Autumnal Perfumes

by angeliska on December 1, 2009

Due to the seasonal lag caused by my propinquity to the equator
and global warming, it’s really just barely beginning to feel like a
true autumn. The leaves here do change color a bit, though nothing
so stunning as what the lucky folks up north get. Still, it pleases me
to see the sumac and pears turning red and flaming, the big pecans
all wreathed in yellow. A big gust of rain sends them twirling down,
their tattered finery littering my doorstep. Awhile back I promised a post
of my favorite autumnal scents
, and I realized last night, in the last
fleeting hours of November, that I had better get to it before it is time to
start writing about wintery perfumes! It’s hard to fathom that it’s December
already, especially when I’ve only had to wear a coat once or twice so far.
woods
http://dlennis.wordpress.com/
(Photograph by D L Ennis)
This is the season when everything grows darker,
and I find myself attracted to heavier, richer smells
of burnished wood, spices and comforting treats.
Many of my deepest memories are awakened
by the aroma of a sudden cold breeze,
a waft of cinnamon, wet earth, bonfires.
Capturing these without cloying or too
heavy-handed is very difficult, but there are
a few who really succeed. I’m always excited to
try new things, so if there are any you love
tell me, do! To be honest, autumnal scents
are what I want to wear most of the time,
but they are not always appropriate for warm
weather. I love rich, dark and spicy perfumes,
thick with russian leather, smoky tea,
and woods of all kinds. I think I also need
to find a good in-between seasons stand-by.
I’m leaning towards Diptyque’s Tam Dao,
an elegant dry sandalwood which I am
adding to my dream wishlist.
I’ve been wearing a combination of my
all time favorites lately, as they blend
nicely together and seem to last longer
when worn that way. Sometimes I’ll also
dab on a little essential oil to boost it up
a few notches: usually Oakmoss, Myrrh,
Texas Cedarwood, Frankincense or Vetiver.
Roots by Oshadhi
This is my all-time favorite number one smell.
Absolutely my signature scent! (I try not to be too
territorial about it, but it’s weird to smell it on someone else…)
I’m out of it right now, actually, and that’s just not right.
It’s sort of hard to find, so if you ever come across it
and want to make me incredibly happy,
this is one fail-safe method!
When I was in New York earlier this fall,
I had the opportunity to visit CB I Hate Perfume,
the haven of smell and memory created by
Christopher Brosius. He is a delightful genius!
Keep an eye out for my interview with him in
the upcoming issue of Coilhouse Magazine.
All of the blends below are ideal for Fall,
and there are quite a few more there I’m lusting
after, Cedarwood Tea and Gingerbread in particular.
Burning Leaves
I’ve been wearing this one every day.
It’s the smell burning maple leaves, pure and simple.
“Not everyone has your passion for dead leaves.”
Jane Austen – Sense & Sensibility

I do! I find it to be totally intoxicating.
The Wild Hunt
“Wild Hunt is the scent of an ancient forest
in the heat of a summer afternoon.
It is a blend of Torn Leaves, Crushed Twigs,
Flowing Sap, Fallen Branches, Old Leaves,
Green Moss, Fir, Pine and Tiny Mushrooms.”

It is a wholly feral scent – a perfume for beasts!
M3 November
“Pumpkin Pie, Fallen Apples, Bonfire, Wood Smoke,
Dried Grass, Fallen Leaves, Wet Branches, Damp Moss,
Chanterelle Mushrooms and a hint of Pine Forest”

