Friday, October 16, 2009

Falling in Love~Scents and Treats for Fall

T.S Eliot in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock came up with the immortal line of having "measured out his life with coffee spoons".
Somewhat less arrestingly I have been counting the (academic) years by the new leather-bound notebooks I buy every September, a perpetual student even while lecturing others.

The mixed feelings of new beginnings and the wistfulness of the rainy season produce a compelling crash in me: Perhaps it's merely that I was born in autumn that it holds a special place in my heart. Perhaps it's that autumn is a special season any way, reminding us of our own mortality.

Whatever it is,
"La Petite Fille de la Mer" (Girl of the Sea) by Greek composer Vangelis, captured in this visually beautiful clip titled "Autumn" below, is following me these days.
I accordingly got myself a new bottle of Eau de Monsieur by Annick Goutal to replenish my finished one. It's a criminally underrated fragrance from 1980 which pioneered the use of immortelle back when no one would think of having that fenugreek-like aroma about them. Its sexy, maple & moss over warmed sand dunes, tawny atmosphere reminds me of the passage of summer into winter.
My evening-unwinding scent for when I'm in? Douce Amère by Serge Lutens (click for review), a mix of sweet and bitter like absinth liquor.

And then there are things that easily lend themselves to autumnal thoughts by their very nature. Whenever I catch a glimpse of Andrei Tarkovsky's Zerkalo (The Mirror) I find myself listening to the hush of nature going to sleep. Christopher Brosius' Burning Leaves comes to mind...With a touch of the gently decaying red apples and myrrh incense of Wazamba (review here).

During the day I am fantasizing of striding moors à la Catherine Earnshaw in sturdy and mean boots. I have zeroed on these ones by La Redoute. My black riding boots scent? Chanel Cuir de Russie in extrait de parfum or Doblis by Hermès, baby! (click for reviews)
And of course this calls for a nice cashmere little sweater that can be worn any day and not be cumbersome (we don't get the Yorkshire weather, after all!). This Isle of Skye little number looks perfectly cozy and flattering. I'd like it in charcoal grey and would pair it with just about anything: colourful shirts, print scarfs, jeans, my A-line skirt in pitch black...
My cashmere sweater scent? Barbara Bui Le Parfum and Sonia Rykiel Woman, not for Men! in Eau de Parfum strictly. (Interchangeably, they're quite similar, as you can read here)

In the evenings, as the weather cools progressively, I have been reverting to my comforting Crème Spendide Nuit by Annick Goutal, whose rose essence is perfectly calming while the texture is a dream: Its instant moisturising claim is not misleading. And spraying my surroundings with my latest obsession, Opopanax by Diptyque: If you even remotely like the classic Shalimar by Guerlain, give the Diptyque a whirl. The resinous powdery touch is perfect for centering and I love the elegant bottle.

I was watching Strange Days by Kathryn Bigelow (Cameron's wife for those who don't know her) on TV the other day. 14 years yesterday since its release and it struck me how modern it still looks, how original. (And I still absolutely adore the above song by PJ Harvey.)
In a way we're living snippets of the lives of others through the Internet these days: Their experiences become our collective "Squids" and you're in one of them. So I hope you enjoy the ride and are left with a desire to Playback!

Please visit the following blogs for more thoughts on favorite Fall scents & associations:

The Non Blonde, Under the Cupola, Ayala's Smelly Blog, Savvy Thinker, Olfactarama, Notes from the Ledge, Ars Aromatica, Mossy Loomings, I Smell Therefore I Am, Tea Sympathy and Perfume.

Sepia Tree photo credit: Autumn in Sepia by Rick Lundh (via manipulated by me.

All other photos by Elena Vosnaki (click to enlarge)

Clip October Dream originally uploaded by Shastasheene, Clip from Mirror originally uploaded by unkindrublicrpp, clip of Juliette Louis singing in Strange Days by SanJayaPrimeon Youtube.


  1. Fiordiligi13:49

    Oooh, what a lovely post dearest E! Catherine Earnshaw, cashmere sweaters, and what's this: "if you even remotely like Shalimar...." - wow, I'd better get over to Diptyque tomorrow!

    Thank you! Have a lovely weekend.

  2. Wonderful post, helg! This was such a fun project.

  3. Oh, that Tarkovsky...such lush cinematography...indeed a great sequence, the exploration of space and experience...topped with the water dripping while the fire rages...oh, my.

    I enjoyed your post very much, and am intrigued by how a number of us are exploring juxtapositions. Autumn is such a happy/sad full of bounty/preparing to shut down time of year.

