Perfume For Grown Ups

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

I’ve written various articles about perfume over the years, from selecting your wedding scent to moving on from what you thought was “the one” to well, another one. With the exception of the aforementioned big day favourite (I invariably have a bottle of “Lady Vengeance” by Juliette Has a Gun on the go every year for special occasions, holidays and whatnot) I tend to find a perfume I like and stick to it for at least a year or so.

When I was younger I was actually faithful for longer periods of time, favouring flirty fruity concoctions that I hoped would become my “signature” waft as I entered a room. I find that nothing evokes a sense of nostalgia quite as much as a whisper of a long forgotten fragrance, and be it a very welcome memory or a time in your life you would frankly rather forget, I never ever go back.

Now I have officially moved into the realms of parenthood I feel that I need something a little more sophisticated, a scent that was I don’t know, grown up if you will. Even though some days I am anything but (ever feel you need to “ask an adult” and then realise you are supposed to be the adult? That). Gone are the days of my overly sweet vanilla infused misspent youth, and even though I won’t deny the occasional desire to have the ability to spontaneously hop on a cheap flight to Dublin with my friend Naughty Maria*, this phase of my life is by far my happiest and most content yet.

I love rose. Love it. And it was the title of my latest love affair “Rose of No Man’s Land” by Byredo that caught my attention in the first instance. Add to that a simple yet totally instagrammable bottle, top notes of pink pepper and a heart of raspberry blossom and Turkish Rose Absolute and it was a match made in Liberty’s beauty hall heaven.

I wear it every day. Even if I’m just working from home and only have plans to see Mabel and James all day. For this time in my life it is very very me. And even though I haven’t all of a sudden become worldly wise and able to walk gracefully in heels, I do smell rather lovely. Even if I do say so myself.

Do you have a go-to fragrance that you can’t imagine yourself ever changing? Discovered anything new and delicious recently? I tell you what mind, I can’t get over how much these perfumes ruddy cost these days, I remember when spending thirty quid in Boots on a bottle of Calvin Klein seemed like a fortune.

*We used to have this giant map of the UK and Ireland and we’d close our eyes and stick a pen on it and wherever it landed we would plan an adventure there for the following weekend, as cheaply as possible mind. Back in the day when a one way ticket with Ryan Air was genuinely 1p and they didn’t charge you the price of a small island in order to transport your over-100ml and completely necessary hair mousse to your destination of choice.

*Those were the days*

Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
Follow Charlotte on instagram @charlotte.oshea
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24 thoughts on “Perfume For Grown Ups

  1. I have told myself many times that I really want to find my signature scent, but I still just flit from bottle to bottle without committing… maybe I just haven’t found it yet, I will persist!

    As an aside though, your adventures with Naughty Maria sound AWESOME!! I want to pick my weekend travel destinations at the flick of a pen…. over 30 isn’t too old to do that, right?! x

    1. Emma you are NEVER too old for adventures. I hope to still be travelling pen-in- map-style when I’m 80.

  2. I wish I had a nickname like Naughty Maria!

    Maybe it would be Duty Free Danger as that’s where I always seem to buy perfume- in a hurry and without too much thought! I think I’ve grown away from the sweet scents I loved as a teen, but am still a sucker for names. I love Acqua di Gioia and L’Eau The One, it’s a bit fresher and lighter than the normal One, which was my wedding perfume. In a world of sweet milk smells and squished fruit on my clothes I need something fresh!

    1. Lucy I am the same – I don’t dislike sweet scents as such, I just prefer fresher/and or muskier fragrances these days.

  3. I will always wear Stella by Stella Mcartney it is very “rosey’ and evokes such wonderful memories. However, I paid £40 for a large 100ml bottle ahead of our wedding but the price has sky rocketed since. Think I will be stocking up in duty free when we go to New York in October xx

  4. Both of my favourite perfumes are Rose based – Cafe Rose by Tom Ford and Rose 31 by Le Labo fragrances. I like them because they aren’t overly sweet and have masculine undertones for that bit of grit. They’re pricey but worth every penny as the scent lingers on for hours!

  5. My two favourite perfumes in the whole world are ‘Essenza’ by Acqua di Parma (actually a unisex scent and quite masculine which I love) and Voyage d’Hermes by, err, Hermes. Gorgeous but bloody difficult to get hold of and I NEED it for my wedding in a few weeks and having a job tracking it down! x
    p.s. Charlotte, if you love rose, have you tried Crabtree and Evelyn rosewater scent? For an everyday jobby it is a bit cheaper and really lasts (it’s my colleagues signature scent!)

