Friday, July 17, 2009

Ultimate Summer Wardrobe - Scents for Every Occasion

This midsummer, I’ve invited a few others of my favourite bloggers to list their favourite summer scents. What started as a simple “top 10” list (we bloggers all love those for some reason, as redundant as they may seem to some of our readers – or not) – turned into a summer guide to what to wear, when and why for nearly every possible summer scenario we could think about. I want to thank all the participating bloggers for being such great pals and joining me on this last-minute blogging project; and for coming up with so many cool ideas for different summer scenarios that requires a matching scent. Special thanks to Gaia for finding this quirky summer photo and for Elena for adding the tagline on the image (I still need to figure out how to do stuff like that on Photoshop – I only know very few tricks there!).

So here we go, scents for (nearly) every possible summer occasion, at least the ones I could think of with a lot of help from my perfume blogger friends. And I would like to hear what you think is missing from the list or what you'd chose for your summer wardrobe. I will have a draw between the readers to win 2 miniature bottles of Jo Malone's Grapefruit Cologne and Lavender Cologne.

A Day at the Theme Park or Fair
I though this would be my toughest scenario to find a match for. But it was the easiest: Sugar by Fresh = cotton candy and lemonade. Just add some butterflies as you scream your way on the rollercoaster and you’re good to go.

Summer Night in the Big City
I’ve only been in three big cities during the summer: London, Montreal and New York. The first I was too young to wear any perfume, plus it rained so much it did not feel like summer). Montreal is mostly remembered for the jazz. And the latter was your expected humid, suffocating polluted summer days and one of my main purposes in the trip was perfume shopping. One evening I ended up with my newly acquired Chinatown. A grave mistake as this is better in cooler weather. But from than on I will always remember Chinatown as my New York City perfume (I bet that would make Bond No. 9 happy). If I were to choose my own way now, I would go with something more personal and close to the skin, something to call my own and identify myself in the big crowds. And in a more quite, less obtrusive way than how Chinatown does it. For the sake of picking one scent I chose Magazine Street by Strange Invisible Perfumes. It starts with a lovely white magnolia note and a sharp contrast of vetiver and develops into a musky skin scent, woody, a tad smoky, and very distinct.

International Travel / Jet-Setting
This is a tough one. When I travel I don’t like wearing much, and what I usually do “wear” is those little towelettes soaked in some typical eau de cologne. For long flights that’s usually as much as I can tolerate. Or I would sometimes stop at Hermes and put some Eau d’Orange Verte. Such scents help me feel refreshed and a little bit cleaner than I probably am being stuck in a cabin for long hours (most of my flights are to Israel, so we’re looking at least at 14 hours inside the plane). I like airplanes so little that I don’t really want to associate anything with my actual flight. But last time on my trip back from France, on the London-Vancouver flight, I stopped at Chanel before I got on the plane and doused myself with Sycomore. It turned out to be an excellent choice. It’s a scent I already love (so no fear of associating it with airplanes) and there must have been something really grounding and comforting in the vetiver with hints of mastic resin.

Going Sailing
Deseo, with its equal measure of trashy coconut and synthetic fruit and clean-cut modernized so-called “chypre” - it reads more like a fougere to me. It has a hint of that watery-musky base that so many aquatic masculine fougeres have (Cool Water and the like) but at the same time feels warm and confident. Deseo is like a beach scent with balls, and would be my choice for a little wild ride on a motorboat in English Bay.
P.s. I’m such a show-off, you should know that it would be my brother actually riding the boat, and I will be begging him to tone down the speed ;-)

Drive-In Theatre
Not that I’ve ever been to one (yet) so I can only imagine this based on what I’ve seen in all those 50’s movies. I can’t imagine myself wanting to wear a 50’s style scent (read: aldehydic floral) in the summer. So instead I am going for a scent that my brother described as smelling like the interior of a taxicab, and by that I mean pretty much the entire “Vanille” collection from Comptoir Sud Pacifique. Their Coco-Vanille is particularly realistic, as it smells exactly like those little coconut-scented paper trees that are so commonly popular with taxi drivers in Israel. If you want something more wearable, go for Vanille-Abricot or Vanille Pineapple.

