seasonal scents: 38 posts

Perfume, Poetry, Spring

Patricia talks of spring and early summer and regales us with poetry and fragrance.

April

Spring always sneaks in with an edge, as noted by T. S. Eliot in The Waste Land, “April is the cruelest month.” April promises, then takes away, tantalizing us with a hint of green shoots pushing through the hard earth and following up with a snowstorm. I always crave green fragrances during early spring and none more so than the late, lamented Gucci Envy, created in 1997 by Maurice Roucel. Notes of hyacinth, lily-of-the-valley, rose, and jasmine are surrounded by a strong green presence that has always said spring to me.

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I still have half a bottle of Envy from my original purchase, but in the search for an alternative that is currently produced, came upon Début by Parfums DelRae. Debut, created by Michel Roudnitska, starts out with a sharper green than Envy, but then goes more floral in the dry down with notes of ylang-ylang, linden, and cyclamen. Although I prefer Envy, Debut has a permanent place in my collection as a well-crafted floral green fragrance.

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The Week of the Roses : Vacation Perfume

Today Patricia, our new contributing writer, talks about the dilemma of picking a perfume for vacation and why she decided to make her latest vacation a rose scented one. Patricia graduated from her mother’s perfume table to her very own bottle of Miss Dior as a young teen. This discovery started a lifelong love of perfume in general and green mossy fragrances in particular. After 30-plus years in the publishing industry, she works as an office manager in Boston, Massachusetts. Besides perfume, she loves long novels and spending time with her horse. Please give her a warm welcome!  

In Massachusetts we have a saying, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute,” so I wasn’t unduly concerned when the first few days of our summer vacation were cloudy and rainy. Still, the beachy fragrances such as Estée Lauder’s Bronze Goddess and Bobbi Brown’s Beach that I’d packed in my suitcase seemed to mock me, and even my favorite summer citruses didn’t satisfy me.

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Fortunately my packing style has always been of the “everything but the kitchen sink” variety, so I had brought plenty of sample vials and small decants, including many roses, many of which I had not yet tried. But it turned out that variety was not what I wanted. What I craved were roses, and lots of them. Even after the sun came out on the third day, the roses and I were on a roll.  Rose perfumes turned out to be unexpectedly versatile: the heavier, darker blends suited the foggy and rainy days, while the crisp, bright ones were perfect companions for sunny beach outings. Here are six that I enjoyed on my vacation.

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Mix and Match Summer Perfume

Last summer I arrived in Brussels with a severely limited perfume collection. You know how sometimes perfume lovers ask themselves what five fragrances they would take to a desert island and then agonize over their choice? Well, that was me at this time last year. In the end, I packed Chanel No 19Annick Goutal Néroli, decants of Serge Lutens Bois de Violette, Iris Silver Mist, Frédéric Malle L’Eau d’Hiver, and Carnal Flower. I had a small bag of samples I needed for work and reviewing, but I mostly kept myself happy with my little collection.

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Wearing an edited set fragrances last summer was enjoyable. For one thing, good fragrances are beyond seasons, and it’s fun to play with seasonal associations. Don a crisp citrus cologne on a cold January morning or turn up the heat with spicy orientals on a languid summer evening. Many fragrances have specific connotations for me–oranges and cinnamon make me think of winter holidays, but there is nothing to stop me from creating my own Christmas in July.

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Sakura Tea : Tasting Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blooming season is nearing its end in Japan, but our trees are just now bursting into bloom. “The cure for/This raucous world…/Late cherry blossoms,” wrote the great Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa, and as I walk to the subway each morning, I notice how the pink froth lights up the austere grey of the streets of Brussels. I take longer routes so that I can see more cherry trees and sometimes I take my lunch to the park where I experience my private hanami, flower viewing. Then I find stray petals tangled in my hair and clinging to my coat–reminders of our very late spring.

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Don’t believe the perfumes named Cherry Blossom–real flowers smell nothing like the cherries we associate with cough syrup or flavored candy. They have a fresh, green scent, with an earthy rose accent. It’s as delicate as the pink confetti of cherry petals. Given the love the Japanese have for sakura, cherry blossom, it’s not surprising that during the spring season you also find all sorts of cherry blossom flavored delights, including soft drinks, chocolate, pastries, ice-cream and candy. Pierre Hermé, the renowned French pastry chef, even offers cherry blossom flavored macarons at his boutiques in Tokyo.

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Perfume for a Rainy Day : My ELLE Article

It’s cold, rainy and gloomy. What do you wear to brighten up your mood? Since January transitioned into April without much difference in weather, this question has been on my mind a lot. I have a whole arsenal of mood lifters, and perfume is one of my favorite ways to dream. In my article for ELLE, titled Perfume for a Rainy Day, I explore fragrances that bring a ray of sunshine. I also describe why you don’t need a separate seasonal wardrobe and how you can experience your fragrances in new ways at different times of the year.

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“The calendar and the blossoming cherry tree near my apartment building suggest that spring is here, but the lingering presence of winter is still noticeable in the biting wind and dark clouds. As I wake up to yet another cold, foggy morning, all I want to do is huddle under the blankets until summer. Hibernation, unfortunately, is not an option for me, so when the incessant rain feels especially oppressive, I instinctively reach for perfumes that warm me up.” Please read the rest at ELLE.com.

What perfumes perk you up instantly?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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Latest Comments

  • Nina in Recommend Me a Perfume : November 2017: Hi Lisa, isn’t tuberose just the best? I love it. Thank you for recommending 🙂 November 18, 2017 at 2:06am

  • limegreen in Recommend Me a Perfume : November 2017: Hi Aurora, Aren’t you in the UK, or is that another Aurora? Lucky you if you can test them in person. The gardenia is really nice. Have you tested Van… November 17, 2017 at 9:06pm

  • missjanefan in Recommend Me a Perfume : November 2017: Hello, I’m soliciting recommendations for woody perfumes for spring/summer. Or which non-woody perfumes would you recommend someone wear in spring/summer if their preferred note is woody? Thank you, Missjanefan November 17, 2017 at 8:46pm

  • Lisa in Recommend Me a Perfume : November 2017: Dear Victoria, I’ve just discovered your blog and have been reading your articles the last 2 hours. I am a fragrance and would be really interested to hear your opinion… November 17, 2017 at 6:24pm

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