Comfort time

It’s the fag end of winter, though the weather here is doing its usual end-of-season last gasp – sharp morning frost, freezing fog, but then glorious sunshine from midmorning onwards. I thought winter had bypassed us once more, but Jack Frost has been nipping at the windows and burning incipient buds, the naughty tyke, reminding me that the end of February is always the chilliest time of year.

This cold weather has coincided witha period of oh-so-busyness at work. Man, it’s all rush, rush, rush, engaging high challenge stuff. I’m loving it, and I’m not really stressed – love my new job and my colleagues!, but I need comfort. And time. Just a smidgeon more time. So here’s my brief post of scents that comfort me, warm me up and calm me down. Though they don’t yet find me a few extra hours in a day. A lot of them I’ve written about before, but hey, I’M IN A RUSH!

Christian Dior Bois d’Argent – iris honey and some myrrh. Pretty simple but a default ‘now that’s just the ticket to take me to Calmville’. And always right.

Annick Goutal Sables – I used to like it, but this winter it’s become love. The best Goutal for a ‘cashmere blanket under starry skies’ effect.

Divine l’homme de coeur – normally a summer staple, but recently a sniff of this gives me bliss, on call, whenever I need it. The bottled equivalent of clear warm air, it’s an alternative reality where clouds are scented and deer and hares gambol in the streets, only pausing in their frolics to wave hello as I pass, butterflies landing on their noses.

Hermessence Ambre Narguile – apple tobacco honey amber richness. A foody non-foody wonder. The Nazgul to some, to me it’s more hobbity harmony.

Gianni Campagna Vento Canale – Ambre Narguile through the looking glass. With a pipe.

Mona di Orio Carnation – perfect skin. A warm caress. A forearm touched. A smile. Flesh on flesh. You’re with me, aren’t you?

Serge Lutens Santal de Mysore – can I dare say this is my favourite scent, when all’s said and done? It is really, though sometimes I forget the fact when some other little minx steals my interest. It’s true love.

Neil Morris Burnt Amber – my latest comfort flame. Sweet smoke, a floral hint, amber genius. Neil and Ida – incredible work. But I told you this last week.

So, what is currently comforting you, old and new? And I’ve never had frost on my windows like that image. It’s never cold enough. I just thought it was pretty. At least in the abstract…

And I imagine my usual, lengthier posts may return next week.

  • tmp00 says:

    You’ve inspired me to wear Sables tomorrow..

    • tmp00 says:

      actually, you’ve inspired me to wear it tonight. There are helicopters circling overhead (an LA thing) but I all glottal woody goodness 🙂

    • Lee says:

      I used to watch the helicopters circling when I lived in London. Nowadays, I watch the grass growing.:d

  • Donna says:

    Santal de Mysore is the ultimate comfort scent. I splurged on a full bottle in 2007 and am so happy that I did. I love Sables too 🙂

    I enjoy your column and look forward to each one 😡

  • Teri says:

    We’ve had the 2nd rough winter in a row here in Denver. As we enter mid-February, we’ve still got the typically snowiest month of the year (March) yet to go. And with the mountains as our weather arbiter, it’s possibly to still get some winter in April or even May. On the flip side, we’re starting to get sunny 50 to 60 degree days interspersed with the cold ones, so it keeps our spirits buoyed.

    I love the warm, comforting scents of winter, particularly the ambers, spices, and the woods. Thanks to an accidental overspray of MPG’s Fleurs de Comores over PG’s Iris Taizo early this winter, I’ve found that I quite like the combination of bananas, woods and spices (yes, I really am that strange). This combo has gotten a lot of ‘intentional’ wear ever since. Other scents getting a lot of play this winter include Botrytis for it’s warmth and glow and Rochas’s Absolu which I’ve been finding ridiculously cheap at my local TJ Maxx and I also happen to truly enjoy. I’ve even adopted a bedtime scent (Peace Comes From Within) because it actually DOES make me feel relaxed and at peace.

  • sweetlife says:

    Ambre Narguile — I didn’t get it, and I didn’t get it, and I didn’t get it. And now, mysteriously, it’s love!

