My big rubber workboots left gigantic footprints in the newfallen snow as I trudged slowly to the barn for the evening milking. Giant snowflakes caught in my eyelashes, blurring my sight as I turned my face up to the gray skies. God, milking cows sucked! Milking them in the snow beyond sucked – snow melting off the backs of the cows and plopping on your head just as you squatted down in between them to take the milker off, the freezing fingers, the smell of wet cow… Just then, the milking equipment turned on with a giant roar that broke the complete silence of Christmas Eve. I banged my feet against the wall of the barn to get the snow off before going down the stairs, bundled up in a wool coat three sizes too big and handed down by at least two of my older brothers. Inside the milking room was a huge space heater, which is where I planned to spend as much of the milking as possible. Shuffling over to the heater quickly, I sat on top of it to warm up.
I didn’t know it then, but years later, when I smelled CB I Hate perfume’s Winter 1972 for the first time, I was yanked backward in time to that very night and the smell of snow, wet clothes, warmth and the winter air. And as much as I hated milking cows and snow and being cold, that smell was nothing but comfort and joy.
Midway through the milking that night, wet and tired and miserable, mom sent me Patty to the house to take the baking pumpkin pies out of the oven to cool. Retracing the path back through the deep snow, through the gate, past the washhouse, onto what underneath all that snow was the sidewalk that led to the back door of the old house, I kicked the snow away from the bottom of the wooden screen door to pull it open. Stepping carefuly out of the big rubber boots with buckles on them, I opened the inside door and stepped into the house in my stocking feet. The spices cooking deep into the pies in the oven hit my nose…
Nope, can’t get to CB’s Gingerbread with that one, but the spices in it are close, and the longer it’s on, the better it gets. I had to be really, really patient, though, because the open on it for the first 30 minutes didn’t do much for me. This version is much, much better than the old one, more vanilla, richer. So it’s not quite my Christmas baking smells, it’s close enough to make me happy.
The car pulled up to the house late that night, and five children tumbled out of it, their mother following, their hands full of paper bags, pushing each other down in the snow and laughing and shouting. They raced into the house, jumping through the snow drifts, banging into the house and broke the perfect silence their father, Dick, had been enjoying while they were at the Christmas Eve program at church. And old grudge kept him from going to church with them, but every Christmas Eve, his children would bring church to him, as they ran in with their paper bags full of peanut brittle, candy ribbons, peanuts and milk chocolate stars. They’d gather round where he was on the couch and sort out their Christmas candy, giving Dick all the chocolate-covered cherries, which he loved and they all hated, and the peanuts, which they had no time for because candy is so much better than plain old peanuts. There was the smell of chocolate and cherries and peanuts, perfume from Nadine, the winter night, baked goods in the house, cigarette smoke from Dick. Weaved through all of it was joy and love, however imperfect it was on any other day.
Does Caron Nuit de Noel smell like that? Not really, but it captures the smell of contentment. A melange of smells that somehow blend together into what just feels like joy. Notes of rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, oakmoss, sandalwood and vetiver seem to become more than what they are, equal parts of earth and floral beauty, contrasted against a dark base that pins it solidly to the ground in reality.
Now, I am at a huge disadvantage here because that darn Lee so cleverly did Winter Delices and Theorema, so I had to fall back on memory instead of literary prowess. So including or in addition to the five scents we did for Holidays/winter, what scent best encapsulates winter or your holiday smells?
We’ve picked the Posse Scent Club scents for January, and we are doing… Incense! We couldn’t seem to limit ourselves, so it’s a big set of scents this time: Armani/Prive Bois d’Encens, Bond No. 9 Silver Factory, Etro Messe di Minuit, Comme des Garcons Avignon, Amouage Jubilation XXV Men, Serge Lutens Encens et Lavande, and Biehl Parfumkunstwerke Mark Buxton 03. The entire set of scents are available at 25% off through 12/27 with code possejan.
I haven’t tried Nuit de Noel extrait either, I tried the edt and it was nothing like I wanted to be. It was a dull and linear powdery scent,not at all like the wonderful descriptions I have heard about it. Like Louise, I was very disappointed, but I guess the edt might explain why. Rose, jasmine, oakmoss, vetiver-how can I NOT like it? It’s been driving me crazy for months, I have sprayed and resprayed. Thanks for restoring my hope…I really, really wanted to love this one.
