Friday, July 5, 2013

Flying Under the Radar: Top Under-appreciated Fragrances

There are some fragrances which remain hidden behind the more glamorous bottles atop the vanity, stealth-like on perfume discussion communities, brought out in half-assed guilt-ridden attempts to "finish the bottle", mid-spray thinking why the hell we're not wearing them more, wearing them more proudly, more confidently? Blame it on peer pressure, glamorized images, retro pedigree and outright snobbism. Our loss...Below I present some* which you should seek out and never be ashamed of wearing.

*For ease of reference, nothing niche, nor discontinued.

CK Be: Everyone was talking about CK One, its cologne-like sibling in the 1990s. Turns out, this is the more attractive in the family.
ck fashion ad

Rochas Man: If you want a great masculine smooth and sweet with a hint of hay for a fraction of the price, look no further.

Jacomo Silences: Because it's just as good as Chanel No.19. Green & sparkling like liquified emeralds.

Avon Timeless: A classic chypre from 1974 like they used to make them. Probably my first proper chypre, handed down to me half full in that cute 70s roll-on bottle by a relative who detected my passion early on.

The Body Shop Japanese Musk: Among the very best, not only in the line up of oil essences by the company, but among many a perfume oil selection. A light, powdery, perfumey chypre and not a musk type.

Guerlain Chant d'Aromes: Why are we stuck on the big guns by Guerlain when there's this demure but infinite love affair, tender like the embrace of a mother, affectionate like a woman's kiss to her first lover, persistent like the murmur of the dearly departed?

Estee Lauder Pure White Linen: The perfect summer soapy floral with dry lily of the valley and musk notes. It blooms in the heat and retains its clarity at all times.

Which are YOUR under-appreciated fragrances? Share them in the comments, below this post.


  1. Fiordiligi16:25

    Hello stranger! How funny - I chose Chant d'Aromes to wear today. In the extrait (discontinued, of course) it is truly a beautiful,elegant scent and so completely different from what is available these days.

    I definitely owe you an e-mail xxx

  2. Brava!
    Some of my favorite cheap thrills too!

  3. D,

    I owe you just as much (it's just that there are LOTS of developments lately).

    The extrait is absolutely wonderful of course, but the modern edt is comparatively lovely contrasted with much of what circulates in the market today, so I can't bring myself to disregard it.
    You do smell painfully lovely... :-)

  4. Datura,

    glad you and I see eye to eye.

    I always thought there are gems in the pile and coal in the gilded coffin, one just has to look with a discerning eye to find the best wherever it hides. ;-)

  5. I like your list, you have some of mine, too - I think the whole Estee Lauder line is underrated, esp the classics like the White Linen series. And you've given me a reminder to try Timeless. I've read about it lately and it sounds lovely.

    My favorite hidden gem is also a cheap thrill: Histoire d`Eau Mauboussin. On me it's a spicy potpourri with dried orange, underwritten with the smoothest, sneakiest leather. Also, while Bulgari Au Perfumee The Verte gets a lot of attention in summer, Au Rouge and Au Blanc don't get mentioned often, and they are such unique and enjoyable fragrances, imho. Thanks for the topic, and sorry for rambling :)

  6. And I have to leave a second comment because I forgot Theo Fennell Scent, packed with everything but the kitchen sink. It smells so dense that at first it feels like having your face buried in fur, then it sorts itself out and becomes the most gorgeous oriental chypre, in the Grande Dame vein. I'm not always in the mood for it, but I think it's absolutely gorgeous, esp. in cold weather.

  7. Anonymous21:18

    Making a mental note to sniff Chant d'Aromes. I have never smelled it. Can you believe that?

    As for my list:

    Bill Blass Nude - Clean skin with a hint of something intimate and a very subtle salt or mineral type note. I think it's a great scent. I don't know if it has been discontinued but you can find everywhere online.

    Estee Lauder Spellbound - I have the original splash bottle and I recently purchased the spray at the EL counter. The young woman told me no one ever buys this scent anymore. But that they always have at least 1 to 2 bottles in the drawer. You have to ask for it because it's never displayed on the counter.

    I love it for the cooler months, especially the evenings.

