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The long cold spring

What could be a more boring perfume observation than that I am exploring lighter, fresher fragrances for spring? But I am, and it’s surprising at least to me. I’m not really much of a light, fresh fragrance girl, though. Or at least I haven’t been for a long time.

There was a time when I wore Cool Water for Women every day. But that was a bad year and I haven’t been able to wear it since (though I smelled quite a lot of it in an elevator last week and that was more pleasant than you might think.)

But for the last few years as I’ve been obsessing, my perfumes have gotten heavier and bigger and more and more shameless. I scored a full bottle of Fendi for Women at My Favorite Thrift Shop recently, and there is no heavier hitter (though I can only wear a dab of it at a time, and I swear it almost makes my eyes water).

I’m making quite an about-face, then, when I say I really want, first and foremost, just softer, lighter florals for the spring.

Almost against my will I bought a bottle of Fleurs de Rocaille by Caron at the recent-ish Sniffapalooza event. Something about it just captured me. It is soft and lightly feminine, bolstered with a bit of vanilla, but rather like sinking into a bridesmaid’s bouquet – softer and less statement-making than the bride’s bouquet, not shy but not insistent either.

I love the way it wears down, too – softer and lighter than Plum, which I was thrilled to get my hands on. It is indeed gorgeous, elegant, and superbly crafted – but the Fleurs de Rocaille just seems to have more smiles in it, and I am sorely in need of that. Something about it says spring. The MakeupAlley reviews mention a lily of the valley note, which I’m always a sucker for, but also a slightly grassy note, and perhaps that’s what’s sucking me in for spring. I want fields I can walk in with bare toes. If I can’t find them, perhaps I can smell them. I also finally ordered a full bottle of Mary from Sweet Anthem, because I was craving its notes of black cherry and hay. But I’m very happy for now with my Fleurs de Rocaille.

I’m also, gingerly, testing out some of the Elizabeth Taylor fragrances. Like many perfumistas, I was stunned by some of the photographs that circulated after Elizabeth Taylor’s death, and stunned to learn more about her independent, strong-willed life. And White Diamonds is still to date the best-selling celebrity fragrance of all time. On the theory that millions of women probably aren’t all suffering from a mass delusion, some fumistas are testing out these previously overlooked scents – and finding them surprisingly beautiful. After a stunning review of White Diamonds at Now Smell This, I hightailed it over to TJ Maxx to look for Miss Taylor’s perfumes. I got a set that includes White Diamonds and Violet Eyes (including a mini of White Diamonds), and huge 3.4 oz bottles of both Diamonds and Emeralds and Diamonds and Rubies. (Based on reviews online these seem like the two I would be most interested in – I could have bought Diamonds and Sapphires just for completeness’ sake but didn’t feel up to the splurge for no reason. Not that another $15 or so would have made that much of a difference to the haul.)

I’ve decanted both of the latter into roll-on bottles for dab sampling. Just in the box, I can tell that a spray of these things would be pretty strong. But they are definitely all different, and I’m looking forward to trying them – carefully. Desperate for a little less weight this spring, I’ve even picked up a bottle of CB I Hate Perfume’s Just Breathe, looking for something that wouldn’t smell “perfumey” sometimes, and just wouldn’t weigh me down. But even more than water, even more than ozone, what I really want is the flowers of spring. Even in the box, White Diamonds has a beautifully soft, feminine floral scent that is what I’m thinking about this spring: gentle soft growing things.

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