Scents to help defeat the deep freeze

deep freezeI know, I know, some of you have had umpteen feet of snow and days of below zero temps, so I realize I may be a little unworthy to whine, but dagnabit — it’s cold! When we here in the (almost) deep South are looking at single digit temps coming down the pike, it really is the deep freeze and you know it’s bad. Why, you ask? Factor in the likelihood of snow and ice (and the resultant chaos from folks unaccustomed to driving in it and a dearth of weather-appropriate road equipment), store shelves emptied by panicked shoppers, then multiple school and business closings, and there’s likely to be a whole lotta trouble brewing. Laugh if you must, but unfortunately, that’s the way it seems to go around here.

Even though the 35-degree high today is sounding positively balmy, the dire forecast for the days ahead have me rummaging through my perfume drawers (and table, and boxes, etc.) into what I call the “under-50 crowd” (50 degrees, that is) to find the warmest heating elements I’ve got.
deep freeze 2Ambers, incense, deep woods, gourmands — let’s pull out some toasty personal space heaters. So far I’ve found Dior’s Mitzah, Chanel Coromandel and Coco, SL’s Ambre Sultan and the vintage Cartier Must parfum, but can’t seem to put my chilly digits on the little sample jar of Portrait of a Lady body butter. Or that bit of vintage YSL Opium. Let’s see, some sweet warmth … ah, there’s Givenchy Organza Indecence and Chopard’s Casmir. Not sweet but fabulously warming, Andy Tauer’s L’Air du Desert Marocain would help thaw out the deep freeze, no?

Or maybe I’m going about this all wrong. Maybe I need to flip my attitude, think tropical, and pull out some beach-worthy beauties bearing coconut, citrus, tuberose, gardenia, lily and the like. A little Kai, a little Carnal Flower or a spritz of Guerlain’s Lys Soleia to brighten things up perhaps? What say you?

What scents help you cope when the deep freeze strikes in your neck of the woods?

82 Comments

  1. Hi Ann! Its been cold here in Portland Oregon too – below freezing and very frosty in the mornings. No snow expected in the valleys but loads on Mount Hood which we can see from our bedroom window. We’re up at 1000 feet so we may get a dusting – the ice is what is worse though and we don’t even attempt to get down the very winding hill to the bottom. A couple of weeks back, we had the coldest temps here for 50 years – single digits. And wouldn’t you know – our furnace went out on the coldest day – twas 49 degrees in the house for 3 days – what a joy that was. Fortunately we have 3 fireplaces and several space heaters so it was logs, sweaters, fleecy blankets, fuzzy slippers and Ambre Sultan for me! But I love all of your suggestions for warming ‘fumes – as an amber nut I’d add Ambre Russe to the pot. Perhaps too, Cinnabar. I’d never thought of “beachy” fragrances – I’m going to give that a try!

    • Oh, Sally — bless your heart! How awful to have the heat go out at the worst time. Thankfully, you did have the fireplaces, heaters, etc., to get you through. Let’s hope you don’t have a repeat of that ever again. I worry about that happening to us, so I bought an extra space heater so we could at least heat two bedrooms. Cinnabar and Ambre Russe sound wonderfully toasty. Stay warm ….

  2. When I want to disavow the winter I wear Velvet Gardenia or OJ’s Frangipani. when I want to face the winter head on coziness I go for Ambra di Luna or MdO’s Ambre or, lately, I have taken back again my lovely Santal Majuscule.
    Happy Sunday!

    • Great choices there! I’d forgotten about the Mona amber — yum!! And I need to dig out several of the others you mentioned, esp. the frangipani. I knew you all would have some perfect suggestions. Thanks!

  3. For those of us in the southern hemisphere, snow and ice are all so very hard to imagine at the moment. We’ve been having a prolonged heat wave, and not the nice kind …. around 40 degrees celsius (105 F) for heading up to a week, plus high humidity. Uuugh, I hate it. Older folk and the little ones are having trouble coping.

    I haven’t been able to find anything in my fragrance collection that makes the heat seem more bearable. I do have a couple of white florals but in the humidity they just go straight to cloying overbloom and then fizzle.

