4 Flamboyant White Florals Against Winter Blues

With the holidays behind us and still too many winter days ahead, it’s important to find ways to add a splash of color to cold, grey mornings. I reach for my brightest dresses and scarves and add swirls of saffron and paprika to my food, evoking sunshine and warmth. Or I rely on white floral perfumes to create a vivid ambiance. White flowers may call to mind bridal veils, but there is nothing prim and pastel about the scent of tropical blossoms like tiaré, frangipani, ylang-ylang, tuberose or jasmine. They have a voluptuous aroma reminiscent of warm skin, coconut milk and petals sticky with nectar. The synesthetes among perfumers swear that white flowers smell purple and pink, rich and saturated, and it’s true that wearing a white floral perfume makes me feel as if the day is brighter.

These opulent, flamboyant scents are the topic of my FT column, Four white floral scents to brighten grey days. You will find the full article here.

How do you cure yourself of winter blues? What flowers among the white floral family are your favorites?

Image via FT

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36 Comments

  • Earl Gray: With temperatures still hovering around freezing, I can’t quite manage a big white floral just yet – this weather still requires spicey, snuggly scents and hot chocolate.
    But when the weather lifts from frosty to merely dreary, I’ll be pulling out Les Nez Manoumalia and Ramon Monegal Kiss My Name and conjuring tropical flower heaven! February 16, 2018 at 8:50am Reply

  • Terry Futrelle: When I am feeling a little “winter blue”, I pull out my “Terracotta”, by Guerlain…It is a white floral with creamy vanilla. It just chases away the cold winter, for a day. I get a lot of compliments when I wear this particular fragrance in winter. It feels like summer vacation in a bottle! February 16, 2018 at 10:49am Reply

  • Monica: Is there anything similar to Marc Jacobs Blush? February 16, 2018 at 11:20am Reply

    • Monica: By the way, tuberose smells hot pink to me. February 16, 2018 at 11:21am Reply

      • Ann: That is interesting…when I smell tuberose or fracas the words “tutti-frutti” always come to mind – which is basically a rainbow without Blue February 16, 2018 at 11:33am Reply

  • Geraldine Ethen: I love the idea of flamboyance in the drizzly cold winter days, and thus have just ordered Un Matin d’Orage to be a bit outrageous these dull days. Thanks, Victoria, for the encouragement to take control of our environment and add a splash of pizazz! February 16, 2018 at 11:20am Reply

    • Emilie: Un Matin d’Orage is so beautiful! I’m glad you’ve bought it for yourself 🙂 I find it more of an uplifting comfort sent than an enveloping one. Like a friend who takes you out for a walk in the sunshine when you are down rather than one who stays in with you. February 16, 2018 at 2:06pm Reply

      • Geraldine Ethen: What a great description, Emilie! I look forward to that “uplifting comfort”!! Perfect for our rainy days in Oregon! February 16, 2018 at 4:25pm Reply

        • Emilie: Thank you 🙂 February 16, 2018 at 6:48pm Reply

  • Ann: Thank you for this perfume prompt… I pulled out my sample of Juste un Rêve, one of the first samples I ordered when I fell down the rabbit hole last May.

    I am enjoying it, it does feel very tropical to me… A little reminiscent of juicy couture original and white diamonds…It also reminds me of a skin scent. Not a fragrance that holds close to the skin, but one that actually smells like skin. Maybe there is musk in it? February 16, 2018 at 11:35am Reply

  • Potimarron: Tropical beaches feel a bit too alien for me at the moment too (I’m sure it’ll change as the weather warms up. As I left work today the air smelt of spring-of leaf litter and green things and things coming back to life). I wonder whether fragrances smell different at different times of year. The Dark Heart of Old Havana smells like Christmas cake to me at the moment but I wonder whether I’ll think differently in the summer.
    The most warming fragrance I’ve tried recently is 4160 Tuesdays’ Up the Apples and Pears (I recently bought a bunch of samples from them so they’re featuring a lot in my comments). It’s meant to evoke a cosy pub (and does, although I think it’s more of a country pub than the East End one on the blurb). It makes me think of stomping the snow (or, more usually, mud) off my boots before finding a squashy armchair near a roaring fire. I’d always thought fruity perfumes were not for me but I really like this one. February 16, 2018 at 1:13pm Reply