I have been wearing La Myrrhe a bit to get into the Christmas spirit, but I have mostly been wearing some of the heavier scents I just can’t do when it’s hot outside, like Bal a Versailles and MKK. Also in my rotation: Mitsouko, Jicky, and that Chanel set that I bought because I have a problem resisting anything in a little bottle. I’m really hating myself for not buying one of those sets in previous years, I always wanted to. They used to have No. 19 and No. 22, but their replacements aren’t quite as beautiful IMHO.
I really like wearing the spicy SL’s like Rousse, Chypre Rouge, and Arabie in cold weather.
When you’re doing incense next month, don’t forget to suggest that people try Angelique Encens. Divine!
I love going to the barn or field in the winter to watch the animals’ steamy breath go out in the air, and see their shaggy coats–My parents neighbors in Michigan have burros and they’re so shaggy and cute in winter!
Although I’m an urban child, my grandparents had a farm on the Iowa-Minnesota border. I spent summers on that farm and from the time I can remember, it was my duty to milk the cows. There were only two, as they were kept just to supply the family. I remember those early mornings vividly, but my memories are of summer smells – hay, heat, humidity, and the cows themselves.
I’ve always been so grateful to have grown up with a foot in both the urban and the rural camps. Farm life is indeed tough and taxing, but it leaves with you a special understanding of the rhythms of life that you don’t get in the city.
I love winter scents; rich ambers, mysterious spices, worshipful incenses, deep woods, glowing honeys. For me, these scents conjure up furs and cashmeres and fabulous wools and leathers. Although I’m as fair and red-cheeked as any northern German, in winter, swathed in hat, overcoats and tall boots, I can imagine myself a kohl-eyed, Machiavellian Mata Hari slipping onto the Orient Express for a covert meeting. :d
I liked all 3 of today’s scents. I like Caron’s in general and there is something intensely peaceful (if that isn’t an oxymoron) about Nuit de Noel. Christmasy? I dunno. But lovely all the same. Gingerbread doesn’t quite hit the baking smell on the nose, I’d agree. But it was awfully nice for the few minutes it stuck around. I’d have to buy it by the gallon to really enjoy it, and alas, my budget is a bit under being able to do that. lol
For some reason, Winter 1972 made me think of cross-country skiing, which was one of my passions in my younger days. I think CB has successfully bottled the smell of ‘cold’ – and yes, it has its own smell. I’m not sure it’s wearable, but it’s darn interesting.
What a beautiful winter day’s posting, Patty. I love your stories about growing up on your farm. I can’t believe you got snow so high it filled your silo!!! I remember a particularly fun snow day when we lived in upstate New York, and one of my older brothers had built a snow fort. There had been a high snow on the ground which partly melted and then froze again, making perfect ice bricks possible. That fort was more than 4′ high, with a roof, door, and window. He put a candle on the windowsill, and the effect was just magical.
I’ve never tried CB Winter 1972, I don’t know why. I would probably love it.
I’m wearing one of my favorite winter fragrances today, which is Jolie Madame. May seem like an odd choice, but it makes me think of bright, cold, fresh snow and white fur. Maybe it has something to do with the rabbit-fur muff my grandmother gave me for Christmas one year when I was little. That soft, soft, fur and the suede-like skin that I could feel when I smushed my cheek into it, and the satin lining. I must associate that powdery-violet-faintly leather scent with that beloved grandma, who lived across the country and I hardly ever got to see. She always wore White Shoulders. 🙂
Born in Brooklyn, I never encountered a cow (in person), until married with two small children, we moved upstate. Our house was next door to a farm with cows and horses. The black and white cows would come to the fence next to our yard and the kids would feed them grass. A few times they broke through and came into our yard and the farmer had to come and get them. The neighborhood kids would play on the farm, always on the lookout for the feared one “black bull”. A few years ago, a housing development was built on that property. My daughter and her family moved into one of those houses after being in another state for 12 years. Her neighbors are all amazed to see the photographs from her childhood.
Well, we had a huge snow storm here yesterday and another one on the way over the weekend. It’s time to take out my sample of Black Widow that I have been saving, and forgotten about until PST reviewed it today. Nutmeg, clove, cinnamon..it wil be perfect.
