Vernal: Scent Semantics #6

Hey Crew. Scent Semantics?

We get a word, we get a date, we have to choose a single fragrance that fits the word and then have to explain how it fits together, in our way. As much or little as we feel the word/fragrance connection needs. We are going to probe a little into how each of us bloggers see the world, fragrance, ourselves. We get to see how one word can inspire different directions in connection. or not.

Vernal: Scent Semantics #6

Old Herbaceous’ word for the month is a completely new word to me. VERNAL! Maybe I’ve read it but it’s never passed my lips in conversation. So exciting to add such a perfect paragraph in a word to my vocabulary. Now that I know it, hopefully it will become part of my personal lexicon.



  • of or relating to spring: vernal sunshine.
  • appearing or occurring in spring: vernal migratory movements.
  • appropriate to or suggesting spring; springlike: vernal greenery.
  • belonging to or characteristic of youth: vernal longings.

Zeybek by Pekji

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Hay, Lavender, Leather, Musk, Narcissus, Tobacco, Vetiver, Lemon, Tonka Bean

Spring has always felt for me like the heartbeat of a tree. I read it somewhere many years ago and can’t remember where. The thought that every spring the earth and all its flora suddenly burst back to life has marked my spring experience indelibly. A great, powerful surge that affects not just the flora but also the fauna. It is time of birth, rebirth, action, mating, pushing towards the future. There is something feral and ferocious about spring, like old gods, sacrifice, fighting for the right to mate, control, and in our gardens it’s an awakening. It’s sunshine, warmth, freshly tilled and manured earth, seedlings, flower buds, new leaves and hedges growing out of control. Suddenly we can eat al fresco, walking the dogs is so much more pleasurable and it feels like we have awakened in a new era. Well, that’s how it feels for me. New, shiny and sometimes a little overwhelming.

So when I was picking a fragrance to go with this newly minted and shiny word in my vocabulary it needed to be burgeoning green and feral and large and intimidating and comfortable and warm and new. So instantly Chamade, Tzora, Jean Nate, Futur, Niki de Saint Phalle, Silences, Granville, Boy, Caron Pour un Homme, Alahine, Tubereuse Couture, Tokyo Bloom and Eau de Narcisse Noir were rendered redundant because they just didn’t have enough wild and untamed power to describe how I see spring. For me VERNAL is mighty. VERNAL is the Empress card in the Tarot; fecund, ripe, fertile and gorgeous. VERNAL is also the cornered vixen fighting with everything to keep her pups alive. VERNAL is Kali, Hindu goddess of death and rebirth.

So I turned to a fragrance that is gorgeous, feral, overwhelming, powerful and quite new to my collection. Zaybek is such a perfect analogy for the way spring affects me. It smells as much like my inner description (that I have struggled to write properly, what’s in this post is a shallow, lifeless, shadow of spring in my head; but I tried) of VERNAL as my collection allows.

Fresh cut, damp hay overlaid with a super sweet and honeyed narcissus/tobacco/tonka. That honey, civet and oud aren’t mentioned astounds me. Zaybek is enticing and mesmerising but as you can see by the bottle I wear it at home for my own enjoyment. It has never left the confines of our apartment for fear of scaring the locals. Imagine what the crotch of an Ent smells like and you’re pretty much where I’m aiming.

Zaybek also lasts magnificently. Hours and hours later my skin pumps this soft coffee and eroticism. Yeah, I know. Worthless descriptors, soz. That’s what I get. It’s a hell of a ride.

How do you interpret and what perfume would you associate with the word Vernal?
Portia xx

Please go check out the rest of our Scent Semantics crew, I’ll be leaving messages at all of them.
Daisy also created a LinkTree which has us all organised in one place


Filed under Perfume Reviews

22 responses to “Vernal: Scent Semantics #6

  1. Wow, just wow, Portia. This is an amazing piece of writing. I hadn’t ever thought about spring in that light before, for me it was woolly baa lambs gambolling on juicy green grass, soft pink and white blossoms nodding in the breeze and fluffy white clouds in a pale blue sky. But you are so right, it is a fiercely powerful season, literally full of life. I can not think of a perfume that embodies this right now, but will put my mind to it. Thank you for turning my mind on!



  2. I love the way you see spring, Portia and I’ll remember that quote about the heartbeat of a tree. The way you interpret vernal resonates with the glorious Magie Noire for me.


  3. Never did it cross my mind that Ents have crotches! Now I cannot unsee that mental image!
    I have some samples of Omer’s hiding somewhere in my hoard & need to search them out to try again reading this


  4. cassieflower

    Hyacinth springs to mind, so I’ll go for Suprafloral by Mugler. Acqua do Gio also fits the bill, smells green and grassy with light florals.


  5. Wild Gardener

    The crotch of an Ent?
    hahaha …
    Hey Portia, you should be writing a book!


  6. I had to look up Ent too, as it will forever be Ear Nose & Throat for me, or maybe an abbreviation for Entertainer. But not so! I enjoyed your ballsy take on vernal, and how you captured the insistent life force of spring. Not sure that Zeybek would be my thing at all, but I absolutely love the bottle, with its mysterious squiggly writing. I am probably with Cassieflower on hyacinths, of which I have a very pungent pot on the go, but no perfumes.


    • Hi there Vanessa!
      Yes, I spent many years of my youth at the E.N.T. doctor. Had everything cauterised, removed, scraped and sorted.
      Hyacinths are gorgeous. We used to have a small patch of them in the garden at the family home that came from one of those potted blooming bunches. I’m sure there some hyacinth perfume here but I can’t remember.
      HA! Zaybek is a monster. Scott wore it to trivia last night in honour of this post. Lovely but ferocious.
      Portia xx


  7. Brigitte

    ENT for me is otherwise known as an otolaryngologist……I quite often make referrals to one….my current spring favorite is Patou’s Vacances…..and of course my custom blend Brigitte the creamy lilac from Sarah Horowitz from 1998


    • Hey Brigitte! Nice to see you.
      I have a bottle of Vacances here. It’s just TOO PRECIOUS to open. I like to look at it though.
      Portia xx


      • Brigitte

        hahaha!! Portia! Life it too short!!!! Open it and spray lavishly…that is what I do now. 32 sprays of many many fragrances in one wearing…..Brigitte style….


        • I’m 100$ with you on the hefty spritz life but some of my unopened perfumes give me as much pleasure closed as the would open. It would be different if there weren’t so many bottles open here. It would get the use and love it deserves. As it is, maybe one wear and then ignored for ages til the next time.

          I do love Brigitte style, especially when it comes into my head to the tune of Gangnam Style! HA! OPA Brigitte Style, hey hey hey
          Portia xx


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