Scent Diary : Softness

Happy New Year! I am in the mood for softness, so I dipped into my bottles of vanilla, violet, mimosa and musk perfumes, trying to find ones with the most velvety and comforting finishes. Cacharel Noa stood out instantly for its enveloping trail of powdery flowers and vanilla, but my other discovery took me by surprise. It happens to be Miller Harris L’Air de Rien, a dirty orange blossom. Yet for all of its salacious air, it feels as soft as a cashmere wrap or a kitten’s belly.

red cat

New year means a new start to our Scent Diary. As I wrote in How to Improve Your Sense of Smell, the best way to sharpen your nose is to smell and to pay attention to what you’re smelling. It doesn’t matter what you smell, good or bad scent. The most important part is to notice whatever you smell around you. It’s even better if you write it down. You can use the space here for just that–sharing what perfumes you’re wearing and what scents you notice around you.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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146 Comments

  • Cornelia Blimber: What a beautiful cat! Look at those paws, like a tiger. Is it yours?
    I always loved Shaal Nur, but suddenly I find the vetiver too prominent on my skin. I made a combination with the mossy rose of Knowing, it works!

    Happy New Year to all!

    (from the 8th of february: the year of the monkey). January 4, 2016 at 7:32am Reply

    • Sandra: Is it the year of the monkey? That is my sign January 4, 2016 at 8:00am Reply

    • Solanace: Happy new year, Cornelia! And I agree, the cat is a lovely tiger miniature. January 4, 2016 at 8:03am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Thank you, and Good Year to you, Solanace! January 4, 2016 at 11:47am Reply

    • Victoria: Just a cat I spotted at a shop, and I loved his gingery mane.

      What an inventive pairing! January 6, 2016 at 6:30am Reply

  • Solanace: Happy new year, everyone!

    Today I’m wearing Hypnotic Poison, so I’m all softness. The kids were fighting like pirates over a green mango I just cut for them, but were not interested in the ripe one. I can understand them, the green mango smells much better, very tangy yet almost almondy. January 4, 2016 at 8:01am Reply

    • Victoria: As kids we adored everything sour, sour unripe apples, unripe apricots, plums, strawberries barely touched with pink. We were scolded, but apparently, as Lebanese, Georgians, Thai, Indians, or Mexicans already know, we were just young gourmets with a penchant for the mouthpuckering tartness. Same with your kids! 🙂
      (Although I sure wouldn’t turn down a ripe mango either.) January 6, 2016 at 6:33am Reply

      • katherine: So true Victoria. Brings back memories of climbing fruit trees with my childhood friends to pick all manner of sour fruits including tamarinds, sour red and green berries (never saw them for sale at the market – but we lived), acerola cherries, june plums (Spondias dulcis according to one website), unripe mangoes, and guineps (to name some most of them). Of course we liked the sweet fruits too. January 10, 2016 at 10:56am Reply

        • Victoria: All of these sound so good, especially tamarind pods before they are ripe. January 11, 2016 at 11:20am Reply

  • Michaela: Happy New Year to everybody!
    This cat’s name should be Softness 🙂
    I’m in a mood for simple, funny and sweet and I’m wearing Pink Sugar.
    The scents enriching today: apples scent filling the whole room, mandarin peel, ground coffee, dried plums, snow. The scent sinking today: big laundry softener scent on somebody’s clothes in the metro. January 4, 2016 at 8:17am Reply

    • Victoria: Snow, dried plums, coffee, mandarins–now this is a great perfume in the making. January 6, 2016 at 6:34am Reply

      • katherine: Interesting indeed. Is there a perfume with dried plums as a dominant scent? I would be interested in checking one out. January 10, 2016 at 10:58am Reply

        • Victoria: Rochas Femme has a big dried plum note. January 11, 2016 at 11:20am Reply

    • Michaela: Coconut virgin oil smells like coconut tastes. Think Bounty chocolate filling. Delicious. January 11, 2016 at 8:49am Reply

  • Sandra: Its finally winter temperatures in the big apple. I am also in the mood for a cuddle soft perfume. I chose Angelique Noire.

    My nose is a big stuffy so its not doing its job in picking up all the scents I normally do (and I am preggers so my nose is normally like a fox)
    In my face wash I smelled a soft rose, body foam was eucalyptus and rosemary. Toasted grains from my bowl of O’s this morning. Haven’t picked a tea yet-but I am thinking licorice and star anise. January 4, 2016 at 8:52am Reply

    • Sandra: Other smells today-when my daughter woke up from her nap after spending the morning with my in laws she smelled like an Indian spice from the food they cook. Angelique Noir wore off to I replaced it with Parure perfume.
      Now off to the smell of steel, garbage, and possibly human feces smell as I hop on the subway! Have a good week everyone January 4, 2016 at 12:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m so sorry to hear that you’re ill. I came down with a case of violent flu–on the 18 hour flight no less, so I feel for you. But apparently, it was a blessing in disguise, as we arrived home to discover a forgotten steak in the fridge. My husband claimed that it was the worst thing he has smelled, while I was blissfully unaware of any odor. Tea with ginger, lemon and honey for me today. January 6, 2016 at 6:37am Reply

      • Karen (A): Oh no! Hope you are both on the mend and feeling better! January 6, 2016 at 8:07am Reply

      • Austenfan: I once forgot some Munster cheese! I’ll spare you the details but it wasn’t pretty.

