The Color of Life, The Scent of Spring : Green

My wedding outfit wasn’t white. It was green, because in the western part of India where my husband’s family originally comes from, and where we were married, it means the color of life, spring and rejuvenation. Since then I have been paying more attention to this shade, and the scents associated with it. In perfumery, for instance, green can be suggested by a variety of materials, from naturals like violet leaf and galbanum to synthetics such as leaf alcohols that smell of freshly cut grass.

The rich palette of green notes finds its expression in a diversity of green nuances in perfumery. This is the topic of my FT column, Seven Green Perfumes. I select these seven fragrances to paint a full spectrum of green, from the dark emerald to pale pistachio.

Green notes, however, can be difficult to wear, which is why, though this perfume family has many loyal fans, it remains small. We prefer our scents of freshly cut grass and new leaves in the air, rather than in the bottle. Nevertheless, certain green fragrances have become classics. One is L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier. It creates its signature fig accord with the clever combination of ivy, leaves and galbanum. The latter is a fennel-like plant that produces a pungent-smelling essential oil. When carefully dosed, however, galbanum conjures up the vivid colours of spring — young buds, new leaves, damp earth. To continue reading, please click here.

As always, I would love to know your favorite green scents?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin



  • MrsDalloway: I adore galbanum – no 19, Heure Exquise, Weil de Weil. I almost loved Dryad but there’s a harsh scorched note deep in the heart which is brief but scares me off. Le Temps de Fete – not sure if the green is galbanum but it feels more sappy, like bulb foliage. Fig is a trickier green note (I’ve owned Premier Figuier and Ninfeo Mio but moved them on) but I really like Philosykos EDT. May 30, 2018 at 7:28am Reply

    • Victoria: Some people find galbanum too pungent, but I also like it and no amount is too much for me. June 4, 2018 at 5:56am Reply

  • maja: Green is my favourite colour and I am so happy that the jungle green has been a trend recently. As for perfumes I love Chanel 19, Mito edp, Herba Fresca, Corsica Furiosa while my latest obsession with vetiver is bringing so many earthy green notes to my wardrobe. I am in love with Hemingway and Vettiveru. May 30, 2018 at 8:28am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t tried that one, but I’ve been eyeing a sample. June 4, 2018 at 5:57am Reply

  • Anne: I would love to try vintage Vent Vert. A friend gave me a sample of Miller Harris Jasmin Vert last week, but I’m not sure I like it. May 30, 2018 at 10:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Too floral of a green, perhaps? June 4, 2018 at 5:57am Reply

  • Gretchen: Perle de Mousse, Scherrer, Debut, Un Matin d’Orage, even that vetiver bomb Encre Noire – count me in that group of green fragrance addicts. So many of my most-selected and well-worn perfumes here, soon to be joined by Philosykos. I am not sure if Ormonde Woman is “green” but on a not-humid day, I revel in it. While many count on citrus fragrances to cut the heat and oppressive stickiness of weather, I much prefer the greenest I can find, and am looking forward to more suggestions from fellow commenters! May 30, 2018 at 10:21am Reply

    • Victoria: Ormonde Woman has a fabulous green note! June 4, 2018 at 5:58am Reply

  • zephyr: I need to explore green scents – thank you for the ideas in your article, Victoria! The Herrera is one I’m going to sniff! I have a bit of Herba Fresca left – I love it – and broke it out this past weekend when it became suddenly hot here and I wanted something lighter than my usual O de Lancome. I only wish HF lasted longer on me. May 30, 2018 at 10:24am Reply

    • Victoria: Herba Fresca is my summer staple. It also doesn’t last well on me, but I don’t mind. June 4, 2018 at 5:58am Reply

      • zephyr: Me neither – I’m not giving it up. June 4, 2018 at 3:11pm Reply

  • sara: My favorite green scents are: Silences, Dryad,
    Chamade, and Temps d’une Fete. It’s my favorite color too! May 30, 2018 at 11:00am Reply

    • Victoria: We have many favorites in common. June 4, 2018 at 5:59am Reply

  • Filomena: My favorite green scents have already been mentioned, thus not to be redundant I will add CdG Amazing Green and Tom Ford’s Vert series. May 30, 2018 at 11:16am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you. These definitely should be on the list. June 4, 2018 at 5:59am Reply

