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Don't forget to take a scents-ible approach

| Thursday, April 25, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

While sniffing out spring's newest scents and comparing notes with colleagues, we were reminded of the power of fragrance to conjure the past or project an image. One woman chooses a cologne because it smells like an old boyfriend's cigarettes and motorcycle jacket; another picks a bewitching blend of floral and spice to say to the world she's mysterious.

We tested these four eau-so-fragrant perfumes (any one of which is so prettily packaged it would boost the beauty of your boudoir) and are offering our unscientific recommendations.

• A whiff of Jo Malone's Osmanthus Blossom cologne (available May 1) confirms the Brit brand's nose for good scents. The tangy mix of apricot, peach and leather is subtle enough for the office but also will suit those who like to venture outside. 1 fluid ounce is $60 at select department stores and www.jomalone.com.

• Note to Hillary Clinton: While you're contemplating future moves, test out Jimmy Choo's Flash in its disco-ball bottle. The top notes of pink peppercorn infuse the fragrance with energy, while the jasmine and lily notes underneath give it soul. Isn't that just what a signature scent of a would-be president should project? Flash eau de parfum, 3.3 fluid ounces, $98 at Jimmy Choo stores and select department stores.

• Fashion designer Consuelo Castiglioni's Marni is as quirky as her boldly patterned clothing collection of the same name. One sniff makes you want another in this enchanting blend of peppercorns, ginger, cardamom and incense. Marni eau de parfum, 2.2 ounces, $105 at Saks Fifth Avenue stores and www.saksfifthavenue.com.

• If the first female director of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson, is on the trail of a new scent, we suggest she begin with a dab of Diptyque's citrusy but unisex L'Eau du Trente Quatre (named for the company's first Paris store on 34 Boulevard Saint Germain). She'll want fellow agents to detect that she's part of the team. 1.7 ounces, $100 at www.diptyqueparis.com, us.spacenk.com and www.saksfifthavenue.com.

Janet Bennett Kelly is a writer for The Washington Post.

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