Thursday, November 1, 2018

Autumn Harvest and Shamhain: The Warmth of the Season

Late autumn is a sure signal of embracing the joys of the hearth to whom I'm not at all averse. Before the temperatures demand lightening the fireplace with a proper, roaring log fire (it's not too cold where I am yet, in fact it's unusually warm this year), lightening scented candles makes for a cozy ambience in res media. Diptyque's Maquis and Figuier candles, preferably lit together to throw their combined scent, is probably the most nostalgic scent for me personally, reminiscent as it is of the aroma of the Mediterranean countryside, filled with the burnished copper of immortelle, the sapling of the fig tree and its bittersweet smelling leaves slowly decaying on the moistened soil. And oranges, lots of oranges...

photo, borrowed, credit: Nik Sharma A Brown Table via

Some of the fragrances I long to wear again this month are as follows:

Une Fleur de Cassie (Éditions des Parfums Frédéric Malle)

It didn't take me a trip to fragrance capital, Grasse, to appreciate the exquisite technique showcasing every nook and cranny of the mimosa/cassie essences, but that didn't do any harm either! Une Fleur de Cassie has the right amount of "dirty" gusset to hint at coarse carnality (cassie absolute is notoriously musky, jasmine absolute is indolic) while at the same time remaining a gorgeous floral (hints of carnation and rose absolute), smudging its odds and ends into almost an oriental (sandalwood, vanillic fond)

Like This (Etat Libre d'Orange created in collaboration with Tilda Swinton) 

A natural autumnal option since it features actual notes of pumpkin, gingerbread spices, everlasting flower (immortelle), warm woody notes and the scent of damp, mulch-rich earth (in the very best way). Mmmm, probably a cult gourmand since contrary to other gourmand fragrances heavy on the foody aspects this harvest scent has perfumistas flocking to it.

Black Orchid (Tom Ford)

Forget every blurb you read about how the perfume was developed according to Tom's specifications it should smell "like a man's crotch." (Glurp! I know you wish you hadn't heard of that. Unless you're playing for the other team, in which case grab this to try out.) Thankfully, this truffle and flowers on a vanilla base floriental doesn't smell as crude as that might make it sound. But it's undeniably sexy all the same, and cozy too in its own way.

Santal Blush (Tom Ford)

A gorgeous, clean, dry sandalwood fragrance with an immediate message of sensuousness and no boozy aftertaste; beautiful and wearable, as tactile as smooth silk cushions. Unisex fare!

Molecule 01 (Escentric Molecules)

If you want to give the impression you don't wear anything (play them low and reap them high) this mono-molecule fragrance (it's full of just aromachemical Iso-E Super) at an optimum concentration will trick your date into believing it's just your skin smelling that good. Totally abstract, can't place it, can't put a finger on it, fuzzy, buzzy, delicious trail...

L'Orpheline (Serge Lutens)

This "orphaned girl" is such a peculiarly unisex blend that I dare anyone to smell it and attribute it to girls. Its slightly body odor-ish intimacy is kinda addictive; I wore intensely when it came out with no diminished enjoyment for its austere woods, intense musks, hint of herbal bitters and wink of sweet spice. I put it aside for a while but need to bring it out again. A bit of cozy dirt can be good for the soul!

La Myrrhe (Serge Lutens)

Myrrh gum is part of ecclesiastical incense alongside frankincense for millennia. You would expect a true blue oriental going by the name, right? Lutens infuses the bitter ambience of myrrh with candied mandarin rind and citrusy aldehydes which bring this on the upper plane of an airy aldehydic. Somehow it wears lightly but solemnly too (just like the season isn't yet dead cold, right?) and it resembles nothing else on the market. Crisp days bring La Myrrhe's attributes to the fore and it remains amongst my most precious possessions.

Antaeus (Chanel)

A masculine in my rotation and a powerfully 1980s at that, bringing the era back as surely as quarterback shoulder pads, Doc Martins and "mullet" hairstyles. Who said fall isn't about nostalgia? The beeswax leathery honeyed carnality is palpable. I consider it among my sexiest fall fragrances and feedback suggests I'm not delusional…

Hypnotic Poison (Christian Dior)

I'm cheating with this one, as I actually use the body lotion instead of the eau de parfum or eau de toilette versions. Still the fetish-y red, poisoined apple creates as much intrigue with its looks as it does with its scent. Fairy tales and original sin mix and testimonies say it works on guys like a magical charm. The bitter almond folded into vanilla cream radiates with the sensuality of musk and jasmine.

And for an interesting (a ha!) juxtaposition with what I was anticipating of wearing last year approaching the beginning of fall, here is the link to last year's autumn fragrances picks. And yet another list of autumn perfumes, divided into trickesters and treaters,  in the spirit of Halloween and Shamhain. For those celebrating Dia de los Muertos, here is a recipe for kolyva dessert, the traditional offering (spondee) to the dead in my culture.

Here's to a lovely rest of the fall season and a beautiful winter ahead!
Let me know which are your favorite or most worn fragrances this season in the comments.


  1. Hypnotic Poison is my choice from the list. Love this warm, yummy fragrance.

    1. It's great in winter and cool weather in general. Though most complain it's been watered down very much so lately.

  2. annemariec10:34

    Ambre des Merveilles does it for me. A mixture of melancholy and contentment. Your pairing of it with Faure's Sicilienne in your review is genuis. The John Atkiknson Grimshaw images in the video are perfect too.

    1. Thanks (and you remembered!). Yup, it's a very good one, that one, among the best ambers out there. Never suffocating, always elegant, always cozy. Enjoy!

  3. annemariec10:35

    Ambre des Merveilles does it for me. A mixture of melancholy and contentment. Your pairing of it with Faure's Sicilienne in your review is genuis. The John Atkiknson Grimshaw images in the video are perfect too.

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