        Do get well soon. There is a nasty cold/flu going around in these parts, so take care of yourself. January 6, 2016 at 1:37pm Reply

  • Kate: SNOW SNOW SNOW IT SMELLS LIKE SNOW BECAUSE IT’S SNOWING

    I live in the northeast US and this is the FIRST proper snow we’ve gotten this winter. There’s no smell like it. I’m so happy.

    My favorite snow-companion perfume is Atelier Cologne Silver Iris so I’ll probably put on a dash of that, but not so much that I can’t smell the air.

    (Other smells this morning: my almost garlicky armpits before I showered–I must have had a stressful dream–and the malty smell of oolong tea, and the rich clinging smell of butter.) January 4, 2016 at 9:16am Reply

    • Ariadne: SNOW…Absolutely! It scent arrives before it does!! It is so light you might miss it and be caught without proper outerwear. January 4, 2016 at 6:38pm Reply

      • Michaela: Right! The scent even before the snow arrives is magic. January 5, 2016 at 4:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Gosh, how much do I love this scent! It’s unlike any other, and if you grew up in the climates where it snows, you learn to recognize it before you even see the snowflakes. January 6, 2016 at 6:37am Reply

  • Rowanhill: This morning my russian blue’s fur smelled pleasantly warm, dry and woolly, like my grandfather’s cardigan used to smell. The wild blueberries (last summer’s pickings) had a funny fecal smell when mixed with yoghurt, and the spelt bread in toaster smelled very reassuring combined with the usual Earl Grey. And indeed it is time for soft scents. The past days I have reached out to Chanel Bois des Iles extrait and Guerlain’s Plus Que Jamais and surprisingly Olfactive Studio’s Lumiere Blanche, must be the milky sandalwood I was craving. I also sniffed Tolu, Diaghilev and Shalimar but somehow it was not cold enough outside. January 4, 2016 at 9:36am Reply

    • Victoria: I served some wild blueberry jam to a chemist friend, and he remarked, “pleasantly butyric.” That’s what you get for making friends with geeks. 🙂 January 6, 2016 at 6:38am Reply

      • Rowanhill: That is hilarious, albeit what a waste of good blueberry jam. 😀 January 9, 2016 at 7:31am Reply

  • Floramac: Snow smell for me too, though I live in Maine and we had one storm after Christmas. A metallic, brooding spaciousness. Nothing else is quite like it.

    Coffee and the lingering smell of burnt toast and my dog’s warm fur– slightly sweet, slightly musky. January 4, 2016 at 9:53am Reply

    • Victoria: I agree! This smell is one of a kind. January 6, 2016 at 6:39am Reply

  • Aurora: Happy New Year everyone and it starts with a wonderful photo Victoria: A darling ginger tabby looking so relaxed.

    Smells I recall from these past few days: the patchouli essential oil of someone at the Goya exhibition, so unmistakable with a pleasant mustiness.
    The very best smell of New Year’s Eve was the vapours from the mulled wine I prepared, first the acidulated aroma of the clementines, the astringent smell of half a lemon, then the almost floral scent in comparison of a beautiful lime, then the allspice, laurel leaves and vanilla pod. It was the first time I ever made mulled wine and people were kind enough to declare it delicious. Why on earth didn’t I think of making it before? It will be a tradition from now on. January 4, 2016 at 10:13am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m also a newcomer to the mulled wine but also a convert. The smell when you make it is heavenly, and the taste… It’s the right thing to drink on a cold evening when you don’t have anything important to do the next morning. 🙂 January 6, 2016 at 6:48am Reply

  • mj: Happy New Year everyone!

    Today, I walked my way to the office (about 4 km) and was a bit too sleepy to notice any new scent or smell. Before getting into my building, I went to the bakery that’s a few doors from the office to buy a sandwich for breakfast. The bakery smelled of warm bread and orange blossom water, as they were preparing “Roscones de Reyes” (Three Wise Men Cake) for tomorrow, Epiphany Eve. Orange blossom scent is a smell I associate to this cake and the wait for the Three Wise Men to deliver their gift in the last day of Spain’s Christmas. January 4, 2016 at 10:22am Reply

    • spe: MJ – do you mind if I ask where you live? I like that tradition – and never remove my Christmas decorations until after Epiphany. January 4, 2016 at 10:34am Reply

      • mj: spe, I live in Barcelona, Spain. In my country, Epiphany day closes the Christmas holidays with cake, gifts, hot chocolate and sometimes coal… I explain.
        Tomorrow, Jan 5th, at dusk, the Three Wise Men Parade (Cabalgatas de Reyes) will begin in most of the cities of the country. In my hometown, Barcelona, the Three Wise Men arrive by sea, in a lovely old ship, and they will be greeted by Ada Colau, Barcelona’s Major. She will welcome their majesties and invite them to go around the citiy, on their camels, greeting children and giving away candies and smiles. After the parade, the children will polish their shoes, put them close to the window and prepare some water and veggies for the camels.
        On Jan 6th, they will find the gifts they have asked for inside their shoes. This will happen if they have been good kids, if they were naughty, they will likely find coal (sugar coal, it is). Breakfast on the 6th is Three Wise cake and, in many place, hot chocolate.
        After Jan 6th we store the Christmas decorations, and the Nativity figurines. January 4, 2016 at 12:23pm Reply

