Estate’.  And when you sleep beneath a snowy cover

I’ll keep you in my heart, just like a lover

And wait until you come again to me, Estate’

Summer.  I don’t think about it in Summer.  Maybe I just live it??.  I think about Summer in the dead of Winter, holding it in my heart, just like a lover (that’s such a hokey line that it’s pure perfection)… Estate’, in the original Italian (Bruno Martino/Bruno Brighetti), is a lament .  Squoo that.  If I want to be miserable in Winter I can just look out the window.  And in Summer I don’t have time to lament – I’m busy  – and happily so – in the garden.

But it’s Winter, so I listen (for the umpteenth time) to Shirley Horn’s rendition, with Joel Siegel’s rewritten English lyrics.  It’s a paean to Summer, a slow, languid love song to the season.  She (and I) will long for Summer, in the midst of brutal, vicious Winter.

I think this makes perfect sense.  On the hottest Summer days, even as I’m lounging beneath an umbrella, watching hummingbirds and drinking lemonade, there’s often a minute’s thought to Winter – maybe because it’s so completely the opposite? After all, Robert Wells and The Velvet Fog himself, Mel Torme’, wrote ‘The Christmas Song’ on a sweltering July day, supposedly so blistering hot that they wrote the song to cool themselves down.

I’m wondering:  is it possible we need that difference in order to appreciate what we love most?  Joni said ‘don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone’… could it be thus with the seasons, that we cannot truly think about the season we’re in while we’re in it?  I know that thinking of Autumn in Autumn makes me melancholy and I cannot think about Winter in Winter because I will cut my own throat. I live more completely in Summer, it seems but even then I can take it a bit for granted, even as I revel in it (I might be lying here – but go with it).   So maybe I need the darkness of Winter….so as I sit here, looking out on a frozen, white world….  I can think of, and long for,  Summer.

And that brings us to perfume.  Except for the heavy hitters like Tribute and Carnal Flower (which I only wear on triple-digit days because FABULOUS!) I tend not to even wear perfume in Summer, at least not in the garden (where I spend 90% of my time).  Truly, what perfume could compete with the first flush of rosa ‘Margaret Merrill’ or an evening awash in the narcotic beauty of full-throated Oriental Lilies.  Why would you even want to compete?  So I wear them now, as I dream of Summer.  I’ve been doing it for years but only recently did I actually notice myself doing it.  Lightly citrus scents like Hermes Pamplemousse Rose, a perfect, ripe pink sugared grapefruit, Amouage Gold,  a blue and white kite high in the sky, lemony/pithy Arpege (contemp layered over vintage) which, along with the luxe of the dusting powder across the shoulders, is a pleasure boat on an azure sea.  Lubin Gin Fizz is a refreshing cocktail sipped aboard that same pleasure boat, ice cubes tinkling in crystal, laughter floating on the sea air.  Cartier Baiser Vole’ Lys Rose… those gorgeous Oriental Lilies, stems, leaves and all, wafting their scent in a rising wave…  these all say Estate’ in the dead of Winter.

photo stolen : the spruce eats

Maybe it’s the same thing as that citrus jones I get around this time, scarfing down those little mandarines like they’re going out of style (which they do, come April).  Maybe sparkling, soft citrus is my ‘comfort’ in the dead of Winter.   No woods, no ambers or resins…. not even leather – those are for Autumn.  A whole lotta sparkly, soft rindy things… heck, maybe I’m just completely bonkers.  But it works for me.  Keeps me sane.  What works for you?  What do you wear to get through Winter?  Is there anyone out there who LIKES Winter (we’re talking a Midwestern/Plains Winter, where -10F and a foot of snow is… Tuesday)?  I know you exist….. like unicorns do ;-).  Tell me how you feel about it.  I just came back in from a -4F walk around the park with Miss Crazy (the walk was her idea)  and I’m still waiting for the feeling to come back to my fingers and toes.

February is finally here – it’s both my least and most favorite Winter month because, short of the Zombie Apocalypse, nothing Feb throws at me can last for very long.  It’s not the Bataan Death March, it’s just February – I can do 28 days of sub-zero irritation, sorting seeds, eating mandarins… dreaming of Estate‘, which is just that much closer.


  • rosarita says:

    If it’s For Real winter in the Midwest, with lots of snow and really cold, I love it for a month. That Month is typically January and by the middle of February I’m ready for spring. Those “winters” that hover around 30F and have ice instead of snow are the worst. I like the beauty of the blue sky, snow and sparkle and deep blue shadows. But that was kind of all in the Before Times. Now that we’re almost a year into the pandemic, I’ve quit feeling…..much. About anything, even the weather. Like there’s no energy to cry or feel sad…..but I don’t feel depressed, or happy. I feel suspended – in winter and cold, uncertainty, loss, beauty- like, what happened to fun? Fun has been gone for way too long. It’s hard to find feelings even in perfume some days (weeks.) Right now everything outside looks as white and blank as I feel inside. Maybe in a few weeks there will be a crocus that will break through the ice in my brain.

  • Patty says:

    It is three months until i can start heating the pool. And it is going to 1 degrees or lower this week. This is what keeps me going, and I don’t hate winter, i’m just over it by Feb and ready for little green bulbs to shoot up and the sun to shine on my face.

