Top Fall Favorites : Autumn Fantasies of Italian Summer

These past few days I’ve been waking up to cold, foggy mornings, and the idea of getting dressed and going outside seemed unpleasant. Just on Monday, I was tempted to break off my engagements and stay at home, wrapped in a warm sweater. As I made up my face and sipped coffee in a hurry, I imagined how good it would feel to make a cup of tea and jump back into bed with a favorite book. The best I could do before I braved the cool air was to spray on something redolent of summer.

And summer has been on my mind a lot, an Italian summer in particular. After a couple of work related trips to Italy, where the fall hasn’t even started, I came back to Belgium in love and yearning for the sun. Italy was the first place I visited abroad, and as I lived with an Italian host family as a student, it was my first immersion into another culture. My warm and generous host mom taught me to cook, to wear red and to tie my hair into a neat bun. But as work and family obligations piled up, my trips to Italy became fewer and fewer, until 10 years lapsed since my last visit.  Returning Italy reignited our love affair. Even Italian, which I thought to be long displaced by French, has resurfaced in my head. So these days I save money for my next visit, read Cesare Pavese, bake biscotti and track half way across town to my favorite Italian deli to buy some prosciutto, dry cured ham.  But the best way for me to get a dose of the Italian sun is through perfumes.

As I drew up my list, I realized that the fragrances  I selected were not just reminiscent of an Italian summer, they were perfect for cold and rainy days. If you’re longing for some sunshine or just want to something beautiful and uplifting, I hope that you will enjoy my choices.


The Mediterranean streets are laid out with plenty of twists and turns, hiding gardens and little enclosed courtyards. When I think of getting lost in Florence, I immediately envision the perfume of late summer roses wafting from one of those enclosed spaces. Roses, dust, warm stones… L’Artisan Voleur de Roses and Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit are my favorite dark rose selections for fall. They have a sultry warmth, but the earthy, winey notes give them a surprising twist. Another irresistible rose is Eau d’Italie Paestum Rose, a blend of rose and wood that smells less of petals than of incense.


Anise flavored liqueur, biscotti perfumed with anise and lemon zest, salami studded with fennel seeds–my Italian fantasy isn’t complete without this sweet and spicy note. In perfume, anise notes give a gentle spicy accent to floral notes and a cool bite to masculine colognes. I enjoy them folded into the violet mousse of Caron Aimez Moi, sprinkled over the dark woods in Serge Lutens Douce Amère  and wrapped around the mossy tobacco in Parfum d’Empire Eau de GloireGuerlain Aqua Allegoria Laurier Reglisse is one of my favorite uplifting colognes, an ideal, sun drenched scent for a cold, rainy morning.


In perfumery, violet and iris often appear in tandem, and when I think of a dark violet that would be an elegant autumnal scent, the violet-iris duo is what I have in mind. The delicate, prim violets like Penhaligon’s Violetta are appealing too, but the luminous Serge Lutens Bois de Violette is my favorite fragrance that always makes me feel beautiful. I also love the understated elegance of Tom Ford Violet Blonde and Bottega Veneta. The new fragrance from Ann Gérard, Cuir de Nacre, smells like a worn leather purse.

Vanilla and Orange

Vanilla and orange or vanilla and lemon are classical flavors for many Italian sweets, from biscotti to panettone, a beautiful pairing based on an exciting contrast. I love the idea of surprise, but my favorite perfumes this fall aren’t found at a pasticceria. I crave By Kilian Sweet Redemption for its vanilla sugar dusted orange blossom wrapped in incense. Estée Lauder Amber Ylang Ylang is a warm and comforting scent that smells of hot flowers and spices, while Hermès Ambre Narguilé is perfect on days when something warm but understated is required. It stays close to the skin, veiling you in caramel and leather. The hints of orange and vanilla give it an inviting sweetness.


Whenever I walk past any church, if I have a moment, I peak inside. I love the serenity of the dark space, the soft glow of candles, the shimmering scent of incense.  Burnt incense is smoky, heavy, and rich, but traces of it perfuming the wood and stone of the churches suggests a sparkling, ethereal quality. There are few fragrances that truly manage to capture this effect, but I never fail to breathe a happy sigh when I smell Armani Prive Bois d’Encens (the only fragrance from the collection that’s worth the ridiculous price), Serge Lutens L’Eau Froide or Annick Goutal Myrrhe Ardente. Atelier Cologne Bois Blonds is another radiant incense that feels  both uplifting and tender.

White Flowers

What do American and Italian women have in common when it comes to perfume? Their love for white florals. “You would never smell tuberose on an average French woman,” commented my friend Francis who has worked for over two decades as a fragrance marketing specialist. “It’s a different story n the US or Italy.” Walking down the street in Florence or Rome, I certainly smell lots of white florals–Robert Piguet Fracas, Juicy Couture, Thierry Mugler Alien. Well, I can do my white floral wearing pledge of allegiance for both the US and Italy.

While I have many big white florals in my wardrobe, my staples this fall are the graceful Arquiste Flor y Canto, sultry Serge Lutens Une Voix Noire and the elegant Chanel Beige. Another one of my recent white floral infatuations is Andy Tauer Loretta, a heady blend of tuberose warmed up by dark woods. While Loretta feels tender and vulnerable at first, it has an intriguing, mysterious side.


