Grey hair, floral wallpaper, Tanyac6b37e470f20f6006939ae9fcc92940
Photo of Tanya Drouginska: green

It’s a funny thing. I used to adore woody, spicy, leathery scents laced with dirty old patchouli. But since the menopause, I’ve gone lighter and – whisper it – floral – says Vicci Bentley.

Am I getting frilly in my dotage? If I am, I’m not alone – friends keep mentioning this is happening to them, too. I’ve tried to be rational about this fragrant aberration. It’s well-known that our sense of smell loses acuity as we age, but my nose seems sharper if anything – if there’s the faintest whiff of gas or damp I’m on it like a sniffer dog. I’m well aware that my favourite old scents themselves have changed, too. So many of the traditional ingredients that made the heart-stopping beauties we used to adore have either been banned or restricted as putative ‘allergens.’ (Don’t get me started on this, I just get arsy). This has hit the classics badly and the vast majority of older scents have had to be rebalanced. So your faithful No.5, Mitsouko, J’Adore or even Angel for heaven’s sake won’t smell the same as it did 10 years ago, let alone when it was originally made. The times I’ve ripped the cellophane off an old love I haven’t sniffed for a while, only to feel let down and cheated. But is my nose the real trickster, this time?

Photo: Getty

I had a hunch that hormones might be to blame (well, menopause….it’s a no-brainer really). Could it be that the raunchy, gussetty, frankly ‘fuck me’ animalic ingredients like civet (wild cat’s pee) and castoreum (leathery beaver’s balls) have taken a backseat now babies are out of the question? I put this to Professor Tim Jacob, a neuroscientist specialising in the sense of smell at Cardiff University. ‘Our perfume preferences are related to our immune system and our immune system determines our personal body odour,’ he tells me. ‘Our noses sniff out the best mate for optimising disease resistance in offspring, in order to preserve the species. This system seems to go AWOL after the menopause,’ he concludes. In short, our appetite for sexy scents takes early retirement.

Has your scent taste changed with the change? Have you gone off old favourites – or prefer not to perfume at all? We’d love to hear about it.


First photograph:  Styling & production: Lidewij Smeur Photography: Linda Stulic. Make-up: Sjardé Kirioma.

79 thoughts on “Does our taste in scents change with the change?

  1. I absolutely adore scents and always have done. One thing I have noticed since the menopause is that they tend to wear off much quicker than they used to. I am veering towards stronger scents now and am always on the lookout for the one with the “staying power”.
    I was offered Shalimar a while back and thought that it smelled different from what I remembered years back.

  2. Fascinating Vicci! I’m peri-menopausal and my signature fragrance is Cabotine by Grès. I wonder if this will change? Also interesting about the allergens, as more and more perfumes make me sneeze nowadays which I assumed was also an age thing!

    1. Victoria, Cabotine has been my favourite for the last few years.
      Sadly, I cannot wear it any more after two women suffered allergy attacks…one quite serious. I think it may be the Himalayan Lily that is the culprit.
      Now, I enjoy it at home but sadly miss wearing it all the time, I got such compliments!

  3. As we get older our sense of smell fades, known as presbyosmia, and up to half of over-60s are affected. That also contributes to favourite scents no longer smelling as we remember, and opens up the dreaded possibility of ‘overdosing’ on application.

  4. It makes sense that hormones are to blame, a friend told me at the weekend that the reason we are relieved when a friend cancels an evening out is down to hormones – we no longer have the raging desire to get ourselves ‘out there’ and procreating, so why bother going out?!

  5. Oh dear. I perhaps realise now why au can no longer smell perfume on me immediately after I’ve applied ur. I now feel sorry for those people who are going y sit near me today…….I’ve reapplied six times this morning! I’m obviously suffering from the afore mentioned “dreaded overdosing!)

  6. This was fascinating! I’m starting to go through the menopause and have tried so many new perfumes, in search of a new signature scent! I’ve always worn No 5 and I’d come to the conclusion that I’m going to stick with it, as I just can’t find anything else that I love. I’ve been looking for something warm, snuggly and sexy (all suggestions welcomed!); one that makes people want to sniff you and say, “you smell lovely”….maybe it’s a last ditch attempt lol.

    1. Try Escentric Molecules 01… I wear it and can’t smell it on myself after the initial application but anyone who gets close enough to give me a hug always mentions how wonderful I smell. It’s a bit masculine, cedar-y. I wear it layered with Annick Goutal’s Ce Soir ou Jamais which is a rose scent…..

