Favourite Fragrance Note?




Hi there Fumies,

There are a few notes in fragrance that if I see them in a note list I definitely want to give them a sniff. Not all the fragrances that have these notes in them work for or on me. As a starting point though I am much more willing to try some new thing with these babies in on my skin. I’m WAY more inclined to order a sample or seek it out actively.

Favourite Fragrance Note?



OK, probably no surprise to most people who read APJ regularly but Amber is one of the notes that I look for in note lists. Recently Fragrantica changed their note list icons and it took me a while to recalibrate my swift glance. Fortunately Amber wasn’t changed hugely. Now if I see Amber in the name of a fragrance then I’ll spray myself without even looking at the note list, not clever but often fun.

Some ambers I really love are: Ambre Cerulean by Huitieme Art Parfums, L’eau d’Amber by L’Artisan, Ambre Russe by Parfum d`Empire, Olympic Amber by Olympic Orchids, Amber Queen by A Dozen Roses, Ambre Narguile by Hermès, Chergui by Serge Lutens and Ambra del Nepal by I Profumi di Firenze. Obviously not a complete list, this is off the op of my head.



Growing up Catholic and attending primary school with Nuns and secondary school with Jesuit Priests my early years were awash with incense. Then as late teens bloomed, in fashion school and my friends began to become more multicultural I got to smell incenses from around the world. Nowadays I have a cupboard full to overflowing of incense gathered from visiting many countries. From the cheapest to the quite expensive and I love them all. Put a hefty dose of incense into a perfume and I will try to get my nose on some ASAP.

Some of my adored incenses: Avignon by Comme des Garcons, Trayee by Neela Vermeire Creations, Oliban by Phaedon, Fille en Aiguilles by Serge Lutens, Encens Flamboyant (Shower Gel) by Annick Goutal, Bois d’Ascese by Naomi Goodish, Interlude Man by Amouage and Vintage Opium by Yves Saint Laurent. Trayee Neela Vermeire Creations



I think I am hyper-nosmic to oakmoss and its facsimiles. Even the merest smidgeon and it overtakes most fragrances for me. A good thing in my eyes because I love its soft, furry, green smokiness. In my nose a little bit of oakmoss makes every fragrance more stunning and desirable. If I see the word oakmoss in a note list I can be about 95% sure that it will be a winner only skin and that pretty soon there’ll be a FB and a backup in the cupboard.

Oakmoss-centric frags in my wardrobe: Mitsouko, L’Heure Bleue & Vol de Nuit by Guerlain, Chloe (1975), Antaeus by CHANEL, Niki de Saint Phalle, Magie Noire by Lancome, Bandit by Robert Piguet, Miss Dior by Christian Dior (1947), Farouche by Nina Ricci and Eau de Gucci (1993)

So, over to you. What note or notes ring your bells when looking through note lists?
Portia xx

45 comments on “Favourite Fragrance Note?

  1. Joy De Shazo says:

    Amber, Vanilla and Incense. The Incense for me, seems to add depth and I seem to be able to breathe the fragrance in deeper when it is present.(is that a mental thing?)

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hi there Joy,
      Depending on where and how you grow up incense can mean myriad things. If it gives you extra depth and makes the experience more pleasurable then whether it’s mental or physical is moot.
      three lovely choices, we snap on two so obviously I like it.
      Portia xx

  2. Esperanza says:

    Great list, Portia! For me it is vanilla, orange blossom, neroli. Anything from the bitter orange tree really, its twigs, wood, orange peel, and its leaves. I have just started to appreciate incense more and am intriguied by your collection 😊

    Esperanza recently posted…How perfume has helped me get through hard timesMy Profile

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hi there Esperanza,
      Lovely to see you. I read your How perfume has helped me get through hard times post. Beautiful buddy. Hugging you from here.
      Orange blossom is a big fave of mine too. One of the best that combines orange blossom & incense is L’Artisan Seville a l`Aub.
      Portia xx

  3. Francesca Belanger says:

    I have to say incense, too. As a child, I looked forward to attending Mass on holidays when incense would be burned. (An apocryphal story: Tallulah Bankhead staggered into St Patrick’s Cathedral and took a seat just as a procession was getting underway. Cardinal Spellman, clad in a lacy alb and swinging a censer, led. As he drew abreast of Tallulah, she said, “Darling, your dress is fabulous, but your purse is on fire.”)
    Current faves: Avignon, Pekji Holy S**t, Norma Kamali Incense, and above all, Unum Lavs, which I was lucky enough to purchase before reformulation.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Ha Ha Ha Ha! Francesca I love that story. How fabulous, and naughty.
      That Norma Kamali is so often talked about with reverence.
      Portia xx

  4. Gina Tabasso says:

    Ick ick ick to oakmoss and chypre. I think my faves are amber, oriental spice, rose, incense, tobacco and CIVET!

  5. Jackie b says:

    Me too for amber and incense! I would add leathery notes too. Cuir anything!

  6. Sandra says:

    Love your notes Portia! I have to say that my favorite notes to wear are vanilla, amber and leather – and my favorite note that intrigues me is ambergris (I want to smell everything that has ambergris!). Sandra xo

  7. Mals86 says:

    Tuberose. Galbanum. Hyacinth. Rose. What can I say, I’m a floral girl. 🙂
    Mals86 recently posted…Mini-review Roundup, January 24, 2017My Profile

  8. rosarita313 says:

    No wonder I like so many of the perfumes you review, Portia! I think mine would be incense, spices (especially cardamom) and opponax. All the resins. Have you tried En Voyage perfumes Captured in Amber? I think you would love it.

