Longtime readers know I am not a fan of cold weather. Early fall, when it's crisp and sunny, is ok I guess, but I can do without the rest of it. So, naturally, I live in Pennsylvania. Supposedly, this year we're in for a particularly harsh winter, and if the temperature the last few days is any indication, the doomsday warnings might be turn out to be true.
Of course, you can combat cold weather in the traditional way, with woods and spices and vanilla, but sometimes, a blast of citrus, with its reminder of warmer days, seems a better way to thumb your nose at the ice crystals forming on the windows. So in the spirit of denial, here are five citrus fragrances you can wear to stay cheerful as you struggle to get the snow blower going...and of course, do add your own favorites in the comments!
Let's start right off with the big guns, shall we? Shalimar, of course, is not in the citrus family: it's an oriental. But Shalimar is also a perfect showcase for the glories of bergamot, and the bergamot in Shalimar does linger long (and strong) enough that it's more of a presence than is the norm, quick bergamot top notes, after all, being more usual than not. What you want, if you can find it, is vintage Shalimar...old enough to have the lovely bergamot they used before bergamot was classified as a allergen (you can read a long explanation of new vs. old Shalimar at Monsieur Guerlain) but new enough that the top notes have not yet degraded. Equally hard to find alternatives (you're welcome!) with lingering bergamot and warmer base notes include Crown Eau de Russe (discontinued entirely!) and Institut Très Bien Cologne à la Russe (recently back in production but only sold in France).
Histoires de Parfums 1873 Colette
1873 Colette is a gourmand citrus with enough emphasis on the gourmand to stand up to cold weather, but enough effervescent citrus to lift the spirits when the weather outside is nasty. Lots of grapefruit, so not to be ordered unsniffed if you have any trouble with grapefruit notes. Alternatives in the gourmand citrus category include Fendi Theorema and La Perla Eclix, both discontinued and difficult to get your hands on (really, no need to thank me), or Lush 25:43.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Pamplemousse
Pamplemousse is a near perfect grapefruit, bright and happy, reasonably long lasting, and excellent for layering — it will add a bit of sunny sparkle to nearly anything. When my morning perfume fizzles out by early afternoon, I often add a little dab of Pamplemousse as a pick-me-up. It's also reasonably priced, so you can experiment all you like. An alternative, if you can wear it — it's just awful on me — is Guerlain
Pamplemousse Pamplelune, and another, if you want something lighter and don't mind that it really can't claim to stand up to cold, is Hermès Eau de Pamplemousse Rose.
Parfum d'Empire Azemour Les Orangers
I know, I know, I go on about Azemour Les Orangers all the time and I'm sure I could work it into nearly any list of 5 perfumes, no matter the theme. Lovers of old-school fresh chypres who haven't tried Azemour Les Orangers yet are in for a treat — it will bring back blissful memories of pre-IFRA days, and more to today's point, it will summon up a lazy day in late summer any time you need one (obviously, it helps if you close your eyes and turn the thermostat way up). Guerlain Mandarine Basilic is a good alternative for juicy orange.
Cartier Eau de Cartier Zeste de Soleil
The easy to find and obtain entry in today's list. I said when I reviewed Eau de Cartier Zeste de Soleil last winter that "I wish I had an automatic diffuser to spritz some in the air every 15 minutes or so for the rest of the winter; it would cheer me up immensely", and sure enough, I went digging for my sample again early this week, on the same day that I went searching around for my thick fleece socks. A good pair of fleece socks and a good citrus with tropical fruit and/or herbal accents should be on everyone's winter shopping list. Alternatives: Ayala Moriel Etrog Oy de Cologne, Diptyque Oyédo. If you've already got a bottle of Parfums de Nicolaï Eau Exotique (it's discontinued), that will do the trick too.