Thursday 12 December 2019

Scents of autumn - embracing the change in seasons

Embracing the change in seasons is tough, says Sarah Caden, but switching your signature fragrance may help

Switching your signature fragance may help
Switching your signature fragance may help

Sarah Caden

It's all too easy to get down in the dumps during this change of the seasons. Winter to spring and spring to summer are times of new beginnings, but it's hard to get excited about summer to autumn or autumn to winter. The dark and the cold seem to stretch out ahead of us, but it's all about attitude when it comes to embracing change. Every season change is a chance to make an alteration and, this week, we're encouraging an olfactory adjustment.

Scent can be mood-altering and mind-sharpening, and the fragrance we fold about ourselves can say a lot about who we are and how we want to be perceived. While in summer you want to come across as sunny and fresh and even a bit flighty, come autumn, it's more fitting to float around in a fragrance that is more serious.

You don't have to ditch the florals entirely, it's just a case of choosing them in perfumes that partner them with wood and musk and other more earthy elements. If you favour sweeter scents, there are plenty of vanilla notes around, which are girlishly sweet, but also warm and cosy. It's all about finding a fragrance that's right for you, obviously, but also one that's not in opposition to the autumn. Embrace the change.

Best Overall

Estee Lauder Modern Muse Chic, €58, Estee Lauder counters nationwide

It's utterly impossible to be objective about perfumes, and this makes it hard to recommend a scent as either delicious or dreadful. That said, it should be noted that this bottle, with its ribbon-bow cap, is an acquired taste. However, before you decide that it's too girlie for your taste, give the scent itself a chance. The base notes of two kinds of patchouli, with wood, musk, and vanilla lend weight and a certain cosiness, while the plentiful florals save it from being heavy. "Sort of lively without being light," said a panellist. "Adult, but not too serious."

Best Intense Embrace

Chanel Coco Noir Parfum, €205, Chanel counters nationwide

The black bottle says it all about this fragrance, which has been a permanent part of the Chanel collection since 2012. Now available in a tiny-but-expensive bottle of parfum, which is the purest concentration of the fragrant oils, this is a treat that you will use in tiny drops for a long time. Warmly spicy, it is supposed to evoke the Orient. "This is strong and sexy, I reckon," said one panellist. "Heady, but not headache-y. If you don't like all the modern, green-ish scents, then this is for you."

Best Soft Spritz

Shiseido Zen Moon Essence, €69, Arnotts; Debenhams; selected pharmacies nationwide

This is a pretty perfume, from its bottle to the fragrance within. A twist on the existing, seven-year-old Zen fragrance, this reinvention has ramped up the white-flower fragrances of the original - tuberose, magnolia, jasmine - with a new base warmth of patchouli and amber. "There's a lovely cleanliness to this scent," a panellist said. "It's creamy without being heavy; warm but not suffocating. It's a nicely balanced blend."

Best Purple Pleasure

Tom Ford Velvet Orchid, €94, Tom Ford counters nationwide

This is a reworking of the Black Orchid fragrance Tom Ford launched in 2006, and notes of the original are present in this new launch. In its deep-purple bottle, the clear message is that this is a luxurious and rich scent, with rose absolute, hyacinth, sandalwood and suede, among other floral and base notes. "There is a fundamentally Ford fragrance that runs through all his perfumes, and if you love it, you'll love this," a panellist said. "I like it as an after-dark scent, but a big personality could make it work by day."

Best Girlish Glow

Benefit Bathina 'just confess, you're obsessed' all over me scented body mist, €36, benefit, Sth William St, D2; Brown Thomas; Debenhams; Clerys, Arnotts; selected pharmacies

Though their packaging appeals more to the under-30s, benefit have fantastic products for everyone. When it comes to their fragrances, though, the wearer should be authentically young, rather than young at heart; Bathina is a case in point. The balm has been a best-seller for years, and this is an alcohol-free oil mist with the same sweet scent of peach, lemon, plum and white blossoms. "I love all of the benefit packaging and adore this fragrance, so it's a winner for me," said one panellist. "I can't let floral go entirely in winter, so this is an option with nice underlying warmth."

Pictured, from left, Estee Lauder Modern Muse Chic; Chanel Coco Noir Parfum; Shiseido Zen Moon Essence; Tom Ford Velvet Orchid; benefit Bathina 'just confess, you're obsessed' all over me scented body mist

Email thepanel@independent.ie

Sunday Independent

Editors Choice

Also in this section