August 19, 2011

SCENT SPOTLIGHT: 4 Perfumes for Fall Brides

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1. Mitsouko: Guerlain, 1919
Notes: bergamot, lemon, mandarin, neroli / rose, clove, ylang-ylang / oakmoss, benzoin, vetiver, cinnamon

This perfume is widely considered to be the Mona Lisa of perfumes: the great, the ultimate classic, the work of art that determined an entire field. It is also beautiful and forceful, arresting: you either get it or you don’t. Mitsouko makes no excuses.

How does it smell? Like peaches, roses, dark moody spices, and fur; like an exotic spice trader wore her fur coat to a ball and lingered by a rainy window while smelling carnations—a strange, faraway scent both exotic and homey, comforting and thrilling. I like to think the wardrobe in Narnia would have smelled this way: dark, mysterious, alluring, storied.

2. Lipstick Rose: Frederick Malle, 2003
Notes: fruit notes / rose, violet / vetiver, musk, vanilla

What could have been a quirky caprice is instead a charming and somewhat grandiose gesture: a perfume that smells precisely of vintage lipsticks, rain-washed violets, and fresh roses. This is what Marilyn Monroe would wear if she were alive and looking for a new olfactory love. Such a playful gesture on a bride, but fiercely classic at the same time.

3. Field Notes From Paris: Ineke, 2009
Notes: Coriandor seed, orange flower, bergamot / tobacco flower, tobacco leaf, patchouli, cedar / tonka bean, leather, beeswax, vanilla

A staple in my own wardrobe, this startling beauty is a unique reprisal of the orange blossom theme (orange blossoms, by the way, were the traditional bridal flower in the Victorian era). Mixed with bergamot, beeswax, tobacco, and tonka bean notes, this evocative scent nearly defies description. Sweet, yes; wistful, yes; but also somehow calm and assertive. It makes me think of log cabins in rainy forests, leather chairs in old libraries, and evenings by some fire in a home I’ve never had. You have never smelled anything like this before.

4. Apres l’Ondee: Guerlain, 1906
Notes: lemon, bergamot, neroli, blackcurrant / carnation, violet, mimosa, sandalwood / vanilla, benzoin, iris roots, heliotrope

Appropriate even for the perfume-hater, this romantic fragrance is as light as a feather, calling to mind dusky hues, rainy days, chiffon dresses floating about in Baroque rooms. Feminine in its floral warmth, it’s made unique by the peppery carnation and the powdery iris. Perfume critic Luca Turin summed this violety creation up as well as it can ever be done, calling it “the ultimate fragrance Ophelia.”


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