5 perfumes: citrus for cold weather

lemons-photogram-s

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!

Guerlain Shalimar

Let’s start right off with the big guns, shall we…

Read the rest of this article »

Shop for perfume

FragranceNetParfums Raffy

Top 10 Fall Fragrances 2014

Cold Colours

We pick the dates for the seasonal top 10 posts far in advance, and sometimes that works out fine. This year, it feels odd to be writing about fall so early — we’ve had strange weather the past few months, so while it stopped feeling like a proper summer here sometime in late July, it still doesn’t feel anything like fall. Here are ten fragrances I might wear if it did feel like fall, or that you could wear if there’s already a chill in the air where you are. Do add your own fall favorites in the comments!

CB I Hate Perfume Burning Leaves: The perfect way to get into the mood for fall even if the weather won’t cooperate, and extra-nice if you live in a place (as I do) where all the leaves get composted (as they should be) instead of burned (I do miss the smell). The last time I wrote the Top 10 of Fall was back in 2008, and I included Burning Leaves on that post too. Some things never change…

Read the rest of this article »

Top 10 Fall Fragrances 2013

fall leaves

I’ve experienced autumn in several places. When I was growing up in the ‘tropics’ (Virginia), the arrival of autumn was marvelous — no more steamy heat or mosquitoes. One of the first signs of autumn was the arrival of glass jugs of amber-colored fresh apple cider, for sale at orchard stands along almost every road. I tried to find an apple scent for this post (and for my perfume “collection”) in honor of apples and cool weather, but I was unsuccessful. Any suggestions? (Donna Karan DKNY scents need not apply.)

My early college life in New York City proved the Big Apple was not much different from Virginia in summertime, except for the added smells of simmering garbage on the streets. But autumn in New York was great; all the food cart aromas, even the exhaust fumes, smelled nicer mixing with the cool, marine air surrounding Manhattan, and the autumn leaves in Central Park added a dry, “woodland,” hay-like scent to the crisp air.

When I lived in L.A., autumn was pretty much like any other season (warm and sunny), except for days when the ferocious Santa Ana winds made autumn feel like I was standing in front of an open oven door…and the oven temperature was at 450° Fahrenheit. I’ve never in my life been more lethargic than during hot weather in Southern California, nor have I reached for cooling Eaux de Cologne more, applying them morning, noon and night.

Now I live in the Pacific Northwest…

Read the rest of this article »

Top 10 Fall Fragrances 2012

gourds and a mushroom

I have been known to change my mind. Still, as far as my love of autumnal perfumes goes, it seems I am as constant as the northern star. I kept thinking of fragrances to include in this post and then realizing, blast, I’d already listed them the last time I covered fall favorites for Now Smell This in 2009. A few of the previous ten are my all-time, all-year darlings, but the fall always casts them in a particularly poignant and profound light for me. As October starts, I often think of lines from John Cheever: “and who, after all these centuries, can describe the fineness of an autumn day?” (via The Stories of John Cheever). He gives it a shot anyway:

The clear and searching sweep of sun on the lawns was like a climax of the year’s lights. Leaves were burning somewhere, and the smoke smelled, with all its ammoniac acidity, of beginnings. The boundless blue air was stretched over the zenith like the skin of a drum.

That ammoniac acidity has always given me pause — ammonia is alkaline, isn’t it? — but the sky and the sun and the lawns are all perfectly right. And then, using his characteristic contrast of the ecstatic and the everyday, he deflates that golden description with: “It was the day to canvass for infectious hepatitis.” Well, of course it was! For autumn is not only the season of reflection and melancholy, a time to moon about in cable-knit sweaters through the mists of the dying year. It is also a practical season, a time to make school lunches and Halloween costumes, to bustle along the sidewalks through gusty breezes on charitable errands. As Cheever wrote, beginnings are in the air.

So okay, you say… begin already, please! As I rounded up the usual suspects three years ago, the following list includes some of my favorite newer scents. (Surely my “Best of 2012″ picks will be predictable enough to excuse a spoiler.) There are a few of my old standbys that got missed last time, too…

Read the rest of this article »