Perfume Picks: Spring 2016

Since this blog was inactive for a year, my last “perfume picks” post was also spring scents. But I have a year more of scent testing under my belt, and new criteria for spring scents. Last year I chose some strongly fruity and floral scents, which I also wore through much of the summer – especially Southern Gothic and Blackberry Noir, which I will wear any hot day of the year. This year, due to some seriously inconsistent and very damp weather, I’ve been reaching for more moody scents that can work during both warm sunny days and the cold, rainy, even snowy days in between. Again: 5 picks with mini-reviews.

Black Sugar (Sixteen92)
Brown Sugar, Red Berries, Caramel, Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Dirt, Cauldron Smoke, Cocao Absolute.

I never would have pictured myself wearing a scent with “sugar” right in the title, but I’ve unexpectedly fallen in love with this one. It starts with spun sugar and red berries, very sweet and bright. As it dries it becomes more complex, with hints of caramel, dark cocoa, earth, and smoke darkening it. It’s sweet and gourmand but also earthy and smoky, and ends up smoky caramel with a hint of fruitiness left.

Black Tower (BPAL)
White sandalwood, ambergris, wet ozone, galbanum and leather with ebony, teak, burnt grasses, English ivy and a hint of red wine.

This is my wild card for the season – an unconventional scent that works better for moody spring storms than sunny spring days. I only recently rediscovered it in my collection, and it’s a shame it’s gone so long unworn. It’s green but incensey due to the sandalwood and burnt grasses, and sweet fruity red wine is splashed in the background. Ozone and ivy bring a cool touch that’s suitable for a warm day.

Carmen 7 (Alkemia)
An indecent proposal of succulently spiced pear, exotic lychees, decadent french pralines, bourbon vanilla, and crushed almond blossoms leads to a ménage à trois of gardenia, star jasmine, and magnolia illuminated by the afterglow of a sensuously musky amber.

For what is essentially a fruity floral, this is very restrained, and not particularly sweet. The pear and lychee lend just enough juiciness to the creamy florals, while the praline, almond blossoms, and amber bring soft warmth. The fruits and flowers put me in the mood for spring, but the other notes lend coziness on a rainy day.

Riverside Hayride (Solstice Scents)
Moist Dirt, White Carnations, Fallen Leaves, Bare Branches, Hay & a Hint of Pressed Apples Carried on the Breeze from Corvin’s Apple Orchard.

I don’t even care that this is meant to be an autumn scent, because this manages to be light and earthy at the same time, and I think apples and carnations are perfectly suitable for spring. It starts with fresh-pressed apples and fresh spicy carnation, and on drydown the dirt really emerges and the whole thing becomes more earthy and atmospheric. The notes all mingle beautifully, and I’ll honestly be reaching for this year-round.

The Sound and the Fury (Sixteen92)
Southern sweet tea, Carolina jessamine, balsam, fern, warm skin musk, loam.

This was part of last year’s spring collection, and while I tried it then and liked it, it never became a part of my usual scent rotation because it had a strong contrast of fruity iced tea and dark loamy earth. Well, it’s aged to perfection, with a more harmonious result. It strikes me as a very soft, mellow, earthy floral, with some fruitiness from the sweet tea.

 

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