Along with Now Smell This, Lee and Nava will be attempting to refine, reduce and produce a ten item perfume list that represents the best of winter. This particular winter, at any rate.
Now, I’m not a lister – anything but. And normally, winter in the UK is a strange extended segue of moisture and decay that exists between the russets of autumn and the lime greens of spring. This year, however, though we can’t claim the seasonal intensity of Fairbanks, Alaska, or Whitehorse, Yukon, it has actually been cold. We’ve had three weeks of frost (unheard of in recent memory) and on two days, the freeze lasted for 24 hours. Incredible. I recall, as a child, those hoar-frosted skeletal branches of trees and icicles forming on gates and roadsigns. This winter has been a reminder of my past. And, in honour of that, I’m prepared to do a little listage – of what I’m wearing this winter, more than what might be winter-appropriate.
Eau Noire / Sables – take your pick of the rich thick comfort brew. A warm blanket that’ll stick with you for days, these two immortelle brutes are snugglesome to me. Eau Noire is maple syup curry tempered with lavender; Sables is straight up herbalised syrup. Both are wonderful.
Tumulte pour homme – a bargain basement scent from Christian Lacroix (darling), still remarkable easy to find – for pennies – in the UK, though apparently increasingly rare elsewhere. This is a plain and simple woods scent. Somewhat synthetic, it nevertheless performs a go to function for me and sundry other folks I know. Fills a space in one’s wardrobe (ideally one’s cedar wardrobe) oh too perfectly.
Five O’clock au Gingembre – now, plenty people have knocked this recent release of Serge Lutens. Not me though. It’s the one I reach for when none else will do. It strikes me as a remarkably refined men’s scent, beginning with spiced tea with a sharper acidic tone to keep it on the lively side, before heading into bezoin softness in the drydown. My winter no brainer.
Timbuktu / Dzongkha – to irritate March, I’ll celebrate both of these Duchaufour wonders. I wear Dzongkha more out of the two – the iris lends it a quiet, contemplative quality, whereas Timbuktu can seem a bit too bright sometimes. I prefer that one in summer. When will Luckyscent release their Duchaufour-created l’Artisan number?
Finally, le Labo Poivre 23. Ridiculously expensive, ridiculously limited availability (though Liberty will post, you know), this is nevertheless my favourite release of 2008. A perfect incense, vanilla, pepper and labdanum combo, it’s everything winter needs. Thick without suffocating. I can’t imagine it disappointing anyone.
Profumum Olibanum: Dry incense and sandalwood tarted up by the slightest bit of orange blossom. Every time I wear this I feel as if I´m getting a bear hug from a defensive lineman.
Chanel Coromandel: If there is such a thing as elegant, ladylike patchouli, this is it. I don´t normally go for elegant and ladylike, but I love this one. The vibe totally changes in warm weather, but for now, it´s perfect.
Josef Statkus Eau de Parfum: Vanilla, patchouli and incense – oh my! Honestly, I can barely smell the patchouli, but the vanilla, incense and whatever else is in there is a wonder to behold.
Etat Libre d´Orange Nombril Immense: I´ve been feeling about as insignificant as navel lint lately, so not only is this scent aptly named, it echoes my mood. Really, after the umbilical cord is cut, what purpose does the belly button serve? Seriously though, I fell in love with this the first time I sniffed it. One of the all-time greatest cold weather comfort scents that doesn´t smell like maple syrup or cupcakes. Not that it´s bad to occasionally smell like maple syrup or cupcakes.
Donna Karan Chaos: If I had to go through life without this now, I´d have some serious issues that could require extended hospitalization. The name should infer that the scent would literally be “chaos” in a bottle, but it truly is the most calming, soothing, liquid equivalent of Xanax and Prozac. Figures I fell for this the second time around. But, the second time around is supposed to be better, no? Chaos also has year-round potential, which is totally out of character for me. Yeah, I love it that much.
And now, dear poppets – what are your choices?
image: Colibita lake – snow crystals macro, bortescristian, flikr.com