Top 10 Fragrance of Spring 2008

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Two quotes capture the essence of spring particularly well for me.

“Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower” Albert Camus

“It’s spring fever…. You don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” Mark Twain

Never do I feel so uplifted or so delighted by the smallest things—seeing a soot blackened tree branch near my office suddenly burst into bloom, finding the first buds on my jasmine plant and smelling the most wonderful of scents–that of wet earth and fresh grass. The sensation is not dissimilar to that of being in love. Of course, every change makes for new olfactory explorations for me. The following list (in alphabetical order) captures my current, 2008 if you will, mood. If you are interested in my more general reflections on the springtime scents, I would suggest Fragrances of Spring and Perfumes to Usher in Spring.

Annick Goutal Eau du Ciel

Eau du Ciel is a quintessential Annick Goutal watercolor. Like all Goutal fragrances, it presents a story, a glimpse into another life, another universe. Wearing Eau du Ciel, I find myself visualizing someone walking through the countryside, the bottom of her white dress soaked in dew. It is a fragrance that I select for my serene, contemplative moods, when all I want to do is daydream.

Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert

This spring I have resumed my Japanese lessons after a brief hiatus, and the exhilaration of being able to look at the rows of characters, understand the meaning and then to express a thought of my own is something I can hardly put into words. The rewards have been felt in the other spheres of my life as well. After a Japanese friend shared with me some samples of her favorite green teas, I became more obsessed than ever with finding that delicate, green floral scent in perfume. So far, I am still searching, but Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert which was created by perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena after his visit to the Mariage Frères tea salon is a contender. Its tea note is stronger and smokier than what one would find in the Japanese green tea, but the fragrance manages to convey beautifully the velvety feel of first tea leaves. Overall, it is a green tea with violet and jasmine notes.

As much as I love the entire Chanel fragrance line, I find that No 19 has the most profound emotional impact on me. Stunningly elegant, this fragrance alternates between the wet verdancy of galbanum and the dry warmth of leather. The rose notes in its heart have a sensation of white, soft petals on skin, while the vetiver and iris provide a rich foil for the animalic accords. A masterpiece!

For me Cristalle is the essence of Sicily, its magical fragrance that seems to combine the scents of dry, sunbaked earth, the citrus peel and the salty seaweed. The EDT is sparkling and dry like white wine, while the EDP is sweeter like moscato. I wear both depending on my mood, although just like in my preference for dryness in wines, the EDT is my choice more often than not.

Estee Lauder Private Collection

Private Collection captures the beauty of late spring for me. The deliciously crisp green top note enhanced by the vegetal richness of galbanum lingers on the skin, but once it departs, the darkness of the chypre-leather remains to suggest the warm, seductive languor of summer. It is another recent discovery for me. I hardly ever see it on the Estée Lauder counters, but if asked, the sales associates procure it from a stash filled with other marvelous Lauder classics such as Azurée, Estée, and Cinnabar. I also love the new Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, a striking and memorable white floral.

Guerlain Vetiver

The beauty of Vetiver is that despite its numerous reformulations, it is still a classic with which to be reckoned. On the face of it, it is quite simple—the natural facets of vetiver (citrus, licorice, wood, dampness) drawn out and enhanced. The result is nothing short of genius. This spring I am rediscovering it anew.

L’Artisan Parfumer Timbuktu and Amouage Jubilation XXV

I will confess that I am a great fan of Bertrand Duchaufour. His fragrances possess a strong personality, and yet their rich nuances paired with minimal structures convey both elegance and complexity. Timbuktu and Jubilation XXV are perfect studies in radiance and projection. The former is a rosy patchouli, underpinned by a rich resinous accord. The latter is an woody amber twisted around a spicy frankincense.

Infusion d’Iris has been one of my favorite recent launches. I love its reference to Guerlain L’Heure Bleue (another great love of mine), its suggestion of Japanese incense smoke, its delicate form and elegant drydown. This spring, it is a constant companion for me. I have to add that those men who wear Dior Homme might find Prada to be another interesting iris choice.

