Search through past "Best of Winter" perfume posts and you'll find lots of suggestions for perfume to wear when it's cold out. Most of those suggestions assume you're looking at the cold from inside your toasty living room. Or at least from the warmth of a thick coat and gloves. When my furnace broke down a few weeks ago I faced a different question about cold weather perfumes: what perfume is good not only when it's cold out, but cold inside, too?
I came up with a strategy for perfume to wear when you're cold:
Try amber and spice. Amber is warming, if a little sweet and sometimes cloying. I burned myself out on Lorenzo Villoresi Alamut during my furnace's downtime and don't think I'll be able to wear it again. If I had some Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan or Parfum d'Empire Ambre Russe, I would have worn them. Pacifica Spanish Amber is a budget-friendly amber choice. Laura Mercier Minuit Enchanté worked for me, but L'Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two is warmly spicy, too. My vintage bottle of Parfums Weil Zibeline's animalic spice was almost as good as a fur throw.
Wear fragrances that mimic fire. Serge Lutens Chêne was my go-to, but Sonoma Scent Studios Fireside Intense would work, too. (I know I'm missing a number of woody, smoky fragrances here, and I welcome your suggestions.) The key is to smell warm without smelling like a barbecue.
Psych yourself out with a tropical fragrance. For me, this was better in theory than in practice. No matter how much Penhaligon's Amaranthine or Keiko Mecheri Passiflora I put on, I never was convinced I was in the Bahamas.
Avoid florals, aldehydic scents, and citrus fragrances. White florals are especially cold, I find, and spring-like florals, like Guerlain Chamade and Parfums de Nicolaï Le Temps d'Une Fête are just too fresh and wet when my nose is cold. Citrus fragrances and traditional eaux de cologne can be bracing, and who needs bracing when you're already wearing a stocking cap in the house?
Eventually the furnace repair man (smelling divinely of diesel) replaced the blower switch on my ancient oil furnace, and warm air filled the house again. The cat stopped giving me the stinkeye from her perch in front of the heater vent, and I could sit on the couch without a suffocating load of blankets. Now I'm snug and back to exploring the rest of my perfume cabinet.
In this cold wave, what fragrances warm you up?