Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Contenders: starting a list and looking for suggestions

This is the first year I’ve been wondering, well in advance, what I’ll wear during Christmas. Normally, I just wear whatever I want, depending on what I’m doing that day, or thinking about who I’ll be around. This year, I’m traveling to North Carolina to visit family so I’m planning in advance what I’ll wear and bring a few decants with me. I’ll be around my Mother, who pretty much hates perfume, or anything strong or what she calls “chemically perfume-y.” Yeah, I know, this means I can’t even consider bringing about 75% of my collection to NC (not that I’d bring the whole collection, I just mean this greatly reduces my choices to begin with).

So, I’m thinking about ‘comfort fragrances’ similar to comfort food. I’m thinking of scents that actually smell like Christmas to me (although I can’t bring Angel because Mom would suffocate, unless of course a few drops of Angel in pure parfum wouldn't shock her, since the parfum has much less sillage...hmmmm...or maybe the Liqueur version or Angel Violet). I’m aiming to bring 3-4 decants, I’ll be in NC for 7 days, and 3-4 should hold me.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir: This is a lovely scent, utterly unisex, and it smells like Christmas. It’s somewhat soft and sheer yet I can smell it on myself all day. For a Jo Malone, the longevity is pretty darn good. It’s spicy and non-foodie yet it simply smells like Christmas. The Jo Malone websites lists the notes as: sweet fruity notes of raspberry, plum, pink pepper and pomegranate with patchouli, frankincense and spicy woods. You know, I don’t think this smells fruity at all. What I smell is the frankincense and spicy woods, and maybe a tart fruit, like what I imagine pomegranate to smell like, but it isn’t sweet and I don’t even get patchouli from this. I swear I smell balsam fir trees, a crackling fire, some nutmeg and maybe even a smidgen of snow and sparkling candle light.

DSH Mahjoun: Serge Lutens might think he holds court over the “loukhoum” type fragrances but my favorite is Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum. By a mile. DSH Mahjoun is another oriental which is said to focus on this Moroccan dessert but it’s nowhere near as sweet as the SL or the KM and, in truth, it’s much nuttier and more oriental than both. Let's just say there's no almond or cherry in sight. Mahjoun is a nutty, woody, slightly sweet oriental gourmand with dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg and what I can’t describe other than date-nut bread. Mahjoun is a crowd pleaser (thinking of Mom) but it also pleases me.

Ava Luxe Madeline: This is new, just arriving a couple days ago. Madeline is, I believe, Ava Luxe’s Christmas scent for 2010. Madeline is also similar to DSH Mahjoun in that it’s a gourmand but it isn’t as sweet as most. It is sweeter than Mahjoun, however, as it smells like spicy, creamy eggnog. The gourmand quality doesn’t go over the top because it has a blast of nutmeg keeping the sweetness in check. It’s delectable.

The Different Company Oriental Lounge: An essentially basic oriental, with both gourmand leanings and entirely non gourmand leanings (curry leaf). TDC Oriental Lounge has been a favorite of mine since I purchased it last year. It sometimes seems so basic in structure yet I find myself smelling it over and over again all day enjoying the off-beat twists that daughter-Ellena chose to include. TDC Oriental Lounge is again, a crowd pleaser (couldn’t possibly be called “perfumey”) yet it also pleases me.

Do you have any suggestions I might not have thought of? Of course, I can bring more than 4…(hee hee you know how it is!).

Oh, and PS: I'll have Teo Cabanel Alahine with me, because she's my closest friend, sort of like Oprah and Gail King; Alahine is always with me.

Photo is of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. I think we're attending a Christmas Eve event there.


Angela Cox said...

L'Hiver is gorgeous and couldn't offend anyone . I shall wear it this year I think but I'll be hard pressed to contend with the scented candles.

Ines said...

I was going to suggest DSH PIment et Chocolat as I'll be wearing that around Christmas and probably Festive.
This is pretty much it since taking into account anything with serious sillage and chemical is out of the question.

KathyT said...

I love Pom Noir and Mahjoun, but I haven't tried the other ones. I've been overdosing on my sample of DSH Festive lately with its fir, spruce, and incense notes. Guerlain Winter Delice and SL Rousse are in rotation a lot lately too as I can be pretty literal with wanting to project holiday smells. It's been unusually cold here in NC, but it could easily be in the 70s on Christmas, and the Pom Noir would smell wonderful. Enjoy your trip and your visit to the Biltmore!

Elisa said...

I'm sure I will bring home Guerlain SDV and Winter Woods. Not sure what else yet -- I have some flexibility since I'm going to El Paso and even in December, it often gets up to the 60s during the day. You have me very curious about JM Pomegranate Noir although I normally just avoid that line entirely.

Tania said...

I'm thinking Clinique Wrappings, perhaps with Attrape Coeur on the side. Maybe Private Collection to mix things up a little. Oh, who am I kidding - I'll probably bring about ten decants. For three days! I need help...

Apart from me, nobody in the family really bothers with scent. But my ten-year old niece is showing some promise in that department. She always sneaks up to the guest bedroom and has a spritz of whatever I've left out up there.

Karin said...

Attrape Coeur!

Anonymous said...

Alahine is so joyful, so like golden bells ringing, that I think I'll wear it again this Christmas. Too, it reminds me strongly of the madrigal dinners we put on in college - such happy memories, and so Christmassy.

DSH Festive is really nice! I just also nabbed a sample of her Epices d'Hiver, so might try that one for a holiday celebration (will be getting together with my parents and siblings this weekend due to strange work schedules over Christmas proper).

Do you have a good vanilla? (I'd bet you do. :) ) By "good," I mean something that doesn't smell too perfumey, but that your mom would find simply pleasant.

Mauboussin is another pleasant, vanilla-dried fruit-spice-woods thing that I like at Christmas, and it seems to stick closer to the skin than some of my other spicy scents. Or Champagne de Bois, that's lovely.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and enjoy the Biltmore!

Veroushka said...

I have yet to try Alahine, but a sample of it is wining it's way to me now. It sounds right up my alley.
It's so hard to come up with a perfume to wear around people who don't like perfume. I treasure my collection of samples and small decants, genuinely experiencing every one as a revelation, and all they see is a haphazard accumulation of chemical dreck.
I don't get it.

Flora said...

Good to see some love for DSH Mahjoun here! I adore that stuff.

Have you ever tried her Tamarind Paprika? It's gourmand in a different way, with tangy tamarind fruit playing against spicy-sweet paprika. for some reason this juxtaposition just says "holiday" to me, and I love it.