Top 10 of Fall 2009

fall leaves

Written by the Whole Gang

Once again we turn our attention to the fall fragrances we’re most excited about — whether it’s something new, or something old that’s captured our attention.  For some of us in the States it seems like we barely had fall — parts of the country have already been clocked by their first snowstorms.  But there’s always time to celebrate fall fragrances, even if fall itself exists only as a state of mind.

(Nava reports from the Northern Territories: And wasn’t it just yesterday we were schvitzing like crazy? The weather patterns are unbelievable. Seemingly overnight, every leaf on every tree has turned yellow or red. I refuse to even speak of snow!)

AnitaIt’s autumn.  Bored with summer’s citrus and lacy folderol, I am loving the opportunity to don my heavy hitters,  the Empress Mitsouko and her Western counterpart, Jolie Madame.  But I’ve yarked on about those two ’til even I am sick of talking about them.  Soooo… ’bout a little leather?  I love leather in this weather.  Cool, sexy, a little fierce.  But not quite Kinky Boots.  A little more understated, with the sex coming from the buttery perfection of the leather……okay, you can add  those fabulous little leather strappy ties that look so incredible (for about 2 days, until you forget how to tie them and they get all wrinkly).

Cuir de Lancome is a gorgeous, warm leather.  A rich, brown-cognac Bottega Veneta woven leather bag from 1985, stashed in my Tia Jeannetta’s closet, still in the box. She was funny like that.  But man, that leather smelled soooo good.  Mistress Shelley introduced me to Cuir de Lancome.  I fought her like a caged weasel for quite awhile, refusing to believe that something from Lancome could be that good.

She wuz right.

Diorling. ’nuff said.  Okay.  Maybe not.  Diorling is one of those fragrances that I wish like hockey sticks I’d had sense to know about when …well, you know, back when it was about $1.49.  This one is Erin’s fault and I don’t know if I will ever be able to forgive her for her incredible generosity that enslaved me forever.  Sooo beautiful, with that wild mix of leather and smoky sweetness.  Don’t ask me what’s in it.  I don’t know and I don’t care.  It just smells good and makes me feel 20 lbs thinner.  That’s good enough for me!

Lee – Here in the silly old UK, we are definitely having a gentle journey into autumn. No frost yet, but a nip in the air at night, and first thing. Great planting weather.

Unlike Patty, I’ve sniffed nothing new. But right now, I’m ODing on Dior’s Eau Noire on those ‘ gimme all I can take’ days (these sort of days roll into each other – good job EN hangs around…), and Dia pour Homme for those that are more restrained.

March – Louise called me something like a secret amber whore recently, which I vehemently denied, but … maybe she’s onto something.  Don’t tell her I said so.  I’ve always thought of amber as liquid death.  Speaking of which, I’ve been having a huge Serge Lutens bender recently.  Our weather has been all over the place, but that hasn’t stopped me from bustin’ out some Serge, including a new one for me which I’ll be touching on in my Sunday/Monday post.  Serge Lutens I have esteemed and admired more than worn, but man, that seems to be changing.  If I start raving on here about Tubereuse Criminy or that damn Borneo, call the FBI, I’ve been abducted.  Right now I am wafting Fleurs d’Oranger in all its cuminy blossomy magnificence and laughing, what is wrong with me that I won’t just buy it?  I’m on like my third sample, I should buy a bottle already.    Also been loving Serge’s Santal Blanc layered with Clair de Musc.  And speaking of musk, when I’m not killing people around me with Serge I’m wearing relatively simple, clean wallpaper musks like the Clair de Musc, Narciso Rodriguez Intense (yes, I bought a bottle) and the oddly vegetal Kiehls Original.

Nava – Once again, my fall-winter-spring standby is Donna Karan Chaos. I’ve been thinking a lot about her fragrances lately. I’m betting she thinks they’re all very spiritual scents; Ms. Karan being the raw foodie, yogi, zen 60+ ageless wonder that she is. I’ve even broken out some of her Essence Wenge and Labdanum to mix with my beloved Chaos. Adding those scents to the mix just makes the whole concoction that much more beautiful. My other choice is the new Si Lolita by Lolita Lempicka. How can you go wrong with flowers and spice? Ever?

Patty – Two for me on my hottest wearing list – Kilian Pure Oud and Francis Kurdjian’s Pour Le Soir. Cuddly warm loveliness.  But others that are in constant rotation is the Gardenia, Muguet and Bois d’Iris from the Van Cleef & Arpels CE line.  They don’t seem as fall-like as the other two, but I can’t seem to tell my nose to keep them on hold until spring.

