Favorite Fragrances for Winter Activities : 2011 Seasonal List


I love how winter forces me to slow down and dream. I love how it transforms the gray city landscape into an etude in white and black. I love its holidays, its scents and its sounds. So, I forgive it the cold that numbs my limbs and makes my nose as red as Rudolph’s, the hassle of flights canceled and trains delayed and many other inconveniences. Yet, like all passionate relationships, my love affair with winter has its ups and downs. When the sun is gone for too long and the snow storms alternate with icy rain showers, my affection for winter’s caprices is tested. With little to do but embrace the harsh winter we have been having on the East Coast this year, I have turned to my favorite winter activities and my perfumes for solace and comfort. My fragrances have been my saviors, warming me up when I needed an extra layer against the chill and reminding me of spring when the dull, gray winter light began to feel oppressive.

Candelight Dinner For Two : Cartier L’Heure Fougueuse for me / Prada Infusion d’Homme for him

Candlelight dinners picnic style in front of the fireplace are among the seasonal pleasures we have tried to cultivate. Somehow, eating a bowl of pasta wrapped in a blanket while watching the embers smolder can wipe away the tiredness and stress of a long day at work. My fragrance choice for such evenings has frequently been Cartier L’Heure Fougueuse, a composition of herbs, jasmine and soft leather. Elegant, but with a beautiful smoky, animalic twist. Infusion d’Homme is the fragrance I would wear myself for its understated and polished combination of iris and leather. Together, they make a perfect duo, complementing each other’s best qualities.

Talking a Walk Through Snow Falling Gently : Etat Libre d’Orange Jasmin et Cigarette / Guerlain Tonka Impériale

One of my most anticipated winter pleasures is quite a simple one. I love to walk through the gently falling snow, enjoying the stillness that suddenly fills the streets, the hypnotic dance of snowflakes, the gentle kisses as they melt on my cheeks and the delicate crunch of fresh snow under my feet. An extra layer of wool and a spray of something comforting and warm is all I need on such walks. Smoky jasmine of Etat Libre d’Orange Jasmin et Cigarette or anything by Guerlain generally would do. This winter, I have been enjoying Guerlain Tonka Impériale, a lusciously dark and opulent accord of almond scented tonka beans, leather, vanilla and gingerbread spices. This combination may be too much of a good thing, but as a winter indulgence, it is perfect.

Little Black Dress Winter Style : Christian Dior Mitzah / Guerlain Arsène Lupin Dandy

In the winter, my daytime fragrances, my little black dress perfume equivalents, change to reflect the weather and my moods. Christian Dior Mitzah is perfect for blistering cold, and its amber and incense embrace feels comforting and luxurious under my bulky layers of winter wardrobe. Arsène Lupin Dandy, on the other hand, has a verdant brightness that makes it more of a crisp white shirt fragrance, but it is very versatile, elegant and comfortable nonetheless.

Spending Snow Day at Home : Annick Goutal Duel / Lancôme AromaTonic

With heavy snow storms, I have gotten quite used to working from home. Whether at home or at the office, I start my day by smelling a selection of raw materials, whether to go over the materials, with which I am not that familiar, or to smell something that I particularly like such as jasmine absolute, osmanthus absolute, magnolia leaf absolute, Cashmeran (woody-musky aroma-material) or hedione. I generally do not wear perfume when I work, but once I am done, I like to reach for something relaxing and gentle. Annick Goutal Duel has both of these qualities. A hazy melange of iris, lemon, yerba mate, it is anchored in place by a soft leather note. It feels uplifting and refreshing, while its delicate sillage is perfectly understated. My other understated favorite is Lancôme AromaTonic, a delightful composition of osmanthus, yerba mate and cardamom. A wonderful, unfairly underrated fragrance that never fails to be both relaxing and uplifting simultaneously.

Wake Up Call on Cold Grey Morning :  Atelier Cologne Trèfle Pur / Chanel Cristalle EDT

Waking up on a winter morning when there is not a hint of light outside is always painful for me, therefore, I keep a few perfumes on my dressing table that give me an immediate boost. The green effervescence of Atelier Cologne Trèfle Pur woven through the rich citrusy accord gives me a stronger jolt than a cup of coffee, while its bright sillage draws plenty of compliments from others. Similar in effect is Chanel Cristalle, particularly the greener, mossier Eau de Toilette. The fizzy neroli and citrus top gives it an exhilarating sensation, which lasts through the elegant dance of jasmine and hyacinth and into the earthy and woody drydown.

