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Friday, April 29, 2011

"Spring Is..." Fragrance Favorites and a Prize Draw

What is Spring to you? What symbolizes it, what embodies it, what is that one thing, one emotion, one sound, sight or smell that is Spring? And if you have one of those, which perfume translates it the best?...Our answers are below; share yours with us for a chance to receive a set of 10 spring-y samples, including some of our choices below.

Spring in Texas is all about knowing your days are numbered. The trees are lush and tender, the highways are filigreed in wildflowers, the air is crystalline. The tourists exclaim and check the local real estate listings, but the locals sigh--in a few short weeks the heat will set in and stay in for the next six months. I wear all my fragile, ephemeral perfumes, the things too pretty to stick around for long, and then I turn again to Les Nez's, The Unicorn Spell. It's snap-bean green and shadowy violets are a perfect match for the dappled light, but they stand up well enough against the heat to let me take a little of spring with me into summer.

Whenever I can, I spend a bunch of springtime in New York City . Something about watching the city come back to life and the abundant blossoming of Central Park just makes me feel just so incredibly sexy and feminine. I love to walk up and down 5th with a million Bergdorf’s shopping bags in tow and stop for a cocktail or two at the Plaza. As cliché as it sounds, it totally makes me feel (does a little twirl) “Pretty and Witty and Gay”! This year my springtime favorite is Bond No. 9’s Madison Square Park. I adore it’s totally hip grape hyacinth , rose and tulip accords that are completely trendy yet incomparably sophisticated in a very shocking pink way! Madison Square Park is definitely bouncy , light and absolutely screams sexy toenails, white capris and a shocking pink Ralph Lauren Polo. I’m busy looking for nail polish that’s the color of the bottle and a chanel bag that’s the color of the bright green flower that crowns the top. Yes, I know that sounds a bit shallow. But as I love to say, “I worked damn hard to be this shallow and I’m loving every minute of it!” Madison Square Park is captivating and I think you’ll just love it too!

Spring means for me mostly one thing – change. And like so many people I have a healthy respect for change. People are creatures of comfort, and everything threatening to overthrow what we are used to is at first viewed with at least skepticism, at worst, fear. Spring, with all its accompanying changes is no different. You have to change your wardrobe along with your attitude. The former is not so bad, the latter requires coming out of your comfy cave, ending hibernation, renewing yourself along with nature. Frightening, huh? There is one perfume that symbolizes change for me, because it changes a lot during its wear time, it progresses from one end of the spectrum to the other. It does so fearlessly and boldly, just what I need. Guerlain Cologne du 68 is fitting perfectly for spring, it is light and lovely, but still has a hidden depth and complexity rarely found in cologne-style fragrances. It’ll coax me out of my cave in no time, you’ll see!

Spring means green to me, in every shade from tender to deep, and the exhilarating touch of green perfumes heralds its arrival. Alas, so many of my favorite greens are discontinued or reformulated, but one of them is still to be found quite easily even though it too is no longer made: Yves St. Laurent "Y" is a sparkling green chypre, more lighthearted and playful than most of its kind, and perfect for either chilly or warm days when you need a perfume to match the rising energy of the season.

Spring (in Central Mexico) is: Jacaranda trees covered in purple flowers, giant coconut macaroons at the Tuesday Market, fireworks for Saint Joseph's birthday that last for about 24 hours (yuck!), calla lilies being sold for $3 a dozen (they smell like magnolia flowers when fully opened!), and quiet cobblestone streets because the tourists have all gone home due to rising temperatures. My fragrance choice for this time of year is L'Homme Sage by Divine, because it somehow fits with its saffron, incense, immortelle and smooth woody dry-down.

Spring is newness: young love and prom dresses, the fragile tiny birds and animals we are so often called to rescue in "baby season," the sweet limbs of babies who need nothing more than a onesie in this weather. The scent that expresses the newness of spring is Sonoma Scent Studio's Voile de Violette. It is a soft, tenderly spicy fragrance with hints of greenery and wood -- and reminds me of the many, many days I was late to my Drivers' Ed class because I was making out with my high school sweetheart in the bushes by the softball field during lunch break, reclining on a bed of wild violets. Now he's my husband of nearly 23 years, but springtime and violets will always recall the breathless romance of our first blush of new love.