    Have a good weekend ahead.



  8. Great list as usual! I own and use Silences myself.

    My little underappreciated gem was Paco Rabanne Metal. Except that it's so underappreciated that they have discontinued it (at least, they did redistribute Calandre).


  9. Ellen23:17

    Jewel, by Mark. Very pretty and soft with a sweet vanilla note, but not cloying. Got it through Avon.

  10. Anonymous01:24

    I have a bottle of Timeless from Avon.

  11. Clinique Happy Heart is one of mine. The problem with the Happy line is that they go off very quick. Found that out when I hadn't worn it in 8 months, while keeping it in the fridge. Not too many people now seem to wear Happy. I have a mile long niche list of ones that are under-appreciated.

  12. First of all it is Trussardi in white crocodile packing and Donna Trussardi released in 1994 and discontinued afrerwards. Both are fantastic chypres with all the best from the family. Ferre Donna which is also not any more in production was the beautiful floral which could make shiver your knees. Then the first women release from Fendi - amazing deep and elegant creation. Ungaro pour Homme, Divina Diana de Silva...the list is very big in fact.

  13. Chant d'Aromes is one I love and keep on my dressing table. As well as Arpres l'Ondee, also by Guerlain. Along with Gres' Cabochard

  14. I only recently discovered Eau de Cartier is a much cheaper (and was there first) version of Juniper SLing by Penhaligon's. They are not the same but are similar enough that Eau de Cartier is a good choice.
    PLus, I would add it your list.
    Along with Si Lolita and L by Lolita Lempicka.
    CK Secret Obsession too.

  15. Miss Heliotrope11:04

    Ha! I used to wear Japanese Musk a hundred years ago before I was into perfume: it was the only one I had ever loved until recently...

    I put on some of l'Occitane verbena the other day - it is lovely.

  16. Rosarita,

    thanks for sharing the ones that tick the boxes for you!

    Mauboussin make good scents, I wonder why they're not mentioned more often. From the Bvlgari teas, the green is probably the best one, though the others are different enough as you say to warrant some talk. The "blanc" was featured in my "white noise fragrances" article if it helps! ;-)

  17. Rosarita,

    uh huh, TF Scent is disqualified though (gorgeous tho it may be): it's discontinued...
    (Your description is absolutely enticing to have me hanker after a whole bottle of my own)

  18. Dawn,

    hi honey!

    Chant is a lovely aldehydic semi-chypre (semi because it lacks the too perfumey, too mossy ambience) and very wearable all around. I think you might find it agreeable, it should fit your sunny and giving disposition. :-)
    YEAH on Nude by Blass (great fragrance), less enthusiastic about Speellbound myself (but I know why you like it: that spice! I think you should try Teatro alla Scala, if you like that sort of spicy sledgehammer genre)

  19. M,

    thank you!

    Silences is great on men, I find. It gives them a cool edge, indefinable.

    Ooops, discontinued is a disqualification for our purposes. I love Metal myself, but it's getting very hard to find :-(

  20. Barbara,

    good for you! Enjoy, it's good stuff.

  21. Eld,

    really? Wouldn't have imagined this in a million years. Why?

    Niche underappreciated needs its own separate post.

  22. aromacasa,

    ah....but we said no discontinued ones! :-)
    But I know what you mean perfectly, these are wonderful fragrances and they do deserve more attention, even while they're dead to the market.
    I used to love the white croc Trussardi Donna (a chypre) and liked a lot the Donna Trussardi in the curved rectangular bottle with the stopper cap (a floriental); the white croc bottle now hides a different beast. :-(

  23. Erika,

    great, we see eye to eye.
    Cabochard is hardly underappreciated however; every blogger includes it in their texts and it appears constantly in classics lists. Unless you mean people don't wear it often, which is a different can of worms (what people say they revere and what they actually end up wearing)

  24. Ines,

    EdC is spectacular, very good and very very adaptive to every situation possible. Good addition, thank you!
    (If you sample Angeliques sous la Pluie and Dans tes Bras in the Malle line, you will find similarities with EdC *hint hint*)

    the rest are also interesting, but Secret Obsession was discontinued (the mace, its big advantage, was probably not "understood" by the wider audiences)

  25. MH,

    JM is great on tissue and clothes (in a secret spot, cause it's oily and would require spot treatment before washing). If you liked this, try some vintage Ma Griffe if you haven't, very much in same genre.

