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Easy Perfume

Amouage Beloved

Sometimes I think it’s easier to find a spectacular perfume than an easy, but still interesting, perfume. The market overflows with blockbuster orientals, juicy fruity florals, and assertively clean steam-iron musks that shout their presence. But what about the friendly fragrances without attitude? The fragrances you can wear anywhere that don’t announce their presence and aren’t trying to prove something, yet still please the choosy perfumista?

Let me explain further by describing what an easy fragrance isn’t. It isn’t simply “pretty.” Robin’s terrific post “5 Perfumes: Pretty Spring Florals” lists loveable, pretty perfumes — basically, fragrances Cinderella would have on her dressing table (and perfumes I dearly love, too). But, with the possible exception of Hermès Jour d’Hermès, they’re perfumes that announce themselves. When you wear Parfums de Nicolaï Le Temp d’une Fête, for example, you smell like a fantasy of narcissus wrapped in fur, and it’s noticeable. Sure, your sillage will mesmerize the people around you, but they’ll tune in to its personality. It makes a statement, even if that statement isn’t edgy…

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Top 10 Winter Fragrances 2015

winter is going away

While I am almost impervious to cold, I hate the inconvenience of winter. Imagine the shock-and-awe factor of a blizzard before the urban industrial era. People must have looked out into the eerie silence of a storm, a thick, blank curtain of white dampening even the wind’s whistle, and prayed to their higher being for safety and survival.1 Now, I get a snow alert on my phone and think: “Blast! If this causes me fifteen minutes of delay on the commute, I’m going to lose it!” I know, #ModernWorldProblems. In fact, after an ice storm that darkened Toronto into the new year for 2014, we’ve been lucky enough to avoid most of the chaos this winter. My condolences to Buffalo, Chicago, Boston and those on the East coast in Canada and the US.

The upside to darkness and inclement weather is the time I have inside to prepare an assault on two high peaks: the book pile and Mount Sample. Generally, I wear whatever fragrance I feel like at any time of year, but almost all perfumes conjure a particular season for me and the ones that evoke winter probably get less of my air time than most, merely for practical reasons. (Who will wear Guerlain Attrape-Coeur on a warm day in May? Not I.) My personal strategy for combating winter, then, is to dig out those under-loved warming, rich and sweet scents. But I do empathize with those who use the opposite approach, the denial method…

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5 perfumes: incense fragrances for winter

burning incense stick

In July, I picked 5 great incense fragrances for summer wear, and I followed that in October with 5 perfumes: incense fragrances for fall. Now that we’ve moved on from “a decent chill” to “polar vortex warning”, it’s time for the winter version. As always, do add your own picks in the comments!

Comme des Garçons Avignon ~ as I’ve said here before, Avignon is my gold standard for church incense. Developed by perfumer Mark Buxton, Avignon starts out foreboding but ends up meditative; it’s also wearable and makes a great layering agent. If you want something churchy but not quite that churchy, try Bois d’Encens from the Armani Privé line. For the budget version, try Demeter Holy Smoke

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