This post is a part of a Joint Blogging Event – O Tannenbaum!, a celebration of perfumes highlighting woody notes.
I grew up without Christmas. I knew of Christmas but I didn’t really know Christmas. It was something from another time (O’Henry’s The Gift of the Magi, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker) or another place (foreign movies, e.g. A Christmas Story, Die Hard) but it wasn’t a holiday celebrated in the country where I lived.
Instead we celebrated the New Year. It was one of the most popular and loved holidays. It resembled Christmas in many ways: there were traditional family gatherings, festive food and presents under the tree (mostly for kids but some adults exchanged gifts as well). We would buy a holiday tree around December 28 and set it up just in time for the New Year celebration and would keep until mid-January.
We didn’t have Christmas but we had winters – very cold and snowy one year; chilly and sludgy another. There whole city would be colored in grayscale tones – white sidewalks, gray roads and almost black tree branches against the whitish winter skies. And it was so cozy to look at those bare branches through a window from warmth of a room while decorating a holiday tree. Just add a fireplace (we didn’t have those but I can “see” it now) and you’ll get the picture I paint in my mind when I think about Winter Woods perfume.
Winter Woods by Sonoma Scent Studio – created in 2008 (and updated in 2009) by Laurie Erickson, notes include guaiacwood, cedar, sandalwood, birch tar, cade, oakmoss absolute, castoreum, amber, labdanum absolute, vetiver, ambergris and musk.
Ines from All I am – a redhead smells sweetness in Winter Woods. If it’s there I cannot smell this type of sweetness. For me it’s a pleasant combination of several woods: wood burning in a fireplace, wood log next to in a holder, Christmas tree by the window and even a snow-covered bough outside of the window.
Winter Woods is available from Sonoma Scent Studio website in multiple sizes (1 ml, 2.5ml, 5 ml, 17 ml and 34 ml). I’m using the 2.5 ml spray sample that I bought as a part of a very nice box set. It has a good tenacity so my sample will be enough for a while. When it’s done I’ll go for another one of a purse spray.
After we’ve moved to California, I remember it was so unusual that all the decorations were up early in December. Combined with heavy rains, evergreen plants and relatively warm weather the idea of celebrating Christmas hadn’t taken roots for a while.
Our first year here we went to get a tree the next day after Christmas. We found it on the closest abandoned Christmas tree lot. It was free. When it was time to take it down (mid-January, remember?) we couldn’t figure out a way to dispose of it. Now it seems so trivial, I can think of many options – for that or any other “problem” but back then, several months in the country, it felt unsolvable. The best solution we found was to take it out to the balcony… It stayed there for another two years and became at some point a family joke.
For the second New Year here we tried to follow the same strategy (in the first part – getting a tree, with throwing it away we were smarter and did it in line with neighbors). It failed! I think it was a city ordinance that prevented lots’ owners from abandoning them again, even for a couple of days. So by the time we went looking for a tree everything was gone. The New Year would have been ruined for me if it weren’t for some neighbor who had no use for a Christmas tree a day or two after the holiday: we found a perfectly fresh tree next to a dumpster and not being too squeamish, brought it home, decorated it and let this tree fulfill its destiny the second time. How many other cut Christmas trees are getting the second chance?
When I’m thinking about that time one perfume comes to mind – Rush for Men. That was the first perfume I bought for my vSO here, and we both always thought it smelled of “ёлочка” (Tannenbaum).
Rush for Men by Gucci – created in 2000 by Daniela Roche-Andrier and Antoine Mainsondieu, notes include lavender, cypress, incense, cedarwood, patchouli, Okoumé wood, sandalwood and musk. Does it really smell like a pine or a fir tree? Not any more since now my nose can distinguish scents more precisely. But still when I carefully spray Rush from an almost empty bottle – that same bottle that I bought more than ten years ago – the first thought that crosses my mind is “it smells of “ёлочка.” Sadly Rush for Men has been discontinued and can be found only on eBay at the price that successfully cures nostalgia. As I’ve mentioned already, my bottle is almost empty and the staying power of the perfume decreased over years so I might buy another bottle if I come across it for a more reasonable price.
I haven’t found any real reviews for Gucci Rush for Men from any blogs I read. If you reviewed this perfume please share a link in your comment.
In the recent several years we started celebrating all winter holidays – Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year. We get (and sometimes even decorate) our holiday tree earlier in December; I kindle my Menorah for eight days; we attend a traditional Christmas Day dinner at our friends’ house (and even hosted it once when their house was being rebuilt); and we gather with our close friends to greet a New Year at 12 o’clock on December 31, eat, drink and exchange gifts trying to stay awake as long as we can.
I love the scent of a Christmas tree. I wait the whole year for that one month that smells of pine or fir resin and needles. I look forward to decorating trees, both at the office and at home. And an olfactory experience is a big part of the joy.
This year everything is slightly off.
First, I made a decision (yes, it was all my doing, I have nobody to blame) to buy an artificial tree for our office. I had good reasons for that: while natural trees of the size we need do not survive with our AC/heating system, I found a perfect artificial tree that looks extremely lifelike. It doesn’t smell.
Then for my home I bought a beautiful real tree in a pot. After holidays we plan to either plant it on our backyard or keep it there in its pot for a year and use it again for the next holiday season. It’s very beautiful – just the right size, color and fluffiness. Guess what? IT DOESN’T SMELL!
How have I been coping with that mishap? Over the last couple of weeks while thinking about this post and then writing it, I was constantly wearing Winter Woods, Rush and especially Fille en Aiguilles.
Fille en Aiguilles by Serge Lutens – created in 2009 by Christopher Sheldrake, notes include Pine needles, vetiver, sugary sap, laurel, fir balsam, frankincense, candied fruit and spice.
They say “Be careful what you wish for.” In my comment to Birgit’s wonderful review and giveaway I wrote “I still hope to find at least one SL’s perfume to love and to want to buy a FB.” I won that giveaway (once again – thank you, Birgit, for hosting it and thank you, Vanessa, for delivering it to me). I’m almost done with my Fille en Aiguilles sample vial and I definitely want need more! I won’t try to describe the scent: if you haven’t tried it yet read that review at Olfactoria’s Travels (link above) and then try it for yourself. I just want to say that I really enjoy Fille en Aiguilles and I’m grateful to it for helping me through this unscented holiday season.
Images: my own
If you haven’t done it yet, check out other Joint Blogging Event participants’ blogs: