Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Colour me Jasmine

A recent post by The Non-Blonde on the strange habits of perfumes lovers got me thinking about one of my habits - wearing perfume by colour.

Most of the time I match my perfume to the weather, or my mood or the occasion. For instance, Diptyque L'Ombre dans l'Eau or Frederic Malle Angelique Sous le Pluie I like for rainy weather. Penhaligon's Orange Blossom calms me down. Roja Dove Diaghilev and The Party in Manhattan go well with dressy evenings out.

But I have another criteria I use to choose perfume in the morning, that I only just realized I do mostly unconsciously. I choose perfume to match the colours I'm wearing.

Some notes have distinct colours or textures and I like to match them to the outfit I choose in the morning. Today I wore a silk blouse with an orange print and I chose Frederic Malle Birgarade Concentree to match.

Bitter-orange with orange, that one's easy. Also easy matches are rose with pink or red and velvet and galbanum with green. Here are some more:
  • Jasmine: mauve or purple
  • Frankincense: black and fur
  • Myrrh: grey
  • Oakmoss: khaki and leather or wool 
  • Iris: blue or dark grey
  • Cedar: black-brown and denim or flannel
  • Aldehydes: the colour of champagne and silk
  • Tobacco: rust or maroon and corduroy
  • Sandalwood: reddish-brown and cashmere
  • Frangipani: yellow-peach
  • musk: light grey and cotton or angora
  • Ambergris: tan
  • Lime: navy
  • Vetiver: dark green and rough cloth like burlap
Most of them make sense, except maybe jasmine; I have no idea why jasmine seems really purple to me. Diptyque Olene is a brilliant purple.

Do you have any colour associations with perfume or any other fun synesthesias? Or do you have any other strange perfume habits you want to share?

Painting: The Museum of Modern Art in New York - The Dance by Henri Matisse


  1. I normally think of jasmine as white and green, but Alien is definitely purple!

    I match my perfume "color" to my clothes too, when it makes sense. I have a blouse that matches the colors of the Flower by Kenzo bottle/box and I like to wear those together. And Bulgari Black with black. And Rossy de Palma with a red dress.

  2. I, too, mentally envision jasmine as deep, deep, deep purple! And I can't blame Serge Lutens' Sarrasins, because I've been doing that all my life. Maybe I was mixing it up with lilac or something...

  3. annemarie on Beauty On The Outside recently did a post on perfume and colour where I admitted my tendancy to match/compliment my perfume with my clothes, although sometimes it's more like my perfume dictates the colour of clothing I wear (which is probably a bit extreme). Anyway, I'm glad I'm not the only one who does this!


  4. Certain perfumes strike me as having color - but most of them don't.

    (I do have this THING where I have to have my top and underwear at least harmonize. Cannot wear a red blouse with pink undies, or apple green ones. Red and blue are okay, pink and white, green and turquoise... uh-oh, did I just share the color of my underwear with the world?)

    ANYWAY. For example, Silences is silvery green, blue-purple and pink. Le Temps d'une Fete and Chamade are both green-gold, Chamade being both colors and LTdF being more of a shading from sunlight gold through apple green to moss green. Aldehydes often seem bright blue to me.

    However, I can usually harmonize even "colored" scents with what I'm wearing. Would never wear LTdF with light blue, but it's okay with jeans and a white shirt. Can't wear Silences with red or brown.

    You know, I'm not much of a jasmine fan, but then I absolutely hate purple... hate it, hate it, it depresses me... so maybe you're not so nuts relating jasmine to purple! (I like blue-purple/periwinkle, and soft pinky-purple orchid, but that's about it in the purple line.)

  5. Hi Elisa,

    Yes Bulgari Black is for black leather, for sure.

  6. Hi Olenska,

    So I'm not the only one! Cool.

  7. Hello Anonymous, thanks for the tip on the BoTO blog post. I missed that one, but I'll have to go read it.

  8. Hi Muse,

    Don't worry. I match underwear too. Love to wear purple and grey under black clothes, but would never consider wearing them under red clothes.

    I agree with your choices! Silences is silvery green, like fresh sage leaves, which is how I photographed it when I reviewed it. And Le Temps d'un Fete is gold and yellow-green. Wearing it with light blue would make me feel like an easter egg.

  9. This is so cool to me. :)
    I don't really associate perfumes with color, rather with musical tones. This is completely baffling to me because I'm artistic but not at all musical. lol

  10. Very interesting!

    Like *jen, I generally make musical associations, but colour associations have occured to me recently. So many of my perfumes are purple or yellow!

    I smell a group blog project!

  11. I do not associate notes with colors but some perfumes smell of a specific color and I might coordinate them with my clothes.
    Iris Poudre by Frederic Malle is purple. Chanel No 19, Puredistance Antonia and Odalisque by Parfums De Nicolai are green. Angel and Climat by Lancome are blue. Ormonde Jayne's Ta'if is burgundy. Amouage Ubar - amber. And I can go on.
    Why lime - navy? It's an interesting color combination but how does they connect in your mind?

  12. Interesting that Jen pointed out that some scents "sing." I often notice this - some "glow," some resonate musically, some have texture. Weird, that... but sensuously rich.

  13. Hi Jen! You and Muse are lucky, I only rarely hear music for perfumes. Love in Black was like a very low note and a very high note played at the same time.

  14. Hi JoanElaine, So you're another music synesthete. I'm jealous. That soulds lile a cool project, maybe something where we all do the same colour? Or we do the colours of the rainbow.

  15. I'm not sure why lime is navy for me, maybe because I associate the note with classic men's colognes? It seems sort of sea-faring to me too. Like exotic places. well exotic for a Toronto girl.

  16. Undina,

    I always saw Ta-if as dark pink and red roses and golden brown dates, but if you combine dark red and golden brown I think you get burgundy :)

  17. I don't hear perfumes as music exactly, but I do experience some scents as "high-pitched" (synthetic florals) and others as more of a low hum (resins).

  18. Hi Elisa,

    Yes, high and low I can feel that too. And sometimes foody. I'm wearing something today that feels like a layered pastry, a millefeuille. Butterly on top, light creamy middle, darker chewy base.


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