Friday, January 27, 2012

Our Winter 2012 Top Favorites (and more): A Joint Blogging Project

This is my first winter in the southeast and goodness gracious it’s a mild one.  Not a flake of snow, hardly any rain, and most days are in the 60s.  I noticed a magnolia tree in my neighbor’s yard starting to bloom a few days ago.  I know the weather isn’t usually so warm but after the record breaking hot & humid summer we deserve a nice winter.

Even though true winter temperatures elude me, I have pulled out all my usual faves the past few months anyway (hey, it’s in the 50s & 60s which sometimes feels sort of chilly lately!).  My winter scents are all about spices, woods, patchouli, amber and near-gourmands.  A big favorite the past month has been Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant, which I only recently fell in love with after years of not getting it.  I certainly get  Jungle L’Elephant now and now that we're BFFs I'll never be without it.  After a post from The Non Blonde about a wonderful tea company called Harney & Sons, I have been pairing Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant with a seriously good tea, Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice.  This tea is life-changing.  I've actually mailed tea bags to various friends and family so they could experience the deliciousness of Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice.

I’m in a book club now so we vote each month on what we’ll read.  This month its Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and I’m still slogging through this hefty volume.  It’s OK.  The best book I’ve read in the past few months was The Sister’s Brothers by Patrick deWitt.  I have a Kindle now so it seems I can’t get through books fast enough.  There are so many I want to read and I can acquire them so quickly.  I do sometimes miss the feel and experience of real books, though.  So I pepper my book buying between purchasing real books and Kindle books.  
The after-Christmas sale at Bath & Body Works saw me buying a year’s supply of my favorite wallflowers in Sensual Amber.  This scent is really nice for the bedroom.  It smells like amber should; not foodie but almost an ambergris-amber.  I’m also still enjoying B&BWs Fresh Balsam candles (I should be still be enjoying them since I bought 12).  Fresh Balsam is an invigorating scent with excellent throw.  It does smell like Christmas but it also simply smells of a pine forest which works for me all through the winter months.

Previously a fan of Chobani and Siggi’s greek yogurt I’ve now converted to Trader Joe’s Vanilla Bean Nonfat Greek yogurt.  There are actual flecks of vanilla bean in this stuff.  It’s delicious.

Other fragrances I’ve been enjoying the past month or so are two entries from Parfums Divine: L’Inspiratrice and L’ame Soeur.  L’ame Soeur has recently been reformulated.  This latest, updated version of L’ame Soeur is less aldehydic than the original.  At first I wasn’t sure I liked it as much but now I’m gaga for it.  It’s rosier, brighter and more floral.  It’s still aldehydic and very close to the original but you can sniff the differences side-by-side.

I’ve also been enjoy the original FlowerbyKenzo.  I think folks about 10 years younger than me have always known about Kenzo Flower.  Somehow I wasn’t aware of it when it launched, or I vaguely remember trying it and not smelling much.  Lately I find it to be an easy-going powdery violet floral.  I’m surprised it doesn’t come up more often when people are looking for a nice violet entry.   It’s definitely not all about violet, but the overall feel is parma violets to me.
 For fans of SNL-type comedy you must watch Portlandia.  

Unlike last year, I haven’t enjoyed most of the films nominated for an Oscar.  I saw The Descendants last week and thought it was good; some great characters but nothing amazing.  The IMDb summary could be: rich white folks living in paradise still have some issues.

I’m going through a sun-dried tomato phase.  I buy the little dried bags at Trader Joe’s (no oil, just a bag of loose sun-dried tomatoes) and add them to everything.  You’d be surprised how sweet tomatoes can be.

Two fragrances I know I like but haven’t fallen head over heels for yet:  Mary Greenwell’s Plum and Tommi Sooni Tarantella.  Both are wonderfully classic and well-crafted offerings in a sea of mediocrity and while I like wearing them I’m just not getting verklempt about them (yet).  I would still highly recommend both to those who enjoy floral diet-chypres (Plum) and spicy, green chypres (Tarantella). 

Other favorite fragrances I've been wearing (and I feel like a broken record with these!) are Teo Cabanel Alahine, Canturi eau de parfum, Love, Chloe Eau Intense, Jo Malone Vanille & Anise and M. Micallef Gaiac.

Special Thanks to Elena of PerfumeShrine for organizing this joint project!  
Other participating blogs are as follows:

So, what's new with you dear reader?  What are you enjoying in perfume and many other arenas this winter? Do tell..... :)


mals86 said...

I like Diet Chypres (snort! that's perfect) and love white florals, which probably goes a very long way to explaining why I love Mary Greenwell Plum so much.

Alahine remains a winter staple for me. So is Shalimar Light. And oddly, given my Complete Fear and Loathing for Opium, I really liked Jungle L'Elephant. It hasn't been nearly cold enough here this winter for me to wear it.

I need a book club. I don't think there is one in my area... (philistines! we probably have Nascar clubs.)

I am TOTALLY DIGGING the current "retro" trend in indie perfumery. DSH, SSS, and Tauer have been putting out these vintage-inspired scents over the past year - and I suppose MG Plum is something in that line, though it isn't a chypre proper - and I just love it.

Elisa said...

A less aldehydic L'Ame Soeur sounds great, actually. The original was just a bit too aldehydic for me in the first 30 minutes or so.

I came into so many new samples over the past few months (thanks in part to you! and a few other perfume fairy godmothers) I've hardly had a chance to wear something more than two or three times. But I've been consistently into smoky scents like Tea for Two, Ambre Fetiche and Cuir Mauresque, and gingery, benzoin-y or woody orientals like 5 O'Clock au Gingembre, Canturi, and the MM Gaiac.