Spring to me is uplifting. After a long, cold, dark winter, there is something absolutely exhilarating about shedding those heavy winter boots, coats, scarves and gloves. It's always easier to get out the door, slip on a pair of ballet flats and light jacket, and not have to worry about temperature drops and piles of snow and getting things done by five when the sun goes down. Springtime brings with it happier, lighter moods, and an overwhelming sense of hope and inspiration - leading up to summer (which is itself an entirely different animal). For me, the season hasn't changed until I can smell it - the freshly turned earth, the subtle greenness of sprouting flower buds, wet pavement from the inevitable rain. The first scents of spring feel like a breath of fresh air after a suffocating season of stagnancy. I look forward to spring when I exchange my dark clothing to airy cottons, sheer gauzy linens and delicate silks - perfume being no exception. Seeking freshness, lightness and transparency, my scent of spring this year is L'été en Douce by l'Artisan Parfumeur. Defiantly named for the sweetness of summer, in my opinion this is much more of a spring fragrance. Capturing perfectly the dewy wetness of a morning in May and the romantic, wind-whipped shapes of dresses hanging sweetly on a clothesline, L'été en Douce is the ultimate shed-your-baggage, pick-up-running barefoot fragrance. With notes of green hay, white musks, orange blossom water, linden, rose and mint, perfumer Olivia Giacobetti just may be competing with mother nature herself.

Spring is sweet innocence when newly awakened nature unfurls, unblemished and bursting with hopes and expectations. Oriscent's Borneo 3000 cavorts with buoyant liveliness- a cool, green breeze whistling in the blossoming sun.

Spring to me is a feeling of melancholy. The term is unattractively defined as "an abnormal state attributed to an excess of black bile and characterized by irascibility or depression." In my own classification however, melancholy is that "mi chien mi loup" state of the soul, which envelopes one black and white zebra stripes of life, in-between any major stage ending and another beginning...and in between seasons. It is an anticipation of happiness when you are feeling sad and a tinge of sadness in any happiness my romantic understading of melancholy, it is a sense of fragility of our life and the world, and there is no season as Fragile as spring, which balances in-between Summer and Winter, life and death...And the perfume that for me is an embodiment of that is Apres L'Ondee, which is, to quote an old review,  is a "hesitant smile on a tear-stricken face. The fearful calm after the storm." I feel in Apres l'Ondee "the poignant fragility of violets and irises, of ethereal petals weighed down by rain drops... the softer than soft spiciness of anise and carnation, the spiciness that is like a pang in the heart... the gentle caress of vanilla... the tender warmth of the base notes that lingers on my skin for hours like a memory of happiness... the graceful gauzy-ness of the sillage (...) The hope against all odds that after the gentle rain falls, the ten thousand things will finally come together...

Spring, the dry season of the tropics,
heat and dust, smoke and sand,
waiting for the thunder and the rain,
Bel Respiro calms and cools me.

Spring for me is always a period of joy. After months of cold, drab weather (yes, even in Los Angeles, where it's raining as I type this) Spring will, well, spring. Lily of the Valley for me is the ultimate scent of spring. The one that I'm most reaching for is Comme des Garçons Series 1: Leaves, Lily. It's lovely straightforward lily that reminds me of Springs from my childhood years ago.

Please check out other spring favorites at: Bois de Jasmin, Grain de Musc, Now Smell This and Perfume Posse.

Image source,



Blogger Carrie Meredith said...

Marina: I love Apree L'Ondee, and I really love what you wrote. I can relate to your beautiful sentiments.

12:13 AM EDT  
Blogger The Gastronomic Goddess said...

This is a very tough choice...but I would have to say the perfume I'm wearing frequently right now that speaks the most of "Spring" would be YSL Paris. The violets and rose keep me dreaming of Springtime in Paris. :)

12:35 AM EDT  
Blogger Tama said...

