Scents to Impress: What to wear at your End-Of-Year Parties / by Didier Young

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Isn’t it crazy to think that we are already at the beginning of December? I swear that the year started yesterday and we already have to prepare for one of the busiest time of the year: end-of-year party season. That usually means that, like many of us will and SHOULD be doing, I will be polishing my best shoes, dry cleaning my suits and starting to slick back my hair to look as presentable as possible to finish off the year beautifully. We all dress to impress but many people tend to forget the primordial finishing touch to a memorable appearance: an unforgettable scent.

Since this is most likely the last time this year that I’ll be able to make a strong impression, that is usually when I’d chose to use the best perfumes that I have on my shelf. The first one is an oldie but a goodie and one that I do tend to use all year long: Le Labo’s Santal 33. I know what  you’re going to say. Been there, done that, everyone smells like Santal 33 nowadays Didier and sure, you may be right about this, but it doesn’t stop it from being one of the best scents I’ve sniffed in a while. The fragrance relies heavily on sandalwood and notes of Virginia cedar, cardamom, violet, papyrus, leather, amber and iris. The woody scent does have a powdery after smell which tends to tone it down and makes it a perfume that is more gentle than most wood focused fragrances.

The next fragrance is from niche Parisian brand BDK Parfums Paris and it is warmer wooden scent. Oud Abramad focuses heavily on agar wood (oud) which has been the undeniable IT- ingredient used by parfumeurs in the recently years. The perfume starts off with notes of saffron and ginger, trails off in gardens of turkish roses and cumin and finishes its journey in a haven of oud, guaiac wood, labdanum, incense, patchouli, castoreum and ambroxan. As you can tell by the ingredients, it is a scent for those who are unafraid to make a bold statement and you should not overdo the spraying with this one. Remember, less is more.

Parfum numero trois was absolute love at first sniff for me. I was at an event for YSL and I was browsing their perfume offerings when I stumbled upon Le Vestiaire des Parfums and my curious nose automatically started smelling all the different fragrances available in the collection. Vestiare means cloakroom in french and fittingly, each fragrance in the collection is named after an iconic piece of clothing. Neroli, white musks and patchouli are at the heart of Saharienne which makes it a clean and elegant citrusy and floral scent that  you can't stop wanting to smell.

Next up is Serge Lutens’ La Religieuse, a gorgeous bouquet of white florals and musk. The concept of the perfume is a fight between good and evil with pure jasmine representing good and darkness being championed by civet, musk and incense. While this perfume is my second white floral recommendation, it does have an edgier vibe than the previously mentioned Saharienne which would make it more suitable for a night event. Whoever will be in your presence will truly feel like they are part of a religious experience.

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Last but not least, we have a beautiful new fragrance from Guerlain. While the name might lead you to the conclusion that it is a male targeted fragrance, LUI aims to blur the walls between the masculine and the feminine. Expertly crafted with Benzoin at its heart, the gender fluid Eau de Parfum makes its entrance with notes of pear, clove and carnation before taking on a darker twist with a leathery base with smoky and woody accents. Vanilla and white musk help to soften the fragrance and gives it a sensuality that makes it suitable for both sexes.

I usually switch fragrances based on my mood and those scents tend to cover the scope of my emotional palette. Next time you see me at an event, try and figure out which one I’m wearing. One last thing: don’t even think of going fragrance-free to one of your parties: that’s just non scents.

-Didier