Product watch: The best winter scents

The best winter scents for her are warming with a touch of sparkle, writes Rachel Marie Walsh.

Emily Ratajkowski embodies the party-girl spirit of Paco Rabanne’s Pure XS for Her perfume.
Emily Ratajkowski embodies the party-girl spirit of Paco Rabanne’s Pure XS for Her perfume.

Colder weather can mean going as warm and luxurious with your fragrance as you do your fabrics. Sweet top notes, robustly feminine hearts and warm, woody dry-downs are as inviting as camel cashmere this time of year. Box up your fruity autumnal perfume in favour of one of these intoxicating scents.

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique (Christmas Edition), €79.50/50ml

Jean Paul Gaultier’s Classique (Christmas Edition)
Jean Paul Gaultier’s Classique (Christmas Edition)

Jean Paul Gaultier has a revue on at the Folies Bergère, the cabaret venue where Josephine Baker and Charlie Chaplin once stepped, until year’s end. Part autobiography, part fashion extravaganza, this parade of his ‘greatest hits’ reminds one how many copycats they’ve produced, from Breton tops to punk-couture and pointed corsetry. Many flagged Kim Kardashian’s torso-shaped perfume flacon as a copy of his Classique perfume’s body-sculpted bottle earlier this year. He remained coy, with an Instagram post that read “Against all rumours, Le Mâle [Classique’s male counterpart] is dating no-one else.” 

JPG dresses both Classique and her ‘boyfriend’ in Christmas jumpers for the festive season. Shake up the collector-worthy snow-globe casing to see their glass busts appear through clouds of snowflakes. The opening notes of Sicilian mandarin, swiftly followed by insistent orchid and bourbon vanilla, are as familiar as Chanel No5 but less ubiquitous.

Paco Rabanne Pure XS for Her, 76.50/50ml

Paco Rabanne, the enfant terrible of Sixties Paris, did some truly gorgeous things with chainmail, so it is no surprise the brand draped Emily Ratajkowski in the jangly stuff for her first campaign. Pure XS is very sweet and intoxicating, reminiscent of the Versace Baby Rose Jeans spray I was totally in love with as a tween. Both smell like nights out you cannot yet have, but picture so vividly for so long that the gap between fantasy and first clubbing experience broadens beyond all sense.

Designers are dream-dealers, I guess, and Pure XS was inspired by a fantasy destination: The tiny volcanic island of Réunion. The perfumer returned from a visit there with ylang-ylang on the brain. The flower makes a heady heart-note, all topped with popcorn and vanilla. The sandalwood and ambrette base makes it a warming winter scent.

Jo Malone London White Moss & Snowdrop Cologne, €114/100ml

Jo Malone’s White Moss and Snowdrop Cologne
Jo Malone’s White Moss and Snowdrop Cologne

Jo Malone London’s winter cologne sounds purer than pure, but even a light spritz is pleasingly rich and aromatic. I think it is all the contrasts; this perfume has wood, fruit, spice, flowers and greenery. A warm touch of amber is topped with a luminous burst of cardamom. Additional notes include clementine, petitgrain, neroli, white moss and tonka bean. The harmony is nice, if a bit more of a ‘statement’ scent than we usually smell at this counter. 

Pitched as a unisex fragrance, I would guess a woman was wearing this if it wafted my way, but my nose may have been corrupted by years of gender-specific formulas (beginning with the Barbie-worthy Versace above). White Moss & Snowdrop is also available in candle form. The brand is also re-releasing (the sweet) Orange Bitters Cologne for the festive season.

Carolina Herrera Good Girl Velvet Christmas Edition, €142/80ml (exclusively at The Perfume Shop)

Carolina Herrera Good Girl Velvet Christmas Edition
Carolina Herrera Good Girl Velvet Christmas Edition

Early this week, I was racing through wet, leaf-strewn streets en — potentially lethal — route to meet an interesting German (I was 15 minutes late, he 10 minutes early), when I remembered an Italian shoe designer relating the concept of ‘taxi shoes’ (the man’s uppers were made of feathers and are no longer available; this was 2007 when ready-to-wear was heading beyond the beyonds, like everything else). 

Taxi shoes are footwear that is almost entirely ornamental, greatly impeding movement but invariably lovely to observe. Their external costs cease only when you chuck them, like buying a dry-clean only dress but worse, because shoes, like cars, are depreciating assets, ie less valuable once they hit the streets (even if you are only going from paying the taxi driver to the restaurant door), so you also spend on maintenance. Moreover, taxi shoes do not just come in feathered form, the average 5-inch stiletto is a definite contender in this category .

Stubbornly ignoring their impractical nature, as I was, and running away anyway, is always risky business. Though my Le Sillas were still smugly shiny upon arrival, I still think this Christmas edition of Carolina’s Good Girl is a safer buy. The bottle looks similar to them, does not wear and will never make you irritated by the sight of a man’s sturdy lace-ups. Not that I’m suggesting giving up on stilettos outright, obviously. Just wear boots. The shoe’s contents also smells pretty great. A chic oriental scent, this A wave of Sambac jasmine and tuberose at the heart gives way to a tonka bean and cocoa base.

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