Spring means maybe I can stop being cold all the time. Everything is green - all the faux-cherry blossoms are blooming in the park. The air is clean. I start bustin' out the flowery scents - SMN Iris, Pacifica French Lilac, Smell Bent Mots Verts, Vetiver Pour Elle.

1:54 AM EDT  
Anonymous Jiyin said...

Spring is when the jasmine goes crazy in Los Angeles. This year was a particularly good one -- in the evenings, you could virtually see a heavy cloud of fragrance hang over the city as the jasmine flowers exhaled their scent into the night air. The season is past now, but as usual, I can't get enough. I love A La Nuit, but especially in the springtime, when I can prolong the lovely scent of jasmine after it fades, after the night is over, and after the end of early spring.

2:14 AM EDT  
Blogger Martinus Scriblerus said...

For spring scent I'm torn between Diptyque's Eau Neroli on a cheerful day and Apres L'Ondee on a more introspective day - I don't want perfume to be a corrective, I want it to be an intensifier. Beautiful, beautiful blog post with great writing from everyone and a lovely concept, too. Lost of things on here that sound wonderful that I'd like to try, from Y to Borneo 3000 to Unicorn Spell. Thank you!

2:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Isa said...

All these ideas and words are spring to me: rebirth, longer days, bushes of lilacs, fresh T-shirts, walks on the countryside, Lent, Holy Week and Easter, chocolate eggs, orange blossoms,iced-lemon drink...

And perfumes, of course: Comme une Évidence, Penhaligon's Orange Blossom, Angeliques sous la Pluie, Rosine Écume de Rose...

6:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Dixie said...

Fun choices from everyone, but spring to me is Apres L'Ondee and La Base. They embody such beauty!

7:46 AM EDT  
Blogger ~elise said...

I was just thinking about this today when choosing my 'morning perfume'...for Spring I love Bluebell and Un Lys Mediter(FM)..but this a.m. I ended up choosing Joy!

9:21 AM EDT  
Blogger Tammy said...

Spring in Southern California means the air is cool and clean and crisp, which is perfectly suited for L'Artisan's Verte Violette. The always winsome violet note is also a perfect accompaniment to the rain we get this time of year, as well as the June gloom.

9:23 AM EDT  
Anonymous RusticDove said...

I simply do not have enough spring or warmer weather suitable scents in my collection. I've only tried a couple of the fragrances mentioned here and sure would love to try more. My favorite scents for spring of the fragrances I do have [that come to mind] are Penhaligon's Orange Blossom, Guerlain Chamade [vintage] and L'Artisan Iris Pallida.

9:26 AM EDT  
Blogger Balutakat said...

Spring means turning the earth and getting ready for gardening, to me - I find myself up at dawn with the birds, drinking my coffee by the window and waiting for the mist to lift. I'm in a fitful mood, and switch light floral perfumes constantly; but there is one other that I frequently end up with, Demeter's Dirt. Katherine B.

9:30 AM EDT  
Blogger Janet said...

Beautiful posts. I will be wearing Diaghilev today. Not because it is a spring scent but because I just received my decant and it is gorgeous!

10:13 AM EDT  
Blogger Proximity said...

For me, early spring is always about coming change, and re-awakening, and re-dedicating ourselves to trying to be the people we want to be, after getting through the darkness of winter. It's about cleaning and having new beginnings, and setting aside old troubles (or addressing them at last, and fixing them).
When I smelled Black March by CB I Hate Perfume, this was the exact smell of early spring for me.
Mid and late spring have similar feelings, but brighter, happier, renewing ourselves and our spirits for good times, enjoying ourselves, and the people and things that we love. For me orange blossom is the best smell associated with these feelings, and I love L'Artisan Fleur d'Oranger 2007 (have not been fortunate enough to smell the 2005).

10:36 AM EDT  
Anonymous breathe31 said...

Spring is the time of rebirth and renewal and for this reason, my absolute favorite season! L'Heure Bleue and Pacifica's Nerola Orange Blossom and French Lilac are my go-to spring scents.

