New season, new scent. That’s how I’m feeling. While summer is a time to douce yourself with the aroma of tropical island getaways and all-things floral, colder weather brings on the need for something a bit richer. My nose craves heavier, muskier scents – for the home and the body. I called on my favorite perfume expert, Dawn Goldworm of 12.29, the olfactive custom scent company. Before creating scents for major brands, Dawn was the nose of Coty, working on some of their biggest selling perfumes. When it comes to what fragrance, I trust Dawn completely with my scent selection. Full disclosure: I’m more of a fragrant oil type of girl. I look for a fragrance that has a hint of scent, not one that is completely overwhelming (and I tend to think that mainstream perfumes are a bit too big). Enough about me and my olfactive neurosis, and onto Dawn’s 5 fragrant picks for winter 2012:
“As winter approaches, we take our cashmere sweaters out of hibernation, happily slip back into the comfort of jeans and look forward to the long days of wine and cozy fireplaces. With this romanticized longing for the colder days to come, our winter scent must encapsulate and highlight this warm, enveloping, sensual time. I think of my winter scent as my favorite new cashmere sweater or blanket and try to bring this sensation with me to the store.
My preferred ingredients for this time of year are Oud for the smoky, woody, spicy notes; amber for the rich, sensual, deep facets, opulent florals and oriental materials for the gustative, addictive, creamy character. A few perfumes that go beyond the traditional fragrance application and add innovation as well as a beautiful scent are:”
Lumiere Noire Incense Paper – Francis Kurkdjian
Carnal Flower Hair Mist – Frederic Malle
Burning Leaves Water Perfume – CB I Hate Perfume
Monoi Body Glow II – Nars
Ambre Sultan Le Vaporisateur Tout Noir – Serge Lutens
As the fine folks at fragrance house Jo Malone say, “this fall, fragrance is all about florals.” While summer can be a bit more tropical – coconut and pina colada, anyone? – fall will bring us back to the feminine scent of the flower. Simple, stunning with thousands of choices.
Here, a few NEW fall fragrances to consider for the season. A new smell, a new you…
Jo Malone Wild Bluebell Cologne – This quirky and imaginative scent is dewy and floral with bright notes that includes fresh bluebell, clove, Lily of the valley, jasmine and musk. This is the first scent to be inspired by a whimsical Jo Malone™ fairytale – a story of Wild Bluebell, a curious girl mesmerized by the scents of English Bluebells in the British woodlands. $55.00 for 30ml
Molton Brown NEW Fine Fragrance, Lijiang – A floral musky scent capturing the light, delicate softness of silk and crisp tea. Its lead ingredient, osmanthus absolute, brings a fresh delicacy and sophistication to the Chinese-inpsired fragrance. $120.00 (exclusively at SAKS)
Chanel No 19 Poudre– A rich blend of floral and green notes, followed by May Rose and Iris from Florence. The finale: a chime of Chypre with a subtle, woody Vetiver note. TRIVIA: August 19 is the date that Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was born. $119.00
Balenciaga Paris L’Essence – An intimate fragrance with the intensity of violet. A leathery violet with vibrant woody notes. L’Essence intensifies the Balenciaga Paris violet essence. While the first Balenciaga Paris fragrance captured the classic side of the brand, L’Essence gets closer to the skin with leather and vibrant woody notes revealing the modern facet of Balenciaga. $95.00 for 1.7oz
Burberry Body – Mario Testino directed the scantily clad Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and, if the ad is any indication, the fragrance exudes sex! Notes: fruity composition that begins with notes of fresh green absinthe, peach and freesia. Roses and iris are in the heart, leaning on the base of sandalwood, cashmerean, musk, amber and vanilla. $75.00 for 2 oz
Any other Fall fragrance launches that you’re dreaming over?
Let us know what you’re wearing!
Did you know that the world’s first recorded chemist is considered to be a woman named Etruscan, a perfume maker who was mentioned in a cuneiform tablet from the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamia? She distilled flowers, oil, and calamus with other aromatics then filtered and put them back in the still several times. source
This got me thinking… if Etruscan could do it back then, I can do it now — and so can you! So, I decided to search my archives for the best Do It Yourself perfume-making recipe. I love this specific one because it explains all about notes (top, base and middle) and gives examples of essential oil scents you should use for each note.
Also, check out the article I wrote with perfume expert, nose of Coty and co-founder of olfactive branding company 12.29, Dawn Goldworm, who dishes on the top 10 tips for how to pick the scent that’s right for you. Click HERE to have a read at Interview Magazine.
Now, onto the DIY fragrance fun:
Perfume consists of a mixture of essential oils in a base oil, together with alcohol and water.
