When it comes to perfumes, summer and winter launches often follow familiar patterns – lighter variations on existing classics, or warmer blends that appeal on a cold day. Spring, on the other hand, offers a wider range of interpretations, from fresh green colognes to opulent floral bouquets. It also leaves plenty of room for creativity and fun.
This year, citrus, jasmine, mimosa and dandelion are the notes of spring, and one of my favourite discoveries is Pélargonium by Aedes de Venustas (£210 for 100ml EDP), a New York-based artisanal house. Its composition is based on geranium – an essence that smells like a metallic rose – and perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer has emphasised the plant’s green, spicy facets by extending them with moss, vetiver and salty sage. An earthy and smoky layer tones down the effervescence of the blend, making Pélargonium a sophisticated and polished option for both men and women. Although its character is radiant and weightless, the perfume lingers well and gives its wearer a beautiful sillage (the scented trail created by perfume, which I wrote about last year).
Even two classical cologne options for spring, Aqua Allegoria Bergamote Calabria (£43 for 75ml EDT) and Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia (£130 for 70ml EDT), offer novel experiences. Aqua Allegoria is a Guerlain collection featuring sparkling, fresh blends, and Bergamote Calabria is as crisp and bright as one would expect from a cologne, although generous doses of ginger, cardamom and pepper lend it a fiery accent. The cool and spicy theme is also played out in Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Aqua Celestia, a floral cologne with a heart of mimosa. What makes it memorable is a twist of lime and mint that turns up the brightness enough to dazzle.
Carthusia’s Gelsomini di Capri (£60 for 50ml EDP) has a composition that sees jasmine as the star, with other elements such as tangerine, orange blossom, rose and amber serving to highlight its richness. One of the most complex aromas in the perfumer’s palette, jasmine smells of apricots, leather and warm honey. In Carthusia’s version it is velvety and warm – the heady Italian spring in a drop of liquid.
Two British houses, Jo Malone London and Shay & Blue, prove that spring perfumes can also be whimsical. Jo Malone London’s Bloomsbury collection (£46 for 30ml EDC), inspired by the creativity and verve of the 1920s, offers five limited editions: Blue Hyacinth, Garden Lilies, Tobacco & Mandarin, Whisky & Cedarwood and, my favourite, Leather & Artemisia, an addictive cocktail of soft smoke, bitter absinthe and green leaves. Similarly original is Shay & Blue’s Dandelion Fig (£55 for 100ml EDP), a fragrance that embroiders unconventional notes such as tomato vines and dandelion leaf onto the heart of blond woods. It’s as lighthearted and uplifting as the early days of spring.
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.