  7. Not sure if its hormones – I experienced early menopause due in part to cancer treatment, but it was a further decade before my taste in perfumes changed. I have always been a huge fan of woody/spicy leather, and have quite a collection, yet this autumn (the season they suit most) they have less appeal. In the summer I wore eau de magnolia, and now Chanel 31 Rue Cambon, I’ve also noticed I prefer wearing brighter and lighter colours, reflecting the shift to less dark and mysterious perfumes.

  8. I loved oriental scents for ages. Now I cant’ stand them and I don’t like any “industrial” perfume. I can only use agrumates ones, by high level producers (unfortunately… since they are pricey)

  9. Really interesting. I no longer love Rive Gauche, its new formulation is a pale shadow of the scent I used in the 80s. On the other hand, my old favourite, Cabochard, has also been reformulated and I like the new version much more than the original. The worst thing I’ve ever smelt is Bandit which nearly made me vomit recently, no idea if I might have loved it back in the day

  10. I have always been a coco Chanel person from my 20’s. I am 52 now but the last bottle I bought just wasn’5t the same. I have been exploring with some of the newer , independanat perfumeries who say they use natural ingredients – byredo, serge Lutyens and my last set an Australian deskigned perfume called Queen of The Night which smells like a flower which just bloom s once a year. What smells extortion in a shop smells bland at home and I think next time will try my beloved Coco again . I still like Jo Malone French Lime too – prefably layered with Lime and Basil body lotion underneath.

  11. I have been talking about this subject for years because I absolutely know my body reacts differently to perfume nowadays and I’ve changed what I wear since menopause (two decades back). I’ve gone from ‘full floral’ (think Chloe) to a much ‘drier’ fragrance – and, luckily, it isn’t expensive. My daily dose is Noa in a small spray bottle, which is great for carrying around. My posh and more expensive favourite became Balmain de Balmain, but sadly, it is no longer manufactured. The quest continues… good topic.

  12. Yes, I think my taste has changed…I have gone right off Stella Mccartney, it really just does not smell the same anymore but the formula may have changed. I am totally in love with Neal’s Yard Frankincense; calming, uplifting, I am completely addicted to this smell! On a recent short break I didn’t have any with me and was getting withdraw symptoms 😉

  13. Now that I’m in my dotage, I’ve gone off anything floral, but I remain loyal to my signature scent, Clinque’s Aromatics Elixir, a patchouli-based, woodsy scent that I’ve worn since the seventies. Both men and women often compliment that I smell “nice.”

  14. Don’t get me going…. oh you just have. My all time favourite Miss Dior has become engulfed by other Dior perfumes … all have Miss Dior boldly on the bottle with the specific perfume in tiny letters underneath. Miss Dior as I know it , is called Originale but it’s very hard to see . Also my preferred strength is
    Eau de Parfum but not all of Dior perfumes are available in this. Including … you’ve guessed it. Miss Dior. Why won’t the big perfume houses listen to their customers?

  15. My mother in law in her 70’s drowns herself in Clinique Aromatics Elixir which is quite possibly the worst perfume I
    have ever smelt. When she stays my entire house reeks of it and quite often I feel I am choking! As a non perfume wearer I really find it quite offensive. Anyone else have a similar problem?

    1. Mine does that too, with Mitsouko (it’s almost put me off it….but not quite!). The whole house is filled with it and it’s very over powering.

        1. I used to wear that when it first came out and I was trying to be sexy (hahaha)…..and yes…..more than the tiniest amount and you smell like a dodgy bordello in Shanghai

  16. After early menopause, due to hysterectomy, I found that my usual perfumes all smelled way too strong. I cannot cope with anything musky now. About six weeks after the surgery I felt as if I smelled ‘old’. Difficult to describe but perhaps a bit as we remember elderly aunties. Not offensive but different.
    I only like clear ‘clean’ frangrances now with either citrus, rose or ‘fresh blue’ tones.
    That was all some time ago now and I am no longer aware of smelling ‘old’. Maybe the hormones settled down. Or maybe I adjusted to the new me.

