Over to Spring

snowdropsHow many people who wear perfume are seasonal I wonder?  Many aren’t, the folk who wear perfume as a fashion accessory or who have favorite notes that they always wear.  If you adore vanilla, or if amber is your personal vice, it’s difficult to exile the essence for six months just because of a little planetary activity.  You know what you like and what you like accompanies you all the time-in one formula-or another.

This strikes me as being efficient and polished and disciplined. Selectivity makes so much sense on every level, including the budgetary one, and wouldn’t you know?  I just can’t. No matter how much I talk myself down, there are always about six to ten scents in my wardrobe every year, and I change them as soon as the seasons change.  I can’t help myself.

This year, as I’d gone through a weird cold winter (like everyone else on the eastern seaboard though from all the complaining on this blog, you might think no one else ever shoveled snow) the change is taking a slightly unusual form, but is still happening.

crocus for spring postThis year I have had to leave all the rich florals alone because they were too much of a feature of my winter wardrobe and am now looking for anything green or any kind of floral aldehyde.  Accordingly I zipped through the sample of Deneuve in record time, finished the tiny amount of Biehlsparfumkunstwerke Pc02 that remained in the vial (the pale green Patricia Choux release from that line) and wore L’Artisan’s The pour un Ete as well. I would have started in on Chanel no5 if I had any (I don’t) but sniggled my Mother in law’s L’Aimant instead, and then settled for the initially bracing Eau d’Ete by de Nicolai.  It’s a floral aldehyde, but I think what I really want is something more along the lines of Fleurs de Rocaille ( Not FLEUR de Rocaille, an entirely different perfume, a floral oriental really).  I want something green but not too green, soft but not spineless, and I want some versatility. Puredistance Antonia would have worked if only it were natural in the drydown, and if only the whole thing had a bit more zip.

After six it’s a cinch: Alpona, which is flawless, just a shiny, emerald cut gemstone of a fragrance, but too formal for the business of every day.  On some mornings I get away with a bit of Bellodgia, but don’t own much of that anymore, and Muguet de Bonheur is pretty but too soapy for me- and by extension probably most people.  So the perfect early season green scent or dainty floral adlehyde is hard to find.  That is the take away.

I suppose you could just break down and go with one of those green rose concoctions every perfume house has out this spring (new Rosabotanica?) but I don’t like smelling similar to everyone else.  I’d sooner wear Guerlain’s Tokyo or Vetiver Tonka or look for something new.  There’s a vacancy in my line up this year after all, maybe some brilliant perfumer has done something wonderful…

Are you seasonal, and if you are, what are your go to choices for early spring?



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25 thoughts on “Over to Spring

  1. Am I seasonal? Very. I cherish the change, it seems. I was shocked at not wanting my usual green florals last spring – all I wanted to wear, it seemed, was Jolie Madame and Cuir de Lancome and Memoir Woman. I even redipped my toe into the Cuir de Russie waters (one positive experience, and then three miserable ones. I give up.).

    When we had our big blustery cold weather what I wanted was tropical florals. So I wore them. Now, with my spring bulbs beginning to poke their leaves out of the ground and temperatures in the 60s? I’m starting to crave Chanel No. 19 again, so that may be the hint to break out the greenies. Le Temps d’une Fete (of course), Crown Perfumery Crown Bouquet, Penhaligon’s Violetta. My tiny squidge of Vacances (siiiiigh). Deneuve. Silences (old and new). DSH White Lilac. Amoureuse, Chamade, Diorissimo. I only have a sample or two of Tauer Carillon pour un Ange, but I only need a little of it. So beautiful.

  2. Had a similar experience during the Winter without End, could not wear the usual suspects so tuberose and jasmines (and I never do tuberoses). Weird season.

    The greens appeal to me now a lot, and so do the floral aldehydes. I’d wear many of your feminine fresh greens, but also wish that So Pretty were still out there. Periodically get aspirational and think I can wear Liu and then can’t.

    Shouldn’t someone do a green floral aldehyde that doesn’t smell like No 5? Something dainty and wearable? What do you think?

