Which perfume for courage…

This I know.  If you have two bottles of perfume, you will start to wear one or the other based on circumstance… perhaps one fragrance for day and the other for evening.  Or… one to wear when visiting the folks and the other when you hope that the evening ends with you being asked to spend the night.

From my early perfume-wearing days in the 80s I had a fragrance that I wore when I needed that extra bit of chutzpah.  It was Drakkar Noir.  All my beloved citrus scents (Pour Monsieur by Chanel, Monsieur Balmain, etc.) took a back seat when I had that business meeting when sparks would likely fly.  It’s like that today, too.  When something unpredictable is ahead of me, I find myself reaching for Estée Lauder’s Azurée.  It’s got that “Don’t mess with me” feel about it.  In times of stress, I’m not interested in wearing things that pull people closer to me… no sexy ambers, no sublime chypres, no mouth-watering citrus scents, no well-behaved fougères.  It takes leather… animalic, smoky and forbidding.  Hermes’ Bel Ami is a good second choice… particularly with that cumin-peppery accord.

As for music, nothing gives me the edge as much as Wagner’s Tannhäuser’s Overture.  I could march to my DEATH listening to that piece.  Actually, it might be too over the top lest I should be seen skipping to my death!

Another musical piece that gives me strength, though not in the same way, is Mickey Newbury’s American Trilogy.  For years, I listened to Elvis Presley’s shock-and-awe version but this one is like a prayer… serene, peaceful strength.  In the face of criticism, in the face of adversity, in the face of negativity… Mickey Newbury’s American Trilogy centres me.

I’ve been busy with perfume lectures recently but I’ll get back to fragrance reviews now that the lectures are behind me.  If you’d like to tell me what you wear when you need courage… I’d love to hear about it.


Video : Mickey Newbury with Marie Rhines and his American Trilogy

Leave a comment


  1. (sent via email)

    Hi Normand,

    Very nice writing, as usual.

    I’d make a prayer and take a deep breath for courage but, lately, I’d go for Hugo Boss Essence de Femme when I give a presentation or deal with competitive people, and not wanting to appear too aggressive myself. I feel somehow protected by all like women who came before me and had to make a place for themselves in the world, strong but feminine. I guess it’s not a grand perfume at all with its rose core (?) but its very commonality makes me somehow feel protected, humble but strong. Oh, and as I mentioned, the other one I use, for a little fresh and modern edge without the aggressiveness, is Shiseido’s Zen.

    Take care,


  2. Hi T!

    ROSES!!! Yes… of course! What a great symbol of courage. Just go to any tattoo parlour and roses are everywhere as a symbol of courage. I’m going to try that next time… Knowing or Stella or Hammam Bouquet.

    Thanks for writing.


  3. FiveoaksBouquet

     /  February 18, 2013

    Just wearing perfume in itself gives me courage, with no particular scent standing out for the purpose. Whatever I am wearing at a given time (as I tend to wear a perfume for long stretches) will do the trick, although I might apply more than usual going into a demanding situation. The perfume I am wearing on any given day says “This is me.” Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to say it a little louder! 😀

    • You know what I wore today? Chanel No. 5, the perfume. I’ve only ever worn the edt. WOW… No.5 perfume is sublime and it STILL smells wonderful 10 hours later! I wish they had perfume concentrations in everything! Wouldn’t that be wonderful!

      Thanks for writing.


  4. Chanel No19 and Aromatics Elixir Perfumer’s Reserve are my two confidence enhancers. No 19 is more introvert though.

    Looking forward to your reviews!

    • I just found out yesterday that Chanel No. 19 is available in perfume concentration. I’ve got to try this out! And, after reading your post on AE Perfumer’s Reserve, I regretted not buying it last year when it first came out… but will check to see if it is still available. I seem to remember a sublime rose note. For all that is written about the crappy stuff out there, there is STILL a lot of great perfumes to choose from!

      Thanks for writing!

      P.S. Christos… your reviews are awesome.

      • I find the EdP less green than the EdT so I definitely prefer the latter.

        Thank you Normand. A full review on Perfumer’s Reserve will come soon

      • I seem to remember an iris note in the eau de parfum of Chanel No. 19 which would make it feel less green… but I may be wrong about this. I love and wear the Edt regularly… but it’s the extract concentration that has got me wondering.

  5. Hi Normand! A very interesting post. When I need to feel like I have a suit of armor on I tend to go for a strong rose, in most cases Montale Black Aoud. It’s beautiful, but it’s also haughty and big, which makes me think of it as a bit intimidating. (And which is helpful, since I’m not very tall!) 😀

    • I really missed the mark on this post… I forgot about those great, big rose scents!

      There’s an idea for a post… fragrances that make me feel taller! (By the way, I’m 5’4″).

      Thanks for writing!

  6. “No. 5 parfum is confidence in a bottle!”

    Very true 🙂 – should be the tag line for this perfume. I love wearing Lola by Marc Jacobs or Crystal Noir by Versace for a good confidence boost.

  7. Liz

     /  February 22, 2013

    For those monster days at the office-I prefer Bandit or Fendi in perfume. I complete the look with Ellis Faas 101 red (perfect blood red) lipstick, Lippman Nail colour in Dark Side of the Moon (black/burdundy shade) and stilettos. It def. has that ‘don’t mess with me’ vibe.
    My music of choice is always Wagner, preferably something from the Ring Series.

    • Yes, for Bandit! I’ve never tried the lipstick though… 😉

      And yes for Wagner! What is it about Wagner that makes our small lives seem epic?

  8. Natalie

     /  March 3, 2013

    Oh, great question! My favorite pick for courage is No. 19, for sure.

  1. Justine Leconte : Perfume is a weapon and French women know that very well. | The Perfume Chronicles

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