Saturday, January 26, 2013

What Does Winter Smell Like To You?

Our city's air quality sucks.  In fact, it's among the worse in the country. This means that whenever I go outside to get a breath of fresh air, there isn't any.  Instead it's heavy and dirty, and smells of lead and cold metal with a touch of oil refinery burn-off.  Along with bitter cold temperatures, we also have a lot of snow this year, so the essence of cold little kid cheeks, wet mittens and wool coats is everywhere.

By the way, old leather gloves make your hands smell sour. Honestly, it's nasty. I'm still working on tactful language around a gentle reminder.

'Huh, what's that sour smell?'

'Sometimes old gloves have that smell...are those yours?'

'What, you don't notice that your hands stink?'

Like I said, still workin' on it.

Daphne - my nose - is acting up a little, more tuned into the smells of the environment than the smell of my perfumes.  God knows I'm trying to please her by wearing my favorite winter scents, like White Aoud, Mauboussin, Jungle l'Elephant and Dune.  I even shook it up this week and wore Sur le Nil one day, just to get her attention.  She yawned.

Sometimes, big, unexpected smells interrupt everything.  Yesterday, on my drive to work, an 18-wheeler merged from the canyon onto the freeway in front of me.  Smoke poured from its hot brakes, filling my car with the acrid smell of burning tires.  By the time I could change lanes, my nose and my throat were burning.  Even opening the windows didn't help. (This is a trick Dad taught me to offset the smell of passing a dead skunk on the road.  When it seems like the odor will never leave your car, just crack the windows open briefly and whatever lingers will be gone).   Daphne was pissed and refused to pay attention to my perfume for the rest of the day.  She did get over her hissy fit enough to enjoy Montale's Red Aoud last night.

The good new is, I'm smelling more perfume on men this winter, which is delightful!  Maybe they feel more comfortable wearing scents in cold weather, or maybe I'm just noticing it more. Either way, it's the only thing making Daphne smile these days, so I hope the trend continues.

What are the best and worst smells of your winter?

image from


  1. Winter can smell winter-coat heavy, like Bois d'Iles, or snowy-light, like Honore des Pres' Sexy Angelic. I wish I could describe what chill smells like, but I can't. The brisk feel of citrus smells wintery to me though.

    1. Hi Joan - I like 'winter-coat heavy' as a description, and I can see how citrus reflects winter, too. We went on a late walk last night with Paige and I was blown away by the amazing smell of a cold, snowy night. Ozone, wood, a hint of smoke and as you say...citrus. Wonderful.



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