  9. Azar says:

    Hi Portia,
    Great question. Galbanum is the big one for me! After that probably tangerine, oud, sandalwood, lime, basil, vanilla, incense and any big or small white flower…

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey there Azar/Gail,
      Galbanum is heavily. Have you work Giverny In Bloom by DSH? Have we had this conversation? It’s heaven.
      Portia xx

  10. Ingeborg says:

    Fun question. I nearly stopped looking at note lists after so many scents with one or more of my favourite notes in them turned out not to work for me. Favourite note galbanum, also love neroli and orange blossom. For winter amber is very good, but my troble is I like so few scents with incense or smoke in them, so a good amber is sort of tricky to find.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Ingeborg,
      I’m surprised how many galbanums we have today.
      Do you like L’Eau d’amber by L’Artisan or Ambre Cerulean by Huitieme Art?
      Portia xx

      • Ingeborg says:

        I haven’t tried any of those, yet. Ambre Nuit by C. Dior is among my favorite ambers, I like the polished feel of the scents in the Dior line.

  11. Ellen M. says:

    I would say amber, vanilla, INCENSE and resins ( frankincense and myrrh in particular), spices, and woods, not necessarily in that order. I’d be interested to know the reverse, i.e., what are the notes you really can’t stand and stay away from. Lately, I’m beginning to think that its orange blossom that I don’t like even though I really enjoy the scent of oranges and citrus.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey EllenM,
      I think we asked that question a few years ago but it does bear repeating. I’ll do one up soon.
      Portia xx

  12. maggiecat says:

    For me, those notes are jasmine, musk, jasmine, magnolia, jasmine, and honeysuckle. Did I mention jasmine?

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Excellent Maggiecat,
      Are you sure you like jasmine? I’m left a little uncertain by your comment.
      What is your favourite jasmine?
      Portia xx

  13. Anna Maria says:

    Oud too Portia, you got me onto it! Many thanks💋 Of course I love the same notes , didn’t realise my vintage Opium has incense too!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey lovely,
      Oud is a wonderful scent. You never did come over and have an oud day.
      Make it happen.
      Portia xx

  14. Scott Steward says:

    Wow! Replace amber with patchouli and you would have my 3 favourite notes as well.
    It turns up in so many things I love – Coromandel, Givenchy Gentleman, Magie Noire, Voleur de Roses
    Or maybe Civet? that also turns up a lot in fragrances I love.. (La Nuit, Parfum de Peau, Kouros, Tabu, Bal A Versailles) Very interesting, Portia X

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Heya Scottie,
      These notes? Patchouli and civet. Are you sure. It’s a surprise to me. NOT!
      Great choices.
      You do love amber too though, Ambre Ceruleen!
      Portia xxx

  15. cookie queen says:

    Leather, galbanum, patchouli (proper patchouli), rose, sandalwood, vanilla to an extent, oakmoss, ambergris, leather, leather,

    But most of all, a good woody note. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. 💜

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      HA! You and your woody notes Val.

      What is proper patchouli?

      Yah galbanummmmmmmm
      Portia xx

      • cookie queen says:

        Patchouli that smells like patchouli from a head shop. That covers Coromandel, The Kikis and Borneo for example. Cleaned up patchouli – whatever that means does not count.

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Aha! thanks.
        Portia xx

  16. Anastasia says:

    Leather, vanilla, sandalwood, ylang-ylang, white musk and gourmand notes.

  17. Fazal says:

    Very challenging question because focusing on notes has not been helpful to me in picking blind winners. But when done right, I love Citrus and Iris. I love Citrus when it is done in Eau Sauvage style which is almost impossible now. Similarly, I love Iris when the emphasis is on lipsticky elements rather than carroty elements.

    • Fazal says:

      I made the mistake, not citrus but lime in the mold of vintage Eau Sauvage. Azar’s choices remind me I also enjoy sandalwood when its done well as in vintage Samsara, vintage Egoiste.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Interesting that you like a lipstick iris vibe Fazal.
      Portia xx

  18. Jose Urbina says:

    I like oak moss. In fact the secret of the Cyprus is in the oak moss and bergamot. I like that woody scent.

    As a general culture inform the following of oak moss: At present, the use of oak moss in perfumery is very limited by European regulations, because in some cases can produce sensitivity reactions on the skin. Luckily, there are aromachemical compounds that closely approximate their odor, and can complement the small allowable amounts of the original ingredient.

  19. Undina says:

    Let’s see… If I had to name just three, it would be probably linden, amber and galbanum. In addition to that, I like iris root, cedarwood, black currant, fig, gardenia, gin, lavender, lilac, lily-of-the-valley, mimosa, rose, narcissus, saffron, sandalwood and vanilla. Probably, I wouldn’t want them all together in the same perfume, and I’ll definitely want to add some citrus and musk to a composition, but these are the notes I’m interested in, whenever I read the list.
    Undina recently posted…Hitting On All SixesMy Profile

  20. Hikmat Sher Afridi says:

    Oakmoss, Incense, Oud, Castoreum, leather, musk, sandalwood, civet and rose are the notes that compel me to put the perfume in my wishlist. If there is such perfumes with only these notes with perfect blend then I’ll stick to it.
    Thanks for the article.

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