Spring flashes past me in a flurry of pink cherry petals. Every year I anticipate it with the same impatience, whether or not the winter tested me with too many snowy days. I just love the rejuvenation I feel in the air, the promise of something new, and fresh scents all around me. I immediately want to clean out my closet, throw things away, wash windows—what madness!—plan an exciting trip, read new books, learn a new language. I don’t make New Year resolutions; my springs are all about making changes.
In tandem with my bouts of energy, I also crave uplifting perfumes. Because I wear fragrances to match my mood, rather than my seasons, I noticed over the past few years that my springtime staples tend to be invigorating and energizing. They give me an extra jolt when my spirits begin to sag thanks to the nasty colds I catch as the seasons change, and they also make it easier to go through the day when the morning are still too dark and the evenings are still cool.
When I decided to compile a list of my spring favorites, these are the kinds of fragrances that ended up on it. I like to think of them as my energizing perfumes. Even if I know that I won’t actually make that trip to Tibet or learn Vietnamese anytime soon, at least I can smell good dreaming.
I love the name of this perfume, but I enjoy its dramatic, vibrant personality even more. Green perfumes are often too pastel and tame for my tastes, but Debut has verve and brilliance. It explodes into the bright facets of crushed leaves and stems. At its heart is the lily of the valley that smells like flowers, roots and soils simultaneously–a tender spring memento.
Oyedo is an electric citrus. It has the zesty vibrancy of a lemon, the floral darkness of a mandarin and the tangy bitterness of grapefruit. Oyedo isn’t perfect; it becomes overly sweet for my tastes in the drydown, but I find the top notes so addictive that I reach for the bottle again and again and again.
Melon, jasmine, and cedarwood in the hands of Hermes’s in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena turn into a delicate tapestry. The airy marine notes create a salty accent; the briny smell of sun bleached sea shells on the beach or the smell of someone’s skin after a swim. The peppery bite of cardamom gives Un Jardin Apres Le Mouson its sprightly feel.
Lalique Encre Noire
The cool, earthy impression of Encre Noire may not seem all that energizing, but to me it smells like spring itself—the wet earth after the rain, the sticky branches of maple trees before they burst into leaves, the damp wood table on our patio where I invariably forget my tea cup and find it the next morning filled with rainwater.
To many perfume wearers Light Blue is the smell of their local mall. It’s a huge success, and I smell it everywhere. But I really don’t care; I join the rest of the American women in my love for this Dolce & Gabbana perfume. Its crunchy amber and apple notes make me feel instantly uplifted.
Le Temps d’une Fête has such a rich green heart that the appearance of a delicate jasmine is unexpected. It feels vibrant and dramatic, but it’s also elegant and polished. Like most Parfums de Nicolaï, Le Temps d’une Fête is very easy to wear. It doesn’t give you that nagging feeling of being too underdressed for your perfume; instead, it makes you feel as if you’re the most elegant person in the room.
Annick Goutal Eau de Camille
I love the intense green of Eau de Camille set against the honeyed sweetness of jasmine and honeysuckle. It’s a simple perfume, a little etude of a summer day, but one whiff of its ivy top notes, and I feel more invigorated.
Cartier Eau de Cartier
Violet leaves, driftwood and black pepper… For me, Eau de Cartier is something between a lemonade and a piquant ginger tea—a refreshing and comforting potion. The initial impression is sparkling and rejuvenating; the drydown is languid and tender.
I bought a bottle of No 19 the spring I graduated from university. I remember walking down the rainy streets to my commencement, with my flowing black robe and the green iris of my perfume trailing behind me. At the time, it made me feel more confident, more ready to leave the halls of academia and face the real world. Today, if there is one perfume that makes me hold my back straighter and lifts up my spirits no matter what, it is No 19. Merci, Coco!
Do you have your favorite fragrances to which you gravitate in spring?
Image: Wild Violets, by Bois de Jasmin, all rights reserved.