        • Aurora: Thank you so much for sharing the tradition of your country. In France too Epiphany is quite important and we celebrate with a special cake (galette des rois) all the bakeries in France display it. It contains a feve (originally a dried out legume but nowadays is replaced by a porcelaine token) the person who finds the feve in their slice of galette is crowned the king or queen for the day. January 4, 2016 at 2:00pm Reply

          • Alicia: In some Latinamerican countries, such as Argentina and Uruguay, they seem to have combined the Spanish tradition and the French one, la gallette des rois being transformed in the rosca de reyes, with similar surprises inside. January 4, 2016 at 3:57pm Reply

            • Aurora: Oh, that’s interesting to learn about the tradition in South America, thank you. January 5, 2016 at 6:38am Reply

          • mj: Hi Aurora

            Our Roscón de Reyes also has a fava bean inside and a little figurine. In the past, the figurine used to be a baby Jesus, but now it can be anything. The one that gets the piece with the figurine is crowned king or queen of the day (the roscón is also sold with a gilded cardboard crown) and the one that gets the fava bean has to pay the roscón. January 4, 2016 at 4:09pm Reply

        • spe: That sounds delightful. Thank you! January 5, 2016 at 10:53am Reply

      • Victoria: I keep mine till Jan 14th, the old style New Year. It seems like a pity to dress up the tress only to take it down a week or two later, which is what most people around here do. January 6, 2016 at 6:50am Reply

        • Patricia: I still have mine up, too. Can’t bear to take it down! January 7, 2016 at 9:18am Reply

          • Victoria: A kindred spirit. 🙂 I turn on the lights, and it makes a dull grey day brighter. January 7, 2016 at 9:22am Reply

            • Patricia: I have the lights on all the time unless I have to leave the house. January 7, 2016 at 5:49pm Reply

            • katherine: We keep the bright, cheerful christmas lights adorning our kitchen out until we feel like we’ve had enough. So they usually come down in Feb/March. They are so cheerful, and provide a beautiful, calming but upliftin light in the dark mornings of winter. January 10, 2016 at 11:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Now this is heaven! I promise myself to make Roscones de Reyes for every Epiphany, but something also interferes with my plans. I should just make it out of season and satisfy my cravings for this lusciously perfumed sweet. January 6, 2016 at 6:49am Reply

  • NancyM: I’ve been wearing Vanille Insensee a lot, and sometimes mixing it with TF Oud Wood.
    Smells this morning…the milkiness of my coffee and the animal crackers I was nibbling last night as we watched the Packers game. January 4, 2016 at 10:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, it also sounds wonderful. January 6, 2016 at 6:49am Reply

  • spe: The only soft smells I own are L’ Heure de Niut and Mon Precioux Nectar. Maybe also Chanel 19 Poudre. I’ll wear one those today. The most striking smell for me lately: a rose Ceylon tea at the Buchart Gardens teahouse at which time I was wearing samples of Amouage Journey and Amouage Fate. Beautiful.

    But the lights and gardens eclipsed them all! January 4, 2016 at 10:31am Reply

    • Sandra: I feel like I could of written this post since we have such similar tastes in perfume. Though the only one I don’t care for is Fate. And you love tea. Nice to find a kindred spirit January 4, 2016 at 12:13pm Reply

      • spe: I’m trying to decide between Fate and Journey. Fate smells beautiful the first 5-6 hours, Journey starts smelling beautiful at 5-6 hours. I think you know where this might end up!
        Yes, it’s wonderful to find a kindred spirit, I agree! January 4, 2016 at 8:07pm Reply

        • Sandra: I own a FB of Journey-its so beautiful. Good luck deciding on one or both! January 5, 2016 at 7:44am Reply

    • Victoria: I forgot about No 19 Poudre for some reason, but you’re right, it’s the essence of softness. January 6, 2016 at 6:50am Reply

  • Hildegerd Haugen: I felt a little ill today, so I am embracing myself with Escada Collections cherry tobacco. January 4, 2016 at 10:45am Reply

    • Victoria: Please feel better, Hildegerd. January 6, 2016 at 6:51am Reply

  • Nina Z: Yes, even though I love the idea of always wearing an over the top perfume (I want to be one of those super colorful older women), the fact is I, too, often want to turn to something soft and less challenging. Recently I discovered that Guerlain’s Ylang & Vanille served exactly that function for me, and after I blew through a decant of it and then purchased a bottle, it became one of my most worn fragrances. (I have never tried Noa–now I’m curious.) January 4, 2016 at 11:03am Reply