  17. I definitely agree that our tastes or rather our body’s reaction to perfume changes. Gone are the days when I could go to duty-free and try everything liberally and not be able to make up mind because of the vast choice. Now I can only endure 2 – 4 maximal and most smell like cheap overpowering hairspray which I want to wash off straightaway. And I can’t seem to find a new perfume – I’ve only got 2 on the go – one for spring/ summer and the other for autumn/ winter and I just hope that I can find something new soon!

  18. Oh….this is why! I haven’t worn perfume in years because it all seems to sour of me now. I may have found one I like over the weekend (the hunt is ongoing) but I have to try the sample a few more days to see. Yes, lighter, and more floral than I used to wear.

  19. How interesting that this was first in my inbox and second was from a perfume sampling company with a new “retro” section that has vintage perfumes in their original formulation. I have developed an affinity to rose scents in the last few years, something I would have NEVER dreamed of in my thirties. Menopause came on ten years ago so I’m not sure that’s it but definitely my preference for scents has changed.

  20. A few years after menopause I noticed that the fragrance I’d worn and loved for years (Chanel “Chance” original) suddenly seemed to go a bit “sour” on me. It’s funny, I can still pick it out, and love it on others. I’ve mostly gone lighter and more floral with my fragrance choices these days, though I still find I need some “warmth” in the base of a fragrance or it starts to annoy me after a while.

  21. It’s almost impossible for me to find current scents that I actually like. Almost all the mass market fragrances smell too sweet and too synthetic for me. My menopause was early, I’m 15 years post, but still lean toward the green and woodsy fragrances that I liked in my teens, twenties and thirties — just not the actual same ones, because they all really have changed in the past thirty years! Occasionally I something spicy or floral appeals to me a bit (but not enough to actually purchase and wear it), but overpowering sweetness seems to be what I get from most fragrances these days and that turns me off completely. I’ve managed to find two woodsy scents that I quite like and that don’t disappear from my skin in an hour (Tom Ford’s Vert d’Encens and Le Labo The Noir No. 29). I think they are both considered unisex fragrances. I would like to also find something fresh and light (citrusy? herbal?) that’s not too sweet but actually lasts for a while.

    I think my sense of smell is less acute than it used to be, but it fluctuates; a couple of times, I’ve had my sense of taste disappear almost entirely for a few days. Rather frightening, actually. Thankfully it returned, but I think it’s a bit blunted compared to what it used to be — I find myself using herbs and spices more liberally in cooking, but not to the point that my 25-year old son complains of it being too strong.

      1. Fleur, thank you for the recommendation. Surprisingly, this seems not to be available in the US, unless I order it unsampled from a UK seller. Even the Liz Earle US web site does not seem to ship scent to the US.

  22. My tastes definitely didn’t change after menopause, but the reformulation of old favorites (thanks both to raw ingredient pricing and to EU restrictions) has turned me off old favorites. There’s been such an explosion of independent fragrance houses, plus an influx of good natural perfumers that my range is much wider now than it used to be. The thought of one “signature” fragrance is as foreign to me as wearing the same pair of shoes (as opposed to the same “type” of shoe) every single day for the rest of my life. Just as in my youth, I need to be aware of applying too much…like makeup or accessories, a light hand is usually best (but I spray with abandon when I’m at home and not going anywhere). For those who sneeze when they’re around fragrance, I suspect it’s that initial blast of alcohol that’s the culprit more often than not. Some scents definitely can cause headaches, nausea, and feeling “ill” – that’s a personal chemistry issue, or sometimes a psychological pairing of a scent to another memory. The sense of smell is an amazing thing – so, for many, it’s no wonder it is affected by menopause, which impacts everyone in slightly nuanced ways.

  23. For medical reasons, I had a very early menopause, in my forties. Both before and after (and now it has been twenty years) I wore First by Van Cleef & Arpels, and it seemed just right and I received many compliments. But I think the formulation has changed, it really does not smell like it used to. I think my sense of small has become more acute too, and it may have changed, but I’m chalking it up to my age rather than menopause. I dread trying to find something new that I like.

  24. My tastes have changed, for sure–mostly because I seem to be more sensitive to smells, not less, and most perfumes just are too much for me. (Most scented candles are too much as well.) I go for “natural” fragrances, either from L’Occitaine or Pacifica (here in the US), tending toward the citrus family. They wear off quickly, but that’s okay by me.

