Imaginary Signature Scent


Most perfumistas aren’t a “one perfume person.” We get defensive every time we (voluntarily!) participate in creating all sorts of lists – Top N Favorite/Desert Island/Apocalypse/etc. Perfumes – and try to sneak in an extra bottle or three.

But what if you were told that starting tomorrow for a week you’ll have to wear just one perfume from your current collection (FB or a decant big enough to last for a week). It’s not for the rest of your life; before and after the experiment you could wear absolutely anything; you wouldn’t have to get rid of the rest of your perfumes so you do not need to choose the most valuable or your one and true love – just the one that you think you could wear for seven consecutive days in this season.

My choice – Nature by Yves Rocher. Why?

Yves Rocher Nature

For many years I didn’t wear the same perfume for two days in a row let alone for a week so I’m not sure how I would feel about wearing most of my new favorites for that long. Nature and I, on the other hand, have a long history together so I hope that I could still tolerate its company for longer than with most other perfumes. And since Nature has a sentimental value for me, even if after such an experiment I get so tired of it that I don’t want to wear it again for a while, I think our relationship will survive.

What perfume would you choose as your Imaginary Signature Scent for a week and why?

Now the hard part: starting tomorrow… no, I’m not that cruel to suggest you to actually wear the same perfume for the whole week. But every time you apply any other perfumes during the next seven days just think about your ISS: was your choice the right one? Would you still want to wear it that day? Come back in a week and let me know – I’ll start a new post to share the results of my experiment with Nature.


Image: my own



59 thoughts on “Imaginary Signature Scent

  1. This from the woman who changes her scent during the day? I will get back to you on this challenge as I have to ponder further. A year ago I would have said Encre Noir but the fragrant journey is always moving forward. 6 months ago I would have said Oud Wood easily for a month ( I remember you were shocked at this fidelity). Now I need to consider your question for the coming week.

    Ha, that did not take long: Trayee it is for a week, runner ups are Black Afghano and Fate Man (because I love your opening paragraph; have to sneak in more than one when asked for such a decision). So there you go: 3 weeks divided by the three mentioned for a week each. Now Undina, that is the plan but I am not convinced I will carry it out entirely.

    • Usually I wear just one perfume per day. And then I test a couple in the evening. Only during the weekend or while on a vacation I might go with the day scent first and then have another one inthe evening. But I’ll try and see how it goes with just one perfume for a while.

      Don’t forget to come back and share how your mental experiment went.

      • Well it was very theretical. I did think of my ISS and spritzed others. Back in Feb I wore Autoportrait happily for a month but now I think that having a wider selection means enjoying a wider selection.

  2. I will have to say Les Nombres d’Or Cuir by Mona di Orio. I can never get enough of the scent, it works in any weather and it always suits my style! If I had a bigger bottle and not just a 5 ml roller bottle it could be my signature scent for far more than a week! Perhaps Cuir in the summer and Jeke by Slumberhouse in the winter… Alas I don’t even have a decant of Jeke, so I can only dream!

    • I haven’t tried MdO’s Cuir but one of the candidates I considered was Chanel’s Cuir de Russie. Had it been a little cooler I might have gone for it (for some reason leather perfumes do not work well for me in summer).

  3. Oooh, I think this is a really interesting experiment, Undina. I like the way you are not just making it a snap poll, but really asking us to think about this choice everyday once we make it. (And you’ve been kind by not actually requiring us to wear it for days straight, but just mentally put it on each day. Thank you!)

    My ISS is going to be Amouage Epic Woman because I find myself turning to it again and again this summer. I’ve never worn it to this degree in the past, but there is something about its green quality that is soothing, if I wear it in a nuanced amount, while it also has the richness and beauty I crave if I wear the normal 2-sprays amount. (Plus, I just love its rose accord – something about the whole thing reminds me of Heure Exquise a bit, too.)

    • I’m not sure I will be able to get too many of my readers to participate even in imaginary experiment so I didn’t even try to engage them in a real one :)

      I spent probably 30 minutes figuring out my choice: it wasn’t easy!

      I like Epic but I’ve never thought ofitas of a summer scent. I should try it while it’s still warm (well, kind of).

  4. Without a doubt: SSS Jour Ensolielle. It’s the perfect mix of sunny citrus, oakmossy, and creamy florals. It is pure comfort and bliss. Every time I wear it, I get compliments. My kids associate it with me as my smell. My friends think of it as me. My husband adores it. I wear it when I can’t decide what to wear. I wear it when I’m content, it cheers me up if I’m sad, and it feels like a familiar friend.

