Autumn Scents - A Time for Reflection by James Craven

Autumn Scents - A Time for Reflection by James Craven

Now is the time of fruitful fulfilment before the fading of the year and the gathering of the sheaves. After the bursting ebullience of spring and the burning splendour of summer, the year comes to a climax which is both triumphant and wistful.


Autumn is the favourite season of those romantics who love its peaceful nostalgia and misty melancholy after the assertive clamour of the greener months. The colours of the garden have never been richer and our sense of smell never keener. The warm mellow dampness, hazy golden afternoons and spidery moist evenings are the perfect conditions for intoxicating the eye and nose. The early indigo darkness closes in, full of scents, smoke and the furry flurry of moths. 


Imperial swathes of purple, magenta, scarlet, vermilion & crimson besides every shade of yellow, orange and gold set the imagination on fire. The range of fragrances proliferate, for autumn has a tremendous energy. The late roses keep pouring out their velvety blends of musk and honey, tea and fruit as though eager to sustain us with memories for the winter months.


These purer scents are darkened, deepened and enriched with the decadent juicy thrumming of plums, pears and apples alive and sentient with wasps. Then add the nutty tang of blackberries; the silvery salty smokiness of santolina, artemisia and helichrysum; and fragrant sea-coloured lavender alternately fresh, oily or powdery. The garden fairly heaves with perfume, taste and flavour.


The garish gorgeous hues and spicy bitterness of dahlias, chrysanthemum, nasturtiums and marigolds mingle with the moisture of the cooling exhausted earth and fallen leaves. The smell of wet cut grass in the waning light is a poignant echo of that first spring mowing of six months ago. Then we cut to encourage growth: now we are laying the grass to rest in winter sleep. 


The herbalist and the perfumer swoop down like birds and reap the harvest. What will you wear? What shall you choose? 


TAFFETA has a sheer dew-drenched brilliance which gives way to shimmering deceptive autumn lights, the crackle of dry leaves and the frou-frou of exotic fabrics. A magenta crinoline rustling across the lawn at dusk....

“She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life, my fate.
The red rose cries, "She is near, she is near;"
And the white rose weeps, "She is late;" *


More light in the darkness shines out from BLEU DE CHINE the luminous fragrance that gilds bosky September gardens in the early evening: darkly woody and aromatic but cool, elegant and timeless. 


There are few rules in enjoying gardens or perfume: the key is to be true to yourself.


Don’t try to create or impose a fragrance personality that doesn’t feel right.


Autumn is a time for reflection so take your time and choose a scent that has emotional resonance and which feels as though tailored for no one but you. It’s there for sure, waiting for you: all you need to find it is patience and imagination.


The journey to discover your ideal perfume will be full of adventures and surprises.


Enjoy them.


If you wish to keep summer shining for a while longer, try a sumptuous rose perfume. 


“ Look at all those roses!” **


The fresh honeyed voluptuousness of MOROCCAN ROSE encapsulates the beauty of this most ancient, iconic and symbolic of flowers. Rose has a unique resonance in every age, era and culture.


Meet it again in a totally different Belle Époque incarnation as the nostalgic ROSE POUDREEpowderedsweet and seductive as a grande horizontale wearing a corsage of white Parma violets.


And then we come to the roseate climax of the season: the splendid OTTOMAN, a sensuous rose for the confident perfume epicure. With a tenacious base of amber, patchouli and sandalwood OTTOMAN glows like a jewelled Byzantine mosaic. It’s great for cooler weather due to its dark ample opulence and it’s also a rose that can wear very well on a man’s skin. 


The glory of the garden - and most certainly that of perfume - “it abideth not in words....“ ‘

 by James Craven


*Alfred, Lord Tennyson:  MAUD

** Elizabeth Bowen : title of short story.

First published on 1/10/21