  • Heidi Czerwiec: Green is one of my faves, also when combined with chypre or leather: vintage Vent Vert, Chanel 19, Silences, Scherrer, vintage Bandit, vintage Jolie Madame (ok, anything by Cellier), Givenchy III, Macaque May 30, 2018 at 12:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m like you when it comes to Germaine Cellier’s perfumes, from Vent Vert to Fracas. June 4, 2018 at 7:09am Reply

  • Fatima: L’ombre dans l’eau is my favourite. May 30, 2018 at 12:27pm Reply

  • Aurora: You must have looked lovely in your green wedding dress, Victoria. Your wonderful article transports me to summer, and I reached for the original Silences I always think ‘crunchy’ when I smell it (the newer Silences is slightly warmer but so green as well), 2 green florals I love to use on hot days are vintage Ma Griffe, so unique, and Baiser Vole EDT. Floris Ormonde is my mossy favorite, it’s rare but nobody else was interested so I got it very cheaply, it is quite unisex. May 30, 2018 at 1:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: It was a beautiful sari, but it was so heavy. It was the only time I wore it! June 4, 2018 at 7:10am Reply

  • Aurora: I meant also to mention fig perfumes since you write so eloquently about Premier Figuier (which I loved when I tried it but don’t own) last year I purchased Un Jardin en Mediterranee, I choose it on days when I want a refreshing citrusy fig instead of unpredictable Caligna (we spoke about that one recently). May 30, 2018 at 3:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: I very much like Premier Figuier, although its cousin, Diptyque Philosykos, is a bit easier to wear. June 4, 2018 at 7:10am Reply

  • Barbara: Vent Vert, vintage May 30, 2018 at 3:29pm Reply

    • OnWingsofSaffron: Yes, yes, yes!! I find it incredibly satisfying. June 1, 2018 at 7:55am Reply

    • Victoria: Absolutely! June 4, 2018 at 7:11am Reply

  • Mel: I just bought a new Herba Fresca for the summer – so excited to uncork it when the temp in SoCal rises into the high 70s and beyond. Another green scent I love which is somewhat off the radar is Labyrinthe Libertin by Le Prince Jardiniere – it conjures the scents of leaves and flowers wafting around in (I’m assuming) a French garden’s hedge maze. Bracing and pretty. May 30, 2018 at 4:43pm Reply

    • therabbitsflower: I love Labyrinth Libertine too! It’s so nice to see it get a mention. My boyfriend has L’Eau du Prince Jardinier in his collection, and it smells really good on him. May 31, 2018 at 9:05am Reply

    • Victoria: I tried it only once or twice, but I agree that it’s excellent. June 4, 2018 at 7:11am Reply

  • paola: I am a fan of green fragrances.
    My favourite is certainly Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca. I’ve almost finished a bottle of Chanel 19 poudré, but in the end I got a bit tired of it.
    Elisabeth Arden GREEN TEA and Caudalie FLEUR DE VIGNE are enjoyable and quite cheap. May 30, 2018 at 5:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: Fleur de Vigne is a good perfume for hot summer days. June 4, 2018 at 7:12am Reply

  • Neva: I really like your choices Victoia and I will look for the ones I am not familiar with.
    My green perfume loves come in all varieties – the bitter ones like Scherrer, Weekend by PdN and Silences, the flowery ones like Clinique Wrappings, EL Private Collection and Bulgari Mon Jasmin Noir l’Eau Exquise, with tea notes like Bulgari Au The Vert and the fruity ones like Philosykos and Zoologist Macaque or Panda. May 30, 2018 at 5:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: You have many other beautiful choices on your list. June 4, 2018 at 7:12am Reply

  • Patricia: No. 19 will forever be my favorite fragrance, green or otherwise. I love it in all its iterations, except for Poudre, which I find cloying rather than fresh. Great article, Victoria! May 30, 2018 at 6:21pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you! I also love No 19. June 4, 2018 at 7:12am Reply