  25. I still (post-menopausal but still addicted to oestrogen-only patches) love my old favourites – Guerlain’s Shalimar, Mitsouko, Samsara and L’heure Bleu, and the others added on my 5 decade love affair with perfumes. I still wear Cabochard (Grès), Chanel No5 (although it’s changed and lost ‘something’) and Paris by Balenziaga. On a trip to Botswana in the 1990s I picked up a bottle of Aqua di Giò by Armani, which I only gave to open to be transported back to those long dry days in the bush. Sadly, Armani messed with this too, so I hunt out the old ‘mix’ at airports to stash away in my perfume cupboard.
    I’ve always liked loved wearing ‘lighter’ scents in summer, and have various bottles of the Aqua Allegoria (Guerlain) fragrances; Jasminora and Mandarine Basilic are just about to be put away now autumn is here.
    And then there is Jo Malone, and my current summer love affair with Basil and Neroli, whilst not forsaking Wood, Sage and Sea Salt, English Pear and Freesia and Lime, Basil and Mandarin, all of which are so easy to wear.
    Like a crisp cotton shirt, they just feel ‘right’!
    But my true love is, and always will be, Coriandre by Jean Couturier. I first ‘discovered’ this whilst thumbing through France in 1976. An impoverished student nurse, I blew the price of a coach ride to the ferry to buy two bottles with my girlfriend who also adored this totally unique fragrance. Over the years we’ve kept each other stocked up with the malachite green flacons it is presented in, but sadly, I think our days of wearing this are numbered as, on her last trip to Paris my friend was unable to locate any.
    So, in answer to your question ‘Do our tastes in scents change with the change?’ I guess I’d say, not for me, no. Just the usual seasonal shift from light fragrance to more substantial as usual……

  26. I rarely use perfume now. There are too many places where it is forbidden, such as any medical facility and recreation centres.At a women’s conference a couple of years ago, I was accosted by another for wearing perfume when she was allergic. It caused me to be embarrassed in front of others and angry towards the individual for loudly announcing it. I have never over perfumed myself, as I spray it in the air and walk through it. So…now my perfumes languish, waiting for a hand to reach out to them, to touch them once again, to spray their glorious scent into the air. A sight that brings a tear to one’s eye. Once beloved, now abandoned.

    1. From someone who is acutely sensitive to all artificial scents, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your considerate behavior, Joanna. I’m sorry that one of my fellow sufferers accosted and embarrassed you, but I think that the vast majority of fragrance users are absolutely clueless as to the discomfort they cause others with their perfume habit, symptoms of which run the gamut from runny nose and streaming eyes to nausea and full-on migraines. I dream of the day when the use of artificially scented products are as restricted as cigarette smoking! It’s not just perfume and cologne either, it’s candles, lotions, laundry detergent, fabric softener, deodorant, hair spray, shampoos, even some cosmetics. All giving off VOCs, poisoning our air.

      Also good to note that some people are sensitive and don’t know it. I knew a woman who worked in an office where they burned scented candles all day. She came home from work every day with a headache and blamed it on her job, her computer screen, general stress, etc. But then one week they ran out of candles and lo and behold, with no other changes to her environment or routine, she didn’t have a headache the entire week!

    2. I second catbird’s comments, as somebody who developes migraines from perfume. Thank you for being considerate and using it sparingly.

  27. Sadly there are few fragrances I can wear anymore, and those I tolerate tend to be based on organic essential oils. Many of us have developed sensitivities to food, chemicals, toxins at this point in life. Those of us with thyroid or other hormone imbalances commonly are not able to tolerate strong scent. For me (and a close cousin) can’t walk down the soap aisle at the grocery store, or walk through the scent department in a store. Candle stores are a guaranteed headache. Worst is being stuck on a plane or in a theater next to someone wearing scent. Here on the west coast (we are health trend-setters!) many small businesses request that their customers refrain from wearing scent! Don’t wear perfume at your yoga or pilates class please….
    Note to those of you who use products like scented dryer sheets, fabric softeners or room fresheners: those products are often recommended to keep pests away! Recently I have been fighting an infestation of rodents eating the electrical wires in my car engine; the Lexus dealership recommended taping dryer sheets into the engine! These chemical fragrances are toxic!

  28. Oh Joanna, spray secretly, spray just for you, after a bath, before bed,self indulge. Should we banish the perfume of flowers too? God forbid!
    What do people think of Kilians perfumes? I love ‘ Straight To Heaven’ .

