Dionne’s Spring + Fall Top 5’s


Post by Dionne


Greetings, fellow ‘fumies,
Portia wrote a post a little while ago (Portia’s 2013 Spring Top 10) listing her top ten for spring/fall, and I was intrigued to learn that she reaches for the same fragrances for both seasons, since they have warm days and cool nights in common. My own list for the two seasons is not similar at all, so instead you’re going to get a shorter list for each season.

Dionne’s Spring + Fall Top 5’s

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Ahhh, my favorite season! Maybe that’s because it’s so welcome after six months of winter, and since it’s such a short, ephemeral thing that lasts only a month I always feel a combination of hope and wistfulness. Spring is when I reach for my light florals, and that in itself is a special event. Most higher-pitched florals don’t play well with my skin, so this list represents perseverance and many, MANY samples.

Après l’Ondée by Guerlain

This is the pre-2011 formulation, when heliotrope still sang alongside the iris and violet. So gorgeous that if I was forced to choose only one Spring fragrance, this would be it.

Mimosa pour Moi by L’Artisan Parfumeur

I did a major sampling of the mimosa note, and out of about 14 contenders, this was my favorite. And oh, such a tender thing. Fuzzy yellow pom-poms in a bottle.

Heure Exquise by Annick Goutal

The prettiest of my green quartet, this floral green pulls off the trick of freshness and elegance at the same time. The highest praise my Scottish father-in-law would bestow on something was the phrase, “Oh, that’s just lovely,” and that’s what this is.

Le Temps d’une Fete by Parfums de Nicolai

Supposed to be a green floral, on my skin the green doesn’t really show up because narcissus and hyacinth in all their lush glory has completely taken over the conversation. Heady stuff and just a hint of naughty.

After My Own Heart by INeke

I adore the scent of lilacs so it’s no surprise my very first bottle after falling down the rabbit hole was After My Own Heart. I must respectfully disagree with Coco Chanel – sometimes I DO want to smell like a flower. And after comparing AMOH with the lilac bush outside my window…. oh yeah, I definitely do.

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FALL (Autumn)

It’s harder for me to choose specific Fall fragrances because I usually wear the same ones this season that I do in Winter, with one exception. My favorite perfumes are the spicier, warmer fragrances, and after a few months of fresh, floral, green or fruity options, I’m ready to give all my snugglies a go again.

Jour Ensolleilé by Sonoma Scent Studio

This is THE fall fragrance for me. Laurie Erickson combines orange blossom with tuberose and jasmine in a way that’s golden, and it’s the perfect match for the rich sunshine filtering through the trees.

Tilda Swinton Like this by Etat Libre d’Orange

Ginger, pumpkin, maple syrup and all things orange, this is the way celebuscents should be made.

Kyoto by Comme des Garcons

It turns out that incense + green tea + vetiver = a Zen state of mind. Calming and reflective.

Traversée du Bosphore by L’Artisan Parfumeur

At first smell, it’s sweet Turkish delight, but give it a whirl and you discover there’s some intelligence under the hood as well as the leather, saffron and tobacco come to the fore. It’s the Dolly Parton of gourmand fragrances.

Ormonde Woman by Ormonde Jayne

OK, now I’m really cheating, because this isn’t a Fall fragrance by any stretch; it’s my signature , my Holy Grail. It’s just that the Lady gets worn less in the summertime and I’ve missed her. Dark green forests wrapped in amber, a one of a kind.

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SurrenderToChance has samples and decants of all of these beauties if you’d like to try any of them. Samples start from as little as $3/ml and they are a great way to test a fragrance.

So, what are your top five? Do you reach for the same thing in Spring and Autumn like Portia, or do you mix it up like me?

37 thoughts on “Dionne’s Spring + Fall Top 5’s

    • Thanks, Brie! I’m always interested to hear other people’s lists myself. I understand you’re a big fan of Laurie’s work as well.