I have a little sample of this one that I’ve been playing with –
it’s a very complex, layered perfume that makes me feel
simultaneously cold and cozy. Very delicious.
vali
This is my favorite photo of Vali Myers,
who is my number one witch-woman inspiration and style icon.
She was an Australian sorceress-artist from Australia who lived
in on the Rive Gauche in Paris, in the Chelsea Hotel in NYC
(her art still hangs there!) and in a castle on the beach in Positano, Italy.
She had pet foxes and lots of young lovers, and I would have given
my left pinky toe to have met her before she died. I’ve been thinking
about foxes a lot, since seeing Neko, and also Fantastic Mr. Fox.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I must entreat you to go, as it is so very
sweet and happymaking with lots of dancing animals
and a gorgeous autumnal palette. It cheered me up immensely,
and now I must go find a copy of the book, which I haven’t ever read
though I adore Roald Dahl. Have you read it, or seen the film? Thoughts?
fantastic-fox-steal_-550x290
There are some more gourmand perfumes
I’ve been intrigued by- I have samples of both
of these, but found them slightly too sweet.
I tend to wear men’s colognes, so I need
a bit of danger in there! Some cojones, eh?
Tea for Two by L’Artisan
“Tea for Two celebrates the precious moment
of sharing tea and spicy bread with someone special.
The curling steam of smoky Lapsang Souchong
hides mouthwatering spices of cinnamon, ginger and anise.
Lightly sweetened by honey and vanilla,
the fragrance is fiery and warm, provocative and mysterious.
Deliciously spicy!
Notes: smoky tea, bergamot, cinnamon, ginger, honey, vanilla”


I really want to adore this one, because the name
and description make me think of the last afternoon
my grandfather and I spent in Brussels.
After exploring the fabulous flea markets,
vintage shops and art nouveau architecture
we found the most delightful little tea-shop
to sit and nibble fancy sandwiches and
petit-fours in. One of my happiest memories
ever is thinking of my grandfather and I
waiting for a taxi afterwards, he in his
wheelchair and me doing a little dance
as we sang “Tea for Two” together.
grain-girl
Speaking of Belgium and magical women, the lovely Mlle. Viona
is from there. I love this image of her, even though it’s one of her
less elaborate ensembles – The Grain Girl is just perfection.
Now go and spend hours poring over her incredible costumes
and photographs, if you haven’t already – I promise you’ll thank me later!
Five O’Clock Au Gingembre by Serge Lutens
The Black Luminous Intensity of Ginger
How fabulous is Mimi Frou Frou’s description of this magic elixir?
Um, very! You must go read all about it, but here’s an excerpt
for the nonce – just see if it doesn’t make you want to buy a bottle!
“The palette is gourmand but also composed
of dark tints and literally makes use of black,
a rare sensation in a perfume if not in the visual arts.
Having, consciously at least, forgotten about the insistence
on the color black in Serge Lutens’ description of the scent
in which he makes references to a black Rolls Royce
and a black Wedgwood tea service, one is reminded of it
suddenly as the unusual sensation of a ginger fragrance
that is both luminous and black suddenly unfolds,
letting out the sheen of a branch of jet-black coral.
It is like seeing the eclipse of a normal sensation,
be it the paleness of the moon
or the golden rays of the sun shutting down.
Five O’ Clock thus suggests the midnight-eclipse
version of a ginger fragrance losing its solar quality
to become bitumen-like, tarry, while some light is shone
into the composition anew thanks to citrus-y notes
and the golden glow of honey.
It is therefore a very sophisticated rendering of ginger.
Official notes and accords: bergamot, candied ginger,
honey, pepper, dark cocoa, meltingly soft cookie,
gingerbread, patchouli, vetiver.”

4_string-game
I bought a print of The String Game recently from Miss Katy Horan.
I fell in love with her artwork a while back,
and was thrilled to find out that she had moved to Austin.
Now we work together at Uncommon Objects,
which is fantastic. We have secret Ouija board
seance plans! Her new work featuring alien-witch
lace crones is very hypnotic. Very affordable prints
and such are available in her etsyshop, check it out!
(Uh-oh! I just realized that she’s sold out of everything!
Let’s all cross our fingers, and hope she restocks soon, mm?)

