Ante-Meridian

Sleeping womanGenerally, I don’t mess with perfume until the afternoon.  This is not a hard and fast rule so much as it is habit.  There is simply no point in trying to get yourself completely turned out at seven a.m. or earlier-which it often is around here-unless you have to catch a plane or something.

Still there are times when the morning fragrance is a helpful prop, literally, when you have to get up and get going pronto.  I have written about this phenomenon before, and then my choices were distinctly prickly perfumes, things that got you up and held up up at an early hour. But there are gentler ways of waking up as well.A choice for this business of facing the day with minimal stress is the citrus floral.  They used to be slightly more common than they are now.  Things like Jean Nate or Annick Goutal’s Eau du Sud, even Light Blue all fit this category.  They possess  an inoffensive  sprightliness which is easy to tolerate in the morning hours.  You can trespass into the territory of the fruity floral if you don’t get too decadent about those fruits.

Prescriptives’s old Calyx is still a pleasant and easy to wear fragrance that should see a lot of people through the morning hours.  Lady Primrose’s Tryst is another inoffensive orange blossom scent that works well in the morning, as does de Nicolai’s Cologne Sologne which is sold as a cologne but has good lasting power on me (four hours) and is all about the orange flowers.  At $US 40 for 100mls, it is also one of the very best such fragrances on the market.

If, like me, you enjoy looking for vintage, you’ve got some options there as well. Old bottles of Moyneux’s Quartz  are to be had on Ebay, as well as early bottles of O de Lancome, both are wonderful for morning, and not too expensive when you find them.

Currently I confess that my morning perfume of choice is still the de Nicolai. Cologne Sologne has been my a.m. go to for many years now. There is nothing like it for making the morning hours not only easy to bear, but actually pleasant, and that is a better alternative than going back to bed.  If I absolutely, positively, have to be up on my feet, sentient, and no fooling, this year my shot of B12 without the syringe is Philtre d’Amour.

I know, it sounds sultry. Nothing, but nothing, could be further from the case. This is a citrus with all the tart sharpened up to a cutting edge.  You spritz this baby and you WILL wake up. The first three hours of this thing are alert, and so will you be if you wear it.  Gradually after that Philtre relaxes into a welter of flower petals, mostly verbena and ylang ylang, but it has succeeded in getting you up in the meantime.

By the way, one house I avoid before noon is Chanel. The aldehydes can give you headaches, and don’t mix well with coffee or breakfast, (something that my other mentions here do actually rather well) and fellow commuters can complain about aldehydic scents.  No Chanels on plane or train rides, unless it’s the return run when everyone is past caring about smells.

What’s you’re a.m. potion?

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12 thoughts on “Ante-Meridian

  1. Unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of a gentle wake-up – the alarm rings at 6:00 AM and I’d better hit the deck. I don’t perfume until I dress for work though, so nothing interferes with breakfast (the only thing I’m capable of doing first thing is turning on the burner for tea water). The perfume lobe of my brain actually does ponder what I will wear that day, in the background of all other activities. My perfume selection can be based on anything: The weather, what I’m planning to wear that day, my mood, or maybe just the fact that I haven’t worn a particular fragrance for a while. I’ve never actually picked a fragrance for its “wake up” properties.

    • Boy, I know what you mean. With me, the buzzer goes off at 6:05 weekdays promptly.

      Back in the day ladies used genteel colognes to wake up, but I find that a cologne with any lasting power can clash with whatever I’m planning on wearing. Solution: Cologne Sologne, if I’m planning something floral later, DSH’s Aqua Admirabilis if I’m not, but the trouble is that CS is also a very sleepy fragrance, so it’s strictly a weekend pleasure. Otherwise, some days, only cold water gets me going.

  2. Lately, I’ve been delaying the application of perfume until I’ve been at work for about an hour. I often know what I want to wear ahead of time, but can’t countenance putting anything on until the requisite amount of coffee is in my system. It seems even my nose has trouble waking up during winter.

    Concur with you on the Chanels! Them’s evening-time fragrances for sure– made to wear while wining & dining. They don’t jibe with morning eggs and bacon at all!

    • Perfume can be a bit too much of a commitment too early. Yesterday I wore Emeraude all day because I was writing about it. Mistake! Emeraude is undyingly beautiful, like Diana Cooper, but a whole day of such perfection, however softly sfumatura(ed) can get right up your nose!

      So from practical experience, perhaps we should add that orientals are also a bad idea before noon. Emeraude and peanut butter are a distinctly curious combination.

      • Oh lord. Now I’m thinking of that old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial. Actor #1 blunders along holding an open flacon of Emeraude; Actor #2 is under the impression that eating peanut butter straight from the jar while walking is genius idea. Boooiii-iiiing!

  3. Jean Nate! And Vitabath! Had forgotten about them somehow. I used them as a teenager to wake up before school. Wonderful in the bath. These days something in the shower maybe. If I’m feeling daring maybe a spritz of something light in moisturizer. If I’m feeling really daring maybe a little Prada Infusion d’Iris when I hit work. I work in “we would really prefer you to be fragrance-free’ environment in the Pacific NW. I never thought about what I don’t wear in the morning. But now that you mention it, I haven’t ever worn my Chanel No. 19 or vintage Coco in the morning. Just not up to it I guess.

    • Jean Nate! A favorite of my daughter’s, she uses the powder and I still love the scent. You can do a lot worse than JN, and Vitabath I remember from Italy where it was a huge seller.

      There you go, there’s that Chanel effect I was mentioning. There must be people who wear Cristalle or the Cologne in the morning, but I seldom smell Chanel around during daylight, except for 19, usually on hot afternoons in NYC, or once, in the Frick.

  4. Usually I apply a perfume I plan to wear in the office this day before leaving the house – which means it happens around 9 in the morning. But on weekends I tend to apply perfumes later and I think I differentiate morning and evening perfumes. Almost all my favorite Jo Malone’s perfumes are of the morning type.

    • Yes, the Jo Malones are early perfumes, well, not Dark Amber and Ginger Lily, but most of the others. They are nice and clear and go well with morning light. Did you try the new gourmand ones? Ari liked Bitter Orange and Dark Chocolate, I tried the Lemon Tart- not very lemon tarty- smelled like a cologne to me.

      • I’ve got samples for all 5 and am testing them. Chocolate one doesn’t work for me at all :( but it’s very nice on a couple of other people so, taking into the account the limited edition factor I might still get it. My favorite one from the bunch is everybody else’s last choice – Elderflower & Gooseberry. But I need to test more.

        And yes, Ginger Lily, Pomegranate Noir, Lotus Blossom and maybe a couple more are not for mornings.

        • Actually the Elderflower & Gooseberry sounds appealing. There’s a very nice liquor out there called St. Germain, which is made of elderflowers, and it smells like potable perfume!

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