For more Top Ten fall lists, please visit Bois de Jasmin, Grain de Musc, Now Smell This and Perfume-Smellin’ Things.


  • Victoria says:

    Great lists! I love the mention of Diorling, which I have neglected as of late. Need to rectify this neglect as soon as possible.
    And I am with you, March, on Lutens. 🙂

  • Joe says:

    There are so many scents that work so perfectly for fall. I really have to break out (but sparingly use) the decant of Diorling that someone was kind enough to send me, Anita! And Lee, as for Eau Noire, I think many fragrances with immortelle are just perfect in cool weather.

    As I mentioned on NST, my fall purchase wishlist items (let’s see if I follow through) are:
    – Ava Luxe Kretek
    – Soivohle Purple Love Smoke

    I also really wouldn’t mind a nice healthy decant of that CdG Daphne, but the budget might make me make do with another woody tuberose favorite, SL Cèdre.

  • Lee says:

    That’s cuz you rock the old European money look with elan. And the terriers only add to the deal.

    • carter says:

      It’s only a paper moon, sailing over a cardboard sea, but the terriers are real and we’re sitting here sharing a plate of peanut butter & crackers :>

  • carter says:

    I am on a vintage Lanvin tear, the Andre Fraysse ones: Rumeur, Pretexte, Scandal, Arpege, and Crescendo. This collection is rocking my falling leaves world. I am most definitely in the “prefer vintage in general” camp and find that probably 99.5% of the new stuff disapoints, and even when it doesn’t it still isn’t as good as the great vintage scents. Serge Lutens is one notable exception, and if the new Amouage attars are half as good as Homage, that’s another. Several of the Malles, the de Nicolais, the Killians, and a smattering of other things here and there. And I do want to try some of the new Cartiers and VCAs, but it is classical French perfumery pretty much all the way for me, baby. I just cain’t quit it! And at the moment, in this season, these Lanvins are all I really need.

  • aelily says:

    Today I woke up to wind and rain, and I wanted to douse myself in a comfy vanilla something (like Le Labo Vanille, or AG’s Vanille). However, I had to be dressed up for work, and for some reason that I don’t understand, I feel that if I am suiting up for work, I have to wear a perfume with a bit more…something…maybe a bit more life of its own. So I chose still comfy but more present SL Fumerie Turque. (Which I know is currently an export and available on Luckyscent, but I can’t seem to commit to a FB and will just probably buy a decant.)
    I chose perfectly for my rainy Friday. 🙂

  • EileenS says:

    You all have put forth some lovely ideas — I need to branch out a bit. Our weather has been so wacky that I’m having trouble thinking about this as autumn. Threat of frost one day to afternoon temps on the mid-70s the next. So far, I’m sticking with known easy scents like MH Feuilles de Tabac. I’ll have to take my Chergui sample out for a spin and see how it does. Or maybe Fumerie Turque. I tend to wait for winter to bring out the leather, but heck! we only live once! maybe I should get it out now and see what happens. Decisions..:-?

  • Shelley says:

    It’s always fun to see what rumbles at the front of y’all’s brains!

    Hee hee…see how patience can be a virtue? Here I had almost forgotten the Dubious She Varmint look you had on your face when first introduced to the Cuir. What a nice surprise to find out how much you like it after all. (See, I’ll go all Sally Field now…you like it! you really like it!!)

    March, in your realm, I guess I would be what you call an “open amber courtesan”? I do not hide my dalliances with amber, and have a long term thing going with Voile d’Ambre, which works for me as a quite nice “wallpaper” amber. In fact, that has an important place in my box of fall, aka scents for the season.

    Lee, I envy your weather and your immortelle. Nava, you tease with that Si Lolita (but in a nice way). Patty, I am holding that Bois d’Iris in the back of my mind…I lurves me a good iris, but right now am enjoying rolling around in tobacco and hay (Bois Blond, Fleur d’Narcisse). I know you understand my delight. ;;)

    Happy Fall to all!!

    • Lee says:

      You’ve had lousy weather already out midwest, aintcha? Sorry to rub it in, but today is wall to wall sunshine in the high 60s… I know Britain has a rep. for being damp, dank and grey (and at times, in winter, it does feel like the island wears a metal binlid over itself), but in my small part of the island, we’re often dry and sunny… Windy at times though…

  • ScentRed says:

    On the days when I can tear myself away from my current obsession – Chanel Bois des Iles, I’ve been enjoying Fendi Theorema and Chanel Cuir de Russie. I’ve repeatedly tried to get into SSS Bois de Champagne which should be a perfect autumn scent for me – but something about it rubs me the wrong way, might just be a bit too honeyish for me. I’ve never experienced a scent that was both captivating and irritating at the same time.

