Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring Floral Fragrances: Delicate Beauties Yielding Under Your Caress

Legend wants it that the goddess Flora created violets out of the body of a butterfly, but flowers have the power to lure humans in ways that insects can't fathom. Did you know that Tristan carved a message to Yseult on a branch covered in honeysuckle, the flower standing for devotion, thus signaling the infinity of their bond? Kama, the Indian goddess of love, strikes her victims with a jasmine-laced arrow. Greek and Latin god Eros/Cupid spilled a cup of red wine on the white rose, turning it from a symbol of purity to code for romance. Tuberose ignites innermost desires as its seductive, highly heady warmth garlands newlywed's beds in a promise of sensual profusion. And gardenia was introduced as the height of courtesy and elegance when Beau Brummel first put one as his boutonniere on the jacket lapel back in the 19th century. The custom of offering lily of the valley on May 1st dates even further back: it was Charles IX who first offered these tiny bell-shaped flowers to his mother, Catherine de Medicis, as a good luck charm.

Renunculas & Apples by Jeffrey Smith

This spring I brought out the following fragrances to mark the transition from the bonfires, the rich ambers and the patchoulis of wintertime to the hopeful freshness and floral garlands of springtime.

Patricia de Nicolai Le Temps d'une Fete
Barnyard narcissus frolics sweetly with hyacinth, daffodil and galbanum. Like a roll in the hay on a warm May day.

Editions des Parfums Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie
Oozing with animalic come-hither while at the same time retaining a fuzzy, soft caressing innocence. A masterpiece.

Maria Candida Gentile Hanbury
A staggering vista of a Mediterranean garden; sweetly citrusy on top, lushly floral and nectarous in the heart thanks to calycanthus and mimosa, wonderfully understated and elegant in its base.

Guerlain Aqua Alegoria Jasminora
A. Japanese garden, misty at the edge of dawn. A trellis of white blossoms, tiny in the emerging light.

Clarins Elysium
Clean and fresh, without being soapy, screechy or loud; delicate, elegant, sadly discontinued.

Tauer Perfumes Zeta
Almost flavored by linden blossom, reminiscing me of edible linden or rose honey I used to buy when gallivanting on the slopes of Zakinthos island in the Ionian Sea, rather than merely the delightful blossoms on the tree.

YSL Paris
A mirage of rose and violet that takes us into a Parisian springtime stroll under the Seine bridges.

Yves Rocher Pur Desir de Lilas
Yves Rocher captures the sweet pollen like facet of lilac in the heart, while retaining the bright aspects of a vivid floral on top.

Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss
Graceful, fresh and powdery with orris, jasmine and orange blossom, without pretence, classy....
a "nouveau chypre" that is proud of the moniker.

Chanel Les Exclusifs Bel Respiro
Brings on a pastoral theme to its stemmy, herbal aroma of galbanum with touches of spring florals. To don with a sundress and slingbacks.

What are YOU wearing this spring?


  1. I love this blog and all these fragrances sound lovely for spring! I'm currently transitioning from my winter fragrance, Tom Ford Black Orchid, to my spring fragrance (which I absolutely love despite the horrible name) Lanvin Marry Me. When I originally came across this fragrance the name completely put me off, but once I smelled it I couldn't resist. It is this very bright, lateral white floral. I never thought I was a white floral fan until this fragrance and I absolutely love it! And it's perfect for this time of year!

  2. Victoria19:00

    I absolutely enjoy this blog. Never thought I would become a perfumista. I have been exploring the world of JCE's work, and discovered a new fragrance I absolutely adore - "Iris Ukiyoé." Not sure if it is considered a spring composition; however, it smell absolutely lovely on my. Last spring I used Gucci II, which I still own and love, but now it's time to move forward with more refined scents like "Iris Ukiyoé."

  3. I never used to like Spring, but wearing Tauer's Carillon Pour Un Ange and Vero Profumo Rubj give me new perspective of this season. Love these two.

  4. Anonymous00:30

    I'm wearing Bois de Violette, La Myrrhe and Nahema parfum ;-)


  5. Mrs.Scents,

    thank you for the nice words and welcome here!

    Marry Me does sound a bit...desperate for a name, but if the juice suits you, then all is forgiven. I think at some point we go beyond names/packaging/whatever and just indulge what we enjoy.
    So, enjoy!! (Black Orchid btw is very good, there's just something about it)

  6. Victoria,

    how lovely and thanks for discovering these pages, hope to see you often here.

    Gucci II is one of the most likeable fruity florals in the market, don't knock it! I who don't usually lean that way (the fruity way I mean) find it just right, very elegant and restrained. ;-)
    Iris Ukiyoe is the kind of delicate and super-refined thing that JCE excels at: I find his kind of luxury sophisticated, non pretentious, effortless and not trying hard. In fact exactly what I consider modern luxury. Many of his Hermessences are an exercise in this notion of luxury: spare lines, zen effect.

