Spring: An Embarrassment of Riches

 Redbud in the Morning Sun

My scent wardrobe is, like the climate in which I live, very seasonal.  We have weather distinct from one season to the next, and it can range from below 0F in winter, with snow and wind and hail, to 98F in summer, hot and practically humid enough to grow mushrooms on your skin.  The most comfortable seasons in this area tend to be spring and fall, with moderate temperatures and cool breezes and sunshine, though we certainly get plenty of rain (the average annual rainfall in my county is approximately 38 inches).

There are certain fragrances I wear at just about any time of the year, perennial go-tos.  There are other fragrances I associate with certain seasons or weathers, and I never think of wearing them at other times.  I love changing my fragrance with the season – I bring them out of the perfume cabinet and place them in the decorative hatbox on my dresser for easy access, and tenderly stow away the out-of-season back in the cabinet.  I try to wear my seasonal fragrances when they are in season, appreciating each  one like a beautiful day, though choosing among them is often a challenge.

Winter is easy: Alahine.  Ubar, Lyric, Memoir. Tiny dribble of Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant, if the weather is cold and damp.  Carnal Flower or La Myrrhe, if the air is so cold it turns to crystal.  Dolce Vita parfum.  Parfum Sacre. Vanille Tonka.    

Autumn is easier: Tabac Aurea, always. Champagne de Bois, Organza Indecence. Shalimar Light.  Vintage Magie Noire, if the weather is just right: cold, rainy, windy.  Smell Bent One.

Summer is easiest, with the fewest season-devoted scents: Fleur de Matin, Hanae Mori Haute Couture.  Ines de la Fressange first edition. Moschino Funny!, Rose d’Ete.

But spring?  Spring is hard.  I hate choosing in spring.  Green scents?  Violets? Lily of the valley?  Green florals, floral chypres, straight-up florals?  There are so many, and I love them all, and they all say “spring” to me in some way.

What to choose? And how to make sure nothing gets left out?  I still don’t know.  I have no real plan, I just get up and pick something to delight in.  Some favorites for spring:

Crown Perfumery Crown Bouquet – “the greenest of all flower gardens.”  A big green juicy smack of galbanum and marigold gives way to very, very tender white flowers, from a wisp of tuberose to a hint of lily of the valley.

Parfums de Nicolai Le Temps d’une Fete – a shifting green-and-gold symphony like sunlight dripping through green leaves.  Galbanum, green notes, narcissus, hyacinth, patchouli, moss and woods combine to create the essence of happiness for me.

Deneuve by Catherine Deneuve – this long-discontinued, much-coveted floral chypre gem gleams like good pearls.  Very elegant yet gentle, with a powdery softness due to aldehydes and oakmoss, it is a reserved and quiet pleasure.

Jacomo Silences – cool, silver-green perfection.  Contemplative, streamlined, nothing extraneous at all.  Satin ribbons of galbanum, iris, rose, oakmoss.

Penhaligon’s Violetta – simplicity itself: green leaves, purple flowers, a whisper of sandalwood.  Shy but lovely.

DSH Perfumes White Lilac – the true delight of lilac sweetness, garnished only with a handful of leaves and a sprinkling of spice.  A joyful scent.

Guerlain Chamade – the essence of romance, it slowly blooms from chilly green opening to the budding jasmine-ylang-rose heart and on to the full-blown warmth of mimosa and vanilla in the drydown.  A perfume for surrender. 

Balmain Jolie Madame, in vintage parfum – a gorgeous juxtaposition of green notes, violet and gardenia against smooth leather.  Bittersweet in the best sense.

Chanel No. 19 – the Seven-League Boots of pure beauty and empowerment.  Galbanum, iris, oakmoss, and a whiff of leather, elegance with a riding crop.

Parfums DelRae Amoureuse – Languorous and vibrant all at once, with green notes, richly sensuous white florals, spicy notes, and honey set against a slightly-mossy sandalwood background. 

Christian Dior Diorissimo – the essence of spring, in the form of lilies of the valley.  That is all.  And it is spectacular.

What’s on your spring list?


14 thoughts on “Spring: An Embarrassment of Riches”

  1. Après l’Ondée (both versions, I actually really like the violet/iris of the latest formulation), 28 La Pausa, After My Own Heart, Heure Exquise, Le Temps d’une Fete, and Bel Respiro – although Bel Respiro is also part of my summer rotation. Infusion d’Iris would be on the list, but I wear it year-round.