    • Victoria: Guerlain’s Ylang & Vanille smells like the best sort of vanilla biscuit, and I love it for its comforting finish. Not a bad idea to mix things up time to time. January 6, 2016 at 6:52am Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: Today I’m wearing AdV Iris Nazarena. January 4, 2016 at 11:04am Reply

  • Austenfan: A very happy 2016 for everyone reading (and writing)! No scent memories today. Too busy to use my nose, except for the occasional whiff of Nahéma that is my choice for today. January 4, 2016 at 12:17pm Reply

    • spe: Hi Austenfan,
      I hope I’m remembering correctly – was it your daughter who married last year? What fragrance did she end up wearing for the wedding?
      I believe you had some lovely posts or write up about your selection process. January 5, 2016 at 10:57am Reply

      • Victoria: I believe you’re talking about Patricia, one of my contributors. She wrote a few times about her daughter’s search for a wedding perfume and is promising us a full article (with a final reveal). January 6, 2016 at 7:22am Reply

        • spe: Oh, excellent! I look forward to that! It’s one of my favorite perfume topics.

          Sorry for the error, Austenfan. January 6, 2016 at 11:25am Reply

          • Austenfan: No problem, I found it rather interesting to have suddenly acquired a daughter.

            I’m very interested to read Patricia’s article as I would really like to find out which perfume her daughter ended up wearing. January 6, 2016 at 12:37pm Reply

            • Patricia: It’s in the works! 🙂 January 7, 2016 at 9:20am Reply

              • Michaela: Please share! 🙂 January 11, 2016 at 8:36am Reply

    • Victoria: Happy New Year to you too! Best wishes for 2016. January 6, 2016 at 6:52am Reply

  • Nick: I have not worn any perfume for the past two weeks because the scents in tropical Thailand were so overwhelming. The aromas of fruits, flowers, foliage, food, drinks, earth, rocks, and water simply spawned every conceivable thought. To top that up, there were the colours from traditional art pieces, buildings, garments and handicrafts. How baroque…when I actually think about it. January 4, 2016 at 12:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: I spent some time in Thailand, and I can definitely relate to what you’re describing. The smells around me of flowers, fruit, temple incense simply made an idea of a perfume unappealing. If I have fresh frangipani, a rare treat for me, it’s good enough. January 6, 2016 at 6:54am Reply

      • Nick: A discovery, isn’t it? When you simply think about it.

        Did you notice that they never really grow frangipani trees in houses, but mostly in temples? The name in the local language relates to tragedy and sadness. Hence, the observed distribution.

        I wonder: if you have not smelled a real frangipani before, did you learn to make an accord of frangipani from other previously constructed accords? Or, how does that work? January 6, 2016 at 8:11am Reply

        • Victoria: Not sure, since I already knew the smell. But I just don’t remember being asked for anything specifically frangipani like. You can easily recreate the accord, but it doesn’t smell all that interesting in a finished formula. The best so-called frangipani perfumes are fantasies, with a dose of peach and coconut giving a sunny, tropical impression. The real thing contains loads of lemony notes that most people in the US associate with cleaning products. So, art can’t mimic nature too much in this case. January 6, 2016 at 8:24am Reply

          • Nick: So, you are saying that if we get too close to the aesthetics of a real frangipani by adding the lemony notes close to a headspace, it would likely remind people of functional products than the flower? If the market’s taste has associated lemony notes with functional products, so if you were asked to create a lemon perfume, how do you draw the line to not veer into functional territories? January 6, 2016 at 9:05am Reply

            • Victoria: Same with magnolia, which is why people complain that most magnolia perfumes don’t smell real enough, but when you give them the real thing, they complain that it smells too functional. Of course, there is something to be said about the whole experience of smelling a blooming live flower as opposed to a paper strip.

              In the US, you’d rarely be asked for a lemony perfume. Or if you want to use lemony notes, you blend them well with something else. January 6, 2016 at 11:30am Reply

              • Nick: Very interesting bit! Thank you for the explanation. January 6, 2016 at 2:02pm Reply

  • noele: I’ve recently adopted a young cat, and now that he’s finally coming around and getting comfortable, I’ve had a few chances to nuzzle and get close. His silky fur has such a beautiful, soft smell. 🙂

    Another smell of late is Evan Healy’s Sweet Blossom Body Oil (petitgrain, frankincense and neroli). It’s a bit astringent smelling and my partner hates it but I do enjoy it, as well as its effects.

    Happy 2016! January 4, 2016 at 1:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: Have fun with your new pet! What did you name him? 🙂 January 6, 2016 at 6:55am Reply

      • noele: ‘Leroy’! heh, heh. January 6, 2016 at 11:33am Reply

        • Victoria: Appropriately grand! 🙂 January 6, 2016 at 11:42am Reply

  • Genevieve Leger Fawcett: Smells are so important to me at this time of the year. While the garden sleeps and flowers are but a faint memory, I seek out nature smells in the indoor environment: Orange peels at breakfast with the enveloping aroma of a fresh cup of tea… Jasmine Pearls some days, milky,malty Oolong on others. I love the smell of my cat’s fur as she snuggles up to stay warm on those cold days when the cold manages to sneak in… Later, I love to burn incense: I am particularly fond of Japanese Cedar and Hinoki.
    (thanks for the posts about this, btw :)) Today I am enjoying whiffs of Diptyque ‘Tam Dao’ layered with TF Plum Japonais. Have a lovely day everyone!! January 4, 2016 at 1:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: It sounds like we like many similar things, from jasmine pearls to Tam Dao. 🙂 January 6, 2016 at 6:56am Reply

