A Zodiac Guide to ‘Fumes

– An irreverent – and tongue-in-cheek – guide to the rest of the world’s scented disasters!

Have you ever read descriptions of what perfumes your Zodiac sign is supposed to go for and thought:

‘They’ve got to be kidding, right? Me and Bal à Versailles??? Over my dead, decaying Diors!’

Have you ever wondered what mind-blowing insights might be offered if someone ever dared to write the whole truth and nothing but – about what we truly, really wear?

Wonder no longer! For Scent Less Sensibilities dares where others wrinkle their noses! What’s the worst thing that can happen – apart from litigation? Based on decades of experience and about 130 lbs of blarney, here’s your ultimate guide to knowing with your nose.

Rams often attack in full daylight, horns first and consequences be damned!. You always know where you stand with a Ram – right in front of their own self-interest. So when it comes to perfume, Rams of either sex are bold, brash and in your face and at the epicenter of every universe you’ve never heard of. Naturally, a personal perfume should reflect that. Male Rams prove it was no accident Chanel came up with ‘Egoíste’, and it suits them perfectly. Female Rams tend to exorcise a tad more restraint. Agent Provocateur’s ‘Boudoir’, for instance. Or Jean Desprèz ‘Bal à Versailles’.

You think that anyone born under the sign of a placid, cud-chewing herbivore would be placid, plain and simple. You would be wrong. The undisputed sensualists of the Zodiac, Taurus l-o-v-e-s anything pertaining to the senses. You draw your own conclusions – at your peril. For Taurus, too much of everything can be…wonderful. So long as it’s classy, elegant, and smells like the million dollars they will surely own some day. Male Bulls stick with the tried-and-true, such as Givenchy Homme, and the very womanly Taurus will love, worship and adore the epically elegant, maximalist approach of Amouage’s Epic Woman. She is. You have been warned.

The important thing to remember in dealing with Geminis is that you are always dealing with at least two people at any given moment in time, and those two – or four, or ten! – can’t agree on anything, never mind perfume! So Geminis can be all over the map. Male Geminis tend to avoid anything in the slightest floral like the plague, including the women who wear them. Fleeting, flirty and gone in sixty seconds suits their style, if not their entire M.O. If it’s something they put on and forget about, so much the better. Fougères suit their style, so long as they’re not too demanding, as well as citrus-based scents like Guerlain’s Eau de Cèdrat or Eau Impèriale. For lady Geminis, it’s whatever they darn well please – or whichever one of their many heads is yelling loudest at the time. It could be Shalimar – or it could be Tabac Blond. It could be something summery and g-r-e-e-n, such as Olympic Orchids’ A Midsummer Day’s Dream

There are two types of Cancer. Either they are so square, strait-laced and moody, you can hear the whalebone in their metaphorical corsets creak when they breathe, or they are way out in the far outfield of avant-garde (and they’re still moody). There is no middle ground with the Crab. You may or may not come to know about the bizarre five-ring circus going on inside them. Just remember to pay attention to the phase of the moon when dealing with a Cancer of either gender and plan accordingly. It’s no fun in the middle of a hot date when Mr. Crab metamorphoses into a werewolf – or worse. He would appreciate Guerlain’s Habit Rouge, if he’s strait-laced. He might wear Yohji Homme if he’s the other kind. Female crabs know they’re tasty as well as female, and like their perfumes to reflect that. By Kilian’s Back to Black Aphrodisiac would fit the bill, so would Guerlain’s Spiritueuse Double Vanille. The fruity kind of lady Crab might like the tropical tang of Olympic Orchids’ Luzonica. If Lady Crab gets her claws in you, just don’t forget that she only smells sweet…

“L’ètat, c’est moi,” stated Louis XIV, and Leo would amend that to “Le monde, c’est moi!” The Diva of the Zodiac, Leo makes the world go round and the sun rise and set, and for the love of Guerlain or Leo, don’t ever forget to appreciate it, once an hour, if not more! Leos loom Large and In Charge, in their own over-inflated imaginations not least, so for a perfume, they want whichever fragrant bicycle pump can inflate their egos the most. Amouage Gold for Men or Dior Homme Intense works when or if their own leonine musk isn’t enough to overwhelm the unsuspecting, and for those Leo diva ladies, perfume powerhouses such as Givenchy’s Amarige, Amouage Gold for Women, Guerlain Samsara and Dior’s Poison float their boats, and Piguet’s Fracas. SInce gold is the color of Leo, she might also go for Olympic Orchids’ Golden Cattleya.

