Mood Scent 4 : Unsung Hero Fragrances

Bien Etre, Frederic Malle, Mood Scent 4, Quick Sniff Perfume Houses : A - D, Quick Sniff Perfume Houses : E - M, Quick Sniff Perfume Houses : N - Z, Serge Lutens

Hello perfume people and welcome to another episode of Mood Scent 4. For this session we’re featuring our favourite Unsung Hero fragrances. My scented partners are Portia at  A Bottled RoseL’Esperessence and I Scent You A Day. We are your perfume selectors for perfumes for various moods and occasions.

In my book Unsung Heroes are fragrances that might not get a lot of skin time but when they do you wonder why it’s been such a long time. Where have they been hiding away all this time? They may not be the most popular fragrances you have, but there is a reason why you haven’t given up on them. There is still mileage to burn. Unsung Heroes are also the overlooked fragrance in a range, the one that nobody bothers to mention as the much loved star fragrances completely overshadow them.

So let’s get started.

  1. Datura Noir: Serge Lutens : Christopher Sheldrake: 2001

Datura is a poisonous flowering plant and combined with the ‘noir’ in the title you may expect a very dark and unusual fragrance especially when it’s an older Serge Lutens scent. I certainly did. Imagine my surprise when this simply wasn’t the case and for this reason it took me a while to ‘get’ Datura Noir. Now I’ve realised that this fragrance is a pretty, bubble gum tuberose scent in a tropical style and that I rather like it. It has quite a thick texture and a sweetness amplified by coconut, almond and heliotrope. It’s definitely a sunny side up scent rather than a dark witching damsel. Datura Noir is also a lesser known scent in the Luten’s canon, but definitely worth trying if you enjoy tuberose.

2. Lys Mediterranee : Frederic Malle : Edouard Flechier : 2000

There are some incredible heavy hitters in the Malle collection namely Portrait of a Lady, Carnal Flower and Musc Ravageur and many others that are firm fragrance lover favourites. Lys Mediterranee is an unsung hero in this range that makes me dream of lilies blowing in the breeze with slicks of sea salt and greenery shrouding the flowers, offering a form of protection from the Mediterranean sun. This is a gorgeous lily fragrance and feels like an ode to life, brimming with promise and wonder. It’s definitely worth a try if you like white florals and are thinking of branching out to a lily centric fragrance. Like most of the Malle fragrances it’s one that you will come back to time and time again.

3. Bien-Être colognes

The somewhat maligned supermarket fragrance could be described as an unsung hero. These are the scents that everyone can buy, the most democratic of the bunch. There’s nothing easier than placing a scent in the supermarket trolley, along with shampoo and shower gel. The price is under 10 Euro so even if it’s a blind buy it’s not going to cause too much wallet distress if you don’t like it. Bien-Être colognes have been around since 1962 in France so they must be doing something right. This is a range oozing with simplicity – basic packaging and uncomplicated scents. The colognes are very straightforward but do the job perfectly well. They are designed to be splashed on and work best in a hot summer. You can also pour them in the bath if so desired.  I have the Eau de Cologne Aux Essences Fraiches (lemon and verbena) version that is particularly refreshing.

4. Santa Maria Novella floral waters

I’m mentioning these floral waters as they smell absolutely divine especially if you like rose and orange blossom. These two variations are the best versions in my opinion. Floral waters are the work horses in the fragrance world but can seriously brighten your day with a gorgeous scent to lift your mood. Generally speaking I hear people talk about a few of the fragrances from this brand but not the other scented products, of which there are many. If I’m honest I’m drawn to the label design, the heavy glass bottles and the storied history. The fact that the rose is rich and jammy and the orange blossom smells just like the real thing is the icing on the cake.

Please make sure to read my fellow Mood Scent 4 group writers : Samantha on I Scent You A Day, Esperanza on L’Esperessence and Portia at A Bottled Rose for their take on today’s topic. 

Thank you so much for stopping by and please let us know if you have any unsung hero fragrances.

Notes : Fragrance images from the brands.

9 thoughts on “Mood Scent 4 : Unsung Hero Fragrances”

  1. WOW Megan,
    Interesting choices.
    I love Datura Noir, it gets quite a bit of wear here and always smells perfect.
    My 10ml of Lys Mediterranee on the other hand has had only about 5 or 6 wears and I’ve had it for years. Thanks for the reminder, especially now we are in Spring down here.
    Portia xx


    • HI Portia – yes the Datura Noir just wasn’t what I was expecting but once I got that it was all good! I think I might be one of the few who like Lys Mediterrannee! xx


  2. Great choices, Megan. I have a shop nearby which sells SMN but I wasn’t drawn to their floral waters either due to the packaging. Love some of their home products though. I do use rose and orange blossom floral waters from other brands as skin care and in biscuits. Datura Noir doesn’t get much wearing here either. Good idea to wear it. XxxEsperanza


    • HI Esperanza – yes well I think the Santa Maria Novella brand is a curious one, and I know I like the historical aspect which I’m not always sure whether to believe with brands but in this case I think we’re safe … I love floral waters and like to spray them as well, very fleeting though. xx

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  3. Okay Megan, you had me at bubble gum tuberose. I’m always on the lookout for a tuberose. I had a sample of Datura Noir but when I tried it it was empty. I was crestfallen. I also like that you’ve included some lovely affordable easy buys such as Bien Etre and Santa Maria Novella. Have you heard of L’Erbolario? they sound similar and I’m desperate to get to the London branch in more train friendly times. Great selection and always a pleasure to work with you. Love Sam xxx


    • Hi Sam – yes I’ve heard of L’Erbolario and have seen the brand / stores in Italy. When we can travel again will go and visit. Hope you are good and the back to school for the boys has gone well. xxx


  4. Now I need to explore the Santa Maria Novella floral waters. I love Melograno from that line, the cologne and the dusting powder. Perfectly vintage, historical and gorgeous scent and packaging.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Eden B says:

    Oh my goodness! Finally, somebody is talking about Bien etre colognes! I have been wondering why these colognes are so underrated. Yes, they are simple, but so are the 4711s and other over priced designers! Im so happy to have found your page. I have a long history with bien etre, way back in Manila , in the 80s. My first choice of cologne, together with Nenuco, when I was in Highschool. In 1997, I migrated to Germany, and have never found it here. A few years after, in one of our family trips to Lille, I finally found it hidden on the shelfves of an ordinary supermarket! I overjoyed that I bought all the available scents 2 times! So everytime I travel to France, I always.go to the grocery and get a few bottles! Thanks for talking about it!!! Love your blog!


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