Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Still Life Sketch of Summer Notes

Beginning of Summer
Quiet air conditioning first being used, new leather sandals scraping the ankle’s skin, and the scent of those particular hormones released in humans anticipating the summer holidays – these combined have a very definite scent of excitement on the verge of freedom.

Peak of the Summer
Lemon popsicles, tart and sweet, sweating their juice away in the hot sun;
Melons warmed by the baked earth in the fields;
Watermelons piled up and chilled in the darkest corner in the house while their seeds start to sprout within;
Green figs, fuzzy and stingy, honeyed and tangy, with that dangerously burning milk dripping from their stems;
Hot sand and bubbling boiling asphalt;
Burning bushes and forest fires;
Sour plums – too few;
Sweet overripe apricots – too many, all cooked into a jam on open fire;
White Peaches with tree resin stuck to their skin;
Sunscreen and chlorine blended on sun-soaked skins;
Lemon & Lime bubble gum that is so big and juicy that it’s hard to chew on;
Coconut scented tanning oil and coconut scented chewing gum;
Wheatgerm & Honey Shampoo masking the salty scent of sandy hair – but not quite so;
Straw and mud as the garden and orchards are being watered;
Chocolate covered banana ice cream bars, melting and dripping into the sand and onto tar struck soles;
Spearmint flavoured lemonade and spearmint flavoured rice-filled sour grapevine leaves; Green juice of tomato leaves staining a little gardener’s hands.

End of Summer
Sand Lilies wiggling in the sea salt scented and slightly chilly breeze… Announcing the arrival of school days and books and new introductions.

Summery Building Blocks
Marigold (Tagetes) – this flower loves the sun and the summer and we used to plant it in the vegetable garden to keep away aphides and other bugs.
Spikenard – reminiscent of the scent of just-watered soil, of straw and of mud. Creates an interesting base.

Basil – delicious and abundant in the summer, it adds a wonderful twist to both citrus and jasmine with its aromatic happiness.

Spearmint – cool and refreshing and abuandant in the summer, and also likes to transform jasmines and make them even more radiant.

Rose – luscious tea roses and wild roses in full glorious blooms, warm and soft

Jasmine – particularly intoxicating in the evenings, and the most flexible summery heart note there is.

Rose Geranium – not only as an extension for rose, but a note with its own bold rosy green herbaceous lemony presence with a full bodied fruitiness.

Lemon Verbena – this tropical lemon scented plant has the most delicate lemony scent which
is a bit floral and green, and is a heart note. It’s glorious with rose and refreshing and soothing at once.

Lemongrass – grows in abundance in summer and adds a green and lemony, somewhat hay-like aroma.

Seaweed – a natural building block that brings to mind salty oceans and soft warm sand. A great way to get a marine note without calone.

Lime – the most refreshing green citrus there is.

Lavender – this soft herbal flower can have the most cooling effect when paired with citrus or woods.

I wish you could join me by sharing your summer scent memories with us and adding a comment!

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At June 22, 2006 10:18 PM, Anonymous Flora said...

What a luscious list of summer pleasures!

My childhood summer memories:

The smell of the lake where we swam all summer, especially when it was too hot to be out of the water at all. A sweet, swampy smell, softened by breezes. (I recently rediscovered this aroma after many years in Serge Lutens Datura Noir, of all things.)

The taste of Sugar Babies and Creamsicles and red Tahitian Treat soda, and getting all sticky with these on the way home from the lake.

The smell of cheap hot dogs, popcorn & cigarettes at the drive-in movie theater, tempered with the chilly night air and the flash of fireflies.

The beach in Maine and the taste of lobsters and sweet corn cooked outside and eaten on wooden picnic tables.

The tang of nasturtiums and hollyhocks in my great-aunt's garden.

Eating fresh tomatoes and/or raw sweet corn for dinner and nothing else, right out of the garden. I still do this even in the city!

The aroma of my older sisters' tanning oil - I don't tan but they did, and they would lie out and bake for hours while I covered up or stayed inside.

Going for drives at night to cool off and sticking our heads out of the car windows like little dogs. These were the days before seat belts were in every car.

The sweet smell of raw gasoline at the service station - I stuck my head out for that too!

Wild blackberries - picking them and getting covered in scratches but not really caring.

The smell of clean sweaty horses at the local horse show, like hot sweet fruit. Still my favorite smell. Paradise for me is breathing in the smell of a horse's neck where the skin is thin and finely veined. It is the breath of life itself.

At June 23, 2006 11:46 PM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

Floral - I love, love, love your summer olfactory descriptions!
Interesting how the scented memories are so different - lakes are a very unfamiliar and new scent to me.
Thank you so much for sharing these on SmellyBlog!

By the way, if you love the smell of horses, I think you will like the scent of real ambergris. It reminds me of horses, in a very sweet, tender and subdued way.

At June 24, 2006 11:33 PM, Anonymous Flora said...


Wow, I never knew that about ambergris! How amazing. I know many perfumes use other materials instead of the real thing now, but maybe that's why I like fragrances with ambergris so much? Josephine by Rance' comes to mind - I loved it right away and it's practically addictive to me.

I was thinking about our old lake today - it was HOT here and no relief in sight - how I would love to go out to the lake at dusk and sink into the water. In late summer the shallow end would be quite warm and you could swim for hours. Sigh!

At June 25, 2006 6:25 AM, Anonymous Anya said...

Tamya looks very wet and happy! Did she get to enjoy the sea when you visited Israel? I do notice a little red from the sun -- my antiinflammatory oil will soothe that right away.

Summer notes here: every luscious, overpowering tropical flower you can think of!

At June 26, 2006 11:16 AM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

It was a hot summer weekend here too. I even went into the water in English Bay (despite the fact that they are very cold and not very clean, with lots of driftwood, seagull feathers and probably more ships' oil than water)...

I am working on an ambergris based scecnt now, to be released in the fall. There will be more blog entries about it, but if you like ambergris and spices, I think you will like this one as well...

At June 26, 2006 11:19 AM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...


I wish I could smell all those flowers you are talking about! I will have to visit you down in Forida some day soon.

Tamya was wet and happy indeed - this is an old photo though, from the first day of the summer holiday two years ago. Who would have dreamed that a few weeks down the road her femur would break?! She is most surely anaware of that in this photo. She grew a lot since she broke her leg, that's for sure, and is now talking like there is no tomorrow...

I love your uninflamatory oil, by the way. I took with me 4 bottles to give away to my family and friends in Israel - for either muscle pain or exczema... It's really good!


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