I’ve lived by the sea long enough to miss its briny scent here in Brussels. What would be my Italian summer without the smell of salt, seaweed and hot rocks? Recently I’ve surprised myself by falling for Comptoir Sud Pacifique Aqua Motu, which smells like a beach, salty skin and warm sand included. Vero Kern Mito is not at all a classically marine fragrance; its champagne like opening of citrus and jasmine is wrapped into the salty darkness of the moss and patchouli.  It reminds me of walks along the seashore as the dusk falls. Christian Dior Dune is a salty kiss and a warm embrace.

Frédéric Malle Lys Méditerranée is what you may smell as you sit at an outside cafe sipping limoncello–salty lilies, crushed green leaves, the soft breeze coming in from sea and tangling your hair. Suddenly, your worries melt away, you forget that tomorrow you need to fly back home, you order another limoncello and feel as if this evening is perfection itself. Even if I get a tiny bit of this fantasy out of my favorite perfumes, they’ve already served their purpose well.

For other Top Fall Favorite lists, please visit Grain de MuscNow Smell ThisPerfume Posse and Perfume-Smellin’ Things.

What perfumes are you reaching for this fall to feel uplifted and sunny?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin (photos #9 and #12 by my husband)



  • Isabelle: Dear Victoria,

    living in Berlin, I too woke up this week in rainy days… and the nights starting so early in the late afternoon are the most difficult moment of my days to get accustomed to, here in Berlin (being French and after having lived 3 years long in Italy)…

    Indeed, I really need my cup of tea each day around 4 pm to go on with work and duties. And I will soon proclaim the opening of the “Candels Season” – candels everywhere here at home, as soon as the natural light disappears: this is a very helpful way to try to balance the lack of sun.

    I too have been craving for Sweet Redemption a few days ago… and Back to Black !

    Isles Lointaines by Keiko Mecheri reveals itself to be wonderful, giving me a warm and playful feeling despite wind, rain and fog. I appreciate it so much since 10 days more or less that I’m quite sure I will soon need a full bottle – my sample is almost empty 🙁

    Madly by Maria Lux is a beautiful and sensual scent created by Alessandro Gualtieri, Nasomatto’s nose. It simply makes me wish to be in the arms of my beloved, no matter if a storm is breaking above our heads.

    And last but not least… Ambre Muscadin by LM Parfums is wonderfully warm and very close to my skin, a perfect cashmere to wrap myself into in the dark hours.

    I wish you a beautiful day, kind regards,

    Isabelle October 5, 2012 at 7:36am Reply

    • Victoria: I love candle light too, especially in the winter. The moment you light them up, the whole room feels warmer. You mentioned Back to Black, and now I’ve realized that I neglected it as of late. It’s such a perfect cool weather perfume. I love your other choices too, and I’m making a note to try Madly and Isles Lointaines. October 5, 2012 at 11:02am Reply

      • rosella: i also like isles lointaines which smells warm and sweet. i get lots of almond out of it. October 6, 2012 at 4:40am Reply

        • Victoria: Sounds very nice for fall! I’ll be sure to try it. October 6, 2012 at 10:48am Reply

  • rosarita: What a lovely, evocative post; I can almost taste the limoncello. I love the fall in the US Midwest. October is my favorite month of the year – the bursts of color, the tweedy undergrowth, the smell of leaves with apple and woodsmoke. I could go on, but I won’t 🙂 In other words, I feel uplifted by nature in the fall, cold rainy days and all. My favorite fall scents include Satellite Padparadscha for sunny spices and Bond 9 Silver Factory for effervescent incense. Bond 9 New Haarlem is the perfect chilly, windy rainy day scent. It’s like running into the warm coffee shop to meet a friend. October 5, 2012 at 8:16am Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t really drink sweet liqueurs, but limoncello is irresistible. It’s the smell of an Italian summer.
      I really miss that smell of woodsmoke and apples. My US roots are the Midwestern ones, after all. 🙂 October 5, 2012 at 11:05am Reply

  • Barbara: Ah, so much beauty here! You’re spoiling us with these gorgeous images. I read your posts and feel more relaxed myself.
    It’s been muggy here, but I’m already wearing ambers and vanillas: Ambra del Nepal, Dior Mitza, Vanille Exquise which would be even better when the weather is cooler. My all time fave fall perfume is Chanel Bois des Iles. Don;t laugh but I also love BBW Vanilla Noir! October 5, 2012 at 8:30am Reply

    • Victoria: You’re too kind to me, Barbara! I’m glad that you’ve enjoyed it.
      Vanilla Noir is a very good caramelized vanilla. I can point to several similar perfumes sold under the luxurious niche brand labels, so no, of course, I wouldn’t laugh. Enjoy it! October 5, 2012 at 11:06am Reply

  • Zazie: In that last picture you are so beautiful! Love the bold necklace against the clean and graphic hairstyle and shirt!
    Your post shows how powerful perfume is: travel in a bottle!
    This fall I found myself gravitating towards favorite orientals and chypres, but I’ve also found myself much more appreciative of gourmand notes and cozy ambers…
    So my list of absolute favorites for fall 2012 would include:
    *New York
    *Shalimar ode à la vanille du madagascar
    *The Party in Manhattan
    *Attrape Coeur,
    *L’air du desert marocain
    *Ambre sultan