    Where was all that tobacco and honey and soft, soft leather the first three of four times around? Maybe I was so put off by the apple pie that I stopped sniffing before it arrived? Not looking the scent fairy in the spritzer…

    And let’s hear it for Hobbits. Of course I long to be an elf, but I’m more or less reconciled to my cozy hobbity-hole and my furry toes.

  • BBliss says:

    Lovely post I’v enever seen frost like that in person – I like Iris anything this time of year – seems to bloom and comfort in the damp grayness…and works with our changeable temps quite nicely!

  • Calypso says:

    I’m lucky to live in Texas where we’re getting nicely into spring now and azaleas are coming out. (Sorry to rub it in.) My comfort scent is a layering that I want everyone to try–try it right now!–it’s SL Louve + CdG Palisander. I tried it accidentally when samples of both arrived in my mailbox one day a few months ago and since then I’ve returned to this combo frequently. It’s just a wonderful soft incense-y smooth serendipitous mix.

  • mimmimmim says:

    Trouble by Boucheron and Lorenzo Villoresi’s Teint de Neige are my current comfort scents. Soft and unthreatening and very, very comforting. Annick Goutal Songes is a tropical blast on cold days, as is Jean Patou Colony.

    I still can’t face the greens or leathers. They’re just too demanding.

    • Lee says:

      I don’t mind a drop of leather once in a while, as long as its on the soft side. But greens – totally with you there.

  • pitbull friend says:

    If there’s anyone desperately in need of cozy comfort, it’s me & my neighbors. Right now, it’s -11F in St. Paul, with an expected high of -1F!(Around -20C?) This has been one of the most brutal Februaries in a long time here, and I’m desperately ransacking my spicy scents looking for warmth. Even my beloved MeB Spiritus/Land won’t do — the ginger is too crystalline. Fallbacks in this mess have been Artisan T42 & PG Un crime exotique, but really, nothing but thermal underwear helps…. I no longer believe February is the shortest month! –Ellen

    • Tigs / Erin says:

      Hey E, not quite so cold here, but biting winds and constant snow. We’ve had about 4 feet of the white stuff in the last 2 1/2 weeks, adding an inch or two each day. So I feel you. And so glad to see you mention Spiritus/Land – how come that scent does not get more love? One of my fave incenses…

    • erin k. says:

      wow, evil fragrance twin – we’re evil weather twins, as well! i live in georgia, and we haven’t really had a winter here at all. don’t hate me, but it’s been in the 60s and 70s for weeks.

      sending warm thoughts your way!


    • Lee says:

      You poor thing! brrrrrr!

  • Louise says:

    Comfort, eh? Well, always my ambers…lately especially Amber Aurea, and Ambre Russe (must be the booze). You know, I’ve never tried the Ambre Narguile-must fix that lack soon.

    Lately, the Luxe Patchouli is more snuggle than luxe, cuddling me all day in it’s fenugreek/immortelle blankie.

    Vento Canale soothes anytime, without boring me..not an easy task.

    Neil’s Dark Season is a more bracing comfort, since it also has some exciting spice thrown in…lovely.

    But, Oh! Lee, I can’t think about Carnation on your wrist and feel anything remotely calmed…:d

    • Louise says:

      Aw, forgot what I’ve been wearing all week-PG L’Ombre Fauve-a gentle mix of vanilla, patch, woods that plays hide-and-seek sweetly for hours.

    • Lee says:

      You smell dreamy, and thanks for your lovely words, doll.

      I wore Luxe Patch at the weekend when we were away. A friend told me it smelled of sick…:-? :((

  • MarkDavid says:

    I need to try the Santal de Mysore in a non-wax form one of these days. Anything off of my top-10 list is a big comfort to me. I recently spent a few months figuring out exactly what was on that list and I’ve figured it out, after many sleepless nights. What the hell, I might as well share it…

    Neil Morris Gardenia, Chanel 28 La Pausa, Hermes Hiris, FM Iris Poudre, L’Artisan Fleur de Narcisse, Cuir Ottoman, Creed Santal Imperial, Guerlain L’Instant PH, Amouage Dia, and Guerlain Metalys.

    Other comfort scents I also love: Paul and Joe Bleu, Chinatown, Ambre Sultan, Chene, Eau d’Orange Verte, Shalimar Light, Bois d’Armenie, Rose Barbare, NM Summer of Love, the list goes on.