    Interestingly enough, in my head Silences is a summer fragrance. There’s something about that initial blast of herbs that I find very cooling in hot weather – you know, MY version of hot weather. 😉

    1. Oh, yes – I wear Silences in summer too! It seems quite different in feel to me when the weather is really sticky humid than when the weather’s cool and misty, which I can’t really explain other than to say that in humid weather Silences is really refreshing.

      Apres l’Ondee is amazing, and I like Heure Exquise too (though I prefer No. 19).

  2. I find choosing a handful of scents difficult in Spring, because Spring seems more changeable than the other seasons here in New England. Yesterday I happily wore Dune. Today I’m wearing Moschino Funny! One day last week was like high summer and I spritzed Gucci Envy. I also like Kenzo Ca Sent Beau, Annick Goutal Le Chevrefeuille, and Paco Rabanne Calandre in Spring. Isn’t it great we have choices that we adore?! squee. . .

    1. I agree! Spring might be my favorite season, and you’ve got some wonderful choices. Funny! is a definite summer pick for me, but I can see that it would be nice in cooler spring weather too.

  3. Diorissimo and No.19 are always my “go to” spring frangrances. I also like vintage Diorella. The mini bottle of Jacomo I recently acquired has become a new love. And after reading the raves for Le Temps d’Une Fete, here and on other blogs, I decided to give it a try. And I fell fast and hard. It was difficult to make myself wait until I had worn it three times before I bought a full bottle.

    1. YAAAAYYYYY!!! Any love for Le Temps d’une Fete is a triumph! I love it so, so much. It was one of those that I got a sample of because it was raved about in The Guide, but I hadn’t worn it for two hours before I knew I must have it – and my love has only grown since. (In fact, I wear it occasionally in summer and frequently in fall, but it is glorious in spring.)

  4. C, you must try Ubar on a hot day! The way it blooms on the skin is truly a treat!

    Spring weather is so changeable that I pick & choose many different types of fragrances this time of year. But a few that ‘say’ spring are my vintage Chamade, Violets & Rainwater, Ineke Gilded Lily (though I wear it all year) and today I wore Etro Shaal Nur which fit the day perfectly – though I think it fits just about any day perfectly.

    1. Ubar in the heat… hmmm. You know, it’s funny – thinking of Ubar makes me think of Climat, which I love and haven’t worn in probably a year (?). I think it might be that white flowers+civet thing. They’re both so deliciously rich.

  5. Mals, I like your list!

    Let’s see what I’ve got… No. 19, Diorissimo, Diorella, DSH’s Vert Pour Madame, Rose Ikebana and Vetiver Tonka by Hermes, several Jo Malone’s colognes including the latest White Lilac & Rhubarb. I’ve recently tried Le Temps d’une Fete and I loved it. Will need to get a bottle soon.

    1. Oh, good stuff!

      The only one of those newer Jo Malones I’ve tried is the Peony and Moss, which I liked and would wear if I didn’t have to shell out for it (and if I wasn’t already stocked up on pretty, light florals). Le Temps d’une Fete is AWEsome.

  6. Those are gorgeous mini reviews, and it is wonderful to read you write again about your great loves. So often those of us who write about perfume write about our new finds, and lord knows, there is always something new out there …

    I have a decant of Le Temps. I like it but somehow don’t love it, and I don’t know why. It has everything there to love, but it just never comes together for me. I do wear it quite often in warm weather, but it is always in the spirit of ‘oh, I can’t decide what to wear so I shall wear Le Temps … ‘. One day perhaps I’ll be able to join in the celebration!

    1. Well, thanks! I think it’s worthwhile to revisit continuing loves once in a while.

      It’s funny how frequently I come across some fragrance that I “should” love, based on the notes or a similarity to something else I love, and don’t love it. I think there’s a component to love that we simply cannot explain, don’t you?

  7. I wish I could crack the code of Le Temps, but never quite seem to; anyway, your lists are enviably elegant, really lady like, and what a good idea the hatbox is! By comparison I must say I feel slightly grubby with my taste for whiffy indolic things. Narcisse Blanc is as polite as I ever get, and the rest of the time I go have a good roll in Sensuous Noir or Mouchoir de Monsieur or Strange Invisible’s Black Rosette. Did someone say animalic? Yes please!

    1. Re: Le Temps – well, you know… plenty of other fish in the sea, so to speak.

      (Snort!) Ladylike?? Well, I suppose. I like those perfumey, definitely-geared-femme things, and feel very comfortable in them. I don’t mind animalics in certain veins, but indolic jasmine is a big fat NO for me.

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