Scented Advent, December 23 and 24

Happy Christmas Eve! I never got around to posting yesterday because I was so busy creating the first of several family feasts for last night and the next few days. I love to cook, and I love having our kids and their friends around, so this is a great time of year for me!

For December 23, my Advent SOTD was Guerlain’s Embruns d’Ylang, created by Thierry Wasser and launched in 2019. I like it much more than I expected to! Not that I dislike ylang-ylang, but it’s not high on my list of favorite floral notes. I like it a lot as a supporting character in many beautiful fragrances, but I wouldn’t normally seek out a fragrance where it has the starring role.

According to Fragrantica, the notes included are: top notes, Salt and Bergamot; middle notes, Ylang-Ylang, Cloves and Jasmine Sambac; base notes, Iris, Patchouli and Vanilla. I never know how to identify “salt” as a fragrance accord, except as a sort of mineral smell; and Embruns d’Ylang definitely has that in its opening, with a tangy bergamot. Believe it or not, the combination of salt and a bitter citrus has a long history, though mostly involving grapefruit: “Grapefruit and Salt: The Science Behind This Unlikely Power Couple.”

After the opening, ylang-ylang is the dominant accord, and it is very lovely. Interestingly, although I often think of ylang-ylang as falling on the sweeter end of the yellow flower spectrum, here it doesn’t come across as very sweet. It certainly isn’t cloying at all, and it is a ylang-ylang that would work well for all, truly unisex if that is a concern. I don’t smell cloves at all, though given the above article’s explanation of how our taste sensors can cancel each other out, I wonder if cloves are helping to reduce the sweetness of the ylang-ylang. I do pick up the jasmine sambac, but here it is a supporting player.

The ylang-ylang persists into the drydown and the base, which makes for a very interesting combination of yellow floral, powdery iris, soft warm vanilla, and earthy patchouli. I find it quite unique, and very pleasing. It also lasts on my skin for several hours, including overnight.

Yellow ylang-ylang flowers held in hands
Ylang-ylang flowers; image from beezly.com

I find this to be a thoroughly unisex yellow floral fragrance with a unique combination of notes. Its name has a poetic meaning: seafoam of ylang, which takes into account the salt accord. This is different enough that I would suggest trying before you buy it, if you are so inclined, but it is well worth sampling.

Now I have to decide what to wear for Christmas Eve! Truthfully, I have many nice options, so I might have more than one SOTD. Happy Christmas Eve, everyone who celebrates it! Advent officially ends tonight, so I’ll wish you also a very happy Christmas; and to everyone everywhere, a happy, healthy holiday season. Thanks for joining me and other readers here on Serenity Now: Scents and Sensibilities; I look forward to hearing more from you all in 2023!

12 thoughts on “Scented Advent, December 23 and 24

    • Same to you, on all counts! Your situation is much more challenging but I am finding the comments by you and others are helping me retain sanity during this “return to work” period! Luckily I’m now off again until January 3, as the whole university is closed.

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  1. Merry Christmas! I know I put my mini of Jungle L’Elephant in my advent calendar bag, so that’s what’s coming out tonight even though there are other options (I purposefully added more than needed so I would be surprised.). But I decided this one was for tonight. Playing at church and then dinner at our favorite Asian restaurant afterwards. We used to have parties to go to on Christmas Eve, moved to the 23rd this year. Enjoy your family!

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    • You too! Sounds like a wonderful plan for Christmas Eve, and you will smell great! One of my daughters has asked for suggestions for a more “cold weather” fragrance than the spring florals she favors, so I might recommend Jungle L’Elephant for her to try. Marry Christmas!

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  2. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Enjoy your perfumes and all the delicious food you’ll be making. I tried Embruns d’Ylang and it didn’t really work with my skin. I have that problem with ylang scents. I like them very much in theory and on first spray, but after many ylang notes have melded with my skin they no longer smell good. I fare much better with champaca and frangipani. They are my preferred tropical florals.

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  3. hey there OH,
    Sorry I’m late. No excuse, just off living and celebrating and hanging with Jin. It’s been a lovely chill Christmas. Now getting ready to go off for a Boxing Day pool party.
    This fragrance sounds so good and it seems to have slipped in unnoticed for me. Now I’m excited to get down to the Guerlain counter and try it.
    Hope your week between Christmas and New Year are whatever you want them to be. Enjoy the cooking and parties,
    Portia xx

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