If you need something comforting, then please join Elisa as she explores her favorite winter perfumes.
In my twenties, I loved to sleep late on the weekends – till 11 was ideal. I’d luxuriate in the feeling of stirring every hour or so as the sun began to light the room, then rolling over and going right back to sleep.
These days, I consider time to be more of a luxury than sleep, and I’d much rather wake up early and spend a few quiet hours reading on the couch and drinking coffee. And more nights than not, you’ll find me in the same place after dinner, with a glass of wine in place of the coffee. I especially love curling up with a book in winter, when I can pile on the blankets and light a candle for maximum coziness.
This year’s winter list includes some of my favorite cozy, comforting scents to wear during my favorite activity. (Incidentally, a few candles I’ve enjoyed recently: Thymes Frasier Fir and Nest Birchwood Pine, both excellent “Christmas tree” scents; Trader Joe’s Cedar Balsam, an absolute steal at $3.99; and Rewined Pinot Noir, a fruity scent with a ton of throw, even unlit.)
Fresh Brown Sugar
Brown Sugar, a gourmand lemon, is a perfect easy-going morning scent. I submit that it smells exactly like a sidecar (cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice).
Margaux is supposed to smell like gardenia or some such, and it doesn’t; it smells like synthetic molecules, especially after settling down. But whatever those molecules are, I like them. Margaux isn’t particularly floral, or citrusy, or woody, or musky, though it’s a little bit of all those things. Mostly it just low-key smells good, and on me has the calming effect of a white-noise machine.
Parfumerie Generale Cadjmere
I love coconut, but most coconut perfumes are distinctly summery. Cadjmere is my winter coconut fix – a toasty, creamy woody-vanilla.
Narciso Eau de Parfum
The Narciso in the very attractive white cube could almost be a flanker of the original Narciso Rodriguez for Her – but it’s different enough that I decided I wanted a full bottle. This woody-musky floral is so warm and radiant it practically glows.
Volutes is a relatively transparent, non-gourmand tobacco with a slightly waxy quality that reminds me of Carmex. (There’s often something a little “off” about many Diptyque scents, which actually adds to their appeal.) What I like about it is that it’s more like catching a whiff of pipe smoke on the street than sticking your nose in a bag of tobacco – not that there isn’t a time and place for that.
Tauerville Vanilla Flash
Andy Tauer’s unusual take on vanilla has some of the fluffy marshmallowiness of Parfums de Nicolaï Kiss Me Tender, but reminds me of nothing so much as bubblegum. Whence the bubblegum? A touch of clove mingling with a touch of tuberose, with some fruity aspect of the vanilla and/or rose? I can’t be sure, but every time I spray it on, there it is: bubblegum!
Shiseido Feminité du Bois
I’m lucky to have a little bit of the Shiseido version of this fragrance. It’s just perfect, a plummy, spicy rendition of cedar that makes you think of embers on the fire just before they start to fall apart into ash. (I’m comfortable messing with perfection, so I recently tried French Elle’s suggested layering of Feminité du Bois with Chanel Cuir de Russie, and can confirm it creates “a very rich and sensual fragrance.”)
Les Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Homme
Rose is a comfort note for me. This rose is manly only in a quite powdery, fancy way (the man I picture has a deep voice but is wearing an ascot), but it makes my winter list this year because the ambery patchouli base is so nice and warm.
Kate Walsh Boyfriend
There’s something undeniably “scratchy” about this smoky, woodsy vanilla with patchouli, scratchy like a wool sweater. But that’s what makes it smell so niche-like, like a celebrity-scent version of Un Bois Vanille (but I’ve decided I prefer Boyfriend to the Lutens). Why didn’t we appreciate this when we had the chance?!
Sarah Jessica Parker famously used to mix Comme des Garçons Avignon, Bonne Bell Skin Musk, and Egyptian musk oil to create her own signature scent. I don’t know what that combination smells like, but Stash does have a certain indeterminate quality, like you’re smelling the mingled drydowns of three or four different woody-musky perfumes. One of my favorite new releases of 2016.
What are your favorites this winter?
Photography by Bois de Jasmin