beauty buzz: perfect summer-to-fall scents

{Editor’s Note: One of you dear readers asked me about my favorite summer-to-fall fragrances this month. And with the last day of summer looming (yes, Labor Day is my definition of the end of summer), it felt like the perfect time to lend advice on picking a scent to bridge the gap between lazy summer nights and crisp fall mornings. Sadly, all that fragrance-sniffing leads to migraines at my house, so I’ve enlisted a super-sophisticated surrogate to guide you through some of the best scents of the season. Jen, who lives in Manhattan and doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to beauty finds, has picked three favorites that she swears are perfect for this time of year, and is even taking you along on a dreamy end-of-summer holiday to try them out. Enjoy the ride!}

Jen V. ~ Jo Malone’s Wild Bluebell Cologne is a “light floral” according to Jo, and in fact, is as light as a sheer, white dress. The scent, while fresh, feminine, and lovely, is not entirely innocent. There is an edgier side to it that is not obvious upon first spray – think tea with the Duchess and her not-so-prim little sister. The base is white amber and musk, which supports the lighter floral notes, and a “spicy chord of cloves” adds a bit of naughtiness, and gives the scent that extra edge that allows it to transition you from your summer cottage in the Cotswolds to your London flat in autumn with perfect English aplomb. For greater longevity during the colder months, layer the scent over the matching shower gel and body cream, just as you would with cashmere – or better yet, a classic English tweed over silk.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Aqua Universalis is equally at home with duality. Upon first spray, one is hit with a strong burst of citrus (lemon from Sicily) and bergamot. Then the white bouquet notes begin to unfold subtly, and a woodsy musk weaves its way through, transforming a light summer day into an Indian summer night with a hint of seasons to come. Imagine Tilda Swinton in I Am Love (see this film if only for the Jil Sander wardrobe), returning from a lover’s tryst in the Mediterranean to a formal, family lunch in Milan. With no time to shower and change scents, Aqua Universalis easily evolves to more serious pursuits.

On the flip side is Bond No. 9, the perfume house famed for scents named after the neighborhoods and iconic landmarks of New York. I was hoping to fall for their latest, Sag Harbor, but instead, it’s the Hamptons that remains my summer love. It’s easy to imagine lying on the beach, with the first, crisp citrus notes of the scent enveloping me in a spray of sea, slightly salty. Throughout the day, the sun warms the scent to a magnolia and light jasmine, but not in an overly feminine way. Later in the evening, warm amber and sandalwood leave you in a languid post-beach haze that helps this scent seamlessly transition to fall.

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