Summer Cologne for Winter

I’ve noticed over the past few years that my most worn winter perfumes have been the most summery ones in my collection. Or at least, the ones that feel crisp, bright, and effervescent. Enveloping ambers, dark musks, or plush leathers edge in, but they are not as prominent. While Belgian winters have been getting warmer, the main reason is that radiant, uplifting fragrance fit my mood better during cold days than anything rich and heavy. For instance, Hermès Eau de Citron Noir gives me an instant boost with its combination of citrus, spice, and woods.

Another favorite category is white florals, from dewy Frédéric Malle Lys Méditerranée to opulent Guerlain Cruel Gardénia. This genre of fragrance behaves so differently during cold weather that it’s fascinating to wear and compare one’s impressions. The blossoms open up slower, the dew lingers, the freshness persists. Sometimes I don’t even get to the final drydown before the day is over and the winter dusk falls.

What about you? What are you wearing today?

Scent Diary is a place to write your observations about the scents around you. Whether you write down 1 recollection or 10 matters less than simply reminding yourself to smell. You can add as many comments as you wish. You can comment today or over the course of the week; this thread will always be open. Of course, do share what perfume you’re wearing or what particularly good scented products you’ve discovered.

While looking through my articles, I found this article that I wrote a few years ago but that still remains popular and often-read: A to Z Tips for Enjoyable, Affordable and Rewarding Perfume Hobby. If you have any tips to add, I’d love to hear them.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin



  • Hilde: Hello Victoria,
    I am wearing the whole week yet Atelier Cologne Vanille insensée.
    And during the last months I wore Annick Goutal Grand Amour and Annick Goutal Songes January 14, 2022 at 8:09am Reply

    • Victoria: Songes is one of my favorites at this time of year. It has both effervescence and opulence. Grand Amour is another beauty. January 14, 2022 at 9:01am Reply

    • Jackie: Love vanille incensee! Reading this just reminded me to start using it again! January 20, 2022 at 4:25am Reply

  • Hilde: Oh, and I forgot to mention Sylvaine Delacourte Olyssia from the Fleurs d’Oranger collection and now and then Virgile from the vanilla collection.
    And quite a lot The Different Company Sublime Balkiss, which really has become one of my favourites when I want to alternate with my other beloved classic green chypres.

    I did the whole winter with these six perfumes. January 14, 2022 at 8:20am Reply

    • Victoria: I can imagine how well they fit! January 14, 2022 at 9:01am Reply

  • carole macleod: Another Annick Goutal fan here-Nuits d’Hadrien for me. I love the musc drydown. And I love citrus in winter, too, especially Eau de Patou. Its has a spiciness that keeps me happy in the cold air. One more I’ve been wearing in Annick Goutal’s Vanille Charnelle. I thought it was a dead wringer for Vanille Equise, but VC is its own beast. It has ylang ylang in it, wheras VE is about woods and vanilla. There is room in my collection for both 🙂 And the packaging for VC is pretty fantastic, and it makes me happy. Nine weeks till spring here groan. January 14, 2022 at 9:16am Reply

    • Hilde: Hi Carole, I would to post a reply on your post, but something got wrong. My comment is below January 14, 2022 at 12:13pm Reply

    • Karina_NL: Hello Carole,

      you made me curious about trying AG Vanille Charnelle! I’m wearing Vanilla Exquise quite a lot this winter, alternating it with Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille – I really enjoyed both very much, the first one is more woody/smoky, while the latter one is more spicy. Today, instead, I am wearing Hermes 24 Faubourg (from an old bottle I have). I had an important day for work and wanted to smell refined and professional – the vanillas could have been a good choice, but I wanted something making a stronger statement and uplifting my mood according to the circumstance, so 24 Faubourg was a perfect choice, I think. January 14, 2022 at 4:53pm Reply

      • carole: Hello, Karina,
        I’ve never sampled the SL scent but I would like to. the vanillas are tricky for me: I don’t want to smell like food or cake (no offence to people who rock a good cake smell). The VC is very different from VE, and I think it’s the ylang ylang that makes the difference. When i first smelled them I thought they were so similar. But the VC came is some pretty deluxe packaging, and I liked the different bottle, but I think it’s not refillable, and that is a shame because it’s so beautiful. I think Annick Goutal would be my desert island fragrance house.