    Oh for a cooling breeze!

    • Oh, no — sorry, Jennie. But we’ll be singing the same song in seven or so months. In the meantime, would love to send you a big wave of arctic air to chill you down. Being hot is almost worse, because there’s just so much clothing you can take off 🙂 Have you tried incense, as Millicent (below) suggested? Also, I really enjoy mint-based scents in the heat. Hang in there and stay as cool as you can.

      • Any arctic air would be much appreciated.

        Thanks for the tip about a mint-based scent – I hadn’t thought of that. Time for a bit of research!

        • Jennie, I really wish I could send you a blast. I detest being hot, and when the thermometer goes as high as it has for you, it really is unbearable. Play around with some different scents and hopefully you’ll find one that helps, at least a little.

    • Yep, here too! We are so fortunate to have trees, because they are the only think that makes theis heat wave bearable. Wearing a lot of bergamot everything…

    • Chanel’s Cologne gets me through Dallas summers, when temps venture over 100 F regularly – another one for you to try!

      • Yes, yes, to the trees AND to the Chanel cologne — it all really helps!

  4. Ann, I agree with you on Coco (which I’ve just resurrected myself). Opium would also be wonderful. And I’m currently really enjoying Vanillary by Gorilla Perfumes for Lush. Never thought I was a vanilla perfume person until I tried that one, and now I can’t wait to try others. Thanks for your post.

    • Thanks, Kandice. I was just in Lush a month or two ago and wish I had tried that one. Glad you found a vanilla to love and spark your exploration of others; there are some nice ones out there, with something to suit everyone’s tastes.

  5. Orientals, amber, and incense oh my. Anything cozy and warm appeals right now. I worry about all those with truly arctic temperatures. We don’t have that or snow in the lower Carolinas.

    • Howdy, Ellen — your post made me smile. Guess you guys are not getting walloped quite so hard there by this front; at least no single digits or snow/ice for you, thank heavens! I, too, worry about those in the far north with those harsh below zero temps.

      • I came originally from Illinois and had to laugh as people scurried around when it was forty degrees outside. Now I do the same. The above three truly suit cool weather,but I love them year round anyway.

        • Exactly, Ellen! Everyone’s experience/background is different so I think we all just try to do the best we can with what Mother Nature gives us.

  6. Mongolia’s my first home with actual seasons since childhood, and it’s interesting how I’m grabbing what to wear by instinct rather than conscious decision: lots of vanillas, especially Spiriteuse Double Vanille, Idole, Theorema, and leathers! Leather was pretty much unwearable in tropical Malaysia, but here it’s a treat. My green scents are all packed away — I get cold just looking at Martin Margiela or Chamade — and I’m eager to see when/if I crave my old tropical/beachy favourites.

    Incense always worked great in hot weather for me, there’s something that feels really cool about it, so maybe that’s an idea for you Southern Hemispere people who’re hot these days?

    • Hi, Millicent! How are you? So glad you stopped by; I was wondering how things were going in your new home, And I’m happy you’re getting to wear beauties like SDV, Theorema (great choices, BTW) and the like. BTW, I tried to sniff my Kai but it just felt wrong; maybe it will be more welcome after three or so days in the deep freeze, ha!

      • Wow, Malaysia to Mongolia! And I thought I ws extreme moving from San Diego to Montreal! We are having freezing rain today but I am overjoyed to see a small strip of blue sky right now… haven’t seen the sun in days, which is for me the worst part of winter. The cold doesn’t bother me at all but the lack of sunlight is tough. I am reaching for incense, ambers and gourmands in this cold weather (last week it was -40 with the wind chill).

        • Hey, Tara! I was thinking of you and your California to Canada adventure when I wrote this post. Hope you get much more sunlight and enjoy your warm and cozy frags.

  7. I’m stuck in the deep freeze here in Chicagoland. Musc Ravageur, Ambre Fetiche and Cabochard are my picks for inspiring that warm, cuddly feeling while the icy snow and winds are raging outside.

