Saturday Question: Starting All Over Again: What 5 Perfumes Would You Buy First?

I “borrowed” the idea of this question from one of the beauty creators on YouTube a while ago, but thought it would be very fitting for the first SQ of the New Year (BTW, thank you everyone for wonderful comments last week: I will reply to each one of them, sorry for the delay). But to this week’s question. I know how hard it is for some of you to read through the exact description of what I’m trying to ask, or maybe I’m not being clear enough, which can also be the case, but I’ll try to do my best. My intent is not to cause the anxiety usually connected to the apocalypses-, fire- or a desert island-related choices. This question is not one of those! OK, maybe a little bit. But you’ll see what I mean.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #147:

Starting All Over Again: What 5 Perfumes Would You Buy First?

Imagine that you woke up in a parallel universe where absolutely everything is the same as in our universe. The only difference is that you do not have your perfume collection. Not a single sample, decant or bottle. You have money to buy any 5 perfumes that you used to have in your wardrobe as a bottle (travel bottles count). Those are “magical” money: they are not limited, but you cannot spend them on anything else but perfumes. And you cannot use that money to buy more bottles of less expensive perfumes—just 5. Later, you’ll continue to rebuild your collection, if you feel like that, or maybe you’ll return to your original universe. But since you don’t know when or if that happens, you have to decide where to start. These will not necessarily be you HG perfumes – you might decide to buy those later if they are readily available and instead go for something that you’d wear every day while saving for a “special occasion” favorite that sees your skin just a couple of times per year.

The only additional limitation is that the perfumes you choose should be possible to buy now. So, while those might be vintage perfumes, you cannot specify “vintage X in good condition” (“vintage X from eBay” would work) or wish for some long-discontinued unicorn that was last seen on eBay… never. But anything that can actually be had now is fair game.

My Answer

You would think that since I came up with that question and all those explanations above that I urged you to read, it should be easy for me to follow my own “rules.” Nope. I struggled. I considered changing the question to 10 perfumes. I thought of creative ways to group perfumes to sneak in an extra bottle or two. But I decided to be firm! So, here’s my list in alphabetical order (by brand):

  1. Amouage Dia: it is my #3 Amouage perfume. I can’t choose #1 Ubar since it looks like it has been discontinued, and I can’t find it anywhere; I would have selected Gold, but I’m still persuaded that it smells very close to my all-time favorite Climat that already made this list.
  2. Chanel No 19 EdT: I like extrait as well, but the EdT would be easier to wear every day.
  3. Guerlain Cruel Gardenia: I know that for a hardcore Guerlanophile that might sound as a sacrilege, but for me it is still my most favorite perfume from this brand, though closely followed by Chamade and Vol de Nuit – both in extrait version and both almost impossible to buy these days.
  4. Lancome Climat: Since it is still available from eBay in the La Collection reissue version, that would be my #1 purchase: even though I don’t wear it too often, I never ever want to be without it in my collection.
  5. Ormonde Jayne Ta’if: This is one more perfume that I want to have in my life no matter what. So, the first opportunity I get, I’m buying it in any universe!


How about you?

Starting All Over Again: What 5 Perfumes Would You Buy First?


45 thoughts on “Saturday Question: Starting All Over Again: What 5 Perfumes Would You Buy First?

      • Unfortunately it is discontinued. At least in the States. It’s been out of stock for about two years now. Sad, because I started wearing it in the 70s. I have a bottle of the EDP about one third left. I cherish it.


        • If it shows as out of stock on the Chanel Website add your name to the waiting list.
          I thought it had been d/ced in the EU & UK as it was always sold out when I looked. I signed up for Notify Me & missed out first time but signed up again & got there fast enough to snag a bottle. If it’s on the US website it might be the same. Good luck


          • Unfortunately there is no wait list anymore. You can’t add your name or email. It just says “out of stock”. I wouldn’t be surprised if they bring it back as an “exclusive” and charge over two hundred dollars for a 75 ml. That’s what they did with no 22.


