Fragrance: It Might as Well Be Spring

Spring invites a rotation of my perfume cache, with the lighter, crisper scents moving to the front, the rich florals and incense-y favourites of winter snapped and stowed. It's a fun chore; I choose music for the task: Lana Del Ray ("Chemtrails Over the Country Club") and the sassy Spotify "Springtime" playlist. I note what to re-up, and tidy my stash.

This spring, I ordered but one new bottle, Hermès' Jardin Sur Le Toit, after emptying my first, a gift from Rachel, who said hers—bought on a whim at a duty-free shop—made her smell like a musty lollipop. On me, it's a sparkling pear-apple-rose-grass accord. 

For new discoveries, I headed straight to perfumeniche. Decants, honeybunches: the only way to explore unless you too want to donate not-quites to a girlfriend.

Spring shortlist

The list of three I'm auditioning; I have linked to others' reviews.

Vivacious by Hiram Green

Green is a master of high-quality natural perfumes so you can wear his newest release, a violet-orris-amber scent, without risk of negative reactions (to you or the scent.)  

Aria di Capri by Carthusia

Turning to this elegant Italian house, especially when they evoke Capri, ensures joy. A reed diffuser that wafts Aria di Capri seems an entirely reasonable indulgence after the weariness of months at home.

 Eau de Céleri by Monsillage

I had to have more of this heady coriander-galbanum-grass-floral EDT after a spritz at my favourite bookstore, État de Style. (The 'celery' is more in the colour; I did not smell like a vegetable crisper.) Will go through summer like a knife through a ripe melon.  

The creator of the Monsillage line is Montréal perfumer Isabelle Michaud; I want to explore all of her frragrances.   

Subtle, serene fragrances

Mylene, with whom I walk, mentioned that she had never worn fragrance until several years ago, when her daughter Lina gave her a scent she had chosen. "And it's perfect!", she exclaimed. Such scents are like one of those my-lips-but-better lipsticks, a subtle but definite boost. (An exemplar: Amazing Grace by Philosophy.)

Why wear fragrance if you do not, presently? Because of its sensory pleasure and effect on on mood. Don't you feel better when you walk by a bakery and smell fresh bread?

If interested, look for fragrances that makers or reviewers call "skin scents".  Just be aware that you are trading longevity for subtlety. A few brands are known for notably short longevity across the entire line (on me, Jo Malone) but some skins 'hold' a particular sent longer.

Three suggestions for skin-scent fragrances; please suggest ant you like. 

Calamus by Comme des Garçons

Fresh leaves and grass; stones, earth: an unconventional, artful scent created by the great Bertrand Duchaufour. 

Lazy Sunday Morning by Martin Margiela 

Conjures waking up in a small, luxurious inn: how is this done? Lily of the valley, white musk, 600-thread-count sheets. This is not available at perfumeniche currently, but offers decants in three sizes.  

L'Eau de Jatamansi by L'Artisan Parfumeur

This is another natural, certified-organic fragrance—the house describes it as a "scented body mist"— a woody herbal supported by delicate florals.   

Another beautiful way to quietly enjoy fragrance is with a fine soap such as Monsillage's "Eau Fraiche". A bar makes a charming gift, too.


Scouting and choosing

I appreciate the research, thought and passion in the perfumeniche reviews; also, check the "Perfume Blogs We Love" links on perfumeniche's home page.  (If you have some problems with the product listings, order by sending an email while they have it fixed.)  

Away with the rug-weight mufflers and the rich, deep fragrances I burrowed into all winter! The scents of spring beckon, coming my way in vials — a reward for washing and packing the winter-weary woollens. 


Laura J said…
Perfumeniche is sooo much fun. My go to is Voyage but am trying a few new ones for spring...celery!,, not sure about violets...I love the scent but will it love me?
Duchesse said…
Laura J: I just got my decant of the Hiram Green, it is definitely "violetty"in the opening but develops into a more nuanced floral. But if you don't like violets, not for you. The hardest habit for me to break (sometimes I can't) to not reflexively crook my arm and lbring my wrist to nose immediately on application. It's nothing like how the scent wears.
Laura J said…
I’ve opted to try sandalwood (miss the Crabtree and Evelyn soap), eau de rhubarbs, eau de celeri and Declaration! An interesting mix eh?.
Jane in London said…
Ooooh, perfume - I love it so! Some very tantalising and tempting ideas here, Duchesse.