1/2 ounce jojoba oil [compare prices] or sweet almond oil [compare prices] 2-1/2 ounces ethanol (e.g., vodka)
2 tablespoons spring water or distilled water (not tap water)
dark-colored glass bottle
25 drops essential oils (buy them at a health store or online [compare prices] or distill your own)
7 drops base note essential oils
7 drops middle note essential oils
6-7 drops top note essential oils
couple of drops of bridge notes (optional)
The essential oils that you use form the basis of your perfume. These essential oils are called the ‘notes’ of the perfume. The base notes are the part of the perfume that lasts the longest on your skin. The middle notes evaporate a little more quicky. The top notes are the most volatile and disperse first. Bridge notes have intermediate evaporation rates and serve to tie a scent together. Sometimes other substances are added to a perfume, such as sea salt (ocean scent), black pepper (spicy), camphor, and vetiver. Since the essential oils evaporate at different rates, the way a perfume smells changes over time as you wear it. Here are some examples of common base, middle, top, and bridge notes.
base notes: cedarwood, cinnamon, patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla, moss, lichen, fern
middle notes: clove, geranium, lemongrass, neroli, nutmeg, ylang-ylang
top notes: bergamot, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lime, neroli, orchid, rose
bridge: vanilla, lavender
The order in which you mix your ingredients is important, since it will affect the scent. If you change the procedure, record what you did in case you want to do it again.
Create Your Perfume
Add the jojoba oil or sweet almond oil to the bottle.
Add the essential oils in the following order: the base notes, followed by the middle notes, then finally the top notes. Add a couple of drops of bridge notes, if desired.
Add 2-1/2 ounces of alcohol.
Shake the bottle for a couple of minutes then let it sit for 48 hours to 6 weeks. The scent will change over time, becoming strongest around 6 weeks.
When the scent is where you want it to be, add 2 tablespoons of spring water to the perfume. Shake the bottle to mix the perfume, then filter it through a coffee filter and pour it into its final bottle. Ideally, this will be a dark bottle with minimal airspace, since light and exposure to air degrade many essential oils.
You can pour a little perfume into a decorative bottle, but in general, store your perfume in a dark sealed bottle, away from heat and light.
Label your creation. It’s a good idea to record how you made the perfume, in case you want to duplicate it.
It takes experimentation to get the scent you want, but you can get started in the right direction by keeping in mind the type of scent associated with essential oils:
earthy: patchouli, vetiver
floral: geranium, jasmine, neroli, rose, violet, ylang-ylang
fruity: bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lemongrass, lime, mandarin, orange
herbal: angelica, basil, chamomile, clary sage, lavender, peppermint, rosemary
sea: sea salt
spicy: black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, coriander, ginger, juniper, nutmeg
woodsy: cassia, cedar, cypress, pine, sandalwood
If the perfume is too strong, you can dilute it with more water. If you want your perfume to retain its scent longer, add a tablespoon of glycerin to the perfume mixture.
Perfume bottles are meant to be pretty, some might even call them decorative statements. I’ve had a few of mine since New Kids On The Block days… no joke.
So, you can imagine my surprise when this little piece of wisdom came jumping out at me from my inbox….
From Carlos Ugalde, Founder of Sasha Varon Luxe Parfums, a guide to the shelf life of your fragrances:
Most fragrances have a shelf life of 2 years but can be extended up to 5 years if kept out of the light and in a cool place.
Many factors go into this….One factor is the oil to diluents (alcohol and other ingredients other than fragrance /essential oils) ratio.
The more alcohol, the less concentrated and pronounced the fragrance is but the shelf life is longer.
Many people ask if refrigeration can prolong fragrance shelf life and the camps are definitely split.
Here are two views:
1: From thegloss.com : “Keep essential oil perfumes in the refrigerator to slow oxidization (but this depends on the carrier – oil or wax-based scents can go bad faster than alcohol based ones).”
2: The Fragrance Foundation: This is the premier resource for expert fragrance information. Here is what they have to say: “It’s important that you keep your fragrance protected against extreme cold or heat. Only colognes and toilet waters should be stored in the refrigerator. Perfumes should not be exposed to extreme cold or heat because either may upset their delicate balance. Notes can be affected by extreme temperatures.”
So, if not the refrigerator, where should you store your fragrances?
Do store fragrances in cool, dry spaces away from sunlight:
Don’t store fragrances in:
*Bathrooms (generally moist and warm)
Interesting to learn that perfume is only good for 2 years, 5 at the most! I prefer oils to perfume anyway.
Personally, I generally go by the sniffing policy. If it smells good, I’ll wear it. And for the really gorgeous bottles, well, they can last a life time — as decoration, of course.
I’ve gushed about my love for Sud Pacifique before (the Vanille line was my fave), but now I’ve discovered a new scent that I am LOVING! Mora Bella is a floral fruity fragrance with top notes of bergamot, amalfi lemon and pomegranate; middle notes of black currant, raspberry and jasmine; base notes of sandalwood and musk.