Has anyone tried
Bois d’Ombrie by Eau d’Italie yet?
It sounds incredible. WANT!
Here’s a wonderful description from Mlle. Victoria of Bois de Jasmin:
“The scent of Bois d’Ombrie has autumnal associations
given its nutty plumminess reminiscent of fallen leaves,
its smoky dryness evoking bonfires and its intoxicating
tangy sweetness conjuring the aroma of spiced wine.
I do not know why a fragrance inspired by Italian woods
would evoke an image of Ukrainian rainy autumns,
but for me this fact is undeniable. The somber chill
of iris gently leads into the honeyed warmth of leather
and tobacco. A dried plum note weaves in and out
of the composition, teasing like the refrain of a familiar
melody escaping from an open window.
Warm, mellow and slightly rustic,
Bois d’Ombrie dries down into a myrrh
dominated etude of leather and woods.”

Perfume blogs have become my guilty pleasure,
and I’ve discovered some wonderful writers out
there who seem to have similar taste to my own.
Here’s a couple more, expounding on their favorite
perfumes for Autumn weather – enjoy!
Autumn Smells
from Elena Vosnaki at Perfume Shrine
Perfume Cravings In The Fall: Cornucopia of Dark Fruits
from Marie-Helene Wagner aka. Mimi Frou Frou at The Scented Salamander
Be sure to also check out her five part series (!) on
North-American Originals: Perfumers on Fall & Winter.
So much amazing stuff there! I stand in awe, truly.

24 comments

~Madini oils from Morocco are amazing and the scent lasts forever. My fav from the spicy selection is Chipre.
I too would have loved to have tea with Vali!

by Rose on December 2, 2009 at 3:32 am. Reply #

Oh dear. You just had to, didn’t you? Saucy, smelly minx! I am trying to get ready for work and on a whim I log on, and here is a feast of olfactory wonders and it’s not like I can just WAIT TIL LATER to read!
I am passionate about fragrance they way those folklore students at martini night are, you know, the ones who just don’t shut up because they love their studies so much. And you halfway admire them but at the same time you sort of wish they’d talk about something else every once in a while, because jeez how many times can you listen to a gal wax poetic about issues of diversity and globalization in legend, or psychological dimensions of such expressive forms as mythology?
I am SO excited (perhaps envious, peut être!) re: your interview with the CBIHP guy – I cannot wait to read it. I have been dying to try the Cedarwood tea, and I do find The Wild Hunt sounds intriguing but I am afraid it will end up making me smell like a mountain man with a pickup truck full of recent elk kills. (I hear you on the Tea for Two though…it is pretty sweet…but did you find that it had a weird rubbery note also?)
I’ve been reading mimi froufrou and nowsmellthis and those various blogs for awhile now…are you familiar with fragrantica.com? I think that’s where a lot of them get their news from, so it’s a good place to learn about new scents first thing!
My autumn scents were Nasomatto Absinth (deep, loamy) and Hermessence Ambre Narguile (cozy, syrupy), both of which I believe I mentioned before. Now that we are headed for the colder weather up here in NJ I think I will go for Imperial Oppoponax, by Les Neriedes …very resinous and intoxicating. Good under cashmere.

by Ghoul Next Door on December 2, 2009 at 5:38 am. Reply #

PS!
Your mention of Vali Myers (thank you, I had not heard of her) brought to mind one my favourite mystic bohemian Australian (well, born in New Zealand) ladies – Rosaleen Norton!
http://www.caduceusbooks.com/occultartgallery/norton/nortontext.html
http://www.takver.com/history/rosaleen.htm

by Ghoul Next Door on December 2, 2009 at 6:44 am. Reply #

Angel, I love this post. I only wish you could somehow transmit those delectable scents through cyber space. I met Vali Myers once, in her studio in the Nicholas building in Melbourne – a fabulous old building full of eccentric artists, writers, musicians and creators. It has one of those old school elevators operated by this quirky little old lady who has been running it for years. The walls inside the elevator are covered in these fabulous images of her life and her many, many cats. Have you read Vali’s memoir? Here is the link. X http://nicholasbuildingarts.googlepages.com/

by misha on December 2, 2009 at 7:46 am. Reply #

Yay! That is awesome that you work with Katy Horan, how funny. I bought the Lady Magic etching and it’s in my dining room!
<3 <3 <3

