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Nose-to-Nose – 10 Fave Frags for April


Photo - Wikimedia Commons - Common violet by H. Zell, May 6, 2009

The Scene: Virtual headquarters for Gwen is lining up perfume bottles on a shelf, Kay is thumbing through magazines.
Kay: People love lists. Look at this magazine, “ Ten Ways to use Leftover  Chicken”, and this one “20 New Looks for Spring”.
Gwen: Well, that’s what our Whizkid Marketing Guru told us when we worked him with a couple of years back.

Kay: Say, whatever happened to him?

Gwen: Oh, he moved to Grasse to study perfume-making. Hey, take a whiff of this, it’s Le Temps d’une Fête.
Kay: Mmm, so gorgeous, smells like spring.
Gwen: Yeah, for some reason, I can’t stop wearing it.
Kay: Tell me about it. I have spells where I just want to wear 2 or 3 frags for days on end. Say, that gives me an idea. Why don’t we do a Top Favourites list?
Gwen: We’ve been down this road before – how can we do top faves when we love all our frags?
Kay: You’re right. But we can come up with something.

A few days later….
Kay: OK, I’ve got it….a solution to a Top Faves List.
Gwen: OK, I’m listening.
Kay: On the last Wednesday of each month we’ll do a Nose-to-Nose post, and talk about the scents we’re currently lusting after…
Gwen: Yeah, they’re not our forever Top Faves and they don’t have to be by season, either – just the ones we like right now, and will wear for the next few weeks.
Kay: Exactly, so it’s the end of March – what are you going to wear in April?

Gwen: I’m still loving Le Temps d’une Fête. That green, herbal opening that leads the way to a floral heart of narcissus and hyacinth.  It’s like smelling a whole garden – the green leaves, warmed by the sun, animals that might have wandered through, flowers - anchored by a woody base that balances it all and makes it creamy and long-lasting on the skin. What a beauty.

Oh and I just can’t get enough of La Violette, by Annick Goutal. That blast of metallic violet, sweetened by red fruits, tempered by a tangy green note appears, making the scent smell more natural - of flower, leaf and stem - as if it were a little bouquet of violets. Turkish rose is here too, adding an opulence that rounds out and warms the violet. A touch of iris gives it a powdery, vintage feel. Just so spring-worthy.

Then there’s Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum. Green, rooty, earthy, rich, opulent - in a word: perfection. The unique thing about this frag, and one of the reasons why blogs are so abuzz with its launch, is that it doesn’t really have the traditional top/heart/base linear progression. It is experienced as a full, rounded fragrance – right from the start.

And, you know, I re-discovered Ormonde Woman the other day. This is a dark, dangerous swooner. Earthy, skanky violet appears along beside floral white jasmine while hemlock, that poisonous evergreen, shows up and gives it a heady note and a dangerous feel.

Then there’s Sicily. It opens with a bright neroli note, which suggests the orange blossoms that bloom there in spring, along with delicate freesia and sweet jasmine. Then, a there is a note of hay, which along with cedarwood, add dry warmth and a sense of place. A little immortelle gives it depth while amber, patchouli, agarwood and myrrh at the base add earthiness to the mix. Sicily smells like a day in early spring in a warmer climate, where you really feel the wet winter is fading, the earth is drier, the light is getting stronger and plants have started to grow.

How about you? Where’s your nose leading you?

Kay: Through the garden and into the woods, right to Violet Empire, and Bois de Violette. I always hanker for woody earthy violet scents when spring is in the air. Violet Empire is violet in a bed of earthy green grasses, with a halo of minty herbs. Top notes are dry and almost haunting, the dry-down is resinous woods, with a sinuous trail of leather. Very bold and chic.

And Bois de Violette is violets blooming in the woods in a spring forest. I smell wet cedar, young green groundcover, including mint, and the faintest green violet note. It sweetens slightly into pure violet blooms in the base – it feels like I’m floating in the forest air. I think it’s one of Serge Lutens best!

Then there’s Ma Griffe – one of my favourite vintage scents that I crave in Spring. It’s shocking green – grass and herbs layered with citrus – it transports me to the French countryside, inhaling the cool green air from the fields, smelling the warm damp earth. It sweetens slightly with white florals and spicy resins, and ends up as a mossy cloud, sort of musky – subtle and sexy.

I have a new fave for spring, too – Jour d'Hermès! This scent smells floral but airy, not earthy, and no specific floral note dominates. It gets warmer, as musks come up through the floral accord, softening the white and the green notes, and I think I may smell vanilla, just a touch, and Jour d’Hermès becomes luminous. This perfume smells like flowers in sunshine, green leaves, blue skies, with a warm sensuality. I love it!

And I can't not wear iris! 28 La Pausa from Chanel. Rooty earthy green iris, cool but soft, with a hint of yeast, like rising bread dough or wild mushrooms. Then the iris sweetens just a little into pale violet-coloured blooms. And then it dries down darker, with dry vetiver, becoming a luxurious warm skin scent, creamy and smooth, silky and sheer. Perfect for a Spring day!

Gwen: Well, that’s a good start. I’m ready for April now.

Kay: Of course, we’re going to keep adding to this list because there’s several new spring-y scents we haven’t even listed yet….like Attire-Moi, the smell of a Quebec maple forest in sugaring-off season…maple sap, forest, wood smoke, bubbling syrup, fresh cold air.. What an amazing smell, full of memories.

Gwen: Yup, truly Canadian, truly Quèbecois.  A scent that feeds our souls.

Kay: Mmmm. Maple syrup! I think I’m going to go make some pancakes.

Gwen: I think I’m going to spritz….

Try decants of violet or iris or green scents in April, wake up your nose and tune in to one of the most glorious, sensuous times of the year. Spring is here!