Springtime Perfume : Energizing Fragrances

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.

Parfums DelRae Debut

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.

Diptyque Oyedo

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.

Hermes Un Jardin Apres La Mousson

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.

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue

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.

Parfums de Nicolaï Le Temps d’une Fête

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.

Chanel No 19

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?

For other Top Favorite of Spring lists, please visit: Grain de Musc :: Now Smell This :: Perfume Posse :: Perfume Smellin’ Things.

Image: Wild Violets, by Bois de Jasmin, all rights reserved.



  • Suzanna: Spring fragrances to me are about spring flowers. It’s when I move from spicy/earthy scents into brighter ones. Saving my sultrier florals for the heat of summer, in spring I wear:

    Diorissimo–simple LOTV perfection, each and every time. It’s either casual or dressy, depending on mood.

    La Chasse aux Papillons–the linden! I have both the regular and the Extreme and I confess to liking each equally well. I also have the lovely body oil that smells like the regular EdT and is such a marvelous way to layer this scent.

    No. 22–its crispness is mirrored in the cool spring mornings. This iconic Chanel just blooms in the temperate weather.

    Piment Brulant–here’s the oddball of the bunch, but PB smells fresh and clean on me, with the pepper being lightly fruity. It’s quite energizing (also polarizing, but worth a sniff). May 4, 2012 at 9:44am Reply

    • Kristy: Suzanna, I wanted to tell you that I tried Jo Malone Red Roses bath oil and it’s heavenly! The perfume was too citrusy on my skin, but the oil smelled like big, fat rose petals. May 4, 2012 at 9:50am Reply

      • Suzanna: Kristy, I’m glad that you tried and love the bath oil!

        I agree that the frag is citrusy–in fact it strikes me as sometimes having citronella note at the top.

        You can wear the oil as perfume, of course. May 4, 2012 at 1:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve worn Piment Brulant on and off a couple of years ago, and I agree, it has that sprightly feel to it that makes me feel energized. Especially the top notes, which are so piquant and fiery.

      I have to add that spring this year has been veering more and more into summer and then lapsing back into what seems like fall. These kind of changes are really hard to handle, so I need all the help I can get. 🙂 May 4, 2012 at 10:08am Reply

  • Kristy: V, what a fun (can I say, invigorating 🙂 post! I’m adding a few of my favorites to it:

    Jo Malone French Lime Blossom

    Hermes Eau d’Orange Vert

    L’Artisan “summer tea” — yeah, I know it has a proper French name, I always forget it 😉 May 4, 2012 at 9:53am Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 There are so many words I keep misspelling and forgetting, in both English and French (and now Russian too). Oy!

      French Lime Blossom is so sparkling and pretty. I like to layer it with an orange blossom cologne like JM Orange Blossom or Annick Goutal Neroli. It makes for a more soft floral feel. May 4, 2012 at 10:11am Reply

      • maggiecat: Try layering French Lime Blossom with Red Roses – together they’re delightful! May 4, 2012 at 2:14pm Reply

        • Victoria: Oh, that sounds wonderful! I can just imagine how the citrusy notes in Red Roses might be highlighted even more, It would smell like rose champagne. 🙂 May 5, 2012 at 11:51am Reply

  • Robin: What a lovely list, V! I’ve been thinking over whether or not to replace Debut (my bottle turned) and always happy to see Oyedo, which is surely the happiest citrus ever. May 4, 2012 at 11:51am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, R! I was just thinking that there are some fragrances that I don’t mention enough, even though I love and wear them. My mom and I just split a bottle of Debut, so I’m enjoying it very much again. May 4, 2012 at 12:33pm Reply

  • Ellen: I adore Oliva Giacobetti’s En Passant in the spring. its white lilacs are so lovely and the rest of it is sort of heartbreaking – it really captures the passing fleeting instant of spring. On me it dries down with its strange little cucumber and wheaty notes so perfectly and lasts a long, long time on my skin. May 4, 2012 at 11:55am Reply

    • Victoria: I also enjoy En Passant. Can’t think of another perfume that captures an image of wet lilacs quite so perfectly. The wheaty note you mention is something I like too. It’s nice when it pops up in the drydown. May 4, 2012 at 12:36pm Reply