  • Gabrielle Langley: I have been wearing Alexander McQueen (the eau de parfum) all winter. It is redolent with white flowers, but also has a dry-dusty overlay, in addition to some masterfully blended spice notes. Very complex. Very soft and elegant, reminiscent of a fine cashmere. February 16, 2018 at 1:38pm Reply

  • Severine: Oh the winter blues…. Cures are taking hot bath, drinking hot tea after the bath, and then (most important) disappear into a really good novel. Really want to try your choice of Parfums de Nicolai. By the way, I took your suggestion of MFK Amyris. So lovely, my sister and I immediaty fell for it! Also Hermes Muguet Porcelaine. February 16, 2018 at 1:52pm Reply

  • Emilie: There are not many white florals in my perfume collection however I have a potted gardenia that I bring inside for the winter and it fills the house with a beautiful scent.

    I wear Un Matin d’Orage (in the EDT) year round to feel comforted though when it is really miserable outside Songes is my favourite tropical fantasy perfume.

    I tend to suffer a bit more in the colder weather than the very warm so I treat myself with many things. The very best is a bubble bath before bed with all the trimmings; scented candle, good book and soft music. February 16, 2018 at 2:03pm Reply

    • Rita: You are my type of gal! Baths are so important in the winter! February 16, 2018 at 9:29pm Reply

      • Emilie: Hehe, yes they are essential! An absolutely necessity! February 17, 2018 at 1:16am Reply

  • Sara: I like white florals in the winter too. #1 by Nicolai, lys soleia, la haie fleurie, and amoureuse do the trick! February 16, 2018 at 6:41pm Reply

  • Rita: I wear poison yes strong smell but that is the first ever perfume I was introduced to as a present. It was in the the winter too. Loved it ever since and it seems to work in the winter for some reason. I do take baths a lot as well and tuberose candles does wonders for the aroma.
    However I am looking forward to spring, winter is so overated😀😀😀 February 16, 2018 at 9:33pm Reply

    • Emilie: A friend of mine, a very softly spoken psychologist, loves Poison and it smells amazing on her! Despite the seeming dissonance it fits her like a glove.

      Yes, I agree Poison seems like a winter-y sort of perfume to me too.

      Look forward to spring but enjoy wearing your Poison until it arrives! February 17, 2018 at 1:20am Reply

      • Rita: Thank u February 17, 2018 at 7:32am Reply

  • Jane: I had a small sample of Michael Kor’s 24K Brilliant Gold banging around in a drawer for over a year when I finally decided to actually smell it. I love it! It is such a warm and sunny perfume loaded with Gardenia that takes me away from the grey and rainy days we’ve been having in NY. It is not at all the heavy musky perfume I assumed it would be, I am so glad I tried it.

    I love baths winter and summer! February 16, 2018 at 10:32pm Reply

  • Alicia: I love white florals for all seasons. Un Matin d’Orage is delightful, but on me it doesn’t last my minimum requirement of four hours. Instead Songes does, and I have never tired of it. Goutal’s Gardenia Passion is also lovely, little less lasting than Songes, but it will somewhat calm my passion for gardenias, the elusive fragrance so well captured by Fords Velvet Gardenia, now discontinued. Lauder’s Tuberose Gardenia is more tuberose than gardenia, but I wear it happily. Black Orchid is everything you say, and I always keep a bottle of it. Lutens Fleurs d’Orangier is another favorite. Nicolai’s Odalisque has become an enduring love. The original Miss Dior will never be replaced in my heart. As I write and remember those white flowers of old and forever, I realize that to name them all would be a longer list than that of Don Giovanni’s affairs in Mozart’s opera. Perhaps I have love too many too much. February 17, 2018 at 2:18am Reply