    Thanks for brightening up my Wednesday mornings, Lee. And I always get frost like that. Don’t know what you’re doing wrong…

    Are your windows triple-insulated?

    • Billy D says:

      You inspired me to dab on some Fleur de Narcisse today, and, yes, indeed, it is comforting like nothing else. I only need a few little daubs though, or else it gets very heady.

      Could you recommend any other narcissus frags that are as understated and cool? Have you tried the CB M#1?

      • MarkDavid says:

        Not a fan of CBs, sad to say Billy. They’re fleeting on me. I love to smell them, they’re so evocative. But I dont ever want to put them on my body.

        Hermes Amazone is a gorgeous green-Narcissus scent and another one of my favorites. Worth checking out.

    • Lee says:

      I think it gets a lot colder there than it does here, is all. We never get frost on the single glazed 200 year old sash windows on this house.

      Great list, bud!

      • MarkDavid says:

        see, and thats where you SHOULD be getting them – on single paned windows. Although the glass in old windows is so beautiful on its own, as it bows and bends.

        Perhaps it has something to do with humidity and barometric pressure. Though thats a field of science I know little about as it wasn’t really important in Pharmacy School. Go figure…

        So you live in an old house, do ya? I’ll be right over. Put the kettle on, get out all your best ghost stories, and wait for me.

        • Lee says:

          It’s just that we only get light frosts here, MD.

          My house is reasonably old, though not especially so for where I live – I’m surrounded by a richness of tudor cottages and hall houses that a 6’1″ guy can’t cope with – I bang my head a lot already, and don’t need my dyspraxia forced upon me on an hourly basis. I live in a late Georgian (Regency) terrace from the early 1800s – high ceilings, large windows, four floors. Sounds more chichi than it is!

  • Debbie says:

    It’s snowing. Huge, fluffy flakes. I hate winter.

    Sables – hated the top notes, LOVED the heart, so-so on the base. I’m torn on this one. I am putting it on my Amazon, list, though. Better than cucumbers and melon stuff.

    Amber Narguile – I wish I smelled everything that you and others have described in this. I have another sample. I will try to focus on those notes when I smell it again. I just get a nice, soft amber. That’s it. If I smelled honey and tobacco, I would love it.

    Santal Mysore – um, just soft sandlewood. Now we know why I like really animalic scents. They’re the only things that I can genuinely smell with all the nuance.

    Burnt Amber – 😡

    Any scent that I like/love comforts me, but the one that zones me out the most is Ginestet’s Botrytis. It’s just calm, warm honey. Not a lot to think about and yet very there.

    • erin k. says:

      oh! so sorry about Ambre Narguile – without the tobacco, honey and foody touches, it just wouldn’t be worth it. the first time i tried it, The Nazgul reared its ugly, sweet head, but from then on, it’s been wonderful.

      for something similar in feel, with definite tobacco, how about Chergui? that’ll warm anybody up, even in siberia!


    • Lee says:

      SdeM was like that for someone else I know too. On me, it’s close to, ahem, orgasmic.And there are lots of folk round these parts who recoil from AN in horror!

  • chayaruchama says:

    A girl goes to work, and misses ALL the action !
    [This nursing career is seriously interfering with my bloglife, LOL]

    I know what you mean, Pattycakes. the Patch and Vanille are very soothing.

    Billy D- We need to get together !

    Judith, honey- pm me, I’ll send you some, OK ?

    Lee- and Louise: It’s my dear friends, animals that comfort me the most- but all my ambers, incenses, vanillas, and spices work well as ‘adjuvant therapy’, LOL.
    Way too many to list- and coupled with Caron extraits, Guerlain extraits, etc., I’m a happy girl.
    Parfum D’Ida for me today- a trifecta of skank, narcotic indoles, spice, and throw in the fizzies, for free…

    • Louise says:

      Just this, lovely woman- @};-

    • Lee says:

      Aaah, you two honeybunnies. Love ya, don’t I?

      And animals are there for me too. Had a lovely chat with a great Dane today, twitchy old fella.

