Winter Weary Fragrance

Christmas roses from mybotanicalgarden.com

Christmas roses from mybotanicalgarden.com

Last year I went through all of January and most of February in white florals.  I simply couldn’t stand another minute of coldness or snowiness, or thought so and spritzed accordingly.  Along about the middle of February doesn’t everyone think so- unless they are in Australia?

This season I was not so careful.  Now the cold and the doldrums of late winter have caught up  with a vengeance.  I can’t face another drop of incense or one more amber perfume till next fall-what to choose?

If I were picking something main stream and recent I would go with Francis Kurkdijian’s Carven Le Parfum.  Done in his sparkling weightless style, this is a perfume that although largely synthetic is still prettiness itself, and there is a bright sweet pea portrait smack in the middle of the crystallized sugar bouquet that he’s arranged for the fragrance like a latter day Faberge. I have not smelled anything better in this modern vein, and recommend this one as a scintillating way to end winter.

French momosas in bloom from franceweekly.com

French mimosas in bloom from franceweekly.com

If I were looking for mimosas I would be stymied.  The best mimosa fragrances relied on having some naturals in them to evoke the slight cough drop note that is in living mimosas as well as their green quality.  Most of the time they are recreated with some version of heliotropine or its synthetic successors and the results are powdery and often undistinguished. Although mimosa is not the primary focus of Aftelier’s Honey Blossom nevertheless there is a mimosa note in the perfume and I would choose this among natural perfumes as the most reminiscent of mimosas in bloom.  Extremely honeyed, soft and almost impossible to dislike, Honey Blossom would be my selection among naturals.

Snowdrops from focus fen.net

Snowdrops from focus fen.net

Finally from the vintage perfumes, I still think that Annick Goutal’s Charlotte is the most charmingly mimosa centric scent of recent decades.  The perfume consists of an accord of blackberry jam, cocoa and mimosa flowers and you smell all of these components in what is a delightful and very young scent appropriate both for the young and for everyone else. You can find a good deal of Eau de Charlotte on Ebay, but look for miniatures or older bottles where the quality is probably higher.  Needless to say, I wish us all a speedy end to the last of Winter.

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13 thoughts on “Winter Weary Fragrance

  1. Wishing you the best with your winter woes.

    The crocuses are beginning to open here on the public green spaces – little hits of yellow, purple and white among their green leaves – so winter will end, honest!

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh ;-)

  2. Yesterday I was discussing the snowpocalypse in Boston, where they can’t get normal traffic through the streets!! So hearing about crocuses in Scotland is a welcome relief. It’s s true harbinger of Spring :-)

  3. As I write, we are getting the first real snowfall of the season. :) :) :)

    Oh, we’ve had cold. We’ve had COLD. It’s been down to zero at least 5-6 days this winter, and below it with windchill. But no snow. I’m super-glad to have it, and although I spent a good three weeks of January in tuberose and BWFs, I’m snuggling in with the few ambers I own (well, they’re floral ambers – Alahine, the last 2ml of my Attrape-Coeur decant, and Centennial, which reads more ambery to me than chypre-y). Vanille Tonka and Parfum Sacre, too, yum.

    I do really enjoy that Carven Le Parfum – it’s so delightful. I think it would disappear in a trice from my skin in this weather, though, so I’ll save my hunt for a bottle of it for later. I had trouble with the chocolate stuff in Eau de Charlotte, so that one won’t do the trick.

    I did run across a non-BWF that I thought would be wonderful on those days when you’re pressing your nose against the cold window and longing for flowers to brighten a gray winter: Soivohle Lilacs & Heliotrope. I would want more greenery in it, when temperatures are higher, but on a day like today it might be perfect. Wonder where I put that sample?

  4. I had no idea it got so cold in VA. And yes I see how you would want some snow, a dry winter is not so good. I hope it’s not drought levels of missed precip.

    I shall have to try some more florals. Lilacs and Heliotrope sounds idyllic on a day like this- 19 degrees at noon. Right now I’m marinating in Bellodgia, and tomorrow I’ll mist up Neil Morris Le Parfum C’est Ma Vie, which is his floral aldehyde daffodils and roses with just a touch of raspberry in the beginning. Very dainty.

