Favourite End Of Fall Fragrances


Fall is coming to a close any day now, and it's time to make a list!
While these are not necessarily what I'm wearing this particular fall, they are what I would consider my autumn staples and what I would recommend to invoke the season of fallen leaves, harvest and shortening days, when more than anything else I want to curl by the fireplace with a Noire book and a dense perfume that reminds me of the golden days of Hollywood in the 30's and 40's.

Looking at previous years' fall lists I've made, I'm noticing a pattern in my choices. There is always something Chypre, something woody, something smoky and something spicy in my fall perfume favourites. So here are a few suggestions:

Something Woody:
I've been wearing Hinoki more often than ever (and find it especially appropriate when trying my hand at practicing martial arts...).

Mitsouko - a chypre that defies categorization, but certainly has more woody qualities than most. The haunting of contrasts is probably what makes Mitsouko timeless and never boring. This zen-meets-baroque perfume is luxurious, yet as sparse as a monk's dorm; woody and dry yet cradles a tender sweetness therein, and I can continue on and on, but the main question remains - how can any fall list not include Mitsouko?!

Bois des Îles is another favourite fall of mine - and I'm also enjoying a similar perfume, that shares the woodsy creaminess of sandalwood paired with the understated sensuality and elegance of vintage-glam aldehydes that makes you think of pearls and beige nubok. I'm talking about Champagne de Bois by Sonoma Scent Studio.

Something Chypre:
Ma Griffe - after years of loyalty to Miss Dior, the epitome of animalic-floral chypres tinged with green, it was time to find another green chypre. I spotted a pre-IFRA regulated version (from days of yore, when there was no requirements of listing any allergens on the ingredients list). It's very vintage-y, and if comparing to Miss Dior - it has more of a white floral and musky nuances to it, which remind me a bit of Chant d'Aromes. It also has more of a citrusy burst and it's more aldehydic and powdery than Miss Dior. I should get around to write a full review of it next week.

1000 de Patou also seems to hit the spot on the shortening days, reminding me of icy, frost-spiked leaves with its intriguing osmanthus and eucalyptus notes. Melancholy, elegant and old-fashioned, it reminds me of scouring my grandmother's dresser and colourful strands of tropical seashells and Amazonian bead necklaces.

Something Smoky:
from burning leaves and Lapsang Suchong tea to leather bound books, smoky notes are one of those things that make fall so mysterious that even if you're not traveling you feel you're going on an adventure... This fall, my love for smoky, leathery notes is replaced by a craving for incense, which I burn at least once daily. And I've just received a package of Japanese Kyara incense sticks - there is nothing short of magical about burning them, the scent changes after a few centimeters of stick have turned into ashes. Also, I've been enjoying the depth of Sonoma Scent Studio's Incense Pure, with its depth and complexity of tobacco paired with powdery tonka, rustic immortelle and sweet amber.

Something Spicy:
I've been deeply immersed in the Clarimonde project and wearing the oriental-spicy violet perfume I've created for it more than anything else in the past month. Oriental perfumes truly did originate in the orient, where spices such as cloves, cassia and star anise were pulverized into a fine powder and blended with fragrant resins and woods such as camphor, sandalwood and agarwood to create fine perfumes for rituals of both religion and seduction. Body incense is still popular in Japan, where it originally was used to purify one's hands before entering a temple; but also powder perfumes were used to scent a Geisha's hair. Aftelier's Shiso is based on such a Geisha formula, and is a remarkably authentic in the ingredients it uses and the intense and immediate effect it has on my mood - transporting me instantly into dimly lantern-lit rooms separated with fusuma and lined with tatami mats. Shiso is intense, deep and camphoreous, tinged with eugenolic spice and aldehydic shiso herb.

And last but not least - combining sugar and spice, is the haunting Un Crime Exotique - a gourmand that walks the tightrope between French patisserie and an Asian soup broth.

What are you favourite end of fall fragrances?

The Virtues of Bathing

Bath, originally uploaded by lady eighty.

Hot bath water
No place to throw
Insects singing all around

The time leading to the holidays can be stressful and strenuous both mentally and physically. Lots of work to get done before the long winter break. Many parties and social functions to attend and/or organize. Even Holiday preparations such as shopping, cooking and baking can take a toll on your health and stress you out if you’re not careful.

Being in the midst of the holiday rush myself, I’ve found that simple little rituals really help to ease out the stress and balance out the overall intensity of these past two months. Giving yourself a little attention, quietly, and being mindful about yourself in the midst of this chaos – even if just for a few minutes – can make all the difference and might save a lot of trouble (i.e.: fatigue, headache, back pain, meltdown or whichever way your system tends to cope with the stress).

Soaking in a hot tub in the evening is a great way to relax and also get your body nice and tired before bedtime. It allows to wash off the worries of the day along with the dirt. In Japan, bathing in the evening is an important ritual that all member of the family take part of. Everyone washes before entering the bath, and all use the same water, which is of course very hot! It is also customary to use whole plants (i.e.: Shoubu, a type of iris) or fruits (yuzu) in the bath depending on the season. These plants are believed to help maintain one’s health.

Traditionally, the Japanese bath tubs are made from wood such as hinoki - a Japanese cypress with a very pleasing aroma. I found these awesome bath salts at Daiso (a Japanese twonie/100 yen store located in the Aberdeen Mall in Richmond, BC), which smell wonderful and surprisingly natural (especially knowing their price). I particularly enjoy bathing in the soft light of candles, especially scented; and my Bois d’Hiver candles make a beautiful compliment to this woody bath soak.

The virtues of bathing go beyond basic hygene practices. The sound of the water flowing into the tub and swishing around is relaxing and calming. In the soft light, you mind can relax and put behind all the day's worries and stress and ready itself for a peaceful slumber. The act of washing and bathing brings awarness to every part of the body and to the body as a whole. Bathing with your partner can also be a shared time of relaxation and intimacy (schedule and bath size permitting...). And of course you could also argue water's many symbolic meanings of a source of vitality, a place where our life began (the womb), and purity.
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