Florientals, Definitions & Big, Bold Favorites

What really is a Floriental or floral-oriental? It’s a fantastic sub-genre of perfumery, but I don’t think it’s as easy to define as it might initially seem. Simply classifying any oriental with floral notes as a “floral-oriental” is far too wide-reaching, in my opinion. Moreover, it ignores the balance of elements in most oriental compositions. It’s an issue I’ve been pondering after I realised how few were the number of fragrances that met the definition in my mind.

Source: wallpaperscastle.com

Source: wallpaperscastle.com

Now, I grant you, definitions in this context are fluid and are undoubtedly going to be rather subjective in nature. Sub-genres don’t really have an official set of structural rules the way there are for the overarching, main families like fougères or chypres. For the latter, it’s easy to classify because of the tripod format which requires the use of bergamot in the opening and oakmoss and patchouli in the base, with the floral element as the heart. And we all know a basic oriental when we see (or, rather sniff) one, too.

"scheherazade" by Alberto Vargas, 1921. Source: cataxe.com

“Scheherazade” by Alberto Vargas, 1921. Source: cataxe.com

But sub-genres are where things get tricky. Fragrantica has several sub-sections for the fougère category, like oriental fougères, or aromatic ones. In fact, it has multiple sub-parts merely for the “aromatic” category as a whole. So what does Fragrantica say for Florientals or, as they put it, Oriental Floral?

Sweet, warm, powdery base typical of this group harmonizes with such flowers like gardenia, tuberose, tiare or with a spicy note of carnation. In our base the oriental floral group has 2060 for women, 13 for men and 463 shared fragrances.

That’s their entire definition. And I really disagree. First, I don’t think a “powdery” base is required. Second, their definition is so broad that any fragrance with labdanum amber or benzoin and even a small streak of carnation would qualify. 2060 scents? I’m surprised it’s not 9060, given the scope of their criteria. It simply can’t be as generic and basic as that, if you ask me — which brings us, full circle, back to the subjective nature of definitions. I certainly don’t claim to have the definitive one for Florientals and, again, I don’t think there actually is one. However, I do have some criteria of my own. They are delineations borne of testing and wearing a monumental number of orientals because, if this blog has any specialised area of focus, it’s orientals above all else.

Source: websitewithnoname.com

Source: websitewithnoname.com

So here are a few of my lines of demarcation. First, if a scent has too much amber, then I think that becomes the focal point, and the fragrance is really an oriental with the floral component as only one of many secondary elements. On the other hand, if there is too much flower, then I think the scent ends up in the floral, fruity-floral, or soliflore category, because the oriental flourishes are too small to make any significant difference. (And then there are all the great fragrances that don’t qualify because they are chypre-oriental hybrids, like Amouage‘s stunning Fate Woman, or full, solo chypres.)

"Phantasms of the Living" (Detail), by Tom Jackson and Craig Evans. Source:  Wall Street International Magazine.

“Phantasms of the Living” (Detail), by Tom Jackson and Craig Evans. Source: Wall Street International Magazine.

More often than not, the flower in an oriental composition has to jostle next to a plethora of other notes. Like eyes behind a veil, it peeks out from behind amber, leather, fruit, incense, honey, spices, oud, cedar, or some complicated mix thereof. The elements may theoretically fit Fragrantica’s classification, but I think the reality is a bit different. If the flower’s voice doesn’t sing loudly or clearly, it’s merely part of a chorus, so the scent is more aptly categorized in my mind as a general “Oriental.” One example might be Tom Ford‘s Black Orchid where the orchid note is not only a bit abstract and amorphous, but it’s also thoroughly blanketed by waves of other elements. A better one would be Arabian Oud‘s Kalemat where the roses are secondary or maybe even tertiary (depending on your skin chemistry) to all the amber and woods.

Source: clickontrends.com

Source: clickontrends.com

Yet, if there are too few of those choral notes, then I consider the fragrance more of a soliflore that merely happens to have a dash of, say, oud, amber, or patchouli. Take, for example, Xerjoff‘s Al Khatt. There really are only two driving forces in Al Khatt: jasmine and honey. To me, that’s not a true Floriental, but a soliflore — which is why I put it on my list of floral fragrances categorized by flower. Complicating matters further is the role of balance in fragrances without a long list of notes. Consider Roja Dove‘s Amber Oud. The name tells you what are the main elements are supposed to be, but the reality is that Amber Oud is as much about roses as the other two notes. How would you classify that? As a Floriental? Perhaps, but I think the balance ultimately skews towards the amber, no matter how much spicy, saffron rose there may be (and it’s a lot more, by the way, than the “oud” which is ostensible the other star of the show). So, for me, Amber Oud is really a pure Oriental.

In short, it requires a delicate balance where the floral bouquet has to be showcased within an oriental frame, but I haven’t found a ton of fragrances that accomplish it. Perhaps my parameters are too difficult or narrow; perhaps I merely classify things differently or use sub-categories where others would not. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I’m a little obsessive-compulsive about details and that I also tend to over-analyse things, so perhaps I’m simply over-complicating things as well. Be that as it may, I strongly and most heartily do not believe that one can go to the other extreme and over-simplify by lumping all floral-infused orientals into the Floriental category. Sub-genres exist for a specific reason, after all, and that reason is to narrow things down and to avoid blanket inclusions!

Source: paramountfocus.com

Source: paramountfocus.com

As I was pondering all this the other day, I tried to compile a list of my favorite floral-orientals and, specifically, the big, bold, opulent ones to which I am so drawn. It was very difficult. (It actually kept me up one night, and prevented me from sleeping.) I couldn’t think of a wide selection of existing, current fragrances that fit my definition, never mind ones that I liked and that were also boldly opulent on top of it all. Many things I loved were either discontinued or vintage in nature. (The fact that Amouage‘s attars are no longer available didn’t help.) There were a number of fragrances that had a great rose, jasmine, or mixed floral note, but the stage was so encumbered by other players that their voice didn’t feel like an aria and I had to exclude them.

I finally came up with ten names — all of them big, bold, and beautiful in their opulence. There is no particular order to the list, except for the fragrance which I’ve put in first place. I have to admit that I think one scent might really belong on the pure Oriental list, but I hear it’s rose-heavy on other people’s skin, so maybe it’s a grey area. At the end, there is an Honourable Mention section, starting with two fragrances that are too airy in feel or moderate in projection to truly qualify as “big” fragrances for the main list. The third perfume is one that I’ve really loved in early tests (and will write about later this week), but I haven’t fully made up my mind about the category in which it belongs. For those of you who have read a few of my prior lists, feel free to simply scan the names, as there will be a number of repeat entries and descriptions.


  1. "La Sirene" by Charles Landelle (1821-1908). Source: magnoliabox.com

    “La Sirene” by Charles Landelle (1821-1908). Source: magnoliabox.com

    Téo Cabanel Alahine. I often call Alahine “my beloved,” and it’s true. It’s one of my absolute favorite fragrances, perhaps because it has the spicy, bold, floral and ambered qualities that mark my holy grail scent, vintage Opium. For Alahine, imagine a Moroccan souk filled with spices under a turquoise sky; a double layer of sumptuous, dark, red roses concentrated to their headiest essence; handmaidens of velvety ylang-ylang and heady jasmine; and ambered palaces made from rich, dark, toffee’d, caramel labdanum. The rose’s powerful start is incredibly boozy and spicy — often overpoweringly so — but the finish is soft, slightly powdered, golden warmth that’s as plush as a cashmere overcoat. You need to be patient with Alahine, though. She’s such a bold, spicy, incredibly complex, oriental monster that it seems to require a bit of Stockholm Syndrome to love. Spray on too much, she’ll blow out your nose, or traumatize you. Don’t give her enough time or tests, and you’ll be misled into thinking she is all booziness or Moroccan spices. It frequently seems to require four tests to understand Alahine, and to fall in love. (I’ve seen it happen so often, you can’t imagine, and, for some strange reason, it’s always 4 tests.) Several people I know who absolutely worship Alahine now actually didn’t love her at first, and simply shrugged their shoulders. It takes time to see that her real nature is not about spice markets, booziness, or incense, but the most sophisticated of slinky black dresses, cut low and deep, with a va-va-voom glamour that is opulent, French classicism at its best. And, gentlemen, don’t let the roses fool you; Alahine is very unisex. I know a number of very masculine men who love its boozy, spiced fieriness deeply.