  7. Jam,

    have to say your choices, as divided and different as they are, are juust wonderful. I find both perfumers extremely talented and deserving all the accolades.
    Spring can be a good thing! Enjoy!

  8. Emma,

    thanks for sharing :-)
    La Myrrhe is spectacular: instant love for me as soon as it was out, my first bell jar and I wonder what has stopped me from reviewing it in full so far.
    The rest are also you to a T. (Wish I could make Nahema be subtler in its fruitiness so I could claim it as mine)

  9. Anonymous08:23

    I've switched from YSL Opium and CK Obsession (wintery scents, I guess, according to your description) to Cerruti Image and Thierry Mugler Cologne, which I would classify as summer scents, but spring came and went very quickly this year, here, in Arizona. Daytime temps are in the 90 - 95 degrees F. range now, and it feels more like summer, here, in the Sonoran Desert. :-( ~ danoji ~

  10. Anonymous10:30

    I am wearing the EL Jasmine White Moss which seems so perfect right now - I bought this a couple of years ago when you first reviewed it, E, and love it. So thank you for introducing it to me!

    So many on your list are favourites of mine, and I too mourn the passing of Elysium, which was a great, classy fragrance.


  11. MariaA11:00

    Ohh spring scents are amazing, currently I am wearing the new Aqua Allegoria - Bouquet de Mai.
    Would like to try the new Paris edition as well as the Green tea Cherry blossom though!

  12. We have had such an early spring this year. Already into my one true harbinger, vintage Diorissimo :)

  13. Using my last few drops of Une Fleur de Chanel, my May wedding perfume. Chanel Gardenia, EL Jasmine White Moss, Guerlain Apres L'Ondee and Chamade. Gualtier's Fragile for my tuberose, and Florascent's Violetta for a fresh green violet. When it gets hotter and summery, White Linen and Tommy Girl will be in constant rotation. Yes, I bathe in perfume year-round! Oh, and how I morn the discontinuation of dear Elysium! I used to work for Clarins, and hoarded bottles! I have none left, alas....

  14. Anonymous13:47

    I read your blog daily, your writing is a treasure.
    Spring is my favorite season, and I gave myself a jumpstart with my GUERLAIN MUGUET.

    I want to let you know that Robert Piguet just came out with a lighter version of FRACAS named after Douglas Hannant, the designer. It is a younger, non-suffocating (?) version that is lovely. Perhaps you may want to try it and review it.


  15. Julie H.16:36

    I'm wearing L'eau de Chloe. Fresh beginning, chypre ending.

  16. Anonymous19:24

    a new-found love - lush's gorilla perfume lust. a jasmine-laden treat! and everyone around me reacts to it as positively as i do - and i get lots of "oooh, it smells like spring to me!" type comments.

    before that, i honestly can't recall! the lusty jasmine has obliterated every other scent in my mind. just kidding. but it sorta has. this has become spring to me!


  17. Danoji,

    I guess the arid climate of Arizona doesn't sustain spring for long.
    Excellent choices for warm and hot weather, the TM Cologne especially.

  18. Jillie,

    that's so nice to hear! Thanks for telling me. I think it's a lovely new chypre that smells very true to the genre; it's optimistic to witness this!

    So sad about Elysium, a mystery why they axed it.

  19. Maria,

    thanks for stopping by!
    There's something really heart-opening about nature taking on this colourful mantle, isn't there?
    The Guerlain is a LE, enjoy!!

  20. Kuromi,

    aah, vintage Diorissimo. Nuff said.

    (and *sigh*)

  21. Annina,

    so many fragrances! And a lovely wedding fragrance memento :-)
    It's a real shame on Elysium. How disappointing that even though you hoarded there's none left. Nice brand you were working for, btw. :-)

  22. Judy,

    thanks for the lovely compliment. And for reading daily :-)

    I should definitely try that! I hadn't seen it in Europe, so perhaps I should grab a sample online.

  23. J,

    you're a competent proselytizer, do you know that? :P
    On to my list to try goes Lush's Lust!!

  24. Julie,

    yes, L'Eau de Chloe is an improvement on the Chloe EDP re-issue, I like that it has a mossy ending.;-)

  25. MariaA18:06

    Dear Elena, it is always a pleasure reading your reviews I was wondering if you have tried the new edition of Paris....

  26. Anonymous16:09

    I love wearing rose scents for spring!Paris YSL is eternal magic,i like Parisienne for the fruity touch of berries along with roses and Stella nude:Morrocan Roses and Musk tones!

  27. Maria,

    thanks honey! I will make a point of smelling it and reviewing it!

  28. Anon,

    I need to smell Stella Nude! I did like the Rose Absolue version, there was something weirdly sensual about it.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  29. Anonymous16:05

    Elena, in following the links to perfumes within your posted article I discovered that the links to YSL Paris are broken. You may want to fix them ... :) ~danoji~

  30. D,

    thanks for mentioning it!! Much appreciated. I fixed it now. :-)


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