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Friday, May 08, 2009

Got Milk?

They say that familiarity breeds contempt. It also breeds content. There is nothing more comforting than a scent you remember from childhood; the momentary calm that comes over me when I smell the vanillic aroma of a sweet pie baking is a knee-jerk reaction. Immediately I am transported back to my mother’s kitchen, feeling safe and having not a care in the world. Even more comforting than vanilla? The smell of milk. I don’t want to drink it, I just want to smell it…There is something irresistibly primal in the coziness and attractiveness of the fragrance of slightly warmed up milk. Subconscious parallels to being breastfed, cuddled, coddled and absolutely safe? Maybe. Psychobiologists say that newborns are instinctively attracted to the odor of human milk and display much less distress during a painful procedure while smelling their mother’s lait. So maybe I am just a big baby.

Various types of fragrances have a lactic undertone; I smell hints of milk in vanillas (Vanille Aoud comes to mind), chocolate perfumes (Musc Maori), heliotrope-heavy scents (Farnesiana) and even, sometimes, fig fragrances (Premier Figuier, my little one’s current favorite, smells of milk on her…or maybe it’s just her). Three perfumes come to mind as being properly milky. Comtoir Sud Pacifique’s Matin Calin is the sweetest and most unrestrained in its sweet cuddlesomeness. There is nothing more comforting that its saccharine, vanillic, milky aroma. In small doses. An overdose of Matin Calin is an equivalent of maternal love that goes overboard in its intensity, smothering not snuggling with its passionate affection. The gentler Lann-Ael by Lostmarch, which blends milk with cereals and apples, expresses its maternal instinct less gregariously. It is calm and softly spoken, it caresses delicately, and doesn’t overwhelm with the overabundance of adoration. The ideal mother, one might say. Less obviously milky and thus less maternal is the 21 by Costume National. Blending milk with saffron, cumin, pepper, woods and a whole bunch of stuff (21 notes, supposedly, in total), this is the most complex of the three. The kind of mother who’d ask you to call her by her first name. Still, the milky aspect is very obvious to me and for that I adore 21 and find it as comforting as it is hip.

Got more milk…perfumes? Do share! Happy Mother’s Day!

PS. You can create your own milk mustache on

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Anonymous annah said...

When I'm feeling anxious I find that a cup of warm milk really does the trick. It is comforting, delicious, and relaxes me in a way nothing else can.
I had no idea that babies are drawn to the smell of human milk. That's incredibly interesting. You are such a wealth of information, Columbina! You never fail to amaze me ;-)

1:02 AM EDT  
Blogger rebella said...

I´ve just tried Umami from Florascent, that is one gorgeus milky scent! Very softspoken and light, but still very interesting...

3:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ava Luxe Milk and Love's True Bluish Light!

8:40 AM EDT  
Blogger lovethescents said...

Tam Gianducelli's Annam, Kenzo Amour Indian Holi, PG's Un Crime Exotique, DSH's Milk are my favorite milk varieties.

They're also my favorite rice pudding varieties. Funny how I have trouble separating the two!

8:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Hi Annah,
I don't know if it's interesting, I think it makes sense and is actually obvious. If they were attracted to the smell of oud, that would be interesting. Maybe they are but no one has ever thought to find out? :-)

8:50 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Sounds wonderful, I'll have to try it!

8:50 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh yeah! So true. I need to re-try them, thank you for the reminder.

8:52 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Very well pointed out, definitely, rice scents have a milky aspect too, for sure. Have you tried CB I Hate Perfume Boiled Rice accord? It is beyond delish.

8:53 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you remember Clinique's perfume called Simply? They do not make it anymore but I always thought it has a "milk" scent to it.

9:01 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

They discontinued it?! I had no idea. Trying to remember the scent...

9:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Mals86 said...

The pic cracked me up - thanks.

I'm not a big fan of milky scents, although there's nothing better than milk and cookies!!! I thought Kenzoamour was rice-puddingy and might be comforting, but it's just Not My Thing.

For comfort, I want Parfum Sacre. Or Petite Cherie. These comfort scents are so individual, aren't they?

9:19 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I'm glad you noticed the pic :-) Yes, so individual. I find incense comforting, but in a very different manner.

9:22 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perfumers generally use notes called lactones to evoke milk in a perfume, there are many kinds, methyl laitone being my favorite. Some lactonic aromachemicals are coconutty, some have a vanilla vibe, and some are kinda cheesy. But they are all very comforting aromas and add a cuddly aspect to perfumes. I love milky scents, and the photo's great!

9:52 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! :-) Coconutty ones are my least favorite, for some reason.

9:53 AM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Coddled is good. Cuddled is good. When it comes to milk though, so long as it's not curdled.

10:20 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Clever :-)

10:21 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of us may have appreciated the smell of (human only, not other species?) milk in infancy, but when you have hated the taste of it since you learned to drink from a cup, you won't be drawn to the smell of it now as an adult. Not for the lactose-intolerant! I wonder, would perfumistas from a non-dairy-foods culture, East Asia for example, appreciate milkiness in a perfume?
-- Gretchen

11:51 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

I'm a big baby, too...