  2. Bianca Balti for Dolce & Gabbana. Source: stylesnooperdan

    Bianca Balti for Dolce & Gabbana. Source: stylesnooperdan

    LM PARFUMS SENSUAL ORCHID: Bold, heady, and lush, I always think of Sensual Orchid in terms of seduction and dressing up to be undressed by someone you love (or lust after). It’s not a raunchy, sexual, or dirty scent by any means, but I think it’s sexy as hell and on a diva-esque level to boot. Boozy cognac and silky smooth vanilla are juxtaposed next to delicate orchids that feel as pure, crystal clear, clean, bright and sparkling as a bell rung at the top of the Swiss alps. It smells of lilies, peonies, hyacinth, rose, jasmine, vanilla — all wrapped into one in a cool, clean, crystal floral liquidity. The cognac-covered orchid and smooth vanilla are joined by: velvety, rich, golden ylang-ylang; a hint of smoky woods; fresh almonds; a dash of muskiness; and fruited sweetness. The final result is incredibly narcotic, dramatic, opulent, and sensual, and I love every bit of it passionately. It is a scent that skews feminine in nature, though I know a number of men who love it as well.

  3. The famous Cora "Sun Drop" yellow diamond. Source: www.people.com.cn

    The famous Cora “Sun Drop” yellow diamond. Source: www.people.com.cn

    AMOUAGE UBAR: Have you seen those photos of Arabian stallions in the desert? Ubar is like an Arab stallion in olfactory form, thanks to an floral-oriental bouquet that is delicate but also mighty, bold, and powerful. I also think of it as a yellow diamond, one that glows with golden jasmine under a frothing lemon chiffon mousse made of lily-of-the-valley and litsea. Yet, Ubar actually opens with a different flower, a richly decadent, blood-red, meaty rose that lies atop a mossy base mixed with dark resins and spicy patchouli, then laced with orange blossom and juicy orange fruits. But the lily of the valley soon arrives, and then the opulent jasmine, followed by creamy sandalwood, vanilla, soft amber, muskiness, vanilla and, finally, a touch of civet. It’s complex but also powerful enough for the perfume critic, Luca Turin, to call it “nuclear-tipped” in his Five Star Review. I think Ubar has been reformulated to become relatively lighter and airier since that time, but it remains a very rich, bold scent. It’s truly a magnificent floral-oriental that anyone who loves lily of the valley, roses, and jasmine should try because it showcases each of those elements in a way that fully meets my criteria.

  4. "The Roses of Heliogabalus" (1888), by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Source: Wikipedia.com

    “The Roses of Heliogabalus” (1888), by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Source: Wikipedia.com

    NEELA VERMEIRE MOHUR EXTRAIT. Mohur Extrait is a gorgeous, va-va-voom queen in the rose genre, and I say that as someone who normally isn’t particularly keen on rose fragrances. The rich flowers are infused with delicate violets, iris, rich amounts of real Mysore sandalwood, oud, patchouli, cardamom and other spices, almond milk, a hint of carroty sweetness, elemi woods, amber, and soft vanilla. Yet, none of those elements ever detract from what is clearly the star of the show: the rose, nestled in an oriental embrace. All of it feels romantic, lush, complex, and luxurious. It’s really special

  5. Source: wallpapers55.com

    Source: wallpapers55.com

    TAUER PERFUMES PHI – ROSE DE KANDAHAR: Andy Tauer’s PHI is the scent I mentioned up top as being one that may actually belong in the pure Oriental category instead. It is far from your usual rose scent and, on my skin, the deep, dark flower sometimes doesn’t feel like the main star of the show. (That’s one reason why this anti-rose person enjoys it so much.) PHI is a deep, spicy apricot-rose confection with rich vanilla mousse, dark green elements that almost feel mossy, and oriental flourishes ranging from tobacco to cinnamon and ambergris. The faint gourmand touches are particularly nice; I simply love the apricot tart which is lightly dusted with cinnamon and finished off with that lovely vanilla mousse. All of it is perfectly balanced in a rich blend that even those who don’t particularly like rose fragrances (like me) might enjoy. As a side note, PHI is generally a limited-edition, seasonal fragrance, due to its reliance on a particular crop of roses in Kandahar that are only harvested once a year, but PHI has become available again. This year’s supply seems to be a bigger one, because many stores continue to have it in stock, despite being PHI being one of Tauer’s most popular releases. So, I’ve updated my review with newer retail links where you can sample or buy it.

  6. Photo: Matt Anderson via elements-magazine.com

    Photo: Matt Anderson via elements-magazine.com

    TOM FORD CHAMPACA ABSOLUTE: Champaca Absolute is a slightly polarizing Tom Ford scent, due to the intensity, boldness, and heaviness of its notes. It opens with a concentrated blast of fruited, plummy, liqueured wine and cognac brandy, followed by tropical champaca. The flower smells of: buttery magnolia; custardy, banana-like ylang-ylang; apricots; and heavy, syrupy, fruited sweetness. Lurking deep below the over-the-top, floral richness is an almost leathered, smoky nuance. Eventually, the boozy elements, touches of tea, and smoky darkness in the base all retreat, leaving a mix of lush, tropical, velvety flowers dominated by a magnolia-like richness and infused with vanilla. There are times when the scent reminds me of LM Parfums’ Sensual Orchid, though there are significant differences. I like Champaca Absolute quite a bit, but it is a fragrance that is best suited for those who like their fragrances to be very Big, Bold and Beautiful indeed.

  7. Source: Still from a YouTube video of Desert Rose.

    Source: Still from a YouTube video of Desert Rose.

    SHL 777 ROSE DE PETRA. A spiced, rich, smoky, dusty rose fragrance that begins with similarities to Malle’s Portrait of a Lady (but far better) before transitioning to an Amouage-like LyricEpic combination. For me, it really feels like Sting’s “Desert Rose,” because it transports me to the ancient temple of Petra in a desert whose sands are stained pink and red with the blood of roses. The flowers are dusted with fiery spices, then nestled in a cocoon of green mosses and dry woods. A soft ambered hue hangs above them matching the gold-pink-red of the caves near the temple, while down below trickles a dark stream of smoky styrax, balsamic resins, and a touch of leather. I’m not one for rose-centric fragrances, but Rose de Petra caught my attention with its many nuances, evocative nature, and elegance.

  8. Source: cn.forwallpaper.com

    Source: cn.forwallpaper.com

    AMOUAGE LYRIC (WOMAN): I’m one of the handful of really odd people for whom this famous rose floriental is actually not about the roses at all. On me, it is primarily about the ylang-ylang, with only a tiny, minuscule, very nebulous hint of spicy rose. I always thought I was the one person on earth for whom this was true, until another blogger said the exact same thing happened to her. So, now, there are two people on the planet, but that seems to be about it. For everyone else, Lyric is the ultimate spicy, floriental rose, but I love it for its beautiful, stunning, spicy, opulent ylang-ylang. Either way, this is one of those scents that every oriental lover should sniff just once in life, in my opinion, men and women alike, because it really is a beauty.