    I’ve also started wearing A la Nuit, before going to bed, to foster jasmine-scented dreams…
    Loved your list and your pictures; you make me want to try Bois de Violette again! October 5, 2012 at 8:38am Reply

    • Zazie: BTW, I’ve been preparing a lot of “Cafés Blancs” along the lines of your recipes: I love it!!!!
      Such a simple and yet satisfying treat.
      Thanks for the discovery!
      (I’ve experimented with the recipe by adding a couple of cardamom seeds and a bit of grated ginger to the infusion: delicious!).
      Hugs! October 5, 2012 at 8:43am Reply

      • Victoria: So glad to hear this! And, in turn, thank you for your cardamom idea. I can just imagine how great that would taste together with orange blossom water. Will definitely try it tonight. October 5, 2012 at 11:11am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much. That necklace was a thrift store find, and I wear it more than any other piece of jewelry. The golden yellow color dresses up everything too, so it’s my favorite for traveling.

      Shalimar ode à la vanille is such a great Shalimar variation–it preserves the drama of the original, while giving it more softness. I’m tempted to wear it tonight. October 5, 2012 at 11:10am Reply

  • OperaFan: Your photographs are so beautiful, and so familiar to me. I long to return to Italy, especially Venice.

    I find Fall to be a time of contrasting mood – September is the saddest month for me, yet October feels so joyful thanks to the autumnal colors in the NE US region where I live and the anticipation of the holidays to come.

    This is definitely a transitional season for me as I continue to wear some of my favorite summer scents but also beginning anticipating the winter fragrance wardrobe. Sonoma Scent Studio’s Jour Ensoleille carries me from late summer through early fall because of its cheerful qualities. It’s also one of the most beautiful fragrances I know. Layering with Champagne de Bois increases its roundness.
    Back to Black is probably my favorite gentle tobacco scent. As a floral gal, I also find La Haie Fleurie very appropriate. This year I will add Caron’s Montaigne to my fall-to-winter rotation.

    Cheers! October 5, 2012 at 8:45am Reply

    • OperaFan: …. oh, and I meant to compliment you (and your husband) for the lovely portrait in the last photograph! October 5, 2012 at 8:47am Reply

      • Victoria: Thank you! 🙂 He will be happy to hear your nice compliment. October 5, 2012 at 11:16am Reply

    • Victoria: You’re the layering queen! Now, I’m hankering to try that myself. I still think of your Rose Absolue and Jean Patou Joy layering combo is one of the best I’ve tried.

      I also find the fall to be a time of contrasts. Some days feel so joyous, others are gloomy and oppressive. In the NE, the mid fall with all of its colors is splendid. We had a big maple tree in front of our apartment building, and I loved waking up one day to discover that it has turned bright crimson. October 5, 2012 at 11:14am Reply

  • Diane: I’ve just returned from my latest trip to Italy (Como and Venezia) so this lovely post really struck a chord with me. I would be perfectly happy to spend all my holidays there!

    It has never really struck me that the Italians love big white florals so I must pay more attention on my next visit. The Italians certainly do love to wear scent, though, which fits entirely with their love of food, wine and beauty. October 5, 2012 at 9:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Lago di Como must have been a great trip! I haven’t visited there, but it’s on my list, my neverending, ever expanding list!

      I definitely smelled a very different perfume palette in Italy than what I smell here in Brussels or in Paris. I noticed lots of white florals, musks, and sweet powdery scents. October 5, 2012 at 11:21am Reply

  • Elaine: What a beautiful post. Thank you! October 5, 2012 at 9:21am Reply

    • Victoria: My pleasure, Elaine! Glad that you enjoyed it. October 5, 2012 at 11:21am Reply

  • marsi: I hope that you will visit Spain, my beloved home, someday and write a post about it. 🙂 My brother is married to a lovely Italian lady and I traveled a lot in Italy. Thank you for a reminder about this beautiful place. October 5, 2012 at 10:06am Reply

    • marsi: Oh forgot to mention my fall favorites: Hermes Rose Ikebana, L’Artisan Seville a l’Aube (thanks to Suzanna’s review), Jo Malone Orange Blossom. I like fresh perfumes to lift my mood. October 5, 2012 at 10:07am Reply

      • Victoria: Seville a l’Aube is such an interesting orange blossom. It starts out so sparkling and fresh, but the drydown is warm and smoldering. I was wondering what you would make out of it, since you seem to be an orange blossom fan, and I’m glad that it’s a winner. October 5, 2012 at 11:23am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve visited Spain last summer and loved it so much that I definitely plan to return! October 5, 2012 at 11:22am Reply

  • Anne: I’m so curious about Tauer Loretta and Vero Kern Mito! Is Loretta very sweet? Sometimes tuberose turns too sweet on me.

    Thanks a beautiful, sunny post! October 5, 2012 at 10:17am Reply

    • Victoria: Loretta is not sweet in a cloying, sugary way. Like most tuberose perfumes, it’s definitely creamy, but everything is nicely balanced. A beautiful fragrance. October 5, 2012 at 11:24am Reply

      • Anne: I need to look for a sample. I love the base Tauer uses (Tauerade ??) and tuberose, so Loretta sounds awesome. October 5, 2012 at 11:40am Reply

        • Victoria: I love how you’ve called his base–Tauerade! Then you will definitely enjoy Loretta. October 5, 2012 at 12:06pm Reply

  • Elizabeth: I will never forget my first (and so far only) visit to Italy. I was sixteen years old, enchanted by the art, architecture, and food in Florence, Verona, and Sienna. But the aggressive men who seemed to cover every street in the evenings frightened me. Most nights I would go back to my hotel room and cry. That was twelve years ago and I haven’t been beck since.