  • Betty: I like Diptyque Olene for its gentleness and warmth. February 17, 2018 at 4:56am Reply

  • Lily: Ostara is my favelate winter white floral scent. Maybe Bc where I live (southern US) the daffodils are usually blooming by early Feb, so it also seems seasonally appropriate. But for all that it has the rush of green stems on opening, the overall feel of the perfume to me is comfort. A vanilla custard hug of warmth and flower sap. February 17, 2018 at 11:28am Reply

    • Emilie: I love Ostara too. I find it a cheerful perfume even though it smells quite rich. Maybe this is because of its association with the bright yellow of daffodils?

      So sad it is discontinued 🙁 My bottle is well since used up. I was not sparing with it at the time and enjoyed it almost daily there for a while! February 17, 2018 at 1:47pm Reply

      • Lily: Cheerful is such a good word for its character! And I agree, it was ridiculous for such a gem to be discontinued – especially so quickly! February 18, 2018 at 10:48am Reply

        • Emilie: Yes it was as though it had just come out, we blinked and suddenly it was gone! February 18, 2018 at 4:24pm Reply

    • lovestosmellgood: Ostara! Yes! Totally forgot about this one.. February 18, 2018 at 4:36pm Reply

  • Kandice: My choice that is guaranteed to bring some sunshine and brightness to a dreary day is Carnal Flower. If I want comfort, I’ll turn to vanilla or incense perfumes. But if I need to blast myself out of the doldrums, Carnal Flower pretty much does the trick! February 17, 2018 at 11:42am Reply

  • Carla: Chinatown and Une Fleur de Cassie are my winter white floral comfort scents. February 17, 2018 at 9:26pm Reply

  • Aurora: I enjoyed your description of UMd’O,, I have the EDT because I was afraid of the tuberose in the EDP which I never tried. My guilty white flower perfume in winter is Nuxe Le Parfum. I wear it much more in the winter months in fact. February 18, 2018 at 8:42am Reply

  • lovestosmellgood: Songes is beautiful in the winter, Cristalle is also up lifting. February 18, 2018 at 11:49am Reply

  • Eric Brandon: As a gentleman, very few white florals feel appropriate, and this from a man who looooves powder! I love yellow florals though, Chamade, Ostara….

    I actually love Black Orchid and its demure sister, Voile de Fleur, but Black Orchid especially strikes me more as a mauve color. No doubt I’m influence by that fruity melody. February 18, 2018 at 7:42pm Reply

  • CC: I love wearing two of these, Black Orchid and Un Matin d’Orage. I also find that Bulgari Black’s drydown is wonderful on cashmere and so is Aesop’s Marrakech. This winter the surprise has been Nuxe though – both the dry oil (with golden shimmer!) and the moisturizing sunscreen smell wonderfully of summer ahead and can fuel you through the worst of the cold. February 19, 2018 at 9:28am Reply

  • John: This winter, I have been relying more and more on Caron’s Troisieme Homme… The ‘Jasmine Fougere’ of Tania Sanchez’s review is, though, reformulated, still an absolute gem… Wonderfully balanced between bright citrus chypre contrasts (yuzu, orange, herbs and moss) and a breezy fougere lavender, all with a hint of skank that suggests indolic white flowers. It took me awhile to appreciate it, so much so that I believe I wrote in one of these columns that I thought it was good, but not great. Now, slogging through the doldrums of a snowy February, I take it all back… A light application of this (it is heady stuff) guides me through some very long days indeed, always with that hint of florals lurking under the old school aftershave (Pinaud Clubman or the like) notes of the barbershop. This might just be my signature now. February 23, 2018 at 12:10am Reply

  • Mia: Oh, Rubj is sensational, as are other Kerns, too. I have also enjoyed Juste un Reve a lot, even though sometimes it feels too sweet. February 25, 2018 at 3:55am Reply

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