  9. Title unknown. Painter: Victoria Stoyanova, 1968, Bulgaria. Source: tuttartpitturasculturapoesiamusica.com

    Title unknown. Painter: Victoria Stoyanova, 1968, Bulgaria. Source: tuttartpitturasculturapoesiamusica.com

    AMOUAGE EPIC WOMAN. Epic is a darker, drier, more oriental rose fragrance than its sister, thanks to a veil of black incense, rich spices,  dusty oud, and velvety richness. Tea, smoky orris (iris), heady jasmine, spicy patchouli, geranium, and an increasingly prominent streak of vanilla custard are some of the other elements. Epic fits its name well, in my opinion, and is beautifully done. I should disclose, however, that it isn’t the scent for me, and it’s primarily due to my skin chemistry: the guaiac wood takes on the smell of pickles. It’s not powerful, but it’s noticeable and constant enough to ruin things for me in conjunction with some of the dustiness and the touch of soapiness at the end. None of those things suit my personal tastes, but I still find myself admiring the way Epic smolders with richness and complexity. Thankfully for you, most people do not experience pickles, so you should test it for yourself if you find the notes appealing. Plus, the profound spiciness, incense smokiness, and dryness make Epic very unisex in nature.

  10. Photo: Andrew Yee for How To Spend It Magazine via FashionGoneRogue.com

    Photo: Andrew Yee for How To Spend It Magazine via FashionGoneRogue.com

    GROSSMITH SHEM-EL-NESSIM. If you love L’Heure Bleue, you’ll also love Shem-el-Nessim which was heavily influenced by the Guerlain scent and came out a few years later. There are differences, however, as Shem-el-Nessim is more overtly floral and slightly sweeter, but not peppery, woody, or melancholic in any way. Rich neroli orange blossoms swirl together with geranium, roses, deep bergamot, orris, and plush patchouli greenness to create an opulent, luxurious floriental worthy of a queen in a bygone era. I find it truly beautiful, carrying the full weight of its 108 year old history in its powdered floral start, but ending with a very timeless, perhaps even modern, finish of creamy neroli-vanilla mousse. Shem-el-Nessim is not for everyone, but for women who bemoan the loss of the vintage greats, it is a fragrance that they must try. Luca Turin loves it too, and awarded it Four Stars.

Three Honourable Mentions:

There are two names that I considered putting on my main list, but they are airier in nature and not particularly “BIG” fragrances. Still, they have a wonderful headiness, despite their slightly softer or lighter nature. The third name is a fragrance that I’ve worn in passing a couple of times, but haven’t yet subjected to a detailed analysis for the end stages. I like it so much thus far that I actually considered putting it on the main list (as I’ll probably end up buying a bottle), but, for now, I’ll just list it in this section.

  1. Photo: Ellen von Unwerth for Vogue, 1993. Source: Pinterest.

    Photo: Ellen von Unwerth for Vogue, 1993. Source: Pinterest.

    ORMONDE JAYNE TOLU: Tolu is a perfume paradox because it is a scent that is airy and light, while also being narcotically heady and heavy. Often, especially at first, it almost feels more like a pure floral scent, one that is radiates golden sunshine with orange blossoms that are so natural smelling that they’re practically buoyant, fizzily fresh, and sweetly pure. At the same time, Tolu also has delicate lily of the valley (muguet), white orchid, the lavendery cleanness of clary sage, and the tiniest whiff of a delicate rose. It’s a dewy, fresh scent that feels like a pastel bouquet, one that somehow made me feel as though lilac and hyacinth had been tossed in there as well. Despite the airiness, Tolu is paradoxically rich at the same time; despite its strong floralcy, its flowers have oriental qualities as well. Tendrils of incense curl up to wrap around that bouquet like a ribbon; a rich vanilla mousse coats the petals; dark resins run through the base; and the whole thing is cocooned in an ambered glow that feels like the warmth of sunshine. It’s a beautiful scent that truly knocked me off my feet when I first smelled it. However, full disclosure requires me to tell you that I can no longer wear or go near Tolu. When I wrote my review, I had no issues with ISO E Super, and was even anosmic to the aromachemical on occasion. Unfortunately, I subsequently developed a terrible sensitivity to it, one that is due solely and entirely to another Ormonde Jayne scent, Montabacco. It has one of the highest percentages of ISO E Supercrappy on the market, and it triggered a permanent, extreme acuity to the synthetic, as well as a lasting hatred of it. In short, Ormonde Jayne broke me. If you have ISO E Super issues, then the line won’t be for you either, as the brand’s perfumer is famous for his obsessive love for it. However, since most people have no issues with ISO E, you should definitely check out Tolu if the notes sound appealing. I really loved it once upon a time.

  2. "Gold love" by HelaLe on Deviantart.com. (Website link embedded within.)

    “Gold love” by HelaLe on Deviantart.com. (Website link embedded within.)

    VIKTORIA MINYA HEDONIST: Hedonist is a lush, golden, happy, but refined, sophisticated scent that sparkles and soothes at the same time. It opens with heady jasmine that is infused with Bourbon-rum, dark honeycombs, juicy peaches, a bit of fizzy citrus, and some orange blossom, all perfectly blended in a soft, golden cloud. It eventually turns into a honey, beeswax, and vanilla scent that soothes you in its soft sweetness. Whenever I wear it, I as relaxed as a cat stretching out in the warmth of the sun. Hedonist has the feel of classique haute perfumery, but it never feels dated or old-fashioned. It is elegant and opulent without being excessive, heady but perfectly balanced, and sparkles in a way that reminds me both of champagne and the sunniest of skies in the South of France. Truly beautiful.

  3. “Odalisque”, 1874, by Jules Joseph Lefebvre. Source: Te de Violetas and Wikipedia.

    “Odalisque”, 1874, by Jules Joseph Lefebvre. Source: Te de Violetas and Wikipedia.

    HISTOIRES DE PARFUMS TUBEREUSE 3 – ANIMALE: Tubereuse 3 is drop dead sexy, if you ask me! Forget your Fracas or BWF (Big, White Flower) bombs. Don’t think of anything dewy, icy green, or overtly feminine. This is a different sort of tuberose scent, and a truly unisex (sometimes slightly masculine) one. The fleshy, white flower is at the center of a portrait painted with tobacco, coated in honeyed, golden warmth from immortelle, and then sprinkled with tiny dollops of kumquats and neroli. She lies atop a musky base infused with dark plums, dry hay, a subtle smokiness, and what feels like leather as well. Thanks to the immortelle, the tuberose has such a golden warmth to it that it might as well be ambered in colour. While there is nothing truly “Animale” about the scent, there is an overt lusty sensuality to Tubereuse 3 that is very different from the indolic sensuality that is usually manifested by the flower. At the same time, its golden orientalism sets it apart from other tuberose fragrances which, in my eyes, fall into the floral side. I include Serge LutensTubereuse Criminelle in that assessment, though others might disagree. To me, Tubereuse 3 is the more floral counterpart to brand’s famous 1740 Marquis de Sade which is an animalic leather oriental with shared element of muskiness, immortelle, honeyed sweetness, and a touch of fruitiness. Unlike its brother, though, Tubereuse 3 isn’t raunchy or dirty, so its notes don’t scream “SEX!” in the same way that Marquis de Sade does. Yet, they definitely feel related, like mirrors of each other, with a similar vibe. Thanks to that kinship and the inclusion of tobacco, Tubereuse 3 ends up being one of the very few tuberose fragrances that men like to wear as well. As a whole, I think it is a hugely seductive scent that evokes warm, musky skin coated in tuberose and golden sweetness in a way that almost begs to be licked. (I keep mention “sex” for a reason, you know.)

I’m always on the look out for a BBB (Big, Bold, Beautiful) Floriental, and I would love to hear if you have any favorites that would meet my admittedly strict definitions and rather subjective criteria. But it may be harder than you think to come up with some names. A dose too much here, and a scent might be properly classified as a floral; too little there, and it’s probably more of a general Oriental. Plus, it also has to be a big, bold fragrance with opulence (or some lustiness). Can you think of any? It’s a fun exercise, even if it’s also a good way to drive yourself a little crazy in the process.

82 thoughts on “Florientals, Definitions & Big, Bold Favorites

  1. I love this genre of fragrance and yet I only have three on your list and one on your honorable mention list. I will have to get samples of some of the others.

    • Oh, how wonderful that we have some florientals in common. Which 3 from my main list? The honourable mention one is, if I recall correctly, Hedonist for you, right?