Oh, such lovely writing! I’m always touched when you write about your childhood on the farm because I feel like we have shared memories: I, too, grew up on a dairy farm and had to milk cows on Christmas eve, Christmas day…there is never a holiday from milking cows. Before I graduated from college, I vowed I would never milk cows again, and I haven’t. But you know, sometimes I really miss it, and sometimes I even have what I call my “backwoods fantasy” of moving to a small farm in a beautiful hollow where I would have a teeny herd of sweet Jersey cows (my family had Holsteins) and make my own artisanal cheeses. Aint going to happen, but the fact that I fantasize about it makes me realize how much I actually enjoyed growing up on a farm.
And your memory of getting candy at the Christmas eve church service — yes, I have that one, too. Anyway, sorry to ramble on. I love Caron Nuit de Noel, and other Christmas scents for me are Caron Parfum Sacre and Chanel Coromandel (for the frankincense). I tried the Caron scents when you did your fabulous posts on them last year at this time, and I’m so glad that I did. I could not live without Parfum Sacre and Tabac Blonde. Thank you!
That is so cool! All of us dairy farm kids totally get each other, that’s for sure! Whenever I hear people gripe about not enough vacation time or days off, etc., I just roll my eyes. I am so grateful for having any time off at all!
Caron rocks my world. If they ever disappear, someone is going to be in big trouble. 🙂
Patty, my admiration for you is never-ending. This was a beautiful post; you definitely gave Lee a run for his money!
Winter 1972 I find absolutely perfect in the winter because it has that steaming-mittens-on-the-radiators smell. I would kill for radiators.
Theorema and Winter Delice are getting a lot of play right now. I loved this scent selection.:x
Oh, please. I was such a whiny kid about all that crap, certainly not a stalwart in the least!
I spritz winter on my blankets and things, just because it smells like snuggly should.
Delices.. gak. I should send you my bottle, I despise that stuff.
I’m a native Floridian & have never seen an actual, functioning radiator.
Hi Patty. Milking cows in winter sounds miserable. Thank goodness it’s a memory for you and not reality. Of the CBs I’ve tried I like Winter 1972 the best â€“ dirt, dead plants, cold air. I like it – sounds like something weird but itâ€™s actually quite wearable because it mostly smells like cold air and the atmosphere of being outside in winter (not like you rolled around in the dirt or something).
Right now my winter favorite is Angel Men. Chocolate, patchouli and tonka, but not too much.
Oh, yes, it was miserable. But not just in winter, All year round it was miserable. Gak, I truly, truly hated it. I didn’t like to get dirty at all, so growing up on a farm was not quite right for remaining clean. 🙂
So Angel Men isn’t nearly as bad as Angle, right? The notes sound pretty interesting, and I haven’t gotten around to trying it yet!
I certainly think so – I can’t abide the women’s angel (on me), but love the men’s. They are definitely related, but the men’s is so much more wearable.
Even though I love how the juice smells, I find the name “Nuit de Noel” not at all fitting and that somehow ends up thieving part of the pleasure. I don’t know why it bothers me so much, I do not have the same problem with other perfumes whose names do not match the scent. Perhaps it is another case of bitterly crushed expectations that leads to this strong reaction..
Maybe. I don’t think of it as having a lot of traditional Christmas smells in it, but I believe Daltroff made it for his wife, and those were the smells she associated with Christmas?
I guess I really never think of Christmas Eve having much of a smell, except pine and snow. 🙂 So I just look for cozy thing./
Ernest Daltroff created Nuit de Noel for Felicie Wanpouille, who loved Christmas. She was his lover and artistic director. I don’t know if they ever married. I’m not in the loop on that one.
I NEED to get some snow this year. Some years I just miss it and others, like this year, I NEED it. I love walking through your memories with you. Thank you for sharing them.
I love the new Gingerbread. I agree, sooo much better than last year. OJ Woman is still just right for me this time of year, that OJ signature juniper base, mmmmm. The new kid on the block this year for me DSH Tamarind/Paprika. I have a Tamarind tree outside my door, the fruit is sour and tropical so I wasn’t sure about this being Christmas-y. Doubt free now. This scent is rich and deep like sticky dried fruits with freshly ground spices, Yup, a Christmas keeper.
For the DH, two that I love (and he actually likes!) Hermessence Poivre Samarcande and CdG Avignon. I follow him closely, staying in the sillage trail, whenever he wears either of these!
