Perfume blog newbies often comment that some of the regulars have a language of their own, and indeed we even have our own dirty words, the f- and s-bombs: "fruit" and "sweet". I must admit to being among the contingent that usually gives a snobbish shiver of repulsion when I read a note list that includes grape, litchi or coconut. Unfortunately, sales assistants flogging candy cocktails are attracted to my chubby cheeks, decade-old sweatshirts and general lack of bearing. I notice this most often in big city, higher-end department stores: salespeople ignored by the older, impeccably groomed customers going by zero in on me as being the only person in the area who could conceivably be within the age range for their fragrance. Since I was a child, I've had a particular fear of situations in which somebody is giving an embarrassing or futile speech and I am obliged to stand there, smiling politely. I feel this fear as a pain in my chest, as heartburn, while I stand there with my frozen grin, waving around a testing strip or ribbon sprayed with something that is attracting flying insects.
On a day when it's sleeting, however, there is nothing more cheering to me than a big, euphoric burst of fruit. At such a time, I need something that smells like distilled sunshine, so nothing with a chewy, denser drydown — Serge Lutens Mandarine Mandarin or Burberry Brit Red, for example — will do. On the other hand, a fragrance needs a certain amount of depth to stand up to arctic temperatures, so a sparkling summer cologne is probably not going to work either. Sadly, many of my fruit-fests are being discontinued, so please recommend the fragrances you use to fight the winter blues.
Parfums de Nicolaï Balkis: This confection of raspberry, rose and cream is the sort of scent that makes me want to find my only floral-print sun-dress and attend a tea social somewhere. The opening is so juicy it verges on obscene, though in spirit Balkis is not languid, but carefree. The black pepper and coffee give this fragrance a more engergizing presence than similar comfort-with-jam perfumes, like Annick Goutal's Eau de Charlotte.
Kenzo Jungle Le Tigre: Released as a limited edition along with Kenzo Jungle L'Elephant, this perfume includes kumquat, bergamot, davana, osmanthus, ylang-ylang, cinnamon and massoia wood. L'Elephant, also a fun fragrance, lists mango in the notes, but it is Tigre that most evokes the balance of brightness and sensuality of that fruit and the humidly green tropics where it ripens.
Jacques Fath Fath de Fath: This discontinued gem from 1993, itself a much-altered "reissue" of a 1953 creation, is an oriental that begins like a fruit salad: lemon, mandarin, pear, plum, peach, bergamot and cassis. The giddy opening hangs over a more graceful floral heart and powdery drydown, though I rarely make it there: I am often tempted to refresh the scent to experience the initial burst of mouth-watering sweetness over again. Similar in its development and still available is Maître Parfumeur et Gantier's Fleur de Comores, with an opening of blackcurrant and passionfruit.
Diptyque Oyedo: A smiling, sugary blend of citrus (yuzu, grapefruit, lime and orange) over herbs and pale woods, Oyedo is one of the most relentlessly cheerful perfumes I have ever encountered.
Guerlain Shalimar Eau Légère: I am one of those Philistines who wears this much more often than the original classic. The tang of the lemon, bergamot and orange never really fades as the full-bodied jasmine and vanilla make their appearance. There is a light brush of musk and moss underneath in the drydown that distinguishes this from its more girlish reformulation, Shalimar Light.
Note: Erin has limited online access at the moment (the horror!) so may be slow to answer comments.
Image via Images de Parfums.