Fortitude is needed when stepping into the chilly grey city day after day. Everyone has their own way of combating winter blues, from Krispy Kremes to extra exercise. For me, it’s scent. A waft of patchouli or a burst of deep red fruit has the power to wake me up and make me smile, for the simple reason that – in the same way that donuts taste good – certain perfumes just smell delicious.
You might think that winter mood-lifters would be summery, but experts recommend the opposite. In other words: there’s no point pretending it’s summer by drenching yourself in citrus and flowers. Dr Rowan Boyson, a historian of literature and scent at Cambridge, says: “It may seem counter-intuitive, but I’d suggest citrus pick-me-ups can make you feel the absence of summer holidays even more. Instead go for something clean, green, smoky, and moody, and not festively spicey or gourmand now we’re all in ascetic mood. Think bracing January walks by the sea followed by a warming whiskey or cup of lapsang souchong.” Boyson picks out L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Tea for Two and Annick Goutal’s Vetiver. Odette Toilette, the cult “olfactress”, says: “When it’s dull, cold and blustery and pitch black by five, I find that the scents which restore a little vim and vigour are not necessarily the ones that transport the sniffer to the tropics, rather those which present the fantasy version of a winter’s day which comes all too rarely: sparkly, bright and energising.”
Michelle Roques O’Neil, a top aromatherapist, says: “Winter from a Chinese medicine perspective is a time when people need to nourish themselves. Scents like rose help lift the heart, ylang ylang is also uplifting and fortifying. Vetivier and patchouli – found in Oriental scents – have that warmth about them. Add in top notes of rose, tuberose and jasmine and you’re good to go.”
Vetivier by Annick Goutal
A modern classic, this deeply sophisticated scent combines rich depth with marine saltiness: perfect for keeping you up-beat. Spicy, woody, marine Java vetiver, rare woods, Birman spices, hint of iodine). annickgoutal.com
Infusion d'Iris by Prada
Iris, orange blossom and mandarin underpin this enervating, original scent, while unusual undertones of galbanum, lentisc, benzoin and cedarwood give it a clean, green flavour that’s perfect for darkest winter. At deparment stores.
Pulp by Byredo
A pungent hit of oozing, fresh fruit, Pulp wakes you up better than any coffee. Byredo notes that he wanted: “the flesh of the fruit rather than the juice; the very ripest pulp of a fig mingles with red apples and bergamot.” byredo.com
Geranium Pour Monsieur by Frederic Malle
One of Odette Toilette’s top picks for winter: “This is a gorgeous minty mentholated gasp without a hint of toothpaste in sight. A lovely twist on the cologne format which will not fail to cheer up the most jaded of nostrils.” www.liberty.co.uk
Tea For Two by L’Artisan Parfumeur
Smoky but fresh, this is a black tea scent that evokes coming in from the cold and a gust of aromatic warmth to greet you. Earthy and uplifting fragrance without misleading pretentions of summer.
Eau de Toilette by Jimmy Choo
The new scent from the famous shoe-maker, this is a more mainstream choice. With its combination of crystalline rose, orchid accents and fresh ginger and pear on a vibrant woody base, it’s a surefire way to revitalise. theperfumeshop.com
Jungle Elephant by Kenzo
This is one of those perfumes that makes you want to snuggle into yourself, preferably cloaked in a cashmere blanket. With its daringly rich blend of cardamom, vanilla and patchouli notes, it makes people want to be near you too. Harrods, Boots and Duty Free.
Dark Amber and Ginger Lily Cologne by Jo Malone
The ultimate indulgent evening scent, full of the warming sensuality of lily, black orchid and rare Kyara incense. jomalone.co.uk