Incense! Did you say Incense! Happy, happy, joy joy!
You know, I just got a sample of that dsh tamarind thing, as well as the piment and chocolate thing, I think it is. Wow! I really like them a lot. I don’t really get the Cimabue thing that everyone seems to like so much, but there are some things so far that I’ve tried that I really, really like!
Well, I think you’re going to have to travel to get snow, aren’t you? Colorad is lovely this time of year. 🙂 We want to get back down for a weekend to the Broadmoor in Colordo Springs or over to Manitou Springs to this great little charming, overpriced hotel. In winter they really are just magical.
I am thisclose to buying myself one of the 2ml bottles of Wild Hunt, which means that I am thisclose to putting other 2ml bottles in the cart because otherwise I’d be wasting shipping and natural resources! So therefor it is my logical duty to buy several bottles from him.
I was tempted by Gingerbread, since it sounds so cheery. Would you say it’s simple, or as complex as his others (that tend to appear simple)?
I really don’t know what makes a good winter scent. I tend to crave cherry scented things, as well as honey scented.
Well, yes, definitely!
Is the gingerbread simple? Well, yes, a little. It’s not as complex as many of the things he’s done, but it’s done better than the first one, so I find this one more complex in relation to that, but it’s fairly linear once you get to the drydown, in about 30 minutes.
What a horribly cold experience. I’m built for temperate weather – if my feet get cold, I feel like I’ve had it. You farm girls are tough!
As Maria says, keep me away from the black mould aromas of MdM… blech.
Lord, that was one of my milder winter stories! That was just a normalish day. The worst winter story is the one blizzard where we had to move cows about 2 miles. They’re Holsteins, black and whites, so some of them you could barely make out. The wind was fierce with blowing snow, probably a wind chill of -32. I think I was maybe 11 or 12? The roads weren’t fenced, so we’d have to walk behind them and keep trailing out to keep them on the road. It took probably two hours. Each of us would take turns jumping in the pickup to warm up for 5-10 minutes so we could go back out.
Truly brutal. But then there were the big snows that were a few feet, one that filled up our silo. We took our sleds over and plowed out a couple of steep sled runs, and then we would dive into the snow head first and just bury ourselves. That was the finest winter fun I have ever, ever, ever had. Every time I think about it, it just makes me laugh.
We were as cold during the fun snow as the blizzard, but fun does take the edge off the cold a bit. 🙂
Lee, I wore MdM a couple of days ago and found an initial sewer note coming on stronger than I remembered. Maybe I’m growing away from it? Yep, when I came home I warmed it up with some Winter Delice. I’m sure California to England was not too long a distance between us that day. =))
Ah, Patty, lovely post.You had me shivering at first. Brave girl visiting the cows so late. Winter 1972 does evoke some of that frosty chill, but also leaves me, well, cold. Unmoved, then it’s gone. Maybe something with Oregon rain and mist would tie closer to my winter memories?
I haven’t tried CB’s Gingerbread, must give it a spin. I do have three ginger loves, though, that I like now. BdI, of course, and Crime Exotique, and Lang’s Red Ginger. The most seasonally ginger-bread-ish is the CE-very sweet at first, with that slightly plastic PG base, then warm spicy sandalwood for hours.
Nuit de Noel was a big disappointment on me. Just went straight to Caron base. Maybe I need the extrait, or some of Maria’s Voue de Noel-sounds marvelous.
Other fav/fab winter scents include Bois de Copaiba, MdM, Spezie de Medici, Bois de Paradis, Vento Canale, and that Luxe Patchouli when I get it. In the candy drawer are a couple BBWs-love their candy cane lotion and a spicy gingery winter spray whose name escapes me.
Yay for incense next month! But where’s my dear NK Ceremony and killer Incense. I know, too many to play with.
You haven’t done Nuit in the parfum/extrait? Oh, then you haven’t done it at all. I tried it first in the edt, and was seriously disappointed, then did the extrait, and that’s where the magic happened. Almost two different perfumes, for me.
I really need to try that Crime Exotique. I’m afeared it may be too sweet for me? Though I’m having a great time with some of the new dsh samples, which is one of those lines I’ve overlooked. Not sure why, maybe because they’re practically next door to me?
Louise, you must try the Nuit de Noel extrait! I agree with Patty: you haven’t tried NdN at all yet.