Summer Siesta
There’s nothing sweeter than taking a little nap to make that hot afternoon pass faster, and skip straight into sunset. And even better – a nap taken on a hammock in the garden. To me, Sweet Lime and Cedar smells like this siesta: a combination of the jasmines climbing on the pole where the hammock is tied up to, remains of a watermelon eaten on the grass, and of course the fibers of the hammock releasing their scent even more in reaction to the salt from one’s sweaty back...

The Farmer's Market
Philosykos, because green figs is the only thing that will never show up in a Farmer’s Market in Vancouver and I miss them so much!

Summer Garden Scent
Of all perfumes, the one I chose to wear when tending to my summer garden (all pots and planters, mind you – I’m still on the waitlist for the community gardens!) is Chrysalis by Soivhole’. It has a dominant note of marigold (FYI: any amount of marigold is dominant and this one is beautifully done without being too much), and marigold to me read summer! Other notes include Absinthe, cognac, fig and organic butter tincture, jasmine, orange blossom and carnation.

Beach scent
Yes, this subject is very original, I know, but definitely necessary whenever summer is in question!

My all-time favourite remains Azuree de Soleil Body Oil (it’s now called Bronze Goddess but I’m still finishing up my second bottle of the original name). Its mix of vetiver, incense, gardenia and honey resembles a sun warmed skin and it’s not as clichéd as so many other beachy scents. I love it on its own but it also layers beautifully with other scents (meaning: you can wear another scent on your pulse points and they really complement each other). My favourite pairings are Songes and Chinatown.

Rainy Beach Day Scent
But for the sake of changing things around a bit, I have two more scents for the occasion - which is all the more appropriate because it’s the single summer activity I take part of no matter what. You’ll rarely NOT find me on the beach during the summer! I even go jogging on the beach when it rains (that goes for every season though…).

And on a day when it rains and all you can do on the beach is build sand castles or jog along the seawall, there’s nothing better than Turtle Vetiver, which smells like playing in wet sand.

Poolside Scent
Terra Cotta Eau de Sous le Vent is again not really a perfume but technically a tan-enhancing body spray. It also smells wonderfully of gardenia and sun-warmed skin, perhaps with hints of coconut and suntan lotion. I first worn it on a balmy May night at Cannes beach by the Cinema de la Plage, and hope this is the memory that’s going to stick with me. There is more gardenia than sun warmed skin or sand, which is why I’ve picked it as a poolside scent rather than for the beach. It lacks that “dirty” side of sand and salt and oiled skin so I think it will be more appropriate for the sterile fun environment of a pool party.

If there is one thing I could do without during the summertime is Bar BQ. Being a vegetarian and a perfumer there is not much for me in it: I can’t eat the food. Even the vegetables and fake meats will most likely be covered with meat juices, and I could never see the point of scorching vegetables anyway. Must be something that works wonderfully with meat… And besides, the smoke and the smell are horrific to me. I know I am a minority but whenever my neighbours downstairs Bar BQ (which is pretty much every other day of the week and even more so during the summer) I just want to run away…
So what to wear in that situation? Tough question, because all I try to do than is avoid the smell… Perhaps Giacobetti’s ingenious Tea for Two (l’Artisan Parfumeur), where the smokiness can be mistaken for a cup of fragrant lapsang suchong masked with brown sugar and steamed milk.

The Chinese Night Market
Every year in the summer, for three nights people from all across the Lower Mainland defy the notion of guaranteed bad parking conditions and swarm the Chinese Night Market in search for bargains and Asian street food that can be found nearly nowhere else in town. For such a night I suggest wearing a sheer playful floral, and my choice is Pure Poison. There’s nothing serious about it and the combination of orange blossom and heady tuberose over incense and musk is universally sexy and goes well with sweet crepes, fruity bubble teas and deep fried ice cream. If you are planning on having a green papaya salad, reach for Sweet Lime & Cedar instead.