  • Vishishta: I am still looking for a perfume that captures the beautiful smell of cilantro. Any suggestions? May 4, 2012 at 12:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: Have you tried the new Etat Libre d’Orange Fils de Dieu? It has a nice cilantro note. Also, Guerlain Acqua Allegoria Mandarin Basilic smells like cilantro right off top. May 4, 2012 at 12:38pm Reply

      • Vishishta: Thanks! No, I haven’t, but I will make a specific shopping trip to do so. May 4, 2012 at 12:43pm Reply

        • Victoria: Please let me know if it comes close. I love Fils de Dieu! May 4, 2012 at 12:48pm Reply

    • Alex: Bond Little Italy has a huge cilantro note over its orange hard candy. May 8, 2012 at 10:49am Reply

  • Elizabeth: Springtime is flower time for me! Yesterday I discovered some wonderful old garden roses which had been planted in the middle of a street divider in downtown Manhattan. I had to stop to smell them; they were heavenly! (And people were giving me some very funny looks)

    I will be getting my master’s degree in two weeks and I am wondering which perfume to wear to the graduation ceremony. Lately I have been wearing Diorissimo, Goutal’s Rose Absolue, and Apres l’Ondee. Which one should I choose? May 4, 2012 at 12:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: You know, those rose rugosa plants that you spotted also inspired Frederic Malle. When he was working on a rose candle, that’s the smell he wanted. I’m like you, ready to dive into the bush and smell to my heart’s content. 🙂

      Congratulations! That’s a great accomplishment. I would wear a perfume that makes me feel most at ease and happy. The one that would later remind me of this happy day, full of hopes and dreams. Which one are you gravitating to? If you want a perfume with a beautiful, but subtle sillage, Apres L’Ondee is a great choice. May 4, 2012 at 12:47pm Reply

  • MB: My #1 spring scent for the last few years is Prince Jardinier’s Labyrinthe Libertin – green, green, green. Clipped hedges. Cool grass. And wet. May 4, 2012 at 2:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t smelled it, but it sounds so good. I love green perfumes and can’t get enough of them. May 5, 2012 at 11:52am Reply

  • rosarita: Lovely list, thank you for reminding me of favorites and introducing new possibilities. Chanel #19 may be my favorite perfume ever. I asked for and received a bottle for Christmas my first year of high school (early 70s) and have worn it off and on ever since. It’s the scent that feels the most like *me*, and it always gives me a lift. May 4, 2012 at 2:29pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’ve experienced No 19 at its most perfect then! After the late 1970s it had to be reformulated, and while it is still stunning, the original formula was exactly what Coco smelled when she selected it. May 5, 2012 at 12:02pm Reply

  • Austenfan: We are having a very wet and cold spring so I am still wearing my winter fragrances. Mostly heavy hitters like Rien, Aromatics Elixir, Amoureuse and the like.
    Once we start enjoying warmer and more congenial spring weather I’ll bring out the more delicate florals and green fragrances. All this much needed rain has brought out all the grass and other plants in record time, and the woods smell great, because it is so humid right now.

    I really like all of your top 10 bar the Light Blue. All I can smell is the base and that is so overpowering that I cannot enjoy it, I know it is well liked though. A friend of mine has been wearing it for years and she thinks it has changed. Have you any info on that? May 4, 2012 at 3:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: Just reading your cold spring favorites–Rien, Aromatics Elixir, Amoureuse–makes me happy. I love those perfumes, and while I prefer AE on others, it’s a fragrance I love.

