Ah Spring… A time when your nose can be seduced just walking down the street. When rampant blooms of jasmine clambering over street fences catch your attention like siren calls, and it’s impossible not to be aware of a sense of botanical abundance and seasonal promise in the air. It’s the perfect time to be seduced by a new fragrance, too. As we shed winter layers and lighten up our wardrobes, now is the time to invest in a flirtatious floral, a little spiciness for evening, or a crispy, fresh scent to herald new beginnings.
Here, my pick of the perfumes that have crossed my desk of late – plus a few trusty old favourites I wear every spring, thrown in for good measure.
This launched back in May so I’ve had a bit of time to wear it and analyse it. I think of Misia as the ultimate beauty-fanatics fragrance. It contains notes of cosmetic powder and lipstick along with sugared violets, rose, berry and a little hint of citrus. The first fragrance by the brand’s new in-house perfumer Olivier Polge (who succeeds his father, Jacques Polge) is modern yet traditional, elegant, intensely feminine and wholly original. It feels as perfectly at home with a floral dress as it does with a white shirt and jeans.
This spicy, woody, peppery scent is at once intriguing and intoxicating. I loved it from the moment I smelt it at the press launch – a terribly chic affair in an art gallery in Paddington. We ate tiny perfect h’ors deuvres off square plates with nude napkins (to match the box) and were given pieces of laser cut leather with the fragrance sprayed on them to sample it. We heard of the precision and dedication of designer Azzedine Alaia - it took him seven years to perfect his first ever scent. And that he did. The pink pepper with peony and freesia is perfectly "spring" but with a dark sexy side – perfect for those evenings when there’s still a bite in the air.
I think this is such a perfect first fragrance for the brand – it feels like it just always existed. The “juice” (as they call it in the industry) is at first burst fresh and floral, but not predictable. A playful mix of jasmine, rose and green leafy notes. With wear, it warms to something more hearty and thanks to an ingredient called “Akigalawood” it wears well and stays put. The bottle is perfectly quirky – pillowed opaque glass reminiscent of the brand’s famous Matelasse bag with an eye-catching red cap. (available from Sept 13)
Being pregnant I’m loving this natural perfume oil as it’s completely chemical-free. You can smell it before you even open the bottle –a bold, unabashed floral burst of rose, jasmine, musk and sandalwood – that has a has sense of ancient, almost spiritual reverence about it. The range, which is inspired by the traditional study of Vedic scripts, is beautiful to wear when you’re having a ‘green’ day or detox or for meditation. I like to wear it to yoga.
Diptyque Jardin Clos
If you like to imagine yourself knee deep in the very back corners of a fragrant garden where it’s darker and a little damp and altogether leafy, (which I do) then this is a scent for you. This unique perfume from elegant French house Diptyque, opens with a burst of freshness over a moreish mix of lesser famed florals of lilacs and hyacinth. Known as a “greenhouse floral” it’s wet, earthy and reminiscent of the whole act of cutting flowers – from the sappy stems that drip on your fingers and the scent of the water they will sit in, right through to the creamy petals you inhale when you’re arranging them. I love how dense and fresh it is at the same time and often reach for it when I want to surprise myself.
By Kilian Playing With The Devil Eau De Parfum
Heir to a cognac dynasty, Killian Hennessy has created a most unique and sublime fragrance range with By Killian. All his fragrances are really top shelf, but this one really stood out as seductive, soulful, and perfect for spring. In my mind only a handful of perfume companies do “fruity” well – it’s usually a category reserved for pop star scents and teenage girls’ body spray. Byredo Pulp is one worth looking at and then there’s this incredible scent. At first whiff it’s all incredibly juicy notes of blood orange, blackcurrant, white peach and lychee that, with continued inhaling, give way to a smooth sandalwood and cedar base. There’s also an overdose of vanilla and tonka beach which gives it that sexy warmth. At $350, it’s expensive – which is due to the quality of oils and also a precious gift that comes with it. An incredible white hard minaudiere case with a gold snake entwined on it and doubles beautifully as a very Cavalli-esque clutch bag.
Nothing spells Spring more than a full blown floral, to me. And this is about as floral as they come. But not in a florid, too-in-your-face way. It has a zesty edge that’s really appealing and warm base of white musk. Sniffing this is kind of like being nudged in the face with a rich bouquet of spring blooms – it’s all neroli, gardenia and orange blossom. Creamy white petals that sit beautifully on the skin and stay there so that you can still smell the florist trail on your wrist hours later.
I’ve long been a fan of this fragrance. It’s total sophistication in a bottle. Both understated and softly spoken (much like the Bottega brand itself) it is comprised of a unique mix of notes, making it incredibly unique at the same time. With bergamot, pink pepper and jasmine the scent was designed to be reminiscent of Tuscan countryside, but it’s the smooth leather notes that really get me. It’s smells expensive and elegant and whenever I wear it I get comments. And I love the new travel-sized spray, now I can take it with me for touch ups.
This stylish scent is a tribute to several types of rose – Bulgarian rose, Turkish Rose and Rose Absolute but, at it’s heart, it’s mostly about Centifolia Rose. This bloom, that flourishes in Grasse – the home of perfumery - has been a cornerstone of fragrances for hundreds of years. There’s also an aquatic note at opening that keeps things feeling fresh and current. With wear this dries down to something earthier yet still clean and pretty. I love the luxe gold and white bottles, too- they would be gloriously at home on a Hampton’s dressing table. Leave it to Aerin to create something that so perfectly balanced and well-behaved, yet modern and elegant.
One of three new fragrances from fashion designer Bella Freud (who is the daughter of painter Lucian Freud and the great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud) Je T’aime Jane is fresh, fun and ultra feminine. Nostril-teasing notes of jasmine, ylang ylang and orange blossom are warmed up with a rich base of black oud, sandalwood and musk ensure it lasts the distance. Available from Mecca Cosmetica.