    • Poor thing, Diana, you really are! But at least they know how to deal with it up there (or mostly). Enjoy your yummy, cuddly scents and stay safe and warm.

  8. I’ve been craving the yummy, cuddly scents while huddled up inside staring at snow falling nonstop in upstate NY. I recently ran out of my recent go-to winter scent: Chergui. While I’ve tried a handful of other lovely cozy perfumes since (Kenzo Jungle l’elephant, Olympic Orchids Seattle Chocolate, Basile by Basile EDT), all I really think about is whether I should spring for a decant or full bottle of Chergui to start off the New Year 🙂

    • Oh, dear, sorry to hear that about the Chergui. Perhaps see how you do for a few days, and if you’re still craving it like mad, then that’s a good sign that you need a decant or FB. I’m glad you mentioned it; I love it, too, but it’s just fallen off my radar this winter.

    • Chergui is wonderful in the cold (and it also works well in the summer). I recently bought a bottle for a very good price on fragrancenet and it may still be available.

      • Excellent, Bastet — that’s a great one to get a bargain on!

  9. Chypre Palatin by MDCI, Black by Puredistance, and Cuir 28 by Le Labo have been in heavy rotation this winter for me .
    2013 was a brutal year for me, I’m still healing emotionally and physically from it, 2013 also was a great year for fragrances that are perfect for the brutal New York winters.

    • Glad you have been able to enjoy some great scents, and I hope things continue to improve for you.

    • John, so sorry to hear that you’ve had such a difficult year, but glad things are looking up — here’s hoping that 2014 will be your best year ever. Enjoy your wonderful winter scents and hang in there.

  10. We may freeze here in central Florida. I wear 5 o’Clock au Gingembre or Ambre Russe or Idole de Lubin on the coldest days.

    • Oh, bless you, dear! The cold is especially hard to take in Florida where you’re really not used to it. But you’ve got some nice warmer-uppers there to help you ward off the chill.

  11. For me Absolue Pour le Soir for cold weather. Huddle down in an ancient church with the incense, honey, musk and roses as the snow flies.

    • Oooh, Kelly, that IS so perfect for the deep freeze. I will have to go get my sample and wear it tonight when the single-digit temps hit. It’s one of the very few scents with cumin in it that I can wear, so I treasure it. Enjoy!

  12. L’Heure Bleue, Shalimar, Rose Nacrée du Désert and the warmest of them all, Fumérie Turque. Gotta get me a decant of vintage Opium, even if the simple idea of it sounds scary in this hot summer we’re having.
    Have a nice week!

    • Solanace, sorry to hear you’re having the opposite problem there; extreme heat is pretty rough too. You’ve mentioned some nice scents there, and I’m so glad you reminded me of Fumerie Turque — that is a toasty little number. Stay cool, dear, and don’t fear the Opium (just wear it in teeny-tiny doses 🙂 ).

    • How very cool for you, dear Portia (pardon the pun)! Where will you visit in your travels? Wherever you go, I’m sure you’ll enjoy a little break from your heat Down Under.

      • So exciting Ann,
        We fly into Vienna, go to the Sound of Music in Saltzburg, Munich, Paris, London. At almost every stop we are meeting up with perfumers and bloggers. There should be a couple of fun travel posts, I hope.
        Portia x

        • Sounds beyond wonderful! Can’t wait to read all about it! BTW, are you planning to go to Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie in Harrod’s? I’ve never been; if you go, would love to hear a first-person account of it.

  13. My warmest frags include L’Ambre Des Merveilles, PG Iris Oriental, Vol de Nuit Evasion, Kenzo Amour, vintage Emeraude, and VC&A Bois d’Iris. I’ve also tried wearing some Big Flowers like Paestum Rose, Pacifica Persian Rose, and Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile. Our temps here in Virginia have gotten down in the 20s, and tomorrow we’re supposed to have a high that’s only in the teens. That’s really cold for us.

    As a sidebar, let me add that I bought and read the first two Louise Penny mysteries, and I’m hooked! I loved them. So thank you ladies for recommending her to me. 🙂 This is the kind of weather to snuggle up under a blanket with a hot cup of tea and read a good book.

