After so many great suggestions and discussion in this thread, I wanted to share a short update on my adventures:

  • I've been sampling lots of perfumes, training my nose. (Among other things: I like Shalimar's notes, but overall as a perfume it turns bitter on my skin really fast. I *should* like Angel but it is too sharp. I like L'Heure Bleue a lot, but I'm not sure if it is MY scent. So far I'm a little turned off by aldehydes in scents such as Chanel No. 5 or White Linen. I find that a lot of the complex, layered scents I like have patchouli in it even though I hate patchouli on its own.)
  • I sampled and then ordered Kenzo Jungle L'Elephant. What a fragrance! It dances on my skin, throwing off spices, but overall it maintains a pretty and sweet smell. The overall experience is like the joy I get from walking into my favorite spice shop. This is definitely a keeper for me.
  • I have recently been playing with samples of two Jo Malone fragrances. JM's colognes tend to have low staying power, but these are two that actually last the day on me so far: Mimosa & Cardamom, and Nutmeg & Ginger. They are interesting on their own, and layer beautifully together. I'm planning to buy one of each.

I have quite a few samples of scents coming to experiment with. Mind, I do not plan to buy full bottles of all or any; some are incredibly expensive, but samples or small decants make a little bit of the fragrance within reach, and I could always perhaps save for one favorite if the full bottle is out of my price range. These are the coming samples that I'm looking forward to trying:

  • Lolita Lempicka: I love anise in tea, and I'm intrigued by the description of the layers but overall pretty scent.
  • Etat Libre d'Orange Fils de Dieu: Based on reviews, this sounds like it brings in the spice that I like about Shalimar, but with a creamy basmati rice flavor.
  • Frederic Malle Musc Ravegeur: I am super intrigued by the interplay of bergamot and lavender with vanilla, and the animalic sensuality, that reviewers have highlighted.
  • Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille: As discussed on the other thread, the ultimate vanilla.
  • Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau: Sounds like a very savory gourmand, bringing in toast and jam into a woody oriental.
  • Olfactive Studio Lumiere Blanche: Sandalwood, cardamom, milk with a musky base.
  • Imaginary Authors Memoirs of a Trespasser: I'm intrigued by the entire concept of this Portland perfume line, where each scent has a narrative based on a fictional book. Vanilla, myrrh, and resin sound intriguing.

There are many scents that I still want to try - En Voyage is at the top of my list, particularly Frida and each of the scents part of the Souvenir de Chocolate Trio. I also haven't yet delved into the brick and mortar niche and specialty department stores available in the Seattle area, so I expect to have further stories in the future.