    • Musette says:

      we sat at -10? or -14F here last week – I could be wrong because it’s all blurring together… but it was minus double digits. We’re sitting at 2F right now and it sucks. I no longer hate Winter – I … I dunno… well, okay I sorta still do. Nebber mind. xoxox

  • Cinnamon says:

    It’s zero (our zero, not US zero, so around 32 F) here and going outside is actually sort of painful. The air hurts the lungs. The dog doesn’t care. “My ancestors are from Labrador — this is easy”. I’m a spring-into-summer person. As soon as it starts to get milder I hold tight to that. Autumn is ok as long as it’s not too cold and it’s not flooding. Winter is a no no. The period when we move towards the winter solstice makes me hugely twitchy. But as soon as we hit 21 December I sigh with relief. Now we’re moving forward rather than down into the dark. I like snow — I like snow when there’s lots of it. But would I swap 2 foot of snow for high summer, when it the sun rises before 6 and sets at 10? No. Uh, definitely not. Perfumes … right now I’m mostly with Le Labo Ylang 49 which has that hot and cold thing going. I actually think I’ll wear it in the summer as well. It’s the candles that rotate. I’m big into the tuberose one now from a place called Urban Apothecary. I’ve sort of left behind the high winter/Xmas orange and cinnamon, wood fire and leather cardamon. I expect I’ll move on to the tomato one come mid-March and the dans l’Atelier de Cezanne come May. I can’t eat much citrus, but I remember devouring whole grapefruits during winter visits to family when they lived near Detroit. I love your posts, Musette, they make me think.

    • Musette says:

      wow! that’s a lovely compliment, thank you!
      I can’t eat a lot of citrus, either, which is why those little mandarinas are so delightful.
      32F. I’d give a lot for 32F. Even zero is an improvement upon the cold snap we’ve been having, with -14F as the high.


  • gwenyth says:

    I enjoy Winter….most of it. I’ve lived my life in the Rocky Mountains USA and have experienced Winter and Winter! Of necessity I’ve been able to learn how to deal with the cold, the snow and the early and prolonged darkness. Yes, there are added difficulties during the winter, and sometimes I grumble about clearing the walks and driveway. It is also a huge amount of work to clear pathways in the backyard for my dogs – but they love snow adventures, so it is worth the work.
    The cold weather changes how some of my perfumes wear and that brings in some fun experimentation. I love ambers, vanillas, rich resins, incense, boozy and tobacco scents – and these types of scents can be relished in the cold. On the other side of it, I LOVE wearing some of my tropical favorites in the cold/dark of winter because they are such a contrast to what is happening outside my doors.

    Where I live we have extremes….hot, dry summers, beautiful fresh springs, warm/cool Autumns, and snowy, cold Winter. Overall, I look forward to the changing seasons in my part of the world.

  • Dina C. says:

    I enjoy winter, the being inside cozy on a cold winter day aspect of winter. I loathe August, so February is not so bad to me. I wear all the perfumey scents that seem too much in Virginia’s hot, humid summers during winter. Big flowers, vintage chypres, incense, resins, or anything I like. It all smells good in winter.

  • Maya says:

    I completely agree about February. I want it to go by quickly because then comes March and winter is over as far as I’m concerned. I wear all my fragrances year-round but usually wear less citrus when it’s very cold. When I get winter fatigue, I gravitate to white florals and roses. I am happiest in warm weather!

  • Neva says:

    Another summer lover here! I felt so nostalgic after reading the first few lines in your post…every year I’m painfully aware that our time is finite and I want to spend mine preferably in the summer.
    Like you, I’m happily wearing spicy, leather and patchouly perfumes during autumn but then, after a few months, I get bored and we’re in the middle of winter. Then I start pulling out the flowery and citrus stuff.

  • Portia says:

    Heya Musette,
    I love winter. Probably because ours is so mild but Jin and my favourite time to see the world is January and February. We leave the scalding 100C+ Sydney temps for as cold as we can get. Central Europe for preference but as soon as this C19 malarky is put to be we also want to do Canada by train.
    Unlike you I love to wear my citrus in summer and have a long list of firm favourites. Granville, Tokyo Bloom, the Guerlain colognes and many others.
    Interesting that you picked this subject the day after Carlos from Brooklyn Fragrance Lover went on to the next grand adventure. I thought it might be a requiem post.
    Portia xx

  • taxi says:

    What a wonderfully evocative post! Lovely descriptions! We have easy winters near San Francisco but I still want incense/amber/woods or a bit of vanilla to hold me close when it’s cold, like an olfactory cocoon. Warm weather takes florals in varying intensities. For hot summers, I need crisp citrus or herbal greens.

    • Musette says:

      SF winters are my idea of perfection!

      Next really intense HOT day, try an attar (or at least an attar-adjacent perfume). I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised. xoxoxo

  • Ann says:

    Beautiful post! And wonderful music!

    One of my resolutions is to wear more perfume, so I’m working on that, I think I’ll grab some citrusy ones based on this post and see how I like them in the cold.

    We had a lot of snow last week and today was a beautiful freezing cold sunny day!

    I like the picture you stole of the lemonade. It reminds me of a bottle of Shiseido toner my Mom always had in the medicine cabinet growing up.

    • Musette says:

      let me know what you think! You’d think they would vanish in the cold – but they don’t. They take on a very sparkly vibe, much like aldehydes. xoxoxo

  • Tara C says:

    I love winter and find it stunningly beautiful, but unfortunately I have SAD and become unbearably depressed and anxious in places far enough north to have intense winter. I can handle a couple of weeks, then I have to go south, which breaks my heart but it is what it is.

    As for winter perfume, I reach for my resins, gourmands and incenses. Cozy stuff. I am not a citrus person, even at the height of summer. My summer scent is immortelle which smells like skin baked in the sun.

    • Musette says:

      Winter IS stunningly beautiful – for about 3 days. If I could afford to go south, I’d be there in a heartbeat! I used to go to Mexico for the last 2-3 weeks of February, which is when Winter is grinding my Very Last Nerve into the dirt. Now I just kinda…. deal with it. But it’s brutal. xoxoxo