  • Jirina: Happy New Year to all!!!
    I’m from Argentina and here we are in summer.
    Yesterday was a very hot day (almost 40°C) and today is raining. I’m wearing Eau de Cologne from Chanel because makes me feel fresh and clean.
    Well I discovered the blog a year ago and I’m a big fan. Always love parfumes but now I also love read about them.
    I’m on vacation so I take this opportunity to read and write to you.
    Jiri January 4, 2016 at 2:12pm Reply

    • Alicia: Last year I went to the Cataratas del Iguazú, and it was hot. There I enjoyed very much wearing three fragrances, O de Lancome, Chanel Cristalle, and Bulgari, Eau Perfumée au Thé Vert. As a matter of fact, I wore them so often and so abundantly that I finished the Lancome bottle, and a good part of the other ones.If you haven’t yet, you might want to try them. They are not necessarily soft fragrances, but proper for the heat. Noa is soft, and Kenzo Flower, and I believe both may be used in the summer. Congratulations for the Argentina’s elections. May it be for you and the whole country a peaceful and prosperous year. January 4, 2016 at 3:47pm Reply

      • Jirina: Hi Alicia.
        Thanks for your suggestions and your wishes for our country. I’m very happy. I live near Cataratas del Iguazú.
        Best for you this new year.
        Jiri January 4, 2016 at 4:30pm Reply

        • Victoria: My best wishes to your and your country too! What a tense period it must have been. January 6, 2016 at 7:09am Reply

    • Victoria: Welcome, Jirina, and best wishes for the New Year to you too!
      Eau de Cologne de Chanel is one of the best in its genre, because it manages to be fresh and sparkling and yet layered enough to change throughout the day. Most colognes are rarely this complex. January 6, 2016 at 6:57am Reply

      • Jirina: Thanks Victoria.
        I really enjoy reading your blog. It´s great.
        In Argentina we couldn’t buy many niche perfums, almost none.
        But in a trip to Buenos Aires (is the capital of Argentina) I discovered Fueguia.
        Have you try its perfums? January 7, 2016 at 2:51pm Reply

        • Victoria: I haven’t yet given this line a proper test, since there are so many perfumes. Which perfumes have you tried so far? January 8, 2016 at 5:10am Reply

          • Jirina: Hi Victoria
            Excuse me, I was following the Dakar with my husband so we didn’t have a good internet connection. That’s why I read your Reply yesterday.
            I have two parfums from Fueguia, “Juan Manuel” and “un deux trois” but I don’t know how described them.
            The first one was a present from my husband. I think is different from any other perfume I ever smelled, is very spicy and have an excellent projection. A parfum for cold winter days.
            But “Un deux trois” for me is special because I bought it after tasted in a blotter but was a very incredible surprise when I tasted on my skin. I feel that it is Unisex and I would like it much more with a more feminine touch but I always get many compliments when I wear it. I learned to appreciate it so much that now I usually use it for work.
            Last year I bought some Fueguia perfumes as presents because they are the only niche brand in Argentina and I think it’s a very special gift.
            For example “Agua Magnoliana” a fresh flower scent for my cousin, “La cautiva” a gourmand for my niece, and “Beagle” for my brother because of its scents of Gunpowder and Rum.
            I must say that they love their fragrances. January 18, 2016 at 11:38pm Reply

            • Victoria: Thank you very much for this rundown. Now I can approach that counter with something specific to smell. January 19, 2016 at 4:42am Reply

  • Rich Potter: I just purchased a bottle of L’Air de Rien and it is indeed Warm and cuddly. Wearing it now. January 4, 2016 at 2:19pm Reply

    • Victoria: Isn’t it? I tried it in this soft context by chance, but it really turned to be a winner. January 6, 2016 at 6:58am Reply

  • rickyrebarco: Softness today is Chanel 1932, a soft jasmine layered on my Chanel body creme which has a soft bergamot scent. January 4, 2016 at 2:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Ummm, this sounds decadently soft. 1932 is one of Chanel’s perfumes that definitely smells even better with the cream. January 6, 2016 at 6:59am Reply

  • Malmaison: Happy New Year one and all! Although put seasons are reversed and I am enjoying a Southern Hemisphere summer, I too have been seeking softness in my perfumes which has led me to AG Songes (creamy summer flowers with vanilla) and Vanille Insensée.

    Today though I am back at work and felt the need for Paco Rabanne Metal, a beautiful blast of galbanum and hyacinth which makes me feel less like having a nap and more like a grown up working woman.

    On my morning walk I smelled the familiar wet mud of my neighboring mangrove swamp (my house backs on to a nature reserve) which wouldn’t be on anyone’s great fragrance list, but nevertheless I like it! With a faint salt breeze coming in from the harbour across the mudflats, it always makes me feel like a child on summer holidays again.

