Spring in the Pacific Northwest is a transitional season — there are chilly days and warm days, a dry day (or two), and then there’s…RAIN...all types of rain — sprinkles, showers, ‘horizontal’ umbrella-proof rain, deluges, sometimes all in the space of one exciting hour. What separates spring from fall, another season with multiple personalities, are the fragrant flowers that bloom in spring: plum and cherry; narcissus; wintersweet; scented azaleas, camellias and witch hazels; lilacs; daphnes; hyacinths; and my favorite — wallflowers. For my springtime perfume choices, I (mostly) skip spring flowers in a bottle — no perfume matches the aromas of real plants blooming all around me. My spring favorites, most of them new discoveries and, as yet, un-reviewed, are a varied lot.
Ah…the smell of gasoline on a warm afternoon! Histoires de Parfums Pétroleum reminds me of lawn mower fumes mingling with the scents of flowers and cut grass. It makes me drowsy (in a good way). And speaking of grass (and roots) I’ll add LesNez Turtle Vetiver Front to my spring favorites list; it’s a rich and warm vetiver that works in any season (like a “perfume-scarf,” it blunts the chill on cold days and, conversely, it accentuates the heat of a warm day when you want that “baking” feeling).
As one bakes, one sweats, and I’m one of those people who likes a hot-and-bothered-smelling perfume on occasion (we’re talking ‘clean’ sweat — grapefruit, vetiver, cedar — no overwhelming cumin). In this clean-dirty category, I’ll put Kinski (with its marijuana and vetiver notes) and the éminence grise of modern perspiration perfumery: Cartier Déclaration (crisp, even as it overexerts itself).
Santa Maria Novella Acqua di Cuba provides an intense/dense floral accord with tobacco for a taste of things to come: hot, humid, “florid” days. A “cooler,” more talc-y citrus scent is Lorenzo Villoresi Theseus. Both Theseus and Kinski have a 70s vibe and conjure great French masculine fragrances of the past.
Wonderful French perfumes of yore? What about Yves Saint Laurent M7? M7 was beloved by perfumistas and either hated or ignored by most everyone else. The reissue, M7 Oud Absolu, is certainly lighter than the “vintage” version, but reconfigured M7 still smells great when pitted against most designer masculine fragrances (and a lighter version of M7 is apt for cool spring nights).
Now, if you hate the idea of too much citrus, “unclean,” or heavy-ish aromas in spring and want a fancy scent that’s washed, ironed and dressy, I’d pick aldehydic Nasomatto China White or the powdery, evocative (southern Italy!) Santa Maria Novella Ginestra (fragrant broom or Cytisus scoparius) (Santa Maria Novella is having a renaissance in my perfume life).
My last choice for spring favorites? The new Aedes de Venustas Signature Eau de Parfum: every season needs an incense fragrance – this one provides sheer incense floating around the aromas of rhubarb and red currant.
Happy spring to everyone! Do share your ideas on spring perfume; for instance, if you could only wear ONE fragrance for the three months of spring, what would it be?
Note: top image is Leaf from Album Depicting Birds, Flowers, Landscapes, and Flower Pots by Yoshizawa Setsuan [altered] via Wikimedia Commons.