Got Milk?

This is not a post about COVID-19-related shortage of milk, though the last time I checked, my local store was out of condensed milk, and at least some of Amazon prices for it tripled recently.

* * *

From what I read, it’s international: children do not like milk. When I was growing up, I was a strange child (probably, more than in one respect, but for this story I’ll mention the one that matters): not only I liked milk, I liked hot milk and even milk skin. Besides keeping my mother and grandmothers happy, it made me popular in my class.

For the first three years of the elementary school, children were given hot milk after the second period. I suspect that it was an attempt to provide nutrition to everyone, so that children from poor families would not go hungry. Most of my classmates came not from those families, so after having a good breakfast at home a couple of hours earlier, by the time milk was served they weren’t hungry yet. And did I mention it was hot milk? So, most kids in my class hated it. But drinking milk was mandatory, and our teacher would pressure pupils to empty their glasses. And almost every day, after finishing my glass, I would drink at least one or two more instead of my classmates (and they would bribe me with cookies or candies that they were given by parents to go with milk). And since I almost never had anything with me (I’m not sure if there was a reason for that, or if my mom just didn’t think of doing that), both parties were quite happy with the arrangement.

In addition to regular milk that I liked, I loved condensed milk. Nine years ago, I told a couple of stories from my childhood and teenage years that had a strong olfactory connection to Jo Malone’s limited edition perfume Sweet Milk (“Here’s a photo I’ve been looking for…”: Sweet Milk by Jo Malone), and I still have a strong bond with that perfume.


Sweet Milk by Jo Malone


My bottle is almost empty, and all these years I was on a lookout for another milk scent. Thanks to my perfumista friends, not only I got to try many great perfumes, but I think I found several excellent replacements for my favorite perfume – or at least something that I enjoy wearing.

Neyronrose from NST was very kind to send me her sample of Demeter’s Condensed Milk. Fragrantica lists just 2 notes: milk and sugar. I’m positive it has more. If you are familiar with Yves Rocher’s Pur Desir de Rose, it has a similar artificial spicy note as I can smell in Condensed Milk; and I do not care for it in either perfume. Still, as an exercise it was interesting.

Brigitte shared with me samples of two perfumes that fit this Single Note Exploration topic: Fichi e Panna by Kyse and Milk oil by Ava Luxe.

Fichi e Panna (notes: fig, milk, sugar, vanilla and sandalwood) is more about fig than milk, but it’s so delicious that I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrist as I tested it. If you like fig in perfumes, do yourself a favor and try Fichi e Panna: it’s very warm and naturally smelling fig and vanilla custard. It comes in a variety of sizes and very reasonably priced. Now you see that I just had to get a travel spray.

But the second perfume, Ava Luxe’s Milk, was a clear winner: not identical, but it smells very close to Jo Malone’s Sweet Milk. Comparing them side by side, I think that Milk is slightly sweeter but otherwise – a perfect match. Since Brigitte’s sample was for oil, I decided to buy a small bottle of Milk oil perfume as well. But I was curious, so I also ordered a sample of EdP. I’m glad to report that they both smell identical. And both formulations have a good longevity. So, you can decide what you want to try based on your preferences for the medium without sacrificing the experience.


Ava Luxe Milk


I got a small decant of Fresh Cream Warm Cashmere by Philosophy from hajusuuri. Notes listed: coconut, cashmere wood, vanilla, sandalwood and musk. Initially I dismissed it because it didn’t smell like Sweet Milk. But it wasn’t intended to! And once I accepted that, I realized that I liked that warm vanilla scent with milky undertones. A small travel bottle of Fresh Cream Warm Cashmere is making its way to me as I’m writing this.

You would think I would have stopped after finding not one but three milk-related perfumes, while still having my favorite perfume. But no. As I was recently placing an order with DSH Perfumes, I just couldn’t resist ordering a sample of her Au Lait VdP (notes deconstructed from the brand’s site: ambrette seed, buttercream accord, French vanilla, sweet cream, tonka bean, milk). If to go just by the opening, I think, I like Au Lait more than all other perfumes covered in this post: to my nose, in the very beginning it has some boozy quality that I just love. Had it been even slightly more tenacious, I would have bought a bottle already. Alas, this wonderful stage lasts just a couple of minutes. What is left after that is still eminently enjoyable: a beautiful gourmand scent that doesn’t project much but warmly enfolds you. But what I get from it is very close to Ava Luxe’s Milk that I already have. And for some reason I’m still not completely on board with the new Voile de Parfum format. I still plan to get a 3 ml sample spray of Au Lait the next time I order something from DSH.


