Portia’s 15 Must Smell Fragrances + Coupon Code!

Hey My Perfume Samples Crew,

It’s Portia from Australian Perfume Junkies, Perfume Posse and Olfactoria’s Travels and thrilled to be writing for one of my favourite Perfume Sample Sites. Over the next few months I hope to bring you some great information, maybe some ideas that you can use in your daily life, a selection of my favourite fragrances from the site and great ways and times to wear them.

If you like the look of something click the My Perfume Samples below the picture, it will take you directly to that perfumes page for more information, pricing and ordering.

15 Must Smell Fragrances

Portia's 15 Must Smell Fragrances

Scent is linked to the oldest receptors in your brain. No one is quite sure how the olfactory system works but we think it was developed to warn us of danger and to help us survive in a very unfriendly world. From that to modern perfumery is a long journey and since the beginning of modern perfumery which is generally thought to have begun with Fougere Royal by Houbigant in 1882 is pretty amazing too. They became the first company to isolate a particular molecule, coumarin, from natural raw materials, tonka bean, and then to use it in fragrance.

Today I have picked 15 fragrances that were game changers in their time or are the best of their kind in my mind and are still available today, though often changed over time to fit modern sensibilities or to comply with regulations. I have purposely picked 15 that I think have maintained quite a lot of what it was that made them great to begin with. This list is by no means a complete one, merely a sampler of a bunch of fragrances that I think you should smell and wear for a while to see how they live, it’s also nice to have a potted history for each.

Angel (EDT) by Thierry Mugler MPSPhoto My Perfume Samples

Angel by Thierry Mugler: 1992 and the enormous fragrances of the 1980s are starting to become old hat yet Thierry Mugler brings out a blockbuster, super enormous, powerhouse that has this incredible sugar sweet fruit, crunchy caramel & fairy floss scent that then ushers in the age of the gourmand scents.

Aromatics Elixir by Clinique MPS.jpgPhoto My Perfume Samples

Aromatics Elixir by Clinique: 1971 and Bernard Chant reworks his 1959 Cabochard and 1966 Aramis and finally reaches perfection. What went before are extremely dry and masculine, in Aromatics Elixir we see a softer flowering, some beautiful spices and the leather becomes more background. Still as beautiful today where the other two are vastly changed.

Dior Homme by Christian Dior MPSPhoto My Perfume Samples

Dior Homme by Christian Dior: In 2011 Francois Demachy reinterpreted Olivier Polge’s 2005 lavender/iris/choc/patchouli fragrance in a new and interesting way. The notes are similar but the original iris overload has been toned down slightly and a woodier base runs through, it is still a beautiful fragrance that is extremely unisex and smells wonderful on everyone.

Dune by Christian Dior MPSPhoto My Perfume Samples

Dune by Christian Dior: It’s 1991 and Dune imagines the fragrance of the last few moments at the beach after a long day, wet, sandy, sweet and salty. I smell suntan lotion, sea, sunshine, grasses, warm skin, wind, seaweed, sweat and lip gloss. Dune shimmers and glistens across my skin and started the mainstream summertime sunshine fragrance craze while still managing to also smell completely and only of itself.

Eau D'Orange Verte by Hermes MPSPhoto My Perfume Samples

Eau d’Orange Verte by Hermes: Originally created in 1979 by Françoise Caron, in 2009 Jean-Claude Ellena remade the fragrance to bring it up to date and have it comply with current regulations. Eau d’Orange Verte is still one of the best Eau de Colognes available on the market and worth a sniff.

Fracas by Robert Piguet MPSPhoto My Perfume Samples

Fracas by Robert Piguet: Originally released in 1948, Germaine Cellier recreated this white floral extravaganza in 1998 and it is the benchmark tuberose fragrance for many people. A sweet, bubble gum tuberose only lightly shadowed by green sappiness and with a monster sillage initially that turns very sensually soft, melts in your skin and becomes almost you.

Gucci Rush by Gucci MPSPhoto My Perfume Samples

Gucci Rush by Gucci: In 1999 Gucci brought out this sheer but incredibly powerful super fragrance that can cut through the atmosphere around you and bring men to their knees. One of the first mainstream fruit-chouli fragrances to have this weird sheer heft, it has become one of the signatures of 21st century scents. Gucci Rush is a party waiting to happen.

Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempicka MPSPhoto My Perfume Samples

Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempicka: In 1997 Lolita Lempicka brought out a licorice fragrance, it took the world by storm in its cutesy apple bottle so reminiscent of Dior’s Poison but taken to the next level and Disney-ised. The fragrance is an ultra gourmand powerhouse and one of the best of its genre. Still wearable and current nearly 20 years later I often gift Lolita Lempicka and it is always appreciated.

M:Mink by Byredo MPSPhoto My Perfume Samples

M/Mink by Byredo: If you want to smell the weirdest beautiful thing then this could be your frag. 2010s M/Mink smells like you’ve stuck your head into an old thrift shop fur coat and it’s right next to a junkie alley. Freaky stuff but strangely it all works together to create something uncannily gorgeous. Nothing else smells like M/Mink.

Mure et Musc by L'Artisan Parfumeur MPSPhoto My Perfume Samples

Mure et Musc by L’Artisan Parfumeur: In 1978 L’Artisan Perfumer was already doing the fruity floral with a white musk dry down. Berries, citrus and musk with a mossy backnote. Basically if you wear this you will understand where all those Fruit-Chouli celebuscents came from. Obviously Mure et Musc is WAY more gorgeous and stylish.

Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle MPSPhoto My Perfume Samples

Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle: In 2010 Dominique Ropion created this beautiful, ornate masterpiece for the Frederic Malle line. It is like a baroque artwork made fragrance and quite big but somehow never oversteps the boundaries into 1980s blockbuster. This is what the use of incredibly expensive ingredients and the lightest and most nuanced touch can create.

Premier Figuier by L'Artisan Parfumeur MPSPhoto My Perfume Samples

Premier Figuier by L’Artisan Parfumeur: Olivia Giacobetti created Premier Figuier, the first fig soliflor (Solifruit??) fragrance in 1994 and it tells the story of the whole tree, fruit, leaf and branch. Since then fig has become a shining star in the fragrance world but it is Premier Figuier that I return to again and again. It has a creaminess set against a sharp greenness that is captivating.

Shalimar by Guerlain MPSPhoto My Perfume Samples

Shalimar by Guerlain: Launched in 1925 from a huge accidental overdose of vanilla, the story goes. Shalimar has been in the Top 10 lists of fragrances ever since. A delicious creamy lemon gelato swirl set against a very animal growl. I like the EdP of the current formulations, it has excellent lasting power and it’s projection and sillage are grand, you will be able to smell your gorgeous sensual self most of the day.

Tresor EdP by Lancome MPSPhoto My Perfume Samples

Tresor by Lancome: In 1990 this freaky, screechy, fruity floral oriental was born. It took Mitsouko and Femme by the balls and shook them till their teeth rattled and this modern, clean lined fragrance came into being. Still one of my favourite scents to smell on people in the street, Tresor is one of a kind. I have chosen the EdP because it’s just a little richer.

White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor MPSPhoto My Perfume Samples

White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor: Elizabeth Taylor was the first celebrity to really make fragrance work on a huge scale. Still often seen in the top 10 sales White Diamonds is a powerhouse fragrance that started the era of the CelebuScent and made Elizabeth even richer. Glorious, fun and completely over the top. You probably don’t want to wear this to dinner, it’s BIG.

You may have smelled a few of these in passing over the years but we thought it might be fun to have a reference set all in one place that you could spend a few weeks really remembering or learning how each one smells and seeing how today’s fragrances have evolved from them.

Blue sky background with a tiny clouds


Try the Set now —>

This is a blog so I hope you get involved and take the time to comment, ask questions and generally become a part of the action.
Waft on my lovelies,
Portia xx
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25 Responses to Portia’s 15 Must Smell Fragrances + Coupon Code!

  1. Laurels says:

    This is a very wide-ranging list, and I feel very knowledgeable having tried 9 of the 15. The rest will have to go on my Wishlist, and I’ll have to give Shalimar and AE another try as well, in case my slightly more educated nose takes them in differently than it did two years (can that be right?) ago, when they were quite challenging. I’m a little bit afraid to try POAL–what if I love it?

    • Hey LaurelS,
      WOW! That is a goodly number of tried and tested. Yes I think you definitely need to work up to Aromatics Elixir unless you grew up with it, the men will probably be more at ease with it because it shares so much of their oft offered fragrant DNA. Shalimar was a staple in our house growing up and I can’t remember not smelling it.
      Two years! Happy Birthday!
      Portia xx

  2. Gara says:

    “Rush is a party waiting to happen,” love it, because it’s true. The only one on your list that I haven’t smelled/ loved is M/Mink. And tonight I am seriously debating if I need a bottle of Premier Figuier because I already have Philosykos and they’re very similar. Do I need both?

