Help! A wake-up scent for the mid-afternoon slump

This from a bone-chilling day earlier in the month: Forty degrees outside at 1:30 p.m. The heating system is roaring like a house afire struggling to keep the temp at 70-something for all the cold-natured ladies in the office. It’s an hour past lunch and I’m in my cubicle doing my level best to keep from nodding off as I look over what appears to be a never-ending sea of type on my pages. I really need a dousing of cold water but that isn’t exactly practical. I’ve tried caffeine and it’s helping a little, but I need something more. Maybe what’s called for is a loud, lively, olfactory shock to my wake up scentsystem. I’m all alone in my four-cubicle room and can shut the door, so anything goes as far as a wake-up scent.
Hmmm … what’ll do the trick?

First thing to pop into my brain: Serge Lutens’ Tubereuse Criminelle. That camphorous blast ought to be enough to get my gray matter (and everything else) revving. Amouage Interlude Woman also sprang to mind. Its chameleon-like nature might keep me on my toes by keeping me guessing. But unless liberally sprayed, it might be too low-key for an effective wake-up scent.

What about a healthy spritz of Neela Vermeire’s Bombay Bling? That could work, although its bright, joyous spirit might have me up and dancing like I was in a big Bollywood musical number (“Bride & Prejudice,” anyone?). However, I would be in the doghouse big-time for causing a commotion in our very quiet office. 🙁

Keep thinking, keep thinking. There’s got to be some others.

OK, got it — a hit of Carnal Flower’s gorgeousness would surely dazzle me into alertness, right?

Or going in the other direction, perhaps a really potent, fumigation-grade fruity floral (you can’t doze off while you’re gagging, can you?). Off the top of my head, I can’t think of one that fits the bill, but I’m sure you guys could nominate a few.

What do you think would work for a middle of the day wake-up scent?

  • Suzanne says:

    Hi Ann. Oh, I think your pick of Carnal Flower would really do the trick. I also agree with the commenter above who said Vero Mito and those who suggested mint … in fact, how about Frederic Malle Geranium Pour Monsieur? The mint in that is so bracing, I don’t know how it couldn’t wake you up! 😉

  • ojaddicte says:

    How about Mito? I got a chance to sample it courtesy a kind fairy grandmother, and the opening is bright and lemony.

    • ojaddicte says:

      Godmother, not grandmother! Auto correct is going to be my undoing 🙁

      • Ann says:

        That’s OK — your fairy godmother could very well be a grandmother, who knows? 😉 Mito is a good suggestion — it’s got great green personality to spare …

  • Merlin says:

    A few Aqua Allegorias have been mentioned – but not Herba Fresca. HF has a nice refreshing mint note that can help. Another is Chanel Christalle eau Verte (tea and lemon). And a third is Infusion d’ Iris which always helps me feel collected. Oh, and one that may work is Le Malle due to the fresh barbershop mint and powerful vanilla. This one also works for me just because I find it quite joyous!

    • Ann says:

      Yes, that Herba Fresca would be almost bracing, wouldn’t it? I can’t wear the Iris you mentioned, but will definitely have to pull out my Cristalle Verte, as it’s great for spring as well. Thanks!

  • Ninara Poll says:

    Something citrusy? I can’t think of anything good off the top of my head… I know a few weeks back I scored a scent bar Sunswept body mist on clearance at Target; its official description has “notes of Sicilian orange with sheer lemon & bergamot”, and in its opening stages it is decidedly orangey. It turns weirdly annoying on me in the middle — super sweet floral + something oddly synthetic (I’ve spritzed it on both the parents and it doesn’t happen on them, so it seems to be a skin chemistry issue) — but the drydown is okay, and on me it never seems to lose the citrus notes, and it does seem to energize me. I’m wishing I had shelled out for the body lotion and other ancillary products!
    The only other notes I can think of for invigoration would be mint or rosemary (rosemary is a scent that I find stimulating). Perhaps something with both? I’m trying to think of something nice with either note… maybe some straight peppermint oil or rosemary oil in a carrier base? I used to use a few drops of rosemary eo diluted with water as a refreshing mist….
    Good luck with finding something to revive yourself!


    • Ann says:

      Thanks, Ninara — you’ve got some good ideas. Mint and rosemary has me thinking of the new Cartier L’Heure Verteuse or perhaps the Annick Goutal Nuit Etoilee in that gorgeous blue bottle. Hope you can find the other products in that line one day.

  • maggiecat says:

    I’d try either Jo Malone Grapefruit or (my favorite) Chanel’s cologne. Lemony citrus goodness will help us stay awake through those long afternoons!