      • Louise says:

        I so want either a Great Dane or a Jack Russell. Size doesn’t matter-spirit does! 😉

        • MarkDavid says:

          I want to adopt greyhounds by the truckload one day.

          I was all set to get one this fall and then I decided that I would be going abroad for a while in about a year for grad school and so That thought has been put on hold.

          I also love French Bulldogs. I’ll have a few of those, too.

          • erin k says:

            so do i! greyhounds are so beautiful, and despite how fast they are, they’re supposed to be real couch potatoes in the house. 🙂

            if i ever get a yard …


          • Lee says:

            They *are* couch potatoes. They like a big ole burst of energy sand then to lounge around. Like teenagers I guess.

  • Patty says:

    I can relate, I need a slower life! I’m having too many George Jetson moments.

    Comfort, right now Lann -ael is filling the bill and Patchouli 24 as well as the Vanille 44 from Le Labo Something about all three of those that are a hug.

  • alba says:

    I love Bois d’Argent but somehow it’s my springtime scent: I find it cheers me up instantly, it’s sunny and bright. Nowadays I find comfort in sandalwood (Tam Dao and Bois Farine) and vanilla/incense/amber (Coromandel, Vanille Tonka). I guess I’m not too original, but that’s the way it is. Oh, and sometimes I wake up and I feel I need to wear a floral, but that’s not frequent.

    • Lee says:

      Santal de Nysore is my sandalwood love, but I know how comforting it is. You’re perfect as you are, alba!

      • alba says:

        Lee, in a world where people mostly seem to bark at each other, it’s very nice to be called “perfect”, especially knowing I’m not. You’ve been as comforting as the best sandalwood (I’ll definitely try de Nysore one)

        • Lee says:

          I meant to type de Mysore, but never mind. Of course, none of us is really perfect, but that is kind of what’s great about us… Who wants perfect? To me, there’s perfection in our human flaws and foibles…

  • Helen T says:

    My new comfort is in ekeing out the sample of the Guerlain SDV which I won on here. It’s the buttery, vanilla and rum that does it for me, I just want to snuggle into it. Or, if the fire is lit and the fog is stilling hanging low, then I’d go for Fumerie Turque, it’s the sweeter side of smoky on me and I love it.

    Hold on about another 12 hours Lee, we’re in for rain and warmer weather tomorrow. Me, I’d rather have it cold and dry and sunny!


  • Carol Sasich says:

    Joining in the amber chorus….and Coromandel is in there…yet thanks to my friend Christen, I am devouring the comfy toastiness of Mazzolari Alessandro, sometimes with some Lei thrown in!!
    Must try some Burnt Amber. Maybe if Neil is listening, he will have some samples in his pocket at sniffa.

  • Judith says:

    I really need to try that Burnt Amber! Recently, I have been comforted by Montale Red Vetyver, Chergui, Tabac Blond, PG Cuir d’Iris.

    • Lee says:

      Great list J, two of which are on the top of my must tries… You’re always there, in the scented zeigeist!:x

  • Marina says:

    Oh do I know what you mean! It’ll get better, Lee. 🙁
    These days I am comforted by Coromandel.

    • Lee says:

      Oh, I’m quite happy M. Just can’t give some of the things I love as much time as I’d like to. I’m a man with way too many interests…:d/

  • Elle says:

    If only comfort scents would give me a bit of extra time each day! It’s been at least eight months since I had time to breathe. I find I’m turning to vetiver scents these days for comfort – a note I didn’t particularly care for until recently. *Need* to get a full bottle of MH Vetiver Bourbon. I also can’t get enough of vintage Diors, especially Diorling. They make me feel like I can escape to the 1960s cocktail party world of my imagination – a Richard Neutra house on the California coast, decorated in Alexander Girard colors. A wonderful mix of sophistication, innocence, relaxation and spaciousness. And there would be *warmth*. Enough of, as Andy put it, the W word. Oh, and also am turning to NM’s Burnt Amber, October, Fetish and Dorissima’s Goldmund (the Peru Balsam note in it is like a drug for me).

  • Anne says:

    Weird thing. We got cheated out of winter this year here in South Fla meaning the weather really has not changed for the last 6 months or so. But some internal clock motivated part of me knows Spring is coming (somewhere) and I went lookin’ for something green. You all know that frantic rummaging through the samps, I’ll know it when I find it but I need it NOW feeling, right? Found it….. Diorella. Smoothed out classy GREEN! One other that makes me close my eyes and breath slowly, deeply is Vol de Nuit Evasion.

    P.S. My name is Anne and I am an Amber Ho. Will be calling NM once I get my list in order. Burnt Amber is already on the top of that list. :)>-

    • Lee says:

      Let us know how you get on with the BA…

      I saw my first daffodils earlier, nodding their yellow heads by the roadside.:x

  • Silvia says:

    This morning the only thing that got me out of bed was the thought I’d spend the day with Bois d’Armenie, which I am loving more and more each day. It suits the fog.
    Another current fav comfort scent is Rose Kashmirie, so so soft (and good for hangovers). Eau d’Hiver and Bois Farine are also up there for their cocoon factor. The drydown of MKK is also very soothing.

  • rosarita says:

    Winter is still hard, bitter duty where I am. Extreme cold, snow, then one-day thaws w/rain, that cause floods and tear up streets. I’m not complaining, it is what it is, but your *fag end* sunshine sounds so nice, I’m envious.=:)
    Your posting on Encens et Lavande led to my digging out my sample, then ordering a decant. It is bottled calm; wonderful. And I received a bottle of Barbara Bui in a swap recently: at first I thought it was too sweet & pretty, but the more I wear it the snugglier it becomes. Very soft, powdery fluffiness w/ incense. Perfect for right now. Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka is another sweetie that I can’t get enough of at the moment. Love your Disney-esque take on Divine l’Homme le coeur! Let us know if you find *time in a bottle* anywhere. 🙂

    • Lee says:

      The sunshine is wonderful (and tonight we get a red moon eclipse too – wheeeee!).

      I’ll keep you informed.:)

  • andy says:

    About this W -word I have my own private thoughts. It is about time we get out of it. been there again, have seen it, let’s do spring flowers and colors now!

  • Maria says:

    Hi, everybody, I’ve been doing the hermit thing for a bit. Needed some time off from the world. Did think about you all. Hello, Lee!

    I’m going through that very confusing part of the year when we switch from winter to spring. It’s still chilly, but the roses are growing leaves. It rains sometimes, but we have stretches of sunny weather too. It’s damned hard to decide what fragrance to wear. Chanel No. 19 feels right though.

    My recent comfort scent binge was Maurice Roucel centered. I wore Musc Ravageur and L de Lolita Lempicka. The latter has immortelle going for it, Lee, like your Sables.

    • Louise says:

      Hi Maria! I’ve missed you…email me with the full details of your life and hiatus and Norbu, if you’d like…:x

    • Lee says:

      Well, I’m an immortelle addict it seems so I must try L – I haven’t so far. Wondrous to hear from you btw.:x

  • Divalano says:

    Funny, Bois D’Argent is my fallback, comfy shirt of a scent but it’s not calling me right now. I’ve been lazing about in Barbara Bui, instead. And yesterday, I Organza Indecenced. But mostly I’ve been Ambre Fetiching, though I’m not sure that one’s exactly about comfort although I do love its thick embrace.

    Ambre Narguile, hmm. I may be convinced to try it yet & maybe even Sables, though a quick in the bottle, in store sniff didn’t turn my head. And that Burnt Amber, yes indeed, next time I have a few bucks to spend on samples I’m gonna give that Neil a call, yes indeed.

  • erin k. says:

    i have a sample of Santal de Mysore on the way, and now i’m even more excited about getting it! i was starting to wonder about it – it doesn’t seem to get nearly as much mention or reviews as most of the other Lutens, and i wasn’t sure why.

    and i was going back and forth on whether to try Carnation – after what you wrote, i’m definitely going forth. :d

    and, billy – “petting zoo” with Bois d’Argent? excellent! that’s getting moved up higher on my list now. :d

    ((i actually had to google “fag-end.” i learned something new today!))


    • Debbie says:

      Yep, “petting zoo stink” made me write it down on my list too. 3:-o:d

      • Billy D says:

        Maybe I should have been a little clearer–it’s not really animalic, skanky, fecal at all. I just get a ton of hay a little whisper of some musk, but to me, it smells like dirty hay and llama fur.

