spring: 8 posts

Uplifting, Spring-like Perfumes for All Year Round

Spring is more than a season. It’s a feeling. A mood. I always long to capture it somehow to experience its effervescence whenever a yearning strikes–the play of sunshine on rain-splattered streets, the confetti of cherry blossom petals, the promise of something new and beautiful. In this spirit, I’ve filmed a new episode for Bois de Jasmin’s channel and compiled a list of fragrances that evoke such a mood for me. It’s based on the list I created for my spring-themed article, and below, I add a few extra choices from the latest releases.


My choices mentioned in the video include my three green, unsweetened favorites:

Annick Goutal Duel

The Different Company Tokyo Bloom

Hermès Eau de Narcisse Bleu

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The Perfect Scent of Spring and Cherry Blossoms

Be wary of perfumes called Cherry Blossom. They promise a whirlwind of pink petals and poetry, but they’ll deliver a wan fruity-floral scent that doesn’t come close to the real thing.  What do they smell like, these flowers, that despite falling off almost as soon as they open, have captured the imagination of poets and philosophers? To contemplate a cherry blossom is to reflect on beauty and mortality, the passing of time and the power of subtle things.

The scent of cherry flower is indeed subtle, but it’s not bland. Neither is it sweet or fruity of the commercial fragrance type. The scent is bitter and green. If you bury your face in the petals and let the yellow pollen settle on your cheeks, you notice hints of Amaretto, honey and green sap. It’s surprisingly assertive, with enough character to stand out next to the pungent aroma of blooming pears and the sugary sweetness of apple flowers. Every spring, I wish I could distill it all into a fragrance, and every spring I give up on this idea. As Japanese poets have rightly noted, the beauty of cherry blossom is in its evanescence.

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Spring Fragrances with Green and Floral Notes

I’m in the mood for spring, although the weather doesn’t yet cooperate. No matter, the beauty of perfume is that it can transport us out of our routine and into the place of our daydreams and fantasies. Mine today is to take a picnic basket into a blooming cherry garden and to drink tea while watching the pink petals swirl around me. So, the topic of my new video is fragrances that evoke spring for me.

The selection I made doesn’t simply include perfumes that I enjoy all year around, but also fragrances that fit the spring mood during the season. Of course, everyone has their own idea of what spring smells like, but having grown up in a temperate climate where the difference among seasons was pronounced, I associate spring with exhilaration, verdancy and soft floral hues.

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Late May : Scent Diary

The musky warmth of peonies heated by the sun. The spicy bite of a walnut leaf. The milky greenness of a raw walnut that leaves brown stains on my fingers and a scent of aged wine. The caramel sweetness of first strawberries. A green apricot sprinkled with a bit of salt–a childhood pleasure and a taste of fresh almonds and grass. The ripeness of sprouted onions found in the cellar, the ripeness, dust and sulfur. The pharmacy cabinet smell of yarrow. The pungent blanket of mulch. The vertigo-giving freshness of a sudden storm. The bitter honey and lemon peel of elder blossoms. A late May afternoon.

You can write about anything you wish in this thread, including your favorite poetry. 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 do so 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 scents around you. It’s even better if you write it down. So please share your scents and perfumes with us.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Haiku of the Day : Freesia Fever

I doze off
In the scent of freesias
High fever.

Je somnole encore
Dans l’arôme des freesias…
Forte fièvre.

This haiku written by Mariko Koga (b. 1924) is from an excellent collection of haiku written by women poets, Anthologie Du rouge aux lèvres. Translated by Dominique Chipot and Makoto Kemmoku (public library). The English translation is mine.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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