Such a Zen feeling as that of today's title engulfs my psyche as I let myself bask in the sunny goodness, lazy like a spoiled cat that has seen some winters and some springs come and go but never lost her sense of contenment, sighing at the first warm days she's finally free to chase fat pigeons on the terracotta-laid rooftops.
Spring is univocally here as you can see and my mind wanders on avenues of floral and green fragrances that like a breath of optimism promise some fresh air blown over the ashes of burnt winter thoughts; that like a re-invigorated kittie is eager for some mental stretch.
"Every spring is the only spring - a perpetual astonishment", said Ellis Peters, and I couldn't express the feeling in a more awe-struck way at the eternal Dionysus's return.
The following fragrances, some of which might get a full review later on, if the mood strikes, are listed in no particular order but that of making me yearn for every dawn like it's the first one.
Tocadilly by Rochas
If a spring fragrance can combine warmth and coolness like the mark of one's breath on the window-pane on an ambiguous chilly morning that will later thaw, then the armload of lilacs hiding in this fragrance's heart are just what is needed. Christopher Sheldrake worked with a delicate palette that weaves jade-greens and wisteria-mauves into mixes that blur and leave you wondering at its ethereal beauty, much like watching a dance perfomance that defies gravity. Most unfairly overlooked and making me appreciate its rarity value even more!
Snob by Le Galion
The unusual green, licorice-bittersweet aspect of estragon, among the so-called "simples", one-remedy herbs, used by Hippocrates and possibly (?) named after a corruption of the middle-French esdragon (derived from the plant's Latin specific name artemisia dracunculus, "little dragon") is reputed to help in treating bites of insects and snakes. I wouldn't dream of wishing you any occurrence in which you should need its medicinal properties, but if you are simpatico to its charms, the combination with the classical floral bouquet of rose and jasmine is producing something very close to Patou's Joy and yet a little different in a cocky way in this -by now obscure- French firm's of the 1930s offering.
Cristalle by Chanel
If a cartload of juicy lemons is smiling my way on its embarkment spot in Sicily via an architectural austere flacon then I know I am in the presence of Cristalle in Eau de Toilette. If by some fateful chance I am garlanding my hair with yellow bits of honeysuckle blossoms while drinking said lemonade at an outdoor cinema just opening its gavel-strewn lawns in May after months of inertia, then Cristalle in Eau de Parfum is winking its seductive, youthful wiles at me. The night is nostalgic and promising and I am smitten by its pedigree and effortless elegance.
Lentisque by 06310
The at once fluffy and oleaginous flavour of mastic or lentisque, a resin from a variety of the pistachio tree growing on the island of Chios in the Eastern Aegean sea is hard to convincingly capture. In this Grasse family-owned company's fragrance, the beloved culinary lentisque is blended with essences of amber seed, iris, jasmin, Turkish rose, musk, amber and vetiver to render an amalgamation of aromata that seem to hazily blur like watercolours running into each other on thick drawning paper, mixed during a nonchalant Sunday afternoon.
Flora Nerolia by Guerlain
There is nothing more March-like than the smell of bitter orange trees blossoming, their waxy white petals infiltrating the glossy green of the leaves and some fruit still hanging from the branches, like a reminder of what has been already accomplished. Guerlain captured the ethereal vapors of steam of these delicate, ravishing blossoms and married them to a pre-emptying summery jasmine and the faint whiff of cool frankincense burning inside a Greek Orthodox church preparing for the country's most devout celebration: Easter. Flora Nerolia is like a snapshot of late Lent in Greece and for that reason is absolutely precious to me.
Vanille Galante by Hermès
One of my latest infatuations, this water-ballet of lily and vanilla pod is uttely charming on skin that is coming out of hibernation like migratory habits of exotic birds which come back to nest on one's roof, their happy melodious sounds signalling the final coming of warmth. If Vanille Galante were a bird it would be a Kookaburra.
Fiori di Capri by Carthusia
If wood is the Chinese symbol of elementals for spring, then Fiori di Capri is not out of place, thanks to its distinctive oak-y vibrance beneath an intensely indolic peppery carnation and some innocently coy lily of the valley. Allegedly based on an original fragrance by Father Prior of the San Giacomo Monastry on Capri, made in 1380, the scent is just this side short of being a ticket to either the verdant Capri itself or the vertiginous heights of the Balcon de Europa in Nerja, Malaga.
Une Fleur de Cassie by Frédéric Malle
The catty-animalic pong of cassie hiding in this gem floral in the Editions de Parfums line-up is an emblem of a formidable perfumer, Dominique Ropion. Cassie flower is succulently and troublingly feminine with its intimate aura of consumed bodies and here it reveals its facets unapologetically, with a little carnation as a counterpoint sumptuously combined with vanilla and sandlwood. Wearing it makes me feel like La Veuve Aphrodissia in Marguerite Yourcenar's Nouvelles Orientales collection of short stories: the impossible alliance between passion and social conventions.
Tubéreuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens
If Carnal Flower is my default tuberose for summer thanks to its green humid airness and slight coconutty deliciousness that makes it tropical and modern to the 9th degree, Tubereuse Criminelle is just the right rite of passage worthy of a Stravinsky suite to prepare the grounds for summer and thus perfect for this transitional period. Its camphoric opening is akin to spectacular and beautiful weirdness.
Amoureuse by Parfums DelRae Roth
Pry under a delicate constellation of petals and you come face to face with something more naughty than you would ever imagine at first: the genitals of a living organism; on this occasion a flower's! The spicy, heady, at once green and floral coalescence of Amoureuse, seguing to musky perfection is unashamedly sexy and reminiscent of what spring is all about: nature's season for mating!
If you have a moment to spare the following little online test might tell you which flowers' scented style might suit you best.
What are you wearing or planning to wear this sping?
All photos copyright Helg/Perfumeshrine