Getting Ready for Autumn: Perfume

Getting Ready for Autumn: Perfume

My perfume collection numbers 50+ bottles (I’m not counting decants and samples) and I wear all of them whenever the fancy takes me. What I do, however, is that I have an „immediate“ drawer and a „general“ drawer and I move fragrances between them depending on current favourites, the season, life events and other less quantifiable criteria. It makes it a bit easier to decide in the mornings, but I can still wear whatever I want, as the drawers are next to each other.

I’ve just done a bigger reshuffle and most of the perfumes in the „immediate“ drawer are what one might traditionally call autumn (or even winter) scents. Most of them are old favourites: Chanel Cuir de Russie, Amouage Lyric, Serge Lutens Boxeuses and Bois de Violette (the bottle is new, though), Guerlain Shalimar, Arquiste Nanban, Ormonde Jayne Vanille d’Iris, Neela Vermeire Mohur. Lots of wood and leather with some creamy rose petals and delicate violets thrown in.

The newest bottle is also the one that might look a bit of out of place: Vilhelm Parfumerie Morning Chess. It is rather cologne-like, so potentially more a summer scent. On the other hand, it’s quite robust and the fruit and leather notes make it a great cologne for autumn – one needs something in this category any time of the year. Philosykos covers similar territory and my favourite time to wear it is the end of summer/beginning of autumn. And then there’s Chanel’s 31 Rue Cambon that isn’t really autumnal, just always perfect.

I’ve been looking at this selection and thinking if there’s anything else that I need (and I use the term loosely, as per usual). Two big favourites – Serge Lutens Feminite du Bois and Jo Malone Mimosa & Cardamom – are missing, because I’ve emptied my bottles. Both need to be replenished at some point, but Bois de Violette is close enough to FdB to fill that particular gap for the moment.

None of the mainstream new big releases has convinced me: Chanel Gabrielle is nice, but nothing more (although I love the bottle); Gucci Bloom smells good to a white flower lover like me, but it’s boring and one-dimensional and Hermes Twilly just puzzles me. Even among the new niche releases, there’s nothing I absolutely HAVE to buy, although there are some interesting releases. I liked most of the Cire Trudon fragrances, I must re-try Naomi Goodsir’s Nuit de Bakelite and I’m sure there are other fragrances I’ve forgotten.

The things I really want are scents that I’ve had on my list for a long time: Neela Vermeire’s Trayee, Chanel Sycomore, Serge Lutens De Profundis and vintage Jicky extrait (not likely to happen). And I’m always on the hunt for a bottle of the tragically discontinued Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia.

What are your favourite autumn scents? What should I try?


Add yours
  1. 1

    I love the original Bottega Veneta and just purchased the new Eau de Velours. It’s very similar to the original, but the soft rose note stands out nicely on my skin. It definitely makes me want to match my wine-colored cashmere sweater with it. I just ordered a 30 ml of Atelier’s new one, Cafe Tuberosa. It’s a weirdo, no one in the household likes it (not even the cat), but I love it and will wear it when everyone else is at work/school.. It’s a strong blast of coffee/menthol-like tuberose, then a few minutes later, it smells like having a latte on a patio strung with jasmine vines.

    • 2

      Oh, your description of Cafe Tuberosa sounds amazing! I love tuberose and don’t mind if it’s weird. I’ll definitely give it a try, thank you!

  2. 3

    I’m surprised how many favorites we have in common. Cuir de Russie, Lyric, Lutens Boxeuses, Mimosa & Cardamom, Trayee, De Profundis, Jicky.
    I’m curious, do you keep your bottles in or out of boxes in the drawers?

    • 4

      I feel this special kind of bond every time someone loves a perfume I love. Not that I don’t enjoy hearing from people with different tastes (often I admire them a lot), it’s just a different feeling.

      I don’t keep my perfumes in boxes, although I still have most of the ones I bought while in Brussels, in case we move and I need to pack them securely. Even keeping the scents in drawers is a major step for me, I’m usually not that sensible and not careful with my things. But after I had the first perfume turn on me, I decided to stop displaying them in full sunlight.

  3. 5

    Hello Annikkiy! I hardly ever comment but love your blog, although I live in a relatively warmer climate (northern Italy). Thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinions! I admire your ability to find time for writing! I am also e blogger (in marketing) and struggle to keep it updated with everything going on in my life.
    I have your blog in my RSS reader and often turn to it (and a few other perfume/fashion related ones) for a few minutes of mind-opening information and fun.

    I’m a newbie when it comes to perfume, and I have a relatively small collection, but this fall I especially enjoy Tea for Two (mostly smoke and warm golden tea on me, with a whiff of lemon in the drydown) and Traversee du Bosphore. I use this one year-round, but it seems that every season brings out a different facet of it. This time, it’s soft, comforting suede. In the summers, it’s spices. In the spring, it’s candied apples, cinnamon and almond… such a gem for me.

