There are few things that I love more than when the air turns crisper, sweaters come out of the closet and the cool winds of fall start blowing.
The smell of weather turning is one of the simplest joys of nature, and signals my favourite time for my simplest commercial pleasure: rotating my fragrance collection.
I put away my more shallow but lovely scents: summer fragrances that feel like a splash of cool water, the eau de colognes and anything heavy on citrus.
I dust off my vanity tray—the mirrored should-be staple of any woman’s bedroom—and start arranging my cool weather favourites.
Fall screams for vanillas and patchoulis. Anything tobacco, and anything that can be accentuated by the smell of wet earth as layers of leaves get trampled underfoot, like a seasonal grind with mortar and pestle.
When it comes to fall my mind immediately turns to Hermes, l’Ambre des Merveilles. The flanker from the fabulous Eau des Merveilles line carries the salty undertones of the original, but with a creamy patchouli base that is meant for cooler weather. I can’t even imagine wearing it on a hot day.
The original is suitable for all seasons but lacks the warmth, that makes someone want to move in a little closer, of l’Ambre.
Chewy labdanum adds resinous sensuality—that’s almost a little uncomfortable—to the composition, making it more complex on the nose. Maybe that’s what quells the huge amber base from turning to play doh, something that can happen with certain ambers.
The amber in l’Ambre des Merveilles is much more sensual, but mature as it dries down with the smallest hint of powder. I imagine a piece of old, sun-dried resin that’s been pulverized to dust.
The vanilla is not the star, nor even a supporting player, but the chorus. I never notice it, frankly.
But whenever I wear my golden l’Ambre des Merveilles, I get compliments from anyone who gets close enough to smell me. Be careful, though! The sillage and lasting power are big on this one, so spray lightly.
By Sara King-Abadi, journalist
Photo credit: Sara King-Abadi