Mainstream Perfumes – Mood Scent 4

Welcome to the latest instalment in the Mood Scent 4 blogging project. (If you missed the previous posts they were about Rainy Day Perfumes and Wedding Guest Perfumes). Today, my fellow bloggers and I are sharing our mainstream perfume picks.

Ninety-nine percent of the time I write about – and wear – fragrances other than those from the mainstream. When I fell down the rabbit-hole I snubbed my previous ‘duty free’ choices in favour of niche and high-end boutique fragrances such as Les Exclusifs de Chanel.

Now I’m coming full circle. The niche perfumes – generally starting at £150 for 50ml – are becoming more and more unremarkable. I’m starting to re-assess and re-appreciate what is available on the high street.

I’ve limited my choices below to the fragrances available at my local Beauty Base.


Mood scent purple


Infusion d’Iris L’Absolue EDP by Prada

Notes: Neroli, orange blossom, iris, mastic, benzoin, tonka bean, vanilla and white musk.

The original Infustion d’Iris is great; a wash of light blue with a flash of orange and tints of green. However my preferred version is L’Absolue which takes it to whole other level. As the name suggests, the iris is beefed-up with a nice dose of rootiness and an improved amount of throw. I love iris but it’s hard to find high quality, straight-up versions at your local perfume emporium. This is a total winner.


iris prada


Agent Provocateur (AP Signature) by Agent Provocateur 

Notes: Saffron, rose, jasmine, magnolia, coriander, vetiver, amber and musk.

My sister used to wear this and it was fantastic on her. Agent Provocateur is a fresh, blush rose wrapped in a big, fluffy cloud. It’s pleasing when a perfume fits the brand perfectly, the way it does here. The scent is a boudoir mist of rosy powder and femininity. I don’t get anything animalistic from it. To me it’s a coquettish, girlie perfume, in the best way. If you search online, you can get it for a song.



No.19 EdP by Chanel

Notes: Green notes, bergamot, rose, iris, vetiver, oakmoss and leather.

No.19 is old-school chic at its finest. Can you think of two more rarefied materials than iris and galbanum? The soft aldehydes at early doors settle down to a gently powdery finish. When you put this on, don’t be surprised to find yourself standing a little taller. I liked the Poudré version but it lasted all of 30 minutes on me. Apparently the EdP is not merely a different concentration but a reinterpretation. The high street doesn’t get much classier.

no 19

Eau des Merveilles by Hermes

During summer, it’s tempting to reach for a fragrance which makes you feel like you’ve spent the day on the beach. Eau des Merveilles combines salty skin with joy inducing orange. The scent dries down to a hollowed-out woody amber which takes its lead from ambergris rather than oriental amber. I find its tenacity a little wearing after a while but it’s a good alternative to the usual coconut-heavy, ‘resort perfumes’.

eau des merveilles

Encre Noire by Lalique

There are quite a few great mainstream fragrances aimed at men, such as Terre de Hermes and Dior’s Eau SauvageEncre Noire is a forest vetiver loved by women as well as men. It’s wonderfully aromatic, opening up in a glade of pine trees before letting the smoky vetiver take centre-stage. You can read my full review of this and the flanker Encre Noire A L’Extreme here.



Don’t miss the mainstream scents chosen by my pals at L’Esperessence, Megan In Sainte Maxime and I Scent You A Day.




Which mainstream perfumes do you think are of note?




Filed under Perfume Reviews

21 responses to “Mainstream Perfumes – Mood Scent 4

  1. I love Prada Infusion d’Iris Absolue, it’s such a well-made perfume 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would buy and wear every single one of those Tara! I especially love Prada Infusion D’iris. In fact, all the infusion range scents are out of this world. I’m also a big fan of No 19 and reckon it outranks Chanel No 5, in fact. There, I’ve said it! xx


  3. Great picks, especially Agent Provocateur and Eau des Merveilles, to which I am a recent convert. I would add Prada Candy to your list, and Prada L’Eau Ambree, also Bvlgari Jasmin Noir. And Kenzo Flower Oriental, if they still do it, one of my all-time faves. And probably quite a few more if I sat down for longer – the mainstream market does have a lot going for it.

    I have to say though that some of my ‘civilian friends’ would most likely not have come across these scents…to them, Chanel consists of No 5 and Coco Mademoiselle. Hermes and Lalique would be very upmarket, partly because I am pretty sure they are not stocked in my local Boots, which is the ‘mainstream universe’ for many living in the provinces.


    • Do you have a place like The Perfume Shop in Stafford or is it just Boots? I guess a lot of people stick to what they know even if they do have access.
      Prada Candy was well done even if it wasn’t for me and I bought Jasmin Noir for my sister as it has a nice vanilla base . The packaging for Kenzo Flower always put me off though I’ve only just realised that was the reason. Too much like a flower in a test tube.


  4. Tara I enjoyed reading about all of your choices. No 19 called to me recently at the airport to try it and for the first time I ‘got’ it. I think Dryad helped me to open my green eye. I would like all of these in my perfume cupboard. The only one I have is Agent Provocateur …. yet.


    • Hey Megan, it’s taken me a long time to get No.19 too because of the aldehyde and galbanum but it’s nice that it’s clicked now. The fact my mum has worn it for a long time has also been a factor. It seemed very her. Likewise the only reason I don’t own L’Absolue is because my work colleague wears it. #mainstreamperfumeproblems


  5. Great list, Tara! I agree with you on the fact that more and more niche brands or fragrances are becoming unremarkable. You have to smell a lot of stuff to find the outstanding stuff. Love your choices and will try the Encre Noir as I love vetiver.


    • I think for those prices you should get something that is noticeably different to the mainstream. The prices are going up but the originality seems to be declining. That’s partly why I’m so drawn to artisan perfumery.


  6. Tara, I loved your list but I think you’ve cheated: all of these are high-end mainstream, and moreover, most of them are already classic perfumes 🙂
    Chanel No 19 (though in EdT – there is no EdP offered even in luxury department stores here) is one of my all-time favorites in general, not just in the declared category.
    Talking about mainstream, I think I still would wear most of Thierry Mugler’s perfumes. If Estée Lauder still produces Tuscany per Donna, I would have probably risked trying the current formulation. Same with Estee and Private Collection. Most “regular” Hermes perfumes are totally wearable.


    • Ha! I thought I was being good sticking to my local perfume shop. Expensive taste will out 🙂
      I do have trouble finding anything I’d want to buy from the mainstream. How strange that it’s hard for you to get the EdP of No.19i in the States. Very annoying. I’m still unsure of what concentration to buy.


  7. Mmm… these are all goodies, especially Lalique Encre Noire. Ultimately, there are great niche fragrances and great designer fragrances.


  8. I know what you mean, coming the full circle, and with the prices and the lack of soul in new niche releases, it’s natural to look to mainstream again. I like your choices, and apart from 19 and merveilles which never worked for me, I owned the others. However, I do find they exist in better niche versions for me. I also notice your list does not hold any newish mainstream releases 😉 I did think Bulgari eau the bleu was rather good and special, I keep going back to that thinking of a purchase.


    • To be honest, it takes a lot for me to bother with a new mainstream release. If I’d had more time, I might have checked out some mor recent perfumes but Megan kindly reminded me on the Friday for posting Monday and I’d completely forgotten!
      Interesting to hear you like Bulgari Eau de The Bleu. I love a tea fragrance. I just recently saw that Victoria mentioned Eau de Narcisse Bleu by Hermes has a tea note.


  9. Pingback: Mood Scent 4 – Uplifting Perfumes | A Bottled Rose

  10. Pingback: A Month of Irises | A Bottled Rose

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