  1. I love lists and I really enjoyued reading your Top 5s, Dionne.

    Kyoto and Ormonde Woman would be on my Fall list too. Probably along with Cuir de Lancome, Equistrius and Vol de Nuit.

    Not so sure about Spring but my Top 5 would definitely include OJ’s Champaca, Sous le Vent and Diorella (pre-reform).

    I love changing my perfumes with the seasons. It’s something I really enjoy and it’s nice to look forward to meeting old friends again when the seasons change.


    • Isn’t it interesting to see how our favorites intersect? As far as your other fall choices, CdL went horribly animalic on me (dabnabit, such a great price too!), I haven’t tried VdN yet, and Equistrius is in my top three for irises, and I wear iris year-round. I’ve got three kinds of “top 5” lists: for the season, for the note, and for the mood.

      As for spring, haven’t tried Sous le Vent, Champaca was nice but not earthshaking and Diorella was a hot mess – I’m still on the lookout for a LOTV I can pull off.


  2. Great List. Thank you for putting it together. Spring for me is something different everyday (like our local weather). Today I like Michael Storer’s “Stephanie” (gardenias are blooming in the house), Adrien Arpel’s “Lilac”, a realistic, old imitation lilac (lilacs are blooming in the garden), Histoires de Parfums’ “Veni”, Niki de Saint Phalle, Nicole Miller “Frenzy”, Ellen Covey’s “Little Stars”… the list goes on but I will stop here.


    • Azar, sounds like our weather here. Last week there was snow, Monday was 25 degrees. My kids went from winter jackets to shorts in less than a week! There’s a lot on your list I haven’t tried yet – definitely intrigued by the lilac – but count me in as another fan of Ellen Covey. Her Golden Cattleya would have been in my fall list if I’d gone with ten instead of five.


      • Discovering a good single note floral can be a real adventure! Good lilacs (or gardenias) are hard to find. More often than not these fake flowers end up smelling like air fresheners. The old Adrien Arpel “Lilac” suggests a room freshener for about a minute but then recedes to just a waft of lilac in a cool breeze. Too bad it was discontinued a long time ago. I’m looking forward to trying your lilac suggestion, Ineke’s AMOH. By the way, Ellen Covey’s newest fragrances are fabulous. I am wearing her “Seattle Chocolate” right now. The silver fir puts this chocolate on my spring favorites list.


  3. This reminds me that a well written perfume review CAN be written in just one or two succinct sentences, rather than the blather that I always smear all over the screen. A very enjoyable read! And great selections to boot.


    • Neil, coming from you that is high praise indeed. (My goodness, can you write!) I’ll be honest, I’m a talker and a story-teller, so this particular post was twice as long before I woke up one morning feeling energized and deleted away. It’s hard for me to be succinct. 😉


    • Neil,
      I just have to say that I am sure that you know by now that we all ADORE your “blatherings”!!!


      • I agree…as much as I love long poetic musings sometimes succinct is refreshing as well…Dionne, job well done!


      • Personally, I love the variety of different kinds of reviews: Lukas’ chemistry lessons, Neil’s lyricism, Lanier’s stories, Victoria’s experienced nose, it’s all good stuff. Neil, I’ve got a friend that I’m guiding through different notes and possibilities. Today’s assignment was to try L’Eau d’Hiver, and your blog post was part of her “reading homework.”


      • One of the things I find most enjoyable about this passion is when I get to share it with a real-life friend. It’s been an absolute blast making samples and coming up with “sniffing assignments.”


      • One of your friends might show interest someday, Brie, you never know. In my case, since I just can’t shut up about perfume, it was bound to happen sooner or later….


  4. I love your lists Dionne!

    Interesting that I’m tending to wear my spring scents this autumn but it’s all about green for me right now.
    I need to get some more temps and exquise but I may just go the incense route today and pull out kyoto thanks to your words!



