Perfumed Streets


Post by Anne-Marie


Hi all,
What are the perfumes you notice on other people when you are out and about? Do you recognise specific perfumes, or just a generic ‘perfumey’ aura around your workplace and on the bus?

Perfumed Streets

TerreD'Hermes FragranticaFragrantica

My most memorable moment was in a hotel lift in Paris. I stepped into the empty lift and I could smell Terre d’Hermes so distinctly I could almost touch it. The wearer must have stepped out mere seconds before.

Queuing for coffee at a railway station in Paris I again seemed to catch Terre d’Hermes, but I couldn’t be sure. Railway stations are a cacophony of smells.

Chanel No 5 Parfum Chanel FragranticaFragrantica

I smell Chanel No 5 EDT a fair bit. Once I noticed another mother at a school concert sending clouds of it several rows forward and back. I was surprised that anyone could conjure that much sillage out of No 5. I never thought of it as a sillage monster. Later though  I worked with someone who had No 5 as her signature and it could be smelled EVERYWHERE she had been, or was yet to arrive. Outside her office, up and down the corridors, in the bathroom, in the carpark. Yeeesh!


Once I caught a whiff of something delicious on a woman as I walked past her in a department store. I wheeled back and followed her up the escalator, trying to figure out what the perfume was. This is the only time I have stalked anyone because of their perfume. By the time I got to the top I’d figured it out. It was Estée Lauder’s Youth Dew.


Smelled Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche on an elderly lady I’m slightly acquainted with. She is a smart, beautifully dressed and fascinating woman and what she was talking about was so interesting I forgot to ask about her perfume. But it was certainly Rive Gauche and it suited her perfectly. I wish now that I had mentioned it because she would probably have had an interesting story to tell about it.

These experiences are relatively unusual for me. Terre d’Hermes, yes. That is so distinct and full of character that you cannot mistake it for anything else. But mostly when I smell perfume on someone I don’t recognise it. I just smell ‘perfume’: a pleasant (or not) floral, sweet, woody or sporty something-or-other.


The market is jam packed with smell-alikes, after all, and most people don’t want to make much of a statement with fragrance. I know someone who has a wonderfully quirky style in clothes, but her perfume is Lancome’s La Vie Est Belle. Or at least I think it is; it’s a bit hard to tell when there are so many copies and derivatives in that style.

So – over to you? Are there stand-out perfumes in your world? Or does everyone smell of hotel shampoo these days?
Bye for now everyone, and keep spritzing!

18 comments on “Perfumed Streets

  1. australianperfumejunkies says:

    Hey Anne-Marie,
    Great post.
    I often compliment the same fragrances in the street: Tabu, SJP Lovely, Fantasy by Britney, CK Obsession and JPG Le Male. Sometimes I recognise them but often I am surprised by the answer.
    Portia xx

    • annemariec says:

      Which adds weight to the argument that perfumes can smell different on different people. And since I wrote this post I’ve begun to notice a perfume on a colleague which I suspect is SJP Lovely, but I’m not sure. But it would be NR for Her but I don’t think so. It certainly suits her.

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        I recently had a very macho man friend come to trivia in his wife’s SJP Lovely. It took me a couple of sniffs to work it out because the placement was SO unexpected. We were both thrilled that I knew what he was wearing. It suited him beautifully, which is strange because I think of SJP Lovely as one of the ultra girly scent styles.
        Portia xx

  2. MikasMinion says:

    I rarely smell a thing around here. There’s a guy at the gym who wears patchouli beard oil that makes my eyes burn, and the other day at the grocery store someone smelled wonderful but it was too crowded to tell who and I couldn’t quite identify it. I almost shouted that someone smelled very nice but everyone seemed so grim that I funked it.

    • annemariec says:

      Oh dear! You will have to be the one smelling wonderful for everyone else’s benefit. I do know that feeling when you are out doing some dull chore and all of a sudden you get the whiff of a lovely perfume. Lightens the day. 🙂

  3. Jackie b says:

    issey Miyake is always unmistakeable, and Angel.
    I stalked a woman in the supermarket recently, wish I had asked her what she was wearing. Is it intrusive to ask?

    • annemariec says:

      Now you mention it, I once asked a supermarket checkout woman if she was wearing Obsession, and I was right. I could tell by the look of pleasure on her face that I had helped to lighten her working day. This was my local supermarket and I see her there quite often so it felt like an okay thing to do. But generally, with an absolute stranger, I don’t ask. I should. ‘That’s a lovely perfume you are wearing’ wouldn’t creep people out, would it … ?

    • Saffyishere says:

      I suspect that if you compliment/ask about a person’s scent it isn’t intrusive, Jackie b. In fact often it brings joy to that person.
      So next time, don’t be shy……just ask.

  4. Mary says:

    I’m haunted by La Vie est Belle and I can’t stand it!

    • annemariec says:

      Yea, I hear you. I dislike it too. And in the interest of fairness I have spritzed it on skin, just to find out what the fuss is about. No, just no.

  5. Shiva-woman says:

    I can always recognize Clinique aromatics elixir. Angel is another one, along with Obsession. I have asked what people are wearing, and they seem quite happy if it’s preceded by a compliment. I too love for others to ask.
    Shiva-woman recently posted…Perfumed StreetsMy Profile

    • Saffyishere says:

      Aromatics Elixer is gorgeous…..Angel is vomit inducing to me, and I wear Obsession for men

    • annemariec says:

      I do too. I will make a new resolution to be bolder. I might compliment them on the fragrance and then see if they tell me what it is. I’ve read that French women dislike being asked their perfume because they like to keep it mysterious. I wonder if this is true? 🙂

  6. Ingrid says:

    I once smelled a gorgeous smoky/woody perfume on a stranger in the street and kept loitering around but couldn’t identify it. I could kick myself today for not just asking her. Now, when I smell something beautiful I ask what it is and never came across someone who doesn’t want to tell. People are flattered when you like their smell, that’s the whole point of wearing it.
    Instantly recognizable scents for me are Coco Mademoiselle and Shalimar. Angel too, but I rarely smell it these days.

    • annemariec says:

      Funny, I do smell Angel sometimes (a female senior executive in my organisation wears it, fortunately with a light hand) but NEVER Shalimar. From its popularity I’d expect to smell it more.

  7. Hikmat Sher Afridi says:

    It was 1987 when a group of young girls passed on the corner/ turn of a pedestrian in Dubai. The smell was so breathtaking that I stopped walking & looking at them going away & unable to ask what they were wearing. Still it is unknown what kind of heavenly smell was that but only I remember it was floral & Oud.

  8. Anna Maria says:

    I have a girl at work who always wears Truth or Dare, and I always compliment her. Also Portia has worn it many times and I actually bought two bottles as I love it too….that was my husband who wore the SJP lovely perfume…so funny not the person you would expect to wear it lol…

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