There is no universal language used solely to describe scent. Instead one relies on descriptors such as; colours (for example, Guerlain’s Idylle is a shimmering shade of blush pink), textures (fluffy, powdery, soft and coarse etc.) and imagery (e.g. in my review of Olfactive Studio’s Chambre Noir “the two lovers are locked together in the dark room, bathed in the warmth of red light, eyes transfixed on the other in one electric moment“) to capture the essence of the odours, smells and fragrances we smell. Another common set of adjectives used are those related to temperature, and one often hears perfumes described as either hot or cold.
On the hotter side of the spectrum one can find spicy oriental, rich woody and gourmand fragrances that take pleasure in their density, creaminess and enveloping silage. These are perfumed force fields to protect one from the turbulent forces of nature, transporting one’s imagination to warmer climes and exotic places. They are our defence against all of the chill that Blighty throws at us and can sometimes warm one up more than any clothing ever could.
As it is currently the midst of winter and the weather is raging something rotten, now is the time to don chunky knitwear, big coats or pyjamas and drink lots of tea. It’s also the perfect opportunity to rock those warmer, heavier and altogether more comforting perfumes in your collection and following on from Emma’s recent Winter Fragrance Guide for Her, I’ve picked out some of my favourite winter warmers for the gents among us. So come on boys, man up, admit its cold and take heed of my winter fragrance choices!
The New Classic
There is nothing more comforting in winter than an amber fragrance. The amber accord is made of sweet, warm and fluffy ingredients, namely; benzoin, vanilla and labdanum, and smells rich, balsamic and sweetly golden. I would liken donning an amber fragrance akin to receiving a big fluffy cuddle in your favourite blanket, a thought that is most appealing at this chilly time of year.
For my ‘New Classic’ I’ve picked the glorious Opus VI by Amouage, a fragrance that deserves to be considered a classic, even though it is perhaps a little to exclusive to currently hold the title. I say this because it is one heck of an amber scent and should be a reference for those looking for a warm fragrance that is new, exciting and edgy.
For Opus VI, perfumers Dora Arnaud and Pierre Negrin along withAmouage’s visionary Creative Director, Christopher Chong have taken the familiar accord of amber away from the golden desert sands it is usually so evocative of and darkened it with an intense blast of smoky, charred woods. As if to keep one on his/her toes, these blackened woods rest upon a positively plush bed of spicy vanilla with cocoa facets that ensure that this Amouage is as comforting and delicious as an amber flavoured hot chocolate.Yum, indeed.
Opus VI is one of those perfumes that I could wax lyrical about for hours, but as with all perfumes it really does have to be experienced. So if you’re looking for a luxurious and warm treat this winter that will set you apart from the masses, then Opus VI is absolutely worthy of your consideration.
The Winter Warmer
Etat Libre d’Orange is a brand that approaches the world of perfume differently. I like to think of them as olfactory freedom fighters working to make the perfume industry a better and more exciting place. Unlike many brands their perfumes have the ability to shock, beguile, excite and perplex – a range of emotions that can usually be felt just by sniffing one of their many offerings.
Perhaps the brand’s greatest perfume is their unisex outing for actress, model, performance artist and general purveyor of awesomeness – Tilda Swinton. The perfume, named ‘Like This’ and created by perfumer Mathilde Bijaoui, takes a veritable feast of orange things that Ms. Swinton loves, such as; ginger, pumpkin and tangerine, and pairs them with a whole heap of warmth courtesy of immortelle, rose, vetiver and musk.
I like to call Like This a ‘scarf scent’, meaning that it is one of those perfumes that smell wonderful emanating from your winter scarf. The maple syrup facets of immortelle and the spice of ginger and pumpkin burn like golden embers caught in the cosiest and chunkiest of knitwear. So if there is just one warm fragrance you wear this winter then Like This should be it, after all you owe it to yourself and your scarf.
The Party Fragrance
When Jean Paul Gaultier released his second masculine fragrance in 2011 the perfume world sat up and waited with baited breath for the follow up to the ridiculously successful Le Mâle. The scent was named ‘Kokorico’, the French name for the rooster’s call (everything sounds better in French, doesn’t it?) and the scent positively strutted, all cockiness and feathers, on to the scene to a surprisingly muted response.
Despite this, Kokorico is in fact a very decent scent, with a rambunctious blend of dark chocolate, milky fig, vetiver and cedar that feels utterly cheeky and gloriously warm all at the same time. This brash character makes for the perfect party scent for the audacious, slightly vain and entirely bold man who likes to make a statement and draw attention. Wallflowers need not apply.
The Wild Card
My winter wild card is a scent that is likely to push some guys completely out of their comfort zones as it is really, due mainly to the fact that it crosses the gender barrier with absolutely no fear. I am, and always have been, a firm believer that perfume is genderless and one should ignore the ‘Pour Homme’ and ‘Pour Femme’ labels plastered on bottles and simply wear what one likes and feels comfortable in (that said, if sticking to the labels is what makes you feel at ease, then I’m all for that too). It will come as no surprise then that this wild card is one of the most iconic ‘feminine’ fragrances of all time.
As far as fragrances go you don’t get edgier than DIOR’s Poison – a perfume that perfectly captures the essence and excess of the ‘80s; shoulder pads, big hair, warts and all. It’s a big, thick syrupy tuberose with bursting, vibrant blackcurrant and cold incense thatall makes for an edgy scent for the renegade man with an eye for fashion.
Poison isn’t a comforting perfume as such, but it is warm and unashamedly tenacious enough to shroud one in a gigantic mushroom cloud of purple powder. I reach for it on those days when I need to be a force to be reckoned with and when I want to capture the winter chill and use it to my advantage.
Join the Discussion!
What warm fragrances are you rocking this winter?