  1. I love this question and your *stern* guidelines for it. It made me squirm a bit looking at all the bottles I’ve collected, but that’s an issue for another time. I made my selections on a think fast basis:
    ~Lou Lou – the vintage version, for all the loud, room-fillers I love
    ~Avon Timeless – well, another room-filler, but not so sweet; for the way perfume smelled when I was a child
    ~Luctor et Emergo – this fills the need for fruity-woody-florals that I’d miss by leaving out my SL favorites
    ~Iris Torrefie – it’s become my new secret signature, if that makes sense? And I have to have a Guerlain
    ~Tuscany per Donna – surprised I picked this out of all my Estee Lauder favorites; I’d probably just get the current version, though the vintage is what I know best

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow!!! lou Lou , Timeless and Tuscany Per Donna (I wore the Aramis version back in the day) are all scent memories for me from my distant past. Great picks!


    • Tuscany per Donna, I think, was my first perfume purchase in the US many-many-many years ago when I moved here. I went through 2 FBs, but now I have only a mini bottle, and I’m not sure if it’s still good. I should probably try it.

      I wore IT today (from a sample): I like it, but I can’t smell it on me after an hour.


  2. Ughhh… this would be hard, but I’m going to go with my top 5 high emotional impact perfumes (perfumes that aren’t just about smelling great, they also make me feel great when I wear them):

    Givenchy Ysatis
    Guerlain Vol de Nuit
    Puredistance 12
    Lancome Magie Noire
    Chanel No. 19

    I would have traded No. 19 with Caron Alpona but it’s next to impossible to find.

    What a fun post…and of course there’s handsome Rusty.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Firstly HNY.
    Secondly…… Oooffff great question but tough. I think my choices would be

    1. Papillon Hera. I yearn for her now, when I have all my perfumes!
    2. Guerlain Shalimar Millisime Tonka. Made me fall in love with Shalimar again. My daily go to when I need comfort.
    These two are my current loves, the next three are my most loved of all time.
    3. SL Ambre Sultan. Utterly unique
    4. Guerlain Mitsouko. Queen of the chypres
    5. Chanel Cristalle EdT. Cool, aloofness in a bottle.

    I flip flopped about number 5, I knew a Chanel had to be in there. It could have been No5, No19, No22, Eau Premiere, Beige or 31 Rue Cambon. All are regulars but I opted for Cristalle EdT for a the reason that when it seemed it was being discontinued I bought up every genuine bottle I could find & Im now constantly on the waiting list for each new delivery from the Chanel website. Yes I love Cridtalle EdT THAT much


    • OK… I just have to revisit Cristalle once I’m done with the “no-buy”! ;)

      Hera will definitely join my collection as soon as I can do it: it’s so beautiful! And had I known I would like Shalimar Millisime Tonka as much as I do, I would have bought a bottle! It’s the first Shalimar I liked that much. Oh, well…


  4. Wow, this is a cool question to help select the top 5 favorites but without anything that’s no longer available. Mine also happen to be ones that I bought or first tried earlier on in my perfume discovery, so I wonder if I simply “imprinted” onto them as a baby perfumista.
    1. Parfum d’Empire Osmanthus Interdite
    2. Ormonde Jayne Montabaco Intensivo
    3. Jeroboam Vespero
    4. Penhaligon’s The Coveted Duchess Rose (this was definitely an “imprint”)
    5. 4160Tuesdays Drive Them Wild

    I bet if you asked this again in a few weeks or months, some answers might be different…


    • I think I tried that OJ, but it’s the one that I don’t remember. Penhaligon’s one I liked, but not enough to buy a bottle.

      I’m sure that we love those perfumes that impressed us early on in our perfume journey more than those that we came across later.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy New Year! My list isn’t very well rounded, I thought about trying to cover more genres but these are truly the ones I want to wear the most and have the best “feels”. I expect I would need a really big bottle of the Chanel for warm weather as most of the others are too much for hot summer.

    SJP Stash
    Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman
    Kenzo Jungle l’Elephant
    Teo Cabanel Alahine
    Chanel Paris-Deauville


  6. This is a very tough question!
    Right now, I would say:
    1. Chanel No. 19.
    2. Comme des Garcons. Avignon.
    3. Masque Milano L’Attesa.
    4. Calvin Klein Truth.
    5. Tom Ford Rose Cherie.


