Winter is the season to embrace scent (or embrace someone at least, share body-heat people). In fancy frag speak, cool temps mean a gentler unfurling of a perfume’s notes and a chance to experiment with more intense compositions… So here’s the winter perfume edit.
Before placing a drop of Vala on your wrist, forget everything you know about the standard department store perfumeries. True to its ayurvedic ingredients Vala showcases a sensual yet honey like elixir, that has almost a medicinal effect. Think enlivening, refreshing, yet calming. Sweet bakula flower is plucked in a posy of herbal extracts and ‘fixed’ in the oil with ambrette seed extract (which is kind of musky, warm, also slightly dry). This warm/dry and sweet/herbal pairing creates an amazing sensation as the oil warms against skin over the day- it’s like a massage for the spirits.
My signature scent this winter: unbelievably green and bitingly alpine fresh from poplar bud extract. Vert des Bois has this curiously aniseed note (OK it’s ouzo) paired with a faint touch of jasmine that sweetens it up just enough to create the tension Ford’s fragrances are famous for. This scent is anything but subtle – a fragrance that lasts and lasts, but it has a cold-blooded lady of the manor appeal that suits me just fine.
Sixty. That’s the number of tries it took to get the wintery Mirabilis just right. Oh boy it was worth it. This is a perfume that takes the ancient, sacred scent of incense, and lays over it a veil of Ambrox, a synthetic note that imparts warmth and an almost watery softness. Think rich, earthy, smooth and refined. A perfectly balanced combination that creates a mood that’s both sombre and seductive; so perfect for cool weather.
A future classic and absolute must-have for perfume lovers. Superstitious is the result of a collaboration between Malle, Perfumer Dominique Ropion and Alber Elbaz (of Lanvin). It’s ostensibly an aldehydic floral (think Chanel N°5), but Superstitious is so much more, head-turningly sparkling in the opening, an incredible powerhouse of indolic jasmine, deep and swirling and very, very sexy. However, like a couture gown, that surface sensuality is upheld by complex corsetry and the structure of this scent, with soapy, streamlined vetiver at the base. A true masterpiece.
My theory is that there are two possible approaches to winter in Australia. Option one: embrace. Option two: live in denial by escaping to Positano for the majority of the season. This is your denial enabler – an Italian sunset in a tiny vial, small enough to throw in you handbag for a hit of juicy, warm, delightfulness whenever the winter wind blows. Fig is one of perfumery’s most popular – and trickiest – notes. Lumira’s Tuscan fig is tempered with green leaves and earthed with cedarwood and powdery iris. Oh, and did I mention there’s a matching candle
Imagine an ancient scene, papyrus scrolls and leather wrappings, bowls of fruit neglected as candles burn down over powdery manuscripts. Bibliothèque is, well, romantic. Top notes of peach and plum are almost overripe, the leather is warm and animalic, but softened with delicate powdery iris. It’s intriguing and one of those scents that wears differently on everybody – definitely worth seeking out.
This story first appeared on par, OLIVE.