Fragrances for Spring

Spring has sprung! The days are getting longer and warmer (and, in some cases, wetter). It's time to put away those heavy winter fragrances and break out your fresh, green spring scents. In this spirit, we have compiled a list of our favorite spring fragrances. Enjoy!

PÉNG LÁI  Berdoues: Collection Grands Crus
Osmanthus is a bit of a shapeshifter: sometimes it's fruity and apricot-like while at other times it is earthy and hay-like. In Péng Lái, it's the former—a gorgeous, sparkling osmanthus composition that highlights the bright, fruity facets of this fascinating raw material. Named for the legendary land of Chinese mythology, Péng Lái is a delicately fruity osmanthus composition that smells at once vibrant and subdued. The combination of the apricot-like fruitiness of the osmanthus and the warm, resinous vanilla-like aroma of benzoin produces an interesting effect: a delicate, almost edible warmth that radiates off the skin. The tonka bean reinforces the warmth of the benzoin and augments the hay-like nuances of the osmanthus. Sparkling and effervescent, Péng Lái is the perfect choice for a spring fragrance.

Floralust strikes with such immediacy, it can be a bit disorienting at first. In a world full of uninspired, wan florals, Agonist's magnolia-centric composition reminds us just how moving a truly great floral fragrance can be. Needless to say, I am quite fond of Floralust—in fact, I have been since I first encountered the fragrance last year. In addition to being utterly gorgeous, Floralust is perfect for springtime wear. It embodies all of the hope and rebirth of springtime with its delicate green tones and sweet white floral notes and achieves the perfect balance of frivolity and gravitas.

MONSERRAT  Bruno Fazzolari
It is hard to find a challenging fruity floral fragrance. Indeed, fragrances in this family typically convey a sort of carefree elegance that seems almost antithetical to difficult or demanding structures. Monserrat is one of the few exceptions to this rule: a complex and intricately composed fruity floral that always has something new and exciting to share. Inspired by the burnished colors of classical Italian frescos, Monserrat is built around a core of delicate osmanthus and sweet jasmine. The apricot-like qualities of the osmanthus are augmented by the addition of apricot and the citrusy zing of grapefruit. So, the basic ingredients for a fruity floral fragrance are in place and had Monserrat stopped there, it would have been a fine fragrance; instead, Bruno Fazzolari added an inspired twist: the rooty, chalky, parched aroma of carrot seed and a "setting plaster" accord. These peculiar aromas offset the sweetness of the central composition and help to make Monserrat one of the best fruity floral fragrances currently on the market.

AEDES DE VENUSTAS  Aedes de Venustas
When I first encountered Aedes de Venustas' signature fragrance, I was impressed with the hyper-literal rendering of the tomato leaf and rhubarb accords. Subsequent wearings have led to a deeper appreciation for the underlying structure and its ability to transform based on the angle of observation—like one of those drawings containing both an old woman and a young lady. Sometimes it smells like digging in a garden and at other times, it smells like fir trees in the dead of winter. Over the years, perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour has become a master of modern chypres, composing around the empty spaces left by IFRA and EU regulations. Duchaufour fleshes out the greenery with earthy vetiver and an almost liturgical incense—in typical Duchaufour style, the composition is sparse and airy, leaving plenty of room for meditation and quite contemplation.

ICHNUSA  Profumum Roma
At certain concentrations, green notes can take on an almost petrol-like quality. I always enjoy fragrances that achieve this olfactory illusion if for no other reason than the fact that this particular combination of fresh-cut grass, gasoline, old wood and crushed leaves reminds me of the old toolshed where my grandfather kept his tools—along with a canister of gasoline. Ichnusa is one such fragrance. Opening with an intense burst of green notes, Ichnusa slowly opens to reveal a multifaceted tapestry of earthy notes. The fragrance hits several octaves at once, from the earthy hum of mulch and wet hay to the crisp high notes of fig leaf and myrtle.

PÉLARGONIUM  Aedes de Venustas
Aedes de Venustas Pélargonium is, at the time of writing, the newest addition to the line. Composed by Nathalie Feisthauer, Pélargonium is an ode to its namesake, Pelargonium graveolens: a specific cultivar of geranium with a unique rosy aroma. Unlike most flowers, the source of geranium oil is not the blossoms but rather the leaves of the plant. Feisthauer deftly accents the central geranium note, which she describes as “aromatic, with a crushed-leaf facet, less fruity and more balsamic than rose, almost incense-like," with cool, silvery orris and aromatic cedar. The earthy facets of the material are augmented by the addition of Haitian vetiver and oakmoss while the lemony-peppery facets of elemi enhance the fresh and balsamic facets of the geranium. The resulting composition is a tour-de-force of aromatic woods, suffused with the citrusy zing of bergamot—a perfect choice for springtime in the Pacific Northwest.

L'EAU  Tauer
Andy Tauer is not a fan of convention. A few years ago, when he first delved into fresh fragrances with Cologne du Maghreb, he put his own spin on the classic cologne structure. His most recent release, L'Eau is no different. This time around, we find Tauer approaching fresh fragrances from a different angle. Inspired by a blooming lemon tree on his estate, L'Eau is an attempt to translate fresh citrus notes into an eau de parfum. The result is both delicate and beautiful: a shimmering floral with citrus accents. The central theme is, of course, lemon blossom, a seldom-used material that is lighter and tangier than orange blossom with an odor profile close to neroli. A cool, rooty orris provides body, while a musky woody base rounds out the composition. The resulting fragrance is fresh and citrusy—it delicately shimmers in the light and suffuses the wearer in a gauzy, musky-floral haze.