    • L’Attesa is high on my list, even though it didn’t make the cut for the top 5.
      I remember liking, owning and wearing Truth, but I had no idea it was still around. I’m not buying anything now, but will investigate for the future.


  7. A Happy New Year to you! Nice twist on the desert island question. Here are my 5 rebuys:

    1. The Waft from the Loft (4160 Tuesdays, extrait) because I participated in the crowd-funding and love the memory of it.
    2. Onda (Vero Kern, EdP) that is now available again, but for who knows how long.
    3. Pandora (St. Clair, extrait) because it reminds me of a loved one, and is impossible to get in the EU at the moment, so I’d need some of that magic money to fly to the US (is that allowed?)
    4. Pine Forest (MGO Duftanker, EdP) hard-to-find, rapidly disappearing, but recently saw it on ebay, so I’ll use the magic money to buy whatever is left of it in the world because it is the forest scent I love most, especially in the summer.
    5. Sleight of Fern (Masque Milano, EdP) because I really like to wear this classically inspired, modern fougère, and one of those 5 bottles must be a perfume that I can wear every day, until I have rebuilt my collection.

    That’s an interesting selection. These are not the 5 scents that I would have named when I asked for my 5 favorite perfumes. Your question really got at a different angle.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fantastic SQ! And I love that you explained it so carefully, otherwise I’d probably start with EN Avion, which I believe is discontinued.

    I love colognes, and can use them from day to night, so here’s my list:

    1. Goutal Eau d’Hadrien EDT
    2. Chanel eau de cologne
    3. Dans Tes Bras by Frederic Malle
    4.SL Daim Blonde
    5.Guerlain Eau de Fleur de Cedrat

    These are the fragrances I’ve bought and used up, and repurchased over the years. I’d feel lost without them. If I had to choose just one it would be Hadrien. I agree with Sebastian: the way you phrased the question really made me think :)

    Hope 2023 is a good year for everyone.


  9. Tauer LADDM
    Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille
    Matière Prémière Encens Suave
    L’Artisan Parfumeur Dzongkha
    Profumum Roma Vanitas


  10. Love the question!
    And Cruel Gardenia is definitely on my list! I adore that perfume.
    So, here it is, in no special order:
    1. Cruel Gardenia
    2. Frapin Caravelle Epicee
    3. Shiseido (SL) Feminite du Bois
    4. Bath & body works Amber chocolate
    5. Any Shalimar :D


  11. I would like to add bottles I used to have but have drained but am not sure that is allowed. If it were, I would add in PG Brulure de Rose and DSH Cimabue. But if I must base my answer strictly on bottles I own – which presumably also count if they were given to me, not bought – I’d go:

    Annick Goutal Songes edp
    Shalimar parfum concentration
    Prada Candy
    Ormonde Jayne Ta’if
    Diptyque Volutes edt

    I reserve the right to change my mind as soon as I have hit “Post comment”!


    • I’m really surprised by Candy: somehow I don’t think of it when it comes to perfumista’s any type of “top” :) So, yes, previously drained bottles also a fair game! :)


      • Ah, well you see, most of the perfumes I own bottles of – or many, certainly, I don’t actually care for enough to rebuy. Or they are discontinued. I have loads of absolute favourites in smaller formats than a bottle. A few years ago I think I worked out that there weren’t more than four full bottles that I actually owned in my Desert Island Top 20. Meaning that I was sufficiently attached to replace them. I have forgotten one that should have been in the shortlist though – LADDM. And Cimabue and Brulure de Rose could be there now according to your rules, despite being thunked, so I will revise my list to:

        Songes / Shalimar / LADDM / Cimabue / Brulure


  12. This is a tough question. These questions make me a bit nervous, thinking about loosing my carefully selected bottles. I would surely rebuy these to get me started:
    Guerlain Mitsouko
    Chanel Eau Premiere
    Etro Shaal Nur
    Mona di Orio Santal Nabatea
    Serge Lutens Five O’Clock au Gingembre

    In a couple of months my answer will probably be different.


  13. So difficult…
    Vol de Nuit
    Grossmith: Shem el Nessim (because it’s probably slightly better than the newest versions of L’heure bleue?)
    SL Ambre Sultan
    April Aromatics Unter den Linden
    FM Parfum de Therese


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