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SUNDAY BRUNCH | The Stuff

Where to Get Uncommon Scents

January 25, 1998|JANET EASTMAN

Are you frustrated because you don't smell like the old you? Have department stores discontinued your favorite fragrance?

Don't despair. There are stores that bank on customers like you.

The Fragrance Shops in Anaheim Hills, Cypress, Huntington Beach and Orange sell more than 450 perfumes and colognes, many of which are hard to find in the U.S. but are available in Europe. The 14-year-old discount chain tries to keep in stock rare perfumes such as Cacheral's Lou Lou, Ungaro's Ungaro and Monteil's Royal Secret, and colognes such as Jacomo's Jacomo de Jacomo, Valenciaga's Valenciaga Pour Homme and Van Cleef & Arpels.

The merchandise is guaranteed fresh and bottled in the country of origin, relieving fears of stinking imitations.

"Fragrances move people. They remind us of something--a romance, our childhood," says Sandy Forrisdahl, manager of the Anaheim Hills store. "Smelling a certain fragrance is like wine tasting. You take in the bouquet of roses, jasmine, gardenias, and you can see the flowers you're smelling."

She nods gently when someone walks through the door toting an empty fragrance bottle and says, "I know you don't carry this, but . . . ." Forrisdahl will probably be able to say "Well, yes, we do."

After placating these one-scenters with their olfactory fix, she gently urges them to take the next step: Spring for at least one other bottle to match the season.

In cold weather, she says, deeper fragrances--vanilla base and amber tones--prevail. In warmer weather, we're drawn to airy scents--fruity and outdoorsy--that feel as if we've just stepped out of a shower.

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