  2. Love this post! In no particular order, except the first, which to me is THE floriental par excellence:
    Fate woman
    Nu vintage
    Addict (not as trashy as many think)
    Black Orchid
    Velvet Orchid (juicier and sweeter than B.O)
    Rubj Voile
    Rozy Voile
    Nuit Noire
    Coco (lots of jasmine on my skin, so not strictly oriental)
    Une Fleur de Cassie (pre-reform and post)
    Shanghai Lily
    Plum Japonais
    Maai (:-))

    I think this covers the ones I wear the most!

    • There are some lovely names on that list, Alex! But I’m curious as to how you’re defining “Floriental,” and the criteria for making the cut? I only ask because there are several names that I would classify very different. (And a few don’t really meet my definition of “Big,” “Bold,” or “big and bold.” For example, Maai I see as a total and absolute chypre. Rozy Voile is a chypre, imo. Rubj I see as a skanky floral, though I have admittedly not tried the Voile version. Fate Woman is a hybrid chypre-oriental to me because the first part is pure and total chypre. Shanghai Lily is neither big nor bold, while Plum Japanais is an oriental in my mind. So is Black Orchid, but I’m on the fence about Velvet Orchid.

      Coco, though, was ABSOLUTELY a floriental in the old days. I think it’s been reformulated to weaken the oriental aspect and amplify the floral, so I don’t know what it would qualify as now.

      Please, don’t think I’m trying to cut down your choices in ANY way because I’m not. There are a lot of personal favorites of mine on your list. All I’m trying to point out is the issue of definitions, and what a big difference they make. I mean, would the average person call Maai an oriental, or would most people see it as a chypre? Can one really ignore Fate Woman’s strong chypre first half to call it a floriental? Is that not lumping the chypre-oriental hybrid with things like are purely floral-orientals? Perhaps I’m merely being too specific. As I said in my post, I do overanalyze…. 😉 😀

      • Here goes again Kafka… I was saying that please, overanalyze ;-), I like when you do that! Most of the ones I mention, tend to go orientalish on my skin; I amplify sweeter notes, and even though some like Fate and Maai start quite Chypre-ish, they tend to drown me in floral ambery sweetness. Also I do get a bold feeling from the private blend Fords, these 2 especially radiate in an Amouage way, and they get noticed! As for Rozy, it could be me, but then again I didn’t go with the standard definition, just the way they react on me. I wish Maai was more boldly Chypre, as I love the opening act, but the drydown doesn’t qualify as such on Alex skin!

        • All of that makes total sense, Alex! Thank you for clarifying. You’re so right, skin chemistry will *definitely* impact the balance of notes and whether the needle skids out of the Oriental category into the sub-genre, or vice-versa. I’m so surprised to hear that Maai is not boldly and heavily chypre green on you for a good portion of its lifespan. While I’m sure the more purely floriental version is equally gorgeous on you, it’s a bit of shame you don’t get those massive waves of totally banned heavy greenness. LOL.

          How long do Fate and Maai’s chypre phase last on you? You mentioned it’s there at the start, but does it die away in, like, 15 minutes? 45? An hour? (I’m trying to figure out how your skin works, in case you’re curious.) And what part of Plum Japonais on your skin is so floral that it swings outside the pure Oriental box?

          As a side note, Tom Ford’s Shanghai Lily radiates on you like an Amouage fragrance??! OH.MY.GOD!!! What sort of magical skin do you have, and can I have some of it?! 😀 😀 Lucky devil.

          (PS– As for the disappearing posts, it’s not in the spam folder, and I don’t know why they got deleted. That said, I can delete the two subsequent brief explanations you posted, if you’d like, and just leave this main comment of your up.)

          • Will a slice of my arm suffice? 🙂
            As for the Fords, they are one of the few brands that last like an Amouage; more than 9 hours with quite heavy sillage for the first 3-4; on the other hand, the infamous tobacco Vanille lasts 5 hours with medium sillage… Go figure! Fate, past 30 minutes starts to behave like an oriental; Maai around the 40-45 minute mark.
            Plum Japonais behaves like a yellow floral, sweeter and ‘brighter’ than a white one which turns heady on me. People get all sorts of things out of it, I get nothing like plum, which I love, or immortelle; it’s more resinous.
            As for banned greenness and the like I wish I could get it from Maai, and Chypre Palatin for that matter. The only Chypres that behave like that on my skin are the drier ones, like Aromatics Elixir, Bandit, Scherrer, any Guerlain, Cabochard, vtg Ma Griffe and Miss Dior. Heavily floral ones or more recent reformulations completely lack the green and oakmoss factor unfortunately. Hey, at least I love orientals and I rock them! (According to the ones in my near sillage bubble)

          • Tom Fords are frequently powerhouses on me, too, but not vast majority of the Atelier d’Orient collection. Several of those, including Shanghai Lily, operated on my skin with Le Labo weakness and wispiness. And that was the one I liked the best out of the lot, so I’m very envious of your experience with it. As for Plum Japonais on you, my word! On my skin, it was a bad copy of Serge Lutens’ Fille en Aiguilles, a dark, spicy, plum winter incense fragrance. How fascinating that it was like a yellow floral on you, while the powerbeast Tobacco Vanille lasts a mere 5 hours!!! O_O I’m going to have to ponder THAT for a while now!

  3. This is a terrific post, Kafkaesque, and I’m in sync with your determination of what makes a floral-oriental. A number of the perfumes that you have on this list are among my favorite floral-orientals (all of the Amouages you list are my favorites, and so is Hedonist). You make me want to try the Histoires de Parfums perfume, too, plus some others.

    I know that you don’t care for the recent version of Hermes 24, Faubourg, but that you love the vintage version – and that’s one I consider a floral-oriental. Would you classify it as such? I love 24, Faubourg (the edp which I purchased several years ago; have never tried the vintage).

    • 24 FAUBOURG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, absolutely! It never once crossed my mind, probably because I keep the remnants of my vintage bottle so tightly locked up, I often forget it exists. The vintage version….. God, what a fragrance that was. My God! An absolute favorite of mine and a signature for many years. Stellar choice, Suzanne, and definitely a scent that qualifies as both a true floriental and a “Big, Bold” one, too!

      I wish beyond words that you would try the LM Parfums and some of the SHL 777s. I will send you some, my dearest, albeit you may have to wait 10 days or so. There are some family matters I have to attend to in that time, so I won’t be able to decant or get to the post office. But I will send you an email at some point to ask for your address. You MUST try Sensual Orchid!

      • Oh gosh, that is so kind of you, K. I would definitely like to try those at some point, and I can gladly wait, so please take your time and take care of your family matters.

        Regarding 24 Faubourg … I loved your response!!!!! Even though we are not scent twins, when there is a perfume that we both love, it makes me happy!

  4. Hmm vintage Sung by Alfred Sung? This was my 80s power fragrance, it worked far better on me than Poison, Giorgio, etc

    • I had a dear friend whose mother always wore Sung in the ’80s, but I only have a vague recollection of what it smelled like. In my memory, it is pretty much a pure floral. I just checked on Fragrantica and they say the same thing, though God knows they aren’t always right and I’ve seen them lump Florientals into the Floral category numerous times! (That fact makes the way they define Florientals even more suspect, if you ask me. Grrr)

      Now Giorgio (Beverly Hills) is an interesting one to consider. Floral? Or Floriental? Some people argue that it’s a floral Chypre. Vintage Poison is another one where one could debate the same thing. I think it’s a Floriental.

      • I think vintage Poison counts as a floriental but am less sure about Giorgio. There’s a note in it (honey?) that keeps it out of the floriental category in my opinion. To me it registers golden vs the opulent crimson or cinnabar. Weird I know but I swear I get golden, honeyed notes.