    And the delights of sweaters and boots, of course. :)

  4. D,

    hello darling!
    Well, a few favourite things... Do try the Diptyque! (and please give it a few minutes to settle down)Have a most enjoyable weekend :-)

  5. M,

    thanks honey, I'm honoured everyone participated with such enthusiasm!

  6. S,

    aww, you liked it, didn't you? Thanks!!
    That sequence from Mirror is perfect, simply perfect! And this is early 70s cinema, when there were no special effects in such demand and people improvised their tricks...Imagine.

    Yes, I find the intercultural exchange wonderful and it's one of the main pleasures of reading the blogosphere.

  7. Love your post, E., especially the Cuir de Russie, and also the Strange Days reference! Awesomely bizarre movie, and absolutely enhanced by the PJ Harvey songs! Perhaps an unfortunately by-product was that Juliette Lewis got it into her head that she could actually sing, when it was PJ's borrowed talent alone that makes the music work in this film, but oh well!

  8. I don't think I remember the last time someone referenced Strange Days. Hilarious!

    Great post... time for me to start thinking about fall I guess. Hard to here in So Cal, where it is still 90+ degrees!

  9. Anonymous20:50

    Dearest E,

    You seemed to have caught the mood exactly; at least my mood anyway. I was thinking exactly of all of these things and wishing for a post like this from you.

    I am wearing my motorcycle boots and a cashmere sweater as I write this. Although I find it challenging to wear scents according to season, I will try to offer my own suggestions. I love to scent my home with Guerlain's Hiver en Russie, especially since we have had a rather wintry start to our autumn here (no snow but bitter cold).

    I always feel wistful in autumn and the perfume that elicits that same feeling is Vol de Nuit, not necessarily because of the scent itself but the tragic love story behind it. It is also, however, all about the strength of the spirit, which is something we need as we face the long winter to come.


  10. I think I should start watching movies seriously again:D

  11. Oh Helg, I must tell my daughter about the diptyque - she is a big lover of Shalimar.Yes, guerlain runs in the family - I even sprayed my newborn Grandson Carlos with Jicky when I first meet him in hospital - on his blanket of course ! LOL He is now 18 mths and we have Always waved the perfume tester strips under his nose since he could go out in his pusher shopping with us. I tell ya - he better be a "nose" for Guerlain when he grows up! He has definite likes too!!! lavender is one.
    For me - cool weather is Mitsouko. I must try that mens Goutal !!!
    Its spring here and so .... I am one of the few on the planet that likes Champs Elysee by Guerlain - especially in Spring . Spraying it right now! LOL

  12. Anonymous02:49

    What a wonderful post...I completely agree with the Diptyque Opoponax. Another scent that speaks "Fall" to me is CB Fire From Heaven, as does SL La Myrrhe.


  13. Elizabeth16:14

    Thanks for a great post, E.! I must try the Opoponax now, as well as Douce Amère. Too many scents, not enough arm space! :-D

  14. Aimee,

    thanks honey, glad to have amused you!
    Yup, SD is a bizarro, but so enjoyable on many levels :-)
    I haven't heard JL being as good as she was in those couple of songs.

  15. Diana,

    check it out again then! I think in hindsight it's more impressive.

  16. N,

    ahhh...great minds thinking alike and all that jazz :-))
    I bet your home smells magnificent and VdN is one of my most favourite scents for cooler weather (winter staple). I hadn't really thought about the story, though, despite Exupery being a writer I read with much pleasure.

  17. Liisa,

    is there any other way? :-))

  18. M dearest,

    how are you? So good to hear from you.
    I do recall your scent-loving family (apart from hubs, right?) and it's so endearing you're trying to inject the perfumista behavior patterns to your little bundle of joy!! (I do like lightly scented baby-linens)
    And yes, how could I forget about your loving Champs Elysees? It's not as atrocious as some make it out to be for sure!! It's still quite pretty.

  19. skrzypcze,

    thanks for saying so!
    Oh goody, another Diptyque fan! *feeling less alone*
    And of course La Myrrhe is majestic, you hit upon one of my most favourite Lutens (I am at the last dregs of my bell jar right now). However I haven't tried the CB one youn mention, thanks! *mental note to do it*

  20. Elizabeth,

    LOL, yeah, ain't that the truth! I have the same problem myself: It's hard to remember them all too! (Note taking is essential)

  21. I loved this post. In my opinion this is what you do best - associate scents with season, texture, sound and visuals. Brava! Although I have to say that the Vangelis piece reminded me more of a dreary February day than a glorious Autumn one!

    And please share the actual date of the special day in the Fall so that your friends and fans may fete you properly!


  22. D,

    thanks so much for your wonderful compliment!
    The Vangelis piece is a little too melancholic, eh? *giggle* But I like malencholy, you see.

    And so nice of you to ask about my special date, you've got mail! :-)


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