You notice in this current freeze that cold certainly does have its own scent.
The sense of smell being essentially a survival tool, it makes sense that we should be olfactorily aware of potential lethal weather, picking up an impending hard frost or the imminence of snow: and a hard,dry,cruel scent it is too which sends us flying for comfort to the perfume cabinet.
And here we encounter a conundrum. There are thousands of fragrances which rely on the evocation of spring and summer, even autumn; and do so by an elaborate arrangement of natural accords generated by the seasons: floral, arboreal, a sea breeze, a hay field, a golden orchard. But a wintry fragrance has to cheat rather, tending to rely on the smell of things which protect against the cold rather than those that thrive on it: leather, fire, scented woods, fur, cognac and rich creamy gourmand insulators.
Creed did try their hand at a deliberately cold winter scent: their now deleted eau de toilette Acier Aluminium which took its inspiration from steel girders, frozen with frost and ice, an effect brought off with bergamot and concentrated orange blossom notes. But even this warmed into an intensely animalic base, it rather lost its nerve. Then there is Villoresi‘s Teint de Neige which always reminds me of the opening lines of Snow White: the image of a beautiful woman sitting at a lace and crystal dressing table, looking through her window at a world of snow. The red winter sun casts shadowy lights of rose, lilac and silver on the snowflakes and on her petally powdery skin……an exquisite perfume, but essentially the scent of feathery sweet warmth of flowers and vanilla: the colour of snow, but not the odour.
But go into the garden even now and thrusting through the frozen soil and iron frosts you can see snow drops, Christmas roses, crocus and the green shoots of daffodils, even early tulips.
The earth, contrary to all likelihood is far from dead: you can almost hear a low chthonic vibrato from deep below, a stirring of growth, and it is precisely this miracle which Frederic Malle and Jean Claude Ellena celebrate in Angeliques Sous La Pluie.
This transparent eau de toilette celebrates exactly this moment of the year, the very first murmurings of spring protesting against winter cold. This is the fragrance of a February day when for a few hours the sun banishes the frosts; a wet morning in early March when you step outside to inhale the scent of earth, germination and growth. Delicately green, barely peppery, allusively floral, Angeliques is an exquisite and unique fantasy of late winter seasonal magic: a perfume of hope, promise and renewal.
Image from Sun-Sentinel.com