10 Pastel Perfumes for Spring

Elisa feels the lure of spring.

Part of the pleasure of browsing a makeup counter – and why I’ll always buy more makeup than I need – is the impression that I’m handling color in its pure form. Not just lipsticks but pigment: art and possibility. It’s the same flavor of childlike glee I feel when looking at a wall of paint swatches or the bulk bins in a candy store. As a kid I even organized my books in “rainbow order” on the shelves.

kateryna bilokur

Around March the mannequins in window displays all seem to be wearing pastels. I never buy these clothes; like bows and Peter Pan collars, pastels just don’t suit me. But I can participate in the traditional color scheme of the season with perfumes that smell like springtime shades instead.

Here are ten soft, pastel-hued perfumes (in spectral order, no less) I recommend.

Diptyque Eau Rose

I love weird roses, dark roses, spicy roses, mossy roses…I’ll take them all. But sometimes, especially in spring, a perfectly pretty, pastel-pink rose with little adornment fits the bill. Enter Eau Rose, which is dewy and fresh with a citrus lift.

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Postcard from Ukraine : Willow Sunday

It took me a moment to connect the green fragrance reminiscent of jasmine buds and apples with the bunch of willow branches I held in my arms. I bought it at the entrance to the Mgarsky Monastery in Lubny, and I now stood in line to have my willow branches blessed by the priest who walked around the church courtyard, sprinkling people and their willow bouquets with holy water. Since palm trees don’t grow in Ukraine but willows do, the Sunday before Easter is called Willow Sunday. Mine smelled of sweet incense and willow blossoms.

willow treewillow sunday1

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Rosewater Essence

One of my recent FT columns is all about rosewater, a by-product of rose oil production. After the steam distillation runs its course, there remains a fragrant liquid, or rosewater. It’s used in cosmetics, food, medical preparations and home scents. Rosewater is not stable enough to be used in perfumery, but many rose oil producers have started re-distilling the rosewater and making so-called rosewater essence, or extract. It’s less expensive than rose oil and is packaged with words like sustainable and environmentally friendly, which it may or may not be. Nevertheless, it’s a curious product, and perfumers have been using more of it to create a fresh petal effect, or to soften the outlines of synthetic floral accords.

rosewater

The 11th-century Persian philosopher and scientist Avicenna is credited with many contributions to astronomy, geography, psychology, logic, mathematics and physics. He also found time to delve into perfumery and devised methods to extract essential oils, experimenting on roses. If Avicenna were to step into a fragrance lab today, he would orient himself quickly enough – modern perfumery is a curious amalgam of traditional techniques with state-of-the-art technology. Indeed, rose oil is prepared in much the same way as in Avicenna’s time – through the process of steam distillation. Continue here.

Previously, I also wrote about my favorite ways with this rose-scented liquid. Do you use rosewater? 

Image via HTSI

Postcard from Kyiv

The days of rain, pink petals clogging the gutters and the sour-sweet smell of poplar buds. Spring in Kyiv.

lavra-kiev-2016

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Ten Fragrances in Ten Minutes

What are the ultimate desert island perfumes? Patricia tests herself.

I’ve lived in my present dwelling for over thirty years, time enough to accumulate an unnecessary quantity of items. With the current trend towards minimalism, my various collections have started to weigh heavy on my conscience and I’ve enjoyed fantasizing about moving into much smaller quarters and having to downsize significantly. I thought about Victoria and her move to Brussels some years back when she was able to bring only a small portion of her perfume collection with her and how difficult that must have been. Doing a similar exercise is of course only that, an exercise, but I decided to set my kitchen timer for ten minutes and grab ten fragrances that would come with me—my desert island perfumes. A no-vintages rule made for easier decisions (although one of my choices has been discontinued).

perfume selection

It took me four minutes to go through my collection and make initial choices, then six additional minutes to pare down the edited collection to ten (actually eleven if you count the bottles in the picture). The buzzer went off with eleven bottles on my bureau, so I left it at that.

First I snatched No. 19 EDT from my Chanel tray because it is an iris, my favorite fragrance of all time, and my bottle of No. 19 EDP is vintage and therefore out of the running. No. 19 is also one I can wear for all occasions, in all seasons, and in other words a no-brainer. Chanel 31 Rue Cambon is also coming along to fill the chypre category and serve as an elegant ladies-who-lunch fragrance for those times that I need to appear more put together than I actually am. The Hermès tray provided L’Ambre des Merveilles for a spicy gourmand amber vanilla that is delightful to wear in fall and winter. Cuir de Lancôme, rich leather with floral undertones, also joins the group for its beauty and versatility in all seasons save the dog days of summer.

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