    • The cool thing about Kyoto is you get green AND incense. 😉 I could totally see wearing the greens in fall. I know some people like wearing scents at “untypical” times, ie. orientals can bloom in the heat, and citruses can be uplifting in the winter, and I say go for it. The only thing I can’t do is wear florals in winter: I find it depressing when everything’s white outside.


  5. Great list! I have 3 of your fall scents and on of your spring ones. Great minds think alike. Or is that great noses?


  6. Love your lists Dionne! Also hi.
    Kyoto sounds worth checking out. Have been interested in Like This for a long time (won a bottle, never arrived, felt like she spurned me…)
    OJ Woman is one of my HGs also, though for some reason I don’t wear as often as I should…maybe because it’s so special and so me. That sounds weird. Wearing it today though, because it’s raining and cool–I think of it as better in cooler temps but maybe I’ll try it this summer too.

    Definitely wear many different things in the spring and autumn–they smell so different here. Spring has flowers and green things and fall has leaves and apples and woodsmoke and stuff like that.

    Year-round HGs are exceptions though, like Safran Troublant, OJ, MKK, Vetiver Oriental… I like delicate greener scents in spring and spicier warmer woodsier ones in fall, but tend to get way more ‘into’ the fall ones. Hiris and iris generally read as very springtime, as do Etro Heliotrope and Caron’s Farnesiana.

    For some reason I haven’t found a classic Guerlain that feels right on me, but Cuir Beluga is pretty and springy also (don’t even own a sample). Seve Exquise (the discon Gobin-Daude) is my HG spring scent though. If I had more than half a teeny decant, I would get so into springtime scents….sigh….
    Anyone found a dupe of this?


    • Hi Mim! Oooh, lots to reply to, I always enjoy a good conversation. 1) the entire incense series by Comme des Garcons is worth checking out, they’re spectacular. 2) You won a bottle of Like This and then never received it? I’d be upset if that happened to me. Definitely sounds like there’s a story there. 3) Isn’t OW the most gorgeous thing? I understand about not wearing her more, she’s so special I’d hate to take her for granted 4) Mmmm, woodsmoke, one of my favorite smells. Although for me that’s the smell of summer, because I love to camp. 5) I have a lot of categories that have nothing to do with the weather: the season-less ones, the elegant ones, my sex-ay frag that The Engineer loves, the intellectual ones – all my irises – and so on. 6) As I mentioned, I wear irises year round, but I’m right there with you on heliotrope in the spring. My Alessandro Mazzolari didn’t make the top five cut, but I just wore it two days ago. 7) Al’O and Shalimar are the only classic Guerlains that work for me, I’m more of a Chanel girl, I suppose. 8) I’ve heard such great things about the Gobin-Daudes. I suppose it’s just as well I never tried them. Dupes? I think Brian over at ISTIA did a post on greens in a similar vibe. Let me see if I can find it….. Here it is: http://ismellthereforeiam.blogspot.ca/search/label/Dawn%20Spencer%20Hurwitz%20Celadon%20Green Because of this post, Celadon is on my sample list now.


  7. Dione, great list(s)! I love reading lists and hate creating them: I always feel as if I’m betraying those of my favorites that do not make to the list 🙂

    Apres L’Ondee doesn’t work for me but the other four on you Spring list I also like. From your Fall collection Ilike SSS’s and OJ’s perfumes and I was surprised to find Traversée du Bosphore on that list: for some reason I think of this one as of a warmer weather perfume, definitely not Fall.


    • Thanks, Undina! I’m pretty sure most perfumistas understand the dilemma of “Wait! What about that one? Oh, I have to choose?” It took several days and a lot of back-and-forthing to make this list.

      I can see why Après l’Ondée doesn’t work for everyone. There’s the longevity issue, and also skin chemistry plays a role. I’ve sprayed this on a couple of friends who really pulled the spicy note in it, so much that it smells Christmas-y on them. Very strange.

      Hmmm, I need to pull out TdB in the summertime, I bet it would do interesting things.


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