Woody Oriental-Oriental Woody

Nuit de Noel in old advertising

Nuit de Noel in old advertising

Woody perfumes are not so popular with women.  Don’t ask me why. I am one of the out-lying  oddities who like wood.  I wear vetiver and leather and chypres and all sorts of dark, dry things in winter.  You might think from the description that I was kindling some kind of aromatic fire, but it’s simply personal taste.

There is a small, repeat small, group of perfumes that lie right on the line between orientals and chypres.  I’m not discussing ambery orientals here.  Those are resin-y or incense heavy perfumes. The ones I’m writing about today don’t belong to that tribe.  They may contain some amber in the dry off, but they are not really amber perfumes. Continue reading

Lemon-y but Lovely: New Citrus Florals

Freesias

Freesias

Right now colognes seem to be out of favor with the market. This always surprises me since colognes seem like such a wonderful option for many people. They’re often largely natural, they’re light, they offend very few, and yet look at Andy Tauer trying to get the Cologne du Maghreb into circulation. Apparently, that’s an uphill battle. Continue reading

Hyacinths in the Air

still life with hyacinthIn Britain it might be bluebells, but here in North America one of the best clues that Spring has really arrived, is this scent: grassy, pervasive, and fresh.  When I smell it a cascade of images always runs down the surface of my mind: Easter services I’ve sat through in buttermilk colored southern churches, huge bouquets in white wicker baskets, bristling with pink, blue, and yellow hyacinths in front of altar rails, and the bowls of faience pottery we always had at home, with forced hyacinth bulbs in them every March. These last, just because. As my Mother said, we were good and tired of winter. Continue reading

Scent of a Woman

The movie with Al Pacino was based on a 1974 Italian film (Profumo di Donna) with Vittorio Gassman in the role of the blind army officer who could tell exactly what every woman in a ten foot radius of him was wearing. Smelling women was all that was left for a man no longer able to pursue them, except through the ghostly passage of their sillages.

It’s an irresistibly romantic idea, but also an increasingly difficult one  to believe in an over-scented world.  Now you have to disentangle how people smell, separate their scent from how their deodorant, face cream, sun block, shampoo, conditioner, lipstick and fabric softener, and the whole thing is just confusing as heck.  Unless they’ve sprayed on something with reckless abandon, it can be hard to tell what they’re wearing. Continue reading

The Year Round Floral

The decision of whether or not to change a perfume seasonally is probably not a problem for many individuals.  In fact, it’s almost certainly not a problem, since most people wouldn’t think twice about this, but I being the Anglo/Scottish hybrid that I am, and a perfume lover, also love a seasonal perfume.  We have such emphatic seasons here you see, and it is fun to pair the perfume with the weather.  That isn’t the case in many other parts of the world where the temperatures are relatively stable, and it’s the humidity levels that fluctuate, but in North America  we don’t always appreciate this reality unless we live in Savannah. If you do live in such a place, should you adopt a season-less signature scent? Should you in fact, find the year round floral? Continue reading

The Smell of Adventure

Green has to do with zeitgeists, I’m convinced.  If the spirit of the Age is strictly stay-at-home then green, the entire spectrum of it, will not appeal.  Nevertheless, green is the smell that comes swirling in when you open the casements ( if you have casements) – wild, unpredictable, an invitation to the great unknown;  in short, an incitement to move the itchy feet all of us have.  Only some periods of time, and some people take to this anarchic note which tends to whirl about you and beckon you out the window, dispensing with the perfunctory formality of the front door.

Well, I did say it was anarchic.

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Come Into The Garden, Maudlin

We all like lilacs.  They are lovely and bloom for about two weeks in April and May and that is that, but as everybody likes lilacs, there should be a large number of lilac perfumes out there. Right?

Nope.

There are comparatively few. The lilac note (which is an accord anyway, made from ylang-ylang, neroli, jasmine and vanilla) is a sort of smell judgment call, a little too much jasmine and everyone says, how sweet, it’s another lily of the valley. Too much vanilla and they say, oh it’s another orchid scent.

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