I am so enamoured of the scents of spring that I don’t want their arrival to be just a seasonal thing. Spring, for me, is a state of mind, and perfumes that evoke that same exhilarating, uplifting sensation are part of my wardrobe all year round.
The most effervescent among them conjure up the colour green. Chanel Cristalle is a classic example of a green floral that has a dazzling character and radiant aura. It suggests lemon peel and champagne, with a bittersweet twist of orange blossom and petitgrain (distilled Seville orange leaves). The eau de toilette (£50 for 60ml) offers the freshest experience, while the eau de parfum spray (£57 for 50ml) is so lavishly decorated with hyacinth and narcissus that it becomes a velvety, baroque bouquet.
Perfumers rely on different classes of ingredients to produce these green accords, some natural and some synthetic, and finding the right harmony can be complicated. Freshly cut grass, its aroma so appealing on a warm day, can turn metallic on skin, while certain herbs can overwhelm delicate notes. Tom Ford Vert de Fleur (£155 for 50ml EDP) is notable in that it not only conjures up a vivid verdant effect, but also preserves the nuance. It smells of dew-covered iris petals, damp earth and vetiver roots.
A bright emerald chord runs through another unusual perfume, L’Artisan Parfumeur Violaceum (£170 for 75ml EDP). Originally part of the house’s Natura Fabularis series, its green accord is built around violet. Both violet leaf and flower play an important role in perfumery, with the former redolent of cucumber peel and grass and the latter reminiscent of sugared raspberries. In Violaceum all facets of violet are explored, but the accent is on the foliage. The main surprise comes in the drydown where a twist of leather darkens the composition, a storm on a spring day as it were.
I do admit that there are times when I want neither daintiness nor refined harmonies; I want to be swept away by the springtime breeze, even if its chill burns my skin. For such an illusion I can’t think of anything better than Diptyque’s Eau de Lierre (£64 for 50ml, £88 for 100ml EDT). Lierre means ivy in French, and true to its name this simple but exuberant perfume smells like ivy tendrils, crushed dandelion stems and peppery cyclamen leaves. It’s the perfect spring vignette.
Victoria Frolova has been writing her perfume blog boisdejasmin.com since 2005. Her explorations of fragrance touch upon all elements that make this subject rich and complex: science, art, literature, history and culture. Frolova is a recipient of three prestigious Fragrance Foundation FiFi Awards for Editorial Excellence and, since receiving her professional perfumery training, has also been working as a fragrance consultant and researcher. To read more of her columns, click here.