    • Wearing Chamade today. Wonderful stuff – I have this freaky 70s bottle of edt, and the topnotes (aldehydes!) have gone nail-polish remover, but five minutes in it’s the softest green-mimosa-vanilla thing. Sometimes the rose pops its head out to say hello, too.

      I just popped over to Fragrantica to see if there was anything that seemed to fit the bill… you know, the old Kenzo Parfum d’Ete was very pretty, green floral (lots of muguet) with just a tad of aldehydes up top. Also looking into Leonard Tamango (Leonard de Leonard was such a lovely comfortable floral chypre).

      • Know I smelled Tamango at some point and it was very oriental floral-ish I think…But the Leonards are good and don’t get the credit they deserve for their good qualities.

        Was Parfum d’Ete the one that smelled like mimosa?

        • I did own a bottle of Amazone (actually I owned the deoderant) in college. It was very light and fruity then, and had some aldehydes but wasn’t centered on them.

          What I’d wear if I still could would be Caleche, but it doesn’t smell the same, AND the Hub for some odd reason hates it. What do you do with husband reactions? I deep six stuff myself.

          • Stuff he HATES but I love, I save for the times he’s out of town (usually 3-5 days, maybe half a dozen times a year). Stuff he hates but I’m meh on goes away.

  3. I have two year-round stalwarts – Sycomore (my default fragrance and all-time favorite) and No. 19 (vintage and modern; any season except the hottest weeks of summer).

    Otherwise I cycle through a series of vials and decants (and a few FBs). I like being able to emphasize and accent the different seasons (playing up what’s great and countering what isn’t). I only use my decant of En Passant for a few weeks every spring, but that intense cool white-pink blossom smell reminds me of the gorgeous flowering crabapple trees that I walked past on my way to work when I lived in Chicago. And I have some vintage Silences and Madame Rochas that are getting a workout this week! (Speaking of Madame Rochas, that might be one to look into – if you don’t mind cilantro/coriander. And the light sandalwood drydown is a nice addition for a green floral.)

    It’s kind of a pain having to box/unbox certain perfumes every three or four months, but the constant variety is enjoyable.

    I wonder if people who live in climates that don’t have dramatic seasonal transitions like New England and the upper Midwest cycle their fragrances in a different way (or not at all).

    • It’s funny, Madame Rochas did not strike me as being floral in the least. I can see where it goes on the continuum of green-aldehydic-vetiver thingies (No. 19, Heure Exquise, Rive Gauche, Calandre), but boy howdy, did I hate it. Probably for not being floral enough. (Admittedly, I have super-floralated taste.) True, Blacknall might like it.

      I like my variety too.

      • Heh – that’s probably why I like Madame Rochas so much; it sneaks under the radar as a green “floral” that isn’t really floral (though the Rochas website describes the modern version of MR, which I’ve never tried, as a “floral aldehyde”). The green-cilantro-sandalwood weirdness of vintage MR is a lot of fun, though I can see how it could be really off-putting as well!

        I had that same visceral-hate reaction the one time I tried vintage Emeraude (odd, because normally I love classic orientals) – all I could think was “Get. It. Off. Me. NOW!”

      • I did like old Mme Rochas and had a mini until a little toddler person found it and emptied it, but it was good while it lasted!

        Mals do you hate the new one too? I’ve never smelled that.

        As to other folks with less variable weather, maybe they don’t need to box and unbox as much as we do. I just re-organized the entire fragrance and samples shelves.

        Stina you must like vetiver, it’s in new No19 and Sycomore- do you like Vetiver Tonka too?

        • Have not smelled the new one. The vintage one I had (still boxed, mostly full, I’m guessing 1970s or early 80s) was largely aldehydes plus vetiver plus a nice comfortable musk. I am just not a big vetiver fan.

  4. I realise that I am not so much seasonal, as ‘daily weather driven’, because we can have bitter cold in June and stupid warmth in March. Today, for example, I was enjoying a Hawaiian scent from Saffron James (Ume), with notes of ginger and gardenia, and tomorrow, if the sun persists, I might give Tom Ford Lys Fume a whirl. In the cold weather I definitely gravitate towards cosy woody orientals, but never slavishly.