        Nice choice of 24 Faubourg for your work scent! It’s so elegant and I can well imagine it uplifted your mood. I think it’s the most expensive smelling perfume I have and it’s just so gorgeous and plush. And I love the bottles, too. I hope you have a really good weekend, Karina. It’s another snow storm here so once the snow finally dies down I’ll be shovelling 🙂 January 15, 2022 at 9:02am Reply

        • KarinaNL: Indeed, Carole, do not hesitate to sample SL Un bois vanille, if you have the opportunity to do so. Vanilla and spices are very balanced in it, creating a warming envelope to keep you cosy in winter. And fortunately this perfume does not have the sharp opening characteristic of many SL fragances, which normally makes me stay away from them.

          I hope that the snow storm is over now! January 17, 2022 at 4:38pm Reply

  • donna m. inlow: hello VICTORIA
    I wholeheartedly agree with you…summer
    scents worn in winter
    am currently, wearing daily OSMANTHUS/
    THE DIFFERENT COMPANY and it is so
    perfect….previously wore OSMANTHUS/HERMES but CELINE ELLENA
    has created THE one for me January 14, 2022 at 9:17am Reply

  • Nino: Hello Victoria,
    today I am wearing
    Merchant of Venice’s Venetian Blue Intense
    Unusual scent of my current winter rotation, mainly based on Patchouli scents
    Ciao January 14, 2022 at 9:31am Reply

  • Cezarina: Swan Princess The Vagabond Prince. A little bit too powdery for me but I am trying one perfume a day. The creator had some I loved in the past and who knows. Maybe I will find “ the one”. Perfume. January 14, 2022 at 10:04am Reply

  • GinaP: I’ve been wearing Annick Goutal’s Songes, Ninfeo Mio, and Heure Exquise, Donna Karan Gold, L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Figiuer Extreme, Hermes’s Sur la Mediterranee and Sur le Nil. We had a lot of rainy dark weather earlier this winter, and I tend toward S.A.D., and these have really lifted my spirits! January 14, 2022 at 10:23am Reply

  • irem: Hello Victoria. I sound like a broken record to myself, but I love Cristalle EdT all year round. A beautiful citrus chypre that feels refreshing in Summer but also at home in Winter – almost like crystalline snow. So sad that Chanel no longer has it available, it has been listed as sold out for so long now, I am afraid it is gone.
    Today I am wearing Mitsouko (the latest EdP) and listening to Elgar’s cello concerto. They are a match made in heaven: Mitsouko perfectly echoes the timbre of the cello, deep, dark and brooding at times, but also melodic and flowing. January 14, 2022 at 10:28am Reply

    • Janet: As a Cristalle lover since the 1980s, your post struck fear in my heart. I just went to the Chanel website-it’s still listed and available there. (US) I don’t want to even think about a world without Cristalle. January 14, 2022 at 1:57pm Reply

      • irem: Hello Janet, you gave me hope. Alas, when I go to the Chanel website, and attempt to purchase it, it is listed as sold out. It has been like this since last Spring at least. Please tell me I am doing something wrong and that my beloved Cristalle is still available. I, too, don’t want to think about a world without Cristalle. January 14, 2022 at 3:01pm Reply

        • Janet: I just went back to the website and see “sold out” as well. I could swear it did not say that earlier.
          Here’s my optimistic take: we just went through Christmas and so many bought it that it’s temporarily sold out. All the supply chain issues could be a factor too.
          If you really want to know, you could email Chanel. I did that recently about getting a sample of Le Lion and they got right back to me with their “no.” In any event, I’m going to treasure this bottle I have, and I’m sorry if I raised your hopes for naught. January 14, 2022 at 5:34pm Reply

          • irem: It is so ungracious of Chanel that they said no to a sample request. It does not make sense from a business point of view either: They offer free shipping and returns, so you could easily sample sample Le Lion simply by ordering and returning a full bottle at a much higher cost to Chanel. January 16, 2022 at 8:41pm Reply

