In this essay by The Reverie contributor and perfume historian Dimitri Dimitriadis, he contemplates how the natural progression of the seasons inspires our choice of fragrance. With each seasonal interval, we can explore scents that embrace this shift and awaken our senses. Dimitri resides in Australia where winter is currently well underway while here in the United States, we’re still experiencing the undiminished heat of summer.
Right now, as the Northern hemisphere steps over the threshold into summer, we here in the South have witnessed the vernal pendulum swing the other way, and winter has settled upon us again like a thick, quilted blanket. Mother Nature's annual game of balance and counterbalance is in full swing, and with it come all the familiar feelings of joy and exuberance, or of hibernation and melancholy, depending on which part of the world we live in.
Our minds and bodies respond to these climatic shifts without us even being aware of it. We see fluctuations in our metabolisms, our circadian rhythms, our hormones, our moods and our behaviors. These deep-rooted changes are a result of our evolution over millions of years. But one thing is constant: that is our tendency to bask, step out and be social in the warmer months, and our preference to hibernate, retreat and ruminate in the cold. Perfume has always been a part of our lives, but the fragrances we prefer in summer are often different from those we reach for in winter. This is because our sense of smell is influenced by environmental factors such as temperature and humidity, as well as by our own psychology and personal preferences.
More often than not, in summer we love brisk, fresh, uplifting citrusy scents – ones which might recall pretty summer gardens, lip-smacking fruits or vast expanses of ocean and air: these offer a cooling, energising effect. Conversely, wintertime often sees us reach for fragrances which offer a sense of comfort or sanctuary...praline/vanilla gourmands, warming orientals, or scents which might evoke an impression of smoke, fire, leather, spice or amber. The temperature of our skin has a huge impact on how a perfume might perform...with blood circulating close to the skin's surface in summer, our fragrances tend to be more persistent and diffusive, whist in winter when our blood sits closer to our internal organs, they can feel much less intense. As the vernal and autumnal equinoxes dance throughout the year, we favour those scents we favour for many different reasons; some conscious and some subliminal.
With this in mind, there is nothing to say one cannot wear a scent that contradicts its favoured time of year. In an effort to lift my spirits in winter, I will often spritz an aquatic or a green perfume which recalls a summer holiday, or time I spend abroad in more temperate climes. With our memories so closely linked to smell, it can sometimes prove essential in keeping winter's melancholia at bay. Further to this, what harm can there be in enjoying something you love to wear in the colder months during spring or summer? Again, the way a scent interacts with skin at different times of the year can produce some surprising revelations.
In short, whilst collectively we do have certain seasonal perfume traditions, we do not need to be enslaved by them. A favorite perfume or cologne should be worn whenever the mood takes us. Many perfumes these days are designed to be enjoyed day or night, summer or winter and thus offer incredible versatility as part of your perfume wardrobe. Grace de Monaco's signature release “Promenade Sur le Rocher” exemplifies the type of scent capable of carrying you from morning to evening or through all times of the year; whilst the exceptional “Danse Étoilée” offers the bouquet of a perpetual spring/summer which can be enjoyed and celebrated year-round. These fragrances and many others of the same ilk ensure we are smelling and feeling our best, no matter where or when we indulge.
Shop Grace de Monaco for timeless fragrances and home accessories for every season, mood, and moment.
Dimitri Dimitriadis is a perfumer, perfume writer, speaker, curator and historian based in Perth, Western Australia. He has designed and hosted perfume exhibitions and frequently holds speaking and educational engagements for luxury fragrance brands and independent perfumeries across Australia. When he is not burying his nose in a fragrance tome, you’ll find him trawling the antique markets on weekends; having a leisurely game of tennis; or adding to his vast 80’s heavy metal vinyl collection. Follow Dimitri on Instagram @eaudorangeverte and discover more of his writing here, here, and on his blog The Fumery.