Dear Mishka – What Would Anne Shirley Wear?

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Illustration by John James Audubon’s  Birds of America  (1827), Wikimedia Commons.

Illustration by John James Audubon’s Birds of America (1827), Wikimedia Commons.

This is a question for your perfume columnist! Can you recommend me any honeysuckle scented perfumes? I was reading an Anne of Green Gables book and Anne mentioned wearing it and I have been wanting to get some for myself ever since :) Also I was wondering if you also know of any perfume lines that do more vintage-style looking bottles? Thank you!

Hi dear reader, what a lovely question! And thank you for giving me an excuse to revisit the Anne books, haha. In terms of honeysuckle perfumes, there are a few that spring to mind immediately, and they also all have vintage-inspired bottles. 

The first is a simple soliflore by Goutal (formerly Annick Goutal): Le Chèvrefeuille. There’s a bright, sunny simplicity to this that reminds me of the innocence and sweetness of much of Anne of Green Gables. It’s a little one-note, and a little childlike, to be honest, but a simple and beautiful summer wear. I will say that honeysuckle tends to be a very difficult note to realistically capture and maintain in a perfume, and they tend to fall apart after a few hours unless paired with flower notes that support them, such as jasmine (which is in the same family). But do give this a try and see how it wears on your skin. All the bottles in Goutal’s line have a quaint vintage elegance to them as well, which feels very fitting for an Anne-inspired choice. 

The second suggestion I have is Olène, by Diptyque. This is honestly one of the most stunning white florals out there. The opening features honeysuckle, which then gives way to a delicate but distinctive jasmine and wisteria. This absolutely makes me think of descriptions of Anne as an adult, and especially as she appears in “Anne’s House of Dreams”. This is the perfume for a bride: joyous, elegant, the fulfillment of cherished dreams and sweet experience. It’s lush without being cloying, and refined without shrinking. A bride with her arms full of flowers, the hem of her dress wet with dew, her eyes shining. The bottle has a timeless beauty to it as well, and all of Diptyque’s flacons have tiny, beautifully drawn illustrations of the scenes that inspired each scent. 

Another option that is actually a bit of a personal favorite, even though it’s quite ubiquitous at the moment, is Gucci Bloom. This one actually features a startlingly accurate note of Rangoon creeper — apparently the first ever in perfumery — and it instantly transports me to the lush, wet gardens of Hanoi and Saigon, during trips with my parents when I was younger. There is, again, a lushness to it that avoids being too cloying, and a kind of joyfulness and optimism conjured by its wet, lush floral notes, reminding me of a garden after a summer rain. The bottle has a wonderfully elegant, understated feeling to it too, and I believe some of the flankers also feature an exquisite baroque print on the label. 

I so hope these suggestions help, dear reader, and I wish you luck in finding a fragrance that you love!

Mishka Hoosen is a writer, creative director, and neophyte perfumer living and working in Cape Town, South Africa. His first novel, Call it a difficult night, was published by Deep South Books in 2015, and he is currently working on a book about perfume and the anthropocene thanks to a residency from IFAS. Mishka is The Attic on Eighth’s Perfume Columnist.