It's not summer unless you get slightly sunburned at least once without trying (not happeneing...); scraped by an underwater rock (check); and nearly get ran over by a boat (check and check!). While the last two happened, this summer was so ridiculous that the corn and cherries didn't ripen till about 3 weekends ago, there is a painful absence of red peppers, and the lineups for the tomatoes are nearly as long as that to the Madame Tussauds museum in London.
And since there was hardly any summer to speak of this year, reiterating the "best of summer 2012" seems to be a completely meaningless act. Yup, it's just about as bad as last year...!
And even going through my "summer themed" perfumes did not seem to work too well in coaxing the summer out of its shell; or making it stick around any longer. I think we got about 20 days of real summer at best; and this seems to be over already - before the school year has even began, there is that nippy morning chill in the air, and I've already had to wear socks and shoes one evening to keep my toes cozy.
I'll do my best though to do a little round up of whatever summer goodness I was able to snatch while it passed through here, barely touching the inhabitants of this town. Keep in mind that as always, this list is completely personal and has very little to do with new offerings on the market or any other hidden agenda.
While in past years I've been known for being as far as possible from being a scent monogamist of any sort - constantly rotating between scents, trying new things as they come along and as the mood strikes me, and being very eager to try new perfumes; In the past 3 years I've been in a long cycle of wearing mostly just my own creations. It's interesting how personal life changing events affect our emotional state and how that is reflected in anything from choice of colours to scents. In summer 2009, my mother has become very ill - it was a life threatening event at the point and I don't even want to go back to tell you what an awful experience it has been to all of us. But I will happily share the news that her recovery - though not fast - is complete; and she is happier than I've ever seen her before and was able to overcome what seemed impossible and regain and reclaim back her life and freedom. Amen to that! What an inspiring woman and full of surprises my mother is.
But this event have put me in an emotional roller-coaster which took a long gradual recovery from: Most of the commercial and synthetic-laden scents have been very unattractive to me, and I was definitely not going to wear anything that I was wearing at the time of the bad news... And it's only time and inspirational people and moments along the way that got me out of that rut. I still do prefer to wear my own perfumes, but at long last I'm curious again about other perfumes and don't feel as if they are taking up my lungs when I wear them.
The emotional stuff aside, I was also experiencing a sort of a burn-out from all the bombardment of new releases, which I more often than not - found to be quite disappointing. These are probably the two main reasons and explanation for why you could find very few new scent reviews on SmellyBlog in the last 3 years.
And as to why things are picking up again on SmellyBlog (at least on the perfume review front) is in many ways thanks to the inspiring encounter with all the fabulous perfumers and perfumistas at the Artisan Fragrance Salon. And most significantly - to reading Alyssa Harad's book launch and reading "Coming To My Senses" this summer, which revived and renewed my interest in vintage perfumes and perfume collecting in general; reminding me why I love perfume so much (not from the creator's point of view - thankfully non of that was lost in that traumatic summer!). I think her book is an amazing exploration of how scent relates to our lives and how it can connect people from different time zones, eras and cultural background; connect them on a very primal emotional level and at the same time there is no shortage of intellectual intrigue and cultural celebration while doing so.
Beautiful in and out - this flower has a soft, warm, spicy herbaceous scent, more deliacate than other helicrysums that I've smelled.
Favourite Summer Flowers:
Sweet peas and Angel's Trumpets. Both of which smell a lot like heliotropin and anisaldehyde.
And lots and lots of linden... It's not summer in Vancouver without a lot of it in the air!
Note to obsess about:
I agree, not the first note that comes to mind when the word "summer" pops out; but it hasn't really been summer yet...
Best Beach Scent:
Narcotic Flower by 1000FLOWERS. Make it my favourite white floral of the summer as well!
Best Citrus Splash:
Eau d'Orange Verte is becoming a summer staple (when the weather cooperates) and I've been immensely enjoying Artemisia's Yuzu Citrus. And, of course - there was a lot of my new Etrog Oy de Cologne!
Summer Evening Scent:
Omniscent by Yosh
Sweet William by Ineke. I didn't even know till now that sweet william is a type of carnation. Always something to be learned!
Santal de Mysore - though I would have liked to smell a tad more sandalwood in it...
Favourite Scented Body Product:
Persephenie's Linden Blossom Dry Body & Hair Oil.
With it's subtle yet delicious notes of coconut and lime, Linden Blossom Dry Oil is a mouthwatering tropical treat. Spray all over the body for a non-greasy and non-clogging oil based moisturizer, or spray some on your finger tips to style and condition frizzy hair. It will keep it shiny yet not greasy and is perfect for dry or curly hair.
Surprise of the Summer (aka the 180 twist of faith):
Angel. I think I actually like you better in the heat!
(Note to self: Seriously, Angel?!!)
Favourite Masculine Fragrance:
A*Men. Man, I love the coffee note in this scent!
"Coming to my Senses" by Alyssa Harad.
Kir Royale and Midnight Violet
Fresh tamarind pods, which taste delicious on their own; and using watermelon in a salad! Thanks to Alyssa Harad's tip (via Facebook), I've been making my own version with heirloom tomatoes, sweet onion, Macedonian feta cheese and lots of crisp fresh basil. All you need is a little drizzle of olive oil on top, and a few drops of balsamic vinegar.
But, I think the most profound food discovery this summer is using surprising fruit and herb combinations. I've really enjoyed the fruit & herb scented kombucha that Lisa Camasi brought to the party at Laurie Stern's home (more about that later); and have really enjoyed white peaches with fresh thyme, for example.
l'Aimant by Coty. I'm shocked at how modern it smells (very much a skin-musk, from sometime in the 60's). Reviews of all of these 4 to come soon!
Reason why I'm ok it will be fall in a few minutes:
Forest Walk by Sonoma Scent Studio. Certainly something to look forward to!
And don't get me wrong: I LOVE fall. I just like it better when there is a little bit of summer beforehand. It certainly makes the crisp air and fallen leaves seem more magical if there is a teeny tiny heat wave at some point in July or August.
Anyway, I will be looking forward to forest walks in Stanley Park and collecting fallen leaves while enrobed in this veil of foresty, musty and ambery perfume. It's very realistic and beautifully done.
Event of the summer:
Artisan Fragrance Salon (in case it's not obvious already...).
New packaging design for Ayala Moriel Parfums. I'm happy to report that there is huge progress and if all goes well, come fall I will have a lot to show you!
Achievement of the summer:
Trio of perfumes curated for Nicole Bridger is now at their flagship boutique on 4th!
Including Bon Zai, Moon Breath and Palas Atena. Hope you like the new labels as much as I do :-)
Focus this summer:
Teaching, teaching and more teaching!
And I hope there will be even more of that come fall. This coming year is dedicated to turn my teaching into a more widely distributed book. And since it can never hurt to ask for help: if you know anyone who is really in the know in the publishing world (e-Publishing included) I would love to hear from you!
In lieu of Monkey Monday's giveaway, leave a comment with your best of summer scents and sensations; and you will get entered to win a copy of my Foundation of Natural Perfumery Course Handbook*
*Please note, this will not include any correspondence consultations sessions, only the book itself. But I hope that it will be a great motivation for the lucky winner to study perfumery in more depth in the future!