            • Janet: They advised me to go to a Chanel store for a sample; I was so intent on trying it that I did. I got a sample of Le Lion and Paris-Deauville. Quite frankly, I disliked Le Lion: for the first few hours I felt like I was on fire – it’s that smoky. It calms down after a few hours into something wearable, but not enough to make up for the mess upfront. Thank God for samples: I was this close to blind buying. January 16, 2022 at 8:50pm Reply

      • Alityke: Oh how I adore Cristalle EdT. Yes it did disappear, even from the Chanel websites. I certainly contacted Chanel & demanded it be brought back. In the meantime I bought up every genuine bottle I could source from the grey & resale markets.
        It now seems to be available only from Chanel, so it may well be sold out at the minute. Fingers crossed January 16, 2022 at 2:04pm Reply

  • Hilde: Hello Carole.
    I am quite interested in Eau de Patou, because I also like citrus fragrances. Is it still available and do you own a recent formulation which is quite good?
    I am asking this because many years ago I received a bottle of my niece with a bit of the rest of her perfume Patou Sublime. At that time I was not yet as ‘experienced’ as now, but I was already fond of perfumes. Two years ago I bought Sublime online but it doesn’t resemble the perfume that I had in my imagination of about 30 years ago. January 14, 2022 at 12:09pm Reply

    • carole macleod: Hi, Hilde,

      I have Sublime too, and it’s nothing at all like Eau de Patou. Eau de Patou has this beatiful shimmering citrus, and then some spicy notes, from the nasturtium flowers, and a base of clean oak moss. My bottles are from a reputable perfume store, and they’re shaped like a rounded pyramid. If you check the archives here you’ll see Victoria’s post about it, and all the responses. It was relaunced as the Collection Exclusif around 2012-with a huge increase in the cost. One of my bottles cost about $60, and they gave me the second one for free. If you can’t find Eau de Patou see if Eau de Rochas is something you’d like-it’s limes and wood over patchouli, and it’s often not too expensive. I hope this helps your search-good luck, and let us know how you make out 🙂 January 14, 2022 at 1:08pm Reply

  • Megumi: Hello Victoria, I am wearing Dune today, but I altenate with Chanel 19 other times, love them both. When I was younger did not apreciate Chanel 19, but now I can not live without it! January 14, 2022 at 12:10pm Reply

    • irem: Hello Megumi! Neither did I know to appreciate No. 19 when I was younger. But it is so beautiful, especially the parfum.
      I have worn Dune many many years ago – who am I kidding with years, it has been over two decades. I always want to revisit it. Which version of Dune are you wearing? The latest one? Is it good? January 14, 2022 at 3:36pm Reply

      • Megumi: I don’t know which version of Dune it is, but it is from 7 years ago purchase, my first bottle was when it was released and was love at first sniff 🙂 , this new version is lighter but still beautiful, understated but still love it, it has some beautiful memories for me, because I wore it for my first date with my then boyfriend, now husband:) January 14, 2022 at 4:57pm Reply

  • Deanna: I just bought a bottle of Miller Harris Secret Gardenia, I like it , though it’s not as rich and rounded as Estée Lauder Tuberose Gardenia, which seems now to have vanished off the face of the earth.
    …….and the antithesis of White Flowers, – when I stuck my nose into a big bag of Mocha coffee beans just now, why could I smell Piguet’s Baghari instead of coffee?!
    Must be a left over from Victoria’s Dark Woods
    Class! January 14, 2022 at 12:22pm Reply

  • Jeanne: Just this week, our area experienced temps dipping down to the teens. Several days of below freezing temperatures had me reaching for Jasmin 17 by Le Labo. I work from home, so I can spray liberally! There’s orange blossom in there somewhere, and I love the headiness of this perfume! I do tend to crave summery scents in the dead of winter, especially after wearing out my Rose-ouds, patchoulis, and ambers earlier in the season. January 14, 2022 at 12:46pm Reply

  • maja: Oh, what a coincidence, I was just thinking about spraying some Tubereuse Criminelle and sort of making fun of myself for that and then decided to go for Kenzo Flower Oriental as it is winter 🙂 (I guess I needed something powdery and comforting).
    I’ll have to try white florals in the coldest since, honestly, I always associate them with the humidest Sardinian summers. Might try also Neroli Intense by Nicolai or Fracas. Thanks, Victoria. January 14, 2022 at 12:54pm Reply

