28 Sep 2014

Two Fragrances Not To Miss

Houbigant, Molinard, France, Fragrance, Vicki archer, French Essence

I am always cheered by fragrance, whether on top of the world or down in the dumps, for every day is not always as glorious as we would like.

The thought of scent and how it makes me feel is a tonic… an uplifter… Fragrance is one of the great priviledges we enjoy as women.

I believe, it’s not quite the same for men.

Perfume and I have always had a love affair… a particular bouquet can evoke memories of the happiest and oftentimes saddest days.

That’s the miracle of perfume…For every moment is worthy of remembering.

There are certain fragrances in a woman’s life… favourites that we have hand picked for their top notes, their subtlety or their strength.

Wishes and dreams, hopes and desires are held close… dabbed and sprayed with full hearts.

I have spent many moments searching for a fragrance that is me, thats awakens my spirit and allows me to feel my best feminine self.

Along with Gardenia Passion there are two exceptional fragrances that I adore.

They are from long established French houses and both are often forgotten in the “latest and greatest world” of promotion that we live in.

Quelques Fleurs the original fragrance from Houbigant and Molinard de Molinard from the house of Molinard are fragrances that should be worn at some time in our lives.

As lovers of all things French, these two scents can hold pride of place on our dressing tables.

If I could perfume you with either of these right now… I know you would agree.

I must be in a nostalgic frame of mind… for when I think of these two fragrances I feel emotional.

I am smiling softly as I write this… flashes of memory coming in and out.

I can recall when I bought my first bottle of Molinard de Molinard… I remember so clearly Quelque Fleurs on my dressing table in France.

Those delicious girly moments when we are deciding ‘what’ scent.

And perfuming…  perfuming the French way.

A mist of fragrance to walk through and coat the body rather than an unceremonius squirt behind the ears or on the wrists.

Perfume is about so much more than aromas. Perfume is about emotion, about our identity.

Perfume is about feeling beautiful, desired and self confident… xv

 On My Dressing Table… Always

Quelques Fleurs by Houbigant  //  Molinard de Molinard

also available at Beauty Encounter

one of my most loved images taken by carla coulson for french essence

molinard de molinard is peeping out at the back…quelque fleurs is hiding on the right

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Loving and understanding every word you wrote and feeling bereft that AG has discontinued Gardenia Passion Crème Pour Le Corps. For a zillion years it has been my go-to, bring-a-smile, can’t-bathe-without-it body cream. What to do now?


Your articles are so inspiring, especially this one; for, I also adore perfume. I’ve bookmarked these two scents and am looking forward to trying them on and hopefully buying one or both!

Thank you for sharing.

Anita Rivera

Fragrance is such a memory maker. Though I don’t wear perfume, my dear mother did, and to this day, I get a bit of her back to me when I smell certain fragrances. Vicki, enjoy your weekend!


We toured the Fragonard perfume museum while in Paris about 10 days ago and the history of perfume is amazing. To be able to wear perfume at one time was a luxury only afforded to the wealthy like kings, queens, aristocrats. It was even used for medicinal purposes. I really enjoyed this article, Vicki, and might I say that I don’t feel completely dressed until my perfume is applied. Great article and you’re right, perfume does evoke so much much than a scent, it’s memories, celebrations, moments, it’s a lovely experience that can be enjoyed by the poorest to the richest, even by placing a flower in one’s hair we can experience the rapture of a fragrance.

Rosalie Carmichael

I purchased Fragonard’s Miranda and Diamant Parfum in their gold look container when in France a few years ago and still enjoying the fragrance. The gold containers have certainly ensured that the parfum has maintained its quality on my dressing table.


I am obsessed with your blog! I love this post, in particular. Thanks for sharing these fragrances. I can’t wait to check them out.

Mary Eman

Yes, scent is a memory maker, and not just scents for women. My husband was a career Army man. When he was away for extended periods of time, sniffing one of his aftershave bottles made him seem closer.

I have always loved Chanel No. 5. and wear it in the colder months. In spring and summer, it’s White Shoulders for me or Tea Rose when I can find it. (I know, they’re not very complex, but I like them.)

Mary Karkoulas

Perfumes so full if memories love, your wedding day, the birth of your children . My husband said to me a long time ago when at work and he thinks of me he remembers my perfume.

Nancy from Naples, FL

I agree completely, Vicki. A lovely fragrance can be evocative of all that is beautiful and memorable. I tried many perfumes when I was a very young woman but I have worn only one since my husband of forty-four years gave me my first gift of Shalimar by Guerlain when we were first dating. It is definitely part of my identity, so much so that in my thirty-six year career teaching high school math, my students would tell me they knew the days I wasn’t there because they couldn’t smell me when they walked in the room! Thank you for this and all of your lovely posts. You inspire all of us to find beauty and joy in every day. I so hope that we can meet when we are enjoying St. Remy in LPB in just a few weeks now.