    • I like Jour Ensoleillé as my sleep scent but because I fall asleep I usually don’t get a chance to experience its drydown. Maybe I should try it one morning.

  5. I often do wear a perfume for a week at a time, or more; not exclusively, but frequently. And then I tire of it, and I find it’s a very long time before I go back to that scent – I feel like I “know” it and want something different. Lately I’ve been wearing a lot of Hayari’s Broderie, almost every afternoon, though I put something different on every morning. So much so that I feel Broderie as gotten a bit too “go to” and I need something else. I wonder what drives that need for novelty? Because I’m putting it on as a pick-me-up I don’t have to think too much about; when I want to think, I put on a sample.

    • I rarely want to wear something specific. I think what I haven’t worn in a while, ask myself how I feel about wearing this perfume or that. Sometimes sniff several bottles or decants – and choose something. I probably don’t even have any “go to” perfumes thatI can put on without thinking.

      I haven’t tried Broderie but recently I was surprised that I liked ther first perfume – Only For Her (it’s the same perfumer who created Broderie). I don’t think I saw anybody mentioning anywhere that they liked any of Hayari’s perfumes – you’re the first!

  6. Fun question – and low/no commitment too which I like!

    I would have to say my recent find of La Perla, of which I now have a used bottle bought on eBay coming, for the simple reason that I’m in eagerly awaiting its arrival so I can wear it again, and was disappointed when I finally drained my sample after five days of continuous wear. Yes, I am confident I can wear this for a week, certainly virtually ;-), because I am still curious to track the appearance of the civet note. It comes and goes, but a blurb on on of the online sellers’ sites definitely mentions animalic notes, and I detect it more often than not.

    • I so hope that La Perla lives up to your expectations: even I feel lemmins from reading about your infatuation with this perfume :)
      From comments on this post I got the feeling that I’m in a minority: most people seem to have no problems with perfume fidelity. I wonder if I should be doing something about it? :)

  7. Fun! Thinking about this, I don’t think I could choose a perfume with too much personality as I would tire of it too quickly. So it would need to be something I love but non-invasive. So taking into account it is summer I would go with one of two new loves – Dita von Teese or Prodigieux le Parfum. They still feel novel too me. If it were spring I’d definitely go with OJ Champaca, autumn – OJ Woman which is now a comfort scent for me. Winter would be tough as those perfumes are stronger. Anyway my final answer for this coming week is Prodigieux le Parfum by Nuxe.

    • I can understand both OJ Champaca and OJ Woman choices (I could probably do those as well) but I haven’t even heard about Prodigieux le Parfum or about the brand. The fact that you chose it to “wear” for a week makes me extremely curious.

  8. Deaths in my family slowed me down and prompted me to spend more time in my favorite perfumes for consecutive days on end. Is this a function of grief, a lack of the desire to let go? Or is it an enhancement of life, an awareness to go more deeply into a singular experience and savor it to the hilt. I like to think it’s evolving into the latter.
    My signature choice is kinda sorta easy, I choose Shalimar, but not any current version, it would have to be the edt I have from the dolphin label teardrop bottle. How’s that for specific? Why? It is lighter than the lush pure parfum (which would likely paralyze me from any reasonable or efficient duties of life were I to wear it consecutively for seven days due to its unabashed and wild sensuality – ignorant infidels who call it old lady perfume!) but it compensates for this lightness by amping up the civet to a level that allows for the intermittent purr of satisfaction.

    So yeah, I guess I choose Shalimar edt, vintage 1940’s, I think.
    Unless I were to cave and suddenly chose Chanel no. 22 or Anima Dulcis by Arquiste like I did yesterday. But yeah, it would definitely be amongst those three.
    Unless I were to accidently spray on some Rose Etoile de Hollande, if you know what I mean. Of course you do.

    • Current Shalimar doesn’t work for me at all though I’ve tried multiple times and I don’t know if vintage EdT would make a difference for me (though just looking at that beautiful bottle you’ve got should be a treat on its own) but I’m glad that you have something that makes you write that beautiful ode to its qualities.

      But remember: you made your choice, so now you should mentally check with yourself would you still want to wear it every day. Because even if you think about any accidents involving Rose Etoile de Hollande it’ll mean “no, you couldn’t pull it off for the whole week.”

  9. What a fun concept… I would wear Givenchy Ysatis 7 days in a row if I could get by with it at work…but even for me it’s a bit over the top and girly for the office. So, in thought, I will be wearing Ysatis for a week :)

    • It’s a very serious task! ;) Office, flights, theaters, etc. – everything should betaken into the account, even for the virtual perfume wearing – or it won’t be… real :)

  10. For years and years I only wore Chanel Pour Monsieur so it isn’t hard for me to imagine the exercise. But If I had to do it again for a week I think I would go with Coromandel.

