Fall-ing into Fragrances

For those lucky enough to experience the four seasons, it's a bittersweet moment when autumn beckons with one dropped red leaf on a warm August day.

As we pack our summer gear away for another year, thoughts of shorter days, woolies and boots, scarves and darker fashion shades preoccupy our morning routines but before the frigid air sets in, the colours arrive above and below, trumpeting the season's siren call.

Things seem to speed up this time of year and yet, transport our moods to introspection. A slowing of the heartbeat as we saunter down leafy trails and the brilliant changing colours of leaves which reflect on the waters below. Some, oblivious, walk purposefully:, chatting about insurance policies or relationships; others, heads buried in their smart phones as a rainbow of leaves blaze above.

Image: Marian Bendeth

My hobby as a photographer brings me back to nature; to not only capture those moments of light and colour but also to smell the earth and mosses, the vegetal decay by the river's bend; stubbled barks and running sap, sweet and resinous. Dampened mosses mixed with wildflowers peak out and textures of crunch and pebble underfoot lead the way. Looking up and around, an array of dazzling colours in 3D that swirl high above the head and leaves that whirl in gusts like confetti. Flowers, still in bloom defy the frigid temperatures that descend at night depositing millions of dew drops at dawn.

As we cloak ourselves in the new season, we also embrace those darker, mysterious scents that would be lost in the heat of July. Perfumery is the best imitation of the vibrancy and subtlety of nature's evolution. Why not choose fragrances that reflect what we see and carry autumn wherever we go.


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[chapter]Bold as Brass: leaves[/chapter]

Image: Marian Bendeth
When the leaves turn from yellow to amber, red to rusts, oranges to copper, we are taken to fragrance notes of: amber, tonka bean, saffron, and spices.

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Paloma Picasso Eau de toilette:​

Paloma Picasso
This divine chypre still has her autumn chops with notes of ylang-ylang, clover, cedarwood, patchouli, sandalwood. The addage of golden amber, castoreum and civet provide a sturdy undertow. This classic not unlike these tall brilliant amazons still survives the test of time. Earthy and polished, her colours are decidely red.

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Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Essence de Parfum

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Essence de Parfum
With red hot notes of chilli accord, (burnished) ginger, carbonic snow accord and benzoin, the latest release from Jean-Paul Gaultier shimmers around the pulse points.

[chapter]Bark and leather, resins and conifers: mixed woods & ouds[/chapter]

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When the bark is moistened by night, the day is greeted by a dark wooden growl and tempered by soft suede notes. Think sandalwood, ouds, patchouli grasses and cedars.


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Sycomore Les Exclusifs de Chanel

Chanel's Sycamore
The Sycomore tree roots are recognizable due to their Disney-like shapes. With the added notes of juniperberry, cedarwood, a dash of cypress wood and vetiver/vanilla, the blend's tenacity like it's branches, will possess great longevity on the skin.

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Dior La Collection Oud Leather

Leather Oud by Christian Dior
With birch, leather, Amyris wood and cistus labdanum, Oud Leather takes us to the heart of the forest. Add a dash of hot clove essence for spicy depth. Go even deeper with myrrh, benzoin, civet and amber to warm out the ground swell and top it off with Indonesian oud oil for a great mosey down leafy trails.

[chapter]Flowers of Fall: Flowers[/chapter]

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The warriors of autumn, certain flowers will not give up their petals or leaves until the first frost and beyond. Roses, dahlias, geraniums and chyrsanthemums all possess great endurance.

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Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Geranium Pour Monsieur Dominique Ropion

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Geranium
Recognized as the one of the great staples of an aromatic fougére, Master Perfumer, Dominique Ropion has cleverly taken the Chinese geranium and added some chilled mint and aniseed notes to lift the blend into freshness. A base note of clove, cinnamon, sandalwood and white musks lead to darker yet translucent notes of incense and styrax benzoin making this refreshingly original.

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Dahlia Divin le Nectar Givenchy

Dahlia Divin le Nectar by Givenchy
Despite the name, no Dahlia is actually used in this fragrance yet we envision a peach-coloured blend through notes of rose, sambac jasmine and powdery mimosa buoyed by tonka bean, musks and luscious vanilla. Not unlike the perfection of Dahlia petals, the fragrance rounds off beautifully on the skin.

[chapter]Gathering the leaves and thoughts: trails[/chapter]

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Walking, hiking and inhaling autumn is to renew the soul. The calmness in silence. The sounds of nature all around, one can absorb and become one for a short time, feeling humbled by the mountainous beauty at every turn.

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Timbuktu L'Artisan Parfumeur

This L'Artisan classic symbolizes all who love to hike, explore and walk the road less travelled. With notes of green mango, karo-karounde (a white-floral shrub from Africa) with blanketed base notes of incense, papyrus and myrrh, the scent maintains a freshness yet subtle greenness in it's heart. The base of patchouli, green vetiver and benzoin reminds us of trodden moist earthy notes and paths over ozonic streams. One can sniff it's namesake just around the corner.

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Galop d'Hermès

Galop d'Hermes
As smooth as suede-like copper leaves, the latest offering from Hermès is reminiscent of a bright-eyed Turkish rose with a partners of quince and Osmanthus reclining against a bed of saffron and the warmest of soft leathers and musk. An inviting carpet to guide the way.

[chapter]Reflective Moods: water reflections[/chapter]

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The sun's rays can cast many rainbow hues reflecting the light above. Their abstract shapes and hues change depending on the creeping light. As if all the ingredients in a blend can merge yet stand apart on their own merits.

The green shades are reminiscent of vetiver, grasses and leaves.

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Guerlain Vetiver Pour Homme

Vetiver by Guerlain
Still a subtle showstopper for the House of Guerlain, this wonderfully green vetiver is at once fresh with lemon, bergamot and orange and yet also reveals darker notes of spices, nutmeg, tobacco and tonka bean. A swirl of grass and freshly rubbed leaves weave an abstract of green fusion.

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Bottega Veneta Eau Sensuelle

Bottega Veneta Eau Sensuelle
The pastel hues of peach, gardenia, sambac jasmine float gently above the banks of suede, vanilla and earthy patchouli. The paths of light over dark remain consistent on the skin and teases the senses with great humour. This scent literally floats for hours on the skin carrying the delicacy on the pulse points.

[chapter]Introspection: benches and solitary places[/chapter]

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Autumn is also a time for internal thoughts, changes, daydreams and alone time. This can be also be a wonderful opportunity for rejuvenation; for great creativity and spiritualism through escapism.

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Serge Lutens Baptême du Feu

When the fiery notes of burnt mandarin peel, piercing cinnamon and the spiciest ginger notes meet castoreum, the world seems on fire. Baptême du Feu eventually simmers down to a crackling lit ember on the wrist smouldering yet evolving into a spicy metallic elixir that literally trails for hours.

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Tuxedo YSL le Vestiare des Parfums

Tuxedo YSL le Vestiare des Parfums
Although named for Yves Saint Laurent design styles, this upscale niche scent is resonant of vibrant autumn days with notes of bergamot and coriander seeds. Warm floral notes of muguet and rose oil hide slightly in the background. It's heart or hearth, a generous pit of black pepper, patchouli, ambergris and vanilla is a fall showstopper.


What are your favourite fragances for fall? Let us know in the comments
About the author
Marian Bendeth is a Global Fragrance Expert based out of Toronto, Canada. SixthSen@aol.com. Marian has won three fragrance industry editorial awards for her writing.

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