I also crave something rosy almost every single day am thinking I need at least a purse spray of Nostalgie.

Abigail said...

WELL, I am living in Nascar-Land now and I easily found a book club. Go to and I'm sure you can find one in your area. I'm really enjoying it. You'll meet some great new people.

Glad to hear you love Kenzo JL'E! I'm a little surprised, but pleased.

re: digging the retro trend: ME TOO :)

I will send you some of the new L'ame Soeur. I think it's really purdy.
Glad to see AG Ambre Fetiche and Micallef Gaiac on your list of new loves.
L'ame Soeur will fill your rosy craving. But if you like really rosy-rose have you tried AG Rose Absolue or Rose Splendide? The Splendide is really green. Hopefully not catpiss green for you (!) because I love it.

Elisa said...

I tried Rose Absolue in Sak's once and found it lovely and fresh, though I have Tea Rose if I ever want that kind of straight up rose soliflore. The odd thing is, rose is up there in my favorite 2 or 3 things to smell, but I don't own enough FBs of the roses I love. I must have 10 orientals for every rose. My go-to's are Rossy de Palma and Vintage Rose. Geranium also fits the bill, pretty much as well as rose.

Speaking of geranium, I tried Strip yesterday, by the way! I got so much menthol in the top notes, it reminded me of some kind of medicated lotion my grandmother used to use ... beautiful drydown though!

Abigail said...

Hey E,
I think that menthol start IS the geranium. Or at least that's how I think of the it's geranium top.
Strip is really morphy. Sometimes it's a patchy-powder like Coromandel other times its an amber oriental. I have 1/2 bottle left and am becoming obsessive over it (strokes bottle and whispers "my preciousssss")

Do you like Lancome Mille et Une Roses? I love this one. It isn't sharp at all. Soft, sweet, almost boring rose. But it's one of my faves.

Elisa said...

I think it's geranium + a very camphor-heavy patchouli that triggers the association -- not a bad smell, but reminds me so much of this one kind of lotion that the effect feels cheap at first. Unfortunate, since I normally love patchouli and geranium! I may learn to love it though. The base is great. I'll keep trying.

Never tried Mille et Une Roses. Sometimes I see adorable coffrets of those older Lancomes but it never includes the rose one.

Katie Puckrik said...

Loved taking a little stroll through your head and finding out what's making you drool, Abigail. Also enjoying the rose talk in the comments, ladies.

Ines said...

Ok, now I need to check this tea company and their cinammon spice tea. If it has cinammon, I want it (whatever that happens to be). :)

Btw, I find it really strange that there are no sun-dried tomatoes to be had in Croatia considering the fact that over the summer, it's teeming with tomatoes here (of the right kind).
I only tried them once in Ireland and loved them.

Now I'm on a quest to locate some here however I can (someone somewhere must have them).

Perfumeshrine said...

Great list and now you have been wondering about that tea with cinnamon as well! (love spicy things)
We have a local brand of crocus/saffron infused tea with cinnamon & spice, maybe I should send you some.

As to fragrances, LOVE L'Ame Soeur (to be reviewed) and Tarantella (which I reviewed recently), they're so old-school great but still modern all around.
Kenzo Flower is a best-seller for a reason (it's lovely to catch it on someone else too, it wafts deliciously) and L'Elephant an inexplicable flop; you'd think such a rich, opulently satisfying, spicy thing would have even those tentaively interested in perfumes going gaga over it, but it wasn't meant to be. It's a mini cult though! Wise of you to stock up.

Interesting recs on the books, will take a look.

Perfumeshrine said...

And I forgot to say I would be ever so willing to give Plum by Mary Greenwell a try, but they keep spamming my blog with inane comments all the time and have effectually driven me off! [read this, MG online management employees?]

Abigail said...

I'm more than happy to send you some Harney & Sons Cinnamon Spice -- please send me a DM with your address. I'm happy to share the love!

I think these sort of rambling "best of" projects are among my favorite type. I also enjoy reading what's going on with other bloggers. :)

That's really sucky to hear about MG! That might turn you off to the perfume entirely. The offer stands for you as well ~ please email me and I'd be happy to send you some H&S Cinnamon Spice tea. It is so spicy good :)

kathleen said...

Laughing because I knew this was your post before I saw your name at the bottom. I agreed with everything you wrote,lol.

Natalie said...

I am just now getting to the winter favorites posts, and so enjoying them! I like comparing everyone's choices du jour. I'm afraid I'm in a bit of a rut at the moment. I've been on a dead run at work and now I've caught a cold. I'm going through the routine of wearing perfume and even testing new things, but I'm not really feeling it. I think I'm going to take a break this week from wearing anything that I'm not truly craving. Which means I'll probably be in lots of heavy gourmands, as those are about all I can smell at the moment!

Annnyway! I'm sorry to go on about me in the comments. Loved this post, and thanks for the tips on the Harney & Sons cinammon tea is what I meant to say! :)

Whoopdedeaux said...

I'm new here and new to perfumes as an addiction, but I'm willing and able to take on a new vice.

I've just gotten my toes wet by placing a first order with several fascinating samples and small decants to try, but the true treasure for me is Amouage Lyric.

I have a tiny vial that I've been having an affair with and it's almost gone, so I'm eager for the CARE package to arrive with reinforcements!

Abigail said...

Hi Natalie,
We all have ruts from time to time. Last summer was a complete wash for me from June -- September. I would suggest wearing NOTHING at all and then you'll find yourself craving things...eventually...which will get you back in the spirit of it all :)