Friday, February 18, 2011

Sunny Fragrances to Beat the Winter Blues

There are some occasions in the lagging days of winter, eternally stuck someplace between middle & end of February, when the snow keeps piling up at the front windows and the birds fly down-spin over the yard, which can exasperate even the bravest of brave souls. Although my own native winters are mild & sunny, with only the occasional snowfall, white flakes not sturdy enough to pile up and withstand the coming out of the sun the next day, every time I have been away from home into a northern European country or in the windy winters of Down Under beside the lapping of the cold ocean, I got a taste for what it must feel like to always be cold, always rubbing one's nose when outside to stop it from getting numb.

The scented world around seems sleeping, with the indoor smells gaining momentum, but perfume can provide an intentional, on demand change of one's landscape: How exquisite a pearly aldehydic floral seems on an ice-cold day and how bright & dreamy does a floriental, full of the sunny rays that warmed the petals of its tropical flowers...

My picks for instilling a sunny disposition and banish those winter blahs comprise a list of perfumes which are noted for their optimism, sheer joie de vivre, indulgent nature and easy wearing; in two words, uncomplicated happiness! Fragrances to remind you of the coming of spring and to put a spring in your (still mutton-wearing) step! After all, in Turkish tradition the end of February marks the end of winter's cemre: Cemre are 3 fireballs coming from heavens to warm the earth for the coming of spring; the first appears on February 19-20, the second between February 26-27 and the third falls to ground on 5-6 March...Spring is just round the corner!
And if you're gifting someone to cheer them up, consider a bouquet of chocolate hearts for a perfect gift hamper accompanied with an elegant floral perfume for a striking impression.

10 Fragrances to Beat the Winter Blues for Men/Women:

Patricia de Nicolai Le Temps d'une Fête
The perfect hyacinth-ladden green floral to evoke spring, full of crushed leaves & grass; a fragrance so beautiful and cheerful that it will make you spin around and around humming Mendelssohn's Spring Song even when getting down the Christmas decorations.

Ayala Moriel Les Nuages de Joie Jaune
Described as "drifting in yellow clouds of happiness", this is an all-natural soliflore fragrance built on the yellow pom-poms of mimosa and the honeyed goodness of cassie. As light as air and as joyful as the first bright, sunny day in late February. [availability]

Annick Goutal Songes
Someplace in the tropics, languorous women with Gaugin-esque physiques pick up cananga odorata (ylang ylang blossoms) to render their sunny essence which finds its way inside this summery potion of liquid sunshine. A floriental full of the suntan and solar notes of salicylates, fanned on a vanillic and woody base.

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic
These succulent Mediterranean flavours, combining almost as in a fruit salad, benefit from the spicy zing of the basil note. An easy, piquant scent which lifts the mood anytime.

Profumum Victrix
The Latin sounding name hides a masculine cologne of earth and wind, where the laurel, the greens and the coriander conspire to give notions of open, endless prairies under a dog-toothed sun.

Molinard de Molinard
Fruity floral in the best possible sense. If you like Amazone and just didn't know where to look to to find a similar fragrance, look no further. This is has the happy ambience of a warm summer evening spent at an outdoors cinema in Sicily or a Greek island, all paved with gravel, with thick jasmine & honeysuckle vines climbing its walls, watching Cinema Paradiso.

Hermès Concentrée d'Orange Verte
This lime-laced cologne is simply the best masculine/unisex cologne to lift a lagging mood or a weary spirit. The hesperidic touch is enough to get you out of bed as sure as a good Robusta.

Patou Câline
The greenly fresh aldehydic sophistication and malleable primness of Patou’s Câline remind me of Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, after her European trip in which she becomes a proper “lady”, almost unrecognizable to those who knew her as merely the chauffer’s daughter to the rich family. [Full review here.]

Lancôme Miracle So Magic
A surprising entry in the Miracle flankers stable, this is composed by Annick Menardo and although it diverts from her smoky, dark path, it bears a remarkable affability without insipidness: the green sweet smell of clover fields opens up on an endless vista in front of you as wild-flowers zoom into focus. Just lovely!

Hermès Iris Ukiyoé
Its detractors call it "Yuck! Away!" but don't let this parody on the Japanese-alluding name deter you. Notes of an aqueous hydrangea and a lightly spicy grape-like accent bring forth the fantasy of the iris flower, instead of the familiar rooty-violety root. Spring-like! [Full review here.]