    I still would love to see Rome, though. I will bring my boyfriend and have him deal with any man who gets out of line. 🙂 October 5, 2012 at 11:11am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh poor thing, you’ve probably wowed them, being tall and beautiful! But I can completely understand how this kind of attention can be unsettling. I cannot begin to tell you how many times my behind was pinched 10 years ago. Now, these days the men were tamer (and I’m older too) and I had my husband with me on one of those trips. But as my 60 year old neighbor says, “even at my age, I feel like a woman who is desired and desirable in Italy.” In other words, Italian men are big flirts. October 5, 2012 at 11:47am Reply

  • Elisa: You’ve captured Italy so beautifully, I want to go back! I’ve only been once, 10 years ago. Also your profile is stunning.

    The rose I often reach for in fall is Agent Provocateur. As for licorice, have you tried 1000 Flowers Reglisse Noir? I used up my sample, sadly, but I bet it would be wonderful for fall! October 5, 2012 at 11:23am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, I haven’t tried Reglisse Noir! Do you mind describing it a bit? I’m always looking for another interesting licorice fragrance.

      See, it was the same for me, a return after 10 years, and I fell madly in love once again. There is something about the place that I find so inexplicably moving. I was walking around Florence feeling teary, happy and excited at the same time.
      Thank you for your lovely compliment too! I usually really don’t like most of my photos, but my husband was proud of capturing me without posing that I promised him that I will post it. 😉 October 5, 2012 at 11:44am Reply

      • Elisa: When I traveled around Italy, the summer after I graduated from college, it had been raining for days, and the morning we woke up in Bellagio on Lake Como, the sun came out and everything was just sparkling. I remember thinking THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE I HAVE ***EVER*** BEEN!!!!

        Reglisse Noir goes on quite peppery — perhaps a bit too peppery — but the drydown is really fantastic, a musky gourmand with licorice, patchouli and vanilla. Come to think of it the drydown is somewhat similar to Belle en Rykiel’s (which I am wearing this morning). Absolutely worth trying if you love licorice! October 5, 2012 at 12:04pm Reply

        • Victoria: This feeling is what I’ve felt only in Italy and Turkey so far, even though I’ve visited other places that moved me. It’s really like a wave of euphoria.

          Just tracked down a sample of Reglisse Noir, and I hope that it reaches me soon. You make it sound absolutely irresistible. October 5, 2012 at 6:44pm Reply

  • carole macleod: Every day you inject a little bit of beauty (well, actually a ton) into my day.

    Brussels still looks better than eastern Canada 🙂

    on a trivial note-your watch is lovely! And you are really stunning too.

    Carole October 5, 2012 at 11:26am Reply

    • Victoria: Ah, thank you very much! All of you give me so much as well, so it makes my daily task of running BdJ so enjoyable. Otherwise, I doubt I would be motivated to keep it up for so long.

      I visited Eastern Canada twice, and once was in the winter. While it was freezing–in all photos my husband took of me there, you could only see the tip of my nose; that’s how cold I was, the landscapes were stunning. I know that we will be returning again there. October 5, 2012 at 12:03pm Reply

  • Nikki: Lovely photos and prose as always! Italy, the dream of the South and orange blossoms, eternal nostalgia for a construct of pleasurable living. When I think of Italy, I remember the white reptile leather embossed square flacon of Trussardi for women, many years ago. Or the scent of Mimosas for sale in spring on market stands. I used to wear Italian fragrances, Moschino, Krizia’s Teatro alla Scala, Bennetton’s Tribu…
    My autumn scents now are Spellbound, Shalimar, Tuscany, and APOM by FK, a new love. October 5, 2012 at 11:32am Reply

    • Victoria: The eternal nostalgia… yes, Nikki, that I can relate to as well. When you move around a lot, as I remember from your stories you have, you must leave behind many memories and many wonderful acquaintances. On the other hand, that’s a reason to come back.

      I just got home and pulled out Spellbound since you and a couple of other people mentioned it in the comments this week. What a beauty! October 5, 2012 at 12:05pm Reply

  • Apollonia: What a glorious post today, Victoria! The subject matter, the photos….just everything! I love the first one comparing rainy Belgium and sunny Italy and the last one with you looking so gorgeous, undoubtedly radiating wafts of fragrance. Is “wafts” a word? Anyway, it makes me so proud to be 100% Italian! Here in the mid-West the leaves are turning colors and the temps are dropping, so I’m breaking out the Ambre Sultan, Feminite du Bois, Parfum Sacre and Cabochard. Ciao! October 5, 2012 at 11:50am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Apollonia! I woke up yesterday, looked out of the window and thought, “ok, this is what they call a wretched weather.” Made me appreciate my warm wrap of Sweet Redemption all the more.