    • For years and years I couldn’t imagine loving any perfume other than Climat. Later I was in consecutive monogamous relationships with different perfumes so I wore the same scent easily for a week or more. But then I fell into the rabbit whole… So past performance doesn’t guarantee… ;)

      I like Coromandel. But isn’t it too strong for summer (it is going to be a relatively warm week, even in SF)?

    • For the whole week? Really?

      I thought about Chanel No 19 parfum and Chamade parfum but then decided they both might be a little too much for seven days in a row. Shalimar should be even a bigger statement… But you made your choice so now you’ll have to stick to imagining wearing it for a week. No cheating! ;)

  11. Fun idea, Undina!
    I have learned to go with just one perfume for longer stretches of time in the last year and I’ve enjoyed it. Spending more time with something deepens the experience. But a perfume I wear for a week at a time must be one with an “agreeable” personality. No colorful divas, no over- excitable hysterics, no sad and wistful ones…
    I just wore SMN Vaniglia for a week on end, and before that it was Nicolai’s Juste un Reve. A semi-signature scent for me must have a very mellow character (probably to counteract my neuroses). :)

    • Birgit, I was thinking about you when I worked on the idea. I thought you were much more unique – and now more people in the thread than not claim the super-power of enjoying a single perfume for days.

      Your description of a perfect perfume for the consecutive wearing is just perfect! ““agreeable” personality. No colorful divas, no over- excitable hysterics, no sad and wistful ones…” – I just love that definition. And I’m glad that you found that type of a perfect vacation perfume for yourself.

    • I’m impressed! I know for a fact that it would have ruined my vacation if I had to choose just one perfume to use and then stick to that decision. But it’s great if it works for you. May I ask you what was the reason for that decision, how and why did you choose Sous le toit de Paris and whether you are still happy with your choice?

      • Great questions, Undina. I chose Sous le toit de Paris for the following reasons, not necessarily in order of importance: 1) I had been enjoying it as a warm / hot weather perfume and my vacation destinations had the same or even hotter weather (Greece, Turkey, Italy), 2) although longevity was atrocious (3-4 hours with 5 spritzes ), I knew that I would have a chance to respritz throughout the day if needed (I was on a cruise for part of the vacation and I always had time to primp for dinner), 3) I had the perfect 30 mL travel size for a longish vacation and I had no need to transfer to a smaller atomizer, 4) on me this stays close to my skin and won’t (and didn’t) offend my travel companions, some of whom claimed to be scent-sensitive; 5) this was perfect for both day and evening wear; 6) I did not have time to pack other perfumes (do I have to turn in my perfumista card?)

        I am still absolutely enjoying it and the last leg of my vacation!

  12. Hey there Undina,
    You are making me think again, I swear steam should be coming from my ears.
    Recently I have been having a love affair with Amoureuse by Parfums DelRae and the only things that stop me wearing it every moment are writing for the blog and then worrying that my fascination will be curtailed by too much wear. So I spritz a newbee or an old fave but sometimes during I still wish I was wearing Amoureuse.
    Portia xx

  13. Oh my word. You love torturing us, don’t you? I have quite a few in my collection that I never get bored with (Fracas, Fleurs de Citronnier, C for Women) but if I had to choose ONE right this second it would be (drum roll) Violet Blond by Tom Ford. It’s the newbie in my collection and one that an SA just offhandedly suggested to me. It’s a beauty of a scent that is easy to wear at the same time. Like meeting a super model that has a great personality, too. :)

    • Oh, I absolutely love your description for Violet Blond! It was one of the perfumes on my short list while I was choosing my scent.
      Please come back in 7 days and tell me if that mental experiment worked. No pressure though ;)

      • No pressure at all. In fact, I think I can do you one better and actually wear it for a solid week. I only say this b/c I’ve already worn it for maybe 4 or 5 days straight, but I’ll start over and see how it goes. Hopefully I won’t be trying to give away an almost full bottle of VB by the end.

        • That would be a shame! VB is one of those perfumes that gets me compliments almost every time I wear it. I hope it’ll get you two closer and not the opposite :)

  14. So hard to choose, if only because there would be 3 I could opt for quite easily, not only for a week but much longer even. Vintage Opium (naturally!), Coromandel, and Alahine.

