend to prove true in practice!

      BTW, I actually had someone give a book to my mum which was really old and explained some fascinating but obscure things (which we tested out in real life as far as we could) about how specific chart characteristics would reveal whether someone would become a widow, would be gay, would excel later in life rather than earlier etc. It was uncanny! Unfortunately all I remember of the book is it was an Egyptian book, bought by someone who was an actual astrologer, from someone who had lived in Egypt all their life. It was a hand-me-down from who knows when.
      So even if intellectually I'm skeptical, I can see how it might prove that the correlation relies on things I now ignore. Like with religion and being agnostic, I suppose?

      Anyway, glad you're enjoying the blog and that it's providing reference into perfume making!

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  23. Anonymous19:43

    To add a little something to the record: I am a Gemini and I like (and own) at least one perfume from each of the other signs. I hate each and every one of the perfumes listed under my sign. What do you think that means?

    1. It probably means you have an eclectic taste and those guidelines are hardly any hard and fast rule. :-)
      Thanks for commenting!


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