Saturday Question: Which 3 Perfume Notes Do You Look For?




Hello Fellow Fumies,

I have had an idea. Well, actually I’m copying an idea from Olfactoria’s Travels. Once a week there used to be a Question. Everyone would chime in with an answer, chat with other responders and it would be a generally fun events each week. Taking sides never meant taking offence and everyone kept it respectful and light.

I’d like to carry on that tradition, maybe you’ll see it on the weekend or chime in through the week. Hopefully you will come back and see if anyone has responded to your comment and you can reply to them.

If we get over 200 responses I will draw a $20 Surrender To Chance Gift Card. Every comment will get a place in the draw, so if you comment purposefully on your own or another comment you’ll have a chance, will draw the winner on Friday and the winner will be announced in next Saturdays question.

Last Weeks Winner:

Send me an eMail to portia _ turbo at yahoo dawt com dawt au


Saturday Question

Which 3 Perfume Notes Do You Look For?

OK, so most of us have a few trigger notes. You know, the ones you see in a fragrance note list that instantly catch your attention. Maybe you love it because it’s a note that you love to have overwhelming you. It could be a back story player that you find easy to notice and its participation always makes you smile. A Base note that you love because it will be the one you smell the longest in your fragrant wear. Perhaps its a top note that gives you shivers. I think we all have a few notes that we recognise with love but lets keep it to three today.

My answer:

Amber: Though not every fragrance that has amber is a favourite I do tend to like my scents warm, resinous and sweet. There’s something so comfortable about ambers, and fragrances that include it in their main ingredients. It’s a little deeper than vanilla but not so darkly animal as labdanum/styrax/benzoin alone. Some of my most loved ambers include L’Artisan L’Eau d’Ambre, Huitiem Art Ambre Cerulean, Jessica simpson Fancy Nights and Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan.

Rose: Roses come in so many different scent families. They can be sweet and jammy, citrus or tea, smoky, boozy, fruity and a whole host of others, or combined. There’s something incredibly precious about how a rose smells. Maybe because Mum loved them so much and grew them in our garden. I could have been influenced by the adoration for roses in prose, advertisement and gardening books but I really do feel a genuine attachment to the fragrances that roses emit. Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur, Soivohle Rosa sur Reuse, Olympic Orchids Ballets Rouges, Parfums DelRae Coup de Foudre and Annick Goutal Ce Soir ou Jamais are just some of my rose loves.

Lavender: Lavender is so soothing yet manages to also be gloriously alive and breathtakingly beautiful. Considering what a fragrant staple it’s been its poor reputation in the 21st century seems unwarranted. Personally I can take it straight up, blended among the crowd, a central or backing role. It scent refreshes my brain and lets me sleep like a log, whenever I change the sheets I spritz the new ones with L’Occitane Lavande de Haute-Provence. Other Lavender loves include CHANEL Boy, Le Galion Cologne Nocturne, Guerlain Jicky, Hermessence Brin de Réglisse and Jean Paul Gaultier Le Mâle.


So my question to you is

Which 3 Perfume Notes Do You Look For?

123 comments on “Saturday Question: Which 3 Perfume Notes Do You Look For?

  1. Lynda Allen says:

    Neroli, rose and patchouli…yumm.

  2. Jo says:

    Incense, Pine and Blackcurrant 🙂

  3. Jackie b says:

    I am a sucker for amber but not too boozy. And anything Cuir gets my attention.
    Can’t think of a third that I look for…

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hi there JackieB,
      Oh yes, leather almost made the list. Originally I was doing 5 notes but it was way too long.
      What are your favourite leathers?
      Portia xx

  4. Tena says:

    Vanilla, Leather and iris/orris.
    Honorable mentions go to apple and amber

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Tena,
      Apple! You don’t smell it in too many fragrances. which do you love most?
      Portia xx

      • cookie queen says:

        NAJA EdP. I may be one of the only people to have any. Red apple, birch tar, tobacco. Hopefully it will see the light of day in the future. It’s fantastic. 🍎

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Aha! Well, while finding an answer you haven’t given me much hope of smelling it. BUM!
        Portia xx

      • cookie queen says:

        I’ll save you a spritz.