      Your choices are wonderful, and I can easily live the entire fall in any one of these perfumes. October 5, 2012 at 6:47pm Reply

  • solanace: Lovely post, great pictures! Italy is wonderful, isn’t it? Hope you have many chances of enjoying the Mediterranean bliss while you are in Belgium…
    Our springtime is prelude to summer crazy rainfalls. Now the air is very polluted a few months of draught, and I have the worst sinusites. But I still manage to be in love with my latest discoveries: Santal Majuscule and PdN’s Vanille Tonka. October 5, 2012 at 12:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh dear, please get better! Sinusitis is the worst thing, and I’ve had two bad bouts of it last year, so I can sympathize.

      Vanille Tonka is a treat anytime, but when the weather is cold and rainy, it’s especially appealing. October 5, 2012 at 6:49pm Reply

      • solanace: Thank’s, V. Yesterday it rained, the air is cleaning a little, hopefully everyone around will start feeling better soon.
        I’m really thinking PdN will get on the way to my bell jar on my next trip to Paris. I’m so in love with Sacrebleu and Vanille Tonka!
        Have a nice weekend, even if rainy!!! October 6, 2012 at 6:56am Reply

        • Victoria: Isn’t Sacrebleu just stunning? I have been wearing it a lot in this cool weather, and it’s perfect. In the past I found it too sweet and rich, but something about the Belgian damp, overcast weather that makes it ideal. October 6, 2012 at 10:50am Reply

  • Emma: A trip to Italy would be nice for me right now as I’m still recovering from surgery. Rome, Florence and italian men of course, even if they’re all sweet talkers.
    I’m also wearing Caron Aimez-Moi, what a beautiful fragrance! October 5, 2012 at 12:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: So happy to see another fan of Aimez-Moi, which is so rarely mentioned. I think that it’s one of the best from Carons (especially considering reformulations and everything else).

      Emma, do get better! I hope that you’re eating well and taking care of yourself as you recover. Sending you lots of healing vibes. October 5, 2012 at 6:50pm Reply

  • Figuier: If you like the combination of orange and vanilla you just have to try Roger & Gallet’s ‘Bois d’Orange’ dry oil spray – I bought it last month in the South of France and find it the most comforting thing ever. It’s got a bit of a suntan-lotion vibe, but is mainly just orange and vanilla. (it’s also quite different I think from the perfume version)

    Also – lovely photos!! It reminds me of a month ten years ago which I spent in Tuscany on an Italian language course, and used to take the train to Florence at the weekends. Strolling around in 33c heat all by myself was the best thing ever. Tho being rather conspicuous – 5 foot 10 & extremely pale-skinned – did attract a bit more male attention than I’d have liked 😉 October 5, 2012 at 12:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’re tempting to go look for Bois d’Orange dry oil tomorrow. I’m a big fan of dry oil anything, and these days oils are the only products I use for moisturizing. My skin has never felt better. Thank you for your recommendation. October 5, 2012 at 6:58pm Reply

  • Martha: Lovely post, Victoria! Thank you once again.

    I have a question about bringing home a cloche bottle of De Profundis. I’m going to be in Paris the end of the month, and thought a great souvenir would be one of the Europe/Barney’s store-only bottles from Serge Lutens. But I read the other day that since they are topped with glass stoppers, they can’t go into checked luggage, because they will leak. With the restrictions on carry-on liquids, it couldn’t come on the plane with me. Is this correct, or is there some way to manage it? I would have the same issue with Barney’s, since I live in Texas, and get there by airplane. Thank you for introducing me to SL’s exquisite perfumes. October 5, 2012 at 12:46pm Reply

    • Nikki: Martha, I have had that problem with Creed’s perfumes so I use plastic bottles to fill the perfume into, and then wrap the empty glass bottle really well and at home pour the perfume back in. I like to use the Perrier pastic bottles, they never leak in the suitcase. Good luck! October 5, 2012 at 2:11pm Reply

      • Martha: Thank you for an excellent suggestion, Nikki! October 5, 2012 at 2:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: Martha, I’ve purchased SL bell jars and packed them into my luggage. Not once has anything leaked. I would bring empty ziplock bags and lots of bubble wrap with me. I put the box into a ziplock bag, wrap it in bubble wrap, put it into another ziplock bag and then stuff in between something soft like clothes, where I know my box will be snug and won’t move. The stoppers are sealed in really well. As long as you don’t open the bottle, it should be ok. I’ve even shipped most of my SL collection (already opened) and it all arrived in good condition. October 5, 2012 at 7:01pm Reply

      • Martha: Thank you, Victoria. I will try your system, since I would probably spill some juice trying to transfer it. I just refused a package of Odalisque from the Post Office – a side was crushed a little, but enough for the bottle to have leaked most of the contents. The staff had wrapped it in some plastic wrap, but I could still smell it. I’m surprised they put it in the mail in such a small box. Thank goodness the postal workers made me come to the post office, instead of leaving it on the porch.
        But I will keep the Evian bottle system in mind for other liquids. October 6, 2012 at 8:32am Reply

  • Lucas: I think that this fall I will mostly rely on samples. Don’t have any particular bottle of scent that can be treated as autumny, or, well, Annick Goutal Nuit Etoilee seems suitable, so one bottle.

    From samples I will use Histoires de Parfums Rosam, 1969 and L’Olympia Music-Hall Le Parfum, L’Artisan Voleur de Rose, Safran Troublant, SL Un Bois Vanille and many more I guess. October 5, 2012 at 12:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’ve picked a nice range of scents, and I see that we agree on Voleur de Roses! October 5, 2012 at 7:02pm Reply

      • Lucas: Thanks Victoria. I think they will make a nice autumn variety, especially when I add few more to those I listed.
        Great we agree on Voleur de Roses. October 6, 2012 at 6:01am Reply

        • Victoria: And Rose Anonyme too, right? I’m enjoying that one too. October 6, 2012 at 10:51am Reply

  • Daisy: Beautiful, beautiful post! I haven’t been to Italy in a few years and have yet to make my way to Florence — kind of shameful, I know.

