Thursday, February 12, 2015

Scents Of Winter

Winter means different things depending on where you are. Right now we're all about snow here in the Northeast, and Valentine's Day has been a blizzard day more times than I can remember. Snow has its distinct smell that you can catch in the air hours before it actually starts. In residential areas it's mixed with the scent of wood-burning fireplaces from all around you. that is, to me, winter here at home.  But I've also experienced winter in a couple of other places, and it's so different I could probably recognize it with my eyes closed.

Winter in Israel is more like spring here. That's the season when trees are in bloom and wildflowers pop up everywhere. It's also the season of fresh citrus fruit, so an Israeli winter to me will forever mean big juicy oranges, orange peels, and mandarin oranges that almost peel themselves for you. Winter is also the season for most fresh herbs, especially those that grow wild-- sage, marjoram, , and a native wild oregano known as za'atar.

The first couple of times I've been to London happened in the middle of winter, in January and February. It didn't stop me from falling deeply in love with the city. I didn't care that it rained and rained and rained some more. The rain-soaked concrete and cobblestone was different than that of the parks. And all around you there people in damp woolly coats and hats, stopping for roasted chestnuts from street vendor carts.

But back to the here and now, and to my ten perfume picks for the season. At this point of almost-mid-February I've already had enough. I may be a peaceful vegetarian and an animal lover, but I'm ready to skewer the rodent from Pennsylvania and his six more weeks of winter. I crave warmth and sunshine, lighter clothes, lighter meals, and have I already mentioned warmth? Here are the perfumes that have been providing me with just that:

Amber, incense, or amber plus incense:
Serge Lutens- Ambre Sultan, and Fille en Aiguilles
Juozas Statkevicius (Josef Statkus)
Aedes de Venustas- Copal Azur

Hot Tea
L'Artisan- Tea For Two
Masque Milano- Russian Tea

Hot & Cold
Serge Lutens- L'Orpheline

Those furry animalic wonders of Bal a Versailles and Zibeline

The Obligatory Valentine's Day Roses
Amouage- Lyric Man
Vero Profumo- Rozy (Voile d'Extrait)

Please visit my friends at Bois de Jasmin, Grain de Musc, Now Smell This, and Perfume Posse for more winter perfume picks.

Image: Vogue cover from January 1919 by Georges Lepape via Condé Nast archives


  1. Oh, my, well you've got me with the Fille (worn a LOT this winter), Russian Tea, and Bal. Another frigid weather fave for me is SDV, which always puts me in mind of the brandy casks around the St. Bernards' necks. This was a beautifully written, evocative and fun post, Gaia, which I greatly enjoyed reading.

  2. OH! I want Russian Tea (the perfume) now! I looked up the scent at LuckyScent and description noted the teaspoon of raspberry preserves. Just as my grandmother made it.

  3. For winter scents, I love the following:
    Fendi: Original vintage Fendi
    Guerlain: vintage Samsara perfume;
    Chanel: vintage Coco perfume;
    SL: Un Bois Vanille, Diam Blonde, Ambre Sultan;
    Lancome: Vintage Sikkim or Magie Noire;
    Diptique: L' Eau Trois;
    Jean Despriz: Sheherazade or Bal a Versailles;
    Tom Ford: Moss Breches or Youth Dew Ambre Nude;
    YSL: vintage Opium perfume

  4. I need to get to Israel next winter. I also need to continue to search for my bottle of Josef Statkus - I was looking for it all last week and couldn't find it. I've got too many places where I keep my perfumes - trying to remedy that actually would be an ideal thing to do at this time of year. Instead, however, I've found myself on ebay far too often recently stockpiling vintage Bal a Versailles in parfum and PdT formulations. I've really got no business complaining about our NC winter so far, considering how horrible it's been farther north, but...I still am. Cold weather literally feels painful to me - there's a reason cold weather is often described as bitter and not cheerful. At the start of November each year I always hang up a calendar for the following year opened to March, the month when I finally can start to feel somewhat secure about the return to warmth. I've been reaching for vintage perfumes even more than usual lately - something about the comforting depth of their base notes (today it's vintage Visa with all that wonderful Animalis accord) . They also seem conducive to spending more time curled up inside (in a ridiculously warm room) reading. They put me in sync with a slower paced world where people actually did take more time to read - or I like to at least imagine that they did.

  5. Preferably Zibeline as "furry" vintage!


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