  • Joy Erickson: Green scents are my favorites. I love Chanel no. 19, but my all time favorite is Cristalle. I wore it when I was a professional gardener. I still love to wear it gardening. I have always loved Dior’s Diorella. I just purchased a new bottle. Although it does not have the staying power that it did in the 80’s, it still has a wonderful fresh green smell. I also love the combination of green and lily of the valley in Diorissimo. I love the crushed tomotoe/rose of L’ombre dans Lo. Although I know many don’t care for E Ardens Blue Grass, I love it and have worn it for many years. It is green, grassy and fresh. May 30, 2018 at 6:38pm Reply

    • Aurora: Hello Joy: It is so nice to see Blue Grass mentioned for once, I’m a fan too (I have vintage EDP) it so unique and I agree it is freshness in a bottle even though none of the notes are actually green, I think, so cooling in summer, with a soapy dry down, it reads as a sky blue perfume, and the longevity is excellent. May 31, 2018 at 12:57pm Reply

      • Joy: I am glad to hear that someone else shares me love for this fragrance. One used to be able to get Blue Grass lotion. I always loved the lidded, frosted, embossed bottle that I used as a splash. I still see it from time to time for sale on websites, but am hesitant to buy it. May 31, 2018 at 1:06pm Reply

        • Aurora: A lotion must have been wonderful after a shower, but I agree with you, without the alcohol of perfume to preserve it it would be a risky buy, but I can vouch EDP or EDT have stood the test of time 🙂 May 31, 2018 at 1:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: The older chypres had such great green accords. June 4, 2018 at 7:13am Reply

      • Joy: They were unbelievable. Anoiher green fragrance that I used to wear was EL’s Aliage. It was brought back reformulated. I bought a bottle as it was not expensive and a sniff at the counter reminded me, but it is a shadow of its former self. It is now more woodsy than green. June 4, 2018 at 11:46am Reply

        • Victoria: Another favorite. I don’t mind the reformulation, but it loses in comparison to the original. June 5, 2018 at 6:03am Reply

  • Sapphire: Your wedding dress sounds gorgeous. Would love to see a picture of the fabric! My favorite green scents are No. 19 Poudre and Eau Dr Camille. May 30, 2018 at 9:19pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’ll check if I can find a photo of it in my computer. It also had a yellow border. June 4, 2018 at 7:14am Reply

  • Amy M.: I love that you wore green on your wedding. Green is my favorite color as well as my favorite category in scents. I think the top green fragrance for me is Verte Pour Madame by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. It’s truly remarkable, and reminds me of the vintage Diors that are so hard to come by. Other favorites are Diorella, Dioressence, Chanel No. 19, Celadon (another beautiful DSH), Un Matin D’Orage (thanks to you, Victoria, I sought this one out!) Other loves include Niki de St. Phalle, Lutyens Bois de Violette, PdN Le Temps d’Une Fete, Un Couer en Mai by MDCI, Guerlain’s Vetiver Pour Elle, and Chanel’s Sycamore. May 31, 2018 at 1:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Many inspiring ideas on your list too. June 4, 2018 at 7:14am Reply

  • Michael: Two of my favourite green scents are, coincidentally, from the same collection: La Feuille and Verger from Miller Harris Perfumer’s Library collection. The former is a combination of berries, ivy leaves and oakmoss, while the latter has notes of apples and Damask rose, intertwined with green leaves and vetiver.

    Like you, I also have a soft spot for Carnal Flower and L’ombre Dans Eau, although I prefer the latter in its candle form. May 31, 2018 at 1:42am Reply

    • Victoria: Does the candle have a good throw? I only smelled it, unburned. June 4, 2018 at 7:15am Reply

      • Michael: Yes, especially the coloured version, Baies Noir. I can even smell it through the box and plastic wrapping. It is one of the stronger smelling Diptyque scented candles, like Tubereuse. I also purchased the Figuier Vert and it is comparatively lighter. June 4, 2018 at 10:30am Reply