  5. My head is spinning, spinning….roses everywhere. I haven’t gotten to Rose De Petra….and I love Alahine-that’s one beautiful discovery for me! Thanks to you K.:) And it is unisex, not at all what I expected. You know I just tried 1740. I love Coco. Tertiary roses for me with Kalemat. I’ve made a new will where I wish to be embalmed in Kalemat!! Maai mixed in, too. HDP Tubereuse 3 could be for me, yes? You’ve got me on my toes this weekend. Lol

    • Kalemat has tertiary roses on my skin as well, but I know one person who found the roses to be a very heavy, strong presence on his skin. Then again, he’s a fellow rose-phobe, so his threshold is very low to begin with, and a lot of things feel like too many roses. lol

      I’m so glad to hear that Alahine was beautiful on you, not what you expexcted, and very unisex! What we have to get you to do is to try Amouage’s florientals next! I feel you’d keel over at the rose ones, given your love for the flower. And you must try Andy Tauer’s PHI if you haven’t already, Don. You really must!

      • No, I haven’t tried Tauer’s PHI. You did tell me to try it because of its limited season. That laziness on my part. Amouage was what started my interest in luxe-niche fragrances. Reading all the opulent reviews. I’ll definitely rectify this. 🙂 I never realized how much I loved roses until I remembered my grandmother’s roses, how I couldn’t pass by w/o sticking my face in them and to this day I can’t help pulling petals off and crushing them between my fingers. How many gardeners have I angered by doing that? Lol

  6. I only know Alahine, Une Rose de Kandahar and Tubéreuse 3 Animale from your list. Tubéreuse 3 actually turns out to be more ‘floriental’ to me than Alahine and Kandahar, as I can feel the tuberose and other oriental notes distinctively, while they still maintain an intereting interplay.

    Alahine is very beautiful, but my brain just likes to focus on AMBER when I wear it, although it feels more floral when compared to other ambers. I too find rose in Kandahar not the sole focus of the composition, but more like the invitation to all those other lovely notes to this wonderful party.

    The other big florientals, the first one that jumps in my head is probably Cacharel LouLou. 😀

    • I completely understand how or why your brain might be screaming out AMBER when you wear Alahine. 😀 It’s certainly a powerful part of the fragrance. Are Florientals a category to which you are drawn, Yinghao? Is it something that you might like to explore further? Or is the pure Oriental genre more your thing? 🙂

      • Yes, I think so, especially after trying Kenzo Jungle l’Elephant and a few Serge Lutens whichi opened my eyes. I’m still cautious when approaching something too animalic and too spicy, but I’d like to venture more in this category. 🙂

        Talking about SL, I think Cèdre also fits in ‘floreintal’. Although opinions are divided regarding to its proportion of tuberose, cedar and cinnamon, on me it’s an equal trio of the three.

  7. Cool post! I tried Mohur extrait after reading your post and was blown away. So I need to explore this group more.

    So, unrelated, but what the heck is a floral woody musk?

    • I think that’s a great question, James, and I’d say it was completely related to the main issue of the post which is, “how does one really define all these sub-genres and what separates one of them from another?” I should create some Venn Diagrams, because I think it often is an issue of the intersecting/common space between two groups, and sometimes that common area (which is the sub-group) can be quite small.

      In the case of a Floral Woody Musk, a few traits seem common to me: a citric element on top, florals throughout, and a base that has a wood component and clean musk. It always seems to be the clean type of musk, not an animalic one from something like ambrette. (My synesthesia always gives me colours that are white-green-brown thing with a tiny streak of yellow up top from the citrus.) The category draws from the Woody and the Floral but, what I’ve noticed, it’s a lighter, fresher treatment of both key components. There usually isn’t a heavy amber, oriental element to bog things down with weight. (That doesn’t mean there can never be amber, but just that it’s handled in a different way than that of a pure Oriental.) By the same token, any spice note is light, any oriental touch is minor, and a touch of powder isn’t uncommon.

      In essence, the central focus is a joint duet between the floral and the woods, all done in a cleaner, fresher manner through the use of citruses and a clean musk. A lot of times, lighter flowers are used for this genre, at least from what I’ve noticed. Iris is one, and seems to be very common to the group as an ingredient. The citruses are quite a big part of it as a whole, not only through something like bergamot but also neroli, petitgrain, or lemon as well. The example that keeps coming to my mind is LM Parfums’ Vol d’Hirondelle. Other examples would be something like Iris Nobile, Beloved Man, and Dior Homme. There are a LOT of fragrances in this genre, though, as it seems to be a very popular one for men due to its lighter, easier nature and versatility. I hope that helps. Sub-genre are fun things for me to talk about because it makes us see fragrances in a new light or context, and makes us analyse the components more. 🙂

  8. Very interesting post. I have Alahine and I’m ordering PHI, Rose de Kandahar this week. I love those. These are some designer fragrances that I like that to me seem floriental because they are such a mix of ambery resins, spices and florals on my skin. Lagergeld Kapsule Floriental, and Audemoiselle de Givenchy Ambre Velours are the 2 that come to mind. You might find the Givenchy a pure oriental but on my skin the rose is equal to the amber which makes me deem it a floriental..

    • I’ve never tried or heard of either one, Ricky, so thank you! I have a great fondness for Givenchy actually, as it was a brand I wore quite a bit of in the old days. The way you describe the Audemoiselle/Ambre Velours definitely makes it seem like a floriental, since the rose is equal to the amber on your skin. I’ll look them up. Thanks! 🙂

  9. Wonderful post, Kafka! Admittedly, I am not a good classifier of perfumes so posts like these go a long way towards educating a perfume classification dummy like me. In any case, based on this, I would have considered Caron N’Aimez que Moi as a floriental, but Fragrantica classifies it as a chypre or at least, mentioned a chypre base.

    I did not realize it but I do seem to like florientals. Let me enumerate what I have based on your list:

    FB of Tauer PHI Une Rose de Kandahar

    Large decants of:
    NVC Mohur Extrait
    Tom Ford Champaca Absolute
    Viktoria Minya Hedonist
    Amouage Ubar
    Amouage Lyric Woman

    Samples I have but haven’t tried and are now MOCKING me:
    Teo Cabanel Alahine
    Amouage Epic Woman
    OJ Tolu

    Samples I tried:
    LM Sensual Orchid – I was not bowled over by this and need to revisit
    HdP Tubereuse 3 Animale – No. Just. No.

    This leaves me with two from your list that I need to seek out: SHL 777 Rose de Petra and Grossmith Shem-El-Nessim

    On a side note related to one of your commenters comments — Over 25 years ago, I actually had a FB of Sung by Alfred Sung…the original original. I had to give it away because my mom could not stand being in the same house with it. One of my cousins was a perfume company rep and we got all sorts of stuff from him.

    • You have a sample of Tubereuse Animale???!?! What possessed you, woman?! You absolutely LOATHE tuberose, let alone anything animalic. *grin* Heh. As for Shem-el-Nessim, I’d be curious to see what you think. I hear the Extrait version is particularly magnificent but I can’t get a hold of a sample. I’m surprised Sensual Orchid didn’t work for you, as it can take on a slightly gourmand quality on some skin with that vanilla. Perhaps you should try on more or less than the quantity you used in your first test, and see if that makes a difference?

      BTW, in terms of Fragrantica’s classifications for individual scents, I’ve noticed that they RARELY classify things as Florientals. Going through and inputting some names, I saw that they either put the fragrance into the Floral Category or the Oriental one. Some things are CLEARLY not a pure Florals to me, like Dior’s Poison, but that is how they’ve categorized it. They’ve got Shem-el-Nessim the 1912 original as a Floral and the modern version as a Floral Woody Musk, even though the latter supposedly adheres very faithfully and closely to the original formula. So, um….. WTF?! Plus, even the company itself sees the scent as a Floriental! In short, I’d take Fragrantica’s way of classifying things (particularly for this sub-genre) with a heavy grain of salt. Or an entire salt shaker, in fact.

  10. Great post and list. I have tried a couple on your list and like them very much. Thanks to you, I have decided to try (or retry) Ubar.;) I’m glad Shem-el-Nessem is included. I have been very curious about it but don’t know where to get samples. I really really want to try Rose de Petra. I stumbled upon the YouTube video Desert Rose a few weeks ago. . Beautiful! And I connect the perfume with the video I would love to have a print from the still.

