Is there any fragrance that says spring more than Diorissimo? That lovely study of lily of the valley is the essence of a new season. But what of the chilly iris, the damp green of nascent shoots, the contagious zest of orange? All of these fragrances evoke spring-like freshness and rejuvenation for me. My favorite fragrances for this time of year draw me away from the incense and cedar and smoke of winter. There is nothing wrong with wearing these perfumes all year round, of course, but these days I crave scents that bring me outdoors to the enormous cartoon-like blooms of fantasy Florida.
To some degree, many of my spring favorites have a sense of playfulness or fun, and several contain fruit. Let’s say that the perfect Diorissimo is my model of a classic spring scent, and here are ten more picks to enjoy:
Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme: Stunning combination of oud and rose, with notes of incense and ginger. The darkness of the notes is presented as nearly ethereal, with lots of movement and light within. The oud shows up early and is a game-changer for the rose, which melds into the oud as if part of the wood.
Bruno Acampora Jasmin: The Acampora line has finally released their perfume oils in eau de parfum concentration, with Jasmin being my favorite. It’s not really jasmine but more a conflation of ylang-ylang, cyclamen, and jasmine, with the minty richness of ylang-ylang dominating. A mild clove note adds a touch of sweet spice. Quite different from Serge Lutens A la Nuit or Nasomatto Nuda.
Hilde Soliani Fraaagola Saalaaata: I’d have been all over this one as a teenager, but that price! This one is pure silly fun and somewhat addictive when one’s nose is just tired of everything else. Smells of salted strawberries and little else. Can go right into summer as well. Did I mention that the price was outrageous?
Ramon Monegal Entre Naranjos: This is a superb rendering of traditional citrus cologne. The sparkling opening of orange pith and the crushed-leaves effect of neroli is breathtaking. Soft and creamy orange blossom blooms within over a light woody-ambery base. It’s both refreshing and elegant and is something I have been wearing over and over as the weather warms up.
Etro Dianthus: Dianthus moves carnation away from powder and into the woods, where it is paired with a bitter geranium and a cedar note that smells vaguely of ripe cheese. The opening note is red pepper. It’s gorgeously creamy and orange-y in the center and slightly eccentric in the base. This is a carnation for those who think they don’t like this spicy floral note.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Voleur de Roses: Roses, plums, and rained-on dirt. No other fragrance in my (admittedly extensive) wardrobe so perfectly captures the feeling of a clean spring rain. A romantic, evocative perfume.
Serge Lutens Bois de Violette: Violet turns out to have the beauty of strength when matched with cedar; it is an “opposites attract” scent of feminine beauty and rugged masculinity and ends up being absolutely unisex.
Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Fraîche Passiflore: There’s a lot of very ripe mango-like fruit here, of the pulpy canned variety, plus peaches, also canned. I adore it. It’s not the most sophisticated take on fruit, but it smells tropical and reminds me of spring breaks. I spray it on like cologne and don’t try to intellectualize it.
Annick Goutal Eau de Camille: Sweet, nectar-filled honeysuckle entwines itself around earthy ivy in this delicate scent meant to recreate a garden. Charming!
Caron Farnesiana: This is my favorite spring fragrance, hands down. I wear the eau de parfum, which has a sweet and vaguely almond-like yellow mimosa note surrounded by a disarmingly rubbery green note and vanilla. Like Diorissimo, Farnesiana is a classic that always surprises me by how fresh and new it smells, like nothing else out there.
And a bonus: Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Fraîcheur Muskissime Extravagante. This is MPG’s answer to L’Artisan Mûre et Musc and I like it better because of its sunnier nature and more amped-up red berries, cassie, and lemon. People glaze over, though, when they ask for the name of the scent. Just say it’s your little secret spring scent.
What perfumes say spring to you? What are you going to wear once the weather gets warmer?
Photography by noahg via Flickr, some rights reserved.