by Verhext on December 2, 2009 at 7:07 pm. Reply #

whata awesome post! glad to hear you’re on the mend dear. I feel indulged just thinking about these beautiful scents! and the wish list grows a bit longer *

by kylee on December 2, 2009 at 7:58 pm. Reply #

Angel! I fixed the shop…I just needed to renew the listings. Thanks so much for including me in the post (and for the heads up about the empty shop!). I also noticed that the link in the post goes to my Etsy profile. Here’s the link for the actual shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Katyart

by Katy Horan on December 3, 2009 at 8:43 am. Reply #

Love your posts. So dense and intricate. If you like Katy Horan, Clare Rojas does similar work and is worth checking out.

by Christine on December 3, 2009 at 10:26 am. Reply #

i love vali myers. have y’seen vali: the witch of positano? i recently made it digitized-like and was possibly going to put it up somewhere online soon. really short film, but there’s some good stuff about pissing love spells, bare-breasted trances, fox atavisms, and bindibus. i was lucky enough to glimpse this issue of aspen too; the vali part is longer and much more beautiful than the ubu treatment it gets online – wish i could scan it.

by whelky on December 3, 2009 at 12:10 pm. Reply #

wish i had enough money for perfume. i’m hoping aftelier will drop their prices for christmas, so i can pick up more’cepes ‘n tuberose’. i should just try to make it myself – i think the season still grants me access to fresh porcinis out here in washington. wouldn’t know where to start with that though – probably an absolute of some kind. wonder how an enfleurage of it would take? spore prints in lard

by whelky on December 3, 2009 at 12:17 pm. Reply #

Whelky, please please do put up witch of positano! for the rest of us!

by verhext on December 3, 2009 at 1:59 pm. Reply #

i will never forget watching the witch of positano when i worked at the most broke down video rental place in williamsburg in 1997 that had the whole mystic fire collection (also maya deren divine horsemen + kenneth anger vids which was like some holy goldmine at the time)… it was so wonderful + made a lasting impression so i have hunted out vali stuff since. WHY isn’t this available on dvd yet, booo. or at least ubu. i broke down + ordered a vhs copy since they are still available from http://www.mysticfire.com
also, about foxes – have you read mary webb’s gone to earth? hazel + foxy. one of vali’s favorites and the powell & pressburger film of it is very sweet as well.

by oola on December 3, 2009 at 8:54 pm. Reply #

OOLA:
Ooh, Oola! Can we watch the VHS version when I am there for Mardi Gras, please?
I just ordered a copy of Gone to Earth, on your recommendation – thank you! Oh, and the film! Must to see. Miss you, kiss you!
WHELKY:
Ooh, yes please! I would really love that – I’ve always wanted to see it. Oh, and that letter! I would so love to see the rest. Thank you for sharing the link, and for reminding me – I’m going to go dab some cepes + tuberose on right this minute!
ROSE:
Oh wow, I forgot all about Madini oils…
Agarwood, Santal Blanc, Autumn, and Oeillet
are all now on my dream-wishlist!
MLLE. GHOUL:
Tee hee. Oh my stars, Imperial Oppoponax sounds incredible. I must try it!
I love Rosaleen Norton too! In fact, I was introduced to the existence of both Vali and Rosaleen by my friend Paul Rucker, an incredible painter, years ago in New Orleans. He even lent me his very rare and beautiful book of Vali’s artwork for a spell… I am forever grateful to him for sharing them with me.
MISHA:
Oh my silver stars, I can’t believe you met Vali! I am enveloped in green flames, you lucky, lucky girl! Thank you for the link Mishababy, I am trying to buy the book but having trouble… Maybe I can find another link to it – hopefully it’s not sold out!

by Angeliska on December 4, 2009 at 4:10 pm. Reply #

I LOVE VALI MYERS!!!!

by Heather Ortiz on December 4, 2009 at 5:50 pm. Reply #

ohhh Tea for Two. that is my favorite fragrance ever. if only i could afford the ever-expensive price for such a wonderful liquid….

