Scent Diary for the New Year

Happy New Year! My best wishes for 2020 to all of you. I hope that this year will be a healthy and peaceful one, but also that it will be full of new discoveries and adventures. For my part, I’ll contribute by sharing my favorite books, perfumes and places with you. Also, if you would like to join me on one particular trip, my perfume course will be the Ukrainian Scent and Taste Adventure this year (June 2-9, 2020). I look forward to meeting some of you there.

Our scent diary is back for 2020, and the premise is the same as before. You can write about anything you wish in this thread, but for those who would like to use the Scent Diary to sharpen their sense of smell, I will give a short explanation. 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. The most important thing is to notice whatever you smell around you. It’s even better if you write it down. So please share your scents and perfumes with us.

Did you make any resolutions?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin



  • Sandra: Ciao! Happy New year…
    My scents so far today is pine from the tree and wreath that I am taking down, chai tea that my father in law made..notes of ginger, cardamon, black tea. I am not drinking a rose tea, different smell all together.
    I am wafting in Songes this morning, big white flowers and the smell of hot skin.
    The inky newspaper smell from this morning’s WSJ. January 3, 2020 at 9:38am Reply

    • Sandra: *I am now drinking.. January 3, 2020 at 10:40am Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: Why, I wonder, does one fall out of love with (some) scents? I used to love vintage Mitsouko so very much; now, I barely wear it. I bought tons of vintage Caron Nuit de Noel; now I hardly use them. Why, I wonder? January 3, 2020 at 6:37pm Reply

    • Leslie: Hello OnWingsofSafron! That’s such a great question. I have done the same and stocked up on scents that I loved at one time, but now the bottles sit idle. I still love the actual scents, but I don’t want to wear them anymore. Years have passed, and I sniff the sprayer, but don’t apply. Instead, I go to something else. I think, in my case, I loved and wore those scents at a certain time and under certain circumstances that have now passed. For me, those scents are now linked to the past, and I reach for other scents with no such association. Unfortunately, this is not a cheap way to live, and I will never have a signature scent. But in truth, scent is a journey for me and part of what I love is finding new and interesting fragrances. I still keep those bottles…hoping one day I might have the urge to spray. January 3, 2020 at 11:39pm Reply

      • rainboweyes: The same here… that’s why I‘m offering some of them as a giveaway to BdJ readers…
        The only scent I have been wearing for almost twenty years now is Hiris – almost a signature scent… January 4, 2020 at 4:31pm Reply

        • Notturno7: Hi Rainboweyes,
          I was thinking of the same thing and will do that but also wanted to see if anyone wants to swap bottles of perfume with me.
          I bought Bulgari Byzance and Patou Vacances about a year ago and they don’t resonate with me. They aren’t vintage ones and I probably sprayed them twice at most
          Do you or someone else by any chance have something you’d like to exchange with these?
          I pretty much like everything especially vintage but don’t like sports like, fresh fragrances with that ‘iso thing’. January 4, 2020 at 11:36pm Reply

          • Leslie: Hi Notturno7, would you be interested in sweet scents like Hiram Green Slowdive and Xerjoff 1861 Naxos. They are nearly full and I have more than one of each. I am planning to do a giveaway as well, but I do have a couple of bottles that I would happily trade (above)? I have not tried the scents you mentioned, and would be happy to trade. January 5, 2020 at 6:27pm Reply

    • Neva: OnWingsofSaffron, I believe the reason is that we are a work in progress.We fall in and out of love with people, places, ideas etc. during our lifetime. It’s the same with scents. I’m also not quite satisfied with it but I feel the same. Even truer: I allow myself to accept it now. January 4, 2020 at 6:55am Reply

    • John: This happens to me sometimes… Three strategies that have helped me (so far):

      1.) Apply a much lighter than usual wearing of the perfume. Often this helps you to detect different notes — also, so many fragrances are very different when worn lightly! I find if I wear Ralph Lauren’s original Polo too heavily, I never want to see or smell the bottle again(!), but a light spraying after a shower lingers on in a way that continually captures my interest.

