by Angeliska on September 2, 2009
Yes, so I’m aware it’s September and autumn is creeping in,
but here in Texas it’s going to be summer for a while yet!
It’s strange- Fall has always been my favorite season,
and yet despite this hideous drought and blaze we’ve been
experiencing down here, I must admit I’m a bit sad to see summer go.
I want more skinny-dipping, more slip wearing, more nectar sipping!
My body loves being warm here- it’s like floating in amniotic fluid.
Muscles unfurl, neck loosens, shoulders un-hunch themselves
and the smell of hot cedar sap and baking asphalt are a strange balm.
Popsicle season. Sweaty sassy dance party time. Sunset hour.
Summer! Who knew I could ever grow to love it so, especially after
years in the South- swearing up and down that I would never subject
myself to another blistering Texas or muggy Louisiana summer.
Here’s the thing though- I’m a perfume fanatic, and my tastes lean
far more to wintery or autumnal scents. I like manly, leathery, smoky,
spicy, woody tea and green notes. Almost exclusively.
I know what smells good on me, and yet my love of perfume
always leads me to try new things- sometimes this results in
fantastic discoveries. Or not. I’ve been disappointed far too often,
but still find myself engaged in late-night flurries of fancy on
perfume blogs and ebay, determined to find the perfect one.
Summer usually catches me off guard, you see- and my signature
scents are really far too heavy for hot weather. Hence my frantic
night-owl trawling. One day I will find something so heady and
amazing, that captures my vision of what summer should smell like.
It might involve snatches of some the the perfumes below,
which I have been experiencing this summer.
My secret dream is to be a perfumer, so perhaps one day
I shall just have to make it myself! Isn’t that always just the way?
The notes are: green mango, lotus flower,
aromatic rushes (calamus), frankincense, sycamore wood.
I adore green scents (in junior high it was Prescriptive’s Calyx)
and I bought this one on a whim in the Airport (I think it was Schipol)
on route to Serbia. This perfume is a huge reminder of the ability of scent
to powerfully evoke memories! Everytime I wear it, I am instantly transported:
washing off days of grime from the Guča Balkan Brass Festival in the mountains of Dragačevo.
Finding calm and respite in a too-snazzy Belgrade palace hotel. It makes me think of traveling
with my grandfather, my favorite music, being a stranger, and dark green mountains.
I had long looked for a perfume that utilized sycamore, one of my core home scents-
so this one drew me in. I love it so much- it’s almost time for a new bottle!
“Direct from the French West Indies,
sparkling orange basted with banana cream on top,
clove wrapped up with banana leaf in the heart,
vanilla pod and white rum in a mellow background
for a super rich and surprising fragrance.”
I have no excuse for this one, other than that I have a sick
predilection for fake banana flavor. Give me your runts + laffy taffy,
I eat it up. I know it’s wrong, and I don’t care. This is way, way
sweeter than I can normally ever stand- but I wear it when I want
to masquerade as a fluffy sundae, or a tropical maiden. Mmm, nanners!
Oh, also it’s has kind of an effervescent quality, and my dog chewed
on my bottle of it, which is made of metal and now has bite marks.
It must be good, because Grrizelda gave it her seal of approval.
“Demeter’s Firefly seeks to capture the essence
of an early northeastern spring evening at dusk,
the smells associated with the kind of magical night
when the first fireflies of the year appear.”
This has been my number one summer scent this year.
Very reminiscent of Demeter’s Thunderstorm,
with a more earthiness, a bit of verdance, and luminescent
bug-butt squish. At least that’s what I perceive. The bottle
leaks a bit onto my hankies in my bag, and that’s quite nice.
I wear Navegar now and then, but it’s a bit light
for my tastes. Very elegant and understated.
I’d like more spice, more manliness. As usual.
“Inspired by the “black diamond”, pepper,
Navegar perfectly showcases the dual nature
of this king of spices, its warmth and its bracing freshness.
With notes of rum, lime, ginger and anise,
it is a piquant cocktail resting on a luxurious base
of precious woods and incense.
Navegar features notes of red pepper, ginger,
lime, absolute rum, black pepper, incense,
star anise, juniper, cedar wood, guaiac wood.”