11:12 AM EDT  
Anonymous classflirt said...

spring for me is typically Apres L'Ondee as well...i also wear a true lilac scent bought @ French Quarter perfumery in N.O.

this spring, however, my beloved father passed away and i've been dousing myself in his Floris Limes and his Guerlain Cologne Imperiale. whether this will be tradition or is simple mourning remains to be seen...

11:13 AM EDT  
Blogger fey said...

Oh what beautiful posts!
Thank you so much. (Marina, yours brought tears to my eyes...I so love Apres l'Ondee too)
Ah Spring...lilacs, lily of the valley, apple and orange blossoms...
This past week I have reached often for 'FM En Passant, L'Artisan's Fleur de Oranger, JO Frangipani and of course, Apres l'Ondee...which I will be wearing today.
Lovely read today. Thank you. xo

11:36 AM EDT  
Anonymous dleep said...

In the Spring I love listening to the robins in the early hours of the morning and as the sun goes down. THey have such a unique sound and it isn't Spring until they start their chirping. I love wearing La Chase, Vent Vert, Bel Respiro in the Spring. CB I Hate Perfume's Black March and Demeter's Thunderstorm smell like Spring after the rain.

12:29 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Что это о нас говорит, если мы уже подались сами себя цитировать (глянь на мое описание Apres L'Ondee) ? :)

1:31 PM EDT  
Blogger janelc said...

When I think of Spring, I think of wearing Mandy Aftel's Honey Blossom Perfume; fresh and just plain lovely!

2:14 PM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

No perfumer has quite captured one of my favorite smells of spring, when I thik of it: wisteria. I'll go out of my way as soon as I spot them to stand under that spicy shower... I even rented a very impractical studio once, my first Paris apartment, purely because there was wisteria hanging in the window. If anyone knows of a faithful rendition of it, pop a comment!

2:37 PM EDT  
Anonymous ElizabethC said...

Lipstick Rose. It smells like sun heated raspberries and flowers to me - soo lovely! Considering that it hailed yesterday, I am still relying on my perfumes to provide me a glimpse of Spring weather.

2:56 PM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Love Apres L'Ondee. For now, I seem to be very taken with that Xerjoff Irisss thing. Hate the name, hate the price, love the perfume. And then, out of nowhere, I was moved to wear L'artisan Fleur de Narcisse (which you gave me:) today; it is beautiful.

4:07 PM EDT  
Anonymous Flora said...

Carmencanada, have you ever tried L'Artisan 's La Haie Fleurie? There is an ethereal and very lovely wisteria note in it. It gets little attention as an older release, but it's beautiful.

4:20 PM EDT  
Blogger Alice said...

Spring means fresh cut grass, azaleas and dogwoods blooming, time to drive with the top down, for grilling in the back yard! There are lots of Springy perfumes, but Meteorites makes me think of Spring even when it isn't Spring.

5:26 PM EDT  
Blogger a.k.a. Warum said...

Spring for me is when the Sun comes back and the warmth comes back, and light stays around for linger, and love is around the corner, showing its familiar and dear face to you. Spring is also anticipation of the Summer. My ultimate Spring perfume is La Chasse aux Papillons.

6:10 PM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

Flora, thanks for the recommendation, I'll have a sniff next time I stop by a L'Artisan shop. I really haven't smelled La Haie Fleurie in years...

6:56 PM EDT  
Blogger yoca said...

I have been looking forward to spring like never before after going through this brutal canadian winter.
My picks for spring are Premier figuier, La Chasse, Pleasures Intense, YSL Paris, Vintage L´air du temps, Un matin d´orage and Fracas (it blooms beautifully on a rainy spring day, but it´s too much for summer. Beyond Love and Carnal Flower for the same reason)

10:39 PM EDT  
Blogger Gustav said...

For me spring = iris.

Lutens' ISM
Different company's Bois d'Iris
Le Labo IRIS 39
Divin L'Homme de coeur

And it's also the only time for so nice and joyful Diorella (layered with a bit of Aramis not to feel too "girlie":))

11:45 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Today, spring was Bond no 9 Chinatown, but as soon as I track down my sample of Apres L'Ondee it might be that.