  • Jacqui: I’m wearing a new discovery, Penhaligon’s Changing Constance. I don’t usually like gourmands – it cites pimento and salted caramel – but it’s ambery and has hints of leather. It’s a EDP but quite light and not enveloping in a fur coat way like many ambers. I admit to avoiding many old favourites because I’m focused on cruelty-free as much as possible. January 14, 2022 at 1:11pm Reply

  • Andrea: I can totally relate. I often crave the same thing in the winter – probably even more than in summer heat. I like to take a break from deeper and warmer fragrances that I usually love and wear, (good) vanilla being my absolute favourite note. There is something irresistible about the combination of citrus freshness and gloomy winter mornings. My go-to citruses at the moment are Hermès Un Jardin sur le Nil, Le Jardin de Monsieur Li and Guerlain AA Mandarine Basilic.
    I also enjoy a nice musky floral. Today I wore NR for her edt, but I can’t help but compare anything in that category to Guerlain Idylle edp – the way I remember it when it came out (I haven’t smelled it since so I don’t know if/how much it has changed due to reformulation), which my 18 year-old self found to be pure winter magic 🙂 January 14, 2022 at 1:16pm Reply

  • Andrea: I can totally relate. I often crave the same thing in the winter, probably even more than in summer heat. There is something irresistible about citrus freshness on a gloomy winter morning! I enjoy taking a break from deeper and warmer fragrances I usually love and wear, (good) vanilla being my absolute favourite note. My go-to citruses at the moment are Hermès Un Jardin sur le Nil, Le Jardin de Monsieur Li and Guerlain AA Mandarine Basilic.
    I also enjoy a nice musky floral. Today I revisited NR for her edt, but I can’t help but compare anything in that category to Guerlain Idylle – the way I remember it when it came out (I haven’t smelled it since so I don’t know if/how much it has changed due to reformulation), which my 18-year-old self found to be pure winter magic 🙂 January 14, 2022 at 2:11pm Reply

  • Andy: Victoria and others mentioned at the New Year’s post slowing down and wearing the same perfume for long periods in a row over the past year, and I’ve been doing the same this month with Shalimar. I forgot how much I love this perfume, and it’s given me a chance to spot new nuances. I never noticed the iris note very much, but when I wear it now it seems obvious. Switching between wearing different concentrations has helped reveal previously unseen layers. If anyone has a favorite scent in multiple concentrations or vintages, I can’t highly enough recommend doing an “extended wear” for a period, and enjoying all the different versions you have. You will surely discover something new to love. January 14, 2022 at 2:19pm Reply

  • AfonsoC: Hello Victoria! I have to say – I’m guilty at falling into the cliche of wearing lighter perfumes for warmer weather and stronger, more enveloping ones on cooler seasons… But for some reason it does feel right to me.

    Therefore, this winter I’ve been indulging in three perfumes – Aromatics Elixir, Opium Eau de Parfum and Angel. I’m staying with my favorites and have been enjoying wearing them frequently rather than exploring newer perfumes. January 14, 2022 at 2:54pm Reply

  • Natalie: I have been wearing Do Son edt this January. The white florals stay closed in the cold weather like buds barely open and green stems. This same perfume opens up and blooms in the summer heat. It is interesting how the temperature can effect how a perfume smells. January 14, 2022 at 6:01pm Reply

  • Fazal: I have been wearing fragrances I have acquired recently as blind buys. The last fragrance I wore was Dior Oud Rosewood but I am still not sure whether I like it or not. However, I am leaning towards ‘no’ at the moment. However, it lasts really long. I think it is closest to Oud Ispahan though I like that one. The opening notes of Oud Rosewood are supposed to be fruity but I detected nothing. The composition was light-skanky oud from the beginning. Kind of a linear composition that stays almost same over its life. January 14, 2022 at 6:13pm Reply