A Cup of Tea and a Good Book : Serge Lutens La Myrrhe / Rochas Tocade

The pleasure of spending time with a good book is something I value most highly, but I admit that most of my reading happens on the train or the airplane. If I am at home, I can think of hundreds of things I need to do, therefore sitting down with a book seems like an unaffordable luxury. This winter forced me to slow down a little bit, and I am thankful for that. I now can shut my eyes to the pile of dishes or other household chores and instead brew a pot of tea, take out a novel that I started back in the summer and forget about the rest of the world for a couple of hours. Admittedly, such evenings are still few and far between, but I am learning. The serenely beautiful Serge Lutens La Myrrhe helps me on my quest. Wearing it, one is simply forced to take a slower pace and enjoy its gorgeous transformation from luminous to dusky to smoldering. Another favorite has been Rochas Tocade, which an alluring rose-orange blossom composition embroidered with the green sharpness of mangolia leaf absolute and then set into a devastatingly seductive ambery accord. Admittedly, if I wear Tocade, I have a hard time focusing on my book. It is so beautiful, it inspires me to fantasies of my own.

Satisfying Wanderlust : Frédéric Malle Noir Epices / by Kilian Rose Oud / Mariage Frères Rose d’Himalaya Candle

Wanderlust is not a seasonal phenomenon, but it is in the winter, in the midst of yet another snow storm that I feel like getting away. My dream destinations on such days are always warm, sunny and filled with scents of jasmine, roses, spices and sandalwood.  Therefore, I crave Frédéric Malle Noir Epiceswith its luminous orange and amber embellished with pepper, clove and nutmeg. By Kilian Rose Oud is another escapist favorite, a delicious melange of rose rahat loukoum and dark, smoky woods. Or I may just burn a candle such as my beloved Mariage Frères Rose d’Himalayacandle. Created by the French tea importer, it is a beguiling blend of damask roses and ambery Darjeeling tea.

Yearning for Spring : Jacomo Silences / Christian Dior Diorella

Even for someone like me who loves winter there always comes a point when the sun has been gone too long. I begin to tire out of winter’s tough love and crave spring, to which I am now ready to transfer all of my affections. Jacomo Silences evokes the fragile, touching beauty of spring with its composition of crushed leaves, hyacinth petals and green vetiver. It is an exquisitely beautiful fragrance, similar to Chanel No. 19 and Estée Lauder Aliage, yet with a fresher, brighter character. Another perfume of springtime for me is Christian Dior Diorella. Its multifaceted accord of jasmine, bergamot, green herbs and patchouli contains the same tension that is present in early spring, when the snow has not yet melted, but the cold days of winter are numbered.


To see other Winter Favorites, please visit: Grain de Musc :: Now Smell This :: Perfume Posse :: Perfume Smellin’ Things.

Photography © Bois de Jasmin.



  • Carla: I really liked what you said about reading a book. So true. Internet (and blogs such as yours!) is what has cut away at my reading time over the years. It’s all about balance, I guess. February 4, 2011 at 7:26am Reply

  • Olfactoria: I love this post. What a good idea to take into account the different yearnings such a long and harsh winter evokes in us. There are many of my favorites on your list and many others that I will try, since you make them sound so enticing. 🙂 February 4, 2011 at 4:00am Reply

  • Robin: As usual I am stuck entirely in the yearning for spring category…but you do make winter sound appealing! February 4, 2011 at 9:51am Reply

  • violetnoir: Bee-oo-ti-ful list, V!

    I love so many of the fragrances you listed. And even though it’s hardly snowing here (smile!), I am wearing Tonka Imperiale. I love it.

    Hugs! February 4, 2011 at 11:43am Reply

  • Marina: Love the idea, the choices and the images! Me, I mostly feel wanderlust and yearn for spring, in winter. 🙂 February 4, 2011 at 7:24am Reply

  • sweetlife: Jasmin et Cigarette in the cold! Will have to try it. I came to know it in the city, in summer, and so have strong associations with it that way, as a kind of sweaty, dirty, sexy thing. But I can see how the honeyed tobacco and smoke would be so nice with the snow.

