There are winter people, but I’m not one of them. I find the decreased daylight which creeps in at this time of year quite grim. The sensation of climbing out of an early morning shower into an insufficiently heated bathroom sets my teeth on edge, and frosty air, while aesthetically pleasing and wonderfully crisp, batters the lips, ears and hands.
In response to this general inclemency, I self-medicate liberally with cosiness wherever I can find it. This cosiness can often take unglamorous form – I do love a good thermal sock and I recently bought a pair of winter boots made by Birkenstock quite deliberately. When it comes to cold weather fragrance, though, I insist on the glamorous type of cosiness.
A winter scent needs to hack through the dense bouquet of mulch- and moisture-laden winter air. It should be warm if it possibly can and bring an intensity that might seem vulgar and heavy during the summer months. In short, in winter, what you want is a load-bearing fragrance. Something robust that will hold through the day and insulate you. You don’t have to go explicitly wintry – two of the options below are what I would consider subversive scents for winter, but all are cosy, warm and enveloping.
Giorgio Armani Prive Sable Nuit (€260 at Brown Thomas) is my favourite scent at the moment. I wearied of intense perfumes for quite a while, but this one drew me right back in. It can be hard to balance intensity with subtlety, but this fragrance masters that beautifully. It is womanly in the extreme – there is nothing girlish or bouncy about it. With olibanum, pink pepper, cedar and vanilla among other notes, it is a cashmere throw by the fire of a scent, and utterly addictive.
If you like a fragrance which announces itself with confidence, you should try Marc Jacobs Perfect Intense Eau de Parfum Intense (from €102 at Boots). With a daffodil top note, you wouldn't think it works for winter, but it spirals into a blend of nutty almond and rich sandalwood, with a buttery thread of jasmine all the way through, making it playful but still cold-weather appropriate.
Leather is a love-or-hate note, and is often more commonly found in men’s fragrances, but anyone can wear it. The Merchant of Venice Liberty Eau de Parfum (€250 at Harvey Nichols) is a complex blend of leather with the earthiness of saffron and the ethereal freshness of white lily. Amber and patchouli enrich the base, rounding out suitably cosy cold season fragrance.
Narciso Rodriguez Ambree Eau de Parfum (€54 at lookfantastic.com) was a summer launch, but Narciso fragrances always have a delectable musky softness that is deeply comforting and warm. Utterly summery notes such as frangipani and ylang ylang whir atop mellow vanilla, warm cashmeran and amber, finished with the sharpness of cedarwood. It is a counterintuitive but delectable winter fragrance.
Product of the Week
Tom Ford Soleil Neige (€206 at Brown Thomas)