Top 10 Fall Fragrances 2011

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I always tell people my favorite season is summer. In truth, it’s autumn. I whisper this fact, because while autumn is heartrendingly beautiful with its crisp mornings and warm afternoons and a garden still full of dahlias and greens, autumn is also the harbinger of winter. Each delightful, knife-sharp afternoon is a reminder of the rainy days ahead. Each walk through a shuffle of parchment-red leaves portends months of dark, slushy cold. When I can forget all that and focus on the here and now, I love fall.

For courage, I queued up Ian Bostridge’s sad but glorious Schubert lieder and chose ten autumn situations and matching fragrances to write about for today’s post:

Making the seasonal transition: All of the sudden, a morning feels colder than the rest. Instead of grabbing a cardigan, you ponder a light jacket. You’re almost ready to fire up the furnace for the first time this year, but not quite yet. A warmer fragrance seems fitting, but you’re not quite tempted to give yourself over to heavy gourmands and orientals. Ormonde Jayne Tolu works nicely now. Its green heart lightens its rich, oriental base. Annick Goutal Eau de Charlotte is a good transitional fragrance, too. It is fresh, but offers the after-school treat of bread, jam, and chocolate…

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Millot Crepe de Chine ~ fragrance review

Millot Crepe de Chine advertMillot Crepe de Chine advert

Friday afternoon I scoped the downtown department stores for something new and interesting to smell. At one department store, the sales associate showed me lots of recent but ultimately uninspiring perfumes — all Angel rip-offs or fruit-ridden musks. We ended the tour at the Trish McEvoy counter where she raved about one of them that ended up smelling like a baby-shampoo-scented candle on me. At Macy’s, the sales associate said there weren’t any new releases for women, only for men. “Maybe Shalimar L’Oiseau de Paradis?” I tried, thinking I could at least look at a pretty bottle. “We didn’t get that one,” she said and turned her back, leaving me neglected in a forest of celebrity fragrances. Discouraged, I returned home to a surefire remedy for mediocrity and bad manners: Millot Crêpe de Chine.

Crêpe de Chine is a floral aldehydic chypre with top notes of bergamot, lemon, neroli, and orange; a heart of jasmine, rose, lilac, ylang ylang, and carnation; and a base of oak moss, vetiver, benzoin, labdanum, patchouli, musk, and leather…

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Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles and Miller Harris L’Air de Rien ~ fragrance review

Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles perfume

Surprise of surprises. When I first smelled Miller Harris L’Air de Rien, a fragrance named “air of nothing” and made for the breathy-voiced, hippie-chic Jane Birkin, the last thing I expected to think of was Jean Desprez Bal à Versailles, a scent purportedly made of over 300 ingredients and whose bottle features 17th-century ladies in pastel dresses. But from their shared sweet neroli beginning down to their saddle leather, musk, and dirty stable dry down, Bal à Versailles and L’Air de Rien smell to me like twins separated at birth and raised in different homes…

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