    But thanks to you, I can imagine what it looks, feels, and smells like. Gorgeous!

    Speaking of gorgeous, that is a wonderful photo that your husband took of you! I love your outfit and your bangs! October 5, 2012 at 1:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you! The first couple of days I got them cut, I kept doing a double take whenever I caught a reflection of myself in the mirror. 🙂 The only trouble is that they are difficult to maintain straight and neat in this humid weather, since my hair is wavy. Hair iron is my friend!

      Then it means that you still have to discover Florence, to try its delicious food, see its beautiful art and architecture. I envy you, because seeing it all for the first time is an experience unlike any other. October 5, 2012 at 7:07pm Reply

      • Daisy: I can definitely relate to that feeling. I just got new glasses that are bigger and nerdier than anything I have ever loaned. On my way home, I kept catching glimpses of myself and momentarily being shocked!

        I would love to go to Florence, Venice, and Rome. I spent a month in Italy and ate my way east and west of Milan, and back down to Genoa. The next time, I porked out in Trieste. But I was saving the those three cities for some time (and someone) really special.

        Or maybe I’ll cave and go by myself. That way no one can see me double-fist a scoop of gelato and a pizza cone! October 6, 2012 at 12:29pm Reply

  • grain de musc: Your friend Francis has just ruined my dreams of being an average French woman since I wear so much tuberose… Guess I’ll settle for not-quite-average, and let my sillage stand out in Paris.
    Your post reminded me of our certainly less romantic, but nevertheless wonderful time at Pitti, and of course, I love your picks. I chose violets for last spring’s top 10, but they also suit fall. It’s really the time to pull out Féminité du Bois and its offspring, isn’t it? October 5, 2012 at 1:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: Exactly, you wouldn’t be able to an average woman even if you’ve tried. Francis put it more bluntly to me. I was wearing La Chasse Aux Papillons, when he leaned in to give me a kiss on the cheek. “Ah, you smell so American. A French woman would never wear that kind of perfume. Italian, yes, but French, not likely.” And then he added, “I love it!” At any rate, I’m happy to smell of tuberose and jasmine any day. October 5, 2012 at 7:09pm Reply

      • Karen: Hi Victoria!
        Picking up from this post, what do French women
        Favour in terms of their frangrances out of interest? A french friend of mine wears comme de Garçons 2. She seems to like more fresh, woody and androgynous smells it seems!
        Karen xx May 8, 2013 at 9:32am Reply

  • Patty: Love your choices, Victoria, and I had no idea about French women didn’t wear white florals! I’ll pay attention next time I’m there.

    The Arquistes have grown on me a lot, and Flor is a great choice. I can’t believe I missed putting one in! October 5, 2012 at 1:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: Arquiste is such an exciting line, isn’t it? I love the graceful aura of Flor y Canto, but I also have several others in the collection that I can see in my top 10. October 5, 2012 at 7:11pm Reply

  • maja: I spend my time between Italy and my native country. To me, Italy is orange blossom, my jasmine plant close to my bedroom window in Sardinia, vanilla pastry cream and coffee. Sometimes an antique shop in a narrow street, the smell I could live without 🙂

    Obviously, white floral for me too, 24, Faubourg 🙂 October 5, 2012 at 2:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: Such a beautiful vision, Maja! I can just imagine it all.

      Ah, coffee! That’s a quintessential Italian scent to me. But I don’t know of any good coffee perfumes. I’m still searching. October 5, 2012 at 7:19pm Reply

  • cryptic: Wow, I was really struck by the lovely saturated color in your photos. Thank you for sharing them.

    Fall is chypre weather for me. I have to put them aside during our hot summers, so I always look forward to pulling out Mitsouko, Niki de Saint Phalle and Givenchy III when the weather starts to cool. The warming frags don’t go into steady rotation until the temps drop to the 50s. Right now, we’re still in the 70s. October 5, 2012 at 3:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love colors! When the day is sunny, it’s easier to take a photo and get the rich color effect. No wonder that in the southern countries houses are colorful and people tend to wear more color–in the sun, pastels just get lost.

      Those cool chypres are perfect for this transitional season. I’m thrilled to see NdSP and Givenchy III on your list, the not so often mentioned gems! October 5, 2012 at 7:23pm Reply