        • Victoria: That’s good to know. Thank you! June 5, 2018 at 6:01am Reply

  • Nora Szekely: Hi Victoria and perfume lovers,
    Green scents were among the last group to conquer my heart but about 2 years ago, i fell in love with Carnal Flower, Chanel no. 19 and Silences and since then I try to seek out classic greens especially in vintage edition.
    I’ve worn Vent Vert by Balmain 2 days ago and it was perfect for an early summer evening, the wafts charmed me with their nuances of galbanum, spring flowers and oakmoss. May 31, 2018 at 4:02am Reply

    • Victoria: A lovely description, Nora. June 4, 2018 at 7:15am Reply

  • Nora Szekely: I have a mini of Vent vert of the version issued in 1990 and adore it. It worth seeking out, and the images of the different bottles linked in Victoria’s review helps to identify its approximate age. May 31, 2018 at 4:06am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s definitely worth it. Still one of the best green perfumes out there. June 4, 2018 at 7:16am Reply

  • pinkdiamonds: Green perfumes are my absolute favourites and I see many I wear already mentioned. 2 important ones to me. My first love as a teen, Vent Vert which I still wear in the new formation. It gets me compliments on my taste from the ladies in charge when I purchase it at an old parfumerie in Paris. My most recent favourite, Cartier L’Heure Vertueuse which I really think is green in scent and colour. A fantastic work by Mathilde Laurent May 31, 2018 at 4:42am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s beautiful. I still find it hard to believe that it’s too difficult to wear, but perhaps many find green perfumes too aggressive. June 4, 2018 at 7:17am Reply

      • pinkdiamonds: I can see why some would say that green perfumes are too much fun for them. For super hot summers I spray the Cartier on my Japanese cotton summer fan and waft it regularly at myself and my son. It may be a softer way to experience these scents? I would love to have a vintage bottle of Vent Vert. June 5, 2018 at 2:26am Reply

        • Victoria: What a great way to use scents! June 5, 2018 at 6:10am Reply

  • Amalia: WE WANT PICTURES, or at least one picture of this wedding dress! May 31, 2018 at 6:26am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ll try to find a couple! 🙂 June 4, 2018 at 7:17am Reply

  • Danaki: I love green fragrances. My green journey started off with chanel no.19 parfum, folllowed by vintage version. Since then I have enjoyed many modern green scents some with white flower accents and others more woody and dry. My favourites are Perle de Mousse by Ann Gerard, Goutal Un Matin d’Orage, PdN Week-end. I also had the opportunity to enjoy a vintage sample of Ma Griffe by Carven. May 31, 2018 at 6:42am Reply

    • Victoria: The vintage Ma Griffe is a treat. June 4, 2018 at 7:18am Reply

  • Sandra: I want to see the wedding dress too!

    After reading this article I looked around for my bottle of No19 Poudre
    When I wear this one I feel like grabbing both of my kids and having them to cuddle with me! 😉 May 31, 2018 at 7:26am Reply

    • Victoria: Aww, such a charming vision. 🙂 June 4, 2018 at 7:18am Reply

  • Carolyn Middleton: The original Le Temps d’Une Fete, AG’s Eau de Camille, Penhaligon’s Bluebell, MH’s Figue Ameure & Hampton Sun’s Privet Bloom all come to mind & I have worn all of them at some point. May 31, 2018 at 8:58am Reply

    • Victoria: So many green perfume lovers here! June 4, 2018 at 7:18am Reply

  • Carla: I love the color green but don’t think I am partial to green fragrances. However I used up my bottle of Le Temps d’Une Fête extremely fast a few years back so I did like that. I prefer iris shades in my perfumes in spring. As for fig scents, I prefer unsweetened fruity like Diorella, Le Parfum de Therese and Jubilation 25., all variations on a gorgeous theme May 31, 2018 at 9:16am Reply

    • Victoria: It sounds like you prefer a delicate touch of green to the overly pronounced notes. June 4, 2018 at 7:19am Reply

  • Jeanne: I love Carnal Flower. It’s one of my favorites, and I have a bottle of the Carnal Flower Brume Pour Cheveux that I’ve been nursing along for a couple of years.