    1. The problem is that most fragranced products are scented (either whole or in part) *artificially* – with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Naturally occurring fragrance, like flowers, is not the issue here. Bring on REAL flowers, fruit, fresh air – any time, anywhere!

      1. I’m allergic to several real flowers , and many other things including some perfumes. I still wear the one’s I can and carry anti-histamines. I would never expect other people to alter their behaviour and preferences for me nor for everywhere to banish lillies just because they make my eyes itch and weep

  29. Post menopausal my taste is still for woody, animalistic scents. I love patchouli leather tobacco musk.
    Heavy eastern fragrances appeal.
    I’ve noticed any florals become quite nauseous on me. Especially Tuberose which becomes overpowering and smells almost like rancid butter, same with Jasmin and Iris.
    I used to wear Shalimar from 16-30 but the formula has definitely changed and it doesn’t have the warmth it once did.
    Most mass produced fragrances smell awful these days. Even brands like Chanel.
    I do however like Christian Dior Cuir Cannard and they do a decent Pachouli scent.
    I tend to buy more scents than I ever did seeking a new ‘signature’ fragrance as Shalimar and CDG Avignon once were for me…
    certain brands don’t work at all for me. Le Labo, Byredo,Serge Lutens, Jo Malone ,Artisan Perfumier, Dyptique. All seem to favour base notes that jar with me.
    I am also veering more towards pure oils, Pachouli,Frankinsense,and Myrrh.

  30. My tastes have certainly changed – I always wear perfume; even when home alone! I am a big fan of Balenciaga’s Paris – think Parma Violets – and Hermes Un Jardin sur le Toit. Both delicious!!

  31. 59 and Chanel Allure is still the only one I love. I keep looking for the unknown scent ingredient that I sometimes catch on passing strangers and love, but I’ve never tracked it down and can’t quite describe it.

  32. I could never wear perfume.At all. It would give me the most horrible migraines even when I really liked the scent. Now, however, I am often able to wear perfume.( I always found scented candles were amongst the worst culprits for inducing headaches.)

  33. I’ve worn only Jo Malone (Pomegranate Noir and Wild Fig are favourites) for the last few years – don’t like the sickly undertones of other perfumes now – but have just discovered 1460 Tuesdays, which I love! – worth it for the fab but spot-on! descriptions and original names!!

  34. I thought it was just me! I used to wear the 80’s blockbusters like Chloe, Obsession, First, Paloma, Opium etc. and as soon as I became pregnant with my first child I couldn’t stand any of them. Post pregnancies I still loved the dank pong of patchouli and wore Reminiscence and Patchouli Patch for quite a few years interspersed with Prada Iris. Now nearly 60 and post-menopause I am stuck! I went to Rome recently and lots of the older women smelt like heaven – expensive and glamorous with amazing wafts of fragrance in their wake – but I have no clue what they were wearing. Whenever I go to a perfume counter they just try to sell me something they are presumably told to promote. I want/need a signature scent that smells like a mature gorgeous older woman that is not easily identifiable or endorsed by a vacuous celebrity. I must be getting old as I (think) I am searching for that handbaggy/lipsticky smell of a lovely leather frame handbag. (Or am I a lost cause?). Help, please?

    1. In the U.S. we have websites like The Perfumed Court and Surrender to Chance which sell samples (Decants) of many different and obscure perfumes. At $4 or $5 a pop, it’s fun to get a package of different scents….some will be lovely, some not…but it’s a great way to try for a week and see if something grows on you. No idea if something along those lines is available in the UK but you might check..

    2. Try Sonoma Scent Studio Nostalgie, Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum (not Knot), Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose, Andy Tauer Noontide Petals, or Chanel’s Cuir de Russie. Lancome also makes a Cuir (leather) scent that isn’t bad. All of these hit exactly that leather/lipstick/rose scent you may like to try. As for options other than the department stores, buying samples (The Perfumed Court, Surrender to Chance, etc) are a great way to test fragrances, from vintage to mainstream, without committing to full bottles. They sell “flights” or scent family packages, too.

    3. New poster here – first off – love this blog – it is saving me from menopausal despair with its mix of style and humour! Maudie Ihad to reply to you because I appreciated your comment further down ….. As well as the excellent suggestions already made I would also put forward a couple of Hermes – Cuir d’Ange and Galop, a Dior – Cuir Cannage and a by Kilian – Royal Leather which is not so lip sticky but contains a lovely powdery heliotrope on top of leather. I was recently complimented on it (when being hugged!)

