sillage: 2 posts

Perfumes with the Best Sillage (and how to figure it out)

Perfume wearers and boats have more in common than one might reasonably suspect. Sillage (pronounced as see-yazh) is a French word that means “wake”, as in the airplane contrails criss-crossing the skies or the waves left on water by a passing ship. But it’s also used to describe the scented trail created by perfume. Sillage defines the degree to which fragrance emanates from its wearer and diffuses into the space around them.

Sillage is an important quality to keep in mind when buying a perfume or when selecting it for specific occasions. Big sillage scents are the most complimented because they’re easy to notice, but their distinct presence may make them inappropriate for restaurants, theatres, or some office environments. On the other hand, a fragrance that doesn’t bloom at all is rarely satisfying. The goal is to find the right sillage for your mood and lifestyle.

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The Idea of Radiance and What It Means in Perfumery

Radiance in perfume is an elusive quality. The best way of understanding it is to envision a candle burning in a dark room, its glow lifting the dark shadows. A radiant fragrance is not necessarily a strong smell—it follows the wearer at a few paces, but it’s neither heavy nor overpowering. Capturing this duality seems impossible, but perfumers are adept at creating illusions.

Calice Becker is one such creator, and her fragrances illustrate the idea of radiance. Her Tommy Girl contains a green tea accord so luminous that it seems fluorescent. Another trendsetter is Becker’s Christian Dior J’Adore, a layer of flower notes as tightly woven as the millefiori ornaments of Murano glass. Perfumery students learn the craft much like artists, by copying the work of the masters, and when I was trying to achieve the variegated radiance of J’Adore, its complexity and nuances mesmerized—and confounded—me. Despite the conventional saying that too much knowledge kills the mystery, the experience made me appreciate both Becker’s craft and J’Adore’s lingering glow.

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  • Trudy in Recommend Me a Perfume : September 2021: I know I’m kind of late and not sure if anyone is still reading this months recommend posts but if you are: I’m looking for new perfume and I’d like… September 26, 2021 at 12:14pm

  • Linda in Recommend Me a Perfume : September 2021: Thank you all for recommending such intriguing scents for my walks, hikings. I cannot wait to test them and wear them. September 26, 2021 at 11:50am

  • Deanna in Recommend Me a Perfume : September 2021: Thank you Julien, and your wonderful description of the layers of Arpege inspired me to try again, with a fresh nose, as you say. Surprise – It Doesn’t Smell Off… September 26, 2021 at 11:38am

  • JulienFromDijon in Recommend Me a Perfume : September 2021: Chanel “Coco mademoiselle” would be a good start. Like “Miss Dior chérie” it has a natural jasmine veering on strawberry, with rose, on a soft oriental base. September 26, 2021 at 11:28am

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