by Gia on December 4, 2009 at 8:45 pm. Reply #

I have a feeling you would like Le Labo’s Patchouli 24. Most of Le Labo’s fragrances are misleadingly named-this has nothing to do with patchouli. It starts out with a smoky blast of styrax, then dries down to black tea and finally morphs into a rich vanilla hours later. I am in love with it. It doesn’t come cheap but you can probably find a decant at The Perfumed Court or the Scentsplits Wiki.
I wish I could wear Five O Clock Au Gingembre but it goes all mens-cologneish on me and I can’t deal with it. I’ve had better luck with Fille En Aiguilles (pine and laurel-excellent winter scent).
also..LOVED Fantastic Mr Fox. It made me happy for the rest of the day after seeing it. 🙂

by Marcy on December 6, 2009 at 9:17 am. Reply #

Dear Miss Marcy,
Oh, I love black tea notes and styrax, and have been meaning to check out Pathchouli 24 for a while now…
Adding it to the ever-growing list! Fille En Aiguilles, also! You temptress!

by Angeliska on December 8, 2009 at 11:08 pm. Reply #

I just read this and it reminded me of you in the best possible way, heee. You should have your own Viewmaster series, I definitely think it so!!
“Vladmasters are handmade View-Master™ reels designed, photographed, and hand-assembled by Vladimir. They make use of toys, neglected household objects, and odd ephemera to tell 28-picture tales of train chases, missing steam shovels, disastrous dinner parties, and overly adventurous cockroaches.”
Well, I hope the cockroaches leave themselves out of it. And I am not suggesting your dinner parties are *at all* disastrous, but the reel might need some drama in it… ;D
About scents, I am damn territorial about mine, I’ll admit that upfront. I never wore actual perfume sprays before I found it, just differing varieties of sandalwood and sometimes amber or cedarwood mixed in. The different aromas of “sandalwood” are quite varying, but I finally got some right from Mysore where it’s made.
Now this scent I wear is my hallmark, and a friend bought some recently and I was upset, but what could I say? I followed Emily Post and my British upbringing and held my tongue. And then someone hugged the girl and exclaimed, “Wow, you smell just like Nef!” She never wore it again and I have yet to smell it on her.
The first time I went to India I requested to be taken to a perfumer by my driver. All the ladies smelled so wonderful and I wanted to bring something like that back to London with me. My driver took me to this awesome Arabian perfumer who ordered tea the instant I arrived and had his shopboys serve it to me and my entourage (this is back when servants like that were still a novelty to me). He insisted that in addition to the delightfully-scented oils I was purchasing after he flicked one crisp perfume-laden white hanky under my nose after another, that I smell a scent of his own creation, called “Sexy”. It was definitely one of the most horrific perfumes I have ever subjected my nose to, but he seemed so damn proud of it that I bought some. I still have it somewhere long after the others have been used up, or given as gifts to my ladies!

by Nefairia on December 9, 2009 at 5:11 am. Reply #

Yum yum yummy post.
I can’t wait for you to see the gorgeous design Courtney came up with for your “scentsual” article in #04. Squeeee!
Hope you’re healin’ up quick n’ painless.
Love from the south pole…
M

by Mer on December 9, 2009 at 5:41 pm. Reply #

every time i wear burning leaves i act fearlessly out of character in the most adventurous way possible!

by alanna on December 11, 2009 at 7:15 am. Reply #

Lovely post.
There is nothing like grabbing a bunch of leaves each season to dry and remind yourself that fall is coming year round 🙂

by Nix on December 14, 2009 at 1:49 pm. Reply #

[…] Autumnal Perfumes […]

by Springtime Scents « Angeliska Gazette on April 5, 2012 at 2:12 am. Reply #

[…] For more on my obsession with perfumes for autumn weather: AUTUMNAL PERFUMES […]

by L’Autre « Angeliska Gazette on December 1, 2012 at 10:58 am. Reply #

[…] AUTUMNAL PERFUMES […]

by Thief of Roses « Angeliska Gazette on June 13, 2014 at 4:06 pm. Reply #

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