    • Lovely scents all, Dina! Especially love the Evasion — must go find my little dab o’ that. And I think all you Virginians are right there with us in the record cold temps. It’s supposed to be 7 overnight here so I am battening down the hatches, opening the sink doors, dripping all the faucets, etc., in an effort to avoid frozen pipes. Stay warm with your book, blankie and tea, dear!

  14. Hi Ann, no need to apologize, I lived in Houston for years and it’s worse to live in areas that are not equipped for unexpected winter weather. I’m downwind of Lake Michigan and we have had the blizzard & wind chill warnings, blah blah – not fun but not terribly unusual. Honestly, I’d rather this than 105F! I scored an impulse buy of Kate Walsh Boyfriend dry oil on clearance and it smells great layered under my winter usuals like Ambre Russe. I have a decant of Chopard Casmir but haven’t tried it yet, maybe today’s the day.

    • Hey, sweetie! I agree with you — having had both weather extremes, this one is somewhat preferable, for me, too. Lucky you to have the BF dry oil — didn’t even know they made that, although I do like the body cream. Do try the Casmir; I put on my sample recently and really enjoyed it. Hope you will, too. Take care and hope you’re getting around better now.

  15. I need to venture out today, and it won’t even be 20 by the time I leave the house – cold for Dallas! I’m planning on PG’s L’Ombre Fauve to keep me from freezing today (though last week when it was cold I doused myself in Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea and Honeysuckle just for the heck of it!)

    • Wow, that is cold for Dallas! Especially considering the heat you guys have in the summer. How did you end up liking the green tea and honeysuckle in the chill? Did it help? 🙂

  16. So cold here! No school for anyone here, and we’re planning on snuggling in and making soup, doing laundry and putting away Christmas. I love cold weather for perfume…I’m thinking about Ambre di Nepal (powdery, “pretty” type amber), Alessandro, Confetto or maybe Profumum Vanitas. Stay warm and have a good day everyone!

    • Hi, dear Sherri! I hear you, our schools closed for today (Monday) and Tuesday. And we didn’t have any ice, snow or anything at all but frigid air. Guess they just don’t want to take any chances, but it sure makes for stir-crazy kids, ha! Love your choices, especially that Ambre di Nepal. Take care …

  17. Hi Ann, we’ve been going through a temperature pendulum here in the Northeast. A few days ago it was -21 with a wind chill of -40 and today it is 37 and raining with a forecast for tomorrow of a high of 7. i have NO idea what to put on each morning as I step out the door 😉 My favorite deep freeze perfume is SL Un Bois Vanille, it’s so deep and so rich. Another favorite is By Kilian’s Amber Oud, it automatically makes me feel warm.

    • Oh, Lynne Marie, that is crazy. It makes for a whole lotta perfume (and clothing) uncertainty, doesn’t it? The SL and BK you mention are great warmer-uppers; I need to go get my samples. Thanks. Hang in there and try to stay warm and dry.

  18. Hi Ann, I’ve seen on the news the freezing weather conditions over there, but I admit the closest I’ve ever gotten to that was being in a walk-in freezer for a few seconds :-/ so I don’t have icy cold winter perfumes. My cold weather perfumes also include MdO Vanille, Love by Kilian and Habanita to many mentioned above.

    Like Jennie’s part of the world it’s stinking hot here, so what I wear to feel cool are Thé Vert, L’occitane Verbena, vetivers, colognes, and Hermes Jardin Sur le nil and Mousson. Anything else is suffocating.

    • Hey, Lynley! I do feel for you all at the other end of the temperature spectrum. As I told Jennie (above), I wish I could send a huge wave of Arctic air your way to give you guys some relief. But you do have some nice scents to help bring some much-needed chill. Sometimes I put my fave colognes in the fridge overnight so they’re frosty cold for spraying in the heat of the day, if that helps.

  19. I would have suggested Coromandel, Ambre Sultan, or L’AdDM. Heh.

    KW Boyfriend is a nice, cozy option when you’re just ready to surrender to the cold. I’ve also been enjoying Atkinson’s Odd Fellow Boquet, a not-quite-gourmand tobacco scent.