    • The best of British weather for sure. We by contrast have absolute extremes, and it does get old.

      I’m cranky because I finished up all the Denueve ( thank you kindly) and then emptied my third Odalisque sample. What to do? However trying a bunch of new things this week so maybe it will get better…Ume sounds delicious something to wear while watching George Clooney in The Descendants.

  5. Yes, I’m your basic crazed vetiver fiend! I’m currently saving up for an FB of the Lubin Vetiver re-issue (I hope my decant will last til then).

    I tried Vetiver Tonka when I was a newbie perfumista, and at that time I thought it was a dead ringer for Irish Spring soap. I sniffed it again recently and can appreciate the smokiness now, but that bad-initial-impression thing still lingers.

  6. I think perfumes are more than just an accessory, when I am in a bad mood or don’t feel great, sometimes my favorite perfume will make me feel better :)

    • They can really change your perspective on a day, that’s for sure! I do the same thing, if I’m grouchy on a morning, and this winter there was a lot of grouchy.

      It’s also a good topic for consideration here-just how much can a perfume act as a pick me up?

  7. Isn’t it awful how the first encounter with something colors your whole experience? Sometimes you can’t get over it, which is why I always wear perfumes I detest to funerals.

    But I like vetiver too and still mourn Vetiver Pour Elle :-)

  8. I would say I am “semi-seasonal.” Some of my most extreme fragrances, in terms of their weight, I do reserve for matching weather. For example, coconut things are more apt to be warn in summer, and I can’t bring myself to wear Borneo 1834 if it’s more than 50 degrees out. But the rest is pretty open. That said, I also live in temperate climates. :) I wonder how much difference that makes.

    • Coconut does seem to be a summer smell doesn’t it? Couldn’t make myself try Love Coco in winter, but to your point about temperate climates and perfume, yes, I bet it does make a difference.

      Where it’s excessively seasonal (like Chicago) can’t imagine asking anyone to wear The pour un Ete in January, and can attest to the bad idea of trying an amber in Aug. in the South, :-)

  9. Polar vortex still has us in its icy grip-i am not sure it will ever end.

    But, in case it does end, I have a bottle of Bond Little Italy-a very cheerful clementine and neroli fragrance. Plus a bottle of Magnolia Grandiflora – Michel, for sunny and cool spring days.

    I love spring in the Maritimes-longer days and more sunlight, but bracing winds coming from over the water. The wind is the best thing you can imagine-it smells of ice, and woody debris. The rivers smell fresh and the oceans smell like iodine and seaweed.

    • Iodine and seaweed, this makes me sniff the air expectantly although I know that this is Jersey and I will get car exhaust and commuter train instead of riverbank and woods. There is ocean but not right nearby.

      Do you need perfume at all in such surroundings? But I’m interested that you have the Magnolia Grandiflora and went for Michel’s version. Jordan River said it was a daytime floral, and I’m southern and love magnolia, so am intrigued.

  10. I’m definitely seasonal. My theory is that it’s not about temperatures or sunshine or any context thing, but instead about day length. Like I’m an onion, deciding whether to bulb.

    Twice a year, there’s a period when I hate almost all scents, but like just a few that I otherwise don’t much like. This is when I often love Parfumerie Generale Cuir Venenum, for example. And I seem to recall that this is when I most love Lorenzo Villoresi Sandalo, which I like just fine otherwise but don’t adore. I’ve more than once considered buying a full bottle of Sandalo, just so that I have at least three scents to wear at these times. (Parfumerie Generale L’Eau Rare Matale is the other one, though I love this one steadily all year.)

    Then my fondness for scents returns, and I start wearing either the Warm Approaching or Cold Approaching favorites. These favorites tend to repeat every year, but there’s no guarantee.

  11. Glad to know that someone else has this period of disconnection too.

    For me there are two “disconnects” a year, one in March around now, and the other is October. Have many perfume-less days.

    You seem to be a bit ahead of the game because you’ve gotten a small but workable repertoire for those times. And you like Parfumerie Generales! Yay! Those are really good, but no one seems to mention them. Guillaume needs a monster hit of some kind, but IMHO he makes better gourmands than Guerlain.

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