    • We’re up in the mountains, so yes, it gets cold here. (I will never forget my best friend at college being so surprised at Virginia’s snow – he was from Rye Brook, NY, and our first year of college at UVa, we got 14 inches of snow on January, followed by another 8 inches the next day. He was shocked.)

      We normally get about 12.5 inches of snow over the winter months, and sometimes more than that (ask me about the year my January birthday party was postponed three times because of snow!). But this year the periods of cold and wet have simply not overlapped, until now. There’s about six inches outside as I write, and it should continue into the night. We might get 8-11 inches. Two years ago we had wonderful snow for sledding, and in… let’s see, I think it was 2010? when DC had Snowmageddon? we had a couple of weeks when the kids didn’t go to school at all. Yike.

      Then there was the Blizzard of ’93, when drifts reached 7′ in some places, and that was in March.

      I am noting down Le Parfum C’est Ma Vie for further research. It sounds like my sort of thing. And still need to haul out L&H… though today I’m in Centennial, because Brrrrr.

      • You’re almost dealing with Boston amounts. I have a friend in Wellesley who has been heading out doggedly day after day with the snow shovel, and I don’t dare ask how high her drifts are.
        Your totals are impressive, over a foot every year is a lot more than we used to get in MD, which was more like 4 inches, and in Rome it practically never snowed-though it did get chilly. I must say I’m nostalgic for the palm tree winters we had there!

  5. I’m the opposite – it’s late summer and I’m tired of citrus. Oddly enough, I like warm weather but prefer winter perfumes because they offer more variety (I think). Maybe the problem is that in winter we reach for perfume as an extra layer, whereas in summer that’s the last thing we need. But being perfume crazy, we wear it anyway, and so have resort to a series of not-perfumes which are by definition a bit bland. (In climates close to the equator, which don’t really have four distinct seasons, none of this would be an issue.)

    Anyway, today I was in Hermes Osmanthe Yunnan. Refreshing but not too citric.

  6. Osmanthe Yunan very pretty and a really good choice for late summer.

    I’m watching a salt truck go up and down my road and thinking how diverse the climates are. Here the forecast is for -8 farenheit this Thursday night. Normally next week we would start to see snowdrops. Not this year :-(.

    Winter perfume is more diverse, but I have muddled things up for myself by often wearing very dark leather chypres and earthy orientals in Aug. I find them cooling, and keep them in fridge too in order to up the cool. It’s a bit topsy turvy, and the result is that by October when everyone else who loves fumes has moved on to their winter orientals I’m done!

  7. There’s a little teasing puff of mimosa in Angelique by Papillon – have you caught up with that range yet? Then I haven’t smelt it in ages but I really liked L’Artisan’s Mimosa pour Moi.

    • I did smell Angelique which i thought was lovely but a largely iris perfume. I’ll go back now and smell again to see if I can tease out that mimosa note. Hope so- really love mimosa. Mimosa Pour Moi I wore briefly one winter, so pretty, I felt like a nosegay.

  8. What a timely post-the east coast has been hit hard by bad weather. It’s all my fault-I was dreaming of tulips and crocus a few weeks ago, thinking soon i would see some of the bulbs we planted last fall. Next thing I knew there was so many feet of snow it’s almost funny. Almost.
    I love to wear citrus fragrances in the winter. The cold air emphasizes the crisp accents. On the coldest of cold days I wore Grandiflora Michel-so very beautiful. Delicate as a snowdrop, or fritilleria. On slightly warmer days (but still minus 20 C) Eau de Patou-warm citrus and nasturtium. And for mornings where I was really dragging myself out of bed-a few spritzes of Bond Little Italy in the shower, to add some pleasure to dark days.
    Once it warms up a bit I will wear Mille de Patou-perfect chypre rose for slightly warmer days.

  9. I really love your choices for cold weather-it’s like the polar opposite of me and my wacky orientals in August!

    I have not had the pleasure of smelling Grandiflora yet but I like most of the Michel Roudnitska scents I’ve come across and I think Eau de Patou is really interesting. It’s got one of the longest most incence-y dry downs ever, and Little Italy is wonderful too the same guy did Eau d’ Hadrien.

    1000 is one of the greats I think, so on the whole maybe it’s not so bad that we have this drawn out winter-at least you get to wear 1000 a little longer :-)

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