5 floral perfumes I’m wearing for spring ~ fragrance reviews :: Now Smell This

I’ve had trouble deciding what to wear lately, in these weeks when the weather around New York City keeps tilting between blustery and balmy, soggy and sunny — what clothing to wear, that is. I’ve had an easier time choosing fragrances that suit this season-shift. Some of them are old favorites, like Frédéric Malle L’Eau D’Hiver (the classic “eau chaude” scent). Others are perfumes that I’ve only encountered over the past year or even the past few months. Here are five of the latter.

Travel is always a good reason to buy a new perfume, and my recent trip to London included a visit to Liberty, just in time for the launch of their new LBTY fragrance collection. Each scent is inspired by, and packaged in, a textile design from Liberty’s archives. I purchased a travel size of Wild Rosinda (shown above), developed for Liberty by perfumer Honorine Blanc with Hamid Merati-Kashani. It’s a rose-and-wood blend, made to match a pattern of lush briar roses blooming against a shadowy background. Wild Rosinda’s rose is slightly wine-y, and I was enjoying it when my husband said that whatever I was wearing “smells like a pub, in a good way” — so I think he was responding to the dry down of guaiac wood and amber, which could evoke an old wood interior with a fireplace, now that I think about it. LBTY Wild Rosinda is available as 100 ml and 8 ml ($65) Eau de Parfum ($320) at Liberty.

I do enjoy a good osmanthus fragrance, and Les Indémodables Cuir de Chine (shown just above) is a beauty, equal parts warm peach skin and new suede. (The ingredients for this fragrance, created by perfumer Florence Fouillet Dubois, include real osmanthus “alcoolat” and absolute as well as jasmine, tobacco and clary sage.) Cuir de Chine makes me want to put on my little faux-leather motorcycle jacket, take a breezy walk in the botanical garden to see the almost-budding fruit trees, and then come back inside to lounge comfortably with a peach-tinged whiskey cocktail. Available as 50 ml Eau de Parfum ($248) at Sainte Cellier and Luckyscent.

For another floral-leather scent that balances freshness and smoothness, I’ve been reaching for my sample of Perfumer H Suede (shown just above). Lyn Harris (the titular “H”) is reportedly evoking the texture of suede here, rather than the actual smell of it; the names of her fragrances are often pleasingly oblique. Suede’s composition includes notes of cucumber, neroli, violet leaf, ylang ylang, cassie, benzoin and musk, and its dewy-green lilac-and-cucumber effect reminds me of Frederic Malle En Passant. It’s just as transparent as that longtime spring favorite, although perhaps a little more floral-forward — yet it also feels more gender-neutral, thanks to the very subtle and pale leather note in its base. Perfumer H Suede is available as 50 ml Eau de Parfum ($190) via the Perfumer H website

Back in December, I had a chance to meet independent perfumer Shabnam Tavakol of Kismet Olfactive in her New York studio, and I’m still enjoying the fragrance samples I brought home that night. Nymphéas (“water lilies”; not shown) is “a floral fragrance exploring ambiguity, impermanence, and blurred perception.” For me, it’s a fascinating blend of nostalgia and discovery — the same effect (for me) of looking at an actual painting by Monet, perhaps. My nostalgia is prompted by Nymphéas’s opening of watery lotus and lily of the valley notes, which reminds me more powerfully of Kenzo’s Parfum D’Été than anything else I’ve ever smelled. After a while, however, this fragrance drifts into a deeper and more textured base of maté, vetiver and oakmoss that feels classic yet has its own distinct personality. Nymphéas is available as 10 ml ($68) and 50 ml ($175) Eau de Parfum at the Kismet Olfactive website

I think everyone should have a violet perfume for spring. I own a few, with Guerlain Après L’Ondée topping the list, but I’m always ready to try more. When I finally had the chance to visit one of London’s two Angela Flanders boutiques, I ended up purchasing a bottle of Josephine (shown just below), a romantic “nosegay” of a perfume created in honor of the French empress Joséphine. This fragrance starts off with a candied violet accord that deepens slightly as a base of cedar and oakmoss emerges. Traditional and timeless. Available as 30 ml ($53) and 50 ml ($113) Eau de Toilette or 5 ml Eau de Parfum ($92) at the Angela Flanders website.

How’s the weather in your part of the world, and what fragrance(s) have you been choosing for it? Feel free to share in the comments.


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