Smell is one damn powerful sense. In fact, they say that out of all five senses, it’s the most dominant sense. It has the ability to completely transport you to another time, stir up a memory, and instantly lift your mood or completely crush your soul with one tiny sniff.
That grape Lip Smacker you found in your old room at your parents’ place? It’ll take you to Year 10 science class, because everyday you’d apply it just before the bell rang for lunch. Your favourite bar down the street with the sticky floor? It’s just like that wild night in Barcelona while you were backpacking for six months. The men’s cologne that just wafted past you on the train? That’s the painful break-up that you got through by going to bed with your ex-boyfriend’s jumper every night for a year.
Other than being powerful, smell is also a very personal thing. Certain perfumes remind us of certain people. One perfume can also smell completely different on two people. And most of us have a perfume that is obviously made just for us, no one else.
But does this mean that we should stick to the one perfume forever and ever? As a new season approaches, should we spring clean our scent wardrobes, like we do our clothes? Should our smell adapt to become more citrus-y, spicy, floral or bold depending on what the weather is doing outside?
We caught up with Jessica of Lore Perfumery – who’s taken over the iconic Kleins Perfumery in Brunswick, Melbourne – to get her expert opinion and learn how to find our soulmate scent for winter.
When a new season arrives, should we spring clean our scent wardrobe along with our clothes?
At Lore Perfumery, we treat our fragrances like our clothing. It’s lovely to change your scent to mark the new season, as our olfactory senses are so closely linked to our memories. Aside from seasonally, it’s a great idea to mark any significant change or occasion with a new scent, as a way to link the memory with our senses.
How will our scent change between summer and winter?
Often in summer we tend to veer towards lighter, crisper scents that will feel refreshing to wear in the heat. They can range anywhere from a citrus to floral to woody, yet they often have cleaner and lighter characteristics. They wear well in the warm weather, as they don’t feel cloying or overpowering as your skin heats up.
As winter approaches, we start to favour heavier and warmer notes – often earthier, deeper, possibly sweeter, and sometimes with a touch more spice. We wear these fragrances like a warm cashmere jumper. They are comforting, warming and often richly decadent. Like drinking a delicious mulled wine on a cold night, these more wintry fragrances have the same effect on the way we feel.
What makes the perfect winter perfume?
The perfect winter fragrance is one that makes you feel warm, comforted, and at the end of the day, it’s the scent that makes you feel happy. That is the most perfect one for you.
Which notes should we look out for during the colder months?
Firstly, there are woods, such as sandalwood, cedar wood, oud, guaiac wood, rosewood and teak. There’s also leather, amber, patchouli, spices, gourmand and boozy notes, resins and balsams such as myrrh, olibanum, incense. These notes give a wintry, warming feel and can be unisex with a seductive, mysterious allure.
We have popular winter fragrances that resemble many ‘wintry’ scenes such as drinking a beautiful bottle of aged cognac, a dirty animalic leather scent, and a floral fragrance, inspired by a garden the morning after a storm.
What is the process of finding the perfect scent?
Without an expert guiding your through, it can feel overwhelming.
At Lore Perfumery, we pick a variety of scents to try based on scents you have worn in the past, things you like and do not like, the type of feeling or occasion you’d like your new scent to complement… and sometimes we throw in a few curve balls, just to mix things up.
Once we have narrowed the choices down, we try them on your skin. This is the deciding factor.
What are some red flags that it’s not the perfume for us?
Fragrances can behave quite differently on each person’s skin due to several factors (mainly due to pH levels) and it really comes down to a matter of preference.
Some people naturally turn fragrances a little sweet or sour. But all that really matters is whether you like where the fragrance goes as it dries down on your skin.
What’s the best way to test a potential fragrance?
Trying the fragrance on your skin and letting it sit for at least a couple of minutes is the best way to confirm if the fragrance is suitable for you.
What are your top five winter fragrances?
Frapin – 1270
It comes from the best cognac makers in the world, Frapin. 1270 is their iconic fragrance inspired by a bottle of cognac. It holds a special place in our hearts as it is gentle, warm and gourmand with a woody base. It’s beautiful on both men and women, and a lovely transition into the colder months.
Nasomatto – Black Afgano
The Black Afgano fragrance created by Alessandro Gualtieri is a sexy, dark, mysterious and addictive scent. A parfum extract, it is incredibly strong and a little goes a long way. This is the type of scent you get on your favourite winter coat and can still smell it there months later. Inspired by the finest form of hashish, mixed with a rich oud.
Miller et Bertaux – Parfum Trouvé #1
A warm, spicy, floral and feminine fragrance created by the amazing design duo in Paris. It features sandalwood and cedarwood, with a twist of chutney spices and iris. Beautifully elegant with spicy kicks, it’s perfect for winter.
Robert Piguet – Visa
This is one of the original gourmand fragrances, created in 1945 by Germaine Cellier. She was the nose that created so many bold, iconic fragrances in an industry that, at the time, was dominated by men. It’s an elegant, rich oriental scent with a blend of spices, fruits and floral notes. It’s so decadent that it suits both men and women, and will leave a trail behind you.
Agonist – Dark Saphir
The Swedish couple behind this range pride themselves on the natural ingredients used, and this scent has such an intriguing complexity to it. Inspired by the sapphire stone’s hardness, strength, beauty and elegance, there are notes of rose, oud, patchouli, resins and spices.
Any final pearls of wisdom?
In saying all of the above, it is so important to remember that with fragrances, there really are no rules. What makes you feel amazing is the right option for you. Like wearing a bright, citrus fragrance in winter? Go of it! Above all else, you should love the fragrance that you are wearing.
Illustration by Twylamae.