Best Fruit Salad Scent
Fruit salad scents have been all the rage for over a decade now starting somewhere in the mid 90’s innocently enough with aquatic florals such as Acqua di Gio, Light Blue and so on. Unfortunately, once the aquatic floral craze died out with stayed with fruit salads, compotes and syrups till this very day, which took over most designer and celebrity fragrance releases for women. Only now we finally get to see the end of it (I hope) with some more interesting takes on the subject. Un Jardin Apres la Mousson is a prime example; where juicy cantaloupe is juxtaposed with vetiver, pepper, ginger and coriander, resulting in a fragrance that is wearable, transparent and intriguing despite its simplistic composition.

Summer Meditation
With so many things happening in the summer, and the unlikelihood of saying “no” to all these attractive choices, one could end up exhausted and in much need for introspective down time or meditation. Than I like to burn Buddhist sandalwood incense or fine Japanese incense sticks under my Star Jasmine bush and just sit back and relax on my porch… For such times, there is no better incense summer scent than Kyoto, with its hinoki, musk and mastic notes it is deceivingly light but really quite haunting.

Read on what other excellent perfume blogs have to say about scents for every occasion in summer:


The Non Blonde

I Smell Therefore I Am (Abigail's List)

I Smell Therefore I Am (Brian's List)

+ Q Perfume Blog

Scent Hive

Savvy Thinker

Moving and Shaking

Bittergrace Notes

Perfume Shrine

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At July 17, 2009 11:11 AM, Anonymous Trish said...

Looks like you and I were on the same wavelength with Azuree de Soliel/Bronze Goddess.

Thanks so much for including me in this summer scent event!


At July 17, 2009 1:29 PM, Blogger Abigail said...

I'm happy you spotlighted Jo Malone's Sweet Lime & Cedar because it deserves more mention. It's a great scent. In fact, I like several JMs in summer, especially White Jasmine Mint (or Jasmine White Mint...forgetting the proper name)

And I love your pick for the Farmer's Market - Philosykos. Philosykos is the scent that swooped me into the whole niche category in the first place. Ahhhh, I love that stuff!

Thanks so much for organizing us. :-)

At July 17, 2009 7:08 PM, Blogger Gaia said...

Last summer I spent a week in Israel and wore three perfumes: Tauer's Incense Rose, Olivier Durbano Amethyst and Rubj by Vero. All of them bloom in the heat and I could swear Amethyst had a cooling effect. Or at least calming, something I dearly needed.

Thanks for making this happen. It was a fun project.

At July 17, 2009 10:46 PM, Blogger Flora said...

Great list! I like many of the same scents, especially the CSP vanilla-and-fruit combos, they are so much fun.

I am trying to get even more summer scents, I can never have enough. Right now I am loving Andy Tauer's L'Air du Desert Marocain very much, it's one of my all-time favorites anyway, and it is especially great on a hot night.As for which occasion it would be suitable for, I would wear to a street fair or farmer's market, so the spices would mix with the festive mood. I would also wear it on a hot date if I had the chance - it may be technically a masculine scent, but I find it to be universally sexy.

Gardenia can be iffy in the heat, but I love wearing Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia, the cardamom and incense tamp down the heady sweetness of the florals, and it is actually quite a refreshing and uplifting scent. I wear it to work in the summer, but it would also be great for a picnic in the park under the trees.

At July 18, 2009 1:09 AM, Blogger Perfumeshrine said...

Lovely choices and thinking behind them and I like many of them, even if I haven't personally listed them as this summer's picks.
I agree with you on both TSLV (review pending) and AS/BG, they're good interpretations of this "genre".
As to Sycomore, what can I say: I have been literally swept off my feet with its calm, easiness and beauty! It fits anything and performs great (it's never heavy).

Thanks for organising this and including us!

At July 19, 2009 3:01 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Ayala, I often see Deseo on sale at TJ Max and have almost purchased it several times. There's something about it I really like. Does it last well? It's such an odd smell. Oddly compelling. It isn't something I would think to look for; finding it, I always think, There you are!

Thanks for the invitation to participate in this. It's always fantastic to get on each other's wave-lenght this way.

At July 19, 2009 3:58 PM, Anonymous Nina Z. said...

Thanks for organizing the summer scent project. I've had a wonderful time reading the different blogs over the last few days, learning about new fragrances and "meeting" new bloggers.