Virgos have a not altogether deserved reputation as prudes, which is a bit unfair. They’re not prudish at all, they’re discriminating, which is nowhere the same thing. Like the other earth signs, their tastes tend toward the classic rather than the startling, and the less they have to think about them, the better – so long as they know they smell good, if they’re not on an anti-perfume kick and wear no scents at all. Male Virgos like Guerlain’s Vetiver, unless they’re too worried (Virgos are always worried) they might be considered odd, in which case, they’ll choose Cool Water – or Hugo Boss. Educate them, please. Female Virgos – no virgins, no matter what you’ve heard – love restrained, lady-like florals, such as Issey Miyake’s A Scent, Penhaligon’s Bluebell or Dior’s Diorissimo. If they don’t go over to the Dark Side of the Force of Patchouli and choose Prada.

Mirror, mirror on the wall…To Libra, the world is their mirror, and they are the fairest of them all. So reluctant to commit are they, they often suffer a chronic case of indecisiveness in terms of perfume and just buy one of everything. It’s only fair. Male Libras are the peacocks of the Zodiac, perpetually in front of their mirrors, and often, that mirror will be you. Dior’s Eau Sauvage, YSL Opium for Men, Cerruti 1881…“Darling, I can’t decide. What do YOU think?” It will drive you nuts, or he will. Lady Libras, unlike their male counterparts, are basically made with titanium spines and go to great lengths to hide that fact. It might be used as leverage later. They choose very feminine, classic scents to slay the unsuspecting (that would be you, if you’re dating a Libra), such as Annick Goutal’s L’Heure Exquise, or Chanel no. 5 if they’re that kind of Libra. Or maybe Olympic Orchids’ Red Cattleya, if they’re the other kind.

It can’t be entirely coincidental that in my several decades of experience, I’ve encountered not a few male Scorpios who all had a thing for…skank. Not just on themselves but on their victims, too. Scorpios redefine the word ‘intense’. They live their lives on the edge and on the fringe. If a male Scorpio has his sights on you, resistance will be futile. You might be assimilated. You certainly won’t forget that encounter in a hurry, nor will you forget his choice of scent. This is the guy who would choose Knize Ten, Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, YSL Homme, M7, Dior’s Eau Noire or Byredo Baudelaire. Lady Scorpios do their best to live up to their own salacious reputations by selecting the kind of over-the-top scents even female Leos might pass over, such as Serge Lutens’ Ambre Sultan, Boxeuses, Arabie or À La Nuit. Whatever it takes to undo you – and she will!

Happy-go-lucky – and often insanely lucky – Sagittarius canters through life, hooves in mouth, with packed mental suitcases full of opinions he or she will certainly let you know all about. Any Sagittarius has a spectacular talent for saying the exact right thing – at the worst possible time. So long as it’s time to go – and they will, as soon as they find something or someone more interesting than you. When he’s not busy puncturing your pretentions, male Archers might try to tack you up in other ways with green, woody scents such as Lagerfeld for Men, Serge Lutens’ Chêne or Creed’s Green Irish Tweed. Female Sags of all persuasions were thrilled to discover Cartier’s Les Heures IV – L’Heure Fougeuse. All the horse of their own centaur origins, and a fragrant roll in the hay, too! Giddyup!

A male Capricorn is a throwback to another era, the era of Manly with a capital M. Or male chauvinist, if you prefer, just so long as you remember who’s in charge – he is. At all times and at all costs. This is the guy who will wear Guerlain’s Mouchoir de Monsieur, Geoffrey Beene’s Grey Flannel, or Serge Lutens’ Gris Clair. He’ll never let you know about his need for control until it’s too late or you’re hooked, whichever comes first. The same can be said for lady Goats – but they’re not above showing themselves and their intentions a bit more, by choosing Robert Piguet’s Bandit, Serge Lutens’ Tubereuse Criminelle or vintage Cabochard. Don’t forget – she’s in charge, too. Now you know!