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Thanks Val. XX

  5. Marion Low says:

    Must haves include plum, roses, Amber. I could ad a few more….cinnamon, nutmeg, cuir
    And bergamot attracts me for some reason.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Glad to read bergamot attracts you Marion,
      It’s a hard one to avoid. Do you like it in a cologne style or as a top note only?
      Portia xx

  6. Mariann says:

    Incense and/or myrhh is a firm favorite. I am always on the lookout for my next big love. Favorites so far: Passage d’enfer, Parfum Sacre, Avignon, Encens y Lavande.
    Another is ambergris. I adore Eau de Merveilles but it doesnt last very long. And last but not least orange blossom!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Incense Mariann! Nice choice. I love it too, especially how many facets there are of it. From resinous to char, church smoke to sweet woods and a multitude of others.
      Portia xx

  7. Mim says:

    It’s hard to pick only 3! I always go for spices and warm bases and milkiness or creaminess.

    So I’m going to say Saffron, because it is the king of the spice jungle. It has so many facets– Woody/oak, wine like, metallic earth, Rosy, slightly cumin-ish sometimes, and creamy.

    Cardamon, because it’s my next favorite spice and it does a really interesting thing with temperature– both cooling and warming somehow.

    And…either vanilla or.milk/cream here, especially both together. While traveling I sampled a very creamy skin scent which was maybe a little too linear but it really hit the spot and I kept sniffing myself all night.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Mim,
      Do you like 21 by Costume National? it has an amazing milky accord that really intrigues me every time i spritz. the gold heart fragrance from map Of The Heart does too. YUM!
      Also, do you like almond milk accords?
      Portia xx

      • Jackie b says:

        Oooh yes, almond…I have a lovely Dusk candle called Milky California Almond. I would like this in a body cream.

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        That candle sounds YUM! I’m going to grab one.
        Portia xx

      • Mim says:

        Haven’t tried either yet…overall are they more fresh/floral? Or warmer?

        I know I do like coconut milk in scents like Lumiere blanche (with cardamon too) and fils de dieu. I know I like almond– usually along with heliotrope or vanilla. I don’t know that I’ve ever tried anything where almond milk was listed specifically, but don’t see why I wouldn’t like it!

        My top creamy fb scent is Safran Troublant. I think the travel try was new/unreleased by sooud…

  8. Azsa says:

    Myrrh, leather, dirt

  9. fanny says:

    Tolu balsam, artemisia and ylang-ylang!
    Fun thread!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Fany,
      Yang iOS so beautiful, what a multifaceted frag note. YUM!
      Glad you’re loving the thread.
      Portia xx

  10. Laura Keller says:

    Aldehydes, civet and resins (peru balsam/labdanum/myrrh/styrax etc)

  11. Scott Steward says:

    We are scent twins again Laura!
    I would definitely go with Civet, Aldehydes and…patchouli/incense.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      HA! Scott, I could have picked yours too. Though I would have put Patchouli without and incense rider.
      Portia xx

  12. Ellen M. says:

    Incense(frankincense in particular), spices, and resins(especially myrrh). I must add the fourth note as pine/cedar.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Beautiful EllenM,
      I love those three all together in a frag. MMMM
      Portia xx

    • Mim says:

      Yeah, these are all awesome. I go back and forth between sweeter vanilla bases in woods and resins which I feel work really really well with my chemistry.

  13. Samantha says:

    At this moment in time, it would have to be Rose, Vanilla and Almond. A few months ago, I would have included Sandalwood and honey in the list but my tastes are constantly evolving 🙂

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      ALMOND! I love that too Samantha. It adds a beautiful extra dimension to the sweet stuff.
      Portia xx

  14. Gina says:

    For me, it’s the ones I don’t look for or don’t want: heavy vanilla, dirty hippie patchouli dominant, fruit, herbal, gourmand. With that said, there are frags I own and love that have all of these. But, they aren’t my fave. Faves? Rose and Carnation #1 for sure. Oud. Amber. Musk. Jasmine. Iris.

