I love cozy settings, but oddly enough, I am not inclined towards wearing “comfort” perfumes, save for those that have a distinctively handsome note in the way of smoke or wood. Today I’m wearing a vintage fragrance that is as splendidly woody, smooth, creamy, and cozy as the English cottage in The Holiday. Just as that cottage might be described as a jewel-like wooden box, so too could vintage Woodhue cologne by Fabergé. Originally launched in 1944, I believe the vintage that I have is from the 1970s or thereabouts, and while it does smell like a scent from yesteryear, if it has truly aged, then it has aged in the way an excellent bottle of wine (or a well-constructed cottage) might age: it smells incredibly rich and dense for an eau de cologne. It smells of high-quality materials that one just wouldn’t expect of a diminutive fragrance-concentration. The notes I found listed for Woodhue cologne at various websites include top notes of orange, bergamot and citrus; a heart note of jasmine; and base notes of sandalwood, vanilla, cedar and musk. Yet there is a gentle spiciness to this woody, balsamic fragrance that can’t be explained by those notes alone. Perfume historian and blogger Octavian Coifan, in his review of Woodhue at his website 1000 Fragrances, attributes this spiciness to a coupling of orris and clove. He also lists Rosewood as being among the fragrance’s notes, which might explain why Woodhue also smells somewhat reminiscent of an acoustic guitar.


Some perfumes remind me of places I’ve never been before, and that is a very good thing. With a woodiness that is both rustic and polished, and just enough spice to lend an air of romance, Woodhue (paired with a movie) is my holiday to that bungalow in southern England that probably would have proved too snug had I occupied it for very long in real life.

What does this have to do with perfume? Well, I’ll get there in a minute; first by telling you that the home I’m most seduced by in the film is Kate Winslet’s cottage that Cameron Diaz winds up in (which takes on further seductive charms when Jude Law shows up at the place. If all Jude Law did was knot and unknot his scarf throughout the entire film, it would still merit watching, in my opinion). Surrounded by Surrey’s rustic splendor, this stone cottage not only has great views and a lovely exterior, but inside it’s got the most irresistibly sexy, snug vibe to it: exposed wood beams jutting from low ceilings and wide-planked wood floors with gently-worn Oriental carpets; fireplaces in both the bedroom and kitchen; a sitting area with library shelves and neatly arranged books; a deep metal bathtub in a cozy stone nook; and a turquoise-colored velvet divan in the living room where a table holds a cream-colored bowl full of oranges studded with cloves. Cameron Diaz provides further cozy accent to the setting, swathed as she is throughout the film in cabled-cardigans and sheepskin coats in winter white.

I imagine there isn’t anyone who hasn’t, at some point in their lives, dreamed of swapping lives with another person. In my fantasy swap, because I am exceptionally greedy for blue skies and could never live in a city for more than a short time, I trade Pennsylvania for the mountainous, big-sky country of Wyoming or the high-desert regions of Arizona and New Mexico. But in real life, I once had the opportunity to trade Pennsylvania for a couple of years in Bath, England, courtesy of an engineering job that was offered to my husband. For various reasons, he declined the job and we stayed here—and considering my penchant for blue skies, perhaps that decision was for the best. But once in a while I think about that opportunity we didn’t take and wonder at what we might have missed, as I have in recent days—spurred by watching a favorite old chick flick, the 2006 film The Holiday. I’m pretty sure the film critics panned this movie, but I love it. The Holiday stars Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet as two unlucky-in-love career women who have never met but, thanks to the Internet, decide to do a house-swapping vacation over the Christmas holidays—mainly to escape all thoughts and associations of the men who have recently broken their hearts. Kate Winslet swaps her homey cottage in the English countryside of Surrey for Cameron Diaz’s airy and luxurious L.A. mansion, and as the story progresses, the viewer is treated not only to a wonderfully light-hearted romance, but also to some splendid filmography of these two very disparate homes on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

Images are from the 2006 motion picture film, The Holiday, written, produced and directed by Nancy Meyers and distributed by Columbia Pictures and Universal Studios, gathered from a number of websites.

My review is based on a decant of the vintage Woodhue cologne that I purchased from Carol of WAFT by Carol.

January 5, 2011:

Like My Fantasy English Cottage: Vintage Woodhue Cologne

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