  6. I know that this sounds totally mental but I can highly recommend Suddenly Madame Glamour from all places (don’t judge me)…. Lidl! It is a near perfect copy of Coco Mademoiselle but is £3.99 a bottle! So I have the real thing for weekends / special occasions and bottles of Suddenly Madame Glamour in my handbag, gym bag, desk, everywhere you can think of, to douse myself with whenever required. People always comment on how nice it smells too!

    1. Bryony we are not judging here! this sounds like a great idea to me, I wonder if Lidl do one like my Roses Of No Mans Land?!

  7. I’d love to have a signature fragrance but there are too many lovely scents out there! Closest I have is Annick Goutal Heure Exquise which is my wedding perfume. For summer I love her Nuit Etoile but I also have a variety of cheap splash it on favs from Demeter – Snow, Gin and Tonic, Salt Air and Thunderstorm currently in rotation!

    1. Annick Goutal is also a favourite of mine Rachel – I wore Chèvrefeuille for my wedding day and it’s still one of my super special scents I wear for special occasions.

  8. My current fave is Miss Charming by Juliette has a gun, love the waft of lychee in among the rose! Evenings is always Tom Ford’s black orchid, but going for Florentina by Creed for my wedding in April!

    1. Nicola I also have Miss Charming, my husband bought it me for Christmas – I do like it, it’s quite fresh. For some reason it doesn’t last as long on me as Lady Vengeance does unfortunately. Love the Juliette brand though.

  9. Charlotte, you are so right – I often think that perfume has got super pricey in recent years. I always have a bottle of Jo Malone 154 on the go. It was about £65 a bottle when I first started wearing it and is now pushing £80…which in no way deters me from repurchasing. Jo Malone Dark Amber and Gingerlily was my wedding perfume so now I always have a bottle of that too. Those are my old faithfuls, then I usually have one or two bottles that are a bit more of a superficial fling type thing – at the minute that’s Byredo Gypsy Water and Korres White Tea, Bergamot and Freesia (the latter being mercifully a bit less spendy than the others). Now I shall attempt not to get any ideas by reading the recommendations in this post! 😉

  10. I can’t find anything I like more than Eau de Marveilles by Hermes. After my last bottle I thought I’d try to find something different due to cost. I tested loads and nothing compared. So I’m sticking with it for now. I’m quite fussy when it comes to perfumes and like a few others have mentioned here, I prefer more masculine scents. Not a fan of sweet, fruity perfumes – they end up giving me horrendous headaches!

  11. For a bargain alternative which is great for the day time i can highly recommend Rosie for Autograph at Marks and Spencer. Is only £14 for a 30ml eau de parfum and it has the most elegant Rose scent which always receives complements.

  12. I have had some flirtations over the years.. Marc Jacobs Daisy, Dior J’Adore and DKNY Delicious (I won’t go as far back as CK One at uni hehe) but Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche is the one for me.. I wear it on special occasions including my wedding day, going out, on regular days to make me happy and everyone always comments how nice I smell 🙂

  13. My wedding fragrance was Daisy by Marc Jacobs and I would still say that was my fancy signature scent! On a daily basis, however, Jo Malone’s Peony and Blush Suede is my go to, however it has gotten way too expensive. I recently found Zara do a Malone-style perfume range and I may have to reapply once or twice throughout the day, but at 15 pounds a bottle compared to 80 I don’t mind. Would seriously recommend going in for a sniff next time you are in Zara.

  14. Just seen this post and had to comment as I love perfumes- I currently have 9 on the go!
    I’m mostly a musky/oud/tonka bean wearer, my signature scent being Bvlgari Mon Jasmine Noir, the first perfume my OH ever gave to me. He wears Bvlgari Man in Black, so we compliment eachother quite well when we both wear our Bvlgari scent.

    I discovered my love for Liz Earle No 15 last year, if you like Rose based scents Charlotte you should definitely try No 20 as it’s heart is Damask Rose, with a little spicy element to it.

    I get married this September and have put on my Birthday wish list (next month) for my desired wedding scent- Narciso Rodriguez Rose Musc. It’s a fairly new release; it has Turkish rose oil and Moroccan rose absolute as the top notes and then a musky, peppery base; it’s really beautiful.

    Recently I popped in to Jo Loves (by Jo Malone) on Elizabeth St in central London, she has some fabulous scents out too and they are quite different, based on real smells such as No 42 The Flower shop, which smells like a florists! I love the Smoked Plum & Leather; the White Rose & Lemon Leaves is a lovely daytime fragrance too.
    I can’t wait to smell the Byredo scent!

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