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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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…

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Top 10 Summer Fragrances 2014

tall roses

For some reason, I’m easily irritated by the question, “What are your plans for the summer?” As my husband keeps reminding me, it’s just a harmless conversation-opener, but somehow it never fails to set my teeth on edge — more so than ever this year, when my “plans” involve nothing more than unemployment and job-hunting. Maybe we’ll do some day-trips, but it’s hard for me to feel as though I’m on holiday when I don’t know what comes next.

In that cheerful spirit (with apologies to Robin, who assigned this post to me without knowing my current frame of mind!), here is a list of ten fragrances I plan to wear regularly this summer, as I try to enjoy myself. I won’t be shopping for perfume much over the coming months, so I’m relying on my current collection and stash of samples to raise my spirits.

I’ve worn Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’Eau every summer for the past decade…

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Top 10 Spring Fragrances 2014

daffodil on yellow

Where I live, it’s as if we fell off a cliff from frosty mornings and rain-slicked trees into yellow tufts of daffodils. Chives spring up in clumps in the vegetable garden, and my plum tree is puffed with blossoms. Heck, that guy in accounting even shaved off his beard. No question about it: It’s spring.

For my top 10 of spring, I’m going to be perfectly frank about the perfume I’ll be wearing. I’m not going to force-fit recent releases to show you how on top of it I am or sprinkle in variety for the sake of a well-rounded post. No, I’m going to tell you exactly what favorites I’ll be dragging from the back of the perfume closet. Judge me as you may.

Guerlain Chamade: As soon as I smell daphne in the neighborhood, I go straight for my atomizer of Chamade Eau de Toilette or my precious decant of Parfum — or sometimes both…

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Top 10 Winter Fragrances 2014

Hill and Ploughed Field near Dresden

There are almost 200 perfumes on my “want-to-sniff” list. The majority of them were released in the last four years and a large percentage of them never were sold in the U.S. (Ever seen Trussardi My Land, Mäurer & Wirtz Pink Pepper & Grapefruit, Molinard Habanita L’Esprit or Charriol Royal White at your favorite American fragrance counter?) There’s just too much ‘product’ out there!

So, how can I write about the “top 10 winter fragrances” with any authority? I can’t. My “top 10″ is comprised of perfumes I’ve recently encountered, worn, enjoyed, and that fit my mood of the moment. I’m not including fragrances I’ve reviewed in the past. I’m not including lots of classic/rich “winter” fragrances because, frankly, by mid-January in Seattle, I’m sick of cold, wet weather and dark heavy perfumes. I need some sparkle in my life…some light, citrus and flowers. And let’s not forget it is SUMMER in the southern hemisphere — this post is dedicated to readers in that part of the world; I wish I could visit you all, from Argentina and Brazil on over to South Africa and Australia and the balmy lands of Asia and the South Pacific.

Ava Lux Honey presents the warm scents of hot summertime, with its floral, nutty (almond) aromas…

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