Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dixie's Guide to Fall and Winter Perfumes


Despite popular belief, Florida actually has seasons. True, the Sunshine State may have long, humid summers but we do eventually get around to fall and winter. We just don't get all that snow and shit that the rest of y'all do. Basically, we can all bring our winter fashions out of storage without having to worry about snow tires and road salt. All of the cuteness, none of the back-breaking labor. And, with fall and winter fashions comes fall and winter perfumes. 

During the summer, I tend to wear perfumes with citrus notes - scents that are fresh and energizing because Lord knows perfumes are the only fresh scents after a day spent in and out of the heat and humidity. But in fall and winter, I like a heavier, more earthy perfume to warm my senses. These are a few of my stand-by favorites:


Proof that I've been old since I was a kid - I've been wearing Opium since I was 18 and spotted it on sale at a department store. The only thing that would make that sentence older is if I had been shopping with my elderly grandmother (God rest her soul). This is such a classic scent. The spicy top notes (plum, clove, coriander, bay leaf) mixed with woody base notes (sandalwood, myrrh, patchouli, vetiver, opopanax) and a few deep floral middles (rose, carnation, orris root) combine to make a heady perfume that lasts through most of the day. Very rarely do I have to reapply this perfume to keep the scent subtly lingering around. 


Think Dune as in the Frank Herbert book rather than the natural sand formation, and you'll have an idea of how this perfume smells. It is described by the designer as a "floral-oceanic oriental" fragrance, but my nose picks up the oriental (ugh, that's really the real term) and woody notes more than anything else. What lingers for me is the top of bergamot, peony and broom with middles of ylang-ylang and lichen and the base of vanilla, patchouli (see a pattern yet?), sandalwood (I'm so predictable) and amber. Obviously, there are more than those few notes, but those are the ones that stick around for me in one bad-ass scent. 


Open a bottle of J'Adore and take a whiff. It smells like warm gold in the winter, right? I really, seriously love this perfume. There are a plethora of studies that show memory is connected strongly to smell and this is one of them. Every time I crack open this perfume I think of the New Year's Eve that I spent with my freshman year roommate, shopping the outlets in Destin, Florida. I had been rescued from a horrible relationship and was on my way towards a healthy mental place and, though I didn't know it at the time, meeting the man I would eventually marry. J'Adore is associated with the beginning of some very good times, so it has a special place in my heart. BUT, it smells good too. It's a heavy, sensual perfume that can be worn in summer but it's better suited to winter for me. The fragrance notes of this perfume are hard to find in an official description, but the top notes that include Mandarin and violet with middles of jasmine, plum and rose with a base of amaranth and musk combine for a powerful scent that stays on the skin without overpowering the noses of unsuspecting co-workers.

Brown Sugar

Sephora perfume samples are a wonderful thing. Without them peddling awesome free samples with every online order, I would have never discovered what is now one of my favorite scents. Everything about the Fresh cosmetic line is so, well, fresh and simple. The official site lists the top notes as Sicilian lemon, tangerine, açaí, middle notes as sugared magnolia, sheer honeysuckle, peach nectar with a base of caramel, warm amber and cypress. And you know what? I can smell all of those. Go to your local Sephora, grab the tester bottle, spritz on one of those little paper strip thingies, wait 30 seconds and sniff. You can smell them, right? That's what I love about this perfume. Other more complex scents like Opium have nearly twenty scent notes, but Fresh has half that and it works. With the citrus and floral notes you might think this is made for summer, but the base notes of amber and cypress pull it right through to make a wonderful fall and winter scent.

Nag champa

Go into any hippie store that sells incense or perfume oil. Seriously, like legit any hippie store. That smell that lingers and makes you feel all zen and one with Gaia Mother Earth? Nag champa. By now everyone knows that I am a not-so-secret hippie. I love nag champa. LOVE. IT. It makes me feel all warm and snuggly inside. Champa scents are derived from the champa or plumeria family. Nag champa in particular has ailanthus resin and sandalwood. A word to the wise though, a little bit of nag champa goes a LONG way. So, unless your goal is to make other people's eyes water, just dab a little drop on your decolletage. 


And, lastly, we have good ol' sandalwood. You've noticed by now that I've included no less than three other perfumes that have sandalwood in the fragrance. Well, nothing beats just a simple sandalwood perfume oil. The sweet, fresh wood scent of sandalwood perfume oil is perfect for a crisp fall day. It will linger with you through the craziness of a workday in the holiday season right through and evening capped with a glass of mulled wine and a book read on your comfy couch.

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