    • Ann says:

      Perfect! I love, love, love both of those — they’re just so lively and happy. BTW, when I was in Saks the other day, I longingly eyed the huge JM grapefruit candle they have on display. Alas, it was too much for me (size-wise, as well as budget-wise), but oh, the thought of that burning in your house for an hour or two … ahhh!

  • alityke says:

    Astringent and citric chypres are called for in this situation. I suggest EL Azuree or her brother Aramis, Sisley Eau de Soir, Givenchy III or possibly vintage Ivoire.

    Pure citrus? Got to be the perfect photorealistic AA Pamplelune… whoosh!

    • Ann says:

      Great picks there! I have some Sisley and some of the AA, so will let ’em rip next time I’m fading. Thanks …

  • Georgette Stout says:

    i have found Balmain’s Vent Vert to be quite the “waker-upper”!

  • Anita says:

    How about gentle but bright, sparkling and lively Xerjoff Ibitira (or less gentle, bright sparkling and lively Shingl?)

    • Ann says:

      Oooh, Anita — have not tried those! Must investigate as I do like several others from that line. If only it were a tad less expensive … sigh.

  • arline says:

    I cant help you at all, as I am a believer in napping in the afternoon!!! I do not want to be swayed in any way shape or form to energize until my nap is over!!!

    • Ann says:

      Arline, that’s OK — I would be an afternoon napper if only I could 🙂 Feel free to ignore any and all of the suggestions here today (except the ones that encourage zzzzzzs ) !

  • FeralJasmine says:

    My current favorites for a perk-up are Chanel 19 when I need a shot of fizz, SSS Winter Woods (even in summer) when I need clean clear focus, and Bulgari Black when I need my attention gotten in a big way and nothing else works. I would think that SSS Incense Pure might be a good centering scent for when I’m scattered and distracted.

    • Ann says:

      Excellent suggestions! You’re spot-on with the 19, as several other folks have mentioned it as well. The Bulgari and Incense Pure would surely do the trick, too. Thanks!

  • Dina C. says:

    I think Green scents with a note of galbanum are very brisk and bracing. That’s what a choose when I need to sweep the floors, or do some heavy lifting around the house. Suggestions include: no. 19, PG Papyrus De Ciane, Bel Respiro, Jacomo Silences, and AG Heure Exquise. I remember those post-lunch-time days in the office, trying to get myself to wake up with a combination of a cup of strong tea and an interesting project. 🙂 Good luck!

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, Dina! Several cups of strong tea did help me a bit that day. Guess I need to round up my green powerhouses and see which one gives me the biggest boost.

  • solanace says:

    My baby really, reallly did not sleep the day I wore Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine. So it is tested, with no scientific method orstatistical relevance, but tested nevertheless: Orange Sanguine is very (oh, did I sing that day… I mean VERY) potent in this respect.

    • Ann says:

      Wow! This is a first — a baby-and-mom testimonial! Although sorry the baby didn’t get to sleep. Think I’ll go rustle up a sample or decant of this one, then, and keep it in my desk drawer. Thanks!

      • solanace says:

        It was only for a day, but it really did affect the baby, she got totally excited!

        • Ann says:

          Too sweet! A glowing testimonial from a perfumista in training — I love it! Thanks for sharing, dear.

  • What about a savage burst of FENDI Donna or Mahora by Guerlain? They should shock you awake.
    Portia xx

  • Elena says:

    Guerlain AA Mandarine Basilic does the trick for me. Also Hermes Un Jardin Apres la Mousson. Tell those cold natured ladies in your office to get a warmer sweater and turn the heat down! I would be fast asleep and with extra dry skin to boot at 70 something!

    • Ann says:

      Too funny, Elena! In the back of my mind that day was the fear that I would doze off and — horror of horrors — snore a little! The Mousson is a bit too melon-y for me, but I do like the Guerlain AA and that would be a good one. Thanks!

  • eldarwen22 says:

    Usually, Mitsouko or no. 19 does the trick for me. If it is really bad, Obsession.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, lady. No. 19 does sound like a good candidate. But no Mitsy for me — although I guess I would be wide awake as I rushed into the ladies’ room to wash it off (she hates me, I say, hates me!). My apologies to her legions of fans 🙂

  • Jennifer Smith says:

    For mint notes ..Hmm.. Opium Pour Homme ,BBW Twisted Peppermint ,Un Air de Samsara? Except Samsara has a lot of sandalwood and jasmine in it and that always sooths me off to zzzzzzzzzzzz.
    Okay maybe a bracing citrus or tea scent? Bvlgari Au Rouge ,Black, or if you can find it Urban Rituelle Siam Ginger(smells like Orange spice by celestial seasonings).

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, Jennifer, for those ideas. I will take that sandalwood and jasmine for nighttime, though, when I’m in bed and I can’t seem to get to sleep. And I’m all for the tea scents, too.