        • Debbie says:

          Well, the skanky part usually appeals to me but, er, fecal does not. I had to laugh at “dirty hay and llama fur”. I still must try it though. :d

      • erin k. says:

        “goth woody floral”? i’m THERE! :d

        though i must admit, the lavender scares me a bit – if it’s in small doses, it’s fine, but so far big doses of lavender send me to the sink to scrub. it makes me feel ill. :-&

        but i’m brave (or stupid) – i’ll try it anyway!


        • Lee says:

          You won’t get lavender in Ungaro III. I have a bottle I never use – anyone want it?:d

          • erin k says:

            hmmm, if the lavender isn’t heavy, it sounds like something i’d love! how much is left in your bottle?


          • Lee says:

            It’s very close to full. Very little lavender, lots of darkness. Though I should warn you: it quite easily smells like generic manstuff until your nose adjusts to its darkness. In fact, I’m pretty darn sure there was a Lynx/Axe ripoff of this scent in the 90s…

            Lemme know, here or via posse contact us!:d

    • Lee says:

      Go forth! And you should love SdeM – it is oh so good.

  • Gina says:

    Hi Lee, great post. Here’s just two scents that are comforting me, though there are many more. I am tired, I worked a lonnnnnng day, and my brain doesn’t want to think.

    Donna Karan Black Cashmere
    Olivier Durbano’s Black Tourmaline sprayed over Keiko Mecheri’s Loukoum

    • Lee says:

      My brain needs time with your brain, sniffing those scents. Kick back and relax, lil darlin.

      • Gina says:

        The beauty of the long days is that I had a love interest on the set. Makes the time fly. And I smelled good…part of the love potion. ha! I am loving Black Tourmaline all by it’s little lonesome right now, what an amazing scent!!!!

  • Billy D says:

    The fag end of what? You and your Anglo idioms!

    I’m a little (ok, a lot) shocked that you left off Encens et Lavand from your list. Have you replaced her with Santal de Mysore? And am I now going to have to try the latter??

    Bois d’argent still gives me the petting zoo stink. It’s not vomit inducing, but it’s just not for me. Cologne Blanche is where it’s at.

    It’s funny, as I was opening the page, I was dabbing a tiny bit of EEL on my wrist, and it smells so lovely. I’ve realized though that it’s sort of the opposite of sexy. It is, in a word, comforting, and something I don’t really feel like wearing out. It’s just for me. muhaha. Is it worth getting a bell jar for something I’ll never wear in public? Perhaps.

    Right on about the Divine though–very calming, very serene, very perfumy.

    May I be so presumptive to ask what your profession is? I hope it is one that utilizes your linguistic talents.

    • erin k. says:

      billy – i just found out, the neil morris samples are $4, and bottles are $150 for 2 oz. you have to call in the order.

      he responded to my e-mail in just a few hours, and he seems incredibly nice, as everyone else has said.


      • Billy D says:

        Thanks for the info erin. I actually live in Boston, so I may just pop in and pick up some samples myself:-)

        • Debbie says:

          The bottles are parfum strength. I think it was 20 percent? Don’t quote me on that, but do ask. It’s more concentrated than EDP.

    • Lee says:

      I didn’t forget EetL which is in my top 3 and battles it out in my brain with Santal de Mysore… Crazy, but there you go. It’s why Sheldrake is my hero.

      As for fag – far more likely for me to think of either cigarette (hence fag end), or a pain in the butt (ha! But I mean in the sense of something tiresome), rather than the American abbreviation of faggot.

      As for my job, it uses my writing tangentially only. I work in school improvement after spending a decade and a half as a teacher. Troubleshooting, planning, structuring etc. I’m also involved in a massive school redesign project where I’m writing lots of the curricular materials… So there you have it.:d

      • Lee says:

        Though fag end comes from a rope reference really – transferred metaphorically to cigarettes and thence on to fag end, I think. Though my etymology ain’t all that…:d

        • MarkDavid says:

          from the French “Fagot” which means sticks, I believe.

          • Lee says:

            I dunno – my french never moved beyond intermediate. I thought it was Middle English at least (fagge), though the myth about the gay semantic link between faggot and burning is largely spurious…:d