Agonist Floralust ~ fragrance review

Are you reading for winter? Short days are all the better for reading while wrapped in a quilt, and I love fires and big pots of soup. But this year, by mid-February, I’d had enough. Please, I thought, no more walking on sodden ground. No more bicycle commutes that end with me slopping my wet clothes into the bathtub and shivering until the furnace kicks in. No more gray sky, gray earth and gray attitude.

These days call for a change in fragrance. Instead of warming orientals and other viscous, amber-tinted perfumes, I’m ready for the smells of spring. Sometimes, that means a rich hyacinth or narcissus, like my springtime standbys Guerlain Chamade, Annick Goutal Grand Amour and Parfums de Nicolaï Le Temps d'une Fête. But more often, a sheer floral beckons me, something as chiffon-like as that first almost-warm afternoon when you contemplate opening a window. So, I looked forward to sampling Agonist Floralust, described by the perfume house as “wind of jasmine, freesia and magnolia.”

Agonist Floralust ~ fragrance review

Perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin developed Floralust, and its notes include pink pepper, bergamot, freesia, rose, magnolia, ylang ylang, jasmine, cardamom and musk. In short, it’s an easy background sort of fragrance, the kind you might spray on lampshades, sheets, and your wrists when you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, but want to smell nice.

Floralust’s first whiff is of juicy citrus, more like wet orange blossom than bergamot to me. Right away, pink pepper gives structure, and a middle-of-the road musk — not too clean, not too itchy-woody, not animalic at all — adds a sheer foundation. Within this framework is a fresh bouquet of magnolia, freesia, rose and ylang ylang. It smells as if the vase is across the room, and no one note stands out. A sliver of cedar seems to waft in and out, but that might be a trick of the pepper.

Floralust lasts about half a day and should be office and baby friendly. Agonist lists it as “unisex,” and I love smelling florals on men, but macho types might seek out a springlike vetiver instead.

And that’s about it. Floralust doesn’t try to make a statement, and while that’s its greatest asset, it’s also a drawback. For the fragrance’s price — $195 for 50 ml — a perfume shopper with a budget might wonder what she’s getting that’s all that different from what she’d find on department store shelves for less. Light florals with shots of pepper and musk aren’t exactly unicorns.

What sheer springtime florals do you like? Byredo Flowerhead and Chloé L'Eau de Chloé come to mind. Anything else?

Agonist Floralust is $195 for 50 ml. For information on where to buy Floralust, see Agonist Parfums under Perfume Houses.