    Vol de Nuit, the original parfum, is one of my favorite city winter favorites, when I get to be in the city, in winter…

    And like Denyes, I love to match the chilliness of Carnal Flower to the snow. Amoureuse is beautiful in that way, too. February 4, 2011 at 12:30pm Reply

  • ScentScelf: Am enjoying your categories quite a bit; my head is now burbling with how I would scent such activities…the tea and a good book is at the moment defaulting to MFK Absolue pour le Soir, since it was while quietly curled up with a good book (and therefore unmotivated to get up and scrub) that I discovered the cozy happiness beyond the cumin. Not that I recommend bondage in any guise to force one to find their fragrant bliss… 😉

    So THAT is what Lancome AromaTonic is about? I shall need to investigate further.

    Thanks for a lovely post. February 4, 2011 at 7:53am Reply

  • sweetlife: Ha! I am laughing about your summer experience with JetC. I guess since I was only in the city for a week I did not have time to be overwhelmed. Or maybe it’s that I was dabbing from a tiny sample vial that I, um, made for myself in the store when none of the SA’s would pay any attention to me…

    I wore it to a natural springs pool here in Austin, once, in the summer, which seemed so wrong in a fun way. But then I hear a woman downwind from me saying to her friends–“Do you smell that honeysuckle? I swear that I smell honeysuckle. But where is it?” So I do think it veers that way on me. February 4, 2011 at 12:54pm Reply

  • Skilletlicker: I had to interject! Although I’m enjoying a benign winter, last week I broke out the greenest of my green scents – Labyrinth Libertin by Prince Jardinier. It’s crisp and bright – like the air out here, verging on an early spring February 4, 2011 at 1:20pm Reply

  • Victoria: B, in this area, esp this year, if you do not find ways to enjoy winter, it is a very hard season.
    For me though, I feel that winter really reminds me of my childhood. It is the time when I feel most like a kid again. 🙂 February 4, 2011 at 9:08am Reply

  • Victoria: Where is your wanderlust taking you in your mind?
    A friend just came back from Vietnam and Laos and is sharing amazing stories on her blog. That's where I want to go. February 4, 2011 at 9:10am Reply

  • Victoria: I would not want to compete with books! 🙂 I completely understand what you mean. For me, it is mostly that I have a hard time sitting down and just doing nothing.
    I visited my grandmother recently, and she is the same way, never still for a moment. I finally understood where my main personality traits come from. 🙂 February 4, 2011 at 9:13am Reply

  • Victoria: S, I am laughing out loud over your bondage and fragrant bliss comment.

    What a great idea for pairing a book and such an intimate, animalic fragrance though. I find it strangely relaxing. Now, I really want to know your choices for the candlelight dinner for two! 🙂

    AromaTonic is a fresh, citrusy fragrance with a beautiful osmanthus and green herbal note. You know, how yerba mate is all over the place these days? Well, it uses it really well. Not sure how it has been reformulated, so I might compare one of these days. February 4, 2011 at 9:19am Reply

  • Victoria: At this point, I am also moving towards yearning for spring. 🙂 February 4, 2011 at 10:04am Reply

  • carmencanada: V., I’m like you: doing nothing is not an option. Though “doing something” usually means writing, or reading up things that’ll contribute to the writing…
    I’ve never tried L’Heure Fougueuse in a romantic situation, I’ve asked myself what sort of reaction it would elicit in a certain gentleman. The only scent of mine he ever criticized was Dzing, so I’m a bit wary. But I’d pretty much wear La Fougueuse in any other circumstance, if it weren’t that my decant is dwindling quickly. And that I somehow doubt that a full bottle will be my birthday gift from that certain gentleman… He’d probably rather get me some Carnal Flower, which is, by the way, a marvellous scent in the bitter cold. February 4, 2011 at 10:18am Reply

  • Marina: I’ll reply with a quote, “Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take ya. Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama. Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go…” 🙂 Sun, sand, ocean, cocktails with little umbrellas…that kind of thing. February 4, 2011 at 12:10pm Reply

  • Victoria: R, thank you! It is so much to write these lists, because I really love changes in the weather. Today I am writing an ode to winter, but in a few months, I will be proclaiming my love to spring. 🙂
    Tonka Imperiale is wonderful, I expected that it will be heavy, dense and overly sweet, but it is warm and enveloping. Sweet, but not cloying. February 4, 2011 at 12:14pm Reply