The uncontested loonies of the Zodiac, surely it was an Aquarius who cooked up the idea for the entire line of Etat Libre d’Orange – and most of the advertising copy, too. They love to shock or just surprise, in their unorthodox behavior, in their likewise radical opinions, or else just their unorthodox choice of perfumes. The men may choose very frilly, feminine scents, and the women may choose rather masculine ones. Or vice versa. Or both at once. The only thing to expect with an Aquarius of either gender is the unexpected. By Kilian’s A Taste of Heaven, Lush Breath of God, Escentric Molecules, Serge Lutens’ Fumerie Turque, Worth Courtesan – anything goes, and a lot of things do! I once met an Aquarius man who wore ELdO’s Secretions Magnifiques – for the pleasure it gave him. Needless to say, he left the party alone…I also once had an Aquarius girlfriend who adored Paloma Picasso’s eponymous perfume, so you never know…Expect the unexpected!

It’s all too easy to dismiss Pisces as the flaky, fluffy-bunny, space cadets of the Zodiac, an impression they usually do nothing whatsoever to dispel. Like the water that is their element, they adapt to whatever container they’re poured into. That will be your last and most fatal mistake with a Pisces. Right when you think you have them all figured out, they will have disappeared…into a silver school of other fish, or in a cloud of black ink like a squid, but they will be…gone. Push them too far, and you’ll find yourself the metaphorical seal dinner of the biggest, badass orca on Planet Earth, and you will be tossed like a volleyball in the surf before you’re breakfast. Male Pisces, so I’ve noticed, like incense perfumes, especially if they’re of the more unusual kind, such as Andy Tauer’s Incense Extrème, or Serge Lutens’ Encens et Lavande, which made one Pisces cry when I introduced him to it. He now refuses to wear anything else. Female Pisces veer toward hyperfeminine, such as Jean Patou’s Joy and Guerlain’s Mitsouko, or ethereal, like Serge Lutens’ Iris Silver Mist or Bois de Violette. But do yourself a favor before you fall for a female Pisces. She only looks like the human equivalent of an angora sweater. There’s an orca lurking underneath!

Caveat: All content written thoroughly tongue-in-cheek!

21 thoughts on “A Zodiac Guide to ‘Fumes

  1. Did you write this? 😀

    I'm an Aquarius and love Courtesan (and most of SL line). And I enjoy the ELdO universe.
    But also being an Aries rising, I'd say I do try and keep my most brash perfumes for myself and not wear them to work (and I do like Bal a Versailles). 😉

  2. Ines, indeed I did – all alone and with only a little help from the occasional fact check at Fragrantica!

    Embarrassing, I know! 😉

    Aha! See…I knew I got a few things right!

  3. Another Aquarius here 🙂
    It's hard to say how accurate this horoscope is for me but just because I'm still too new to the field and not familiar with all of the perfumes mentioned. Now I'll put them on my “to try” list and see where it brings me (I'm very cautious about ELdO perfumes though, not sure how much I want to explore that line).
    I really like Molecule 01 – so, check!
    Breath of God… When I got to the Lush store with the sole purpose to smell all of their perfumes I suddenly had an Alexia episode and read the name as Breath of Dog. I don't remember if I even tried it.

  4. What fun!

    I am an Aquarius, Aquarius Rising, Aquarius in Mercury, Venus and Jupiter. I am an uncontested loonie! 😉

    I love to wear men's scents, and scents for my own enjoyment that might be sexy to me but not to anyone else. I haven't tried Secretions Magnifique, but I understand why your Aquariuan friend wears it.

    What a coincidence as well..I just ordered some Paloma Picasso parfum!

  5. Undina – I'll take this from the top – and as a closet astrologer, although my expertise lies in synastry. First of all – take this with several kilos of…salt. It was written more as a joke than anything, and as a way to test my own knowledge – and verbal skills or the lack thereof! So whether or not you feel it describes you, just…read it for fun!

    I'll say this, and let me tell you, I was surprised, too. The ELdO line is not at all bad. Don't let the idea of SM (Maybe we should just call that one…Sauron, maybe? Because if ever a 'fume was evil, this would be it!) scare you away from trying not a few few very good perfumes! But I can see why anyone would…

    (hypothetical dialogue at trendy bar)
    “So what are you wearing?” (asked by clueless male)
    “Don't Get Me Wrong Baby I don't Swallow”.
    “Wait a minute. I was just saying hello…”


    And your Breath of Dog…errrr…God reminded me of Suzanne of the Perfume Journal's review of it. “If this is the Breath of God, he needs to brush his teeth!”