    • If you’re in America, you can get samples of Shem-el-Nessim from Luckyscent and Twisted Lily (I believe). If you’re in Europe, it will be even easier. As for Ubar, I hope it works for you, Maya, because I know that none of the Amouages have thus far. Personally, and from the little I know of your tastes thus far, I think something else might be more your cup of tea, like the Shem-el-Nessim. SHL 777 Rose de Petra you can get from Luckyscent or OsswaldNYC, both of which sell samples. Let me know if you get to try any of these and what you think, okay?

      • Thanks Kafka. Luckyscent sells bottles of Shem-el-Nessem but they never seem to have samples. I’ll check out Twisted Lily. As much as I love florals, I realized that I don’t want to limit myself. I’m sure there are many wonderful, non-floral, perfumes that I would regret missing out on.
        PS I just read my original post. I should never write when I’m tired! 🙂

  11. I so enjoy your composite posts! They are my very favorites. I have and love a number of things on your list, including Sensual Orchid and Lyric Woman, two of my all-time favorites. Mohur Extrait would be my signature scent if I had that sort of money. I haven’t taken to Alahine, but then I haven’t tried it four times. I share Alex’s experience with Shanghai Lily, which is a room-filling beast on me and quite lovely. And there is always my hoarded vintage Opium, the empress of Florientals.
    I do wish that Champaca Absolute had worked on me. Instead it was wispy and strangely cold. I was once given a little vial of golden champa absolute from India and it was rich and warm beyond words. I have never smelled anything quite like it.

    • I’m so envious of all you people who get “beast mode” from Shanghai Lily! It’s almost as if you’re all talking about a completely different fragrance than the thing I tried. LOL. My damn skin. Speaking of skin, Champaca Absolute on me was much like the little vial of absolute that you got from India, with enormous richness, warmth, and golden sweetness. Really lush with a richness that almost felt tropical in a way. Such a shame that the TF scent didn’t turn out that way on you!

      I’m curious about our beloved Bitch Goddess on your skin. Do you get a lot of powerful floralcy? Does the floral component sing a loud, solo aria on your skin, because it doesn’t on mine. All the flowers are merged into one and stay in the chorus. Actually, the whole thing is rather a group ensemble — if we’re to continue with singing, stage, or cast analogies. So, for me, Opium is a pure Oriental, not a Floriental.

      • Okay, I admit, the fiery carnation is there but vintage (real) Opium is a pure Oriental on me too. I am just one of those besotted lovers who will grab any excuse to drag my love into the conversation…

        • Haha, drag away. I fully understand being both a “besotted lover,” and seeking any excuse to have The Bitch Goddess be part of the conversation. 😀

  12. Enjoyable post!
    Of those my favourite is Epic Woman, but I haven’t tried all of them. Epic does change depending on skin, on my male friend it became quite medicinal, on myself more floral/vanilla, though that changed on different days. It gave the impression of having picked up every form if incense on its travels, yet well blended.
    I found Rose du Kandahar very powerful, most impressive sillage! It has quite a dose of ambergris doesn’t it? Tauer perfumes are very generous in the level of actual perfume I find

    • I love how you describe Epic as though it had “picked up every form of incense on its travels.” I think that’s quite true, and Epic definitely has that vibe. I was also interested to hear how it appears on your male friend. I bet it was either the guaiac or some combination of the guaiac, spice, and incense that did that on him. Guaiac can be a bit tricky on my own skin, depending on the notes which accompany it. It sounds like your skin handles it much better. 🙂

  13. Your parameters make a lot of sense to me in general. I’m not convinced that florientals as a genre MUST be big, bold and opulent… but hey. It’s your list. You can make the rules. 🙂

    As you might guess, I haven’t tried all of these and am really not feeling the pull to try all of the untried ones. However, I am whiffing little bits of leftover Alahine from yesterday’s sweater (yep, I wore it to church) and enjoying them immensely. Incidentally, I can’t remember whether I tried it three times or four before falling hard, but you’re on the right track with that. I thought it would be Oha I’d love, of the TC sampler. I wuz wrong. Also incidentally, I notice that the TC packaging has changed over the past year, and the bottles are now… metal? metallized plastic? That worries me and I am desperately hoping dear Alahine hasn’t been changed much. It generally takes me years to go through a bottle, but my 100ml Alahine is down to about 60%.

    Ahem. I also love Lyric, and the rose stands out for me in it. Ubar is wonderful, and yet I get very little rose/patchouli out of it – it is primarily a woody muguet with civet for me, and the lemon up top sticks around forevvvvvver. It is wonderful and yet I don’t love it. Epic was a big fail on my skin; it became very acrid and bitter, which seems to often happen with very austere incense fragrances, particularly woody/incense/rose ones. It may be your guaiac/pickles thing; I might cross-reference and see what I find out. Also didn’t like the TF Champaca one, but I remember it clearly as being highly synthetic-smelling and sort of thin. Maybe that’s me – if it was thin on you, it wouldn’t make your list.

    I *am* still interested in testing PHI, Mohur extrait (I did like the edp) and Rose de Petra; just haven’t gotten around to them. Things I’d add: Poison (I like Poison. Are you surprised?), HOnore de Pres Vamp a NY, and possibly Parfum Sacre, though it’s not nearly as bold as the others on the list.

    • Should also add that I liked Shanghai Lily very much, though not enough to buy it (especially when I can layer Donna Karan GOld and DK Black Cashmere, two that I already own, to get a similar effect). That one is also not particularly bold on me.

    • I never said that the GENRE had to be big and bold, Mals. There was no “MUST” involved at all, neither implicitly or expressly. That is false equivalence due to a misreading of my words.

      What I said was that I was thinking “specifically, [of] the big, bold, opulent ones to which I am so drawn.” It was a choice to narrow things down further to the big, bold, opulent interpretations of the genre because that is the sort of Floriental that I like and would be likely to give a good review to. There are plenty of florientals that are intimately discreet, demure, shy, soft, wispy, little things, but that is hardly going to be something I’m going to rave about, is it? But it doesn’t mean that the sub-genre’s definitional criteria requires such a thing, and I never said it did.

      Anyway, I am surprised that you like Poison. 🙂 It doesn’t seem very Mals. But I’m not surprised one bit that you didn’t like Epic. LOL. I can see Lyric as being much more you, because Epic has so much incense, dryness, and heavy spiciness. I bet the Guaiac was a big part of the reason why it turned bitter on your skin. As I was saying in response to RoseStrang, it is a tricky note on my skin depending on the other notes which accompany it. I’ve had the “pickle” thing from Guaiac once before, but other occasions have seen it turn quite bitter, too. The dryness can verge on the acrid as well, particularly if its innate qualities are further amplified by things like incense. (That particular combination went south on me in 2 other fragrances that I can recall.) So, yeah, Guaiac… I bet it was the culprit in your case and you may want to watch out for it in other scents when you see it accompanied by drier notes.

      Shame about TF’s Champaca on your skin, but it was also thin on another reader as well, FeralJasmine. It was so damn heavy, almost tropical, and rich on mine that I’m wondering if it was reformulated at some point? That doesn’t make sense, though, as you probably tried it before I did. So, another case of skin chemistry making a difference.

      I’d love to know what you thought of PHI and how the Tauerade base works on you. Do let me know if you try it, okay? 🙂

      • Ah. I conflated your comment about there not being a ton of fragrances that fit your definition of balance and the one about focusing on those that suit your tastes.

        My sample of the TF Champaca was from, oh, 2011 or so? Gah. Of course, there is always a possibility that a particular bottle was off, and a sample from it was not representative.

        Incidentally, I have begun to wonder if Lyric Woman was reformulated to a considerable degree, if you (and a commenter on NST yesterday) found ylang a stronger presence than the rose. My decant is from 2010. The ylang is *there,* yes, but it tends to present to me as a background creaminess with the focus on rose and incense.