    And now I am sitting in an air conditioned waiting room while my car is being serviced, reading B de J to pass the time, dreading another hour of their way-too-loud radio … January 4, 2016 at 2:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m experiencing it all vicariously through you. 🙂 You’re making me craving a blast of Metal and hyacinth. January 6, 2016 at 7:01am Reply

  • Tati: Last night I read in a big bubble bath of Rose Jam by Lush. Wow! Later I continued the rose theme with La Fille de Berlin. This morning in the desert it is threatening to rain. The smells are of earth and the metallic scent of water-laden air. I’m wearing L’Artisan Patchouli Patch. January 4, 2016 at 2:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: Roses and patchouli already sound like a fine match, even if not worn within the same day. January 6, 2016 at 7:02am Reply

  • marini: This morning I put on, as a hand lotion Tokyo Milk #10, Honey and The Moon, which I swear, SWEAR is chocolate, but the notes just read honey, violet, jasmine, and sandalwood. But I can’t just stop at a hand creme, so I added, on top of that, a couple squirts of my Ultimate Gourmand, Montale Chocolate Greedy. The decadence. it’s more sweet than soft, but softly sweet, I guess. People think I’m a walking bakery. January 4, 2016 at 3:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: Now this sounds delicious! January 6, 2016 at 7:02am Reply

  • Elizabeth: Beautiful pussycat in the photo. There’s a dusting of snow on the ground today. A powder scent for me, on this damp, cold, west coast day – would be Shalimar Parfum Initial. Seeing as there is a cat to inspire me in this post, and we are talking of comforting scents, I love the smell of my big black & white cat’s paws. They smell like wheat or toast. And how would I know this? In winter, he sleeps wrapped around my head, at night. January 4, 2016 at 3:21pm Reply

    • Genevieve Leger Fawcett: Ditto on the smell of cat’s paws: love the earthy smell. January 4, 2016 at 3:30pm Reply

    • Carlisle: Your cat wrapped around your head at night made me smile! My own cat usually smells of cypress but today I detected a bit of woodsmoke too 🙂 January 4, 2016 at 3:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: How sweet! My mom’s cat doesn’t sleep with her, but every morning she comes to wake one of us up by putting her soft paws on our faces. Clever little beast. 🙂 January 6, 2016 at 7:03am Reply

    • Calvados: Once one of my cats wraps himself around my head, another one warms my feet 🙂 January 7, 2016 at 2:55pm Reply

  • Alicia: Gorgeous cat! I am finishing an old bottle of DK Black Cashmere, which I suspect it is discontinued, but I am not sure. I wish I still had her Chaos, now long gone. Here, in Upper State New York it is freezing, and covered with at least a foot of snow. In days like this I enjoy incense or saffran fragrances, and also woody ones, particularly some sandal: I am wearing Samsara. Very happy New Year to you and your loved ones! January 4, 2016 at 4:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: Black Cashmere is still around. It’s Pure Cashmere that has been discontinued. As for Samsara, it’s my go-to sandalwood, along with Tam Dao and Lutens’s Santal de Mysore. January 6, 2016 at 7:05am Reply

  • aurora_rubinshtein: Happy New Year, Everyone!! 🙂
    I am getting more and more into essential oils. Now it is time for thyme. I add some drops to my bath and also on aromalamp. How rich and deep this smell is! Another oil that I love at the moment is birchtree, radiant bright and refreshing, something from the best part of my childhood. I want to understand the smell of verbena, but I don’t like it in essential oil. Recently I found soapbar “Verbena Nostalgie”, giving more cedrat side of verbena, not herbal – this is a pleasure to me. Yesterday I tested 3 new perfumes: Decadence Marc Jacobs, Belle et l’Occelot Salvador Dali, Noir pour femme Tom Ford. All of them were interesting, I really love to test perfumes and to find cultural references and associations to them, but I am wearing perfumes less and less. Perfumes are not so vibrant as essential oils. I really start to understand smells like frequences and vibrations. January 4, 2016 at 4:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: Verbena essence is very sharp, and it can easily cause a reaction, so I recommend diluting it heavily. Try o.5% and 1% and see what you think. Otherwise, the blast of those sharp lemony notes can literally knock your socks off (and cause an olfactory overload in seconds). January 6, 2016 at 7:09am Reply

  • marymary: Softest scent I ever tried is teint de neige. Softest one I bought several times over is cashmere mist. I also like caleche soie de parfum which even has a soft name but I think it’s a little overpriced. January 4, 2016 at 5:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: Teint de Neige was my introduction to powdery perfumes, and I still have a soft spot for it. January 6, 2016 at 7:10am Reply

    • SilverMoon: Happy New Year to all!

      marymary, I smelt Teinte de Neige first time last year. When I read this post, I immediately thought of it and wondered if anybody would mention it. And here you did! Although I only tested it on my wrists and did not buy it or smell it again, TdN must have made quite an impression since it was the perfume that came to mind reading the lovely descriptions of snow and softness.