  • iodine: As you said, in Italy Autumn hasn’t begun, yet! Too bad, I’m longing for cooler days, though the light is wonderfully soft and the air is full of osmanthus fragrance… I’d love to smell that peculiar smoke- mushroom-damp earth accord that immediately evokes Autumn!
    I’m trying to wear my autumnal perfumes- Borneo, Chambre Noire, Azemour, Avignon.- but it’s a bit too early! So, I stick to white flowers- Séville à l’aube- and sunny fruits- Premier Figuier, Philosykos.
    You’re so nice in the last photo! October 5, 2012 at 4:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you. 🙂
      I just ordered several samples of smoky perfumes from Luckyscent, because I realized that I want more of that aroma around. But I would be happy with the perfume of osmanthus in the air. Sounds blissful… October 5, 2012 at 7:24pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Dear Victoria-
    Thank you for that gorgeous post! I am stuck at home (well, ok, home is in Los Angeles, so it’s not all that bad!), broke, struggling to close a book deal, and longing for an escape and your lovely ruminations on Italy transported me to a caffe on the Grand Canal, fully equipped with a hazelnut gelato a gorgeous magazine to flip through and the potential for fliratation with someone named Marco! Mille grazie, per tutti, bella! October 5, 2012 at 5:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Keeping fingers crossed that all of your projects come to fruition and that at this time next year you will be doing all of the things you’ve described. Meanwhile, lots of luck to you! October 5, 2012 at 7:26pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: PS. To “Cryptic” (and I love your nom de plume!) I haven’t heard anyone mention Nikki de Saint Phalle perfume since forever!!! Whatever became of it??? I was thinking of doing an article on perfumes created by or inspired by artists (Salvador Dali, the Andy Warhol sents from Bond Number 9, a fundraiser project years afo for Monet’s gardens in Giverney that featured an eau de toilette comprised on the flowers in his famous garden) but I have never gotten around to it. Nikki de Saint Phalle was an astonishing, whimmsical sculptor and her perfume was very modern and sexy…. back in 1987 or so, any way. I loved the entwinned serpents on the bottle! October 5, 2012 at 5:25pm Reply

    • cryptic: Thank you! NdSP could probably be classified as a cult perfume. I don’t think it was ever wildly popular, but it has a loyal following and can be had cheaply online at and many other places. The bottle was a bonus for me, because my first introduction to the scent was through a decant. I fell for the scent before I’d ever seen that wonderful, fantastical bottle. I look forward to the article…please do write it, as your subject intrigues me as I’m sure it would others. October 5, 2012 at 7:13pm Reply

    • rosella: please write this article! i would love to read it. October 6, 2012 at 4:38am Reply

    • annemariec: I’m wearing NSP tonight. It is spring where I live but after a week of gorgeous weather it has turned cool and rainy, and NSP is perfect. Cryptic is right: you can still get this perfume quite easily – I got mine from Strawberrynet I think – although some say it is more attenuated than it used to be. Yes, I do hope you get back to that article! October 6, 2012 at 5:35am Reply

  • Austenfan: Lovely article and Italy is a very gorgeous country indeed. Last time I was there was in 1999, when I spent 2 weeks in Siena.
    I still prefer France though, don’t ask me why, it feels more like home somehow. ( I spent a year there long ago)
    You’ve made me want to try a whole lot of new things; Loretta, Une voix noire the Arquiste.

    You look rather wistful in the picture, it’s a great photo and I fully understand why your husband wanted you to post it. October 5, 2012 at 5:48pm Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t remember what I was thinking about, but I was looking onto the sea and it made me feel serene. I miss the sea here in Brussels.

      Your preference for France doesn’t surprise me, especially since you mention that you’ve spent a year there some time ago. Italy was my first discovery, my first love (and falling in love for the first time also happened there,) so I think that it got under my skin much like France did under yours. October 5, 2012 at 7:32pm Reply

  • Patt: What fabulous photos of Italy, Victoria! Here in New England the foliage is just about peak, depending on how far north or south you are. I’ve just brought out my favorite fall scents and look forward to wearing them. Canyon Dreams, Ume, and Loukhoum Poudree are all by Keiko Mecheri. I also love Safran Troublant, Eau Suave, 31 Rue Cambon, Tabac Blond, and Dark Amber & Ginger Lily for these cooler autumn days. October 5, 2012 at 6:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: This time in NE is the most beautiful. I remember driving to Cape Code and being amazed by the stunning, vibrant colors of the leaves. A sensory overload, in the most positive way possible.

      I need to try Dark Amber & Ginger Lily. I’ve been drawn to lily scents lately, especially after wearing Tom Ford Lys Fume and craving for more dark lilies. Do you find Dark Amber & Ginger Lily to be rich, or like most Jo Malone’s, sheer and bright? October 5, 2012 at 7:35pm Reply

      • Patt: I found it to be much richer than other Jo Malone fragrances. In fact, it reminded me of Tom Ford’s Black Orchid Voile de Fleur. It has better than average lasting power as well. In short a very satisfying fall fragrance! October 5, 2012 at 8:19pm Reply

        • Victoria: Black Orchid Voile de Fleur must be one of the better flankers out there (and a nice fragrance all around), so that’s a tempting comparison. Thank you, Patt. I’ll smell it when I’m at the JM counter next. October 6, 2012 at 10:52am Reply

  • rosella: brava! a great post with lots of interesting perfumes. i don’t know bois de violette, sounds like a must try for me.
    ciao from roma! October 6, 2012 at 4:37am Reply

    • Victoria: Ciao, Rosella! Do try Bois de Violette, it’s so beautiful. October 6, 2012 at 10:52am Reply

  • annemariec: This is lovely, lovely! And I am so intrigued to hear that Italian and American women love white florals, but French women not so much. I’m very interested in how different cultures perceive and wear fragrance, and wish someone would write about it. I’ve had enough of reading about how young women love fruity florals nowadays whereas their grandmothers wore chypres. Enough! What do Russian women wear? What do South African women wear? Or are there no differences? Do we all live in a globalised fragrance economy?

