Ah fall. I have mixed feelings about fall. I love the clean air, the smell of leaves underfoot and light in the sky. Where I live, fall is a welcome relief after a hot and humid summer. However, it’s what comes after fall that I do not like. Let’s not dwell on things like unpleasant sub zero weather. For now, let’s just enjoy the beauty of sweater weather, and wear our leather boots, vampy nail polish and cozy scarves, ok? Ok.
One of the nice things about cooler temperatures is busting out my Cozy Perfumes. I call them cozy because they have notes that bloom in the cold and have almost a warming effect. Spices, amber and cuddly powdery notes envelop us like a warm cashmere scarf. Here are some of my favourites:
Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Intense came out last month and is just perfect for fall. The warm vanilla top notes and woodsy sandalwood and patchouli base notes give the sweet fruity notes a cozy cool weather twist. If you like Miss Dior (newer), Coco Mademoiselle and Black Opium, give this one a try! At Guerlain counters and Guerlain Institute boutiques.
Elizabeth and James Nirvana Rose and Nirvana Bourbon are autumn perfume must-haves! If you love the original Nirvana perfumes you may like these, but they are different animals from Black and White. But, if a dark sultry rose or a woodsy oak-y smoky vanilla perfume sounds good to you, you must seek these out! Nirvana Bourbon is a boozy bourbon scent that is somehow soft and powdery at the same time, and could easily be a unisex scent. Nirvana Rose is a beautiful smoky rose with vetiver taking the sweetness off the flower and adding a mysterious vibe. Get at Sephora.
Tom Ford recently added four new fragrances to his Private Blend Line, Les Extraits Vert, and they had me at “vert” aka “green”. I love green fragrances, and Vert de Bois is a stand out from this new collection with it’s deep, dark Mediaeval forrest vibe. I don’t get a lot of top and heart notes from this, rather I get them all at once. Even the base notes are part of the deal, at least for around thirty minutes until it’s started to dry down. So it’s all poplar buds and the resiny green mastic – almost like a magical pine or cypress tree – and spiked ouzo-anise, combined with woodsy notes, patchouli and tonic bean for sweetness. It’s avant garde and unusual, which we’ve come to expect from Tom Ford, and something a little different for fall and winter. I think it’s genius, and it’s been a long time since someone has used green notes (aside from niche) so interestingly in a perfume. It reminds me so much of vintage Balmain Vert that I had to do a side by side sniff test. Of course they’re different, but the deep, dark green resinous vibe is similar enough for me to love Vert de Bois.
CLASSIC, NICHE, VINTAGE:
Autumn always brings back memories of back to school for me, and the perfume I wore in high school is a perfect fall choice. Although YSL Opium is perhaps an odd choice for a high schooler (hey it was the 80s), it is a beautiful perfume full of spicy goodness for cooler weather. YSL Opium has suffered from the dreaded reformulation but still smells good. I found a bottle of the vintage parfum/extrait and it smells like heaven. Just a drop on each wrist and on my neck and I’m in 70s vintage heaven. I was inspired to wear Opium by my glamorous next door neighbour while growing up. Neither my mother nor my Auntie Luba (my two perfume inspirations) wore anything like Opium, and the next door neighbour would walk into our house in a cloud of soapy spicy heaven. She had a dark purple shag rug in her living room, and always wore those flowing Indian cotton skirts and blouses with jingling bracelets and bangles. I wore Opium for many years – I had the soap and talcum powder to go with it – and today just a sniff takes me back to happy days.
Kiehl’s Original Musk works all year round, but I particularly love it in cooler weather. It is as to wear as a white t shirt, and smells sexy and soft with zero pretension. It’s a soft and velvety musk, versus the soapy vibe of a crisp and clean Egyptian musk. It has a sexy skin scent that is sensual as well as cuddly and cozy. My husband loves it on me, and I love it on him! It makes me think of how his t shirts smell. When my youngest daughter was little, she said it smelled like hugs. Kiehl’s Original Musk is as easy to wear as a white t shirt, and I love it when I can’t decide on which perfume to wear. It’s always perfect.
Annick Goutal Passion is a lush explosion of white flowers – jasmine, tuberose and gardenia – that is not necessarily the first perfume one would think of for cooler weather. It may be that when I first started wearing Passion, it was autumn. I remember it well – it was around 1992 and my husband and I would escape to Montreal for
super fun wild party romantic weekends. I had discovered Annick Goutal Passion and fell head over heels for it’s narcotic beauty. I think the mossy patchouli in the base it what makes this cozy? I prefer Passion in colder weather, it’s almost too much in the heat. Annick Goutal uses tomato leaf in a couple of her scents, and in Passion it’s a zingy energizing spicy note. Someone told me once that it smelled like “sexy jasmine tea” and that has stuck with me. Annick Goutal Passion is a warm sexy floral, perfect for wrapping around yourself like a cashmere scarf in cooler weather.
It wouldn’t be cool weather without some Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles. The powdery leather bomb of legend just blooms in cooler weather. It’s not for the faint of heart, well, maybe the current version is. As long as you like that more modern leather note which can be a bit challenging, for me at least. I have a bottle that is around fifteen to twenty years old, and my friend Tina gave me a decant of her 1960s vintage Bal A Versailles. Oh mama, the vintage version is simply heaven. It’s like a powder puff of sexy vanilla on warm, almost sweaty skin. Swoon worthy stuff. The dry down of my version and the vintage are very close, but the top notes quite different. But I love them both. Both are warm, spicy sexy Orientals chock full of warm, spicy amber, benzoin and resins, and the amber is the powder here. Add some vanilla and killer musk, leather, iris and patchouli (among many other ingredients) and Bal a Versailles is the perfect cuddly, wrap-yourself-up-in-coziness perfume for cooler weather.
What are your favourite cold weather perfumes? What scents do you wear when you are craving cozy?