Over the years I’ve built a stable of favorite cold-weather fragrances and have only added and dropped off a few each year. To spare you a recap of perfumes I mention all the time, I’m grouping ten perfumes I like into ten winter-activity categories. I hope you’ll chime in with your own favorites, and be sure to check out more winter favorites at Bois de Jasmin :: Grain de Musc :: Perfume Posse :: Perfume Smellin’ Things.
This category is kind of a joke since I don’t know how to ski, and, frankly, the whole deal sounds like a good excuse for a broken collar bone. But après ski? Sign me up. When I picture après ski, I think of an early 1960s lodge in Gstaad — like the one in the Pink Panther movie — with women in sweaters and bulbous mink hats and men in turtlenecks and dark glasses. Everyone drinks from brandy snifters and speaks several languages. It’s glamorously ridiculous. Serge Lutens Santal de Mysore is my après-ski perfume choice. It’s boozy, woody, and warm, and would be a terrific accompaniment to a shoulder-high fireplace and a copy of Valley of the Dolls…
A few weeks ago, Robin posted an update to her much-loved post 100 Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try, adding twenty-five more fragrances worth seeking out. Angela has pitched in with a tempting selection of 25 Vintage Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try, while Kevin has expanded our view with a list of 50 Masculine Fragrances. And what’s my “beat” here on Now Smell This? I’ve always gravitated towards florals, particularly rose-based perfumes, so I’ll do my part with a run-down of some must-try rose scents.
Annick Goutal was one of my “gateway” houses into perfume obsession, partially because it offers several rose-inspired fragrances. Rose Absolue is the most “true” rose of the group. It brings together essences of six different roses (May, Turkish, Bulgarian, Damascus, Egyptian, and Moroccan) into a radiant bouquet…
So many perfumes smell like things we know: flowers, fruit, wood, food, spice and funk. A few fragrances — mostly created before the disco era, it seems — are more difficult to pin down. They smell only of themselves. They’re sophisticated, and they’re undoubtedly a challenge to fall in love with in the thirty seconds most perfume shoppers these days take before making the decision to purchase. Rochas Mystère is that kind of fragrance.
In response to a post a few weeks ago, a commenter lamented Mystère’s disappearance. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my decant, a bonus in a swap years ago, shoddily labeled with scotch tape and a sharpie. As fate would have it, I stumbled over a bottle of Mystère Eau de Parfum at Goodwill just a few days later…
Clams casino, handwritten diaries, gold lamé house shoes, paper dictionaries: certain things are slipping away. To some of these I wave a hearty goodbye — that would be you, dial-up modem — but other changes I note with a pang. Sure, some of the regret is pure nostalgia. I love the full-throated trill of a dial telephone, for example. But some of it is a lament for changes in fashion, in what’s considered beautiful. That’s how I feel about some perfume. No publicly traded company in its right mind would make a heartbreaker of a chypre like Rochas Mousseline these days. That’s too bad.
Perfumer Edmond Roudnitska developed Mousseline, and Rochas released it in 1946, just two years after Rochas Femme. Information on Mousseline is scarce. My parfum is at least 45 years old — quite possibly older — but it’s clearly a fruity chypre and Femme’s little sister. My “flacon sac” perfume came in a tiny, black lace printed splash bottle accompanied by an inch-and-a-half long eyedropper for extracting the precious extrait.
I picture a woman settling into her car after a day of shopping…
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