Six gorgeous perfumes with the scent of spring
This time of year calls for fragrances that sparkle with optimism and freshness
Gorgeous spring perfumes: Maison Margiela Replica Under the Lemon Trees, Herbae Par L’Occitane, Jo Malone London Cade & Cedarwood Cologne and Fragrance Combining Palette, and Hermès Un Jardin sur le Nil
The changing of seasons also changes how we present ourselves to the world, and what we feel comfortable wearing. In a fit of optimism, I boxed up my wool hat and don’t intend to look at it again until next autumn. I also put away my more dramatic, and heavier, make-up. High-coverage foundation and dark eyeshadows can take on a lurid mask-like appearance in a wash of direct sunlight. Ditto a deep amber or oud fragrance: what feels sensual and pleasing on a gloomy winter evening suddenly seems melodramatic on a crisp spring afternoon. I am drawn to the fragrances that pirouette through the air around us – green, sappy fragrances, florals, chypres, perhaps fruity and woody aromas.
Botanic fragrances are precisely what this time of year calls for – they sparkle with optimism and freshness. Don’t make the mistake, however, of thinking that they must be flighty or lacking in bite or depth. There is a spring fragrance for every taste.
I usually find citrus fragrances insipid – they fail to hold my interest. Maison Margiela Replica Under the Lemon Trees (€110 at Brown Thomas from April) broke my bias against citrus. It isn’t just the spiralling nip of a lemon, though it contains the most honest interpretation of fresh lemon I’ve encountered: it encompasses the warmth of sun through leaves with a hint of coriander, and the roughness of bark with cedar, softened by white musks.
L’Occitane has managed to capture the effusive satisfaction of smelling the first grass cuttings of the year in Herbae par L’Occitane (from €65 for 50ml at L’Occitane stores nationwide). It is a green fragrance with just enough snap to feel fresh – the wild grasses and bramble see to that – but bergamot and pink pepper soften its edges. This is a fragrance that anyone can wear, at any age.
For something completely different, try Cade & Cedarwood Cologne (€57 for 30mls at Brown Thomas) from Jo Malone London’s limited edition Wild Flowers & Weeds collection. Cade, a type of juniper, has a warm smokiness to it which combines with cedarwood and vanilla. The resulting fragrance is neither masculine nor feminine but soft and sensationally interesting. The ornamental bottles from this limited-edition collection are, I think, the most beautiful of any the brand has ever produced.
If you prefer a portable fragrance, Jo Malone London’s chic new method of fragrance delivery is best. Its Fragrance Combining Palette (€27 at Brown Thomas) is a one-off purchase that you can fill with solid cologne inserts (from €16-€18) of your choice, and is a more affordable way to try the brand. For a botanical fragrance combination, try classic Blackberry & Bay layered with Wood Sage & Sea Salt in the weighty, gender-neutral compact.
Hermès Un Jardin sur le Nil (€113 at debenhams.ie) is a masterclass in spring fragrance for grown-ups. The tart fruitiness of green mango is rooted in reality with incense and sycamore wood. The fragrances come through in waves, as they do in a spring garden.