You got me to like Sushi Imperiale more than Crime Exotique. I should give the latter a try again. I’m surprised you didn’t mention SI.
Well now I must sample the CB Winter 1972. I’ve put it my basket and taken it out so many times, it’s ridiculous. I was born in January 1972 so I figured it was basically created to celebrate my birth, but then always felt I was just being full of myself. Now I have to smell it.
Nuit de Noel does sound wonderful, without being as Christmas holiday specific somehow. I agree with Elle above on Chene as a perfect holiday scent and I’ve been getting Christmas out of Jaisalmer as well this season. Suddenly I’m thinking they may layer nicely together and make a little holiday magic. Now if the temps here would just get out of the seventies, I might be able to fa la la la la la la la la just a bit.
You know the nice thing about the winter scents, they do go together beautifull. Winter 1972 WITH Nuit de Noel is magic. Throw in some parfum sacre or Cimabue or some other gourmandy thing, and I’m a virtual Christmas Party. 🙂
I know Winter 1972 isn’t for everyone, but when it works for you, it really is pure magic, which I think is true for a lot of CB’s scents, they either speak to you in a memory place or they don’t.
There was a time when Guerlain L’Heure Bleue was my favorite fragrance, the one that seemed most ME. Thanks to its availability on the Frip, I tried Nuit de Noel extrait, and I discovered that it’s the fragrance that most expresses ME NOW. Through age, experience, and decades of therapy I have acquired the capacity for joy. To me Nuit de Noel is all that warmth and joy I can now feel even in the midst of the chilliness of a frequently wintery world.
It is sad that Caron no longer manufactures Voeu de Noel, a rosier version of Nuit de Noel that is absolutely gorgeous. I may need to put on a few drops from my sample soon.
Another fragrance that makes me feel warm is Ava Luxe Cafe Noir with all its spices. Winter Delice and Theorema, it should come as no surprise, are two others.
Gingerbread is fun, but it vanishes quickly. Winter 1972 is too much like winter to suit me.
I’m so glad you’re going to be doing incense next month. Avignon is, naturally, a fragrance I also associate with Christmas. I hope you’re not asking Lee to do Messe de Minuit; he hates it. 🙂
Lovely prose, Patty. You have nothing to apologize for.
That is so touching. The most important thing in life is to find joy. I’m always so sad when I meet people who seem incapable of it.
Agree with you on Nuit de Noel, it’s the most me most of the time, and it just makes my heart so happy.
Incense will be super-fun! We won’t make Lee do Messe, we promise! Though it likely would have great comical potential. 🙂
You almost make me pine for snow.
Aw, come on, you miss it! Harry was complaining this morning about all the snow, which is pretty abnormal for Denver. Normally at this time of year we are all running around in t-shirts and maybe a light jacket, and snow is nowhere to be seen until March, maybe a skiff in January.
Very mild winters the last decade, they were summer children, and I keep telling both boys this is more what winter is like, though Denver tends to be pretty mild as winters go.
I still do love snow… for about a month…. then I want to move in with you. 😉
I do miss it in theory, but then I remember having to shovel it and walk around in it and watch it turn that nasty grey as it gets old.
Besides, after a rain storm I can see it in the mountains in the distance, from the comfort and safety of 65-degree beverly gardens park. :d
What wonderful memories! I need to go resniff CB’s new Gingerbread. Maybe I didn’t wait long enough. I’m definitely in a mood for Nuit de Noel and Winter ’72 these days – two of my favorite winter scents (although it’s been gloriously warm – in the 70s and 80s here). The scents that seem most inextricably linked w/ winter holiday memories for me are Chene, Agraria Balsam, MPG Secret Melange, Mazzolari Mazzolari, Diptyque L’Eau, Galliano and Or des Indes.
Can’t wait for January incense!
I’ve heard a lot of people say the Gingerbread didn’t last on them. I feel fortunate that it lasted on me long enough because the good part was about 30 minutes in. I think it’s a mixed bag on whether it’s working for people.
Gingerbread, nuit de noel and winter 1972 all together are just spectacular for me. I’m going to make that my Christmas Eve fragrance cornucopia. =))
I CAN’T WAIT TO RECEIVE MY NUIT DE NOEL TOMORROW!I HOPE I LOVE IT AS YOU DO