Femme Jolie (Sonoma Scent Studio)

At long last, October has gone on record to declare summer officially over. This morning -- wet, cold, blustery, forbidding -- I thought I might attempt to wear one of the many yet-untried samples that glare daggers at me every time I open the Scent Cabinet. But truth be told, I felt so weepy and out-of-sorts that I couldn't bear to spend the day with a stranger. I needed some kind of warm, soft, and (above all) familiar fragrance that would cushion my heart against breakage.

Without question, Femme Jolie makes an ideal protective covering for thin-skinned days. Ever since Patty introduced us at Sniffapalooza, I have found this gracious pashmina shawl of a perfume to be the very embodiment of merciful lovingkindness. I agree with all who have already remarked upon its kinship to Serge Lutens' Féminité du Bois, but I find Femme Jolie's plum-and-sandalwood to be warmer, more buttery and enfolding, laden with certain humble consolations absent in its august predecessor. And oy, that base-- a musk-incense-labdanum mélange so luxuriously warm, the chill of fear or anxiety cannot penetrate its golden aura.

If my angst gets worse and my urge to hibernate outpaces me, I'll certainly reach for Michael Storer's wondrous Winter Star (which is almost nothing but musk, and appropriately low-down-and-dirty besides). But while my strength holds out, I will dress myself in Femme Jolie and cling to the hope that its gentleness will rub off on me.

Scent Elements: Ginger, cinnamon, clove, plum, peach, orange blossom, violet, cedar, sandalwood, vanilla, musk, labdanum