11:52 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Interesting question! Worth the research maybe :-)

11:52 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

And we are fine with that, right? :-)

11:53 AM EDT  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

Milky for me is Kenzo Amour, and the Farnesiana you already mentioned. And yes, I do like it...and yes, the Kenzo is rice pudding-y.

Very fun Mother's Day weaving, M. :)

12:21 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, S! Kenzo Amour definitely is milky-ish.

12:23 PM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I have to confess that I do go through phases during which I absolutely crave milky scents. And I love full throttle milk scents - Demeter's Condensed Milk. Yum!! :-) Also love DSH's Au Lait. More moderate milky scents just don't do it for me - maybe I'm overcompensating for a lack of mothering during childhood. Who knows? But I do adore those scents. George Dodd, the UK perfumer w/ Scent Systems, once told me that sandalwood was another scent that babies apparently gravitate towards and love. Can't remember the exact reasons he gave, but he's spent a great deal of time studying these things and I do recall that what he said made a lot of sense at the time. I also know that I unconsciously have always craved sandalwood scents (pretty straightforward sandalwoods) during the same times I've craved milk scents. Deep, deep quiet comfort.

2:05 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Curiouser and curiouser! Sandalwood? Interesting! I wonder why.

2:07 PM EDT  
Blogger Aimée L'Ondée said...

I'll take Rob Pattinson to comfort me when I feel anxious any day -- I don't like milky fragrances! Thanks for the great post!

2:54 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Aimée L'Ondée,
Oh that for sure :-) And thank you.

2:55 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Aimee L'Ondee - Tam Dao creates for me a state of serene joy, so I can identify with your statement. Could you please list a few of those sandalwood fragrances you crave when in need_

6:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Divina said...

A lot of good ones already mentioned, but two I love and don't see here are Miyako by Annayake (more yeasty comfort and baked goods scent but with lovely milky veins running through it) and MV2 by MAC which is the milkiest of them all!

Sweet mother's day to you, Marina :)

6:16 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lavanya said...

I find Tam Dao very comforting -it smells a little milky to me. So I'm not sure if it is the sandalwood or the milk note that is comforting..:)..I also don't know if I like the smell of straight up milk...I don't like drinking milk, so assumed that I didn't like the smell.must

7:48 PM EDT  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

Well, there's an interesting addition about sandalwood. I love it, and it is calming for me. There is a discontinued BBW (gasp!) scent called Sandalwood Rose...I am not particularly a rose fan, but this settles and pleases me year round in a way similar to how Parfum Sacre does in the right cold.

Both recall the effect of my mom knowing just where to lay a comforting hand when I'm wound inside but perhaps not so visibly agitated...

8:20 PM EDT  
Blogger Tammy said...

I have to agree with Aimee L'Ondee...not a fan of milk in fragrance or as a drink, but I will take an ice-cold Rob (Edward!) any day.

Thanks, Marina, for a great post and a pic to make me smile!

9:53 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Hmm, I gues I have been missing out on most of the milky scents, though I do like it - I like the rice-pudding type scents and the aromatic cooked rice accord in such things as B&BW's Warm Vanilla Sugar - it also has sandalwood, so along with the vanilla & sugar, it is about as comforting as anything else.

For me it's the smell of goat's milk that brings back my childhood - we kept goats and I got to drink their milk while it was still warm, right from the source. I have only seen it used in soaps and lotions, never perfumes; I wonder what it would be like?

10:54 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! Is MV2 the vanilla one?

8:01 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Explore and report on the results :-)

8:01 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

The last sentence made me feel all fuzzy, so nice.

8:02 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

yes, an ice-cold, sparkly Rob :-)

8:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am trying to remember if I ever had goat's milk. Does it smell differently from cow's milk?

8:04 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Marina, it is very different, but if you did not grow up with it it can be an acquired taste - it is strongly flavored, as you might know from eating goat's milk cheese. I would say it's a musky smell, but pure animal musk, not sweet perfume musk. It actually smells muskier if there is a male goat in the herd with the females than if he is kept separate from them, because his own "goaty" odor is so strong.

4:33 PM EDT  
Blogger danush said...

Another milky favourite of mine - soft and creamy Diesel Plus Plus Feminine (sadly discontinued). Or maybe it's just the bottle?

4:10 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

The description doesn't scare me off, it attracts me :-)

5:51 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh it is definitely creamy-milky! You are right!

5:51 PM EDT  
Blogger Divina said...

Yeah, M2 is the vanilla one with the gold cap :)

10:04 AM EDT  
Anonymous gautami said...

Hi - I am delurking after a long time. I tried Angelique Noire at Neiman Marcus this weekend, after reading on PerfumePosse that the Les Parisienne collection was in store, and found it to be milky. It had a nice creamy milky feel well balanced with bergamot or some other citrus. Did anybody else get that milky note in AN?

11:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Good to know!

11:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I remember a certain creaminess about it, if not milkiness.

11:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Scott said...

My wife has been trying desperately to find a sample of the Costume National 21 scent after reading about it in Lucky magazine, but the company don't return email and The Perfumed Court say they don't intend to restock. Any other ideas/sources?

1:13 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Check luckyscent or first in fragrance

1:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Scott said...

Thanks Marina! We really enjoy your blog. : )

1:40 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott please try to email

2:58 PM EDT  

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