Beautiful Perfumes are Like Wine

Perfumes are analyzed by sommelier Sarah Clarke in this Marie Claire magazine article. The aroma and mood eliciting effects of fragrance are similar to those of a great wine.

Excerpts from a fragrance editorial, Fragrance Files: Popping Bottles, in Marie Claire Magazine, March 2017 issue.

Perfumes and Wine

Fragrance Files - Popping Bottles

"From the heady aroma to the mood-altering effects, a beautiful perfume has a lot in common with a great wine - just ask a sommelier."
-- Jennifer Goldstein, Executive Health & Beauty Editor | Read more @

Divinely scented and crafted by trained specialists, perfumes can be sophisticated blends of distinguished provenance or simpler mixtures in flashy glass bottles that tell a story. Likewise, the same could be said of a wine. ... But at least when you're choosing a bottle at a restaurant, there's a sommelier on hand to educate, demystify, and guide you to the perfect selection. "As a sommelier, you need to have a great sense of smell,...' says Sarah Clarke, general manager of Osteria Mozza and beverage director for Mozza Restaurant Group in Los Angeles. ... Because of her unique skill set, we asked Clarke to test out some new perfumes, giving us her first impressions (before she knew the notes used in the blend), and then a wine pairing and review after we gave her more details on the scents. ...

Fragrances & Wine Pairings

Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Sucre Perfume

Juicy Couture
Viva La Juicy Sucre

Eau de Parfum, $96 for 3.4 oz; Macy's

FIRST IMPRESSION: "Powdered sugar, violet, and vanilla - like a candied strawberry or cherry." FRAGRANCE NOTES: Fuses red currant, mandarin, and peach with gardenia, jasmine, almond cream, and vanilla extract. WINE EQUIVALENT: "It's hard to get around the sweetness, but with the hints of red fruit, I'd have to say it's most similar to a light, floral rosé from Provence. SOMMELIER VERDICT: "I really need to be more familiar with flowers to describe this well, but it's like a macaron - or amarena cherries, which are often used at the bar and come bottled in a rich, dark syrup."

Jimmy Choo L'Eau Fragrance

Jimmy Choo

Eau de Toilette, $98 for 3 oz; Macy's

FIRST IMPRESSION: "I get watermelon rind and cucumber - those green notes are what stand out."
FRAGRANCE NOTES: Combines hibiscus flower with bergamot, nectarine, peony, and cedarwood.

WINE EQUIVALENT: "Because of the underlying greenness in this, I would equate it with something like a Sancerre or Sauvignon Blanc."

SOMMELIER VERDICT: "It's definitely floral, but to me, it's really about that watermelon rind, which I love because it has a really nice freshness."

Vince Camuto Ciao Perfume

Vince Camuto

Eau de Parfum, $84 for 3.4 oz; Macy's

FIRST IMPRESSION: "Candy and white flowers were the first things I smelled."
FRAGRANCE NOTES: A fruity-floral Oriental with strawberry, blackberry, honeysuckle, lily of the valley, Cashmeran, and sandalwood.
WINE EQUIVALENT: "It's a little like Viognier, a white from the northern Rhône Valley. If I smell a wine with sweet notes of, for example, Froot Loops, those usually remind me of Viognier."
SOMMELIER VERDICT: "Floral, but also sweet - and it has the soft chalky quality of a powder."

Cartier Baiser Fou Fragrance

Baiser Fou

Eau de Parfum, $90 for 1.6 oz; Saks

FIRST IMPRESSION: "Green herbs and mint, elderflower, and pink peppercorns."
FRAGRANCE NOTES: Designed to evoke a kiss on the skin, with purple orchid and white chocolate reminiscent of a lip balm.
WINE EQUIVALENT: "The elderflower reminds me of a gin and tonic. A wine would be tougher, but it's sort of like Roussanne, a white varietal from France's southern Rhône Valley that has a rich viscosity."
SOMMELIER VERDICT: "It's tough to describe because it's herbaceous yet sweet - and there's a density to it."

Dior Poison Girl Perfume

Poison Girl

Eau de Toilette, $78 for 1.7 oz; Dior

FIRST IMPRESSION: "There's a spicy orange-peel quality to this one, with a lot of underlying floral notes.
FRAGRANCE NOTES: Strikes a balance between Sicilian sweet orange, Calabrian bitter orange, and neroli, rose, vanilla, and tonka bean.
WINE EQUIVALENT: "I'm thinking of a Mantonico, a white varietal that's from Calabria, Italy, just like the bitter-orange note the perfumer used in this scent."
SOMMELIER VERDICT: "This smells like orange blossom and maybe even baby powder a bit. It's both sweet and spicy, and tickles your nose at the end."

Narcisco Rodriguez For Her Fleur Musc Fragrance

Narcisco Rodriguez
For Her Fleur Musc

Eau de Parfum, $124 for 3.3 oz; Macy's

FIRST IMPRESSION: "This one's fun: rose petals and musk and come kind of underlying herbaceous notes, like eucalyptus or tarragon."
FRAGRANCE NOTES: Inspired by pink roses, this features musk, pink peppercorn, patchouli, and soft amber. WINE EQUIVALENT: "If you just think about the rose-petal notes in this scent, then that sends you to Nebbiolo, a northern Italian red, like Barolo or Barbaresco."
SOMMELIER VERDICT: "Really pretty. It was definitely the most popular. All my coworkers asked, 'Ooh, who gets to keep this one?'"

Nest Fragrances Black Tulip Perfume

Nest Fragrances
Black Tulip

Eau de Parfum $68 for 1.7oz Sephora

FIRST IMPRESSION: "You know when cantaloupe gets really ripe? There's definitely that melon-y, musky quality here."
FRAGRANCE NOTES: An Oriental blend of black plum, patchouli, pink pepper, and Japanese violet.
WINE EQUIVALENT: "I'm going to get a little crazy and say it's reminiscent of Gewürztraminer, a white that's spicy and has some candied orange peel."
SOMMELIER VERDICT: "This perfume was tricky, because it's so complex. The muskiness is there, but also the melon notes and even some higher tones of grapefruit peel."

Jo Malone Bloomsbury Set Leather & Artemesia Fragrance

Jo Malone - Bloomsbury Set
Leather & Artemesia

Cologne, $79 for 1 oz; Nordstrom

FIRST IMPRESSION: "It smells of leather, and there's this amber - and earth and musk."
FRAGRANCE NOTES: An anise-tinged blend of herbal artemesia, soft orriswood, and leather.
WINE EQUIVALENT: "Red Bordeaux are known for leather and earth. There's a region in Bordeaux called Graves - which gets its name from the gravel in the subsoil - and this perfume has that same kind of stony quality."
SOMMELIER VERDICT: "This was my personaly favorite. I would totally wear it, but I can't at work because then everyone would be smelling my perfume and not their wine."

Hugo Boss The Scent for Her Perfume

Hugo Boss
Boss The Scent For Her

Eau de Parfum $100, 3.3 oz Dillard's

FIRST IMPRESSION: "Definitely orange citrus - there's a tangerine type of element to this one."
FRAGRANCE NOTES: Honeyed peach and freesia top notes, with a heart of osmanthus flower and a roasted cocoa base.
WINE EQUIVALENT: "The citrusy notes remind me of a light, sparkling Moscato from Italy."
SOMMELIER VERDICT: "With the floral, orange, and jasmine, this one's almost like a candy, or maybe a white cupcake with frosting."

(Goldstein, Jennifer. "Beauty: Fragrance Files - Popping Bottles." Marie Claire Mar. 2017: 188-190)

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