I can't believe it's been five years since my last Top Ten Spring Fragrances list, but yes, a look back confirms that fact. My tastes haven't shifted much since then, yet I can somehow come up with plenty of new favorites. Of course, there are the fragrances that I consider part of my springtime "hall of fame": Guerlain Apres l’Ondée and Chamade, Frederic Malle En Passant. These come into rotation every March or April, come rain or come shine (and lately, it's been mostly rain). But, beyond these classics, I'm easily able to compile a list of other fragrances I've been wearing or will be wearing over the next month or two.
What to wear when the calendar says Spring, but the weather is still chilly and damp and dreary? I love to don Frederic Malle L’Eau d’Hiver during that indecisive kind of weather, perhaps because it walks a fine line between warm and cool, soft and crisp.
I begin to say farewell to my favorite gourmand fragrances in spring, knowing that they'll be too rich and heavy for me in the summer, but Ayala Moriel Cabaret is a lovely gourmand for this transitional season. It's sweet but not too strong, and its rahat loukhoum accord is lightened by notes of bergamot and magnolia.
On days when there's just a hint of spring in the air, and the very tips of crocus and daffodil leaves are starting to push through the barely thawed soil, I like to wear Parfums de Nicolaï Violette in Love, whose delicate violet note is balanced by very sheer pepper and musk. Its fleeting beauty suits the season well.
I also like green springtime scents with hints of white and golden flowers, like Annick Goutal Eau de Camille, which combines ivy and grasses with honeysuckle and lilac. It's a pretty garden-themed fragrance that doesn't turn too "girly." Come to think of it, Goutal offers quite a few spring-appropriate fragrances on the green-to-floral spectrum.
For another suggestion of spring in a bottle, I enjoy sniffing CB I Hate Perfume's To See a Flower. This scent was inspired by the artist Georgia O'Keeffe's remark that "Nobody sees a flower, really, it is so small. We haven't time--and to see takes time..." A blend of hyacinth, jonquils, crocus, and daffodils with damp dirt and moss, To See a Flower smells natural and bright and not at all florist-shop-like.
I wouldn't be me if I didn't include a rose perfume or two on this list. Spring is the perfect time, in my opinion, for lighter rose-violet compositions, and L'Artisan Parfumeur Drôle de Rose is still one of the best fragrances in that category. It feels just right on the first truly spring-like days of the year, when the sun is out and the flowering trees in the parks are putting out their blossoms.
For something newer and a touch more stylized, I've lately come to enjoy Balenciaga L’Eau Rose. It's a more perfume-y violet-themed composition that goes well with a new dress and a cocktail date on a spring evening. I've loved the original Balenciaga Paris since it was released here in 2010, and I'm happily surprised that I'm also enjoying this lighter-toned flanker.
I happen to like beaches best in spring, before the heat and the crowds arrive, and I like my marine-themed fragrances to include a floral note. Lostmarc'h Iroaz is an unusual but easy-to-wear interpretation of beach roses growing along the Breton coast. Ideal!
My 2008 list did include Diptyque L'Ombre dans L'Eau, one of my very first "niche" fragrance loves. This year I'll be wearing the Eau de Parfum version, which is a bit denser and longer-lasting but still remains very true to the original.
And I'm impressed by many of Lush's recent fragrance releases, but Flower's Barrow is my favorite, and I've bought a small bottle. Robin accurately described it as "a dusky blackcurrant rose with heavy herbal undertones." I rarely layer different fragrances, but I've been wearing a few dabs of Flower's Barrow over L'Ombre dans L'Eau, and this combination is my new secret weapon. (Well, not so secret anymore!)
It's too bad spring is such a short season, especially this year, when it seems to be beginning late. Still, I'm sure I'll continue to enjoy many of these fragrances well into summer. What are you planning to wear for the rest of the spring, wherever you are?
Note: top image is Springtime Landscape [cropped] by Béla Iványi-Grünwald via Wikimedia Commons.