Le Chapeau Pourpre


Chapeau's Perfumescope Part I: Water Signs

Chapeau's Perfumescope Part I: Water Signs


Cancers are the archivists of Zodiac. Lovers of history and makers of family trees, they like flea markets, antique sales and vintages. They are the ones most likely to regard perfumes as works of art rather than accessories/design pieces. Being the homebodies that they are, home fragrance is as important to them as perfume.

Cancers are good family people and that makes them prone to going for fragrances that someone in the family, most likely in previous generations, has already worn. They will painstakingly seek out the vintage juice their maman or granmaman loved and wear it proudly, oblivious to the opinions of philistines. Sticklers for the tradition and continuity, Cancers are not likely to hop from one fragrance to another, or pursue flankers and new releases. More often than not Cancers stick with one or two fragrances for life. They lament discontinuation and reformulation deeply, like the passing of a dear friend. If a Cancer displays Perfume Promiscuity, and happens to have a huge and growing collection, it likely means he or she hasn't yet found the one to end them all. However, if a beloved fragrance is one day found out to be worn by an unpleasant person who had earlier harmed Cancer in any way, a terrible falling out is imminent and the defiled object of love shall be condemned to oblivion.

Generally, Cancers enjoy lighter scents and traditional categories: pretty florals, maybe aldehydic, for the ladies, fougeres and colognes for the gents. Or in reverse, since Cancers don't mind a bit of gender bending. They also like the familiar, soothing scents of home and garden: vanilla, soft spices, cooking herbs, dewy natural garden flowers (violets including violet leaf, tea rose, iris, and peony), tree blossoms and fruits local to their home. Might be drawn to somewhat barnyard scents, particularly narcissus and indolic whites, or fragrances that will inspire their armchair travels. (See Bertrand Duchaufour's creations for L'Artisan for that) Cancers are also likely to prefer all-natural perfumery, as their love for Home includes a notion of caring for the environment on the whole.

When it comes to wooing an object of affection, Cancers are likely to opt for the "sexy librarian" or "adorable geek" image. Again, vanillic fragrances (non-gourmand, like Dzing!) will nurture their need for comfort and their love of old books.

Browsing through the reviews, Cancers will search for the following keywords: comfort, cashmere, beige, milky, soft, skin, natural, light, leaves, dirt (soil).

In a store, they are drawn to semi-opaque "milky" or iridescent flacons that look similar to the moon stone, or transparent, delicately shaped ones with little decoration and light-green or peach-colored liquid within, and generally find sharp angles, hefty square shapes and practical big bottles unappealing.

Cancers are not big spenders, and often have a hard time parting with their hard-earned wad of cash. They'd rather wait patiently for discounts and bargains, or better yet, look for estate sales and peruse flea markets. Impulsive buys happen, but they induce a sharp albeit short-lived guilt.


Scorpios are intense, deep and secretive. They seek hidden meanings and arcane knowledge. Haunted places fascinate them. It is the Scorpion, dark, brooding yet full of salubrious energy, who inspired chypre masterpieces such as Magie Noire, Nikki de St.Phalle and Aromatics Elixir.

Ruled by the obscure, mysterious Pluto, Scorpios are drawn to perfumes with a tragic story or an intriguing legend attached to them, and might fall in love with an unlikely scent for the sake of its back story, Guerlain's Liu being a good example.

Scorpios like to conquer and wear notoriously difficult, disagreeable and unpleasant accords and are often fond of the raspy "cigarette ash florals" with plenty of character, such as Miss Balmain, Gres Cabaret or ELdO Rossy de Palma, the latter two also nurturing the Scorpions' passion for seeking out the underbelly of things (as in backstage for Cabaret) and their penchant for drama and Baudelairian aesthetics. The smell of ashes also corresponds well with the idea of the Scorpion being an incarnation of Phoenix, the mythical creature capable of reviving itself after being incinerated.

As Scorpios are deeply concerned with matters of life and death, they are inevitably drawn to temples, churches, mosques and other sacred places, often regardless of their actual religion or lack thereof. Scents associated with these places, such as frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood and oud appeal to the eight's sign, as do funereal aspects of some flowers (lily, chrysantemum), undergrowth, roots and soil. The perfect Scorpio-catching blurb is that of Serge Lutens' De Profundis. And I'll wager that Luca Turin lured many a Scorpion into buying Iris Silver Mist, again by Lutens, just by describing it as "the powderiest, rootiest, most sinister iris imaginable, a huge gray ostrich-feather boa to wear with purple dévoré velvet at a poet's funeral". I have yet to meet a Scorpio who hasn't checked out Guerlain's Samsara immediately upon finding out the meaning of the word in Hindu.