  15. Stephen says:

    Vetiver, rose and pine 🙂

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Interesting top three Stephen,
      I love rose too and vetiver is such a useful plant, have you done any reading on it? They use it for hill stabilisation, water cleansing and so much more.
      Portia xx

  16. empliau says:

    For me, galbanum, tuberose, and citrus. I would call them triggers because I am not sure I could pick galbanum out of a lineup, but my favorite fragrances (Mito and Antonia) feature it, so it must move me. I have always been surprised that I grow and adore roses, yet very few rose fragrances work on me, although my first (that I chose) was Yardley’s Rose – I think I was 10, and my sister wore English Lavender.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Empilau,
      If you want to smell galbanum grab some CHANEL No 19, Jacomo Silences or Niki de Saint Phalle. Also DSH Perfumes Giverny In Bloom is another jam packed full of it.
      Portia xx

      • empliau says:

        Oh, Niki de Saint Phalle is a favorite from way back – I got my first bottle in 1983. Love it. I got my first no. 19 recently, a bottle of unopened vintage 1980s parfum. I love it. Your track record for me is right on, so i will have to try Giverny in Bloom!

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Woo Hoo! How good is that vintage CHANEL No 19? What an experience. I am, so naughty, I decant and spritz. He He he
        portia xx

  17. Hikmat Sher Afridi says:

    Oakmoss, Incense, Civet

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Oakmoss! Yep, me too. I am extremely sensitive to it or its recreations and love it. It always ads a special cool, round furriness.
      Portia xx

  18. Patty Pong says:

    Lavender, iris, clove 🙂

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Clove! Yes, great choice Patty pong. I currently have a soap in the kitchen that is basically cloves, smells great when we wash.
      Portia xx

      • Mim says:

        ooh clove! Super love it, in fragrance and food, it’s tied for second in spices. I think there’s a MPG with clove and lavender?

    • Tiffanie says:

      Yes to clove. I have an essential oil “thieves” blend that is mostly cinnamon and clove. It’s wonderful.

  19. MikasMinion says:

    Nutmeg, hyrax, cumin. Three seriously underrated notes.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hiya MikasMinion,
      Nutmeg? I can’t think of a fragrance with it as a leading contender. Which is your fave?
      Portia xx

      • Laurels says:

        I can’t think of anything where nutmeg is the primary focus, but it adds something lovely to Givenchy Organza and Houbigant Orangers en Fleurs.

      • Mim says:

        Also love these 3! Nutmeg features in Jo Malone nutmeg and ginger, and sort of in korres nutmeg, both of which I love.

      • Scott Steward says:

        I have some Cacharel Pour Homme which smells like nutmeg! I shall bring some along

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        WOW! Thanks Scott.
        Portia xx

  20. Fazal says:

    As I have mentioned before, my experience with iris is mixed but anytime iris is mentioned, I am intrigued and hope the iris in the fragrance smells like lipstick 🙂 So the notes that usually catch my attention are iris, sandalwood, and woody notes such as palisander/wormwood etc.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Fazal,
      Iris is tricky. My mate Scott can only smell bread when it’s in a fragrance, which is obviously not ideal.
      Portia xx

  21. Maggiecat says:

    Musk and woodsy notes (sandalwood, guaic wood) are always the foundation that attracts me. For the requisite floral note (and floral notes are kind of requisite for me) jasmine, first, then magnolia and/or honeysuckle.
    Wait, were you serious about three? In that case, musk, woods, and jasmine.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      HA! Not serious about three MaggieCat.
      Which musks do you love? Animal or laundry?
      Portia xx

  22. crikey says:

    Oakmoss. The darker and inkier and forest-earthier the better.

