Friday, October 3, 2008

Try to Remember when Life was so Tender that No One Wept Except the Willow

"Then summer fades and passes and October comes. We'll smell smoke then,
and feel an unexpected sharpness, a thrill of nervousness, swift elation, a
sense of sadness and departure."
~Thomas Wolfe

The end of one season and the progression into another is often a time of sweet nostalgia, especially the wistfulness of a slow immersion into the crisper atmosphere of autumn. When the trees turn poetically unreal into crimpson and citrine and you feel the air is whispering words of wisdom as you crunch that carpet of dead leaves it's too precious to lose any hours of sunshine indoors. Instead I want to get out and soak up all the smells and the sights and the sighs of nature preparing to slumber.
"Deep in December, it's nice to remember,
The fire of September that made us mellow".

I'd like to hear what your favourite autumnal smells are.

Song is "Try to Remember" from the musical comedy The Fantasticks, with lyrics written by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Shmidt. Here sung by Greek singer Nana Mouskouri and Harry Bellafonte.
Clip originally uploaded by George Grama on Youtube.


  1. Anonymous15:15

    Oh fab! As I'm the first to comment I get to say woodsmoke first! I am so sure that I'm not alone in that. Will go home tonight and dig out my sample of CB I hate Perfume "Burning Leaves" as the closest I have in perfume form. My cats fur when they come in after sitting in the bushes. Usually there is a collection of twigs and leaves caught up in their long hair! I love the metallic sizzle smell of fireworks too and now, coming onto the foodie aspect, I love the smell of mushrooms, blackberries, and any pudding with apples or plums in it. Scent wise Chergui springs to mind as one of the most evocative of this season's scents. Love all incense at this time too - AG's Encens Flamboyant is a recent discovery for me (I know, a bit behind)and I think I love it, Profumum's Olibanum too. Lovely weekend all. Donanicola

  2. Morning, Elena. I'm craving Onda, though Chergui is certainly autumn-in-a-bottle.

  3. Anonymous16:02

    Hi E!

    Autumn is my favorite time of the year. My favorite autumnal smells are:

    Food Category:

    Pumpkin Pie when it's baking. Pumpkin, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg. Pure bliss when the house is filled with that aroma.

    Spiced hot apple cider.


    Montale's Amandes Orientales, Organza Indecence, SL Rousse and TF Tobacco Vanille. * I wear these perfumes during the whole year, but there is more of an intensity about them during the autumn season.**


    Burning leaves, cherry tobacco being smoked in a pipe, the pumpkin patch - love the smell of the sawdust and hay there.

    Have a great weekend. :)

    I will leave you with my favorite autumn quote:

    "Autumn, the year's last, lovliest smile" - William Cullen Bryant

    p.s. Movie recs - (just saw these two over the past 2 weeks) - The first one is *Elegy* and the 2nd one is *Towelhead*. Towelhead just debuted here in the small indie film theaters. I tried to see it at Sundance this past January but it was sold out. Elegy is based on a Philip Roth novel The Dying Animal. I read the novel and then saw the movie, they were both great.


  4. Pine needles and fallen leaves crushed underfoot. Oak logs burning in our fireplace. Dry air blowing down from Canada on the cold days. Dirt, as we get the garden ready for winter, and pine bark mulch. And...autumn food! Indoor cooking; roasting meat, stews, soups. Rich scents that would choke me in the summer: ambers, (some) patchoulis, spices, vanilla.

  5. Anonymous16:42

    Dear E,
    where is your autumn list of scents/books/drinks/films/nail polishes/etc./etc.? :-) We want to know!
    I'd like to try Thundra by Profumum, I can't imagine how can Thundra smell...
    My tea: fennel tea with honey and milk (I thought that herbal tea WITH milk is a nonsense, but it is great)
    Best activity: swimming and then steam bath.
    Second best activity: reading and knitting.
    Food: I found a great recipe for baked sweet potatoes, now I have to wait when they appear in the shops, it is their time now.

  6. Mike Perez23:30

    Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford is my autumn go-to scent - I can't wait to wear it! Spiriteuse Double Vanille by Guerlain is a close second. :)

  7. When it starts to get cold it is Mitsouko time. Spring here and so I have a new bottle of Diorella waiting for the heat.
    Helg, Steve thinks I have opened IE more than once and so , when i click on "comments" I do not see the window open. Mmmmm? Makes sense to you ? Not me! LOL
    I love Nana - such a clear voice she has!!!!

