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Fragrance for a Gold Autumn

One of the most interesting principles in Japanese garden design is the idea of borrowed scenery, shakkei. Using existing landscape elements—distant mountains, ponds, and neighboring structures, a creator would plan the garden in such a way as to incorporate the surroundings into her composition and create her personal vision of nature. Perfumery is generally more about artifice and fantasy, but as summer fades, I too become inspired to borrow autumnal scenery for my fragrant accompaniment. My perfume choices become led by the scents of fall.

Even in the deodorized urban environment, autumn is a fragrant season. The moment that leaves start to fall, the air is filled with a mellow sweetness reminiscent of walnut shelves and faded leather. On my way to the metro, I take a roundabout way through a park, kicking the golden leaves and glossy chestnuts with the tip of my boots. On my scarf I carry Serge Lutens’s Chypre Rouge, a perfume that smells of maple syrup and bittersweet moss. Or I might select the delicate Bulgari Eau Parfumée Au Thé Rouge, an infusion of tea, ripe figs and maple leaves.

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