How to choose a signature scent

My signature scents (AKA I like to smell like the 60s)

I’m not sure if I’m putting on waaaay too much or I actually smell of cat piss, but randoms regularly stop me to ask me about the perfume I’ve got on. Y’know, at the bus stop, in the supermarket – that sorta thing.

I’d like to think that, because people are so wowed at the whiff of my pong as I waft past, I’m therefore winning at adulting and have got my signature scent NAILED.

So here’s a little list of my favourite fragrances; my preferred perfumes of choice. I KNOW I SPOIL YOU GUYZ.

My main criteria when seeking out a new scent is: does it smell like the late 60s or a Christmas candle? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then we have ourselves a deal, counter lady! #Ihavethisthingwithpatchouli

Btw, I almost exclusively only buy my perfume from Duty Free, when I’m off on vacay, to save a few bob. That, or I get the gift of new pong for Christmas/my birthday. And with THAT in mind, that’s exactly why I’m putting together this handy list for, y’know, the reference of friends and family. Just in case. HIYAS.

Natalie le blow best patchouli perfumes

Chanel No.5

Top notes: Ylang-Ylang, neroli, aldehydes
Heart notes: Jasmine, may-rose
Base notes: Sandalwood, vetiver

Like many women, my first spritz of the good stuff was via a bottle of it on my mum’s dressing table back in the 80s. And like most young girls, I swerved it for smelling a bit too ‘mature’ (and also the fucking expensive price tag, obvy).

Not sure what changed, aside from the fact I got older, really – meh. I’ve been wearing The ol’ French Digits (just made that up btw – good huh?) for years now, and would say this is definitely my numero uno classic signature scent – but only because I have been lucky enough to be kept in bottles of the good stuff via the medium of gifts for the past few years *thank you Birthday Gods, you have been kind*

Chanel Coco Noir

Top notes: Grapefruit, bergamot
Heart notes: Rose, jasmine, Indonesian patchouli
Base notes: Sandalwood, Brazilian Tonka bean, white musk

God, this bottle gives good Instagram, especially when paired with a sassy white bathroom background. Just watch all the likes flood in and thank me later.

Anyway, back to the scent. Despite appearances (and, er name), this perfume isn’t as ‘noir’ as you’d expect. I guess it’s essentially Chanel Coco Mademoiselle ‘after dark’ – a bit like Hollyoaks Lates, but for scents.

The ingredients list is everything I could want in a perfume and more. IRL, it’s fairly decadent, sweeter than you’d assume from the packaging and definitely one to spritz on of an evening. It’s sexy but in a classy way, and when I wear it I feel like a power-house wo-man of the world with expensive taste, who’s really got her shit together.

Natalie le blow best patchouli perfumes

Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir

Top notes: raspberry, pomegranate, plum, rhuburb and watermelon
Heart notes: lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, rose, pink pepper, clove, olibanum, opoponax and guaiac wood
Base notes: virginia cedar, patchouli, musk and amber

This one smells expensive (mainly ‘cos it ain’t cheap but HELLO JO MALONE AND YOUR DELICIOUSLY COVETABLE CONCOCTIONS). It’s a luxurious, heady aroma that stays on your skin alllll day. So, value for money, I’d say. And the bottle, like all JM stuff, is hella classy and such a keeper.

I pretty much am guaranteed a compliment/comment on my scent when I wear this bad boy as it’s so distinctive and rich #HUMBLEBRAG. To me, it smells of enchanted forests and old churches and cloves and dried berries and plums and, er, pomegranates, obvy.

Clinique Aromatics Elixir

Top notes: Rose, chamomile
Heart notes: Oakmoss, jasmine, muguet, ylang-ylang
Base notes: Patchouli, musk, amber, sandalwood

Launched in 1971, this is legit the smell of the seventies captured in a bottle. While I can’t put Clinique’s skincare products anywhere near my face (waaaay to harsh for my pansy skin), I spritz this all over myself most days as a ‘base scent’ and then layer a dab of one of the other perfumes in this list on top. No real reason for doing that, really, but I like to try and create my own unique pong (and make my expensive perfumes last, not gonna lie).

Warning: Most people recoil when they sniff this straight out of the bottle. It’s one step away from smelling like an old bag lady, which is another reason to combine other fragrances with it. And admittedly, it does look a bit like wee in the bottle. [Hiyas Clinique marketing team; I’m available to write copy for you A-N-Y-T-I-M-E].

But to me, it smells… MYSTICAL. It DOES smell of the 70s. And it’s so different to most other scents on the shelves today, that it IS stand-out. I can imagine a woman dressed in BIBA wearing this. I want to BE that woman *pours entire bottle over self*

Tom Ford Violet Blonde

Top notes: Mandarin orange, pink pepper, violet leaf
Heart notes: Iris, jasmine, orris
Base notes: Musk, suede, cedar, vetiver, benzoin

This was first brought into my life via Le Blow v.1 when I had some lovely ladies contributing to the site. Upon the trusted recommendation of then beauty boss Sarah, I added this to my Christmas wish-list at the time and Santa came up trumps.

Despite appearances (I think the packaging and bottle for this fella are pretty piss poor tbh), the scent itself is like… a boudoir. A sexy, smoke-filled, dimly-lit, opulent boudoir with velvet curtains, scarves over lampshades and a paisley chaise lounge. It’s peppery, powdery and sweet, with musky undertones.

All in all, pretty darn sexual – and probs no coincidence it’s my boyfriend’s favourite fragrance on me.

Natalie le blow best patchouli perfumes

Tom Ford White Patchouli

Top Notes: Bergamot, peony, white flowers, coriander
Heart Notes: Rose, ambrette seed, night blooming jasmine
Base Notes: Incense, patchouli orpur, woody notes

Oh you absolute bohemian beauty, you. Insert all the heart eye emoji faces here. While some of the other scents might be considered a little heavier and therefore more wintry, now that the spring has (sort of) sprung, I find myself spritzing this softer scent on the regular. It’s sunflowers and spice and meadows and incense sticks and mystical women riding unicorns all at once.

If you’re yet to fully embrace patchouli properly, I’d recommend this as a good ‘entry level’ fragrance fo sho. Also: the white bottle gives good Insta grid, which apparently is really important to me and my more ‘basic’ tendencies.

LUSH Karma

Top notes: Orange, lavender and lemongrass
Heart notes: Pine tree, lemon and cassis
Base notes: Patchouli, fir resin, elemi and cinnamon

If you’re after an every day scent to wear, that doesn’t cost £49897868457 like most of the above, allow me introduce you to Karma by Lush. IT’S BASICALLY STEVIE NICKS IN A BLOODY BOTTLE. In fact, the description on LUSH’s website is pretty spot on tbf:

Recalling London in the 1960s, clouds of patchouli mingle with uplifting sweet orange and cleansing pine.

How terribly groovy.

It’s certainly the most citrusy out of all these scents – but in a cloves-stuck-into-an-orange-at-Christmas kinda way. It smells of those hippy shops that sell crystals and dream-catchers and patterned harem pants – which to me is a GOOD THING btw.

I buy the small 10ml bottle to keep in my handbag for guilt-free spritzing throughout the day (particularly useful when nestled under someone’s arm-pit on the too-packed commute to work).

So there we have it. Seven of my signature scents. That’s quite a lot, tbf. So what’s your favourite fragrance? And, more importantly: what are your thoughts on patchouli? Note: I’ll only publish positive comments. Jokes.

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