Thursday, September 17, 2015

Top Ten Perfume Picks For Fall


O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

It's not quite October yet, but the mood is right. I want the moment to linger a bit more, the sky to remain this magical blue, to hang onto the ripeness and colors, and to what remains of late afternoon light. My perfume picks reflect this. A few are hangers-on from summer, because I can't let go of my tuberose. The others are mostly new and of-the-moment because, again, let's savor what we have now. The one exception isn't even vintage, just a 2007 modern gem that's one click (or one visit to Osswald or scent Bar) away.  These are my top ten fragrance choices for fall 2015. What are yours?
The last remnants of summer that make the transition well for me are the surprising and original Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Bleu. I wan't expecting this, either, but the crisp and slightly bitter lavender-iris blend won me over. The other ones are more obvious: the rich and slightly cluttered Marlowe from Jardins d'Ecrivains is a good fit with its hint of decay and vintage feel, while Neela Vermeire's Pichola is spicy, radiant and I'm simply refuse to let it go, summer, fall, or winter. There.
Almost continuing the theme of transition perfumes is Acqua di Parma Colonia Ambra. It's clear that I'm not ready to fully dive into my trusted favorite ambers just yet, but for a fall walk along the graying shore this light amber with a hint of driftwood and travel is perfection.
Irish Leather by Memo is from two years ago, but only became available in the US semi-recently. It's a green leather, slightly aromatic, and a big favorite of the Husband these days. I've been sneaking sprays quite often.
Parfumerie Generale's L'Ombre Fauve from 2007 is a terrific smooth and sensual woody musk, if I'm really pressed to define it. It's a skin scent in the best possible way, yet takes twists and turns on skin, allowing for new discoveries every time I wear it.
Speaking of skin scents, Mortal Skin by Stéphane Humbert Lucas marks a slight shift in the perfumer's work. A turn inwards instead of to the Middle East. The result goes extremely well with the first cashmere sweater of the season.
The next pick doesn't actually launch until next week, but the sample I got of Bruno Fazzolari's vintage-inspired Seyrig won me over as soon as I uncorked it. Floral and animalic, laced with all the good stuff of yore and rich enough to longer on a vintage silk scarf.  I think that Mr. Fazzolari is the most interesting emerging perfumer of the last couple of years, and his synergy of visual art and perfume is breathtaking.
Many people I know turn to classic chypres as soon as the first hint of fall arrives. I'm more of an "all chypre all the time" person, but in any case Bergamoss by Mandy Aftel of Aftelier is what every chypre lover has been praying for since 2005 or so. A solid perfume in an all-natural formula that belongs right beside me most precious vintage treasures.
The last perfume on my list is perhaps or more typical pick for the season.  Larmes du Désert by Atelier des Ors is a balsamic myrrh-laden incense. It's dry and bold, just smoky enough and perfect for that first night you light the fireplace.
Wishing you a happy fall, a happy Jewish New Year, or just happy everything (if you'r an Australian non-Jew). For more autumnal picks please visit my friends at Bois de Jasmin and Now Smell This (more links will be added as soon as they're live). 
Art: Alexandre de Riquer - Tardor (Autumn), 1897.


  1. Thanks for sharing your list. Fall season is one that I look forward to. I love everything about it. I know that it would be so nice if there will be a scent that will remind me of this season. Love your top picks!

  2. Gaia, first of all, I am remiss and late in wishing you a happy, healthy New Year. I love this time of year for slowly sliding into my heavier fall fragrances. I am also a chypre-all-the-time person, but this time of year is especially good for these wonderful perfumes. Coty Chypre is right up at the tippy-top of that list. I am lucky enough to possess two bottles of this glorious elixir, both of which smell as fresh and delicious as the day they were bottled. I am loathe to give up my carnation frenzy just yet; I've been wearing L'Artisan Oeillet Sauvage and Aedes Oeillet Bengale, which is now my holy grail. I keep buying decants of the stuff, and I really should just spring for a bottle and get over myself. I believe this is one that could conceivably be worn right up until the first cold snap. I'm going to give it my best shot anyway.

  3. I love these lists. I have a deep, abiding love for tuberose and understand the need to hang onto it. Think I need to place a perfume sample order this afternoon.

  4. The Frost is so evocative of the wish to hold on to the last rays and warmth. I'm wearing Mille et Une Roses Lancôme as a similar gesture.

  5. ...just added Vetiver Oriental and it sings!

  6. Thanks for the Frost poem! Love that. Need poetry all year long, but, somehow, autumn and winter are the times that I can't even imagine life without a daily dose. And great list of perfumes! Am thrilled to hear about Seyrig! Can't wait to try it! And am going to immediately go retry that Bulgari - I know I have a decant somewhere (am not particularly happy about all that that "somewhere" means - *must* continue to try to bring order and peace to my decants and samples).

  7. I'm not sure I transition from one season to the other since my mood is always autumnal and I wear unbearably strong ambers in the midst of August shamelessly. On rotation this September: Chocolate Amere (soft, very soft, not enough power for the dead of winter but for now it works), Siberian Snow (green, soft embrace, not snowy at all on me), L'ombre Fauve and Indochine (delightful all year around), Musc Ravageur (uber tiny, cozy little kitty).

  8. I'm honored to be chosen here Gaia, thank you so much for your kind words -- I love what you say about Bergamoss! And as perfect as the solid form is for it, I'm working on a limited-edition Eau de Parfum of Bergamoss to release in the next months - it is really different!

  9. I am not a fragrance connoisseur by any stretch, but even I recognize that certain scents are better suited to some seasons than to others. For me, it wouldn't be fall without Musc Ravageur and this year I've added Tom Ford's Noir Pour Femme to the rotation. A friend had purchased it and it lasted all of two seconds on her so she gave it to me. On me it opens with a blast of sweet spice, fades to almost a whisper, and then blooms gloriously. I love it! As for Musc Ravageur, it's on my very short list of all time faves. Now if only the weather would cool down. We're having another heat wave in So Cal and so I'm still favoring my summer fragrances.

  10. Every year my fragrance taste changes for fall (and again for spring), usually after a period where I don't like much of anything--it's as if my scent nose has to go down for maintenance. But this year, I may have found the secret themes for the fall change: (1) skanky or (2) beeswax. For the first, I recently fell in love with l'Eau Scandaleuse and Salome, and for the second, I read MCMC Kept as beeswax, though no one else seems to.


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