Our series on Fall- & Winter-inspired creations by North-American independent perfumers comes to a close today. See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. We hope that it will give you plenty of ideas to shop for individual presents for the Holidays.
Looking at perfumes through the lens of the seasons may be one alternative solution to feel the more contremplative, slower pace of the fragrance world which is more often than not led by trends, fashion and the latest launches (guilty as charged.)
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes confesses to being sensitive to the passing of the seasons with fall being her favorite moment of the year. She adds that like each year she cannot imagine winter without her perfume Minuit. JoAnne Bassett reminds us of the hedonistic pleasures of fall and winter by titillating, among other things, our taste buds with cognac, Porcini mushrooms and festive baking references. Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studio says that the season's offerings and atmosphere provide her with a sort of natural artistic direction for her perfumes which first are inspired by a raw material....
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes
"As a person and an artist, I have always been very sensitive to the seasons and to tell you the truth autumn may be my favorite time of year. I grew up in a very rural atmosphere (upstate NY) and every memory of autumn is suffused with raking and burning leaves, maple trees, pumpkins, apples and mossy-leathery smells mixed with chilled air. I find endless inspiration in these childhood memories and, as I have come back to re-experience the fall again and again, I have added the adult associations of dark fruit notes of Indian summer blackberries and pomegranates.
Also, I find that as our consciousness shifts from light [of the summer months] to the darkness with the autumn and winter months, so too, there is an innate need to shift emotionally. We must get to a deeper place, to feel cozy in our world and to dig into a kind of 'richness'. I find that by the end of summer, my clients have all started looking to the earthier scents of fall and winter just to get in the mood. Maybe this is why we associate (and need) somewhat heavier, richer perfumes for the fall and winter: it puts us in the right frame of mind.
Of my perfumes, Nourouz is the perfume that most evokes the fall and Minuit is winter for me.
Nourouz, although a celebratory, Holiday fragrance (the name comes from the Persian New Year) with its warming elements of tobacco, wood-smoke, spice and black pomegranates, brings me immediately into the autumn and all of its coziness.
With Minuit, I feel in the middle of a dark night, in the brisk cold but I am warm. It is a spiced floral chypre with incense and woods in the base, so there is a meditative yet seductive quality that wears especially well in winter. The olibanum (frankincense), myrrh and labdanum resins underlying the carnation, jasmine and tuberose absolutes would make for a heady potion, were it not for the chilling effect of the silver fir top note. I can not imagine winter without Minuit."
JoAnne Bassett of JoAnne Bassett
"Having recently returned to the San Diego area and residing in the Palm
Springs area for several years, it seems timely for me to consider fall
fragrances in my 100% natural fragrance collection.
What comes to mind is my gourmand fragrance Colette eau de parfum. It has
a crisp fall feel to it with the wild Cêpes (porcini) mushrooms, French
white cognac, and citrus notes. The earthiness of the mushrooms coupled
with the cognac impresses upon me the feeling of cool evenings by the fire
sipping French cognac. A rich parfum with dark nuances.
Napoleon eau de parfum is another fall fragrance. Deep base notes: myrrh,
cedarwood, vetiver, Bulgarian tobacco absolute, and cistus create a
beautiful smoky fragrance that feels like burning fall leaves. While
wearing Napoleon I feel like I am taking a walk in the wild as the notes
of black spruce, helichrysum, rosemary, and juniper start to permeate the
air. The black pepper adds warmth and the clove bud adds spice and creates
a layer of surprise curling up into a layer of sensuous jasmine sambac.
Fall and winter fragrances are heavier and I love to wear them. My
Indulgence eau de parfum is a spicy floral oriental. It has a rich heart
of Rose de Mai, tuberose, and neroli that I feel like a sensuous woman
wearing it. With so many aphrodisiacs already, I also added ylang ylang,
powdery vanilla and vintage Mysore sandalwood, and meditative
frankincense. Who doesn't love vanilla and sandalwood. Spicy cardamon
and nutmeg, and blood orange and clementine reminds me of baking for the
holidays and drinking mulled cider. This is a classic full bodied perfume
that will make your heart sing."
Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studio
"Many of the Sonoma Scent Studio fragrances are especially appropriate in fall and winter because I'm drawn to warm and woodsy base notes. My love of labdanum, woods, spices, moss, and leather notes has led to a number of cool season scents.
The materials I work with inspire me as much as the seasons do, so sometimes a scent is built around a note or accord but the direction I go with the scent is influenced by its intended season. Tabac Aurea started with the tobacco/amber accord and with the desire to do a unisex woodsy tobacco scent appropriate for the cool season; it's a golden pipe tobacco scent with amber, woods, musk, and soft leather. Winter Woods came from the need to create a cozier, less smoky option to the Fireside scents, while the original Firesides were meant to be fall/winter scents that captured the smell of burning woods in the outdoors air. Winter Woods is the sweetest of the three smoky woods scents, and Fireside Intense is the most dry and smoky.
Sienna Musk is a warm and woodsy scent that smells delicious in fall with spicy notes of clove, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg. The subtle mandarin note adds a touch of freshness and a woodsy musk base grounds the scent. Ambre Noir and Encens Tranquille both feature a lovely labdanum absolute, but Ambre Noir takes it in the amber direction while Encens Tranquille focuses on frankincense and sandalwood.
I'm always sourcing new ingredients and am looking forward to working with a recently acquired cistus fraction and an oakwood absolute that will both be nice additions to future woodsy scents. Woods and resins are especially appealing in fall and winter when heavier scents feel good. On the other hand, in mid-winter it can be wonderful to sniff a bright white floral to remind yourself that summer is coming. Variety is nice in any season!
As the seasons change, some fragrances feel right as transitional scents. I find Jour Ensoleille feels especially good in fall, and Lieu de Reves makes a nice transition from winter to spring.
The seasons provide rhythm to our lives, with traditional activities, foods, and scents that we return to every year. It's fun to explore some new options within the fall/winter scent category while still returning to our old favorites. The holidays bring us closer to family and help us pause to recognize the blessings in our lives. I'm thankful for my friends and family and for my beautiful surroundings, and I'm grateful to be doing work that brings me pleasure. I hope your winter holiday season is filled with all kinds of joy, both scented and otherwise!"