Milk Perfumes


And now I’m off to the store to see if they’ve restocked sweetened condensed milk. If no, I’ll have to drink my weekend coffee black while sniffing my wrist: luckily, as you can see, there’s no shortage of milk-inspired perfumes in my household.


Images: my own


50 thoughts on “Got Milk?

  1. We had to drink milk at school too – a legacy after the war to build children up that continued until Mrs Thatcher became Prime Minister (she was known as Maggie Thatcher Milk Snatcher). I loved it, and it was even better when the head mistress (it was her school in her own little house) put the bottles on the top of the range so that by the time we had our break they were comfortingly warm. Health & Safety would have a fit if that happened these days.

    And condensed milk …… eaten straight out of the can! My mother even made sandwiches with it as the filling. Yumm!!! It’s particularly nice if put in the fridge.

    I don’t share your love of milky fragrance, although I haven’t really tried any. I think I might just prefer to sneakily open a can of condensed milk and sniff that …. then eat it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read your comment to my vSO, and he was very pleased that the country where we grew up was in one more way similar to the U.K.

      Laughed at your last comment.


  2. Had we gone to school together, I would have been one of those children bribing you to drink my glass of milk for me. I have never been much of a milk drinker – on the other hand, my two brothers could take care of polishing off several gallons in a week when we were children but to this day I can barely finish a pint of milk before the expiration date. If you need a can of sweetened condensed milk, I do have a can that you are more than welcome to have. I went shopping at Smart and Final (1840 S Norfolk St, San Mateo) last Saturday – they seemed to have a decent stock of both condensed milk and evaporated milk. I ended up buying a can of both types. I’ve been on a baking kick lately and bought both types on the off chance that I would run across a recipe that calls for either one. I haven’t found a recipe yet that calls for either and certainly happy to part with the sweetened condensed milk, especially knowing that you’ll use it for your weekend coffee (us coffee/perfume lovers have to stick together). Let me know if you’d like it and we can arrange a drop off at an appropriate social distance.


    • I skipped Whole Foods today (after spending too much time at Trader Joe’s), so no milk for me yet, but I’m still hopeful to get it in the next couple of days. If no, I’ll contact you, and we’ll do the exchange (milk for Ineke’s sample ;) ). Thank you for the offer!
      These days, in addition to adding condensed milk to coffee, I drink chai tea or sometimes regular tea with milk. I don’t drink milk on its own mostly for dietary reasons – otherwise, I’d be going through gallons :).


  3. I remember having to drink milk at school. It was always warm and I hated it.
    I still can’t drink milk on it’s own,but I can drink coffee or hot chocolate made with milk.


    • Warm milk is my least favorite (I prefer most drinks hot), but I can still drink it with enjoyment. Hot chocolate is also good. Though, in that case I do prefer to drink it and not that much in perfume form.


  4. Interesting, I hadn’t really thought about milk in perfume. There is something intrinsically comforting about hot milk, isn’t there? I’m a fan of half & half in coffee, and I like the taste of Lactaid even though I’m not lactose intolerant, because it’s all the sweetness and none of the dairy pungency. Fichi e Panna sounds like something I’d love to try, at least for the fig as I’m not really into vanilla perfumes.


      • I’m intrigued now by Fichi e Panna since you mentioned you’re not a big vanilla fan – I didn’t give thought to it since you mentioned it has a vanilla note in it and I am generally not a fan of either anything scented with a noticeable vanilla note.


  5. That’s so interesting–drinking milk in school, on demand! I couldn’t stand milk, except in cereal, so it would have been torture for me. However, despite not having any milk drinking memories, I do love the smell. Your perfume sampling sounds like something I would like. They all sound so comforting and cozy right now. One question on the Kyse: I love fig and this sounds delicious, but others I’ve tried from this line have just been too sweet for me. Does this one seem particularly sweet as compared to the others you tested? I enjoyed your reminiscing!


    • I enjoyed the process and decided to write about it before I found even more perfumes to test :)

      Fichi e Panna is sweeter than, let’s say, L’Artisan’s Premier Figuer, but not even close to Tihota or SDV.


  6. I liked milk as a kid and still drink it occasionally, with cookies. I use it on cereal and in my tea. Hate the non-dairy alternatives so I always have it on hand and we go through it quickly. My first husband also loved sweetened condensed milk, cold and right out of the can. He was from South Africa. I always figured it was a British thing.


    • I don’t like (and don’t use) milk alternatives. I don’t usually use anything but whole milk.
      I always thought that love to condensed milk was a Soviet-times thing for the lack of alternatives, but clearly It has a wider spread.


