New season, new scent is a mantra I abide to with the same level of diligence most reserve for daily showers and teeth brushing. Each change in season is accompanied by a new scent, the latest in an ever-growing fragrance trail. Rich, deep fragrances define the cooler months whilst warm, vibrant scents capture the heady, balmy days of summer. Spring is perhaps the easiest season to capture - floral, fresh, and flush with life - the perfect accompaniment to warming weather and blooming foliage. These are my current contenders...
Nope, not an unfinished prototype, nor a homage to Nirvana [except on my part]. In the worlds of fashion and beauty, no longer does ‘one size fit all’, the ‘C’ word is undoubtedly the biggest buzzword right now and Byredo's tenth anniversary scent is an appealing offering for those with a love of customisation. The blank label comes accompanied by a sheet of alphabet stickers that allow you to choose a name and customise the bottle. What’s more, the scent itself suits the name - to all but the most experienced nose, it’s impossible to pinpoint the notes in this fragrance and it’s very difficult to describe - at best I’d opt for 'sweet, powdery, and delicate'. It makes sense therefore that this is designed to be what each of us makes of it, lending itself to the ideas of intimacy and subjectivity that typically only a custom made scent could conjure. A veritable love letter to fragrance, it's fresh, airy, and clever rather than overtly sweet or floral.
Oud is an acquired scent - the Marmite of the fragrance world if you will - but if you like it, this is as close as you’ll get to sniffing the real thing. Subtly sweetened with grapefruit, jasmine, and orange blossom in a way that compellingly evokes a sultry exoticism, it’s rich, dark, warm, and opulent. Not your cliche spring scent, granted - but if you prefer your spring fragrance darker and moodier, this one is addictive.
The blend of vetiver, bergamot, and grapefruit has a light yet fiery kick that will lead you into summer, wandering through the sunlit backstreets of an Italian city, plotting your next gelato stop. The mix of fresh citrus and vibrant amber, starts out smelling bright and energising, but dries down to something smoother and warmer. I love how ripe and vibrant and green it smells, but it’s more than just an ordinary ‘freshly mowed lawn’ scent - it’s fresh in a complex, interesting way with a depth that makes it quite unique.
The bottle looks more like a piece of home decor than a beauty product, and the scent within is just as surprising. Every Penhaligons scent is inspired by a narrative, and Clandestine Clara is part of the brand’s new Portrait series - attempting to evoke in perfume form the story of a well-travelled, forward-thinking, unconventional Edwardian woman. It’s expectedly sweet [thanks to notes of vanilla and cinnamon], but rum and amber turn it into something less overtly feminine giving it a warm, velvety air.
Green and sweet and floral but with a woody note that gives it backbone, imagine walking into a walled garden full in bloom and that’s exactly what your room will be transformed to when you light this. A heady overdose of far-from-cliche florals [one can expect nothing less of Byredo] that’s just sweet enough to conjure memories of parma violets and candied almonds. In short, it’s perfect for spring - burning this will clear any bad vibes out of home and heart, creating a seasonally appropriate aura of fresh and calm.