My all-time favourite 'skin scent' is Prada Infusion d'Iris. Absolutely gorgeous: grown-up, timeless and very discreet.

Sadly, it has zero staying power on me (others have had better luck) and so I get through a bottle shockingly quickly, making it a ruinous choice for me!

Jane in London
royleen said…
I was just thinking about this, hoping a post was coming soon. Thanks for the gorgeous suggestions!
Allison said…
My husband and sons are always my expert ‘noses’ From ‘wow that smells nice’ to ‘yuck Mom you smell like Grandma’ Anything with neroli is verboten for it’s ahem ‘ elderly lady vibe’ It’s also, to my nose, ubiquitous these days. My two offspring are outspoken in their olfactory preferences but their father is the real expert. From choosing Chanel19 for his first gift to me ( He felt #5 was too ‘mature’ and it was my 19th birthday) to the many bottles of lovely fragrances that he has gifted me over the years he has never come up with a loser. If he doesn’t like it he doesn’t buy it. My favourite summer scent has always been Chanel’s Cristalle which my mother jokingly said smelled like a gin and tonic..well what’s more refreshing in the summer? Capucine by Chloé is a summer favourite too. Now that I am retired after years in healthcare where fragrance was verboten I am looking forward to trying something new. Thank you for the suggestions.
Wendy said…
I know less than nothing about perfume but I’m always fascinated by the words you use to describe them. You make them sound magical! I haven’t worn perfume in years, but 2021 feels like a fresh, if bumpy, new start. I just ordered a sample pack.
I rarely comment, but I never miss one of your posts and always learn something, so thank you!
Adele said…
Our daughter works in the beauty industry and was gifted several Hermes fragrances. we tried them together, and I chose to keep jardin sur le toit, which I love, and des merveilles bleue which I adore. They both feel fresh and light.
Duchesse said…
Laura J: An enticing assortment and all scents that are beautiful for spring. I wonder what the rhubarb will be like.

Jane in London: I'm going to try that when I'm next in a perfume boutique, as I used to wear Hermès' "Hiris" and would like to , meet a new iris fragrance.

royleen: I am always reluctant to say "try this" as skin chemistry is so varied, as is personal preference, but it's such a wonderful world to explore.

Allison: Now there is a talent! I just love No. 19, too. Enjoy your new scent freedom. I've been wearing it every day during this difficult year and it bucks me up.

Wendy: Thank you! I find many perfume reviews full of hype (so many are industry PZR or bloggers "gifted" with freebies), but Gwen and Kay at perfumeniche have turned out to be accurate reviewers and they are unbiased. Even so, not all the samples I've ordered suited me, (and I am anosmic to certain notes) but friends have happily taken them.

Adele: Oooh a perk I would dearly love! What fun to be able to try them liberally. For years I wore "Caleche" but the banning of oak moss severely dented its ethereal beauty.

Laura J said…
Perfume is a journey! From the days of 4711; the careful avoidance of channel #5 (my sister’s scent) sandalwood, rose essence, caleche, No. 19, flirting with Shalimar, long affaire with Voyage and several of the Hermes gardens...important to try new scents as our bodies and lives change.....
Jane said…
My spring Perfumeniche order came yesterday. I'm wearing Bois de Violette. I don't know if I get violets or spring, but it is a unique, subtle, long-lasting fragrance.

My heart is in Montreal today even if I can't be. It's youngest son's senior recital at McGill!
C said…
I got the Blu Mediterraneo set of small ones from Acqua di Parma. Last trip pre covid I smelled them all in Paris and couldn't bring myself to part with the euro... once stuck at home though they seemed like they would smell like summer, and they did. I wear them on the weekend. Fico di Amalfi is my tentative favorite. Winter though I do like Maison Margiela By the Fireplace. This year I got Under the Lemon Trees but not sure it will replace the Fico.

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