  8. Hello, Helg! I live surrounded by maple and apple trees, which both smell wonderful in fall. Dry maple leaves would make a great perfume note. Woodsmoke, bittersweet berries, popcorn, cider - the list is long. My perfume choices are Omnia for everyday workwear and Black Cashmere, Ambre Russe, my beloved Shalimar and the new CJ Scents vanilla & incense blends for my off time.

  9. N,

    Woodsmoke is my favourite smell too! Logwood from pine and olive is the default smell of approaching cold and I love to smell it in the cooler air.
    Incense too, but that's transeasonal for me ;-)
    I must seek out Burning Leaves then, thanks for the rec. And foodie smells are the best aren't they? The autumnal "back to the kitchen" vibe is very redolent with smells of spice and baked goods. (and mushrooms, ah, mountain hiking memories)
    Have a great weekend too! :-)

  10. D,

    oh, Onda is very autumnal, I agree. And such a gorgeous scent too!
    Funny how so many people find Chergui autumnal though as I picture it myself as the scent of an arid summer somewhere exotic and dry. I guess I'm weird or too influenced by the name *rolling eyes at myself*

  11. D,

    it's mine as well :-))Love the quote!

    Your food choices echo the spice combo which has me weak in the knees as well. It's so comforting and uplifting and all around appetising!
    I was surprised to find myself drawn by Amandes Orientales: it's one of the best Montales I have tried. (And usually too almondy-foody scents don't agree with me for some reason, but this one does).
    Burning leaves and pipe tobacco are two of the most sublime smells on earth: I'm genuinely astounded why mainstream perfumes haven't taken those as direct inspiration to feminine fragrances ~many women love them and men like to smell them on them as well.

    PS.I envy you Sundance, have I mentioned it before?? :P
    Taking notes on the films, thank you!
    And oh, watch out for something coming ;-).

  12. P,

    the fireplace smell is irreplaceable in creating the feeling of home, isn't it. It's so good that you have a garden: the wet from rain soil smells so good!

  13. L,

    a gross oversight on my part which will be amended pronto!
    Thundra should theoretically smell very cold and coniferous! I am not sure I have tried that one, though.

    I was reluctant to put milk in herbal tea as well: I put some in dandelion though and it's good. Thyme honey is also a great addition as it has its own herbal/culinary nuances.

    Autumn swimming, huh? You're brave and very athletic! My lazy, overindulgent Med self is finding colder waters a challenge: I should probably rethink it at some point though. If nothing else it's great exercise!

  14. M,

    SDV is one thing I do like to indulge in on cooler evenings: it's rich and dark and not foody.
    I have to locate some Tobacco Vanille too: I hear people I respect their opinions mention it a lot.

  15. M,

    Mitsouko is sublime in slightly cooler weather, especially when it rains (It's my default rainy days scent). Of course you're in reverse mode and I can't think of a cooler sprite than Diorella! (excellent choice)

    I can't say that I do get what he's talking about (I'm not too into tech), but by the looks of it it has worked so we should probably thank him whatever he did! ;-)

    Nana has performed such excellent things for which I will be eternally grateful.

  16. A,

    oh you're lucky! Apple trees and maples....*sigh*
    And cider! Yes!

    Love your scents choices: but a question ~what is CJ?

  17. Anonymous15:10

    E, my swimming takes place in a swimming pool in a stadium, not outside. :-) Swimming outside in a cold water now would be a horror for me. I am not that brave.:-)

  18. Ah, well, then! I pictured you swimming in the cold open air and then rolling onto snow or something, LOL
    (the mere thought gives me goosebumbs). Many people here do go swimming in the sea even in the autumn and winter...then again I bet it's not as cold as other places.

  19. Anonymous07:23

    love autumn smells especially the rain (rain smells different to me in the autumn then in the spring). Also, chimney smoke as the first fires are being lit, spiced apple cider, crumbled leaves, and the last roses of the season.

  20. Ah, The Fantasticks. Such a lovely song it is, too!

    I just returned from Michigan where I got a taste of cold weather and the smell of leaves. I kept saying to my friend, smell that?! that's ________.


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