spring perfume: 17 posts

The Vetiver of Spring : Season’s Favorites

Patricia enjoins spring to arrive faster with a selection of vetiver favorites–and a few salty woods and violets.

Spring in New England takes its time in coming. As I’m writing this, a blizzard is raging, and the blooming heather at the end of the driveway is covered in snow. But I know that the snow and ice will reluctantly give way, the earth will gradually thaw, and what is somewhat affectionately called “mud season” will begin. During the melting phase, my favorite fragrance is L’Eau d’Hiver by Frédéric Malle Editions de Parfums. Creator Jean-Claude Ellena perfectly captures with transparent powdery iris, the sensation of the run off of melting snow into a cold mountain spring. Though it doesn’t last long, the musks evolve into a soft skin scent that is a pleasure to wear.

Vetivers

The vetivers, too, bring to mind the first weeks of spring and the anticipation of change. The dryness of Lalique Encre Noire with its cypress and dark woody notes suggest the raw, hard earth not yet ready to give way to new growth. Unlike L’Eau d’Hiver, it lasts a good six to eight hours, softening gently in the drydown process.

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10 Pastel Perfumes for Spring

Elisa feels the lure of spring.

Part of the pleasure of browsing a makeup counter – and why I’ll always buy more makeup than I need – is the impression that I’m handling color in its pure form. Not just lipsticks but pigment: art and possibility. It’s the same flavor of childlike glee I feel when looking at a wall of paint swatches or the bulk bins in a candy store. As a kid I even organized my books in “rainbow order” on the shelves.

kateryna bilokur

Around March the mannequins in window displays all seem to be wearing pastels. I never buy these clothes; like bows and Peter Pan collars, pastels just don’t suit me. But I can participate in the traditional color scheme of the season with perfumes that smell like springtime shades instead.

Here are ten soft, pastel-hued perfumes (in spectral order, no less) I recommend.

Diptyque Eau Rose

I love weird roses, dark roses, spicy roses, mossy roses…I’ll take them all. But sometimes, especially in spring, a perfectly pretty, pastel-pink rose with little adornment fits the bill. Enter Eau Rose, which is dewy and fresh with a citrus lift.

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Generosity of Spring

My barometer of spring is a large magnolia tree near my apartment building. It stands bare and craggy, with few leaves even in the summer, but the moment the weather warms up, it lets out a mass of pink blossoms. First, the buds appear, enclosed in furry brown wrappers. Then they lighten, swell and unfold into thick, waxy petals covered with sticky dew. When I walk past the tree, I notice these small changes, and even if a day has brought nothing particularly pleasant, the magnolia is a highlight. I pick up a fallen blossom and it smells of lemon detergent and vanilla. My coat pockets are filled with bits of petals that I stash away like the talismans of new spring. I open a notebook during a work meeting and dried flowers fall out of it. After several years of living in the same neighborhood, I think of the magnolia tree as an old friend.

mimosa-yellow cup

When people tell me that perfume is an expensive hobby, I always think of my magnolia tree and the immense pleasure it gives me, entirely free of charge. It’s crass to use the language of economics with regards to nature, but I would like to reinforce a point–a perfume hobby is as expensive as you make it. If you’re into collecting, yes, the costs will quickly add up, but as I described in my post How to Make Perfume Hobby Affordable, there are ways to appreciate scents and enrich our lives with them without running into great expense. Springtime gives many opportunities to do so–it’s a generous season.

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Perfumes Whose Blossoms Beguile

In the May column of the Financial Times Magazine, I daydream about cherry blossoms. Titled Perfumes Whose Blossoms Beguile, the article is inspired by my grandmother’s garden in Ukraine. Spring is the most evanescent season; one moment the cherry blossoms are dazzlingly white and lush, and the next they’re wilting on the ground. As I read Gogol while sitting under the trees, brushing falling petals from the pages, and becoming intoxicated with the bittersweet aroma of cherry blossoms, I longed to capture this moment. How else but with perfume? This is how the article took shape.

t7

“All perfumes called Cherry Blossom fall far short of reality. I say this with confidence as I lie on the grass in my grandmother’s cherry garden, gazing up at the blossom-covered branches. The flowers are so white and dense that if I squint, the trees seem to be draped in snow. A gust of wind shakes the petal confetti onto the pages of my book, and after a while I shut my worn volume of The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol and daydream in the pale sunshine. To read the rest, please click here.

Nikolai Gogol was born about 15 miles from our town, and his descriptions of Ukrainian landscapes poignantly remind me of the places I know so well.

What spring scents would you like to capture? Which perfumes have the most spring-like aura to you?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin: under the cherry trees

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.

cherry blossoms1

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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