With the changing of the seasons, I wanted to take a moment to share some of fall’s best fragrances with you. Coco Chanel is quoted to have once said, “A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” While I wouldn’t go so far as that, I would venture to say that they are missing out – terribly. Fragrances provide the subtle backdrop against which we forge all of our sweetest memories. A fond smell can make us immediately recall a specific time or situation in our lives. Indeed, perfume packs a powerful punch.
Fall is just around the corner, which means that we will all be partaking in treasured seasonal activities. Whether you’re apple-picking in September or going to a harvest themed gala in October; it’s important to have the right scent to accompany the mood established by the season and the memories you are trying to make.
Autumn makes us think of deep, woodsy spicy smells. The palette of smells acceptable in the fall is a far cry from the more floral and fruity noses that are acceptable in summer. Fall fragrances are a sort of bridge between the summer scents we just described and the even more complex and robust pine, herb and berry infused scents that are acceptable during the winter months. This is not to say that you can’t don a specific scent whenever you want to, this is a free country after all; however, it is advisable to be wary of the general tone or mood your peers are in before waltzing into the office smelling of pina-coladas. Now, that would be a buzz kill; just saying! Without further adu, I present to you my list of favorite fall’s best fragrances.
Before divulging some of the more interesting new fragrances for Fall 2013, I wanted to present a few tried and true options. These are go-to fragrances for me, and truth be told, when worn in the evening, they work well in any season as they are sexy, sophisticated scents with a lot of depth.
The oldest of these oldies in question is actually a cologne, which means contrary to popular practice (ladies first!), we are starting with the guys. Whether you want your man to try this one out or if you want to simply pick him up a nice gift, Canoe Cologne by Dana is an incredibly reasonably priced fragrance. This pick is inspired by my dear wonderful Dad. It has become a tradition that I include it with whatever gifts I buy him for holidays and birthdays, so he hasn’t needed to buy it in quite a number of years. This fragrance works anytime of year because the nose is incredibly diverse. Lavender, clary sage, lemon, carnation, patchouli, bourbon geranium, cedar, cloves, tonka bean, vanilla, oak moss, heliotrope and musk are all included in this amalgamative gem of a fragrance. Of the more interesting ingredients in this cologne, tonka beans are the seeds of a flowering tree in the pea family, and its smell is said to be reminiscent of vanilla, almond, clove and cinnamon mixed together – all quintessential fall fragrances. Oak moss is what gives this fragrance its decidedly sharp notes.
In 1998, the luxurious Bvlgari released its unisex fragrance, Black. Lapsang souchong, green tea, bergamot, rose, sandalwood, cedar, jasmine, leather, amber, musk, vanilla and oak moss are what comprise the intensely deep yet incredibly sweet and spicy scent. If you’ve never drunk lapsang souchong tea before, you won’t know what a complex experience it is. When I was in my early twenties, I used to work at a British teahouse based in New Jersey, and my coworkers and I would jokingly call lapsang souchong “the ex-smoker’s tea”. You see, when lapsang souchong tea is made, the leaves furthest away from the bud of the tea plant are removed and then smoked over pinewood fires, and this gives the tea its heavy, smoky aroma and flavor. Combine lapsang souchong with all of the other elegant notes in Bvlgari’s Black and you get a very spectacular, surprisingly balanced and androgynous unisex fragrance.
Bvlgari’s next most fabulous fragrance was released in 2003 with the even more fall friendly Omnia Brown women’s perfume. This perfume invokes suggestion of a strong, inspired woman, because it does indeed border on more masculine notes. Ginger, mandarin, saffron, pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, almond, masala chai, lotus, sandalwood, tonka bean, white chocolate, guaiac wood and proprietary woody notes make up this heady and sweet elixir. Ironically enough, the ingredient with the toughest sounding name out of the list is actually what gives the perfume its softest, most feminine notes: the guaiac wood is used as a substitute for rose oil since it has a smell similar to that of hybrid tea roses or violets. This is definitely a fall favorite of mine; a perfect marriage of woodsy fragrance and floral femininity.
Last, but not least, for classic fall fragrances is Demeter’s Giant Sequoia, which is (surprise-surprise!) a unisex fragrance! Demeter is known for its ambitious attempts to accurately capture real world scents in the bottle . With Demeter, in most cases, what you read on the label is what you get. Even their more experimental, conceptual blends are usually uncannily spot-on, (like their famed Sex on the Beach, for instance – smell it for yourself and get back to me). In this case, Giant Sequoia is most certainly what you get with its proprietary woodsy notes and blended evergreen scents. Admittedly, this scent works amazingly well in early winter, too; this is definitely a fragrance that fits the description I gave earlier of an olfactory bridge between acceptable summer and winter fragrances that make autumn a great time of year to try bolder fragrances. It is a very androgynous scent that is enjoyable both for those who wear it and those who get to smell it
Demeter also has some terrific new women’s perfume releases for the Fall 2013 season. These quirky, Elvira (Mistress of the Dark!) inspired perfumes are obviously reminiscent of fall’s most fun holiday, Halloween! There are three new releases in total, and they all are eerily divine. I think they will speak for themselves if I just describe them to you.