Perfumes bring out so many memories like music but unfortunately the most fragrances are made from artificial essences… there are only less they deserve the name perfume and are appropriate expensive. During the world war my father bought my mother a huge bottle of perfume from Paris and it was in a gift box which looked like a book. Centuries after! the
bottle was already empty but when you opened the box it was still smelling. Personally I use a summer and a winter scent and that for nearly 2o years the same one…
so call me old fashioned.? I like also beautiful bottles on a shelf in the dressing room. But keep your precious fragrance in the dark.

Jenny Barton

A whiff of Balmain’s ‘Vent Vert’ and my mother is in the room with me, although she died 15 years ago. We share the same skin, which won’t accept the sweeter, muskier perfumes, however lovely on someone else. Instead, we have to go for the sharp, green scents – ‘Verbena de Provence’ by Jo Malone was my number one until she discontinued it, now Annick Goutal’s ‘Eau d’Hadrian’ is my final prep before an outing, sharp and and refreshing in the summer, full of summer memories in the winter.

Del Lancaster

I was so happy when walking in New Orleans one day, a young lady asked, “Is that Quelque Fleur you are wearing.” I said “yes, thanks for recognizing it” . Very happy to finally be able to purchase it here in one of our better stores.
I think I read that Cleopatra wore the scent or something similar. Del Lancaster


Only this week my friend and I were discussing our memories of perfume. I always remember my mother having a bottle of Evening in Paris. I remember the enchanting blue bottle on her dressing table. A a child, I collected rose petals to make my own perfume. I could not imagine life without perfume. A dear friend suggested that I should choose a new perfume to wear at my daughter’s wedding and then the scent would always evoke memories of the day. I chose Chloe Roses and I bought a bottle for my daughter for the day too. Thank you for your lovely blog.

Wendy Conyers

Love this blog and all these comments. However, I must be strange, I don’t buy my perfume I’ve always believed a man should buy a woman perfume and my husband has of his own volition, for 37 years bought me perfume……..and I particularly love his first perfume for me Caleche by Hermes…still wearing it…..and love it….Wendy


24 Faubourg and Eau du Sud for me. Plus Wrappings (Clinique) – but only on special occasions as very hard to find. Perfume and music are the keys to the past and to future memories. If I am meeting/saying goodbye to my children I always wear 24 Faubourg – I want that to be their ‘mum memory’ in 50 years’ time…!


I have four or five fragrances in my drawer at any one time but those I go back to time and time again are Eau du Soir and Soir de Lune by Sisley. I just love them and so many memories wrapped up in them. I can be wearing my worst house clothes but a spray of fragrances changes everything.


I have alternated basically between two scents for years Chanel #5 and Angel by Thierry Mugler. Both quite different and depends on my mood of course!

The Arts by Karena

Ann Maree

Paris Yves St Laurent. Thirty years ago when a new graduate living interstate in Australia I decided to move back home. When I called to tell my very strong, non emotional mother she said ” now I can walk past a woman wearing Paris and not get upset” When I resigned from my interstate position my manager said “only good thing about you leaving is I can now wear Paris and not feel I am taking your perfume”. I didn’t know a moment of indulgence with my small pay packet made such an impression!


Vicki – I also love Gardenia Passion which I’m annoyed to find that David Jones only stocks in Eu de Toilette now – the Eu de Toilette is really weak. I’m thinking of switching to AG Un Matige d’Orage because this is still sold as Eu de Parfum.

My other favourites are Dyptique: Olene and Eu de Rose and Doson and I also love Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom.

I haven’t worn it for over 20 years but still have a soft spot for the first perfume I bought with my own wages when I was 18 years old – Estee Lauder White Linen.

Kim. ⛵️

My ballet teacher for many years wore the most lovely perfume, whilst we at the barre were going through our exercises she would walk up and down watching every movement we made and correcting us. Years later I bought that perfume but it did not smell the same on me! (And I can’t remember the name!)


Hello Vicki

I still love and treasure the Gardenia Passion by Annnick Goutal that you gifted me. I also love Angel. The photo by Carla evokes feelings of luxuryHelenx


Perfume is such a personal thing. I never buy perfume for anyone else unless I know it’s their favourite. What I love they might loathe. Must try your Houbigant one but probably not me as I generally don’t relate to florals or single flower perfumes. Tend to like the greener range – sometimes in floral combos.
Usually have at least 5 perfumes on the go at any one time. To suit the day and my mood. Three of these are keepers: Chanel 5 (specially for travel) and 19 and Hermes – Caleche. Others I’m using at the moment include Je Jardin sur le Nil (Hermes) and Jean Louis Scherrer’s Un.
In her last years my mother’s favourites were both Estee Lauder: Beautiful and Youth Dew. Both of these always make me feel sad because she’s no longer with me and perfume is such a stirrer of emotions – and memories.
Remember a young perfume called Charlie years ago when I was young. They brought it back for a while and just one sniff in a department store and it brought back the early 70s in Cambridge. Once wore Opium when it was the rage but now really dislike it as it seems so heavy and cloying.
Love to try new perfumes. One of my friends believes in having a signature fragrance – so her husband always thinks of her whenever he smells it. But I’d be bored with just one! I love the freedom to choose and the anticipation that there might be another wonderful fragrance just around the corner. Best wishes, Pamela