  7. Milk at my school too. You didn’t have to drink it but it was the only thing available. At home that was all there was for me to drink and I liked it. Never liked milk skin. Hot milk was ok and when I was little and got sick my father would make me hot milk and add butter which melted and floated on top. Condensed milk was what my parents always used for coffee. Milk in perfumes never particularly interested me. If I come across any,I might give them a try. You never know.


    • Hot milk with butter for colds! Of course! My mom did it for me as well. I didn’t like it as much as I liked plain milk, but it was better than another remedy – Kogel mogel.
      I didn’t know I liked milk in perfumes until I came across that first Jo Malone’s perfume – so, give it a try if you get a chance. At least, you’ll know whether you like it :).


  8. We had to drink milk at school too. Luckily there was also cocoa to choose, I hate the taste of pure milk, worse when it’s hot. I don’t think I would like a perfume with a milk note, but I am not much into gourmands either. But good for you to find a substitute for your Jo Malone scent.


    • I like cocoa! Though, I prefer it with less sugar and more cocoa powder than it’s usually served in, let’s say, Starbucks.

      Gourmands are not my favorite genre, but I like some of them.


  9. Like Jillie, I had a small bottle of milk at school each day until it was stopped. I managed to drink it as it was cold through a straw. Would have really struggled with warm milk in a glass.

    These days I drink unsweetened almond milk. I even find soya milk too creamy for me now!

    I don’t get on with milky perfumes though I tired Aramanthine(?) when it was hyped back in the day. Not my thing.

    Really happy you found a few new milky perfumes to keep you going


    • I’m also glad I found these, and in small bottles! :)

      I recognize the name – Amaranthine. I’m not 100% sure (and cannot check my database now), but I think I tried it and didn’t like either.

      For cold I preferred milk shakes (not that those were offered at school, but we were buying them after school).

      Liked by 1 person

  10. We were forcefed a half-pink of 2% milk every morning in class, in addition to having it at lunch. No chocolate back then. I do not care for hot milk unless it is an ingredient in cocoa. As per milk fragrances, a lovely sweet milk scent that I own is Chabaud Lait Concentré , which was part of a series that included Lait de Biscuit, Lait de Vanille, and Lait et Chocolat.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Now, i didn’t get to comment on your Saturday question, because I wasn’t as good at testing as I had planned to be ( trying times called for my comfort perfumes) and hence there was only one ( and a half ) perfume I could tell you about, and I wasn’t sure I cared to talk about that one perfume. However, it’s quite funny, as that one perfume was exactly as otamom above writes; Chabaud, Lait et Chocolat. And as she mentions there’s a whole mini series of milk related perfumes.
    It seems you already got you milk craving it covered though.
    As I read your story, ( I do love your childhood stories, thank you for sharing) I was regretting not having been on such a perfume hunt for ages… obsessing about a note, trying out the different options. I suppose on the upside, it’s because I’m so happy with what I have.
    Milk and corona related: the first week or so people emptied the stores for loo roll, milk, chick peas, red lentils and pasta! Now it’s back to normal, almost. Some kinds of toilet paper still being harder to get that others…
    As I’m lactose intolerant, milk is not for me, and the only milky notes I like, are the sandalwood ones. So not really milk. Vintage Mysore sandalwood as in Samsara. That makes me happy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading, Asali: I enjoy sharing those stories.
      I agree, it’s a funny coincidence with the samples. Chocolate doesn’t always work for me in perfumes though I love to eat it.

      My search for another milk perfume was motivated by the desire to find it not only for myself but for my close friend who also loved Sweet Milk and has never found an adequate replacement for it. So now several samples are going her way to see if any of perfumes will do.

      Love-love-love Samsara but don’t wear it often enough – same as most other perfumes though.


  12. I like Lutens Dent du Lait and there was one by a French perfume company located in Normandy, it was called Lann-ael, that smelled like milk with cereal. I drink only soy, almond or rice milk now. Cow’s milk is not good for humans according to my acupuncturist. I do feel much better now that I totally stopped consuming all dairy products. Soy milk and soy creamer are delicious, in my opinion. Just a thought for those who are missing cow’s milk.


    • My friend and I tried that Lutens’ perfume with the thought of comparing it to our favorite JM Sweet Milk, and it didn’t, so we dismissed it. Under other circumstances, I think, I might have liked it.

      I remember reading review for Lann-ael… either on Olfactoria’s Travels or Beauty on the Outside, but I’ve never come across the brand.

      Since I love milk and so far haven’t seen any signs of it being harmful for me, it’ll take serious evidence from somebody more authoritative than an acupuncturist to swear me off milk. But I’m glad you like other types of creamers: I think it’s awful when you miss something that you can’t have. So, it’s much better if you do not crave milk if you think it’s harmful to you.