    • Ah, Becky — nice choices! Great minds do think alike 🙂 Mmmm … I love me some KW body cream, but am not familiar with the Atkinson’s scent. Where do you find it?

    • Yay, a Fendi fan! Which one is your favorite? Or two or three ,,,

  20. In Cleveland, we keep going between temps in the 40’s and 50’s to the teens. One day, I might be wearing Courtesan or Infusion d’Iris and the next I could be wearing Epic or Shalimar. Thankful for the wood burning fireplace though.

    • Amen to the fireplace, eldarwen! This up and down weather is for the birds. It’s so funny you mention the Amouage Epic; I had tried the body cream and liked it and not five seconds ago put on a dab from my newly acquired sample of the juice. Will have to see how it wears on this single-digit temp night.

  21. We’re about to get that single-digit (F) weather as well, here in the mountains of Virginia – actually, tomorrow morning we’re supposed to have wind chill of -17F BRRRRR. This year, with my daughter at college in Connecticut, we’ve been really amused to notice that although we’re some 800 miles south, we’re also at a high enough elevation (2100 ft) that our temperatures have been tracking within 2 degrees of New Haven’s. She flies back on Thursday, so I hope there’s no precipitation.

    I’m not a huge amber fan, but when the weather gets cold I have some options. You mentioned Organza Indecence, and that is wonderfully cozy. Smell Bent One is spice and musk and old paperbacks, very cozy, or SSS Tabac Aurea smells great with the ambient fireplace aura. My decant of Mauboussin and the sample of Jungle l’Elephant get worn in the chill, too. However, tropical florals are lovely in the cold too – the first time I sampled CArnal Flower, it was so cold and dry outside here that you could toss a cup of water up into the air, and the droplets would instantly freeze. Carnal Flower stood up to that, with its chilly florist case freshness and the beautiful florals.

    THe other thing I like to wear in the cold is aldehydes – Arpege (vintage parfum, please; the florals are rich and almost rotting, but the woody base is really beautiful), L’Aimant, Mariella Burani, and Iris Poudre all go crisp and crackly like ice. This is acceptable when there’s a fire roaring away in the fireplace and you can sip hot chocolate or spiced cider!

    • Hi, Mals! Yep, you are right there in much the same boat as we are; looking for 7 F tonight, but not sure about tomorrow, but -17 wind chill — noooo thank you. Too funny about the near-parallel temps to Connecticut, though! Will send up a prayer that her flight gets off OK, much as I know you’d love for her to stay with you a while longer. BTW, I’m glad you mentioned your Carnal Flower experience, beautifully put. And since you are our Aldehyde Queen, those you mentioned do sound perfect, when you’ve got warmth all around you as you mentioned. Stay toasty and hope all goes well for you.

    • Love the vintage Arpege suggestion, mals. I have that one, too, and need to wear it. Maybe tomorrow will be the day for it. Stay warm, fellow Virginian. 🙂

  22. I’m loving my sample of Tom Ford’s Sahara Noir right now. That should do well in the heat but enjoying it along with Shanghai Lily. I’m also reaching for Chaos and Bond’s Chinatown (just a smidge though!). Here in SW Ohio, the wind is brutal. The sun is out but the wind is gusting to 30mph, giving us a wind chill of about -22. I’m going nowhere today!

    • Tiara, that IS brutal; when the wind feels like a knife going through you, it’s time to head inside and stay inside, which it sounds like you are doing. Glad you’re enjoying those Tom Fords; they are so nice.

  23. Black Cashmere is THE winter scent as far as I’m concerned, although Sacrebleu, Kalimantan and Incence Oud all work well

      • Seconding both you ladies on the BC — what a great comforting, warming, soothing blend, but still a little mysterious and sexy!

  24. Hi, Ann, I’m in Amouage Epic Woman today. The temps outside aren’t very cold but the house feels chilly, so I am keeping warm with Epic’s pepper, balsam, and smoky incense, Hot chocolate and a blanket over my knees later!