    • Lee says:

      No need to tear yourslef away from Bois des Iles. I’m a long way from a Chanel wearer, but of all their frags, that has to be my favourite…:x

  • Melissa says:

    Kid in a candy store here! Loving so many fragrances but Anita, you really captured my sentiment with the leather thang. I’m all over the place during the day, but at night I often come home to a spritz of Cuir de Lancome/de Russie or a dab of one of my samples of vintage Diorling. Vintage Miss Dior has a nice hit of leather too. The reformulation is so sad.:((

    A lovely soul sent me samples of a couple of the FKs and I don’t think that I will be able to resist the call of Lumiere Noire. Now I can’t wait to wear Cologne pour le Soir. Fall has been very good indeed!

  • Debby H says:

    Good morning! My fall line-up has been mostly Bois Blond, Tea for Two my little sample of Back to Black and CJ Scents Skin and Vanilla Autumn Nights. I hated T42 when I first tried it – smoky band-aids, I thought. But never say never. I still think it’s funky when I first put it on, but now it’s funky-attractive to me. And later, it’s warm, spicy, milky deliciousness. Also surprised myself by really liking B2B – finding it very wearable (unlike Chergui which I love but can hardly put on light enough to live through the first couple of hours…) Ironically, the one bottle I’m about to buy is my summer favorite – L’Eau de l’Hermine from Lostmarch… But I lived off samples all summer and now it’s time for a bottle.

    • March says:

      That is very funny, I think smoky band-aids is a PERFECT description, and yet I love it so! You wouldn’t think that would be a good smell, but it is. Chergui I loved like crazy until I put it on too heavily a couple of times and made myself almost physically ill. Definitely a dabber on my skin. Where’s that vomiting guy …. b-(

    • Lee says:

      I’m T42ing myself today. Sometimes, you forget those bottles languishing at the back and then remember their loveliness.

  • Liza says:

    Maybe I am off-topic but Anita’s mention of the Empress reminded me, I went to David Jones today to try a couple of the oldies Jardins de Bagatelle (I think this is the name – horrible bottle, BTW) and Apree l’Ondee (I’m sure I’m missing an ‘s’ in there somewhere) … and tres disappointed to find that they were BOTH really quite BLAH on my skin! 🙁

    But I did find l’Ondee to be quite sad, I instantly thought of a funeral. I have read the reviews written online and I agree with them except that I don’t love it. It was sweet in the end, but really quite faint – not worth the $180 a bottle the Guerlain SA said she could get it shipped to me for.

    • Musette says:

      I have never liked that bottle, either. It’s like Guerlain forgot all about being Guerlain with that one. I liked the fragrance for about 23 minutes, back in the 80s but it’s too close to YSL Paris for me to really care much about it.

      Apres l’Ondee – you either love it or you hate it. I love it mucho but only in particular instances. I have to go to a memorial service next week and interestingly, Al’O was first in my thoughts! The Empress is not in consideration – just a tad too fierce.

      xo >-)

    • Lee says:

      It is funereal, in a way (the damp melancholia of a graveyard in early spring?), but that’s what I love about it. And I was never a goth. Go figure.

    • Winifreida says:

      Good-day….do I spy another Aussie oie??
      DJ’s will get things in??
      Yea, shame (well not really) its what passes for spring here in the land Downunder…
      However, from waking up from a few decades under the spell of a Goddess -Mitsouko- last Autumn,and finding the world at the proverbial fingertips…I would recommend Safran Troublant, Laaaahh Myrrhe, Shalimar, Daim Blond, PG Cashmere, all those musky ones that cause – introspection; and, my tiny samples of Apres L’ondee and Iris Silver Mist suggest they are perfect Autumn (no Fall in Oz, gum trees have colonised every niche, bless ’em)’fumes.

  • Marina says:

    Great choices all, but it is Anita’s bag that made my bag-loving heart pound 🙂

  • Silviafunkly says:

    Patty, you are a woman after my own heart. I have falled badly for FK Lumiere Noir and Cologne pour le Soir, deeply lemm Pure Oud and will soon capitulate for VCaA Bois d’Iris.
    Also loving the boozy patch of byK Straight to Heaven and the tuberose in Beyond Paradise.

