Seville a l’Aube: Beauty tempered by sadness

Hello, dear Posse peeps, I’m writing this post today with mixed emotions.

On the positive side: Today my wonderful husband and I celebrate 24 years of being happily married. But on a sad note, this weekend was the funeral of the lovely daughter of two of our oldest friends: a vibrant, talented and compassionate young woman taken from us far too soon. Needless to say, neither of us feels like celebrating very heartily today.

sevilleRecently, I’ve been wearing L’Artisan’s Seville a l’Aube, and its personality seems to fit my mood these past few days. Its orange blossom is straight-up beautiful, no doubt about it. It really is almost joyous on one hand, full of bright happiness and promise. But on the other, the incense and beeswax deepen and ground it, giving it a distinctly bittersweet feel, at least on my skin.

I wore it to the service and it was quite calming and lovely, definitely a blessing on a day filled with much grieving and saying goodbyes.

In my current state of mind, the Seville a l’Aube smells almost the way autumn feels, if that makes any sense.
Although a glorious, colorful season (and actually my favorite), there’s always that hint of sadness that the bright days of summer are gone. And the reminder that winter’s harsh chill will soon be upon us (apologies to those of you who have already had freezing temps and snow).

Thinking about more scents like this, Ormonde Jayne Woman and Serge Lutens’ de Profundis come to mind, their stunning beauty tinged by earthy darkness. Some might think of Guerlain’s L’heure Blue in much the same way. Paris at dusk could definitely be a bittersweet moment. And I’m sure I’m forgetting some other great scents.

What do you wear that strikes you as gorgeous, but is also a little melancholy?

  • FragrantWitch says:

    Oh Ann, I am sorry that such pleasure and such sadness are visiting you together. Hold on to yourself and your friends, as grief caused by the loss of a child can be extremely isolating as it is so ‘unnatural’. I can’t imagine having to bury my daughters but I do know that I wouldn’t want to do it alone. And I shall be off to kiss them as soon as I post this!
    I do hope that you found some time to celebrate your wonderful accomplishment of 24 years and that you hugged your miracle boy a bit more than usual.
    I don’t have a particularly melancholy perfume except for Arpege as it is my Grammy hugging me and calling me ‘honeybun’- always.
    Actually, Black March is a melancholy scent as is Whips and Roses.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, sweet M, and thank you. The funeral was a lovely outpouring of support for the family, and so many people were lined up to get into the church that the service was delayed for more than 30 minutes while the ushers found seating for them all. A testament to such a kind and loving family. And DH and I will try to get together with them more often as well. Do kiss and hug those precious girls of yours as much as you can and I will do the same with my boys.
      I haven’t smelled Arpege in years but so glad you feel your Granny through it — what a wonderful scent memory! I’ve been meaning to try Black March and Whips and Roses for a while now, so must get on it.

  • Anita Lane says:

    Ann – my deepest sympathy to you and your friends. Such sorrow is almost impossible to imagine. And on the other hand, congratulations on your anniversary! Twenty four years is a real accomplishment, and one that should be celebrated, so do enjoy yourselves whatever you decide to do.

    I don’t know as I have a melancholy perfume, nothing’s really striking a chord. But I’m glad you’ve found comfort in scent. Sending you a fragrant hug –

    • Ann says:

      Your kind words are much appreciated, Anita. We will celebrate a bit tonight, I think. Perfume is such great medicine and a wonderful mood-lifter and enhancer. And all the while you get to smell great, too. Sending a fragrant hug right back to you …

  • Patty White says:

    Happy anniversary to both of you. It’s sad that the loss dampens the celebration of such a great thing as spending 24 years together.

    I think it’s the contrast of those two things that are so poignant. Seville is perfect for that – hope and comfort.

    de Profundis is my go-to scent for anything. It fits me like something I’ve worn forever.

    Take care of yourselves and your friends in their grief. I cannot imagine burying my children.

    • Ann says:

      Patty, thank you so much; we are trying to be happy in spite of the pain. I agree wholeheartedly with you, and think there is something so wrong about having to bury one of your children — it’s just not right. Think I’ll go put some beautiful Profundis on now, so thanks!