2:10 AM EDT  
Blogger Irina said...

spring is only the prelude to my beloved, awaited summer- I wear "nimfeo mio" just to ease me into the heat...

3:32 AM EDT  
Anonymous Mo said...

Where I live, Spring means something a little different than most places in North America. It means that while others are outside smelling the new life, I am still waiting for snow to stop falling, and the fog and rain to clear. It is agonizing because winters are so long and dark here. Spring means a long build-up of anticipation for greenery, and most especially, for the ability to once again spend time outdoors. My favourite spring perfume right now is CB I Hate Perfume To See A Flower. It's green, dirty and floral and takes me to where I want to be each long and drawn out shift into spring.

8:04 AM EDT  
Blogger CM said...

I am looking for a new spring perfumes. This morning I spritzed on Traversee du Boroshore but it seemed to lack the 'lift' I desired for spring. Layered on Ete un Douce and it's perfect! I'm ordering FB of EuD today, along with Le Temps d'une Fete. It's about time I upgraded!

12:46 PM EDT  
Anonymous hotlanta linda said...

Spring is `AHHHHHH, all is green and gorgeous again!!` - so pass Goutal`s Eau de Camille please!

12:58 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Spring means that I can shock my students by singing Tom Lehrer's great song about spring to them. They all smile nicely when I start with "Spring is here..." and then are shocked when I get to "All the world is in tune in a spring afternoon as we poison the pigeons in the park..."

1:38 PM EDT  
Blogger Undina said...

Spring where I live is a short period when green color yellow.
My favorite spring perfume is French Lime Blossom by Jo Malone.

2:39 PM EDT  
Blogger Liz said...

What good choices! My personal favorite is The Different Company's Osmanthus. It reminds me of spring in South Carolina. :)

3:08 PM EDT  
Blogger damageddude said...

What amazing prose. I am wearing No.19. It is one of my favorites. Spring is the in-between time the first flowers which give relief from winter but do not last long.

5:21 PM EDT  
Blogger samberg said...

I'm dousing in Paciica French Lilac and lighting the soy candle too. My two lilac bushes are *this close* to opening, one more sunny day should do it.

The soreness in my bones after the first earnest day of gardening is a delightful burn to match my sun-pinked cheeks.

9:18 PM EDT  
Blogger woodgirl said...

Spring to me is bittersweet. It is the scent of orange blossoms and gardenias blooming, but I also know that my beloved cool weather is gone until at least Oct or Nov. We've already been in the 90s in April. I guess Field Notes from Paris by Ineke would be closest to a Spring scent for me.

8:16 AM EDT  
Blogger sean's jo said...

I guess I also feel the melancholy when Spring arrives which makes En Passant perfect.

11:43 AM EDT  
Anonymous March said...

Okay, this was the springiest list of all! Apres is always appropriate (my bottle is neglected), and Unicorn Spell deserves more attention.

5:39 PM EDT  
Blogger Julie said...

Spring is the return of light, warmth, and optimism to my often overcast Michigan homeland. Winter does not relinquish its hold easily - as a result, the locals are done with winter long before winter truly ends. So, if you see people walking around in shorts, camp shirts and flip-flops while nature tortures us with snow in April, it's because we are tired of waiting, and we want spring NOW. When I want spring now, I reach for Vent Vert. It's explosion of galbanum has that wet, green smell we wait for all year. Instantly uplifting.

10:11 AM EDT  
Anonymous Ceci said...

Happy spring! Like Alyssa, I am from Texas, and there is no real spring in Texas. I didn't know spring until I moved to the Northeast, where there are strictly defined seasons measured by plant growth. So fall is turning leaves, winter is just branches, and spring is joyful blooming! Right now everything is going crazy, pollen is exploding everywhere, and leaves are shooting forth overnight. That's what spring is about to me.

12:39 AM EDT  
Blogger Mary said...

Really appreciate you sharing this post.

3:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Mary said...

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6:01 AM EDT  

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