Semi-Personal Shopper: Perfume for Jackie

Says Jackie: "I have been looking for oiseau perfume eau de toilette darling blue, Anthropologie use to carry it and no longer does. Is there a place online where I might be able to find it?"

Wow, Jackie. Marian here, and since I'm the OBer who wears Darling Blue, I really wanted to help out. You'll have to write back and say whether this was actually helpful, though, because this was a tricky one. (It couldn't have been roses, could it.)

Anthropologie seems to have been the one and only online store that ever stocked the Oiseau fragrances, unless the others vanished without trace, and as you noted, it's not available there any longer. But I do know that there are situations in which only the original will do, and before I get into any alternatives, I want to tell you to keep an eye on eBay for a while. You don't have to glue yourself to it; just check every day or two. eBay does, eventually, have everything - I won't get into the details of my ugly habit, but I will point out that I have gone looking for far more obscure things than a fragrance sold in the recent past by a national chain, and they have nearly all shown up and become mine. Since Darling Blue is neither expensive nor well-known, I'm as sure as I can be that any bottles that do show up will be legit. And if you have any brick-and-mortar Anthropologie stores near you, make sure to check the shelves in the sale area. I've seen fragrances turn up there from time to time, and the discounts sure don't hurt.

But, if you'd like to get over her and move on, here are some other fragrances to try - mostly on the affordable side, like the Oiseau. Like I said, this was tricky: Darling Blue may be mostly made up of white florals, but it smells less like flowers than basically any other floral scent I've even run across - which isn't the easiest description to work from. If any of the following sound good, be sure to try them out before buying.

Click here to check out the rest of Marian the Contrarian's scent recommendations!

My first impression of Darling Blue was that it was almost a cotton candy scent - almost, but not quite, since it has that dryish, simple, pale sweetness. The number one cotton candy fragrance out there is of course 1) Aquolina's Pink Sugar ($45 for 1.7 oz) but the dark licorice note can be offputting. A bargain that you might like better, and I'm being quite serious here, is 2) claire's Angel ($8.50 for a rollerball). No, I don't mean Thierry Mugler, I mean the accessory store where giggly little girls get their ears pierced. When you think about it, who would know better what cotton candy perfume should smell like? And if you didn't want something quite so sugary, another novelty item that might do the trick is 3) Demeter Fragrance Library's Play-Doh ($20 for 1 oz), which is really pretty almondy and not necessarily identifiable as Play-Doh. You don't have to tell people what it is, after all. It has the benefits, again, of being sweet, dry, and simple, without smelling like food.

Some reviews I found described this scent as "powdery", which is a word that comes up a lot in discussions of fragrance. Those who use it seem divided as to whether they mean "like baby powder" or "like old-fashioned dusting powder", but either way, if you liked Darling Blue for its suggestion of gentle scented talc, there are tons and tons of options out there. On one end of the scale is drugstore favorite 4) Love's Baby Soft ($15 for 1.75 oz), and on the other we have the supremely elegant Powder Monster that is 5) L'Heure Bleu ($58 for 1.7 oz), created by the house of Guerlain back in 1912. Another older scent that might fit the bill is 6) Chantilly ($18 for 1 oz), originally created by Houbigant and rescued from oblivion by Dana. It's not quite as light as most of the other stuff here, but it does contain the orange blossoms, the sandalwood, and the vanilla-like tonka bean that Darling Blue has, and it's really cozy and comforting. If it's the floral notes in particular that you like, lilac is the most prominent of them (at least to my nose) and 7) Yves Rocher's Pur Desir lilac eau de toilette ($25 four 2 oz) comes in for a fair amount of praise as a straightforward lilac scent. My last specific shot is going to be 8) Avon Windscape ($18 for 1.7 oz), which really isn't sweet, but has the citrus and the white musk in a very clean combination.

If you want to hunt for a replacement on your own, you might want to consider the following take on the official list: citrus (just a little), orange blossom, mimosa, lily, ylang-ylang, lilac (in a general white floral blur), sandalwood, white musk, and tonka. If there's pepper in here, I can't detect it.



Posted on 06.08.11 at 1:04 PM

I think that philosophy Falling in love has a slight cotton candy smell to it as well. Sephora sells a small bottle for like 15 dollars which is great in case it wasn't what you are looking for you won't have spent a lot of money and end up with a giant bottle.


Posted on 06.08.11 at 3:27 PM

My go-to perfume is the Pink Sugar and it's really lovely... I don't notice a harsh licorice smell at all. It IS rather sweet though, with a cotton candy scent as mentioned above (but I'm guessing much stronger). It's a good playful scent for summer.


Posted on 06.08.11 at 3:58 PM

Yes, and men are crazy about Pink Sugar.


Posted on 06.08.11 at 6:51 PM

I'll third Pink Sugar. It starts out smelling strongly sweet, but settles nicely into a light, subtle scent after a few minutes. I get compliments on it all the time.


Posted on 06.09.11 at 9:30 AM

Personally, I kind of agree with the burnt licorice scent - Pink Sugar was just TOO sweet for me, and it had an undertone of something that wasn't quite right. Of course, scents react differently to everyone's body chemistry, so that could be part of it.

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