    Incense. My sister just gave me a big bag of frankincense from Oman, and a really pretty little wooden burner to hold it in, and I am just about to try the first chunk. what a treat!

    only three? yikes. Leather! wait, no, coumarin. Or benzoin! But…petrichor? Or orange peel, or narcissus, or lavender, or vetiver, or saffron, or, or, or, oh, so many. oh, hell. I can’t decide.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      How fabulous Crikey that you have some Frankincense. We saw bags and bags of it in Dubai last year and I was tempted but we decided against.
      Portia xx

      • crikey says:

        Next time you get a chance, do see if you can squeeze even a little bag of it into your luggage… it’s *gorgeous* stuff.

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Yeah, I will. Ever since I’ve been wondering why I didn’t.
        Portia xx

  23. John Biebel says:

    What a conundrum, but a lovely one to think about 🙂 Three notes. At this stage in my life, I would say that they are: Rose: The complexity of this flower has been enough to engage me for years now, and hopefully will do so for a long time to come. Green: It’s a vague note area, but anything that covers the olfactive arena of mossy / lush / fresh green leaves is usually a hit with me. Incense: The deep mystery of incense never ceases to amaze. Even in small doses it provides a lot of comfort and beauty.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey John,
      Rose, they keep finding new ways to express it. I also love that you’ve chosen green as a field rather than the notes that create it, I too love some green in my fragrances. Someone was telling me about one of your new fragrances that is the greenest green of a Grinches heart.
      Portia xx

  24. Ingrid says:

    For me it’s oakmoss, galbanum and bergamot. I just love chypres the most, even better with leather, tobacco and lots of aldehydes.

    • Bernadette Winfield Gray says:

      I am with you,Ingrid!; Any of these three mentioned elements featured and I shall take a sniff. Faves include Miss Dior, Caleche, Givenchy III, Miss Balmain, Jolie Madame.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Ingrid,
      Chypre is probably my favourite genre too. All that dry beauty, so austere and elegant.
      Portia xx

  25. Anastasia says:

    For me it’s milky notes, leather and sandalwood. I love both strong leathery notes like in Tom Ford’s Tuskan Leather and Ombre Leather, and delicate leather and suede like in Keiko Mecheri’s Cuir Cordoba. Recently discovered a beautiful sandalwood in Milky Musk by Parle Moi de Parfum (smells very alike Serge Lutens’ Jeux de Peau)) Still looking for my perfect milk though. My dream is to find a perfume which would smell like milky oolong tea.

  26. Greennote says:

    I love reading other people’s combinations. My three genres are green, incense and big rooty iris (powder free zone here).

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Greennote,
      Yes, it’s fascinating what everyone is loving.
      Big Rooty Iris! YUM! Though I also love the powder bombs. Did you ever try the L’Occitane Iris Blue & Blanc?
      Portia xx

      • Greennote says:

        No I didn’t, Portia, but I haven’t found a L’Occitane to love yet. That’s okay though, I have other loves

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Don’t get excited anyway, it seems to have been DCd. They are running it out here in OZ .
        Portia xx

  27. Ingeborg says:

    I think I have to say galbanum,orange blossom and tonka bean. Generally I like many kinds of citrus and tea scents, but if you restrict us to 3 single notes, saying citrus would be cheating. Sandalwood is also very good, but since I prefer the creamy aspect of the Indian sandalwood I find many modern scents with sandalwood present a sharp edge, a bit like cedar perhaps.

    In fact it would have been easier to list 3 notes I usually avoid!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Ingeborg,
      we may do the avoid question at a later date.
      Tonka is a wonderful choice, I love it too when done well. YUM
      Also i think the Australian sandalwoods open slightly minty, a bit eucalyptus. that burns down quickly to warmth though.
      Portia xx

      • Ingeborg says:

        I like eucalyptus so that would not be a problem. Perhaps it is some stand-in for sandalwood I cannot get to terms with. I know I tested a rather new formulation of Samsara about two years ago and it was nothing like I remembered it, thinner somehow and did not fill the room the way the older formulation did (which was quite lovely, but could get too much).