I will not stop wondering why Féminité du Bois has been discontinued in the States, but while it is still available online, I suggest stocking up. The first Serge Lutens fragrance, it continues to remain one of the most daring wood scents for women (and the most sensual scents for men). Its violet cedarwood structure is a gold standard for dry, yet luminous woods.

Tom Ford Oud Wood

Oud is one of the most bizarre and fascinating fragrance materials. During my recent trip to the Arabian Peninsula, I found myself completely enthralled by its complex scent—dark and minty, honeyed and animalic, crisp and smoky. Almost half a year later my scarf still smells of oud. Many fragrances purport to contain oud, but Tom Ford Oud Wood is the best example of manipulating this complex material. While containing the various facets of oud, it nevertheless manages to suggest its airy character. A vignette of burning oud incense.

To see other list of Top 10 Spring Fragrances, please take a look at these blogs: Now Smell This :: Perfume Posse :: Perfume Smellin’ Things ::

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27 Comments

  • oeditrix: We must be on the same page! I love almost all of these, especially Vetiver, No. 19, and The Vert. Add AG Chevrefeuille for a sweeter day, and I’m set.

    Now I’m dying to try Feminite du Bois, but I can’t find it for cheap. Any suggestions? April 18, 2008 at 1:55pm Reply

  • rosarita: We share many loves on this list. Prada Infusion d’Iris is wonderful, isn’t it? It’s my newest love, but I just discovered Bulgari The Vert as well. Chanel 19 and Cristalle have been parts of me since their releases, but #19 feels the most like my truest *self* to me. Lovely to read you again! I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s post on Chypres, as well. April 18, 2008 at 3:36pm Reply

  • Marina: I would give anything for a spritz of Cristalle and/or for a glass of dry white wine. 🙂 So hot! April 18, 2008 at 3:37pm Reply

  • Judith: What a lovely list! I have been enjoying Oud Wood recently, too. For Oeditrix: Feminite is available at Amazon for $90 (I don’t know if that counts as cheap). Along the same lines, I just rediscovered Bois de Violette at BG, and I fell in love with it all over again! April 18, 2008 at 3:48pm Reply

  • Jessica: A very contemplative list! Thank you.

    One of my coworkers wears Bvlgari The Vert, and it smells delightful on her.

    And I love your “watercolor” metaphor for the Goutal fragrances. April 18, 2008 at 3:54pm Reply

  • March: V, what a lovely list to read. As usual, an interesting array of fragrances. Whatever else folks are saying about Perfumes: The Guide, it is helping me chart some fragrances I feel I need to revisit, and your review of Ciel does the same. The Prada and Guerlain on your list are “new” discoveries for me in that I just started to appreciate them. 🙂 April 18, 2008 at 3:58pm Reply

  • Sayuri: You speak Japanese! I read you often and I like your writing very much. Do you know Pillow Book ? Your lists makes me think of the lists in that book. 🙂 April 18, 2008 at 4:05pm Reply

  • Paola: Yay, you are back! I would love to hear your impressions on the new Thierry Mugler collection, whenever you have time. April 18, 2008 at 4:09pm Reply

  • Robin: On the tea issue, you must find out for us what JCE was smelling at MF. I’m guessing it was Chinese green tea, which is smokier, a bit less green/vegetal than Japanese (massive sweeping generalization, but still — I must send you some of my Mao Feng or Hyson). April 18, 2008 at 8:25pm Reply

  • Joe Garces: Welcome back,I enjoy reading your reviews, Guerlain Vetiver is my Spring favorite. It smells fresh and brilliant. TF Oud Wood sounds interesting I will check it out this week April 20, 2008 at 8:51am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Oeditrix, Le Chevrefeuille is such a lovely fragrance, a fragrance to wear when one wants something refreshing and sparkling. As for FdB, I see a bottle on Amazon for $90, same as what Judith suggested. Not sure it is cheap, but at least it is available (I paid $60 for mine). April 21, 2008 at 8:48am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Rosarita, I am glad that you liked it! Like you, I rediscovered The Vert, and it is such a perfect spring fragrance for me. I am also revisiting all of my favorite chypres this spring. Will wear Mitsouko today. April 21, 2008 at 8:50am Reply

