Five gorgeous fumes for enjoying by the fireside.
Today is the first really cold day we've had this winter. It was glacial in our bedroom this morning, and it was straight out and into my down-filled dressing gown and mohair socks, then raking out the woodburner and getting it fired up.
Perfumes are a great comfort in winter, the olfactory equivalent of a blankie (or onesie, or slanket, wherever your taste may lie). Here are five that are perfect for the freezing weather. Curl up and enjoy with a good book and some chocolate.
* Five O'Clock Au Gingembre, Serge Lutens
With top notes of tea and bergamot, middle notes of ginger, cinnamon and wood, and base notes of cocoa, honey, amber, patchouli and pepper, where could you go wrong? The scent equivalent of the traditional pain d'epice - the more cinnamony French version of ginger cake - this fragrance is just made for afternoon tea with friends around a roaring fire, after a crisp country walk. Crack out the fruit cake and Speculoos and enjoy to the full. Five O'Clock is a quiet fragrance - spray it on your clothes if you need more of a 'hit'.
* L'Air du Désert Marocain, Andy Tauer
A bewitchingly beautiful frag that is warm and comforting for winter. The top notes are coriander, cumin and petitgrain, with rock rose and jasmine in the heart and a base of cedar, vetiver and animalic ambergris. For me, though, it's mainly those traditional churchy spices, but in a combination that feel warm and dry (rather than cold, like Incense Avignon) that makes this fragrance so appealing. The perfect thing for arming yourself before stepping out into the cold night air. Five stars from Turin, and no wonder.
* Tea for Two, Artisan Parfumeur
My introduction to the tobacco scent in fragrance, this was the only perfume I wore for about 10 years. Designed by Olivia Giacobetti, it's good enough to eat, with top notes of tea, bergamot and star anise, heart notes of cinnamon, ginger, gingerbread and spices, and base notes of honey, vanilla, leather and tobacco. Makes me think of Aran sweaters and tweed skirts, peat fires and lardy cake. Wonderful. For some idiot reason, Artisan are discontinuing production, so get it while you can.
* Parfum Sacré, Caron
My first perfume from the house of Caron, and oh how I love it. A full mixture of perfume categories, it is all at once smoky, oriental, flowery and gourmand. Notes of pepper, cardmon and coriander meet rose and white musk (not that I can smell roses at all), amber and sandalwood, but over it all lies a note of incense. A truly warm, wintery and delightful fragrance that will wrap you up like a pearl-grey cashmere sweater. Get the strongest version you can find - Caron are stingy with the concentrations of their perfumes.
* Un Crime Exotique, Parfumerie Générale
Part of Parfumerie Générale's Private Collection, Un Crime Exotique is a fantastic gourmand. With notes of gingerbread, Chinese osmanthus, tea, cinnamon, star anise, vanille, maté and sandalwood, on me it smells quite simply like the most delicious spicy apple pie in the world - all sugar pastry, cloves and cinnamon, fresh and hot out of the oven. You know that feeling when you walk into a really high-end bakery at Christmas time? This is it.