Lists: 129 posts

5 Festive Scents For Winter

Winter arrived sooner than I expected. I didn’t want it to come. I resisted its pleasures. Yet, the other day I woke up to a ballet of snowflakes in the air and I decided that I might as well derive small joys from this cold season. Wearing a warm perfume is one such delight, and I always recall how my mother would dab a tiny bit of Lancôme’s Magie Noire on my wool scarf “to help me stay warmer.” I still associate the spicy-mossy scent of this perfume with snowy days and New Year’s Eve preparations.

For my selection of festive fragrances today, I decided to pick perfumes that evoke the scent of fir trees and gingerbread. Some of them are abstract, others are more realistic. You can decide how far you want to take the fantasy and make your pick accordingly. As always, I would love to know what festive fragrance you like.

One more note: all of the fragrances on my list are suitable for both men and women.

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7 Best Perfumes for Moon Viewing

Mid-Autumn Festival is on Saturday, September 10th, and I already envision brewing a pot of tea and admiring the full moon in the evening. Some years the weather doesn’t cooperate, and the temptress moon hides behind the clouds, but when it reveals its full splendor, the effect is magnificent. The pearly moonlight makes the sleeping city shimmer and the skies turn a deep blue color, with soft whispers of grey.

My moon-viewing is incomplete without mooncakes, pastries filled with lotus seed paste or red beans, and an appropriate perfume. The latter is particularly important to set the ambiance and add more magic to my evening. Below are my seven choices, for both men and women.

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Patchouli Fragrances : Part 1 Classical Patchouli

A green plant that evokes the scent of earth. A leaf that smells like wood. A wood that smells like chocolate. Patchouli is a complex, intriguing, and polarizing ingredient in a perfumer’s palette. Some like it, others hate it. It leaves nobody indifferent. Yet, it’s also a material that gives perfumery today its distinctive character. A modern chypre can be made without oakmoss, but not without patchouli.

My latest video is part of the patchouli series, and in the first episode, I discuss the material itself and cover classical patchouli fragrances. The way patchouli is processed affects its smell dramatically. A steam-distilled patchouli oil smells earthy, musty, loamy, while solvent-distilled patchouli absolute is reminiscent of cacao and dry woods. Other methods allow distillers to recompose fractions of patchouli essence to highlight certain effects, such as its licorice or sweet notes.

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5 Perfume Masterpieces for Summer

Beautiful fragrances can lift your mood. Over the past few months I have been wearing my most opulent perfumes without being concerned that they might become associated with a dark period in my life. I needed colors, texture, and vibrancy, and my beloved classics satisfied me. Complex fragrances have the benefit of being multifaceted, so that each time you wear them, you discover a new layer or create your own story to match the mood. Perfume may be a dispensable luxury, but like all beautiful things, it serves to elicit positive emotions and boost the spirits.

For my summer-themed selection, I’ve settled on a list of five masterpieces. These are the perfume equivalents of novels by Tolstoy and George Eliot because of their layers, nuances, and twists. Some are elegant colognes; others are lush florals and bittersweet chypres (mossy-woody blends.) The list is personal, but I think that you will agree that these are among the classical perfumes to try. Some of them might be ideal as an introduction to classics.

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7 Effervescent Scents Against Summer Heat

These days I look at the weather forecast with a sense of dread as we are in the middle of another heatwave. I like the indolence of summer and the long sun-filled days, but I don’t enjoy the oppressive heat and humidity. My primary methods to make these days tolerable include copious amounts of mugicha, a traditional Japanese summer drink made of roasted barley, and a selection of light, effervescent perfumes.

The natural choice for summer is citrus, but your selection need not be limited to simple colognes. Modern floral and green notes offer a refreshing effect, without the sharpness of citrus. Look for compositions that are accented with woods, rather than vanilla or musk, as the sheer blond wood finish contrasts beautifully with the brightness of fresh notes.

How to amplify the freshness of a fragrance? Follow the good old advice of leaving your scent in the fridge but beware that drastic temperature changes can affect perfume negatively, and for this reason I recommend making a decant of your favorite summer fragrance. A spritz of cool liquid is the ultimate refreshment. If you would like an even more intense cooling experience, select a mint fragrance like Aqua Allegoria Menta Fresca or Herba Fresca. Menthol triggers cold-sensitive receptors and plays tricks on our brain. When the mercury levels are soaring, such an effect is welcome.

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