And of course anticipating some of the upcoming fragrances for spring makes one dream a little bit and withstand the last throes of cold better. Catch them up here!

And you? What are your favourite fragrances to come out of hibernation? Tell me in the comments.

Spring Song by Felix Mendelssohn from "Lieder Ohne Worte".
Painting "The Promise of Spring" by Lawrence Alma-Tadema.
Molinard pic via Goutal bottle via


  1. What a great post, thank you! Right now, I crave green scents. Le Temps d'Une Fete, Chanel 19 edt, Silences, Bas de Soie. We are in a period of false spring in the midwest US, the snow is melting and the sun is shining; February's wolf wearing sheep's clothing just before the snow returns, I'm sure.

  2. What Rosarita Said. It was 65F yesterday, with the wet breezes equated with late spring. It's the perfect reintroduction to green scents....until that backfires with the next blizzard!

  3. Anonymous16:15

    For instant spring, it's Diorissimo or Replique for me. I don't find the latter dark at all, as I've read in some reviews. I have some vintage bath oil and parfum, and to me it's spring-in-a-bottle - automatically the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and fresh breezes are blowing! And for a spring into summer effect, there's Lime Basil & Mandarin.

  4. I wear Chanel no 19 or Tocca Giulietta for a pick me up. I've just noticed that most of my perfumes are more suited for fall/winter than spring/summer. I think that I am probably going to reach for Giulietta or Dia today. it's going to be in the mid 50's today!

  5. I, too, crave spring-like scents toward the end of winter. A favorite is Penhaligon's Bluebell. It has an authentic green opening that smells like a spring garden. Plus, the bottle is just adorable; it always puts a smile on my face.

  6. I've been wearing a lot of Le Temps d'un Fete lately. The cheerful daffodil and hyacinth always makes me think of my mother's Easter table settings. I also like Bigarade Concentree for chasing away winter blues. it's like liquid sun.

  7. R,

    thank you!
    Hope the weather stays nice for you.
    Green scents are synonymous with spring to me too. But sometimes (when they veer into chypre) I wear them in summer to cool down too: this is the case with No.19 and Silences. Also Bandit!

  8. M,

    argh...hope there is no blizard again. I hear terrible things about the last time.
    Get your green scents out and think positively! :-)

  9. P,

    can't say that I find Replique dark either. Of course it all depends on the condition of the vintage; maybe if the top notes are completely destroyed...Diorissimo IS spring, but it doesn't keep well, worse luck.
    Lb&M is perhaps the breeziest in the JM line!

  10. Eld,

    I NEED to retru Julietta. I liked one of the Toccas and can't recall which it was right now (am having a blonde moment).
    Dia sounds like an excellent choice!

  11. B,

    thanks for chiming in! I love the Penhaligon's packaging, it's so romantic. :-)

  12. K,

    you too! Easter associations are an added mental bonus from now on. Thank you!

  13. Anonymous20:39

    I like fresh colognes to give me that much needed mid-winter boost. At the moment the Atelier Colognes are in heavy rotation, also Hermes Colognes and Jardins and the Dior Escales. I tend to wear more summer scents in February than in August! ;)

  14. Thanks for a lovely post! I took a couple of notes from it, mostly about Alaya Moriel's mimosa. To me mimosa spells S-p-r-i-n-g. I haven't tried many different ones, so I am accumulating samples of different mimosas to try on in early March.

    I do love my gourmands (DSH Mahjoun) and woody spicy (Tolu) in Winter, and they make me smile just as much as aldehydic #5, Climat and Ma Griffe.

    I need to explore further :)

  15. Anonymous22:29

    Hi Elena,

    Love these types of posts. :) And, YAY to see Songes on your list. ((( gentle reminder.... review Songes -pretty please?! )))

    I really need to sniff Lancome's Miracle So Magic now.

    My sunny picks are:

    Caleche Fleurs de Mediterranee

    Carthusia IO Capri

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend.


  16. For some reason, I don't care for spring scents in the fall/winter. It just seems wrong...but, I have recently found an exception: Ormonde Jayne Champaca. Since cooler weather is kinda rare in SoCal, I'm enjoying Chergui, OJ Woman, Orchidee Vanille, Incense Rose for as long as I can...

