Holiday: Winter Delice by Guerlain
Not even a month ago I was rhapsodizing about fall scents, and now it's winter already. Now we can wear the really dark, heavy scents with abandon, confident that the cold weather isn't going to make them overwhelming as summer heat is going to do. Anything rich and sweet or smoky and incense-laden is going to bloom in the winter months.
I have one scent that I bring out of storage every December and tuck away come March, the one that not only smells of a winter's day but is named for it: Guerlain's Winter Delice. It's been discontinued, but it's still easily available on eBay if you should need it, and you probably do.
Winter Delice is not only a scent, it's a narrative: the stages of the scent tell the story of a perfect afternoon in December. It opens outdoors with the sharp, resinous smell of evergreen needles and a chilly, almost lemony fresh-air smell.
When you're done playing in the snow, you head indoors to warm up, and what greets you is the inviting aroma of gingerbread freshly pulled from a wood stove. The smell of fir and pine needles sticks to your skin: the scent never becomes entirely warm and sweet, even as the gingerbread aroma envelops you. The wood-stove scent is supplied by, according to the official list of notes, Somalian incense, and it's dark and edgy; you never forget that the fire can burn you.
Winter Delice is heavier and darker than any other Aqua Allegoria scent I've ever smelled (which is most of them), but it has no more lasting power than they do: despite its spicy and vanillic close, it trails away to nothing in six hours, tops. But it's the story of an afternoon: would you want it last longer than that?