spring perfume: 13 posts

Under the Wisteria : The Art of Perfume

Provence is awash in wisteria. It cascades down every arbor and hugs every stone arch. Its racemes ranging in color from crushed Concord grapes to lavender ice cream tumble from the roofs and hang like Christmas ornaments from the cypress trees. Wisteria smells of orange blossoms, honey and tangerine peel. It leaves me intoxicated. Or perhaps, it’s simply Provence at springtime.

Wisteria and Provence by Anna Kozlova, a marvelous photographer who captured the experience of The Art of Perfume course. More stories and photos to come.

The Vetiver of Spring : Season’s Favorites

Patricia enjoins spring to arrive faster with a selection of vetiver favorites–and a few salty woods and violets.

Spring in New England takes its time in coming. As I’m writing this, a blizzard is raging, and the blooming heather at the end of the driveway is covered in snow. But I know that the snow and ice will reluctantly give way, the earth will gradually thaw, and what is somewhat affectionately called “mud season” will begin. During the melting phase, my favorite fragrance is L’Eau d’Hiver by Frédéric Malle Editions de Parfums. Creator Jean-Claude Ellena perfectly captures with transparent powdery iris, the sensation of the run off of melting snow into a cold mountain spring. Though it doesn’t last long, the musks evolve into a soft skin scent that is a pleasure to wear.

Vetivers

The vetivers, too, bring to mind the first weeks of spring and the anticipation of change. The dryness of Lalique Encre Noire with its cypress and dark woody notes suggest the raw, hard earth not yet ready to give way to new growth. Unlike L’Eau d’Hiver, it lasts a good six to eight hours, softening gently in the drydown process.

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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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Generosity of Spring

My barometer of spring is a large magnolia tree near my apartment building. It stands bare and craggy, with few leaves even in the summer, but the moment the weather warms up, it lets out a mass of pink blossoms. First, the buds appear, enclosed in furry brown wrappers. Then they lighten, swell and unfold into thick, waxy petals covered with sticky dew. When I walk past the tree, I notice these small changes, and even if a day has brought nothing particularly pleasant, the magnolia is a highlight. I pick up a fallen blossom and it smells of lemon detergent and vanilla. My coat pockets are filled with bits of petals that I stash away like the talismans of new spring. I open a notebook during a work meeting and dried flowers fall out of it. After several years of living in the same neighborhood, I think of the magnolia tree as an old friend.

mimosa-yellow cup

When people tell me that perfume is an expensive hobby, I always think of my magnolia tree and the immense pleasure it gives me, entirely free of charge. It’s crass to use the language of economics with regards to nature, but I would like to reinforce a point–a perfume hobby is as expensive as you make it. If you’re into collecting, yes, the costs will quickly add up, but as I described in my post How to Make Perfume Hobby Affordable, there are ways to appreciate scents and enrich our lives with them without running into great expense. Springtime gives many opportunities to do so–it’s a generous season.

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Perfumes Whose Blossoms Beguile

In the May column of the Financial Times Magazine, I daydream about cherry blossoms. Titled Perfumes Whose Blossoms Beguile, the article is inspired by my grandmother’s garden in Ukraine. Spring is the most evanescent season; one moment the cherry blossoms are dazzlingly white and lush, and the next they’re wilting on the ground. As I read Gogol while sitting under the trees, brushing falling petals from the pages, and becoming intoxicated with the bittersweet aroma of cherry blossoms, I longed to capture this moment. How else but with perfume? This is how the article took shape.

t7

“All perfumes called Cherry Blossom fall far short of reality. I say this with confidence as I lie on the grass in my grandmother’s cherry garden, gazing up at the blossom-covered branches. The flowers are so white and dense that if I squint, the trees seem to be draped in snow. A gust of wind shakes the petal confetti onto the pages of my book, and after a while I shut my worn volume of The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol and daydream in the pale sunshine. To read the rest, please click here.

Nikolai Gogol was born about 15 miles from our town, and his descriptions of Ukrainian landscapes poignantly remind me of the places I know so well.

What spring scents would you like to capture? Which perfumes have the most spring-like aura to you?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin: under the cherry trees

From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Karen A in Cherry Blossom Haiku: Mine too! They are such wonderful shrubs/small trees. Yes, except the Burkwoodi is a pale pink, but the others are all native to this region. April 27, 2017 at 4:04pm

  • ana in Recommend Me a Perfume April 2017: Oh, thank you, the vetivers sound very, very good — I’m going to have to find myself a better-paying job soon! 🙂 April 27, 2017 at 4:00pm

  • Aurora in Cherry Blossom Haiku: I enjoyed this mix of poetry and humour, Victoria, and well done on the gardening, but take good care of your back! Lilacs across the street are in bloom, purple… April 27, 2017 at 3:03pm

  • Maria in Three Ultimate Iris Perfumes: It really is a nice iris!! I also like the Absolue and Iris-cedre versions, but the on and off effect is better done,for me, in the original Infusion d’iris 🙂 April 27, 2017 at 1:27pm

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