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Five Fragrances for Summer, 2017

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Categories: Seasonal picks, Tags: ,

Summer looks like this.

I don’t always do seasonal-picks posts. Mine kind of get repetitive because I’m a creature of habit who tends to wear the same things over and over, and also because I don’t really care if I’m recommending something discontinued. (I’m sorry about that. Well, a little bit sorry.)

But! I have a New Shiny, so you get a Five for Summer this year.

The New Shiny is something I’ve mentioned before, albeit in the context of, “I want this but I probably won’t buy it,”: Parfums DelRae Wit. Based on the lovely scent of spring-blooming Daphne cnoreum, Wit starts off with a sunshine-bright lemon and continues into a jasmine/neroli heart accented with a beautiful, not-very-clean narcissus. Wit is maybe a bit heavier than my usual floral choices for summer, especially since its heart is lush instead of airy, but it is just so darn pretty that I don’t mind its bigger sillage. I also notice a definitive spicy note that I can’t quite place; it’s not quite clove, not quite pepper, not quite cardamom, but something in the general vicinity. I love that. The narcissus becomes more prominent near the drydown, and then there is a soft woody vanilla musk toward the end.

So how’d I get hold of this beauty? Perfumista RAOK, of course. Waterdragon, who comments frequently on Now Smell This and who lives in New Zealand, was looking to divest herself of a bottle of Wit, a blind buy that didn’t work out for her. She and her partner (whom she calls The Dear Man), recently visited the West Coast of the US, and very kindly braved the USPS in order to send it to me. I don’t know why it didn’t suit her, but I suspect that musk. It doesn’t read as uber-clean boring white laundry musk to me the way that No. 5 L’eau did, but I can see where it might veer in that direction. In any case, I’m glad it didn’t suit her.

Chanel 1932 EdP (Les Exclusifs collection) is becoming my second go-to this summer. I only have a decant, but it’s wonderful. Longer-lived than the effervescent original eau de toilette version, it’s missing the jubilant citrusy sparkle but has a stronger drydown that reminds me of Chanel’s 31 Rue Cambon. I’ve drained two 10ml decants of 31RC over the past 8 years but don’t feel the need to buy a full bottle, and to be honest, sometimes it’s just too darn much for me… but that drydown is so elegant: iris and sandalwood.

Moschino Funny! has been a summer favorite of mine since I bought it some years ago. Cheerful, mischievous, and refreshing, it fills the same sort of niche that Tommy Girl (yeah, yeah, put your snobbery away) does, for a quick pick-me-up. Grapefruit, blackcurrant, jasmine, green tea, cedar, musk. Simple.

Marc Jacobs Daisy was one of the first department-store scents that I smelled after my long hiatus from perfume, and you know what? I still like it. I waited several years and bought it on ebay, slightly used, for a song. It’s a very happy, feminine scent, and easy to enjoy in the air: fruit, a gentle white floral, and a woody-musk base. Complicated, original, unexpected, quirky? Niche quality? Nope. And I don’t care. It’s like cake made from a mix instead of from scratch. You might complain if you’re a serious foodie, but the rest of us perk up, because cake, y’all.

And one more: Hermes Kelly Caleche edp. I did not like the original version of this, in the eau de toilette, which I found unpleasantly vegetal; i.e., it smelled like celery to me. (I eat celery. By itself it’s pretty good, and if you slather it with crunchy peanut butter it’s even better. But I don’t like it in a tossed salad, where it tends to make everything in the salad taste only of celery. And I hate V-8, which combines the gross feeling of thick tomato juice with the oppressive smell of pulped celery, ew.)

Anyway. Kelly Caleche is an airy floral leather that begins in tangy grapefruit and slides its way down to a gentle sueded leather ice cream cone, by way of rose, iris and mimosa. Pretty, refreshing, and unobtrusive.

What’s your summer jam of 2017?

 

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Early Fall Seasonal Switch, Sept. 2016

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Categories: Seasonal picks, The scented life, Tags: ,

early_autumn_path_falling_rays_nature_nice_hd-wallpaper-1592318Autumn is coming. It’s still hot during the day – middle to upper 80sF, but we’re heading into the time of year when it’s a little cool in the mornings, and foggy enough that you must drive with headlights on until the sun burns the fog off. Then it’s wickedly humid and steamy from 11 a.m. until the sun starts to go down around 7 p.m.