  35. I can’t say that my nose for “scents” has changed, but-since menopause began, many smells give me awful headaches. What’s that perfume–Flowerbomb? OMG–everyone and their dog loves it–except me. It gives me a raging headache. The three scents that I’ve been wearing for years continue to be my faves and luckily none of them give me a headache. In fact, all three scents are rather menopause friendly. They are: Fleur d’Oranger by Fragonard; L’Instant by Guerlain; La Petite Robe Noire. Those are the three scents that I wear.

  36. Wearing perfume in public is the same as reeking of cigarette smoke here in California. Those who still indulge with scent often seem to lose their olfatory sense and wear way too much. Better to wear perfume to bed and skip it during the day. Or try scented hand lotions–one gets a quick uplift but the odor doesn’t linger. (Confession: I still keep a bottle of patchouli for wearing around the house when I’m missing the good old days).

    1. What a shame that people who hose themselves down with “loud” scents have ruined that wonderful thing where people notice you smell lovely when they’re close up…..rather than announcing your arrival like a band of over enthusiastic medieval heralds 🙂

  37. I love blending my own essential oils, Neroli, Bergamot, Sandalwood are favourites. They don’t last all day but give me a boost if I bring my wrist near my face or when I turn my neck. It’s nice to know they aren’t fake, there are no VOC’s and they haven’t been squirted into a bunny’s eyes. I still love the smell of other people’s scents as they pass by though.

  38. My tastes have changed but I am not sure for what reason. My mother rarely wore perfume but when she did it was JE REVIENS by Worth. The smell on me was quite different. My very first personal perfume, given to me by a boyfriend, was Elizabeth Arden’s BLUE GRASS. This was deemed suitable for a young lady of sixteen! This was followed for many years by CHANEL No. 5. Long after that was CHARLIE and OBSESSION. My husband adored POISON and OPIUM, as much for the names I think as they were considered quite daring at the time. A received a large bottle of JOY perfume from a friend who, in turn, had been given it. She didn’t care for it! I was the happy recipient. I had purchased a bottle of CALECHE by Hermes over twenty years ago but some reason it remained unopened and tightly sealed. It was finally opened three years ago and smells as good as ever. Recently I had a craving for a rose perfume and purchased TRESOR, Midnight Rose by Lancôme. My perfumes last me years as I wear them only on occasions that I deem appropriate. My daily usage is Rose Petals ROSEWATER, a pure natural essence from European roses. No chemicals. It can be used as a perfume, added to a hair rinse or bath water or as a GOURMET FLAVORING. It is probably as healthy as one can get.

  39. This is fascinating, and I have often wondered about all this.
    I am a red head, and I have not liked many scents on me. I have heard it was the Red Head chemistry at play. Woodsy patchouli scents I have never liked especially on myself.
    When I was in my early 20’s, I wore White Shoulders. I know. But I would receive many comments from men. At some point, I stopped liking it and moved on. Opium, poison and Diorissimo. I liked florals, mostly.
    When I was in my early 40’s, I had a severe sinus infection and it ch aged my ability to accurately detect scents. Not fun at all. For some time, I couldn’t smell anything, completely gone. When it started to come back, everything smelled like either cigarette smoke or amoinia (read kitty litter) I went on like this for years.
    now 15 yrs later, add menopause to the mix and I can detect some scents, but I still have problems.
    I like Most of Dior’s scents, but I agree, the stuff now is not the same, they’ve changed the formulas.

  40. I’m peri menopausal and have a headache most of the time so strong scents are a no go. I also think my sense of smell has got stronger and I spend quite a lot of time hunting down bad odours no one else can smell.

    My coco and no. 5 sit neglected on the shelf and it’s all Jo Malone and (whispers) Crabtree and Evelyn Island Flowers for me now.

  41. It is so sad, and I never realised, that there is such an anti-perfume camp out there. This bothers me more than it should! (and to compare fragrance to cigarettes is ALARMING).

  42. I shall go on offending. I wear perfume every single day and feel undressed without it. Mind you, I am not somebody who sprays themselves like a skunk. The older I get the less I can smell certain perfumes: florals just smell sweet, not flowery. I wear citrus scents and rose in the summer. Anything else just smells “perfumey”, like walking through the perfume hall of a department store.