      Another really soft smelling one id FM Iris Poudre. January 6, 2016 at 12:59pm Reply

  • Nora Szekely: Happy New Year to everyone!
    It is first snow today in Hungary too, just like in Northeast of America as Kate mentioned.
    I have to back up Shalimar Parfum Initial. The drydown especially makes it a soft, cuddly scent. I love to spray some on my blue silk scarf and faux fur coat but it’ s also perfect for reading by the fire (or candlelight).
    My most prominent scent memory from today is my leather phonecase’s scent that is mixed with the divine Frederick Malle Portrait of a Lady body butter. I tend to put some cream on in the morning, then have a coffee while reading some inspirational texts on my phone so the case just got faintly scented. Even this strong perfume becomes soft after a few hours hehe.
    Now your comments made me lit a cinnamon scented candle for reading. Nice sniffing to everyone! January 4, 2016 at 5:02pm Reply

    • Sandra: I love Shalimar PI. I was so sad when they discontinued it.. January 5, 2016 at 7:46am Reply

    • Victoria: You’re a genius at creating nice ambiance, Nora! 🙂 January 6, 2016 at 7:11am Reply

  • Kat: My bathroom smelled terrific today but I couldn’t identify the scent at first. I always apply perfume there and the sillage in the room is much better than on me (hrmpf). I think it must be a mix of YLS Paris and Caudalie’s Parfume Divine – the scents I used the past two days. I never thought of layering these two – it sounds pretty mad but the result in my bathroom was great (not sure I’d ever try this on my skin though). January 4, 2016 at 7:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: The inability to figure it out would drive me crazy too, but maybe it’s worth mixing the two and seeing if the pairing will produce a desired result. January 6, 2016 at 7:13am Reply

    • Austenfan: I think they will actually work really well together. Huile Divine seems to have some rose tucked in there somewhere. January 6, 2016 at 12:41pm Reply

  • Calvados: Happy new year, Victoria and all perfumistas!
    I got a bottle of OJ Frangipani from my mom for the holidays and the bottle is just super gorgeous.

    My day smelled like snow mixed with rain, earl gray, apple shower gel, Tobacco Vanille on top. Then the smell of a new car – after years and years I have finally acquired an SUV for all the hiking trips, coffee at work. Sharp sweat at the gym – especially when walking in from the cold, crisp air outside, – and the long warm shower with almond soap, followed by Shalimar body cream.

    And trading this blog in bed.
    A good day. 🙂 January 5, 2016 at 1:23am Reply

    • Calvados: Trading this blog, should we all buy stock? 😀 swyping on the phone has an autocorrect with a mind of its own. January 5, 2016 at 1:25am Reply

      • Malmaison: I’d buy stock in your day, it smells great! Partly because Tobacco Vanille is my newest addiction, almost to the point of wishing for winter instead of our NZ summer so I could be properly cozy with it. (Not quite though, I’ll stick with the sunshine and beaches!) January 5, 2016 at 4:13am Reply

      • Victoria: Since this blog is a non-profit venture (and with my distinct lack of a commercial talent will never be anything but), we’re better off just reading. 🙂 January 6, 2016 at 7:18am Reply

    • Victoria: What a great gift! Your mom clearly knows your tastes well. Along with Champaca, it’s one of the best from Ormonde Jayne–florals that smell better like a perfumer’s etudes, beautiful studies, rather than awkward approximations of nature. January 6, 2016 at 7:16am Reply

  • kayliz: Just now: the sleep scent from my dog’s paws. Mushrooms and hamsters. It’s always there, I think, but never as strong as when she’s asleep. January 5, 2016 at 6:03am Reply

    • Victoria: Someone else commented on their dogs’ paws smelling stronger in her sleep, and I think that it might be because bodies give off heat through the extremities, hence the smell is more pronounced. January 6, 2016 at 7:19am Reply

    • Austenfan: Their feet do smell more strongly when they are asleep, or have been asleep. I remember the smell well from my dog. January 6, 2016 at 12:42pm Reply

      • kayliz: It’s logical that you’d be aware of the scent more if the paw pads are exposed, which they often are when dogs are asleep (dogs sweat through their paw pads).
        But I swear I can identify the moment when my dog has fallen asleep just from the waft of paw scent, even when she remains in the same position i.e. doesn’t expose her paws any more than before.
        Austenfan, you remember… I’m so sorry. January 6, 2016 at 3:06pm Reply

        • Austenfan: Thanks!
          I’ve been trying to find out why the smell is stronger when they are asleep, and so far have not been successful. It’s not just exposure, I think. I always used to carry my dog up stairways and other such obstacles. (She was a Dachshund) and would have her most often with her feet facing me (and close to my nose). The only time I noticed the smell was after she would have been sleeping.
          What I have found out though is that dogs apart from being able to sweat through their paws, they secrete some oily substance, which they use to scent mark.

          I’m glad that once again we’ve gone off on another tangent! January 6, 2016 at 3:38pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: She WAS a dachshund? O Austenfan, we all know how much you loved your dog. Did she die? If so, how sad. It’s a big grief, very hard to swallow. Ik denk aan je en wens je veel sterkte. January 6, 2016 at 4:05pm Reply

            • Austenfan: Thank you!