    • 6

      Dear Cristina, thank you very much for a lovely comment! And I can tell you, finding time is a constant struggle, especially at the moment when I’m busy with the Estonian Presidency… So I don’t sleep much 🙂 My saving grace is that I’m generally a fast writer and have it mostly ready in my head before I write it down (and you can write in your head everywhere).

      Both of your perfume choices are lovely and based on your descriptions, you certainly do not sound like a newbie.

  4. 7

    Hi, Ykkinna. I’ve been enjoying your blog but lazily not commenting. Sorry. I love your autumn prep series: I’m doing the opposite down here at the bottom of the world for spring.

    Like Undina, I love many of your favourite perfumes too, but there is one that I adore that you haven’t mentioned (I think): Dries van Noten. I find its warm woods and soft spices just enchanting, and I think it would carry you from autumn into a cold winter if you needed it to. Also, I’m just beginning to really enjoy wearing rose notes, and I haven’t regretted my bottles of Rose de Petra and Rose Musc. I think the latter would be especially good in a cold wind. I revelled in it one day this winter, sitting in a cafe sipping a good latte, watching the rain fall in sheets along the Auckland streets. It’s that sort of robust, gutsy, good company rose, not a glamorous silks-and-velvet one like Nahema. These might be useful ideas for you: hope so!

    • 8

      Good to see you, Frances! And feel free to be as lazy as you want. I’ll have to try the roses you mention: I’m not necessarily a huge rose person, but some of them I truly love. I might retry Dries an Noten as well. I sampled it when it came out, but it seemed too sweet and too faint on me. But I do like the idea of that scent and in my head it would be lovely with a cashmere sweater in autumn.

  5. 9

    Many favorites here, especially Mohur, Rue de Cambon, Nanban. And I love the Vilhelm travel sprays, although I don’t yet have Morning Chess. I spent a lot of the summer in Purple Fig and may even need to get one of the big bottles. I too ‘need’ to get Sycomore. I love Trudon’s Bruma and may also sneak in a bottle of II/Deux, which I also really love. Nuit de Bakelite smelled truly horrid on me; like melting tires and flesh. Really roomclearingly awful. But it sounds like it is lovely on others. I also should note that I love your work outfits. Wish I was still thin enough to pull some of these off. Maybe I’ll work on it!

    • 10

      I must retry Purple Fig, if you like it. As we’ve established, you’ve got excellent taste 🙂 I also have to re-sniff all the Trudons, to understand which ones I love as opposed to like. Interesting to hear about NdB – I didn’t really get a good sense of it the first time I tried (too many perfumes to sniff, a slight cold, etc). Will try to focus next time.

      Btw, any reading recommendations? Not that I need anything new on my TBR, but still.

  6. 11

    I also like many of the same fragrances you do. This post was the last bit of persuasion I needed to buy Mohur, after I used up my sample very quickly. I’ve been feeling that I lacked a certain kind of fall floral. I’m not always in the mood for something as dry and nutty as 31 Rue Cambon. Ormonde Jayne Ta’if is lovely but does seem more of an evening scent. So, looking forward to having Mohur. I bought Trayee first, and absolutely love that. But I can’t do incense every day.

    • 12

      I don’t think you’ll regret Mohur. At least I find it very easy to wear, as it just smells good. It’s also versatile, however: it’s complex and beautiful enough to wear for opera.

      Trayee is an interesting one for me, because I’m not usually an incense person at all. But this somehow smells so right to/on me.

  7. 13

    Nothing has knocked it out of the park for me lately reading wise. Oh except for the essays of Brian Dillon. Essayism is fantastic, as are other less focused collections. The thinking about what essays do is brilliant and the life you glimpse through the lines sad and funny and deeply sane. And Mary Gaitskill recent collections of essays is also very nutty and wise and beautifully written. Otherwise like everyone else in the USA I’ve been immersed in various unsatisfying distopias, fictional and real.

    • 14

      We’ll check out both, although September was the worst reading month I’ve had in ages and October isn’t going to be much better.

  8. 15

    I seem to turn to Chanel in the autumn – last year I wore a lot of Bois des Iles and No. 22 (both go extremely well with cashmere and scarves). I have just got my hands on Cuir de Russie parfum, but haven’t worked out how to open the bottle yet, so meanwhile I’m drenched in Cristalle EdP – tried it because of your recommendations, got a bottle last month, and it’s brilliant in crisp colourful weather!

    • 16

      CdR parfum is on my list as well, as my EdT will be done soon. And I sympathise with your bottle-opening struggle. I had the same issue with my No 22 parfum and I ended up pretty much ruining the look of the bottle 🙁

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