  • Suzanne says:

    Ah, dearest Ann, I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of this young woman. I realize it’s probably hard to celebrate your anniversary when you are grieving for her, but she would want you to celebrate it, and I know you will. In whatever way you do, I hope it is wonderful.

    For me, Seville a l’Aube is a quiet and shimmering scent of joy, and I would have to say that I don’t tend to wear too many perfumes that have an air of melancholy about them. I can think of some that do have it — L’Artisan Voleur de Roses strikes me as that way, which is why I think it’s an interesting perfume, but not one I would ever want to wear or own. That combination of patchouli and rose gravitates too far to the side of damp and chilly earthiness for me. It’s a sad and rainy kind of rose perfume, to my mind.

    • Ann says:

      Sweet Suzanne, thank you for your comforting words. She would, indeed, want it that way, as she was such a joyful and upbeat life-force.
      Not being a huge rose fan, I’ve not tried the L’Artisan, but maybe it would work for me, since I seem to wear dark roses best. I am happy that the Seville is so lovely for you. Maybe it will shimmer on me later, after the sadness dies down.

  • HemlockSillage says:

    I’m so sorry for your and your friend’s loss of this young woman. I hope you and your husband found some quiet time to marvel at making it through 24 years together. Congratulations. In an easy come, easy go world, 24 years of commitment is an accomplishment. May you have many happier returns.

    I love Dionne’s story of O l’A, and that one has always struck me as melancholy–I think LT writes about it in The Guide, and biased me. SIP’s Untitled hit me the same way, shatteringly beautiful, but tragic, and I loved the tiny sample while it lasted. . . I’m easily influenced by imagery, so I’m gonna deliberately choose Denyse’s sexy images for Seville’s orange blossom and incense! Be well.

    • Ann says:

      Oh, thank you — your kind words are much appreciated. Wasn’t Dionne’s story wonderful? I need to wear that scent again. Have not tried the SIP though, but glad you’ll be getting the upbeat vibe for the Seville. Maybe one day for me as well.

  • My greatest sympathies to you and your friends. Like Poodle said, parents should never, never have to bury their children…so sad! And how bittersweet for you with a joyous occasion like your anniversary. Nonetheless, wish you your best year together so far! Enjoy every moment you have together!

    My favorite beautiful but sad perfume is Vol de Nuit. I’ve worn it the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter. It’s quiet and rich and contemplative.

    Mon Parfum Cherie par Camille is another. I suppose I may be influenced by the story behind it, but it has a musty, antique-y quality to me, if that makes sense, that makes me reflect on those near and dear no longer with me and remember the love.

    • Ann says:

      Thank you so much, dear Sherri. We will do that.
      Your suggestions are excellent; I’d forgotten about both the Vol de Nuit (gotta find my sample around here somewhere and wear it again), and the Annick Goutal — both have an emotional richness to them.

  • hongkongmom says:

    Happy 24th dearest Anne
    I know your feeling. I lost my beloved mother in law on my 40th birthday. My husband, Bless him, came up with the fact that I had experienced life and death on the same day…and that from then on, it was always to remember its what I do in between that is important.

    Luckily I dont have any sad feelings for perfume. I find none of them melancholy, only solitary reflection, until recently when I tested Mona di Orios Vanilla. It struck me as so comforting, yet so sad….heartbreakingly beautiful. Perhaps linked to the sadness of the passing of its graceful creator.

    Am sure you treasured your day, even though celebrating was not really possible…but treasure is so much more than fun! I am sure you and your ceo have much treasure. xxx to u and my condolences to your friends.. I know that loss too 🙁 and I am praying for their strength and comfort. To end off lightly enjoy your miracle boy, I have one too. That being said, I have four!

    • Ann says:

      Oh, L, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss; I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been. But you’re right — it’s how we make a difference in the world in between that matters. I’m happy that you’re enjoying the Mona; it really is so lovely, and made even more so by her death. Thank you for your comforting words. We will celebrate quietly and count our many blessings (one of which is all of you kind, thoughtful Posse folks).

  • Tom says:


    My thoughts are with you and your friends.

    I have to second de Profundis. It actually made me cry.