    As for Australian women, I imagine we follow American trends, judging by what I see in the shops. October 6, 2012 at 5:47am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, there are very strong regional differences, even if some top sellers–Coco Mad, Angel, J’Adore–appear everywhere. Women in Florence smelled very different from women in Brussels. What I smell in NYC is very different from Paris. That’s a fun topic to explore. October 6, 2012 at 11:24am Reply

  • Elia: Another Australian here! I smell much of the same thing here as in the States. I visit the US twice year.

    I have never been to Italy, I guess I didnt have much interest in going there. But I’m reconsidering thanks to Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun. Your photos are lovely, by the way. October 6, 2012 at 7:15am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Elia! I enjoyed Under the Tuscan Sun too, but not the movie so much. Reading it made me get a little glimpse of Italy, if through someone else’s eyes. October 6, 2012 at 11:25am Reply

  • sara: In the fall I wear Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan, Frederic Malle Une Rose and Guerlain Mitsouko. they smell better when it’s cooler. October 6, 2012 at 8:54am Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, those rich, warm perfumes are perfect for the cold days. Mitsouko is my year round staple though. October 6, 2012 at 11:26am Reply

  • Jack Sullivan: I don’t know about French women not being fond of white florals, all I can say as a quite un-typical French woman is: Until very recently (and my encounter with AG Songes) I did not care much about them… or rather I had no idea I loved white florals although I had been wearing Lancôme Poême for years and used to love JP Gaultier Fragile. Two perfumes which have not been popular in France by the way.
    Victoria, I believe I know how much the weather must get to you. I used to feel the same when I was living in Vienna, Austria – beautiful city but cold and unwelcoming people, low, grey skies throughout the winter. I discovered then how sun-dependent I really was (not seeing it for months left me craving being back to the South of France, and I’m not suffering from home-sickness usually) and just like you, I missed the sea-side terribly.
    What I discovered though is that someone who loves you can be your substitute for sunshine in times of need, and that is really priceless. Sending you some warmth from the Mediterranean. October 6, 2012 at 9:00am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for the Mediterranean warmth! 🙂 Today is so grey and damp, and while it’s not cold, there is some sort of tension in the air. I made a big arrangement with persimmons and oranges, and a splash of color feels so good today. The worst is when you don’t see the sun for several days, if not weeks, in a row. I’ve experienced this here this summer (!!), so I’m bit dreading the late fall-winter.

      But you’re right, having your loved ones near makes up for the lack of sunshine. My mom is coming to visit soon as well. October 6, 2012 at 12:03pm Reply

  • Nancy A: Hi Victoria,
    It depends on the mood, time of day, season so here’s what comes to mind: Nuit de Tuberose for its unique, sensual qualities. Of late, I recently experienced Sag Harbor (Bond Street). It truly feels seaside, last days of summer. Nuits de Noho (Bond Street) Margiela’s Untitled never fails to stimulate my senses. Jo Malone’s Oud & Bergamote, Kilian’s Sweet Redemption, F. Malle’s Iris Poudre. Okay, a bit of overkill on my part. Not until now did I realize how many out there are so sensational. October 6, 2012 at 11:17am Reply

    • Victoria: These are so beautiful, Nancy! I’m not familiar with Oud and Bergamote, but the combination sounds so interesting. October 6, 2012 at 12:07pm Reply

  • Judith Marianne Taufan: Hi Victoria, this article gave me une envie for la bella Italia. I was wondering if you have sampled any perfumes from the house of Profumum ? Their perfumes are just incredible ! My recomendation would be their Acqua di Sale & Antico Caruso. L’Heure Bleue is my year round staple but I do think it is at its best worn in autumn crepuscule when the skies turn purplish blue. As the weather gets colder I’d treat myself to an explosion of gourmand and/or amber notes. October 6, 2012 at 11:41am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve tried only their Acqua e Zucchero, which probably wasn’t the best first choice for me. I’m going to check out Acqua di Sale, which sounds more like my type of fragrance.

      Like you, I gravitate towards ambers and gourmands right now. They give me a feeling of extra warmth, which is pleasant. October 6, 2012 at 12:10pm Reply

  • Cybele: Hi Victoria, I am a little late here, thank you for taking me back to Florence, I spent very happy 3 months there. I recently surprise myself using Miss Dior EDP (the new Cherie) as an uplifter. I never liked it before, guess it’s a little less gourmand now but I still get a lot of strawberry. You had mentioned the interesting accord was gone in the new version hmm, I thought it was smoother now, for sure a nice guilty pleasure for the moment. October 6, 2012 at 8:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: The buttery popcorn and strawberry candy is not there anymore in the same way, but I admit that the new version is easier to carry off. So, don’t feel guilty and enjoy it! It’s still heads and shoulders above many other fruity patchoulis. October 7, 2012 at 8:47am Reply

  • Caro: Victoria, try the newest Villoresi, Aura Maris. It manages to capture beautifully the atmosphere of the Mediterranean seaside. October 7, 2012 at 1:41am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Caro! Sounds so wonderful. October 7, 2012 at 8:47am Reply

  • Maureen: Awoke this morning to a gray, shivery rain. I read this post and went right for my bottle of Laurier-Reglisse because of you reminder about the comfort of anise on a day like this. Thank you! October 13, 2012 at 10:26am Reply

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