    • Tiffanie says:

      I feel like listing citrus as one note is cheating but I did it anyway. I love all citrus so it’s a winner for me. 🙂

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Yeah, I love that you did that. It’s as good as saying resins, or woods, clever!
        Portia xx

  28. Minh Scent says:

    Like Ingebord said, I could more easily mention 3 notes I avoid! But, if we have to:sandalwood, rose, vanilla.

  29. Ceil says:

    Ginger, black pepper, vanilla.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Ceil,
      Ginger is a happy rigger for me too. Have you tried Vaninger by Oliver & Co. I think it’s EXACTLY the fragrance you’ve been waiting for.
      Portia xx

  30. Tami says:

    Such a dilemma! Hard to choose just 3.
    Incense, Lavender and Ambrette.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Ambrette! Interesting Tami. Isn’t that the vegatal musk? So you prefer it over the laundry and animalic? What frags do you particularly like that it’s in?
      Portia xx

  31. Laurels says:

    Great question! Orange blossom, lily (arum, not -of-the-valley), and opoponax. I knew my top three immediately, but reading over everyone else’s lists, I’ll add two honorable mentions: ylang-ylang and nutmeg.

    • Laurels says:

      Forgot to ask: Portia, is Fancy Nights sweet on you? I like it quite a bit, but I’d like it even more if it was just a little bit sweet. xxx

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Yeah, I find it dry but sweet. Like wearing patchouli in a bakery, maybe.
        Portia x

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Opoponax! Lovely choice LaurelS.
      Portia xx

  32. Neva says:

    Oakmoss, aldehydes, bergamot.

  33. AnnieA says:

    I will have a sniff of anything with notes of carnation, suede, or a named wood e.g hinoki vs a generic wood designation…

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Carnation is one of my mate Scotts go-to notes. I like it too AnnieA. Named woods! Interesting. Are you averse to the generic woods term for a reason?
      Portia xx

  34. Janice says:

    Iris (I like both rooty and powdery), incense, and for all the reasons Mim listed above, saffron.

  35. Nemo says:

    I am really bad at identifying notes in perfumes, but I guess I do still have some notes I get excited about including rose, sandalwood, and tobacco 🙂

  36. Tiffanie says:

    I look for ylang-ylang, iris, and vanilla. Guerlain Ylang & Vanille is a true love scent I found as I was looking for ylang-ylang in perfume. If it is ever in production again I’ll buy a bottle or three in a heartbeat.

    The three notes combos I love are citrus-florals-vanilla or citrus-florals-woods, as in Chanel No. 5 and Jour d’Hermes.

    I always have a bottle of lavender essential oil handy. Years ago Roger & Gallet Lavende Royale was my go to lavender, but after it was reformulated I gave up on lavender in perfume. Time to try again starting with a few from your list. Chanel Boy, I’m coming for you one day soon. I do love the subtle lavender note in aroma M Geisha Vanilla Hinoki and sometimes wear it on my arms with lavender essential oil on my feet. Heavenly.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Tiffanie,
      I love Ylang & Vanille too and have a bottle here that gets regular love. Did you ever try Songes or Eau de Sud by Annick Goutal. Not the same but they give me the same heady rush when I spritz. MMMMM
      Portia xx

  37. Lillibet says:

    Hard to pin down just three Nd if course it changes over time (and I’m cheating using note families anyway ( but right now green notes, incense notes and spice notes are all calling my name.

    Lil Xx

  38. Julie F says:

    Sandalwood, amber, and incense. Or leather. Aaagh!

  39. Greg says:

    I hadn’t really thought of perfume buying in that way before. Judging from what I’ve been liking lately, I’d probably say that balsamic, leather and citrus are the three that appeal to me. That might change with the seasons though.

  40. pats says:

    Rose, Carnation and Patchouli are my three notes that pull me in. Tuberose turns me off off off. 🙂

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