      I still have an older bottle of Light Blue, but it’s possible that your friend is simply comparing the old and the new batches. Even if the formula is the same, the perfume might smell differently after it ages in the bottle a bit. May 5, 2012 at 12:08pm Reply

  • Nancy: Dear Victoria,

    For me Chanel 19 and Hermes Gentian Blanche would come to mind for me as well. L’artisan’s Mimosa and Eau de Liane. Martin Margiela, which is on the order of Chanel 19 works for me as well. Grassy, greens maybe blend in with some florals too. May 4, 2012 at 4:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: You and I have very similar tastes in these green fragrances. I was going to mention all of these, but decided to limit my list a bit. 🙂 L’Artisan Mimosa is just about the most perfect, realistic mimosa. May 5, 2012 at 12:09pm Reply

  • grain de musc: Hi V! I must’ve have put Le Temps d’une fête in my spring list at least once — it’s everything you say… As for Début, it’s so lovely, but Parfums DelRae hasn’t been sold in years in Paris, and I missed my chance to get a bottle. It’s such a good brand. May 4, 2012 at 4:35pm Reply

    • Victoria: I finally realized that Parfums DelRae are sold at Barneys. Before, I would just order samples from Luckyscent. May 5, 2012 at 12:10pm Reply

  • Alityke: Early Spring mean citric chypres for me, Givenchy III, Diorella, vintage Miss Dior even Eau de Soir, later in Spring I turn to flowers, A La Nuit, Fracas, Chloe original and this years addition Bronze Goddess Capri for the fresh jasmine treatment and Madonna’s Truth or Dare, lighter daytime springtime treatment of tuberose May 4, 2012 at 5:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like your take on Truth or Date–a lighter daytime tuberose. I was surprised how much I liked it; my expectations were so low to begin with. May 5, 2012 at 12:11pm Reply

  • Vishishta: Victoria,
    Have you ever review “Wish”? It’s a lovely fragrence–burnt sugar and vanilla. I discovered it in New Orleans at the hotel giftshop last June. Have worn the handcreme and the fragrence in the lighter moods of Spring and Summer and really enjoyed it. Would love your comments on this. May 4, 2012 at 5:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: I used to have a sample, but I haven’t smelled it in a while. Chopard makes so nice fragrances. Madness is so good–woods, melted chocolate, but very much over the top. Thank you for your suggestion, I will look for Wish. May 5, 2012 at 12:12pm Reply

  • Emma: I love Le Temps d’Une Fete but it seems to be one of those perfumes everybody thinks it smells dated. I have better luck with Chanel No.22 this year, the edt version is beautiful, polished, my boyfriend loves it, also wearing Cristalle edt, Serge Lutens La Myrrhe and Serge Lutens Bois de Violette, another fragrance I receive compliments from everytime I wear it. May 4, 2012 at 6:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: Such a nice array of spring favorites, Emma–from classics to niche. As much I wear perfume for myself only, I admit that it’s nice to receive compliments. 🙂 May 5, 2012 at 12:13pm Reply

  • mals86: I love, love, love, love Le Temps d’une Fete. It’s become as much a signature scent for me as anything could be; I wear it in three seasons and love it always. (Le sigh.)

    I recently bought a new bottle and found that it has been reformulated: smells like itself, but thinner, less weight in the base. I was quite upset at first, but after a week or two of wearing it, I’m actually enjoying the lighter version. (I know it’s always been an edt, but the new version actually wears like one, where the older one behaved more like edp for me in terms of longevity.)

    Other spring favorites: Crown Bouquet, No. 19, Chamade, Silences, Penhaligon’s Violetta, Amoureuse. Also Cuir de Lancome and Memoir Woman for chillier days, but I love my green florals so, so much. May 4, 2012 at 11:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love seeing Crown Bouquet on your list, because it’s such a nice fragrance and quite underrated. Cuir de Lancome is another one–it smells like a vintage leather purse and rose scented lipstick.

      You described exactly how I grew to love the current version of Le Temps d’une fete. I was also disappointed at first, but then I kept returning to it and discovered that it actually has such a beautiful, crystalline quality that I don’t mind a loss of some richness. May 5, 2012 at 12:16pm Reply

  • Ida: The citrusy DKNY one is very nice. I can never ever remember its name… June is pure YSL Paris for me. June isn’t really summer in Denmark. Last year we skipped summer altogether, it was freezing cold and rainy even through July and August. I never really needed something more summery than Paris, and now I have a hard time figuring out what that should be. May 5, 2012 at 2:51am Reply

    • Victoria: Did you try any of Paris variations? I liked the one called Paris Eau de Printemps. I generally don’t care for flankers, but Paris flankers are usually very pretty, sparkling and complex enough to be interesting. May 5, 2012 at 12:18pm Reply