  13. It’s the condensed milk note in Chinatown I love so much, it reminds me of the White Rabbit candies. It’s a lovely creamy basenote and I wish it was more commonly used. I think I’ve been hit or miss with regular milk notes, the milk note that features in fig perfumes is often not for me.

    I would literally vomit if I had to drink milk as a child, I could not have coped with your schools program! I would eat my cereal dry. I don’t have any lactose intolerance but I still haven’t had milk in the house in years. It will probably bite me in the bum if I decide to go on a mad baking spree like so many of us, though I guess I’d be more inclined to do bread than cakes.

    Condensed milk is DELICIOUS. I do love a Vietnamese coffee. The intense condensed milk and the high powered espresso, fantastic stuff. A lot of asian deserts use condensed milk in a truly mouth watering way.


    • I don’t think in my childhood there was a recognizable condition “milk intolerance,” so it was considered just child’s bad behavior and stubbornness when they didn’t want to drink milk.

      I love Vietnamese coffee and hope to have some this weekend. I also like many deserts that use condensed milk.


  14. I’ve never been on a lookout for a milk inspired perfume. It’s just not the perfume territory I’ve been wanting to explore.

    But I can suggest you to try 3 fragrances from Chabaud – Lait Concentree, Lait de Biscuit and Lait de Vanille.


    • Yeah, otamom had mentioned these already above.

      My exploration hasn’t happened because I planned to, but once I started and found a couple I liked, it was hard to stop :)


  15. Fichi e Panna is on my to buy list..a 100 ml bottle! Nice to know that the Ava Lux Milk EDP is close enough to the oil. Now that will also go on my list!


    • You definitely need the EdP of Milk: it’s really hard to do a 25-sprays-equivalent using oil ;-P

      Once again, huge thank you for introducing me to these two perfumes. I suspect, my friend will also go for at least one of them after she tries them. So, you’re an ambassador for these brands :)


  16. One of my latest large samples – Guerlain L’Heure Blanche – definitely has a milk note. Overall, it doesn’t last long (the entire perfume, 8 sprays = 3 hours) but for while it lasted, I enjoyed it! As to drinking milk, my school would never be able to force it…too many Type A parents and since most of the mothers did not work, they will be at school demanding to talk to the principal all day every day. At home was another story…no choice but to drink milk and there were too many watchful eyeballs to sneak out to dump it in the sink (ask me how I know). Only my older sister was allowed to flavor it with chocolate. My brother and I got even when one of us became the lookout while the other took the bottle out of the refrigerator, hid somewhere, then took turns squeezing the syrup out of the container and directly into our mouths…we were veddy veddy careful to not touch our lips, then quietly put the bottle back into the refrigerator; rinse and repeat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have no idea how I missed answering your comment. Sorry! That’s what happens when you impatiently read comments on the phone planning to come back and answer later from computer.

      With milk, it wasn’t something school-specific. I think, all the schools we’re doing that. And parents paid for that (all but those who were subsidized), so they knew and didn’t mind at all.

      Allowing chocolate syrup to just one of the siblings seems especially cruel. I wonder, did you parents think that chocolate was bad for you because you were too young?


  17. I remember Ava Luxe Milk too! There’s a blast from the past…Did you also have evaporated milk, which is distinct from condensed, but very much a part of my childhood? My mother used to boil condensed milk (the sweetened kind) to turn it into toffee for little tarts. Like the Banoffee kind of toffee, it was. I never warmed to the Jo Malone Sweet Milk scent – I think my sample is from you in fact – so you are welcome to it back sometime if it is still okay! And hasn’t evaporated, boom, boom. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Once again, I see how much in common our countries/cultures had! A lot of things I know of the UK are much closer to what I experienced growing up than what I learned about the US.
      I remember boiling condensed milk and using it for deserts – that’s when one managed to buy any ;). Evaporated milk existed but was even less common – I don’t know why. I liked adding it to tea: it provided a different taste compared to adding fresh milk, which I didn’t like to do.


  18. I nearly cried when I stumbled across this post! I am also a huge fan of Jo Malone’s Sweet Milk – in fact, I think it’s my favorite fragrance! – and have an empty bottle of it that I refuse to throw away. Over the years, I’ve tried to find something similar but never had any luck; with quarantine I suppose I’ve had more time to think and take action on such things. Searching today only yielded results that were several years old – until I found you! Thank you so much for this information – I’m off to order some of these suggestions! You really made my day!!! :)


    • Hi Billie! Since I know exactly how you feel (been there with some of my favorites), I’m glad I was able to provide you with this information and hope one of the choices will fit your needs. Just go slowly with the samples first – not to be disappointed.
      If you find your replacement, please let me know, I’m curious.


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