After the recent Indian summer-like weather in the UK, I'm noticing a slight nip in the air to herald the autumn season.There's always those few days in later autumn when blustery winds strip the trees of most of their leaves, but that's not for a little while yet thankfully!
My perfume instincts also tell me Autumn is here, since on a whim I decided to spray a little Shalimar on one wrist and Geisha Noire on the other. These are both far more suited to late autumn and winter, but still, the fact I had a notion to sniff them is indicative, since their effect is cloying in hot weather but comforting when it's cooler.
There's a mood I always experience at this time of year when the trees are touched with gold and russet; a more introverted, contemplative or dreamy mood that I associate with the end of the Edinburgh festival. Nowadays the city centre streets are busy year-round, but a few decades ago a certain peace and autumn mist seemed to descend on the city as the festival noise and tourists melted away.
I love the city in this mood, Edinburgh suits cooler weather, with its silver-stoned Georgian New Town architecture, or medieval atmosphere of the higgledy piggledy Old Town; the scent of woodsmoke floats on the air and autumn leaves skirl in the wind across cobblestones. ('skirl' sounds like something Scottish leaves do I think!)
Here are a few perfumes which I think suit this time of year (accompanied by my photos of Edinburgh)...
notes, rose, possibly jasmine then vetiver and a light musk in drydown) are there to highlight iris's many facets, from chalky and rooty, to powdery, inky and ethereal. La Pausa seems to me a city iris, made for moody streets and poetic thoughts.
A wisp of turpentine and a modernistic dash of rubber mixed with the smell of black old records make their entrance lest the scent would become too romantic. Accents of hot iron and of a tired breathless subway in a heaving city almost make you grind your teeth in discomfort.
Iris has decided to relegate its classically beautiful satiny ball gown upstairs in the attic and to don a metallic Paco Rabanne outfit instead to emit all of its natural metal-like cold aromas. The bottom note is soft and herbaceous.
An elegant and austere perfume well suited to wandering through the grand streets of Edinburgh's new town. Paestum Rose feels classic though it was created in recent years.
Rose, incense smoke, resins, pepper and bitter herbs combine in light yet distinct accords - refined and somehow cool or aloof in mood
Not dissimilar in its way to Paestum Rose, gentler though, more a contemplative mood. The Japanese nameconjures up a tea-house in early autumn, a recently fired raku bowl holding lapsang souchong maybe, among scattered rose petals. Equally though, this might conjure up the scent of pot pourri in an Elzabethan house with a roaring fire on the hearth that releases the scent of old timber.
An entirely different mood, more daytime in the city, Aura is clean in top notes, slightly soapy, but the dry-down is lovely, like dusty sandalwood, very light with just a hint of rose
Cabaret, by Gris
This is a perfume I find quite haunting, there's a smokiness that's somehow reminds me of the scent after an
outdoor party - fresh but also ashy - a kind of ozone effect.
The unusual combination of lemony Frankincense and a clean yet soily patchouli reminds me of a churchyard too, hence perhaps the haunting mood!
I never got on board with Bulgari's Jasmine Noir, but Mon Jasmine Noir grew on me. Similarly to Cabaret there's an edge that seems quite ashy (though this is a more grounded, warmer perfume by far).
Also a velvety soft sambac jasmine and what I experience as a slightly metallic musk. It's redolent of nights out in the city somehow - the scent of metal, smoky aromas and faded flowers
I like this in autumn, especially when the trees turn russet, at which time the sweet smoky incense of Myrrh Ardente seems to gently smoulder. It feels noble, adventurous - a scent you might find wafting from a Bedouin tent in the desert. Or at least that's what it brings to my mind! I can't imagine a perfume more suited to a stroll through the autumn woods with the faint scent of woodsmoke in the air.