      • Ida: I did try one two years ago, and I did enjoy it, but I have no clue why I didn’t get it. I guess the Paris flankers are brilliant because Paris itself isn’t terribly complicated. It’s pretty straight forward, you can’t ever not notice it 😀 May 6, 2012 at 5:18pm Reply

        • Victoria: Paris is a sillage bomb–it’s impossible to miss! The flankers are more tame, but since Paris has so much character to begin with, they still have enough personality. 🙂 May 6, 2012 at 11:23pm Reply

  • Lyng: Indeed, summer was rather rainy last year. But I like rain and I like perfumes with watery notes, like the lovely Frangipani Absolute. Other favourites for summer are Chamade EdC and EdT, Hiris, and Ninfeo Mio. And I just got a bottle of Amaranthine, that will be put to good use this summer – come rain or come shine. May 5, 2012 at 7:08am Reply

    • Victoria: Our summer was strange last year–after a wave of hot weather we had a wave of cold rains. This spring is similar, so I need all of my invigorating blends to avoid feeling under the weather. May 5, 2012 at 12:31pm Reply

  • Natalie: Your list makes me feel energized itself, V!

    I’ve been surprised by how much I am wearing the Jo Malone fragrances lately (and now my newly arrived testers of “Jo Loves” perfumes). They feel just right for the spring; I guess I am more often in the mood for things that are a little less complicated, which is as it should be in the spring and summer! May 5, 2012 at 8:31am Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂
      I haven’t smelled Jo Loves yet. Did you like any one perfume in particular from the line? May 5, 2012 at 12:32pm Reply

      • Natalie: I only have two of the Jo Loves: the Gardenia one and the Orange Tulle one. I enjoy both, but I keep wearing Orange Tulle because it reminds me of something else and I’m desperately trying to figure out what. 🙂 May 7, 2012 at 11:38pm Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you, Natalie! Orange Tulle sounds so nice, and as a dancer, I have a special affection for anything tulle. 🙂 May 8, 2012 at 9:26am Reply

  • Rowanhill: When the winter’s back is broken it is usually time for Kelly Calèche, followed by The Different Company’s Bois d’Iris, Acqua di Parma’s Colonia, Frederic Malle’s En Passant, Goutal Grand Amour, Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin – not forgetting No 19 and Jean-Louis Scherrer. This spring’s new ones are Jo Malone’s Iris and Lady more and Eau de Chloe. May 5, 2012 at 8:55am Reply

    • Victoria: I love reading what everyone else is wearing. If I’m not careful I might end up with all of these perfumes on my arms.
      So nice to see you mention Jean-Louis Scherrer–such a gorgeous green chypre! May 5, 2012 at 12:33pm Reply

  • Judith: I love wearing Etro’s Heliotrope in Spring. I’m looking forward to sample Roudnitska’s Le Muguet soon. May 5, 2012 at 1:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: Mmmm, Heliotrope wears like a velvet shawl, so pretty. May 5, 2012 at 8:32pm Reply

  • Cybele: Hi, my current spring favorites are:
    Guerlain Vetiver pour Elle
    and the new Prada Infusion Iris Absolute May 6, 2012 at 10:14am Reply

    • Victoria: Denyse of Grain de Musc also mentioned Infusion Iris Absolute as one of her spring favorites. I haven’t come across it yet, but everyone makes it sound so good, I need to smell it at last. May 6, 2012 at 10:37am Reply

  • Dionne: The winters are long where I live, and while it’s snowy out I wear my darker, woodsier, spicy comfort fragrances, my favorite category. However, by the time spring comes again I’m very ready to wear light florals. Some of my favorites are Après l’Ondée, Le Temps d’une Fete, After My Own Heart, and 28 La Pausa, plus this spring I’m working my way through the notes heliotrope and mimosa. May 6, 2012 at 7:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: Sounds like you’re having a wonderful, fragrant spring! Since you’ve mentioned all of my favorites, I’m adding After My Own Heart to my to-try list as well. May 6, 2012 at 11:30pm Reply

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