It rarely feels like spring when spring officially arrives. So every year, there's a day when I walk out the door and sense it: The air smells different. The light looks different, with a warmer, golden quality instead of winter's cool blue light. That's when I get spring fever, and that's when I pull out some of my favorite springtime scents.
The first Imaginary Authors scent I ever smelled was The Soft Lawn, and it ignited my love for the line. It was also my introduction to independent perfumery that seemed to chart its own course rather than try to follow the centuries-old footsteps of French gentlemen.
The Soft Lawn is constructed around a backstory that takes place on a bed of green grass under a linden tree, and its notes of fresh tennis ball and clay court are a nod to the protagonist's favorite sport. And no, you won't walk around smelling like a freshly popped-open canister of Penns; the novelty notes are like a little secret between the perfumer and you. While most IA fans fall for the darker, richer scents in the line (as do I), check out this deeper cut. It shows perfumer Josh Meyer's range. Try a sample.
Children of the '80s may remember those Cherry 7Up commercials where everything is in black and white except the flashes of pink. One starred Matt LeBlanc as the boy in a peak '80s pink T-shirt flirting with a girl in peak '80s Guess overalls. I mention this because, first, how cute was Matt LeBlanc back then? And second, because Cherry Musk reminds me of that color and that time. It's a sheer, pink wash of color, utterly charming and clear-eyed. But it's also grown up and nothing like the loud, in-your-face scents of the '80s.
I admit that part of my fascination with Cherry Musk is due to its name. It sounds like a mall bath-and-body spritzer. But the rest of my fascination is owed to the fact that it smells nothing like that preconception. It's the ultimate don't-judge-a-book-by-its-name corollary to the perfume world. Cherry Musk is a sophisticated, sheer, jammy, dew-kissed rose that lasts and lasts. Read more about this fun scent in our Cherry Musk: How to Smell guide. Try a sample.
Freesia blooms in early spring, and I always grab a bunch of purple freesia at the florist when I see it. Freesia has a light, fresh sweetness that is never cloying, and a zest that smells of freshly cut grass. Got that? Now grind some fresh black peppercorns about 50 feet upwind and add that to whatever you're imagining, and you're getting close to the unique scent of freesia. Unlike gardenia or jasmine, freesia doesn't have a big, showy scent. But it is assertive. You'll never confuse it for another flower.
And that's the magic of Soliflore Freesia by Dame Perfumery. A soliflore is a perfume that is meant to smell exactly like a single flower, and this one nails it. It's perfection. Try a sample.
The other day, my 6-year-old daughter was walking by the open door of our Chicago home when she stopped in her tracks. "Mom," she said with her eyes closed. "Do you have any idea how much it smells like spring today?" I did. The air smelled of wet soil, of blooming things.
One of the ways to capture that scent in perfume is with vetiver, a quintessential springtime base note. It comes from the roots of a grass native to India, and it has an earthy, woody smell. Add just the right floral notes on top, and you have a springtime vignette. In Spring by Dasein, we get the earliest signs of spring: green buds pushing up through wet, black-brown earth. It's full of life, and it always makes me reflective. Try a sample.
If you're new to niche perfume, you've probably never smelled a fig perfume -- and you probably have no idea what you're missing. Fig is a note that niche perfumers love to play with, and they do it with marvelously different results. Some figs are gourmand, some are fruity, some are green, some are woody. Figue by Molinard packs all four aspects into one lovely springtime scene. It's the most accessible -- and possibly the most beautiful -- fig I've smelled.
Fig is a note that niche perfumers love to play with, and they do it with marvelously different results. Some figs are gourmand, some are fruity, some are green, some are woody. Figue by Molinard packs all four aspects into one lovely springtime scene. It's the most accessible -- and possibly the most beautiful -- fig I've smelled. And the fact that you can get 100 ml for $65 pushes it into too-good-to-be-true territory. (But it's true.) Try a sample.
Happy smelling! What are you favorite springtime scents?