As the sun’s returning warmth teases green tendrils out of the ground, seemingly dead branches revive and the early flowers burst into bloom—in the Northern Hemisphere, at least—it’s a time of inspiration. A good perfumer, after all, has the ability to create fragrances that let us experience spring all year round. Here are our top five for spring, whether coinciding with it in northern climates or keeping it alive in the Southern Hemisphere.
Named after Thomas Hardy’s novel set in the pastoral landscapes of England’s West Country, this is a must-have spring scent for anyone who likes light, breezy fragrances that nonetheless stand out from the (madding) crowd. There is sweetness here, but it’s the sweetness of sun-ripened fruit and berries with a hint of tartness—black cassis and plums. Flowers too veer towards those that thrive without cultivation; the sun-worshiping heliotrope. Combined with herbaceous, even sharp (in the sense of a scalpel not a stick), notes such as myrtle or eucalyptus and deep woody tones of cedar and oakmoss, the overall impression is of a languid picnic in a meadow at the edge of the woods or under shading trees on the lush bank beside a slow-moving river.
Bracing sea freshness is everywhere in Atlante, not the gentle lapping of near still waters in a Pacific atoll, but churning waves crashing against craggy shorelines. Life born from salty water is at its core: notes of seaweed, ambergris, driftwood, wet rock and seashells. The counterpoint of botanical notes continues a line of freshness: the soothing tenderness of lily of the valley, the citric delight of yuzu or the spiky warmth of pink pepper. Altante is for those who prefer their leisure in the sun nestled amongst sheltering dunes from where they can enjoy the pounding surf, perhaps taking a pause before picking up a surfboard and dashing back into the water once again. This juice has notable longevity and shifts readily from a day on the beach to a relaxed evening around a barbecue.
The green notes in Bascule are practically an ode to the scents of spring: green grass, vetiver and fir. But, as the name suggests, this juice has a strong equestrian pedigree. So, expect those notes of hay, leather, musk, amber, tobacco and metal tack to place you in the stable at least some of the time. Think of it as anticipation of an exhilarating gallop across countryside, slowing to a leisurely canter as you near some secluded beauty spot or dismount at a favourite rustic country pub garden. The only question is whether it will be your trusty steed or companion rewarded with the luscious peach. Though there’s bergamot in there, this is the ideal spring choice for those who prefer their freshness with a woody chypre bent rather than citrus.
Jazz-inspired, G Clef is another of our aquatic freshies. Why aquatic? You may well ask. In fact, it’s a little more specific than generally inspired by jazz. More accurately, its starting point is the smell of San Francisco’s waterfront on warm evenings, the location of some of the city’s most inspiring jazz clubs that Sarah would often visit with her family. Roaming beyond the City by the Bay, the fragrance takes up a lovely combination of Californian notes; citric grapefruit and bergamot, the sun-baked lavender of a fougère accord or the woody warmth of coastal forests; coumarin and oakmoss. Despite its New World feel-good breeziness, there is something deeply classical about G Clef reminiscent of the heritage fragrances once created in London’s St James or Cologne’s medieval Old City. If you can’t decide between nautical freshness with a citrus or woody riff, get the best of both with this stylish juice.
Even if you can’t actually dash off to some wonderful destination for a spring break this year, this unique scent allows you to visit distant realms, in the olfactory sense at least. Travel is at the heart of Symmetry; not only the travel of people, but the travel of perfume ingredients themselves. Symmetry is inspired by the ancient hub cities and ports where merchants brought precious fragrance materials from around the world to trade, creating a great melting pot of aromas and sharing their age-old knowledge of creating perfumes. And, in a nod to this, Symmetry primarily uses classical, ancient ingredients: bergamot, petitgrain, neroli, orange blossom, amber, cypriol, musk and oud. It is also a singular juice, as some reviewers have noted, because it combines the specific signature woody intensity of oud with the freshness of colognes, even though it is actually an eau de parfum. This, as all you perfume aficionados will know, is pretty unusual. The perfect fragrance for spring with no shortage of bragging rights.