    I wear No 19 a lot, because my boyfriend loves it! May 31, 2018 at 9:50am Reply

    • Victoria: Carnal Flower is greener in that version, I think. June 4, 2018 at 7:20am Reply

  • Jennifer M: I like green scents year-round, but especially when it’s summer. My favorite is Herba Fresca, which I reach for with such regularity I often forget to appreciate it fully. Second, No. 19, of course, which I only have in the body lotion at the moment, but it’s lovely. In nature my favorite green scent is crushed mint leaves. May 31, 2018 at 10:09am Reply

  • JennyJo: Jacomo Silences, Chanel Cristalle edt, JL Scherrer original, Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic. May 31, 2018 at 11:43am Reply

  • Alicia: My very favorite green is Vent Vert (vintage) by the extraordinary Germaine Cellier. Still green but quite different, I love Chanel #19. I often enjoy Jacomo, Silences, and Ostara. For a long time de Nicolai Le Temps d’une Fete was a favorite. Scherrer, one of the best chypres I know.And finally, my most beloved : Guerlain, Chamade, always at hand, in case of doubt there she is, irreplaceable. May 31, 2018 at 12:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: So true, Chamade has few rivals. June 4, 2018 at 7:21am Reply

  • Anna: Victoria, that was a lovely article. You must have looked beautiful in your green wedding sari. I love the fresh green foliage of spring. I love green fragrances and have a special section for green scents in my perfume cupboard. Vent Vert, Calandre, Ma Griffe, Coriandre, Philysokos. Sadly these are all either reformulated or have been discontinued. I don’t think there was ever such a beautiful green fragrance as the original Vent Vert. I will try Chanel No. 19 as it sounds lovely. May 31, 2018 at 12:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much!

      I’m also happy to see Coriandre on your list. Its current version is too bland, so I didn’t mention it, but it was such a brilliant perfume. June 4, 2018 at 7:21am Reply

      • Anna: Yes. Like so many others, it has been ruined although I still hear it. June 4, 2018 at 8:41am Reply

        • Victoria: I find that Agent Provocateur has some of the moss-coriander seed element that I liked about Coriandre. June 5, 2018 at 6:00am Reply

  • Cybele: Love green and it’s the easiest to wear for me! Especially Envy, Guerlain’s Vetivers, No 19, Cabochard, French Lover, Bel Respiro and orientals with a green edge like what Halston used to be. May 31, 2018 at 11:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: The more I read the comment and see all of my favorites mentioned, the more I realize that how much I love greens. June 4, 2018 at 7:22am Reply

  • Figuier: Late to the party, so I don’t really have any new greens to mention, but I really love this perfume family! Cristalle edt & edp, Sycomore, Ninfeo Mio, Philosykos, Byredo Green, Narcisse Bleue, Encre Noire, Mito, Le Temps d’Une Fete…all wonderful. Also: Dusita’s Le Sillage Blance, which is really a classic green chypre. June 4, 2018 at 9:24am Reply

    • Victoria: I like Dusita’s too. Very elegant. June 5, 2018 at 6:01am Reply

  • Tara C: Green is my favourite colour, would love to see your wedding sari! I am less fond of green scents, but I do enjoy Carnal Flower, Chamade, Bas de Soie and Palais Jamais. June 5, 2018 at 7:33am Reply

    • Victoria: Those perfumes have great green accords. Chamade is a textbook example of an elegant floral with green notes. June 6, 2018 at 9:40am Reply

  • Klaas: Hey Victoria, I’m testing Harmatan Noir by Pierre Guillaume and I had to think of this post of yours. So I thought I’d share.

    I like this scent very much! The opening is on the sweet side for me, but it quickly transforms into a beautifully balanced, refreshing green scent. I’m getting lots of mint with hints of orange, tea and woods, with a whisper of jamine in there for good measure. It has a dark feel to it, like a cool, shaded patch of green on a hot day. Very enjoyable. Sillage seems poor (though I just put a few spritzes so can’t really judge performance). Do you know it? June 12, 2018 at 6:57am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t, but it sounds interesting. June 13, 2018 at 2:00am Reply

  • Klaas: It’s very nice. Try it if you see it somewhere 😉 June 13, 2018 at 5:02am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, I definitely will! June 13, 2018 at 7:52am Reply

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