vendredi 26 janvier 2018

My top scents for surviving winter (you must believe in spring)

Between colder-than-Mars Canada, thank-God-for-Gore-Tex Paris, and the Doomsday Clock moving forward again, I just want to hunker down with dark, fusty, cozy scents until such time as I can poke my nose outside... Perfume is a way of breathing.

Ambrette, northern lights and goose down
Iridescent, crystal-clear as chilled pear alcohol, yet musky-soft, the hibiscus seed is having a moment, its facets polished with iris, rose and pear, in with Parfum d’Empire’s soaring chypre Le Cri de la Lumière and Zadig & Voltaire’s ethereal La Pureté, by the peerless Michel Almairac, in their new Scent Library collection. Alternative choices: the more easily-sourced, adamantine Chanel N°18 or the rarer Eau Aztèque by Olivia Giacobetti for Iunx, the precursor of the ambrette solinotes in 2003.

Hibernating in patchouli
Burrowing deep in humus and earth, rolled up in a ball, waiting for spring… Dear Rose’s Comme une Fleur by Fabrice Pellegrin improbably combines uncut, hippie patchouli and orange blossom to evoke the strength of flower pushing through earth to come to light. Daniela Andrier’s deeply weird Une Amourette for État Libre d’Orange skews the same accord by boosting the indole and spiking her funky patchouli with Akigalawood, a sci-fi Givaudan material that mutates patchouli into a pepper-and-earth note.

The bitter comfort of dark chocolate
Cocoa absolute is surprisingly funky, a cruelty-free substitute for animal materials (my cat reacts to it as she does to castoreum) and an intriguing shift along the olfactory map that leads to patchouli or vanilla. I’ve been sating my dark chocolate cravings with my decant of Mathilde Laurent’s VII- L’Heure Défendue in Cartier’s “Les Heures de Parfum” collection, a liqueur-smooth wedding of the bean and the beast. By Kilian’s Noir Aphrodisiaque, a Paris exclusive composed by Calice Becker and genius chocolatier Jacques Génin, brings a more floral twist to the cocoa-patchouli accord: a sip of jasmine tea melting a square of cinnamon-laced dark chocolate (it’s getting hot in here). 

Part of my all-time winter rotation, Arquiste’s Anima Dulcis melds the Aztec bean with unsweetened vanilla, chili pepper and a Prunol-ish, chypre vibe that somehow makes it the distant Latino relative of Serge Lutens’ Arab-by-way-of-Tokyo Féminité du Bois, a major matrix of contemporary perfumery.

Now to post this before the Seine runneth over and wets my toes…

For more Winter top 10s, please visit Bois de Jasmin, Now Smell This, Perfume Posse and TheNon-Blonde.

Illustration: this steampunk Death Star was my view from the window of my room in the Queen Elizabeth hotel. It's actually the dome of the Montreal Cathedral.

As a bonus, Gene Kelly's exhilarating riffing on Michel Legrand in Jacques Demy's Les Demoiselles de Rochefort.

8 commentaires:

  1. Every time I read you lists I realize there is so much to smell out there! I enjoy your gentle wit as well. Stay dry in Paris!

    1. Thanks! It's the first non-rainy day in forever, and I'm stuck inside grading my students' finals (an activity that makes one lose the will to live).

  2. I was in Paris last week, I bought Jean-Michel Duriez Bleu framboise parfum which is his modern version on Jean Patou Adieu Sagesse gardenia. I also got the rose and tulip EDPs for spring summer. They gave me a small spray 10ml decant of Etoile & Papillon.


  3. Hey Emma, hello! I agree with you about Bleu Framboise, and I'm not surprised it was your favorite too. I just wish JMD would stay away from spiky woods! There are a couple in his collection that really hurt my nose, next to lovely things.

    1. Hi D!
      I thought Bois Froissé was nice but I was starting getting a cold which I guess spared me from getting the spiky woods you mentioned.
      What I don't connect with is the whole romantic Parisian concept of the line. I feel he should focus on his olfactory skills to compose modern creative fragrances as a "parfumeur d'auteur". Duriez is talented as it is and doesn't need to hide behind that kind of marketing. By comparison Serge Lutens brings things to a whole other level - of crazy! - but a lot more imaginative.


    2. I'm with you on that. But I'm not sure it's just a pitch. What he is doing is allowing himself more creative freedom, he says.
      Also, we don't all react to the same spiky woods -- some bother me while others are just fine. It's like musks.

  4. I recently got to try Le Cri de la Lumière, which I really like. I also sniffed Une Amourette on a scent strip and wasn't sure I dared to try it on skin -- I will the next time. Looking forward to finding the rest on your tantalizing list!

    Sometimes I really a need a natural perfume, so I'm wearing April Aromatics Nectar of Love. (I wish she had given it a name out of Greek mythology instead.)

    I can't take those spiky woods, either. They must smell very different to some of the perfumers.

    Best wishes for 2018, Denyse!

  5. Best wishes to you too! Yup, spiky woods... As I was telling Emma, we're all different in our perception of the different molecules of that family. Some perfumers aren't bothered at all! Apparently one does get used to them, through repeated exposure...
    As for the ELO, give it a spritz. I actually got a spontaneous compliment about it from a civilian. Though my perfumista cleaning lady, when I asked her whether she thought I could wear it on a date, replied: "Not unless he's a connoisseur"...