Top 10 Summer Fragrances 2015

Japanese Garden, Portland

Instead of returning to my weary perfume cabinet for a rundown of summer favorites (I already hear longtime readers thinking, Is she going to bring up that blasted bottle of Jean Naté in her refrigerator again? Yawn), this year I got smart. I asked André Gooren from Portland’s fabled The Perfume House to share ten of his summer favorites.

André was up to the challenge. During a Saturday morning, between helping a bearded Australian opera singer (Caron Nocturnes, two bottles), a charming older woman (4711), a Romanian couple (Robert Piguet Jeunesse), and a booming-voiced regular (Pino Sylvestre and Comme des Garçons Avignon), he laid out ten sophisticated and sometimes quirky choices…

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Top 10 Spring Fragrances 2015

orange tulip

At last, spring! It’s taken long enough, and if your local weather has been anything like mine, you might be wondering if winter is not quite done playing games with you yet. Here are 10 perfumes (and another 10+ alternatives, because everyone needs choice, right?) to cover the full range of (crazy) spring weather, from boots to sandals and back again. As always, do add your own picks in the comments, or go read the lists at Bois de Jasmin, Grain de Musc, Perfume Posse and The Non-Blonde.

Sonoma Scent Studio Forest Walk: When I reviewed Forest Walk, I said you could wear it year-round but that the outdoorsy blend of earthy notes and pine-y woods was perfect for chilly fall evenings. Turns out it suits a brisk spring night just as well…

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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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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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