  • Victoria: D, Carnal Flower is a gorgeous fragrance pretty much all year round. In general, I find that the most I write down a list of any sort, I immediately remember something else I would like to add. February 4, 2011 at 12:17pm Reply

  • Victoria: Sounds like a perfect escapist fantasy on a cold, snowy winter day! February 4, 2011 at 12:19pm Reply

  • dee: Hahha, I second Marina! I can’t wait to get out of the cold, and it’s not even snowing here! February 4, 2011 at 12:23pm Reply

  • dee: I’m having a bipolar battle with fragrant choices this winter: it’s either snuggly warm resin/woods/incense/amber, or GREEN! The snuggly scents make me want to hibernate (making it difficult to get work done), and the “Here comes the sun, da na na na” fragrances seem almost like that overly chipper person we all know, who no matter what, is always “Fabulous!”. Trying to hard?

    Obviously, I’m in a funk… and just need to ration myself out a drop of L’Heure Fougueuse to make myself feel better.

    Great list! I love reading your selections for every season… and on that note, need to locate a tester of Duel. 🙂 February 4, 2011 at 12:29pm Reply

  • Victoria: Lucky you! Actually, I would prefer it to either snow or to melt, the gray in-between is the weather I dislike the most. February 4, 2011 at 12:34pm Reply

  • rosarita: I have enjoyed this post & everyone’s comments so much! I love winter also, and one of the best thing’s in life is to walk in the snow. My favorite scent for this activity is Calvin Klein’s Obsession, which holds up beautifully to bracing winds and smells great on a scarf, days later. It’s really the only time I wear it. I’ve found that the older I get the more I relish time to just sit, and watch the snow fall. I give myself permission to read books and watch old movies and ignore housework far more than I should. 🙂 February 4, 2011 at 5:34pm Reply

  • Victoria: D, that makes a perfect sense to me! Green fragrances are so uplifting and rejuvenating. In the winter, I begin to miss the color palette with some green in it, so I add it in a form of fragrance. Have you tried Miller et Bertaux Green, green, green…? While it is not as refined at L’Heure Brilliante by Cartier, it is very uplifting.

    I am rationing my sample of L’Heure Fougueuse as well, trying to decide whether I should settle for a decant or wait for a bit and get a full bottle. February 4, 2011 at 12:39pm Reply

  • Victoria: Mmmmmm, Vol de Nuit parfum on a cold day, walking through the dusky city streets. Now, this sounds like a marvelous romantic fantasy to me. 🙂

    Jasmin et Cigarette in the summer is not something I want to repeat again. Its scent mixed with the typical NYC subway car smell, smoke coming from the real cigarettes and all sorts of other unsavory odors… In the winter, it works much better for me.

    You and D are completely right on lush, white florals, especially Carnal Flower and Amoureuse. There is something very beautiful about the way they can make you feel sunny and warm. Lily of the valley like Diorissimo, on the other hand, works better for me in the spring or warmer months in general. February 4, 2011 at 12:45pm Reply

  • Esscentualalchemy.wordpress.com: I’m having wanderlust! Thanks for the tips Ms. Bois de Jasmin 😀

    I’m a gonna have to go finding some samples now 🙂

    Amanda February 4, 2011 at 12:59pm Reply

  • Victoria: A couple of years ago, when I bought a bottle of Jasmin et Cigarette from Bendel’s, I received a few packaged samples of other fragrances with my purchase. I came home, just left them on the coffee table and completely forgot about them. Then, we had a few visitors checking out the apartment for renting. Can you imagine the look on their faces when they saw the graphics on the samples packaging? Probably thought that I was a some sort of fetishist!

    By the way, remember your wish for more candle reviews? Well, more are coming up! Because of the weather, I have been working from home more, and I have had a chance to try a few candles, some new, some old favorites. February 4, 2011 at 1:01pm Reply

  • Victoria: Amanda, my pleasure! I have to say that wanderlust is probably one of my permanent states. 🙂 February 4, 2011 at 1:03pm Reply

  • Esscentualalchemy.wordpress.com: Victoria, me too! I was able to satiate it much more previous to having 4 children. However, I’ll take what I can get. 😀 February 4, 2011 at 1:09pm Reply

  • Victoria: I can imagine how difficult traveling would be with 4 children, especially if they are small! February 4, 2011 at 1:33pm Reply

  • Victoria: I have not tried it, but I love the name–Labyrinth Libertin. It evokes something from the Victorian era for me for some reason. February 4, 2011 at 1:34pm Reply