        I shall investigate the guaiac issue further… there are a number of rose+woody incense scents that smell like wet fireplace ashes on my skin. (shudder)

        As for Tauerade – I sometimes get on with it and sometimes don’t. I really disliked Incense Rose (more acrid wet ashes), hated the orange-scented dishwasher soap that was Orange Star, and yet enjoyed Eau d’Epices. I have samples of URC and Carillon pour un Ange that I revisit from time to time. I liked Une Rose Vermeille’s gaudy orange/hot pink gypsy skirt, too, but there are Tauer fragrances I don’t ever want to encounter on my skin again. I have yet to buy any Tauer-composed thing that I loved except Tableau de Parfums Miriam (which I love, and which I bet does the aldehyde snow job on you). But we’ll see about PHI.

        • Interesting about Lyric Woman and someone on NST also finding it to be very ylang-ylang dominant. I guess that makes 3 people now, as a blogger told me on Twitter last year that Lyric wasn’t rose-heavy on her skin at all. I wonder about the reformulation possibility now, too. Frankly, these days, I almost *expect* any older or established scent (that has been around at least 5 or 6 years) to be reformulated in order to save money on expensive ingredients. At least, it doesn’t come as a shock to me when people say that they think something may have changed. Reformulation seems to be a sad fact of how the industry works these days.

          Re. Guaiac, it’s sometimes described as having the smell of an autumn bonfire with burning leaves, and it sometimes manifests itself that way on my skin, too. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if your skin turned that bonfire to fireplace ashes. Guaiac seems to be an increasingly common note in a number of fragrances that I’ve tried, so perhaps you can do a test with several different samples and see if you discover a common theme? 🙂

          In terms of the Tauer creations for the Tableau line, the one that did a real number on me was Ingrid. *shudder* I haven’t tried Miriam, I don’t think, and your comment about the aldehydes doesn’t make me more eager to do so. LOL 😉

  14. I also have and love Alahine, Ubar, PHI, Champaca Absolute, Lyric, Epic and Tolu. Big floriental fan from way back. I used to wear Poison, Ysatis and Yvresse back in the day – still wearing Byzance since 1987. It will be a sad day when it finally runs out.

    • How great that we share so many common loves, Tara. Interesting about the Yvresse and Ysatis, two scents that I enjoy so much in vintage form. (Yvresse, in particular.) On my skin, though, they are purely Chypres, not Florientals, because the oakmoss base is so dominant or powerful. I sympathise with you about Byzance. That was a great scent, but I can’t imagine that it’s held up well to modern changes/reformulation. I imagine that you must be pretty well-stocked up on it for now, though. lol

  15. It seems I should try Alahine 3 more times 🙂 I tried it once and it punched me in the nose so strongly that I put it in the ‘no way’ pile immediately. I promise to re-try 🙂 mals – yes, TC changed their bottles in the fall.

    Interesting that you don’t get orchid from TF Black Orchid — it positively booms orchid on me. I can smell orchids all over the house when I wear it. Reminds me of the how big Hawaiian hotels always smell to me, with their orchid displays everywhere.

    I don’t get rose in Kalemat either. And I don’t much like rose, either. But I do like Kalemat.

    YSL Champagne/Yvresse…. yes, huge oakmoss. I have a wee bottle of Champagne parfum, which makes me drool, and is significantly more oakmoss than the edt. *swoon*

    Hedonist makes me purrrrrrr

    Am eagerly awaiting the Amouage samples I ordered last week! and I should get to work on the PHI sample that arrived a few days back….

      • The fragrances have not been altered, at least as of last year when Teo Cabanel’s U.S. distributor told me that it was a mere packaging change. I hope that helps.

    • Heh, Alahine *does* punch out the nose at first if one applies a lot. I had to laugh at the immediate “No way” response to that. I think Alahine is a lot like vintage Opium used to be in terms of that opening blast. As for the change in bottles, Teo Cabanel’s distributor told me last year that the company didn’t reformulate. It was merely a change in the packaging.

      As for Black Orchid, how lovely that you get such a hefty amount of orchids from it. I rather envy you. On me, the flower is very much part of an ensemble piece, instead of singing loudly in a solo aria. The discontinued flanker, Voile de Black Orchid, was much more overtly floral on me, though.

      I hope you like PHI, Pixel, as well as your Amouage samples. 🙂

  16. Oh, what a great post, Kafka! As you know, I adore florientals and have about 3/4s of the ones you list here (and want the rest of them!)…. and after reading your post this morning I had to wear Alahine today which you introduced me to and will always remind me of you.

  17. What an interesting post and comments Kafka :). Yes, this must be my genre after all. I had myself down as an oriental lover, but I do also adore Lyric, Epic etc. Now it makes sense! I would also include three of the fantastic Opus fragrances: 1 (for its spicy rose), III (stunning violet) and V (ditto iris). At the weekend I created my first perfume by playing around with favourite notes. I bought an ASAQ bottle containing their perfumer’s alcohol and a woody base oil and added random drops of oakmoss and vanilla, but then thought about brightening it with some florals, so in went a smidge of jasmine, some Taifi rose, gardenia, ylang ylang and bergamot. Good, but went to awesome when I dripped in some orange oil! The result is fantastic and, yes, sounds like a floral oriental to me. I think I was subconsciously trying to recreate BaV (floral oriental?). I’m going to add a bit of civet and hope I don’t ruin the whole thing. Just wish I’d written the precise recipe down :(.

    • Your combination sounds lovely, Jane! Really lovely! BTW, Bal à Versailles would definitely be a Floriental in my books, and your mix of notes does sound like it recreates some of that fragrance’s elements. It sounds like Floriental may be one of your genres after all. 🙂

  18. Dear Kafkaesque, what a lovely list, thank you!
    I love this genre, on my way to Oman I am on an Amouage smelling spree, so far Ubar, Honour, Epic and Memoir. I couldn’t get a Fate sample so I may smell it in Muscat. I love Epic. Is Memoir part of the Big Florientals? Even my husband remarked its similarity to the green poison 🙂 I loved it at the time, as well as Loulou which I have use to wear often (many years ago). Tolu is still good to my nose, and ofcourse Mohur E.
    Now one question, does my beloved Roberto Cavalli Lemming belong on your list, or isn’t she bold and loud enough? I understand it is a simple perfume, but she does it for me often!
    Hugs for your hairy gentleman.

    • I didn’t mention Roberto Cavalli primarily because it is discontinued, and I wanted to list fragrances that were currently in circulation so that people could try them easily if they wanted. 🙂 Plus, I do think it’s a bit soft in nature and not hugely bold.

      I hope you get to try Fate Woman, as it’s a gorgeous, gorgeous scent. Memoir is one Amouage that I haven’t gotten around to testing yet. I have a sample, but haven’t tried it. Anyway, have a blast in Oman!

      • Roberto Cavalli is still widely available in the Netherlands, but now it may be safe to buy a BB. I hope you will get round to reviewing Memoir. I just read your steamy Fate review and will make sure to sample it. B.t.w. I was so sorry to read the Hairy German has HD, I hope you found a way to manage it (plenty of experience here, so far Angela M.’s hips are as good as we could hope for, we had pics taken a few weeks ago after she started limping, false alarm, our previous German Shepherd had very bad hips, but she died of a different cause). Best wishes!

  19. It’s a very interesting post, I enjoyed reading thoughts beyond your classification (I like classifications, you know 🙂 ). What I also find interesting, is that, with our regular differences in taste, out of your 10 BIG, BOLD & BEAUTIFUL FLORIENTALS list I really like, own (at least a decant) and wear 7: Alahine, Ubar, Mohur, Phi, Champaca Absolue, Lyric and Epic. The other 3 from that list I haven’t tried but who knows – I might end up liking them as well.

    Let me see if I can find other favorites that would fit into “your” definition: Guerlain Angelique Noire, Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, Lancôme Mille et Une Roses and Eau de Tommi Sooni II.