              She passed away in June. At the good old age of 14. I miss her a lot, but knowing that it really was her time to go, helps. Also, enjoying 14 years with a wonderful, stable, funny and willful dog is a privilege. January 6, 2016 at 4:16pm Reply

              • Michaela: So Sorry, Austefan! Anyway, you can congratulate yourself, it’s due to your loving care that she could live for 14 years, this is wonderful… Dear dog. My older dog passed away last March about 19 years old. My only comfort is he lived a long happy life. January 11, 2016 at 8:45am Reply

  • rosiemay: Happy new year to u all! This morning i have been enjoying the aroma’s of Kusmi’s ‘BB Detox
    Tea, grapefruit, green tea, this is a favourite from a selection of mini tin’s that father christmas brought me.
    Mingling with this smell is a lovely orange and clove scented holiday candle, and muddy, wet dog.
    I’m trying out Azemour les Oranges today, which is utterly beautiful, and after the luscious, green and orangey opening is rather quiet and soft. i have just resprayed, with 2 generous spritzes on each wrist, and on my scarf, hopefully it will have more presence and lasting power this time. January 5, 2016 at 9:20am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m suspicious of anything labeled “detox”, so until one of my readers commented on how good this tea was, I passed it by. I agree, one of the best citrusy green teas, in which you can smell the vegetal notes of green leaves as well as the zest of grapefruit. January 6, 2016 at 7:21am Reply

      • Austenfan: I’m detoxing right now, sitting here.
        Although I may want to try that particular detox brew. It sounds very good! January 6, 2016 at 3:40pm Reply

  • Megan: Hm. If I could categorize any of my perfumes as smelling soft, it would probably be Hedonist Iris. I don’t have the nose or vocabulary to explain why; it just smells like soft iris to me and feels cozy to wear on snowy days. January 5, 2016 at 7:57pm Reply

  • Karen (A): It is so cold here now outside of DC – we went from a crazy mid-70’s at Christmas to around 15 this morning, so the air smells sharp. Warm, soft fragrances are a must! Husband’s coffee brewing, the warmth of steamed milk for my latte great the morning. Kumquat marmalade’s combination of sweet and sharp – hoping kumquats aren’t all gone as I need to make more. Arrival of some decants including La Myrrhe, which turns so beautiful on me – soft, warm and delicious – for some reason I am not getting much of the initial cold blasts. Its been perfect these past coldcoldcold days! January 6, 2016 at 8:22am Reply

    • Victoria: Do you chop your kumquats or cook them whole? In Asia I keep encountering them sugared with an unexpected dose of salt, and this is such an addictive combination. January 6, 2016 at 8:25am Reply

      • Karen (A): I chop them – this past batch I decided to follow a recipe (!!!) and I’m not really happy with how it turned out. (let it macerate three days, heating up briefly each day). I love lots of syrup, and doing this eliminated it. Smelling it now thinking this would be a great scent for hot humid summer days. I can imagine they are (even more) addictive with a touch of salt. January 6, 2016 at 8:35am Reply

        • Victoria: I like maceration fruit, but I find that the only way to get enough syrup is to use more water or to add extra light syrup later. It’s a bit tricky, because it’s easy to end up with an overly sweet jam. On the other hand, the translucent, juicy slices make the experiments worth it.

          I’m sure your jam is still delicious. January 6, 2016 at 11:32am Reply

          • Karen (A): When I’ve made it before and let it sit after heating fruit and sugar overnight for just one night, there was lots of the yummy syrup. But even without the syrup, it is quite tasty! January 6, 2016 at 1:04pm Reply

  • Figuier: Lovely post Victoria! The soft scent dominating my days is that of my 2-month-old daughter – her skin and hair smell just heavenly! Plus the faint smell of the lavender EO that we drop sparingly into her baby oil. Not always so soft a smell: the endless dirty nappies 😉

    I’m perfuming myself *very* sparingly atm, just a single spray on the wrist at most, which makes for gentle scents – Narcisse Bleue and Traversee du Bosphore both feature iris and musk (I think – musk isn’t my favourite or my strong point, I’m anosmic to it half the time and the other half only like it in minor, supporting roles) and in such small doses feel eminently soft.

    I’m hankering after violets, though – what is/are the ‘soft’ violet scent(s) you mention in your post? January 10, 2016 at 4:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: She sounds heavenly. What a special time it must be for both of you. 🙂

      I’m making a note to myself to write up my soft violets for you (and other violet lovers), but out of the perfumes I was testing, it was Violetta di Parma that felt especially tender. Simple but so good. January 11, 2016 at 11:22am Reply

  • Kaitlin: What a neat idea – I love the idea of a scent diary. I may need to start keeping a small journal with this written in there!

    As odd as it sounds, I’m glad you brought up kitties! I love the way my cats’ fur smells after they’ve been basking in the sun. It’s warm and comforting. I don’t quite know how to describe the scent but it’s very distinctive – they just smell like sunlight when I bury my nose in their fur.

    Also, my mom’s cat always smells vaguely like Chanel Coco Mademoiselle because he’s been held by her. I have to laugh because he’s probably the best-smelling cat ever! January 13, 2017 at 10:53am Reply

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