“Navegar is a scent of stones, shells and driftwood collected on the beach.
The woody dryness almost makes me feel sand grains scratching my skin,
and as the composition begins its panoramic unfolding, I notice a touch of
salty freshness, which provides an interesting counterpoint to the spices
and woods comprising this Olivia Giacobetti’s creation for L’Artisan Parfumeur.
This imaginary beach is a deserted one–just as the sandy dunes slowly
descend into the dusky mist in the evening, the citrus shimmer of Navegar’s
top notes fades into the raw silk warmth of woods. The luminosity of
Navegar’s woody accord is accented by the spices, from the resinous
dryness of pepper to the pungent bite of ginger. The lovers of Olivia Giacobetti
will find much to enjoy about this L’Artisan—wistful aura, gauzy treatment
of woods and caressing whisper of spices. On the other hand, this ethereal
quality might disappoint those who prefer their spices fiery.”
From Bois de Jasmin
This is my all-purpose summer scent.
It’s good for layering, great alone.
It’s pretty butch, yes- very dry and airy.
Just Vetiver, nothing else.
It comes from Hove,
which is very sentimental and special for me.
Such a magical place, do visit it when you’re
in New Orleans, and send me a bundle of vetiver root.
I’m always on the look out for the perfect Vetiver.
We wear the raw essential oil, which is very wintery
and intense. Most of the commercial vetivers are too
powdery and light! This is dark, dirty elder-god goat sap!
It is a grass, and all- but really. Roots! It needs to be rich.
I’ve tried Vetiver Tonka by Hermès as well as
Fig & Vetiver by Anthousa and found both too light.
The hunt continues on..
Check out this description of Vétiver Extraordinaire,
from Elena Vosnaki of Perfume Shrine:
“Direct vetiver fragrances emphasize the character of the root
in a straight-arrow way, hitting bull’s eye every singe time.
The prototype Vétiver Extraordinaire by Frédéric Malle
(composed by Dominique Ropion) contains possibly
the highest levels of vetiver essences on the market today:
it resembles verdant wet patches amidst cobblestones
in a Medieval Italian town where students of medicine
sharpened their pencils with knives.”
Hello, I’m swooning. She is my favorite perfume writer
because of passages like that. She intrinsically gets it,
and always finds the most perfect language to explain it.
I’m reading Diane Ackerman’s A Natural History of the Senses
right now, and in the chapter about scent she writes that
we have no words to describe scent. Elena Vosnaki
has proved that wrong again and again.
Oh my, how I admire her! Too, too sublime.
Fig by Marc Jacobs
“Unfolds with the richness of fig and the freshness
of yuzu zest and Tuscan cypress—
warm and enveloping without overwhelming.”
Fragrance Notes: Wet Cut Grass, Wild Strawberry,
Clementine Zest, Dewy Cypress, Tropical Rain Accord,
Passion Flower, Sunshine Flower, White Orchid,
Beech Amber, Musk, Tree Moss, Teak Wood.
I bought a giant bottle of this and now sort of regret it.
It’s not dark and figgy at all, really. Oh well.
Anybody want to buy it from me?
It’s very pleasant and summery,
but just not right for me.
Dame Darcy – Sexy Summer Man
“It’s made from the leaves of Tomato plants
and smells like a wonderful citrusy dark green summer.
Many claim that it has helped their love life as well!”
I just got this in the mail from Dame Darcy
with a big bundle of Meatcake Comics
I bought to replace the ones I lost in the hurricane.
Crushed tomato leaves evoke
my most powerful summer memories:
Laying down between the rows,
looking up at the moon, making out.
Chin bristle and dirty fingernails.
The prickle and sting and sharp green
smell of trampled plants and sweat.
It seems like summer scents are usually either green or fruity and fluffy.
I need something versatile, sultry, long-lasting, and a little mean.
Lazy, blends well with my armpit smell, and totally irreverent.
I’m thinking: cedar, sycamore, fig, asphalt, pink pepper, vetiver, grapefruit, storm.
How do you solve this conundrum? What are your favorite summer scents?
(p.s. I can’t recall where I found either of these wonderful photographs, alas.
If you know where credit is due, please let me know!)