    It’s really a tie between those last two, so I think I’ll go with Alahine. I have a full bottle, not a tiny decant, so I wouldn’t feel so guilty using it up the way I would my Coromandel. (But Coromandel is wholly on the brain these days. I lust for that 6.8 oz bottle! And no, the small one will NOT do at all. :D )

    • Can’t say anything about vintage Opium (and whichever version I tried didn’t work for me at all) but I like (decant-like, not a full-bottle-like, at least yet) both Coromandel and Alahine but for me they both are definitely Fall scents, I never even consider them in summer.

  15. Deare Undina
    Rather like the holiday U, I often where more than one fragrance a day, normally punctuated by some kind of physical exercise in my case.
    If it was this week, then I would choose Dior’s Diorama (the new version, rather controversially, perhaps).
    It’s a deliciously herbaceous patchouli and caraway number that came as a total surprise, being not a watered down version of the original but a totally new and rather off message original that I’ll happily devote a little of my time to get to knowing it better in some rather pleasant late summer weather.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • I have never tried any version of Diorama – believe it or not. I have no idea how this one passed me by. I’ll try at least a new version once I get a chance. But a question for you, dear Dandy: do you think you’d be willing to apply the same one after your excercises for a week? Because in your case it sounds even harder than my substitution for one wearing per day (I’d still have evening testing where I’m not limited by anything).

  16. I thought this would be a difficult one to answer but, I find myself doing this (being almost perfume monogamous) when I travel and only bring one or two small decants with me. I find that I reach for Guerlain’s Iris Ganache most of the time because it has enough heft and uniqueness for the perfume lover in me but, it is also soft and sweet and not going offend anyone. I also think it has excellent longevity which, is important to me! Great question!

    • I have a trip coming up next month so I started thinking about what perfumes to take with me… a week ago. I so got used to changing perfumes every day that it’s really hard for me to stay with just one (or two). For how long can you travel with 1-2 perfumes?

      I like Iris Ganache (decant-sized “like”) but I cannot wear it in summer: it feels too sweet. In cooler weather I don’t have the same problem with it.

  17. OK, I like this because it’s noncommittal but a big deal for perfume people. Like Dubaiscents, I first thought this would be difficult but when I travel, I only travel with one perfume or maybe 2-3 samples depending on how long my stay is. So, I can say that I have worn the same perfume for 7 days consecutive days this year.

    At this moment, a mild week in August, I’d choose Houbigant Orangers en Fleurs. I’m on a white floral kick right now.

    • It seems everybody else has done it but me :)

      I tried Orangers en Fleurs a while ago but have no recollection about it. I should probably try it again (I’m curious about the perfume you choose as a scent for a week).

  18. This is a fun question, and I might actually do it literally (because I’m operating on a limited number of perfumes at the moment anyway). I’m going to choose L’Ombre dans L’Eau from Diptyque, mainly because I have a full bottle with me, and it doesn’t ever annoy me (yet). Those seem like good criteria for an imaginary signature scent. I don’t *love* it though, so if this experiment were for the long term (you’ve been very kind in not requiring that), it would not fit the bill. For that, I would need to turn to a Guerlain, and given my current obsession with it, I would probably choose Vol de Nuit, which I also find easier to wear than Shalimar.

    • Reading your response I’ve just thought that a classic perfume might actually be the “right answer” for this task: if generations wore them as their real signature scents we, perfumistas, should be able to pull off wearing them for a week, right?

  19. Great post Undina!
    For me the choice seems to be clear. I would go with the Prada Amber Pour Homme. It is the very first perfume I bought with my very own money and before I seriously got into perfumes I had only this one Prada for more than a year and I wore it day by day for this long. Now that my collection is bigger and I have tons of samples and decants I rarely wear the same perfume couple of days in a row, or even in a month. I just know I wouldn’t regret the Prada. It never let me down, it’s my real perfume treasure.

  20. Pingback: Imaginary Signature Scent: A Conclusion | Undina's Looking Glass

  21. Only ONE scent for a WHOLE week?That would be cruel!! I would say Sarah Horowitz Parfums Beauty comes from within. But, I’m sure I would say something different if you asked tomorrow! :)

  22. Well, I already DID one perfume for the entire week for your rose challenge :)

    But if I had to think of another it would probably be Atelier’s Vanille Insensee. It is extremely versatile, beloved by all who know me and pretty much non offensive to the office staff I work with. Plus, I like the way it smells :)

    • While I like most of Atelier’s perfumes, this one surprisingly doesn’t work on my skin. But I agree with your description of it, and I wouldn’t mind smelling it on you in the office all week long :)

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