  • Tiara says:

    Peppermint and mint first came to mind but I have to admit that I cannot think of any perfume I own (or have ever worn) with those notes front and center. Falling asleep is hard for me so I search for relaxing scents. Not helpful, I know, but anxious to see what others recommend.

    • solanace says:

      My baby responds directly to the scent I wear, and delicious AG Rose Splendide (suggested to me by Victoria from Bois de Jasmin) is clearly very soothing to her.

      • Ann says:

        Thanks, ladies, for the good suggestions. I have trouble falling asleep at night sometimes, too, so I understand. Maybe a big spray of AG’s Nuit Etoilee with its minty topnote, or perhaps a blast of herbal-minty Verteuse by Cartier would work.

      • Elia says:

        solance, have you eve thought of restricting yourself to a single scent while the baby is still very young? If only for sensual congruence? i have one on the way and I’ve thought maybe I should stick to a single scent while the baby is an infant. I’d love your thoughts.

        • solanace says:

          Hi Elia,

          I was meaning not to wear any scent once the baby was born, but honestly, I started feeling a little blue (we get too locked up at home when we have a newborn!) and I figured fragrance might help brighten my mood (it did), so, what the heck, better this than taking pills! And in the end, the soaps I wash my hands with all the time are scented, because I never get in time to the sink with the unscented soap I bought, so I relaxed! What I do, is applying perfume right after she falls asleep, so in about three hours the scent will be mellow enough for her. She is very happy and smiley, I’m happy too, so I think this is working fine for us! But there is one caveat: aromatherapy works like a charm for the little ones: rose relaxes, but citrus scents wake them up! Wishing you a nice pregnancy, delivery and post partum, Elia!

  • Lynne Marie says:

    It’s sort of a fruit bomb from another planet but it never fails to make me giggle ( which SHOULD wake you up, right?) Badgely Mischka would be my scent of choice. It’s so tactlessly in your face but fun at the same time!

    • Ann says:

      Lynne Marie, so glad you mentioned that one. I loved the Badgely Mischka when it came out but then it sort of fell off my radar. Must re-try that one, and also didn’t they have a flanker, called Nuit or something?

  • Red says:

    This are awesome thoughts and well written blog. I heard good and bad things about Interlude Woman but so many great reviews on Carnal Flower, made me wonder. As again I have no idea how these all smells except the beautiful Tuberose Criminelle and Histoires Tuberose Animale. Maybe they would work on a spray or two as to wake up that beautiful sleepy soul.

    Has any of you tried Amouage Lyric and Memoir Woman? How’s your experiences with it? Cheers.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Red, and thanks! Glad you like the TC, too. I need to try the Histoires you mention. Amouage Lyric and Memoir are both beautiful scents, and they also come in lovely body creams for those who like to layer or like lighter applications of the scent. Enjoy!

  • I don’t know which perfume yet (I’m a newbie!), but I know I would lean to something very grapefruity. Grapefruit scented anything always seems to wake me up!

    • Or Dzing! I have not smelled it yet myself, but I hear it’s like the circus. And no one can sleep at a circus, right?

    • FearsMice says:

      I agree with Sonya’s grapefruit suggestion! I spritzed on some Mistral Patchouli yesterday morning, and its citrus verve kept me going most of the day.

      • Ann says:

        Hi, FearsMice. I only have a sample of that one, but need to put it into a little atomizer to see how it does sprayed. Thanks!

  • Lisa D says:

    My vote goes to Tauer Cologne du Maghreb – a blast of citrus and turpentine that comes perilously close to some sort of lemony spray cleaner….but stops just short of that and then turns in an entirely different direction.

    • Ann says:

      Hey, Lisa! I’ve got a bit of that somewhere around here so will definitely have to revisit it. Thanks!

  • rosarita says:

    That’s a time when I like fresh and clean; bracing, if you will. Serge’s Bas de Soie is cold and refreshing; Bulgari Eau Perfumee Au The Blanc is clean & fresh. PG Yuzu Ab Irato would be a contender for it’s mintiness but it disappears too quickly.

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, dear! Oooh, yes to the Bas de Soie — it is a nice chiller, isn’t it? And I’ll have to remember it for those toasty summer days, too. Must try the Yuzu also.

  • Jan Last says:

    How about going the other way? Instead of the killers to wake you up, maybe you could go totally tropical….Creed Virgin Island Water, Accord Parfait Hesperide, Miller Harris Tangerine Vert, Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier. or even a little Lubin Gin Fizz just to drag the office into spring.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Jan — great scent suggestions there! And I really like the idea of dragging the office into spring mode. Thanks!