    • Lee says:

      Are you delving into your piggy bank for these?:d

      • Silviafunkly says:

        I am in serious trouble, this season there is so much I desire !
        I am owed a bottle of something for my birthday and in my mind I have already used that credit up at least 10 times. :((

  • Louise says:

    I’m with you folks….loving the season to wear what wears me best-ambers (Yo, amber ho March 8-especially AS and Alahine; leather (a crrrrack to you, Musette :o) with my vintage Scandal at the head of that aisle; deep roses and gourmands, best played out currently by Rose Praline and my Arabian Oud Prestige; and several Lutens…especially Filles en Aiguilles. Oh, and Lee-anything with immortelle is floating my boat right now, too.

    The newest split I’m awaiting is Ineke’s Field Notes from Paris-wonderfully tobacco-y and beeswaxy for fall.

    Happy Weekend to all 😡

    • Louise says:

      OK.who’s messed with the emoticons??? March, your little expression was to be of shock, if that is possible-and OMG, Anita-I was winking at you, not clowning around! Dayum l-)

      • Musette says:


        I was wondering about that but thought it was funny (at first I thought it was the pig – they are very similar – and that was even funnier!)

        speaking of tobacco: You’ve pinged my memory! I’m going to break out Liz’s Tobacco and Tulle, which is perfect for this weather!

        xo >-)

      • March says:

        You know, they seem to be fussier about where they’re positioned in a sentence.

    • March says:

      No, no, it’s not true! I am anti-amber! Now maybe I’m auntie amber… and immortelle is always perfect in the fall, isn’t it?

      • Shelley says:

        I can’t help it…I’ve got a scene in my head…budding perfumista running around with a basket in which there is a small collection of fall scents, hair in pigtails, gingham dress, looking for March, calling “Auntie Amb, Auntie Amb…” Meanwhile, Patty voice overs “nope, you’re not in Kansas anymore.”

    • Nava says:

      OK Louise, tobacco-y and beeswaxy is not helping me right now! :d

    • Lee says:

      Well, you know what a tart I am for anything with an immortelle heart!

  • carmencanada says:

    I could’ve included Cologne pour le Soir and VC & A Gardenia Pétales in my list… And definitely Lancôme Cuir as well as Diorling. I’m in a leather’n’smoke mood these days: feeling tough!

    • March says:

      I love that Lancome Cuir so much! I think I could easily have put it on my list as well.

    • Lee says:

      Are you wearing clothes to match, D?:-?

      • carmencanada says:

        Absolutely. Leather jacket most days, spectacular black leather Yves Saint Laurent shirtdress for my arty parties (big art fair right now in Paris, lots of artist friends to see), plus strappy and spiky bits here and there. As for the smoke, it’s also provided for.

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Nice post – thank you all! Mmm, Bottega Veneta, Diorling, Eau Noire… all perfect.

    I don’t go in for seasonal scents so much – as Lee can attest, we don’t have huge temperature changes over here in the UK – but my old Guerlains are especially perfect at this time of year, as well as Dioressence and Femme (vintage).

    I wish I could work up some enthusiasm for some of these new offerings, but I’m such a vintage fan they all just pale into insignificance. I love depth and richness and nice skanky ingredients that don’t smell like a take-away curry!

    • Musette says:

      If I’d done the whole enchilada it would’ve gone something like this:

      Femme (which smells like dirty underwear (and not in a good way) until the weather cools down, at which point it’s absolutely perfect!)
      Mitsouko EdP/Parfum
      Shocking (vint)
      Emeraude (vint) – that green and gold plaid cashmere coat
      Femme vintage which, imo, one can wear at any time of the year but autumn is the bestest!
      Jolie Madame – such a heavy-hitter and so perfect for slightly cooler weather. I have a plum leather jacket…
      That Lancome Stuff
      ;)) (that’s Shelley, giggling at me)
      Diorling – a fitted gunmetal wool jacket with a houndstooth lining and dark brown and black leather banding just above the cuffs. Total couture. And my hair is shiny and completely in place.
      Bal parfum – you know, I think I’ll wear that today. I’m feeling sassy!
      Tobacco and Tulle. I always forget how very much I love this. Perfect smoke for autumn.

      Okay, off to don my couture fleece hoodie and steel-toe boots.

      xo >-)

    • Lee says:

      Like you, I have limited enthusiasm for the new…[-(