September scents: Four grown-up perfumes for the new season
Winning fragrances from Byredo, Timothy Han/Edition, Chanel and Jo Malone
Byredo Slow Dance, Timothy Han/Edition She Came to Stay, Chanel Gabrielle and Jo Malone Poppy & Barley Cologne
Fragrance is highly aspirational. You buy fragrance not for the person you are but for the person you want to be.
The person I am, left to her own devices, probably smells like eau de commuter train with overtones of Comfort fabric softener and itchy panic sweat.
The person I want to smell like can sit at her desk as long as she pleases without her warm bum ironing creases into her skirt. She smells interesting, and expensive, her hair never fuzzes up at the temples in hot weather. She has her life together in a way that I never will.
September is sort of the ‘real’ new year for many of us. The change in weather is dramatic and it is time, to quote every Irish grandfather in the history of the State, “to put the head down and get on with it”’.
With a change in mood and weather, your tastes in fragrance will change too. Suddenly, that sparkling summer fragrance seems too fluffy and adolescent. It speaks of a warm weather optimism that feels inappropriate, and you might be on the hunt for something more grown up.
Luckily, September is the biggest fragrance month of the year, when most brands release their big new perfumes. If you’re in the mood for change, seek no further – there are several brilliant options this season to comfort us as temperatures drop.
Byredo SlowDance (from €120 for 50mls at byredo.com) is playful but not insipid, floral but not frilly. Oponopax, also known as sweet myrrh, is the top note. It has a resinous, sharp but sweet warmth that gives the fragrance a bit of heat. Geranium, violet, vanilla and patchouli round it out. It’s certainly sexy, but not intimidating, and consequently very wearable.
Along the theme of intense and beautiful fragrances, Timothy Han/Edition She Came to Stay (£120 at timothyhanedition.com) is unmissable. Han creates narrative fragrances inspired by works of literature. See his Heart of Darkness, named for Joseph Conrad’s novel, with notes of coal and aquatics to evoke a trip upriver by steamer – it’s quite astonishing.
She Came to Stay is based on Simone De Beauvoir’s semi-autobiographical novel detailing her relationship with fellow philosopher Jean Paul Sartre. It is suitably gender neutral, with notes like lemon, basil and geranium tickling you from a base of vetiver, oakmoss and resinous cedarwood. It is intense, but completely unique.
If you prefer a lighter, more traditional floral, Gabrielle Essence (€99 for 50ml at Brown Thomas) is Chanel’s new offering. It features the same crisp white floral from robust Grasse tuberose as its predecessor, but with an amplified base of musk, sandalwood and vanilla. A guaranteed hit with anyone who loves Chanel fragrances.
Jo Malone London Poppy & Barley Cologne (from €54 at brownthomas.ie), on the other hand, is levity itself. Inspired by the British poppy, it is a glistening floral with notes of rose, violet and blackcurrant. The really unusual aspect is the notes of cereals and grains. The bran and buttery barley give this autumn scent a really unusual twist, but the bouncy florals maintain its upbeat, feminine feel.