Mora Bella was given out at the Charlotte Ronson Spring/ Summer Fashion Show (she’s a fan too) and I instantly became hooked. It’s not too sweet nor too musky, it’s got the perfect combination of all the necessities. It’s clean and fresh with a hint of floral and fruity. I swear that I can actually smell the pomegranate! I love the Sud Pacifique range because it’s not too fragranty. You don’t have that high-level perfume smell (or feel) when you spritz it on. However, it still gives me a great scent without irritating my sinus’ or skin. While the scent does significantly fade during the day, I don’t mind reapplying as a body mist.
The fragrance smells amazing on everyone, it’s quite universal, so if you are in the market for something sweet and spicy for winter, try this!
PRICE TAG: $48.99 for 3.4 oz
I get all giddy inside when I discover a new scent, something that suits the moment. My latest discovery, Infusion Organique Buddha’s Fig – is a delightfully fresh and light fragrance that smells refreshingly like summer.
With notes of fig extract, rose-geranium essence, organic lemongrass oil and essences of wood and amber, this perfume smells much like a tropical island getaway. Apparently, the fig tree in Sri Lanka is world renowned where it’s branches sheltered the Buddha while he gained enlightenment and understanding. I’m not sure about all of that but I do know that the fragrance is perfectly pleasant and enlightens my senses.
That’s the thing about fragrances, they really do have the power to transport you to far away places.
The Buddha’s fig collection is also available in a scent diffuser, soy candle, hand and body lotion, hand and body wash and home spray. Infusion Organique comes in a variety of scrumptious summery scents such as Sands of Morocco, Indochine and Acai Rain. Prices range from $18.00 – $90.00.
Keeping with the french trend (yes, I’m still on my Parisian hiatus), I must write about one of the finest perfumeries in all of France: Annick Goutal. I’m not so much writing about a specific must-have product as much as I am gushing over a must-have line. As a true beauty connoisseur, YOU MUST OWN SOMETHING FROM THIS RANGE.
Originally a perfumery house started in 1981, Annick Goutal has transformed into a brand including skin and body care and candles and home fragrance. But I’m going to stick to the perfumes that made the woman behind the brand, also called Annick, so famous. The fragrances include citrus to floral to fruity to musky to woody to amber and then some. Pick your scent range then choose from a variety of perfumes in that specific range. And each perfume comes with a personal story: how Annick discovered the scent, olfactory notes in the scent and date of origin.
For example, I like citrus, so, I click on citrus and I choose from one of the 4 citrus family fragrances. I’m feeling “Mandragore.”
Here’s the story: “Fascinated by the mysterious and spellbinding mandragore, Camille Goutal (Annick’s daughter) and Isabelle Doyen (the “nose” of the company) wanted to capture the powers of this plant to the multiple legends to create a unique fragrance, where the feminine and the masculine merge in a secret harmony. Mandragore… Its very name is reminiscent of ancient times, when men kept secret their knowledge of the power of plants. A mysterious name for a perfume at the uncommon elegance, presented in a purple bottle to reflect the color of the plant. A scent which likes the skin, for both a man and a woman.”
Notes include: Citrus, aromatic, spicy (Bergamot, blackpepper, peppermint, star anis, boxwood, ginger, sage, iris, ciste roots, labdanum)
Creation date: 2005
Each bottle is like a work of art in its own right, beautifully feminine with ornate detailing. And with over 30 fragrances to choose from, it’s like finding the right man: trial and error.
As a bonus, the website is super cute and girly. Check it out by clicking here.
Perfume can be overpowering on the nasal region. Sometimes, I don’t want that bouquet of roses or touch of sandalwood. Sometimes, I need something a little less obtrusive. That’s why I prefer fragrant oils. I’ve obsessed over Miss Marisa, one of my all time favorite scents, I’ve cooed over Sharon Bolton Oils, and now it’s time to divulge my newest scent secret: Royal Apothic The Extracts Collection.
Best known for their home fragrances, Extracts is a line of 7 single-note fragrant oils perfect alone or layered with each other to create an individualized scent. Each oil comes in a slim, portable bottle with a roll-on top, ideal for travel.
5 of the 7 scents are now available at Anthropologie.com:
Green Tea: the essence of Camelia Sinensia leaves – slightly bitter yet aromatic (FRESH)
Violette Pastille: the distinctly sweet extract of the viola plant (FLORAL)
Fig: the scent of fresh-picked figs (FRUIT)
Orange Blossom: inspired by the scent of a California orange grove in bloom (FRUIT)
Marigold: the bright scent of golden flowers (FLORAL)
I’m loving Green Tea as it has a lingering sweet scent. Mix that with something floral like Marigold or Violette Pastille and create the perfect mix of fresh and floral, to cut the sweetness.
Anyway you choose, you can’t go wrong. The art of perfume has never been so much fun.
PRICE TAG: $16.00