The Handbook: How to Pick a Fragrance for Every Season

fragrance perfume glossary of therms

Choosing the right perfume for you, that personal scent that will distinguish you from the others and make you feel special and unique is not a simple job. Except for your personal taste, of course, there are several other things to consider, as well when choosing a perfume. Season is one of them. You probably know that temperature has a big impact on the way a perfume is perceived. Hot weather, for example, intensifies the fragrance notes, while cold weather makes it more difficult for them to evaporate. This makes it very important for you to make the right decision when choosing a perfume to wear in the different seasons.

Each season has its own feelings and emotions, and with them go different scents. While springtime is a time of rebirth, with flower blossoms and warming light, the summer season is warm and filled with flowers and green plants. Fall is more saturated, with deeper colors and scents of musk and patchouli. Winter’s cold whiteness is reflected in scents of citrus, vanilla and spice. If you want to truly impress people around you, you should carefully choose your scents according to the season you are wearing them in. If you have a separate personally favorite perfume for each season, you’ll show both class and a sense of detail that will surely not go unnoticed. Here are some helpful tips for choosing a fragrance for each of the four seasons:

  • Not all perfume that smells good on a test strip will smell that way on your body. Before making a purchase, start with testing the fragrance. The first scent you smell is the top note. This scent is the strongest and will fade the quickest. The mid note follows the top note about 10-20 minutes after applying, and then fades into the base note. The base note is the scent that stays on you the longest. It usually appears about 30 minutes after application, and can last up to 24 hours. This scent is what you should be basing your purchase on, as it will be what the fragrance smells like a majority of the time.
  • You will know if a perfume works well with your body chemistry by how long the scent sticks with you. If it doesn't seem to last, it probably isn't the best scent for your chemistry. If a fragrance works well with your chemistry, it should smell nice through all of its stages.
  • A typical rule of thumb for selecting perfumes is to consider the time of year you'll be wearing them. Lighter scents work best in warmer months, while heavier scents work best in colder months. Here are the best scents to compliment the 4 seasons:

Spring 

Fragrance family: Greens

Spring is all about freshness, innocence, happiness, and blooms. It is a time when temperatures rise and the degree of your good mood rises as well with them. Enhance this feeling with the right fragrance! The perfume notes that go best with spring are crisp, light, and fresh – like mint, basil, orange blossom, etc. 

Spring is a time of new beginnings, with the ground beginning to warm, and flower blossoms and tree buds beginning to form. Suddenly, the earth is green again, and colors begin to appear in outdoor gardens. For springtime, choose a fragrance that reflects this new awakening and feelings of joy, such as those that include notes of lily of the valley, peonies and violets.

Here are our picks for spring:  Currently being updated
 

Summer 

Fragrance family: Floral

Summer is the season of ripe fruits, vacations, and hot weather. It is a time we all think about the sea and the long hot summer nights out. Choose fresher and cooler fragrances to get the best contrast with the hot weather. Summer perfumes should also be applied lightly as their scent is much stronger due to the high temperatures. Famous summer notes are bergamot, rose, jasmine, mimosa, orange blossoms, etc.

During the long, warm days of summer, many people find themselves spending more time outdoors, celebrating holidays or just spending time with family. Choose a summer fragrance that mimics the happy, sweet, and sexy feelings of the summertime. Scents that contain sweet summer florals, such as roses and orange blossoms, mixed with fresh fruit scents like raspberry and peach can be a delightful summer fragrance. In addition, a tropical fragrance with notes of honeysuckle, island flowers, and sea salt can also be a pleasant reminder of sun-soaked days spent on the beach or vacation.

Here are our picks for summer:  

Autumn

Fragrance family: Wood

With fall come the cooler temperatures and we finally have some time to take a rest from all the summer’s hustle and bustle. It brings with it the tranquility we need to prepare for the colder weather and the great holidays that are ahead of us. Just like fall is the season that’s best for an unpretentious walk in the park where you can enjoy the falling leaves, it is wood notes that make the best fragrance companion both for men and for women in this season. The notes that go best with our fall mood are warm and musky, like patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood, amber, oakmoss, etc. 

As the leaves begin to change colors and fall from the trees, the landscape turns deeper and more saturated with colors of deep reds, oranges, and browns. Fall is the time for deep, saturated and seductive fragrances, such as those containing spicy and musky notes. Look for a fragrance that contains hints of sandalwood, musk, amber, and jasmine.

Here are our picks for autumn:

Winter

Fragrance family: Oriental

Citrus and other fruity scents reflect the winter season and the holidays it brings, such as Christmas and Passover. Select a fragrance that is reminiscent of these holiday scents, such as pomegranate and vanilla bean, lemon, or orange. Spicy scents can be overpowering during the warm months but bring a warmth to the crisp winter air. Try a scent with notes of spicy cinnamon or cardamom.

Winter is that time of the year that you either love or hate. No matter which type you are, you should know that winter is perfumes’ most favorite season. Why? Because the cold temperatures give all those delicate and sophisticated notes the necessary time they need in order to fully express themselves. The lack of colors and activities, on the other hand, let fragrances get the place they deserve as your olfaction is not distracted by the outside smells and can be concentrated on the fabulous exotic oriental scents that are both strong and warm. The best winter perfume notes are vanilla, cinnamon, incense, amber, spices, etc.

Here are our picks for winter:  Currently being updated
 

Are you a rule breaker? How to choose a scent for all seasons

It is sort of hammered into us. Light fragrances in summer, and heavy eaux de parfum comprised of leather, amber and oud in winter. It is like some sort of fragrance prescription. And while there is a degree to which physics plays a part in that equation – odour molecules do indeed travel with greater ease in summer – it isn’t the end of the matter. The rules of fragrance are there to be broken these days. To help you see scent sense, we have put together a guide to the trending new rules of fragrance:

  • Get personal - It might seem airy-fairy, but to get the most out of your perfume, think about it like you would think about the cut of a jacket. Dare we say it, look for meaning. Even if that involves superimposing your own story onto someone else’s creation. This will ensure you aren’t unduly prey to the changing tide of persuasive marketing. The world does not need more men wearing generic aromatic woody concoctions.
  • Learn to layer -The idea of layering opens up a world of possibilities for all seasons. That is, of course, provided you know your gourmand from your fougère and you don’t get too trigger-happy with the atomiser.
  • Forget about seasonality - One rule of thumb, though, is to go for quality rather than quantity. To that end, consider a spray or two of the high-impact patchouli and vanilla that is Frédéric Malle’s Musc Ravageur or Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s fabulous selection of ouds. You won’t regret it.
  • Scent requires more than smelling - Perfumers add synthetics to fragrances to create stability, projection and, above all, texture. It is the use of these synthetics juxtaposed with natural (or near-natural) ingredients that can make a scent “powdery”, “chalky”, “metallic” or even “smoky”. Some people even pick up textiles such as satin – as in Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Oud Satin Mood – or cashmere. And it is the prevalence of a particular texture that can make a fragrance suitable for the entire year. Fans of cult classic Escentric 01 by Escentric Molecules are drawn to the velvety sensation it creates more than any perceptible smell. So, next time you choose a perfume, give it more than a random sniff – you won’t regret it.

 

 

Sources: Fragrances of the WorldThe Fragrance Foundation, Luca Turin, The Secret of Scent, Richard Stamelman, Perfume – Joy, Obsession, Scandal, Sin.

 

<< Back to Perfume Handbook