  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to read your gorgeous prose once again. Where did you go ? I’m thinking Japan, India the Mioddle East ?
    I look forward to your list. I am relieved to read of some classics such as Chanel no. 19, Cristalle, Estee Lauder private Collection, Eau de Ciel etc. For my part I could only find Chanel n0. 19 EDp and extrait in Paris or JFk duty free. Is that the strength you are referring to because the EDT is very nondescript.
    I love green scents such as Niss Dior Dioirissimo Diorella. I also had the chance to try Feminite Du Bois in Paris .
    it is very distinctive.Love AG Chevrefeuille . What do you think of La rose de rosine ? April 21, 2008 at 10:38am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Marina, that sounds so wonderful! April 23, 2008 at 9:25am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Judith, thank you! I am glad to hear that you are enjoying Oud Wood. It is the one I am enjoying the most from Tom Ford right now. April 23, 2008 at 9:28am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Jessica, thank you. Annick Goutal fragrances have that sheer, transparent quality, and yet they are full of vibrant colors and light. I find it very interesting. April 24, 2008 at 2:05pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: March, yes, that is what I find useful about it too. It reminded me of several fragrances I should revisit, even if they received 1 star ratings. 🙂 April 24, 2008 at 2:06pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Sayuri, comparing my silly lists to Pillow Book is a compliment I find overwhelming. 🙂 Thank you. April 24, 2008 at 2:08pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Paola, I was just commenting on Marina’s Perfume Smellin’ Things about liking a couple of them. I will write about them too, but in the mean time, please take a look at her great reviews. April 24, 2008 at 2:10pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Robin, I would love to try your fav. teas! You are my tea guru, after all. By the way, the kettle from Adagio is here, and I love how it works. April 24, 2008 at 2:11pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Joe, great to hear from you! I also love Cravache in this weather. Its citrusy brightness seems so appropriate. April 24, 2008 at 2:15pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Madelyn, La Rose de Rosine is a very lush, classical rose-violet combination. I like it, but it is not a favorite rose, as I struggle to remember it. It is missing a hook for me. April 24, 2008 at 2:39pm Reply

  • Laura: Hi dear V,
    I meant to tell you the other day that I am a recent re-convert to Annick Goutal! I loved her in the 90’s and then lost interest. I’ve been wearing Eau du Ciel and Chevrefeuille practically nonstop for the past three weeks! I’m interspersing it with with Osmanthus Interdite for a change of pace. And on that note (the tea one ;D), I’ll have to give Bvlgari The Vert another try, on your recommendation! April 29, 2008 at 11:07am Reply

  • Astrid: Glad to have found this page.
    I use the original Armani Le Parfum fragrance since forever.
    Unfortunately it was discontinued some time ago. Now I am desperately trying to find another fragrance I will equally fall in love with.
    Any suggestions? April 29, 2008 at 6:16pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Laura, same here! You know, I actually associate Eau du Ciel with you. Whenever I wear it, I think of your beautiful garden. 🙂 May 1, 2008 at 8:47am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Astrid, have you checked Ebay? I see it there from time to time. May 1, 2008 at 8:48am Reply

  • Penny: Love Ormonde Jayne’s Sampaquita fragrance for Spring. Opening notes are fizzy, cirtusy and grassy with strong tropical lychee and bergamot. Then luscious floral scent, beautiful lemony magnolia, creamy jasmine. All of which is supremely delicate. Finally, my favorite part was the drydown: gorgeous, richly layered earthy mix of spice, moss, and woods, which add real depth to the stunningly beautiful floral notes. Very complex, not just pretty floral, it’s a composition that is really lush and tropical but not overwhelmingly heady. May 7, 2008 at 1:37pm Reply

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