    • Thank you for your list, Undina. I shall have to think about Angelique Noire, since my memories of it don’t involve a heavy amount of Oriental elements but far more gourmand ones. I sent it to you in part because it was too herbal and then too sugary sweet on my skin. Is it very floral and very darkly, resinously, ambered oriental on your skin?

      I have a sample of Tommi Sooni II, I think, and shall keep your words in mind when I try it. 🙂

  20. I very much enjoyed this wonderful and precise post and all the comments, it’s so much fun to compare and contrast and make up categories and sub-genres!
    Fidji (Guy Laroche) might fit in your category for a Floriental. The flowers are loud and clear enough and at the same time respond to and correspont with the oriental voices (sandal, amber, resins, cloves and spicy notes). Actually it reminds me a bit of 24 Faubourg. Another pretty Floriental is Caron’s Aimez-Moi.
    Shalimar Initial L’Eau is more of an Orifloral than a Floriental to me and a lovely fruity Floriental could be Bombay Bling.
    And what about Nahema? Is it a hybrid in your opinion? Aldehydes, green notes…I would nevertheless put it in the floriental corner. Ah, thanks for the inspiration!

    • I think Fidji would undoubtedly qualify! I haven’t tried Aimez-Moi, I’m afraid. As for Bombay Bling, I would have to think about that one, as I think the fruity aspect trumps the florals by quite a bit. It isn’t a scent that comes to mind when I think of florals in general, since it has such a fruity presence atop an oriental structure. Vintage Nahema is probably a floriental, but it is such a complex kaleidescope that sometimes it skews more floral on my skin and sometimes a wee bit more oriental. For the most part, though, I would say Floriental. 🙂

  21. Hi, thank you for this post, I haven’t tried most of these! I love rich orientals (yum amber) and florientals (Tolu is one of my favourites) and was looking for more winter ideas 🙂 Your list was perfect timing for me as I just got a sample of PHI this week because I had heard such good things. But now that I have it I’m really surprised! It doesn’t seem rich or spicy on me like I was expecting, but very musky, and delicately sweetened pink rosy baby powder? My perfume sample is completely clear in colour, do you think I could have gotten the wrong sample by mistake? I have tried Tauer’s Une Rose Chypre, and also OJ Ta’if, both which I really liked, and I find far richer and complicated than PHI. I’d love to know your thoughts, Thanks!

    • Rosy baby powder? Oh dear. Tauer fragrances sometimes do have a lot of powder that is so sweetened, it is almost candied in quality. (I’ve compared it to Pez in the past.) Nevertheless, that shouldn’t be the primary focus of PHI by any means, even with the differences that may ensue from different skin chemistry. Did you experience no tobacco, spices, vetiver, or apricot at all?

      I pulled up my manufacturer’s sample of PHI to compare its colour to what you’ve described. It is a light colour, but it definitely skews a little golden and yellow. It is not absolutely clear in colour at all. HOWEVER, my sample was from the very first batch of PHI that came out last year, not the most recent one. Still, I find it hard to believe that even the new PHI would change so dramatically, wouldn’t have any spiciness on your skin, or spices/labdanum to impact the colour of the juice.

      Where did you get your sample? Most of the established places don’t make mistakes in things like this, but no-one is error-free in life. It certainly does seem odd. Then again, one never knows what skin chemistry will do to a scent. You should have seen just how badly Tauer’s Sotto La Luna Gardenia went south on me. That had a TON of candied, sweetened powder on me with musky, almost rancid wood but absolutely no florals whatsoever.

      • I got the sample from STC, but after your comments, I’m thinking that it’s just a dud on me, rather than a mistaken sample. I also got an even more soapy mess from Sotto La Luna and Orange Star… I tried PHI again and i think i might have gotten the slightest bit of sour tobacco, but i can’t find the apricot, spices or much of anything other than the candied rose musk. Very late I get some of the tonka i think. I suspect my skin may eat up amber, because scents i’ve heard described as strong (like Dune, Kenzo Jungle Elephant, SL Ambre sultan, Coco, Organza Indecense) just seem warm and cozy on me 🙂 It’s also very cold where i am, maybe that’s the problem, or Tauer is just tricky for me. Thanks for your thoughts, also for the ISO e super info. I love Tolu, so I’m definitely going to avoid the one that ruined it for you. I think I’ll aim next to hunt down the Amouages you mention!

        • Orange Star is very soapy on me too, Sarah! And let’s not talk about Sotto La Luna because… no, let’s not. I can’t bear to revisit that one. For what it’s worth, Tauer is a line that a number of people find tricky, and where it really depends from one scent to another. Sometimes, it’s the Tauerade in the base that people struggle with, sometimes it’s the ISO E Super that a good number of them have, sometimes it’s the sweetness (powdery or otherwise), and something it’s something unique to that particular creation. My point is, don’t feel badly if neither PHI nor some of the other ones in the line haven’t worked for you.

          As for Amber, how interesting that you think your skin may eat it up. I don’t think some of the mixed note fragrances you listed (Dune, Coco, Organza Indecense) in their reformulated self have a TON of amber, and they’re definitely not amber soliflores. But Ambre Sultan is, so…. hm. That’s odd. Have you tried other soliflore ambers, as opposed to things where amber is merely part of an ensemble? For example, Profumum’s Ambre Aurea? If you don’t get strong, deep, intense amber from that one, then your skin clearly handles the note in a different way, either eating through it too quickly or not letting the base notes bloom out. 🙁

          • I’m not sure whether my skin eats up amber or whether I just really like it as a note and so have a high tolerance for large amounts of it, always wanting more 🙂 I actually get much more amber in Tauer’s Une Rose Chypree, which seems to be the only one of his that works for me so far. Maybe I am experiencing the amber in the PHI but I can’t identify it as such because the rosy musk just jumps to the front for me. I find that if there is white musk (the powdery one, not the animalic one) or sometimes iris it often ruins fragrances for me. Like bringing a cohesively blended perfume out of balance by sticking out those notes in a distracting way. I haven’t tried a lot of amber soliflores yet, and have never tried Profumum’s Ambre Aurea, but i will add it to my list for the future! The Mohur on your list also looks like a good one to try 🙂

  22. I would say thank you for this marvellous list, except I went to sniff Alahine on Friday and now I’m obsessed! I don’t have a very developed nose but it was intriguing and rich and gorgeous. I’m looking forward to exploring the rest of the list.

    • “Obsessed”? HURRAH! I’m thrilled to hear that. Really, I am. And how amazing that you seemed to have fallen for Alahine at the first go — that doesn’t usually happen. 😀 😀 There are a lot of fragrances I like, but when I hear that someone has become obsessed with Alahine, it somehow seems to mean so much more. Perhaps because it’s such an under-appreciated fragrance. (Actually, the whole Teo Cabanel line is sorely under-appreciated and little known as a whole! It’s a very solid line-up in general)

      Thank you so much for letting me know, Helena. It’s rather made my day.

  23. I love so many on this list! Especially Ubar, Lyric and Tolu (which is quite potent on me). As if I needed more of an excuse to want to smell like a horse now I get to wear Ubar and imagine I’m an Arabian stallion! I know this is a more of a tropical take but what about Penhaligon’s Amaranthine? A very spicy, creamy floriental

    • I’ve only tried Amaranthine once and it was a while ago, but my memory of it does seem to accord with the Floriental category. 🙂

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  25. I am so happy I found your blog! I am from Ukraine, Kiev, and I am parfum addicted for many years. And it is amazing that we are like parfum twins have almost the same taste. I discovered yesterday LM Epine Mortelle and was looking for review on this paarfum and that is how I found you. The way you discribe parfumes is like music, I feel sometimes the same but I do not have tallent to express it the way you do it. So much outstanding feeleings whilw I am reading your posts. Thank you !!!!!!!

    • Welcome to the blog, Zhanna Sweere! 🙂 Thank you for your very kind, touching words on my reviews. It really means a lot to me. I hope I get the chance to know you and your perfume tastes better in the months to come. 🙂

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