    • Hi, great choice on the Epic. As I mentioned to a previous commenter, I’d tried and liked the body cream but just a few minutes ago put on a dab o’ my newly acquired sample. So far, so good, and it feels like it’s lighting a fire under me already. You described it perfectly. Enjoy!

  25. I’m wearing Olympic Orchids Olympic Amber today, which is nice in the cold. I’m in Houston, and it was in the 20s this morning, so as you can imagine, we barely know what to do with ourselves. And it’s supposed to get down in the teens here tomorrow.

    • Oh, Jennifer, for you Texans who get so much super-hot weather, not sure if this much cold is a blessing or a curse (or a little of both, maybe?). This has got to be one of the craziest weather years we’ve had in a long time. Glad you’re enjoying the Olympic Amber; I’ve heard nice things about it and need to try it sometime. Hang in there!

  26. -15F at 6a today. El O headed out to work and got stuck in the middle of a state highway – stuck there for 3 hours. All I could think about was thank Floyd he was warmly dressed, with storm-stuff and hot coffee (and oatmeal) in the truck. I then went to take a hot shower and slathered myself with Dia.

    • Oh, mercy, sweetie — bless his (and your) hearts! Minus zero temps and stuck, yikes! Yes, thank heavens everything worked out OK for him. Always good to be prepared. And Dia, you say? What? No Epic? And here I went and put on a little dab o’ that just for you tonight 🙂 As I mentioned to someone else, it’s already lighting a fire under me, ha!

  27. Here in Minnesota the Govenor declared that all schools be closed today due to extreme cold temps. Yep, It’s cold, -15 currently, heading to -22 for a nightime low! I just bought a bottle of L’Ambre des Merveilles as an antidote, and have also been wearing L’Air du Desert Marocain. Also, Iris Nazarena is what I’m wearing currently and there is something about the incense that is so soothing to me, it lasts all day and just seems a little zen.

    • Hi, Maren! I feel for you all in the far north — it’s really getting rough up there. But all your warmer-uppers sound just perfect and I’m glad the IN is giving you a zen vibe; good to have when it’s that cold. Stay warm and hang in there!

  28. Yikes! It is freezing out there (and bloody windy)! On days like this, my refuge is almost always PG Coze — the hot pepper undercurrent to the dry cocoa, spice and wood notes automatically makes me feel toastier.

    • Hi, lady! So happy you mentioned the Coze; I’ve been meaning to try it and kept forgetting. I’ve sniffed PG’s Cadjmere and Indochine and really liked them, so feel sure I’d like your favorite as well. Get a big ‘ol spritz of it, curl up with something hot to drink and let’s hope this cold spell passes quickly!

  29. Here in Southern California, it’s really more chilly than bitterly cold, although my hands and feet don’t seem to know that.

    I’d like to second the recommendation for incense in the heat, though. Last summer, on the hottest day of the year, which I spent mostly wilting at unshaded bus stops, I wore Etro Shaal Nur, and it was PERFECT. (Thanks to the lovely Portia for her review.) It stuck around all day, had sillage but wasn’t too up-your-nose, and was just floral enough to suggest freshness. I shudder to think what I looked like when I got home, but I smelled wonderful.

    • Hiya, Laurels! Yay — another incense fan! And that Shaal Nur is lovely — I know you smelled divine. I have a dab somewhere that I need to go dig up. It sounds perfect.

  30. Heading back to the single digits soon. Sally (see up) lives in one of the places I get some of my winter wonderfuls. Portland has Slumberhouse Grev, lovely sugared pine forest and 40 Notes. The Agonist line from Sweden has some of those soul warming scents. Today, I’m wearing L’Artisan Ananas Fizz for my current flip-flop lifestyle. The Laurence Dumonts are big here in PR, Les Eaux Gourmands L’Eau d’Antan is for beachy weather, but the Figue Sauvage is coming back to Colorado with me, for the bitchy weather.

    • Howdy, Jan! So glad you’ve dodged an ugly weather bullet by being there in sunny PR. Hopefully it won’t be too bad when you come back. i’d forgotten how nice that L’Artisan is, and some of those LD scents as well. Enjoy!

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