    L'Occitane make some lovely things and they don't get too much buzz around them. Verbena is one I don't recall. I will amend this on your rec!

  26. Ellen,

    noting this down (it's so new to me).I recall that Pure by Mark captured the perfect soapy much much better than most out there (and definitely gave Clean brand a run for its money)

  27. Tippet1821:36

    Jean Patou Sublime...I have a varied collection but always return to and mysterious.

  28. Monsieur Rochas -- a lemony go-to for summer; Silences (you turned me on to it E!) vintage Ma Griffe perfume, Opium Fleurs de Shanghai (maybe discontinued?) -- summer favorites.

  29. What?! Secret Obsession is discontinued?!
    How come I don't know that (off to find a site with a spare bottle to buy)...

  30. Favorite under the radars: Egyptian Goddess by Auric Blends, one of the best Egyptian musks our there. Pacifica's Malibu Lemon Blossom, just a wonderful lemony neroli scent that has enough sweetness to keep it from being a laundry detergent. LUSH's Orange Blossom, one of the most easily true orange blossom scents you can get on the market, recommend it to anyone looking for a good orange blossom that is cheap but true to the scent.

  31. Tippet,

    good one, I recall liking this when it first launched and then it somehow fell off the face of the earth...(well, not exactly, but no one talks about it, do they? shame..)

  32. Dearest P,

    welcome back!! :-)

    What a great list and I am ever so happy to "convert" people to something! Silences is as good as anything to rec so I'm very glad.
    Opium FdS is like the rest of the Opium summer editions a limited edition; which is a pity because those were all so very good (and now that Opium is finally too changed, they are more real than the "real" thing)

  33. Ines,

    alas, for some time now. I don't think it stuck on the counters for more than a couple of years.
    It's still quite easily found on stockists, because it's so recent, and not too $$.

    Psssss, Oriflame's Chiffon is a dead ringer to Secret Obsessionand very much value for money (though the company has the annoying habit of discontinuing their fragrances very often as well)

  34. J,

    I knew about the EG, but I admit to not knowing about the other two which I am noting down to try pronto! (love those sort of scents)

  35. Anonymous00:07

    Coriandre blossoming in the heat and C Klein Truth Men cool as a cucumber

  36. Anonymous16:35

    Glowing by Jennifer Lopez is underappreciated.

  37. Anon,

    oh yeah baby, I like both! :-)

  38. Anon#2,

    indeed, to the point that we forget that the actual name is Glow. It does make for a glowing aura around one's person, though!!

  39. Anonymous23:16

    Glowing is a Jennifer Lopez scent (created by Calice Becker and Caroline Sabas) that came out in 2012 and is flying under the radar.

    It is a Floral Woody Amber scent according to her website.

    From Top Notes are Bergamot, Mandarin, Cypress, Orange blossom; Middle Notes are Muguet, Cassia flower, Sandalwood; Base Notes are Amber sultan, Vanilla, Vetiver, Patchouli, Cashmere musk.

    Fragrantica lists some words such as woody, aromatic and balsamic. I think those are pretty accurate.

    On me it begins mostly cypress and the drydown is warm, mostly amber.

  40. Anon,

    you got me! Had no idea. :/

    And sorry I got so delayed in publishing this, got caught up in the celebrations and all.

    Thanks for providing the essential info, very useful!

  41. Inside by Trussardi . This one was one of my all time favourites and my signature one .Subtle , warm , sensual and intimate. whith a character of its own . I never understood why it had to be discontinued leaving the way open for boring perfumes like "My name ".

  42. Iris Severin20:01

    20 years ago, give or take, I was making my way around the perfume counter at a Gottschalk's and came upon this new concept (for me) of functional fragrances from Clarins. What a happy discovery sprayed out of that red bottle! I am puzzled at how under the radar this scent still is to this day. I can psyche myself out into having a better day for having worn it.


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