    • OnWingsofSaffron: Hi Fazal, interesting! I have the Oud Leather and Oud Isphahan from Dior. I liked the leather version immediately. And though I have one of those XXXL bottles of Oud Ispahan (I bought it one Ebay), it is the one I unfortunately like the least! Like the Rosewood version—which I don’t know—OI last for ever and ever, but not in a so good way. I find it quite chemical and far, far too strong. It is my atomic bomb scent; I can smell it a week or more later on a shirt in the laundry basket. Perhaps I am disappointed as with the reference to the immensely elegant town of Isfahan I was hoping for a more delicate and more celestial scent. January 16, 2022 at 11:21am Reply

      • Fazal: Wow, your experience is different from mine. I also have both Oud Ispahan and Leather Oud. I like Oud Ispahan more than Leather Oud. I actually had a 250ml bottle of Leather Oud which I sold and decided to keep a 125ml size for reference. Leather Oud is a little bit too skanky for me and Oud Ispahan’s rose tame down the skanky side of Leather Oud. Do try Oud Rosewood because Oud Ispahan and Leather Oud are related from there is a reasonable probability that Oud Rosewood reminds you of some side of Leather Oud and may impress you more than Oud Ispahan. January 16, 2022 at 10:19pm Reply

  • Maria: I noticed someone else mentioned Songs by Annike Goutal and I love this perfume also. Today I am trying out a few fragrances from one of my new favorite houses Dusita. I recently got a sampler set from them and I am trying out some of their fragrances. They are fantastic. I also recently got a small sample of Guerlain’s Iris Torrefie and I love this perfume too it reminds me of Serge Lutens Silver Iris Water. January 14, 2022 at 11:16pm Reply

  • Alison: I live in Nice, France where we are fortunate to have mild winters with lots of blue skies and sunshine. Out of the sunshine however it can feel chilly so I still feel I need a perfume that is warm, cosy and envelopping and that works well with the softness and comfort of a cashmere jumper and scarf. Chanel’s Coco is a favourite but today I am wearing Vanagloria a recent discovery for me by the master Dominique Ropion, created for Laboratorio Olfattivo. It is a creamy, caramel, vanilla perfume. Rich and long lasting with a hint of spice. It has a luxuriousness about it that makes me feel sophisticated and special.I am not usually a fan of vanilla in perfume but I feel I have stumbled upon something extraordinary. January 15, 2022 at 7:42am Reply

  • Kimberly: Good Morning Victoria, Cruel Gardenia sounds intriguing. I have never sampled it before. I do have Lys Mediterranee and will have to try to wear it this month. I just finished up a decant of Mitsouko EDP most recent formulation. Mitsouko smells so creamy and spicy and mysterious. It also has a very large dose of Bergamot. Today I started on a decant of Vol de Nuit EDT. I’m trying to spend a couple of weeks with each of my new perfumes to get to know them well. Next up in my rotatation are Guerlain’s L’Initiail EDP and L’Heure Bleue EDP. There are so many wonderful perfumes and still so many that I want to try. 🙂 January 15, 2022 at 10:45am Reply

  • Emily: Been luxuriating in Musc Ravageur & Mazzolari Patchouly (layering both with a teeny spritz of Baccarat 540 on the back of my neck for extra decadence) since that’s what I got for a Christmas & I love them, but you’ve now inspired me to explore some winter tuberose. Moon Bloom to me is pure sunniness but perhaps I’ll try it tomorrow as the massive snowstorm rolls in, see what differs.

    Either that or Eau d’Hiver. Too on the nose? January 15, 2022 at 2:54pm Reply

  • Marianne: Hello Victoria and the wonderful community you’ve created, a question rather off topic but I’d love to know … have you tried Mad et Len perfumes and/or candles? I’ve found an opportunity for Afghan Black and Tuberose.

    A steamy, warm, heavy day here today in the very south of Australia. Days of thick grey scudding clouds yet no rainfall. My perfume today is Sisley Eau du Soir, fresh and cool.
    Marianne January 15, 2022 at 11:21pm Reply

  • Aki: Hi,
    I’m currently obsessed it’s galbanum! I use the essential oil that I diffuse in drops in my house. I have also mixed a few drops in the bath with other essential oils and have been wondering how to get a devant of Nicolai’s Odalisque…
    Do you know any bath oils that have a noticeable galbanum component by any chance?
    Thank you x January 16, 2022 at 10:37am Reply