Scorpio will incessantly test the Noirs out there, and be disappointed by the noirlessness of the lot. Words that pertain to the realm of spiritual practices and rituals, Mystique, Magique, Nuit and Midnight are also on the checklist, as are the adjectives in the vein of "obscure" and "dark". The best compliment for these dramatic creatures is when they are asked what they are wearing and able to puzzle the heck out of the inquirer with their answer.

Yet, it's not all blood and grime for the Scorpios. Love plays a big part in their life, and after all they are Zodiac's notoriously insatiable lovers. This side of Scorpio may call for raunchy, even skanky scents once in a while. Warm fuzzy animalics like Jicky may appeal to a love-struck Scorpio, as will soft sensual suedes and leathers. Scorpio on the prowl will opt for less subtle tactics and don Paco Rabanne La Nuit or Tom Ford's Tuscan Leather. Vintage lovers of both sexes will flaunt Bandit, Tabac Blond or Habanita.

Displayed on their vanity most likely are opaque bottles in burgundy, dark green, purple or black, not only for their aesthetic appeal, but out of practicality as well.

Scorpios are shrewd and not likely to shell out simply for the sake of shelling out. They might own several expensive pieces, but in a Scorpio's wardrobe those will co-exist with moderately priced and cheap ones, all carefully chosen for specific reasons and representative of their owner's character and values.


Dreamy, pensive, double-faceted Pisces is the dual water sign and it makes for some interesting perfume profiling. As the most aquaceous of the three signs attributed to this element, Pisces are likely to enjoy aquatic (not ozonic or caloney), subtle, watery scents with notes of water flora: lotus, water lily, papyrus, etc . Creatures of the Sea, they often enjoy salty, savoury notes and like their florals wet, dewy and fresh (think Annick Goutal's Un Matin d' Orage). Pisces also possess some traits of their time period. Being the first spring sign, they like pale, cool scents with a comforting, warm, often ambery underpinning, of which Guerlain's Chant d'Aromes might be a good example.

Pisces are often moody and will be drawn to melancholic, L'Heure Bleue type scents which can make them even more so.

Generally, there are two distinct sides to Zodiac's dual signs, making each person born under these signs display one side more prominently than the other.

Pisces type one is pensive, introverted, timid and reminiscent of murky waters. They are prone to wearing well-known crowd pleasers and don't particularly like to stand out. Au contraire, these people might wear their perfume as a sort of shielding white noise. Soft, safe modern classics, like Coco Mademoiselle are often their choice, as are polite barely-there floral woody musks, floral greens and green tea types. Kenzo fragrances suit them well, L'Eau Par Kenzo and the soliflores of the Les Eaux des Fleurs line. Not to forget "the other fish", their alter ego, which might make them want to wear quite the opposite of these scents when they are home alone or just feeling rebellious. Blood Concept, Womanity and even Secretions Magnifiques might be in order when the mood strikes.

Pisces type two is more laid back, channeling the piscean energy in an artistic, often bohemian way. These will opt for vintages, rare, quirky or intellectual niche creations and natural aromas of ambergris and seaweed or rain and vegetation, as in Un Jardin Sur le Nil.

Pisces are prone to choosing perfumes in smooth, rounded flacons that look and feel like weather worn stones on the sea shore. Acqua di Gioia comes to mind, both shape and lovely pale jade color. Dune, almost identical in shape might also appeal with its distinct sweet and salty aroma of sun tanned skin.

When browsing reviews, Pisces will pay attention to "beach", "light", "watery", "metallic", "melancholy" and "delicate".

They are often overdraught on their bank accounts and have a hard time budgeting their income, hence the abundant spur of the moment spending and subsequent dry spells.


Disclaimer: I am by no means a professional astrologer, these are just some observations I've made over the years and some conclusions I've drawn on how character might affect our perfume choices. This is my first attempt at this genre, and everything is strictly IMHO, written with the sole purpose of fun. I'd still like to hear back from those who got round to reading these ramblings, and you're welcome to throw tomatoes should you feel like it.

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