Perfume and I have been constant companions since I was a little girl. Some might consider it an accessory but, as you so beautifully wrote, it is much more. There are the classic scents of Chanel’s Bois des Iles and Shalimar by Guerlain along with other favorites including Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier’s Fraicheur Muskissime, Eau d’Hadrien by Annick Goutal and Jean Laporte’s Mûre et Musc. Angel by Thierry Mugler was a burst of freshness but when the bottle was empty I did not feel a need to purchase it again.
Has anyone discovered a perfect bottle design for carry-on? I have tried test tube shapes (TSA does not find this amusing), a lovely faceted glass spray bottle (too heavy), an old Jean Laporte plastic spray disc (it leaks)….

Maribel Rabasa-Bojanovic

Vicki, wonderful perfume list! although I have among my favourites Caleche de Hermes, Chanel nº 5, Gio by Giorgio Armani andLe Dix by Balenciaga (I can´t find it any more) and of course the one that was the favourite of my mom, Arpege, by Lanvin.
I think that smelling a perfume is something evocative, unforgettable and obviously very personal and I agree that perfum doesn’t smell the same in different people.
Enjoy your Gardenia passion for many years.


I have worn Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew for the past 40 years so one might say it is my “signature fragrance”. I am intriqued, however, by your two favorites, and have just ordered Molinard de Molinard hoping it is everything you say it is. Just for a little change, of course, as I will never give up my Youth Dew.


Always pack my perfume in a bag for check-in. Otherwise would worry security might confiscate. So many airports have different rules about liquids. Instead just for immediate flight use I take little light sample bottles that good department stores or perfume boutiques give you as a gift with a purchase (in France they’re usually very generous, provided you’ve bought something they think is worthwhile). These usually tend to be ones they’re promoting at the time – but it’s a good way of trying out a newie or a re-issue of a changed formula (provided you’re sure you can live with it on a plane). Or, in Europe Sephora will almost always siphon a little from any tester into a tiny bottle – so you can ask for your favourite perfume.
Like to take two perfumes on planes, one that is soothing and calming for relaxation and sleep and another that is refreshing and zingy for waking up an hour or so before landing (my travel to Europe is long haul – over 22 hours in the air, not counting waits at airports in between). I still like to travel with Chanel 5 also, a comforting familiar beautiful scent. Best wishes, Pamela

Patricia Nauman

I loved this post. I wear Molinard de Molinard; it is my favorite fragrance. I had the pleasure of visiting Grasse a few years ago and the Molinard musee/shop. How exciting to see it in your blog! Thank you for writing about perfume!


Love your blog so much and was delighted by your mention of Quelques Fleurs.
In the 80’s, I bought a bottle at Bergdorf Gooman on a weekend visit to NYC. The clerk said the company had just re-launched it.
Back home in the Midwest, my mother came for a visit and complimented me (as did complete strangers) on my perfume. When I showed her the bottle, she went white as that was her own mother’s favorite perfume.
She also told me that Houbigant had stopped making it during WW2….hence the relaunch some 50 years later.
I never knew my grandmother as she died in a plane crash at the end of the war. However, that perfume was our connection.

Rosalie Carmichael

It is interesting how perfume changes on your skin as you age. I loved Margareta Ley by Escarda and Channel No 5 for many years and on both occassions when I replaced them as I aged the perfume smelled off. The first time I thought I had a spoiled bottle of Escarda and then when it happened with No 5 I realised that my reaction to the ingredients had changed. I don’t think Margareta Ley is made anymore and I still have the response from No 5 when I try it again. Both are still in my memories.


My first bottle of “grown up” perfume was Joy. It was a gift from my aunt. A scent I still wear today.


This is my first reply to one of your blogs. I have often felt a kinship with you while reading your blog, never as completely as today. For th first couple of decades of my adult years I wore Chanel #5. shortly before my daughters wedding I found Quelle Que Fleurs, and she claimed the Chanel #5 as her own as I enjoyed the QQF. A few years ago finding a Gardenia fragrance became my mission and I found Bond #9 Central Park West, and your beloved AG Gardenia Passion. What a fun surprise that not only do we both respond favorably to similar visual images and thrill to the touch of beautiful fabrics but also to the joy of a wonderful fragrance. You are my friend from a continent away. Cynthia XO


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