    • Victoria: I like the idea! I can’t think of any bath oil with a strong galbanum accord, unless Chanel No 19 has bath products. My sense is that it’s best to experiment yourself by adding a touch of galbanum. January 16, 2022 at 11:22am Reply

  • Ciara: I have found myself wearing Oyedo by Diptyque lately. The uplifting scent has been very invigorating for the wet, gray days. This scent for me was instantly appealing, but when I took a sample of it- I didn’t like it as much. I recently revisited and love it! It may be a full bottle purchase for me. I think the issue before was I had a lotion on and it mixed with the fragrance and made it smell off to me. January 16, 2022 at 2:06pm Reply

  • Alityke: Summer perfumes in winter? Why yes!
    Guerlain Aqua Allegorias performs beautifully. Pamplelune becomes even more bitter & almost cold on the nose, sort of like breathing the twinkling frozen air.
    My favourite AA is Lys Soleia which really shapeshifts in different weather. In the heat it’s all solar tropical flowers. In cold it plays with becoming a gourmand, banana, vanilla, a touch of sugar, yet it remains deeply inedible with venomous florals ready to strike. Finally drying to a warm amber as it nears the end of its symphonic winter performance.
    I mention Cristalle EdT earlier in reply to Irec & Janet. Another bitter, pithy citrus that plays with twinkly textures in freezing temperatures January 16, 2022 at 2:22pm Reply

    • CC: That’s a wonderful description of Pamplelune! I do the same with Hermes’ L’Eau d’Orange Verte, which is invigorating and never fails to deceive me into believing I am on holidays in Marrakech where I first wore it. January 19, 2022 at 2:29am Reply

  • Ana Maria Tatucu: In fact, this winter I wear quite often Nina Ricci Premier Jour, Chanel Eaux de Paris Deauville or Biarritz, I like very much in the morning to start with an Aqua Allegoria from Guerlain. January 17, 2022 at 3:19am Reply

  • Tourmaline: Dear Perfume Lovers,

    The other day, I and Marcelle, the fiancée of my late brother, Tony, went through the items in his bedroom, looking for a few important items. As we did so, we found several bottles of the deodorant that he used, “Baux” by L’Occitane en Provence. Marcelle said that it was the smell of Tony for her, and it was for me as well, although to a lesser extent. We each kept one of the bottles. I looked up the fragrance on Bois de Jasmin, and was glad to see Elisa’s four-star review of it. I have emailed it to Marcelle, saying that Tony had good taste!

    There’s a saying that where God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window. While I’m not religious, I’ve observed that the saying is often true, and it is certainly the case with Marcelle. I barely knew her during the two years that Tony was with her, but she is becoming akin to the sister I never had. That would have made Tony happy, Marcelle and I agree.

    Today I am wearing Poême and trying to work out what is wrong with my sense of smell that I rather like it, while it is so roundly abhorred by most in the perfume world. Perhaps one day I will decide I can’t bear another whiff of it. I look forward to finding out!

    With kind regards,
    Tourmaline January 17, 2022 at 4:53am Reply

    • Hélène: I’m so sorry for your loss. Scent memories are often the strongest.

      We lost my father one year ago this week. When I miss him I shave my legs with his Barbasol shaving cream, in the yellow can. It smells like him and also makes me go back to watching him shave when I was a little girl, sitting on the bathroom counter top… January 17, 2022 at 11:54am Reply

      • Tourmaline: Hi Hélène,

        Thank you for your kind words. That is true, the scent memories are indeed often the strongest.

        That is such a lovely memory, and I’m glad that you can evoke it with Barbasol.

        With kind regards,
        Tourmaline January 18, 2022 at 8:03am Reply

  • Yvonne: Hello Victoria,
    Thank you so much for this article!
    I dug up my summer perfume Lys Mediterranee and it smells so much better now (=winter in Northern Europe) than in the summer.
    Forever a winterscent for me January 19, 2022 at 12:34pm Reply

  • Elisabeth: I live in a very cold climate when winter hints, and find that I too prefer to wear summer fragrances sometimes to boost my mood. I normally go with Pamplelune Guerlain, Cristalle Chanel, Mitsouko Guerlain and even n.19 by Chanel. January 21, 2022 at 9:02am Reply

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