And there’s the matter of the light. The earth has tilted enough on its axis that the sunlight has lost its ugly summer glare and become mellow and golden, a blessing on us. The trees are still very green, no leaves changing color yet. Everything is green and gold, glorious, peaceful.

I need that peace. Fall tends to be a hectic time of year at my house, what with marching band in full swing and cross-country. Since The CEO teaches at Virginia Tech and only farms in the summer, we don’t have the crazy weeks of third-cutting haymaking and silo-filling that we used to have when he was farming full-time, thank goodness, but it’s still busy. There’s usually one all-day kid activity every weekend plus a couple of late nights every week (XC meets or football games where the band is playing). There won’t be many of these busy fall-sport seasons left to us: Gaze is a senior and Taz a sophomore. Carpe diem, baby, carpe diem.

Since the weather changed from Ungodly Miserable Sweaty Heat to Still Hot But Less Pit-of-Hell, I switched out some of my summer fragrances for others. I put away DK Gold, with its heady warm lily. I put away Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Yuzu (a $9.99 TJ Maxx purchase) and Moschino Funny!, the light citrusy scents I wear in lieu of cologne proper in horrible summer weather.

This is the current rotation (front to back, left to right):

Yes, that's a 2015 pic of Gaze in his band uniform up there in the corner of my dresser mirror.

Yes, that’s a 2015 pic of Gaze in his band uniform up there in the corner of my dresser mirror.

Front row:
DSH La Fete Nouvelle – the only fragrance I’ve ever found to smell like drying hay: fresh, airy and sweet, like featherlight baked goods made out of grass. La Fete Nouvelle’s got some meadow flowers in it and a sweet musk as well, but it gets the drying hay smell just right and it’s perfect for the tail end of summer. I liked it in the oil version too; don’t know if it’s still being sold.
Carven Le Parfum –  It’s another of the ubiquitous pink chypre Coco Mademoiselle clones, but one that doesn’t set my teeth on edge. The flowers sparkle and the patchouli is very very clean, and the whole thing is just pretty.
Chanel No. 19 eau de parfum – No. 19 is symphonic in the best kind of way, in that I can identify individual notes in it (primarily galbanum, rose, iris and vetiver), but it mostly smells like itself. I like both the softer edp and the sharper-edged edt; there’s also a decant of vintage edt that lives in the Current Rotation Hatbox.
Ines de la Fressange (1999 Calice Becker version) – this is a fruity floral done right, like a mimosa with the balance of champagne and orange juice just perfect. A garden-party sort of fragrance. Sadly, it’s long gone, and my bottle’s getting low. Also, the first minute I see a leaf fall, Ines will go straight into the bedside cabinet.
Second row:
Mary Greenwell Plum – a pink-and-white floral (rose, tuberose, jasmine) sandwiched between a tangy, acidic fruit top and a svelte modern-chypre base.
Smell Bent One – a cozy, sheer spiced wood, lightweight enough for cool evenings.
Teo Cabanel Early Roses – At first you think it’s just another boring fresh/simple rose scent, but the woods and light amber keep it grounded and warm.
Hermes Kelly Caleche eau de parfum – grapefruit, rose, vetiver and leather. Very refreshing. (I find the edt considerably too vegetal. No, thanks, I’d rather not smell like carrot peelings and celery root.)
Mariella Burani eau de toilette – basically, this thing is bergamot, aldehydes, warm-skin musk and vanilla-y benzoin. It doesn’t smell complicated; it just smells nice.  Too bad it’s discontinued.
Back row:
L’Arte di Gucci eau de parfum – Diva hot-pink rose with sculpted cheekbones, wandering an untended Gothic garden barefoot with spike heels dangling from her hand. I don’t wear this one often, but sometimes nothing else will do. It never leaves the current rotation, so that should tell you something. Another discontinued gem.
Parfums de Nicolaï Le Temps d’une Fete – Green and gold glory: galbanum, jasmine, narcissus, sandalwood, a very green-smelling aged patchouli, and honeyed opoponax. Green and gold, green and gold. I’m utterly wrecked that it’s discontinued; even in its later, much lighter, iterations, it was perfect. (I pulled out my empty 2010 bottle the other day – I can’t get the last few drops out via the sprayer, but when I take the cap off I can smell it, a thrumming woody base under all those flowers and all that galbanum, an alto vibrato of emotion.)
Jacomo Silences parfum de toilette (vintage) – Otherworldly silver and green, comtemplative as a Zen Buddhist monk. Again, discontinued, though the modern take on it, Silences eau de parfum Sublime, is pleasant.

