It is frightfully cold in the Midlantic states and New England this winter, and in the natural order of things I should be wearing amber (see preceding post) but only really like Jean Claude Ellena’s ambers and you can’t wear them all the time.
Besides, it’s rather hothouse-ish and true to my Southern roots to side step all this amber and load up on greenhouse blooms, even to excess. For one thing the cold air corsets their huge sillages, making them fit into everyone else’s atmosphere. Cold puts the white floral on a reducing diet, suddenly she’s slender, even chic. So in keeping with my floral yen, this week I have decided to wear nothing but opulent white perfumes in the middle of winter. I know it’s not practical, white spots after all, but never mind. Let everybody else wear orientals and woods like flannel long-johns, I’m swathing myself in flowers.
One of the best for cold weather is Maitre Parfumier et Gantier’s Jardin Blanc. It is rich. This sinful high caloric density is what you get when you whip up jasmine, tuberose, honeysuckle, mock orange, tolu balsam, clove, myrhh and ylang-ylang, and heap them on a sandalwood base. Yield: something that smells like the best fresh cream cheese icing, faintly tinted pink with floral essences and powdered sugar. Do you smell like a cupcake? Yes, but the expensive kind.
When I want elegance and not virtual calories, I go for Juicy Jasmine. The effect is like inhaling next to a big bush of double jasmine in full bloom. Juicy Jasmine is so anatomically correct (where jasmine is concerned) that I would not recommend this to be worn anywhere near an office, nor yet to a restaurant. But it is perfect for date night, or staying at home with the near and dear, and goes very well with Chardonnay and Viognier.
Lastly there are two Carons, first Tubereuse is one of the contemporary urn fragrances, and has gotten a bum rap. This is not joyless Fracas, as it has been described. Instead Tubereuse is the peppery side of tuberose amped up so that the flower becomes less sweet and pulpy smelling, and consequently wearable by men. If Tubereuse were transformed into humankind, it would, I am convinced, take the form of the late Bette Davis. T is raspy, strong-minded, outspoken, but very good at what it does, distinguished in a word. Also Tubereuse has good lasting power on skin, easily six hours or more on me. Ms. Davis wore Le De, and Tubereuse is very much in the same sort of mold. Try it, really, it’s a dry floral, and this one goes well with Sauvignon Blancs.
Finally there is Caron’s Muguet de Bonheur. First of all this is only worth while in extract, and better in vintage formulations. Here’s the thing though, MdB is halfway between Coty’s Muguet and Diorissimo. Where Diorissimo is chilly and pale green, pushing up shoots through cold earth, Muguet is comfortably ensconced in a gold bouquet holder pinned to a silk tweed suit.
Never mind Nature, Muguet de Bonheur is happily about artifice, and these lilies of the valley are creamy and sweet and have a soft green note lacquered on their stems. Freeze these lilies and they turn into the golden bells Peter Carl Faberge used to plunge into rock crystal to amuse Russian aristocrats. They are jeweler’s lilies, not florist’s or gardeners’. And they don’t wilt in this January weather.