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, dear Tom. That Profundis really is something. I just liked it the first time I tried it, but it really touched me the second go-round.

      • Musette says:

        it’s the one (and ONLY) Serge that grabbed me at first sniff in any profound way (no pun intended – really). I almost passed it by – I had folks yakking at me and I was yakking back and there were so MANY bell jars….luckily I gathered my wits about me and snared that one.

        Tom, I totally can see it moving you to tears. I felt something akin to that when I spritzed it the second time, in solitude.


  • Suzy Q says:

    I’m with Musette: Cristalle edp is gorgeous but heartbreaking. I still wear it, but I have to be in just the right mood.

    But, like Portia, Seville a l’Aube brings me nothing but joy.

    • Ann says:

      I’m glad that Seville is all joy on you. My skin amps the incense, beeswax, etc., a bit, making it kind of a melancholy baby on me. Cristalle is fairly upbeat on my skin (well, as upbeat as the beautiful, chilly lady can be), so there you go. Skin chemistry’s a funny thing, isn’t it?

  • Totally shit for you friends.
    On the other hand Ann, WOO HOO for you. 24 YEARS!! Until recently 24 hours was too long for me. Congratulations.
    I love Seville au l’Aube. Perfect Autumn wear down under,
    Portia xx

  • Dionne says:

    Congratulations on 24 years! My own wonderful husband and I will be celebrating our 22nd in a couple of months. Also, my condolences to your and your friends, and now I think I’ll go hug my kids.

    As far as my own gorgeous, melancholy perfume, it’s Après l’Ondée. It already had a reputation for being beautiful but sad, and in my case there’s an additional story.

    At the beginning of last December my grandmother passed away after suffering a stroke several months earlier. Two weeks after her death I got my Christmas card and money from her and my grandpa in the mail. When I opened it and saw her personal message written to me, I realized 1) she’d probably worked all through the fall in her lucid moments on the Christmas cards 2) my grandfather had still made the effort to get them out despite his overwhelming grief. It was a beautiful and heart-wrenching thing to realize.

    I bought my pre-reformulation bottle of Al’O with the money, as it seemed just the thing to do. Now I think of my grandma every time I spray it.

    • Ann says:

      Thank you, Dionne, and oh, what a beautifully bittersweet story! I felt myself tearing up upon reading it. Buying the AO really was the perfect thing to do, and then wearing it in honor of her and remembering how wonderful she was. And your grandfather, bless his heart! How hard that must have been for him. Even in the midst of our grief, we somehow rise above it to do kind and thoughtful things for others …

  • Poodle says:

    Parents shouldn’t have to bury their children. I’m sorry for their loss. I understand how that would put a damper on your anniversary. Congratulations on 24 years.
    Halston makes me sad because it reminds me of my favorite aunt who I feel was taken from us far too early too. I don’t think it’s gorgeous though so as far as a perfume that’s gorgeous and melancholy I can’t think of one at the moment.

    • Ann says:

      Poodle, you’re so right, thank you. i can see the Halston going in that direction, but despite the sense of loss, I hope that happy memories of her are also brought to mind.

  • Musette says:

    Ann –

    I’m so sorry to hear about this young woman’s passing. I wish her family and friends comfort and peace.

    De Profundis broke my heart. I missed the first go-round of this, so just tried it in NY. So beautiful. Almost elegiac. But there’s a warmth and promise of life renewed there, as well.
    Cristalle used to make me cry. Gorgeous as it was there was something so melancholic…I finally had to stop wearing it.

    Even though it’s a tough time to celebrate your anniversary, please do take a few moments to appreciate that gift! And allow me to wish you every continued happiness!


    • Ann says:

      Thanks, sweet Musette, we will do a little something to celebrate, and it will give us a renewed appreciation of each other and our miracle boy.
      Yes, the Serge really is beautiful, isn’t it? I’m sorry the Cristalle brought you to tears; I don’t blame you for not wearing it anymore. Heaven knows, life hands us enough to cry about without perfume getting our tear ducts going too. Thanks …

      • Musette says:

        Well, sometimes a little melancholy is good for the psyche. But something about Cristalle always triggered a profound sense of loss…and that turns the dial to 11 for me.