  • Felicia: Lovely post. Perfectly done and off to Google the Guerlain and Mariages Freres candle. Stuck in Raleigh and this post lifted my spirit. Thank you. February 4, 2011 at 9:00pm Reply

  • Felicia: I think I am in trouble again, the Dior and Cartier also sound so perfect and just the thing to help with my mood lately. Note to self…must NOT buy unsniffed. V – if you had to pick one of the three which would you pick, the Guerlain, CD, or the Cartier 🙂 February 4, 2011 at 11:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: I am so glad that I am not the only one who has the urge to go outside the moment snow starts falling. I love how serene everything begins to feel all of a sudden. I can imagine how Obsession would be a perfect companion on such walks. I also love the lingering scent it leaves on my clothes.

    I am doing exactly this tonight–watching Hercule Poirot series and enjoying some time with a book. A much needed indulgence. 🙂 February 4, 2011 at 6:41pm Reply

  • Musette: I can’t speak to your perfume choices just yet – I’m still trying to wipe the ‘green’ off my face – your life (or shall I say ‘how you live your life’) sounds just wonderful. You have inspired me to slow my own roll down just a tad…maybe stop complaining so much about the cold and enjoy the things it brings, like quieter times…

    …but..I think I might spritz on a bit of Diorella, just in case Spring is paying attention 🙂

    xoxoA February 4, 2011 at 7:50pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, you are so sweet, thank you. 🙂 I am trying to slow down a bit, because time goes by so quickly and then suddenly the year is over, and another one… And what I discovered is that by slowing down, I actually have much more time and energy for my family, my writing and my work.
    Diorella is perfect anytime!

    Have a wonderful weekend and stay warm! (and so you know, I complain about the cold plenty anyway!!) 🙂 February 4, 2011 at 8:46pm Reply

  • Victoria: Felicia, sorry to hear that you are stuck in Raleigh! That airport is so familiar to me, not the best place to spend several hours. Hope that you will be on your way home soon.
    Tonka Imperiale is wonderful, like a base accord of classical Guerlains in all of their glory. So enjoyable to wear too!
    MF candles are among my favorite candles, an indulgence, but occasionally a much needed one! 🙂 February 4, 2011 at 9:16pm Reply

  • k-amber: This list is wonderful including one, two…six of my favorites! I have not tried SL La Myrrhe yet. It must be great. You writing makes Fougueuse very tempting! A must try list 🙂

    I am also a fan of Hercule Poirot. My old bookshelf has more than fifty books of Agathe Chirstie 🙂

    Kaori February 5, 2011 at 3:05am Reply

  • Victoria: I personally would go for Cartier, because it is the most versatile to me. Dior Mitzah is not unlike Ambre Sultan, but much lighter, so if you do not have enough ambers already, it is a good one. I love how elegant and radiant it is. Guerlain Tonka Imperiale is plush and baroque. None of them qualify for unsniffed purchases though. 🙂 February 5, 2011 at 8:52am Reply

  • Victoria: I have been wearing your Tonka Imperiale with pleasure! It has been keeping me warm this month. I will wear it today again. I woke up to see more snow falling down.

    So exciting to see more Hercule Poirot’s fans! I love Agatha Christie and I read pretty much everything she wrote. I even once saw The Mousetrap play in London, which I would love to see again. I also love Miss Marple. February 5, 2011 at 8:56am Reply

  • Flora: Wonderful list, Victoria! Winter does have its own pleasures, and even though we are glad when it’s over, we miss the hours of reading books and snuggling in with our favorite winter perfumes. February 5, 2011 at 8:09pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you, Donna! I love these simple pleasures in the winter, and I miss them later. So, I am trying not to rush so much and just enjoy the moment. February 5, 2011 at 9:03pm Reply

  • k-amber: Glad to know you like Tonka Imperial. I have not finished to try your samples, as I have suffered from a head cold. A few of them are nice so far.

    I love to see The Mousetrap! It is a must for the fans 🙂

    Kaori February 5, 2011 at 11:27pm Reply

  • Victoria: I hope that you are feeling better! Not being able to smell is the worst nightmare for me, so I understand how you feel. February 6, 2011 at 9:42am Reply

  • PaddocK: Ohh i missed out this Seasonal List… June 7, 2016 at 9:36am Reply

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