  17. I own and love Mandarine Basilic and I wear it often in winter, because it makes me feel like "walking on sunshine".

    Hermès Un Jardin sur le Nil, Yves Rocher Comme une évidence and a lovely oil from Ajmal, soapy and floral, can help too.

  18. Anonymous01:18

    hey! we've been having a springlike snap, and it's waaay too warm for february, so i've had to adjust my scents rather quickly. this week i've been drawn to more florals - ninfeo mio, un lys, louve - whereas when it was cold i was all over cartier XII and ambre sultan.

    i came across and tried a sample of goutal's neroli yesterday and went mad for it! it made me crave anais anais... i went looking for my bottle of anais, and couldn't find it anywhere. waaaaah. plan to look for it again. i hadn't realized until sniffing the goutal neroli just how much orange blossom is in anais anais.

    hoping for another couple of cold snaps before it heats up for real...


  19. Miel de Bois works wonder for me; sparkles of pollen all around me, buzzing of buzy body bees in gardens. It is simply my Jovence Liqueur ^_- but because i'll have to fly to Paris to buy another one, my sample of Surrender by Kilian does lift my need of light in scented molecules. Your propositions in today's message awakens my curiosity and i will give Herme's CONCENTRE D'ORANGE VERTES a try. ciao!

  20. ClassFlirt17:08

    ive been indulging in Dityque's l'Ombres dans l'eau and Clos Jardin also Van Cleef Gardenia Petale and AA Herba Fresca as its been nearly 70 degrees in Memphis this past week. would love a nice citrus- thanks for the recommendations, ya'll!

  21. I would add here Orange Sanguine and also Happy. They really are very optimistic on a dull rainy day. I love your list, especially the ones I have tried:-) Like Molinard by Molinard, absolutely a booster. I have also found that Cartier de Lune is somewhat a summer scent. I feel this very much! xx

  22. Olfactoria,

    the Atelier colognes are very nice, aren't they? Which is your favourite?

    I can certainly relate in that February seems endless, especially to those living in cooler climates. Injecting some summery fun in cologne form sounds ingenious!

  23. warum,

    you're welcome, glad you enjoyed!
    Ayala makes some very nice things, I think you will be pleased if you order a sample set. (I also love her Film Noir, which is a dark dark patchouli, very smooth, nothing summery though!))

    I can't but agree on Tolu: it's such a treat!!!! The green aldehydics (Climat) are quite spring like to me. The rest can be enjoyed year-round.

  24. Dawn,

    thanks for commenting and saying so!

    Will definitely do a full review, promise! :-)

    The Lancome is perfectly uncomplicated and it smells best on clothes, especially the next day: a very happy, sweet grass-sweet flower smell, uplifting and very easy.

    Love your sunny picks! Mimosa/acacia scents are the very definition of the beginning of spring.

  25. Lang,

    maybe you're lucky in living in a very moderate climate, contrary to some of our readers who experience extremes. I can see what you mean; I try to max out on orientals when it's cold, because we get hot summers here.
    Lovely choices, I have to say!!

  26. Isa,

    indeed, perfectly said!

    Love the other two and am curious about Ajmal: which one is it?? (inquiring minds want to know)

  27. Minette,

    our winter has been schizo as well: one week cooooooold, then spring-like, then again cold, then again spring-like warm in the 18-20C.

    Love your choices: that cartier and Un Lys are so very polished, so very intimate....

    Neroli is a very uplifting, happy, optimistic smell. Goutal's is very realisrtic. You might get a kick out of knowing you were the inspiration for my writing my Anais review (finally!): check it out!

  28. Violaine,

    envious, envious, envious: I only get the urine, not that I mind, but it's not that exciting to wear all the time either.
    Do try the Hermes, it's such a glorious uncomplicated but satisfying cologne.

  29. CF,

    I always found Jardin Clos very hyacinth-lilac like which IS indeed spring-like! HF on the other hand is a whiff of summer tea and wonderful.

    The recs from readers are fabulous, glad you liked them! (often get ideas from readers, which is half the fun in answering comments)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  30. VL,

    good additions! They are ...happy! (Happy gets a bad rep through ubiquitousness I think)
    Ah, you like M de M!! I'm deliriously happy to find someone who does as well. It's a standard spring and summer evening scent for me.


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