Today’s post on comfort scents is a group topic addressed on 14 perfume blogs and I’m happy to be included. Natural perfumer Ayala Sender of Ayala Moriel Parfums and Smelly Blog organized the group project. Thanks, Ayala, for organizing this topic — I look forward to reading other people’s responses!
Most people define a comfort scent as something that is easy to wear and that soothes the senses like a soft, comforting wrap. Many scents nominated for this title are a bit on the sweet side and are vanilla based. Comfort scents mean different things to different people though, and I’ll share some scents that are comforting to me but are a bit out of the ordinary for the comfort scent category.
Because I rarely have skin time to wear scents other than my own that I am testing and developing, I enjoy the occasional chance to wear an old favorite just for fun. I’ll focus here on scents outside of my own line since it’s a treat to wear other things in between my testing. My first requirement for a comfort scent is one that I can count on to smell good to me rather than one that is variable on my skin.
I don’t wear many scents that are vanilla-rich or gourmand, but two that are in the vanilla category for me and that I find comforting in winter are POTL’s Luctor et Emergo and Patricia de Nicolai’s Sacrebleu. Both are sweet and luscious, but both have other things to make them much more than vanilla scents. POTL has interesting grassy/hay, woods, and incense notes along with the delicious almond vanilla, and it hits the spot sometimes on a cool winter evening. Sacrebleu has beautiful floral notes with spices and yummy fruity notes. Both are a bit too sweet for me to wear often, but I savor them when I do get them out.
For me, rose is a main comfort note. Rose notes soothe me more than vanilla notes, so for comfort I often reach for something rosy. In spring and summer, Creed’s Fleur de The Rose Bulgare is a comfort scent because it is a happy rose soliflore that I can count on to put a smile on my face. In winter, Guerlain’s Nahema or Annick Goutal’s Rose Absolue are standbys to give me my rose comfort. I find natural rose absolute to be a wonderful, uplifting, comforting scent.
Another category of comfort scent for me are scents that I can reach for when I want something that feels like me and always works. Chanel 22 and Parfum Sacre fit that bill. I’ve only worn it a handful of times so far, but I think the new Francis Kurkdjian Lumière Noire pour femme might be added to that list because it feels so comfortable to me and has the rose note that always hits the spot for me.
In the heat, comfort scents for most of us tend to be green or citrusy for their cooling effects. Hermes Rose Ikebana works for me, as do Chanel 19 and several vetiver scents. I’d love to find some other refreshing scent favorites for summer, or create one. Although I love these scents and they feel good in summer, I wouldn’t classify them as high on my comfort scent list as the others I’ve listed.
Sandalwood is another note that, like rose, is especially soothing to me. I find combinations of frankincense, sandalwood, and labdanum to be comforting, and that feeling has been reinforced the last few months as I’ve worked on my new incense blend. This fragrance is a comfort scent for me. (You might want to stop by the blog next week because I hope to have a drawing for free samples of this new incense scent.) The new incense still awaits a final name decision, but I think it is narrowed down to Encens Rêverie or Incense Pure — the former seems prettier but either would fit. I’m not sure if the syntax is right on the reverie name so I need to check that.
Ayala Sender has a scent called Espionage that makes a great comfort scent — it’s soft and close to the skin, just sweet enough to be comforting but not at all a sweet scent, with very pretty but subtle floral notes, a musk/vanilla/woods base, and a touch of leather. However, her Palas Atena is my favorite comfort scent choice from her line because I find the exotic blend of woods, florals, and spices to be soothing as well as interesting. (Her Razala is another beautiful exotic favorite of mine.)
For non-perfume sources of comfort, the garden and the natural environment always soothe me. The hills and oaks work their magic on me and I’m lucky they are a part of my daily life. Family, friends, and pets of course offer comfort, both to share the good things in life and to know they are there when you need some support.
As winter ends and spring emerges, comfort scents will change, but it’s fun to reflect back on the scents that helped get us through another winter. What are your comfort scents and notes? Do some people have other notes besides vanilla that bring comfort, as rose, sandalwood, and incense do for me?
You can visit all the blogs participating in this group post:
Roxana’s Illuminated Journal http://journal.illuminatedperfume.com/
BitterGrace Notes http://bittergracenotes.blogspot.com/
Perfume Shrine http://www.perfumeshrine.com/
Notes from the Ledge http://scelfleah.blogspot.com/
Scent Hive http://www.scenthive.com/
The Non Blonde http://thenonblonde.blogspot.com/
Perfume in Progress http://sonomascent.wordpress.com/
Katie Puckrik Smells http://www.katiepuckriksmells.com/
A Rose Beyond the Thames http://arosebeyondthethames.blogspot.com/
I Smell Therefore I Am http://ismellthereforeiam.blogspot.com/
All I Am A Redhead http://alliam-aredhead.blogspot.com/
Savvy Thinker http://savvythinker.com/
Edited to add: Although I used the blog title Comfort Scents, the title most bloggers used for this group post was Comforting Scents for Uncomfortable Times. Ayala suggested that all of us add the following note to acknowledge where that title originated.
“This article’s title is an homage to Michelyn Camen’s original article of this same name on Sniffapalooza Magazine in 2008, in which she interviewed several perfumers to comment on what botanical elements make their perfumes comforting.”
“Michelyn Camen is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of www.cafleurebon.com and the Editor-at- Large for www.Fashiontribes.com. She was formerly an Editor for Fragrantica, the Fragrance Editor for Uptown Social, a Senior Contributor for Sniffapalooza Magazine, the New in Niche Columnist for Basenotes, the Managing Director for BeautynewsNYC and the former publicist for www.luckyscent.com and Scent Bar, Los Angeles. She has been awarded Brandweek Magazine Marketer of the Year, Ad Age Magazine 100 and is a two time recipient of License Magazine’s 40 under 40 and recipient. She slipped off her corporate power suit to pursue her passion for fragrance.”