  3. rhodycats1 says:

    Excellent fragrance sample idea. But, not even for you, Portia, am I willing to dab Angel on my person. Too many asphyxiating headaches from co workers who over sprayed back in the day…

  4. Tara says:

    Great selection Portia! I wore both Aromatics Elixir and Tresor in the 90s. Couldn’t wear them now – I’d feel suffocated. Great compositions nonetheless. Dior Homme was fantastic with all that iris and it’s good to hear you still think it’s great.
    Thanks for the reminder to try Eau d’Orange Verte this summer. I love Hermes for colognes.
    At PLL recently Lila said she really hates that lurid, plastic Gucci Rush packaging but I think it’s pretty fabulous because it tells you so much about the fragrance inside 🙂

    • Tara,
      As always it’s gorgeous to see you.
      You can’t fault Tom Ford for his sense of the outrageous and flair for timing. GUCCI Rush was right in the middle of his tenure at the house and it screams of his way of taking bland forms and giving them new leases of life. 1999 was a euphoric time for the world and I think Rush signifies so much from the time. A red rectangular plastic frag brick is so unexpected, and yes lurid. Heaven.
      Portia xx

  5. Pingback: Portia’s 15 Must Smell Fragrances + Coupon Code! « AustralianPerfumeJunkies

  6. Fifi says:

    I’m glad my fave d’Orange Verte is on your list, Portia! I’ve worn 7 of the 15 and am curious to try Gucci Rush especially, to see if it really brings men to their knees. That is an experience I would like to have just once before I die! White Diamonds – I’m a Liz Taylor fan but to me it smells like cat pee. Liz, it’s not me, it’s you…

  7. Palmer Ward says:

    Portia: Great (and unexpectedly inclusive) list! Might I recommend a frag that seems to have gone unnoticed for years: Keora by Jean Couturier from 1984. If Jacques Guerlain were alive now I wouldn’t be surprised if he came up with this. It is like a Shalimar for late century taste and I can’t get enough of it – even if it is a bit over my particular (masculine) edge. If you can find it I really recommend it.

  8. Esperessence says:

    Love your list Portia, just bought Eau d’orange verte and it is one of THE best colognes, you are right.

  9. carlos319 says:

    Fantastic list again Portia darling

  10. Sabine says:

    Who doesn’t like a good list??? I’m glad that there a re a few of my favs on it. Shalimar, PoaL, Eau d’Orange Vert, Lolita and Dior Homme. Tresor was a well loved frag in the 80’s but now my mum wears it and it’s therfore a no go for me. I’m surprised that not a single Chanel made the list, not that I personally care so much, but..well, it’s Chanel 🙂

    • Hey Sabine, Thanks, I’m glad you like the list. My Perfume Samples doesn’t keep CHANEL in store so I couldn’t include them because we wanted to give everyone the chance to try the list in a set.
      Portia xx

  11. Musette says:

    This is an elegantly curated list, darling. I like that you have a lot of The Usual Suspects on her e- but for compelling reasons that expand the perfumista experience! Well done! xoxoxoA

  12. FeralJasmine says:

    Hi Portia, wonderful list. There are some things here that I haven’t tried. I realize that I have never tried Mure et Musc because so much research is done on mice, and the adjective for mouse-related is “murine.” Whenever I read Mure et Musc, my subconscious is reading Mouse and Musk, which you have to admit sounds unappealing😉. But I will tell my subconscious to get over it and try this one because it sounds lovely.
    I can’t believe that I will ever try Angel, because my main memory of it involves being seated on a plane next to someone who was wearing a great deal of it. A few hours into the trip I was having fantasies about clawing open the emergency exit. But I do love gourmands, so maybe I should give the Great Mother of all gourmands a proper trial.

    • FeralJasmine,
      I have done a flight with me as the offending A’Men wearer. Even after about 11 hours when I walked over to Michael pre-landing he could still smell me coming from across the cabin. Thank goodness we were flying in the roomy end of the plane. Try Angel, you may hate it but……..
      As to Mouse & Musk. HILARIOUS!
      Portia xx

  13. Anna maria says:

    Great list Portia I have personally worn six of the list, keen to try a few of the others. Happy that tom fired created rush, I remember when I wore that so well.

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