    1. I’m with you! If I leave the house without my brows tidied, my lipstick on, earrings in and a spritz of fragrance, I feel bare, undressed….unready to do battle with the world!
      As far as I know, we don’t have blanket bans on perfumes here in the U.K. and I’d hope that stays that way. However, having said that, I do empathise with those of you for whom some scents are overpowering, bordering on noxious!!! There’s one I keep on ‘encountering’ that can knock me for six and catches the back of my throat. It has the smell of burnt, sugary apples. I’ve no idea what it is, but I’d happily ban that!!!

  43. Coming back to add: It’s not much fun to get a migraine from someone else’s perfume. The first time it happened to me, I was about 18 and was sitting outside at a cafe.

  44. I used to love Nina Ricci’s L’Air du Temps and wore it daily for nearly over 20 years but recently it seems too pungent and flowery. I love Chanel’s new take on No. 5 and Chloe’s Rose. I don’t feel dressed without a spritz of scent so the idea it’s perceived as like smelling of cigarette smoke seems sad.

  45. How wonderful to discover so many ‘like minds’ and ‘like experiences’. I, too, mourn the passing of Mistouko, which I discovered in my late teens but was too young for: my mother took it over and smelled wonderful.
    I can’t stand most scents – too flowery and sickly – but that’s nothing new. I can barely smell my own scents so obviously I must watch out for the dreaded overdosing.
    I have recently started a scientific hunt for a new scent with the aid of various websites to help me break down the notes that suit me. I’ve come up with an unexpected ‘Daisy’ (the original one), which smells fresh and fairly sophisticated on me, but also Emozione by Salvatore Ferragamo. I like some of Penhaligon’s scents, but I usually find Jo Malone too basic. My sister is faithful to O de Lancome, which smells fabulous on her.
    I will keep searching and wish the best of luck to everyone on the same quest.

  46. if you hate heavy perfumes try Caldey Lavender…5* from Luca Turin in his Perfume guide…it’s like splashing yourself with handfuls of pure blue morning sky…

  47. I am going through the dreaded “change of life”, too! I use to love Amarige de Givenchy. Now that I am 53, when I smell it, it gives me a headache and makes me nauseated! My go to fragrance now is “Light Blue” from Dolce Gabbana. I’ve had people stop me in stores to ask me what scent I’m wearing! Men and women love it! I love the light, clean, floral scents now that I am older. Another favorite is from the “Clean” line of scents. It’s called “Clean Fresh Laundry.” It’s hard to find! I had to order it from Sephora. It smells wonderful!

  48. Loved reading this post & comments. I wore the original Miss Dior all my life, & struggle so much to get that beloved scent back in my life, but due to all the reasons mentioned, it’s hard. I keep learning about fragrance & am open to trying things. But while I may enjoy many scents, wearing them is a completely different thing . Everything changes, so I’ll keep trying!

  49. So true! Since my early menopause I can no longer smell my Favourite-Chanel 5, sob…So I have gone onto stronger scents like Opium, and 007 For women.

  50. I have just read all the comments, and Jo Malone should be pleased! I have recently switched to her Red Roses, and sometimes Orange Blossom, both wildly floral and not at all what I preferred in youth. L’Ombre dans l’Eau by Diptyque for every day – an undertone almost of myrtle.
    A treat for me is going through lesser known specialists in a posh shop, slowly and deliberately – even more fun if the sales person is also a scent wonk. I suspect my nose is more sensitive now than ever.

  51. I believe it could be menopause,season, and age. I have liked and bought woodsy florals for years. I make trips to Sephora for samples because my nose has changed due to menopause and age. I am sampling intense,frahgrances like Tom Fords’ Velvet Orchid,Toccas’ Cleopatra,Euphoria by Calvin Klein,Elizabeth and James Bourbon. It’s an adventure to sample and to say goodbye to my florals.

  52. Please please please tell me where to order the glasses in the photo: I am dying to have a pair (or two) but have no time or interest in shopping. Because I am full-time employed at 72: I’m tired and too cranky to do anything I don’t like anymore. But I do need new glasses, just like these. Can you help?

  53. I have been trying to get scent back into my life after a long period of abstinence. I was wearing Lanvin’s Arpege late at work one night, and a co-worker walking past said something smelled so very nice. I replied that it was Arpege, and he said (cheerfully) “Oh — I thought it might be Febreeze.” Gulp.

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