      2.) Wear the perfume out of season. I used to find Habit Rouge, which I admire objectively, a bit cloying under warm winter layers. I have come to love it, however, as a spring/summer fragrance, despite its reference as a cool weather fragrance. Conversely, Caron’s Third Man felt like too much of the ‘old school’ in the summer but has become one of my standby’s for a cold-weather citrus I can wear to work. The more counter-intuitive the better.

      3. Offer a decant to a friend. I find smelling an old favourite on a friend or loved one to be a strategy that offers multiple rewards. It refreshes your associations with the fragrance (hopefully in very positive ways), but also awakens your awareness of the difference between scent operating on the skin and as an aura or sillage. I gave a small bottle of vintage Zino to my son last year after growing tired of it, and now wish I had held on to at least a decant, as it is so warm and friendly on him, and now reminds me of getting together for holiday outings… Good luck! January 4, 2020 at 5:58pm Reply

    • OnWingsofSaffron: Thanks to all for their very interesting interpretations. I find myself agreeing to all.
      On another note, I know of this “tiring” in another context: classical music/opera CDs. Somehow, the old recordings with which I grew up and which I sort of know by heart–and love to bits–are those I hear the least. I know, say, every beat of the different Callas Normas, but I haven’t heard them in years. However, it doesn’t diminish my admiration in the least. Yet I don’t turn to them anymore. È strano!… January 4, 2020 at 6:31pm Reply

    • Notturno7: Thank you, John! Those are great ideas, I will definitely try that. January 4, 2020 at 11:39pm Reply

    • Marsha Smith: Hello On Wings of Saffron! I have had the same group of scents for a long time now and although I haven’t actually fallen out of love with any of them, I do find myself wishing for something new and different. January 5, 2020 at 4:48am Reply

  • Noemi Martín Santo: This year new perfumes based on libraries have appeared. I got a travel size bottle of Whispers in the Library, by Maison Margiela. In the meantime, I am opening old books and smelling them. I am also creating a scented library corner in my apartment with homemade candles of pure beeswax, a stand for a teacup (Russian and strong black English tea during winter, and using perfumes related to libraries or rooms with fireplaces. January 3, 2020 at 8:34pm Reply

  • Elizar: Love the idea of scent stations around the house. To be mindful and actually notice each thing, moment, how you interpret the smell, how it makes you feel… January 3, 2020 at 10:06pm Reply

  • CC: Japanese incense, the scattering dust type used in temples: heavy wood and iron, like a perfumed gateway. L’Eau d’Hiver, usually a summer scent. Bamboo roots, after a session of weeding out: pungent, green, soil-laden. Camellia blooms, oily and comforting. January 5, 2020 at 11:13am Reply

  • Muriel: Hello, there are 2 scents which come to me every day, and I am trying to describe them, but I find it very difficult to do so… The first one is the smell of weed/cannabis. Every morning a group of teenagers steps into the bus to my office and they probably just shared a joint. Now, I find the smell very recognizable, but, when it comes to describing it, I find it really difficult… I’d say pungent, “brown”, but really struggle on this one. The other smell is the perfume of a colleague. I have no idea which one it is. It makes me think of “pink”, doesn’t evolve during the day, floral, probably something “girlie-girl”. Whenever she walks in, I can actually smell her before I see her, but I’m short of words to describe it any better… January 10, 2020 at 6:31am Reply

  • Aurora: Over the holidays the predominant scent for me was the spices for mulled wine, especially cinnamon and cloves, I enjoy the medicinal edge of cloves and it also reminds me of pot-au-feu, onions studded with cloves which my mother used to make.
    Next year I will experiment with adding allspice to mulled wine too, all spice to me is salty sweet. January 10, 2020 at 12:58pm Reply

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