Ylang-ylang, red poppies, tobacco leaves (of all things), vanilla bean, “methadone accord” (don’t worry, it’s not what you’re thinking it is), and “powdery cocoa petals” make up this perfume. The diction that Demeter chose isn’t the most adequate, for sure. What they are trying to describe here is a mentholated or “minty” smell. I don’t think they are really trying to turn everyone into zombies for Elvira, but I could be wrong!
Vampires are very en vogue right now as it is, so this seems like an almost too good to be true, Fall 2013 fragrance. Belladonna, Dracula orchid, nicotiana plant, maile leaves, ivy, Madagascar vanilla, white musk, and mandarin peel make up this peppery, yet floral and well-rounded perfume. “Nicotiana” is a fancy word for tobacco plant, but I guess Demeter’s writers didn’t want to be redundant in their descriptions! Hawaiian maile is a shrub that not only creates beautiful flowers with a wonderful fragrance, but the leaves of the shrub have their own sweet smell that is produced by coumarin, a compound also found in vanilla grass, woodruff and mullein. With so much going on in this fragrance, it’s hard to believe it could be anything but a hit. There is something to appeal to everyone’s preferences in here.
Rose water, thorny stem Bulgarian rose petals, Davana blossom, red currants, patchouli, dark amber and Hatian vetiver combine to form this gorgeous fragrance. Davana blossom scent is tricky because it mingles with each person’s subjective pheromones, thus causing it to smell differently on different people. The smell is described as being so tricky that it actually alternates between “masculine floral scents” through to a woodsy, balsamic odor even on the same person. This means you might love it on a sample stick but hate it once it hits your own skin or even later in the day as your mood and body temperature change. It makes sense that Davana blossoms would be this way, considering they are the flowers that are daily given by India’s devout followers of Shiva, the god of transformation.
This cologne is a spin-off version of Prada’s insanely successful 2012 release, Luna Rossa. In fact, Luna Rossa was so successful that there are actually two spin-offs for Fall, 2013: Luna Rossa Extreme and Luna Rossa 34th America’s Cup Limited Edition, the latter of which really just houses the same 2012 release in a different, more swanky, engraved bottle. The bottle commemorates Prada’s sailing team’s participation in the America’s Cup competitions. The team name, Luna Rossa (which the cologne’s name commemorates), translates in English to “red moon”, and we all know about Fall Harvest Moons – beautiful and exciting.
Luna Rossa, 2012. Lavender, bitter orange, clary sage, spearmint, ambrette, and the ambroxan molecule (ethically used in place of the metabolically derived ambergris, which was in the past, unethically extracted from sperm wales) comprise the heart of this robust, citrusy fragrance that borders on being reminiscent of summertime scents.
Luna Rossa Extreme, 2013 combines bergamot, black pepper, labdanum, juniper berries, lavender and vanilla. To me, this is a to-die-for palette that blends my favorite scents all in one place. The exotic inclusion of black pepper is mind blowing. The lavender and vanilla definitely balance the extremeness of this cologne.
Since I am such a fan of the unisex fragrances that exist on the market today I want to add a couple of Atelier’s to the list of fall’s best fragrances.
Bitter orange, saffron, rum, plum, Artemisia, eucalyptus, cedar, guaiac wood, agarwood (oud) and leather form this truly exotic unisex blend. Saffron is made from the bittersweet smelling stigmas of the crocus flower and is mixed with a diverse array of pungent, sweet, sharp, floral and woodsy smells in this fragrance, which makes for an incredibly complex and ever-changing scent that will morph throughout the day. The more floral notes come from the guaiac wood while agarwood (also known as oud) adds yet another complex masculine layer with its ambiguous, woodsy smell. Agarwood results from an Asian pine tree that has blighted wood from a fungal infection. As the infection spreads about the wood, it produces a thick, dark, odorous resin that is treasured in many cultures for its fantastically complex scent.
If Gold Leather is the more masculine of Atelier’s two unisex fragrances, then Silver Iris is its feminine counterpart. With notes like tangerine, pink pepper, black currant, mimosa, violet leaf, iris, patchouli, white amber and musk, this blend is sure to please sophisticated nasal palettes of both sexes everywhere.
Wherever your travels bring you and your loved ones this autumn, I hope you can build some great memories. Against the backdrop of fall’s best fragrances, you’re sure to be able to relive those memories anytime you want with a simple spritz to the wrist. Enjoy, and Happy Autumn, everyone!