    And it made me laugh…I'd love to try Gorilla's Orange Blossom. One can never have enough of those…

  6. See, JoanElaine? Serendipity…or synchronicity, I'm not sure which! 🙂

    I used to wear Paloma Picasso a lot in the late Eighties and early Nineties. It's still…fahbulous, dahling!…no matter that they say. If you haven't tried it before, you have a lot to look forward to!

    Nothing wrong with being looney…I say this as a Taurus, Moon and Jupiter in Aries, Sagittarius rising, Mars in Leo kind of gal…which as a Taurus translates as…”Active volcano”.

    Or Dragon, take your pick! 🙂

  7. I'm a Gemini and I do wear Tabac Blond, so well spotted. Admittedly I also have about six other perfumes on the go at the same time, both women's and men's…

  8. Dear T, I have to apologize if my question sounded rude, but I didn't know you could write horoscopes. 🙂 I'm glad you do, tthough, I might ask you for a little help then. 😉

    Btw, I think you got it perfectly! The best fumey horoscope I read so far.

  9. Thank you for the compliment, Ines! My one overriding rule on any of my blogs (all four of them, and you won't find the last one just…yet) is… anything I post I write myself.

    On the possibly mistaken assumption that the more I do it, the better I get…I can dream, at least! 🙂

  10. Wow! I really enjoyed your very entertainingly written zodiac guide, though I found that I was all over the zodiac in terms of my fragrance choices — and not so much into the ones you have down for my sun sign, Virgo. It matters not, though, I loved it!

    Btw, I will be getting your perfume package into the mail either today or tomorrow. I think you'll like it (and yep, I still have your address). 🙂

  11. Do you know, Suzanne, your comment made me realize I should have provided not one but two caveats:
    1) Don't take it seriously and
    2) Perfumistas are the exceptions to these rules, because we're all over the place, and all over the Zodiac, too! Just like you…If this were written in stone, so to say, then I would be a Taurus-Scorpio-Sagittarius-Libra-Pisces, with a healthy dash of Leo. The very idea! 😉

    It was strange, I was reading your review of Boxeuses the other day (it's a mutual love you and I have – another one!), and looking at your picture. (The old one. And caught myself thinking, for no reason at all…'I'll bet she's either a Pisces or a Virgo…'

    So now I know! 🙂

    Oh, goody! I get another chance to jump at the mailman! Can't wait for it – and thank you, thank you, thank you so much for the thoughts!

  12. ROTFL, you are in fine form Tarleisio! And you nailed me: I'm a Gemini, and I”m all over the place.

    When I met Olga and Marjorie in person recently, I confessed to them that since we were meeting to talk about and try perfumes together, I didn't want to actually wear any perfume to the meeting.

    So I had on **only** three.

    Your posts always brighten my day, so thank you!!!

  13. Dee, I was wondering what you might say…;) And indeed it seems I got it right!

    I admire your restraint at your scent meeting – you wore…only three!

    I'm so glad I made your day! There will be more – later!

  14. Caveat: it was an “accidental” three. Let me explain:

    1. My sweater was wearing Antonia from the day prior (that stuff lasts forever on clothes),

    2. I used Yohji Homme shower gel, which leaves a fragrant residue on the skin, and finally

    3. I sprayed some A*Men Pure Havane in my hair, because that's far away from my wrists, and that perfume fades really quickly, and it was almost a two-hour drive! I couldn't drive without fragrance!

    So, I was smelly on arrival. 🙂

  15. Cute post! I'm a Scorpio, and while I haven't tried the Sls you list for my sign, I _do_ love Miel de Bois. And I can't figure out what all the fuss with Muscs Koublai Khan is about – it's not anywhere near skanky enough! 😉

  16. Ascendant: Gemini
    Sun sign: Libra
    Moon sign: Aquarius
    Mars sign: Libra
    Mercury sign: Scorpio
    Venus sign: Virgo
    (I just found this off the web)

    My perfume-life does not synch w/my sun sign, but more like the rising and moon signs!

    This IS a fun post! Thanks Tarl!!!

  17. Acorn…I guess that means you're true to your Sun sign! MKK has been known to make me pale in horror, and as for Miel de Bois…I'm not sure I'm…wild…enough!

    As I said…gin and tonic, Scorpios and skank…;)

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