This is the hatbox where the current rotation (whatever season) lives on my dresser. The lid keeps light out.

This is the hatbox where the current rotation (whatever season) lives on my dresser. The lid keeps light out.

Not pictured (because the bottle was either on my nightstand or in my big tote purse): Ralph Lauren Safari – I love Safari. Love it. It was not love at first sniff, because I think I’d been expecting it to be a cool green like No. 19, and also the parfum I first tried was heavy on the sweet base notes. But my response to it at the second trial was immeejit Baby-where-you-been-all-my-life.  It’s a dappled, warm, sweet green, and a year-round favorite now.

I’m eagerly awaiting cooler weather. You?

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Fall Picks, 2010

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Categories: Seasonal picks, Tags:

I wanted to wait a while and keep track of not just what works well in the autumn, but what I’ve actually been wearing, bar the scents I’ve worn for test or review.   I knew Scent Diary would be good for something besides my running off at the mouth… So here it is the last week of October, and since I may be incommunicado for a large portion of November, working on my novel for NaNoWriMo, let’s talk fall scents now.  My picks for 2009 are here.

Sonoma Scent Studio Tabac Aurea – especially in the evenings.  Still a sexy-man bomb.  Still a wonderful amalgam of sunny afternoons, faint whiffs of tobacco smoke, earthy forest floors, dry leaves, a worn bomber jacket and the warm skin of one’s beloved.  Gorgeous.  See here for an earlier post on this one.

SSS Champagne de Bois – sparkly sandalwood-and-spices.  Warm, delicious, and cheerful.  (Hey, two SSS fragrances making the list.  Way to go, Laurie!)  Here’s a link to my review of CdB along with Chanel Bois des Iles.

Smell Bent Onea sleeper hit for me.  I’d ordered a small bottle unsniffed, because I thought I’d like it, plus a few other samples from Smell Bent.  Turned out this was the only one I really enjoy start-to-finish; it’s a lot like Dzing! without the animal hide/dung that makes Dzing! so (fascinatingly) impossible for me to wear.  Old books, spices, dry vanilla.  Yum.  Comfort with a side of edgy weirdness.  Brief review here.

 Parfums de Nicolai Le Temps d’une Fetemagic in a bottle.  In the spring, the florals strike me as being more noticeable, but in cooler weather, I tend to notice the lovely base, which is a gorgeous marriage of cool patchouli and moss to warm woods, hay and narcissus.  Makes me think of dappled sunlight through leaves.   Here’s my review of LTdF compared to Guerlain Chamade.

Cuir de Lancome – still the epitome of “Mother’s good leather purse, with her No. 5-scented hanky inside.” I should go get another bottle right now, because it’s out of production and the only leather scent, other than vintage Jolie Madame, that I really like.  When I want it, nothing else will do.  Really, there’s no excuse for not stocking up while I can.  I really don’t see this kind of thing coming back into style.  (Besides, The CEO likes it.)  Review here.

Mariella Burani – very much a comfort scent since it reminds me of my mother, and an any-occasion scent as well.  It’s a friendlier version of No. 5, and I love the lightly-powdery drydown.  Review here.

Others that I’ve worn occasionally, and which have been perfect on the rare occasions we’ve actually had fall weather so far: vintage Lancome Magie Noire (review here).  In fact, the only time Magie Noire seems right to me is on a blustery, rainy fall day.  And I only wear it when I’m going to be by myself, because a) it’s pretty loud, even a drop at a time, and b) it’s actually sort of… stinky, or at least my little bottle of vintage EdT is.  It’s bitter and earthy and witchy, herbal in a magic-cauldron sort of way.  It is not cosy in the least, and The CEO hates it. I have also enjoyed occasional squidges of Teo Cabanel Alahine (review here) and the lovely but discontinued (booo!) Guerlain Shalimar Light (review here), especially before bedtime.  I find them very cozy to sleep in.  I’ve also been wearing a number of violet scents, partly because of the Week of Violets review series, but also because I like violets in the fall: Laura Tonatto Eleanora Duse, Berdoues Violettes Divine, Aimez-Moi, CDG Stephen Jones, SSS Voile de Violette, Balmain Jolie Madame, Annick Goutal La Violette, Penhaligon’s Violetta, Soivohle Violets & Rainwater.

How about you – what scents are you turning to with enjoyment this autumn?

Photo is Autumn River by Evgeni Dinev at freedigitalphotos.net.  Here’s a link to the photographer’s portfolio.

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