top 10: 56 posts

Ten Fragrances in Ten Minutes

What are the ultimate desert island perfumes? Patricia tests herself.

I’ve lived in my present dwelling for over thirty years, time enough to accumulate an unnecessary quantity of items. With the current trend towards minimalism, my various collections have started to weigh heavy on my conscience and I’ve enjoyed fantasizing about moving into much smaller quarters and having to downsize significantly. I thought about Victoria and her move to Brussels some years back when she was able to bring only a small portion of her perfume collection with her and how difficult that must have been. Doing a similar exercise is of course only that, an exercise, but I decided to set my kitchen timer for ten minutes and grab ten fragrances that would come with me—my desert island perfumes. A no-vintages rule made for easier decisions (although one of my choices has been discontinued).

perfume selection

It took me four minutes to go through my collection and make initial choices, then six additional minutes to pare down the edited collection to ten (actually eleven if you count the bottles in the picture). The buzzer went off with eleven bottles on my bureau, so I left it at that.

First I snatched No. 19 EDT from my Chanel tray because it is an iris, my favorite fragrance of all time, and my bottle of No. 19 EDP is vintage and therefore out of the running. No. 19 is also one I can wear for all occasions, in all seasons, and in other words a no-brainer. Chanel 31 Rue Cambon is also coming along to fill the chypre category and serve as an elegant ladies-who-lunch fragrance for those times that I need to appear more put together than I actually am. The Hermès tray provided L’Ambre des Merveilles for a spicy gourmand amber vanilla that is delightful to wear in fall and winter. Cuir de Lancôme, rich leather with floral undertones, also joins the group for its beauty and versatility in all seasons save the dog days of summer.

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10 Perfumes for Cheating Winter

There is no reason to keep citrus, white florals and other effervescent blends only for the summer month. As Elisa explains, they’re as perfect for the winter as they are year-round.

I’ve written the top 10 list for the past three winters, and both last year and the year before, I focused on traditionally seasonal perfumes – rich orientals and boozy ambers and gourmands. It’s true that in winter, I reach for my heavier perfumes about 5 days out of 7. But at least once or twice a week, I’ll get a craving for something that’s not very wintery at all, and on “cheat days” my out-of-season perfumes feel like a special treat by contrast to the usual fare.

bird cherry

Below are ten of my favorite perfumes to wear when I feel like cheating on winter.

Clarins Par Amour Toujours – We usually associate citrus with summer, but December is actually peak grapefruit season! Par Amour Toujours looks cute and harmless in the bottle, and there is some pink rose in there, but more pronounced is the invigorating grapefruit, bolstered by a blackcurrant note so green it’s almost piney.

Pinrose Treehouse Royal – There’s nothing like blackcurrant to cut through the fog of winter. Its pungent sweetness serves as a kind of palate cleanser after too many days of heavy, smoky orientals. Treehouse Royal is a great find – similar to Byredo Pulp, but much more affordable, it’s a bright mix of currant and fig, with a clean drydown like musky soap. Continue reading →

Best of 2015 in Scents

Here is our eclectic selection of favorite fragrances, including older perfumes we most enjoyed wearing this year. We also would love to read your lists of 2015 highlights–perfumes, books or anything else that stood out. Bois de Jasmin will return on Monday, January 4th, and in the meantime we wish you a happy and fragrant new year! We look forward to another year together with all of you.

persepolisperfume-drawer1v

The “Best of” in the title of this article should be taken with a grain of salt. I spend enough time testing fragrances and thinking about them, but even so, I’m hard pressed to remember everything I tried this year, much less to rank my preferences in a logical manner. But would such a list even be interesting? When Elisa, Andy, Patricia and I exchanged thoughts about our discoveries in 2015, we quickly realized that our lists fascinated us for their idiosyncrasies.

Victoria’s 2015 Favorites

Alaïa Paris by Azzedine Alaïa

Alaïa is doubtless my favorite launch of 2015. Describing it as floral leather doesn’t convey all of its nuances and its thoroughly modern way of reinterpreting this classical idea. It feels impeccably elegant and yet without anything fussy or too high-maintenance.

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Top 10 of Summer: Light and Easy Edition

Elisa on some of her favorite summer perfumes.

Earlier this week, Victoria wondered if summer perfumes are necessary, or if the “summery” designation is just marketing spin. In past years, I’ve mostly ignored the supposed seasonality of my perfumes, often most enjoying smoky ambers or patchouli gourmands when amplified in the heat. (Perverse, I know.) But this year, I’ve been in more of a relaxed, hammock-lounging mood, and traditionally “summery” perfumes like citrus scents and light florals are just what I want. So here are some of the easy, almost humble perfumes I’ve been reaching for at home and packing with me when I travel.

roses in blue

Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus

Far from the most renowned perfume in the Ormonde Jayne line, for good reason; Osmanthus is not as opulent or distinctive as some. But it’s an incredibly pretty rendition of the apricot-tea scent of osmanthus, mixed half and half with pomelo juice like a spa version of an Arnold Palmer.

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Lilac Perfumes for Spring

Patricia mentions 10 lilac fragrances to brighten up these cold spring days.

Throw open the windows of your dwelling and breathe in the fresh air, roll down the car windows, take a walk around the block, read a nature poem by Mary Oliver, and move the orientals and ambers you’ve been living in to the back of the closet. Spring is finally here! And spring always makes me think of flowers, my favorite of which is the heavily scented lilac. lilacs Lilacs, a member of the olive family were first introduced to Europe at the end of the 16th century by the Ottomans and came to the American colonies in the 18th century. Since the blooming season is but a short few weeks in late spring, I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect, most realistic lilac fragrance to wear during the long 50 weeks without them. There are a number of lilac fragrances of varying price points to choose from, but whether all of them transport me to a lilac garden is another question. Below are my 10 mini-reviews:

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