I'd love to be included in the draw, as I definitely enjoy grapefruit. I'm still learning about perfume, but this summer I'm enjoying Eau Lente and Bellogia when it's cool and foggy (I suppose a cold, gray, morning in Northern California is its own special category), and Philosykos, Eau Illuminee, Un Jardin en Méditerranée, and Osmanthe Yunnan when its warm, dry and sunny.

At July 21, 2009 6:33 AM, Blogger Lou said...

The use of a 'grounding' scent - with vetiver - for air travel (which I dislike too) is such a smart idea. I'll have to, eh, unearth my miniature Sycamore again, but meanwhile since both you and Trish mention Azuree/Bronze Goddess with vetiver, coconut and (OMG) honey ánd incense and gardenia, I feel a need to run out and get my pale nose stuck to a bottle of this. Somehow I've always, always snubbed this one, even irrationally refusing to read about it. (But then, perfume allows one to be irrational, right?).
Turtle Vetiver qualifies as the most original name I've heard in a long while. Strangely evocative.
What a lovely read this list has been. And thanks once more for including me!

At July 22, 2009 10:44 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Isn't Azuree de Soleil something? It smells like honey on sun & sand-warmed skin!
And thank you for mentioning Tamya perfume in your list :)

At July 22, 2009 10:44 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Jo Malone has a few scents that I really enjoy. Sometimes their simplicity is what I crave. I find Sweet Lime & Cedar to be original and complex, but a little hard to wrap one's nose around... The florals in there are quite potent surprisingly!
And Philosykos is just to die for and a summer staple for a few years in a row now.

At July 22, 2009 10:48 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

A fun project indeed!
I always stick to lighter scents in Israel. The combination of the humidity in Tel Aviv with a scent is suffocating to me. But I really enjoy light scents there as they develop on my skin and become more interesting than in the cool Vancouver weather.
I will have to try some orientals in the heat one of these days...! Haven't touched on in a while, perhaps since Fleur de Shanghai.

Another thing too: in the heat the overall scents in the environment increase, so adding a scent can be a bit much. I start liking those fleeting scents when I visit there again (btw when I lived there I only wore Abishag, which was discontinued, and Diorissimo).

At July 22, 2009 10:50 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Yours is the second mention of l'Air du Desert Marocain, so I will have to find my sample and try it. We are experiencing hot weather, so it's all the more appropriate to try some of your excellent suggestions!

And Vintage Gardenia is one of my favorite Jo Malone, even though it's a little moody. I'm not usually into layering, but it's interesting with Black Vetyver Cafe and with Sweet Lime and Cedar (both my other two favourites of Jo Malone).

At July 22, 2009 10:53 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

You're right, Azuree Soleile/Bronze Goddess and Terracotta Eau Sous le Vent are up there as the epitome of the beachy gardenia and coconut genre, and both are not too cliched either if that's possible. Really easy and fun to wear.

Isn't Sycomore gorgeous? It's very centering and grounding. I only wish it came in a slightly smaller bottle than what it is. Someone compared the size to a thermos on one of the forums and I can't agree with them more. I don't even know how I will hold it in my hand and spray it (or else I would have had a bottle by now).

At July 22, 2009 10:55 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Deseo has an excellent lasting power. It's interesting how it has component from the fruity-sweet, aquatic-floral, marine, mineral-salty-earthy - all in one scent. It seems a bit dissonant at first but it all comes together nicely. There is something quite masculine about it I feel, but without being too obvious about it. The Deseo for me though I don't like at all, it's too much of the typical watery fougere, don't you think?

At July 22, 2009 10:57 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

I love your summer wardrobe (some of the scents I wear this summer too). And I'm glad you found the perfect scent for a gray cold Northern Carolina summer morning! Each place has its odd summer off-weather day. Kind of like bad hair day perhaps?

At July 22, 2009 11:00 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Vetiver is such an intriguing note on every level. Thankfully I have Sycomore as a miniature (because as I said the Exclusifs size is out of the question - forget about price, I'm talking about just holding the bottle in my hands as I mentioned earlier).

You must try Bronze Goddess (or Azuree Soleil if it turns out anywhere). The two are the same as far as I can tell. But get the body oil (which is also a spray). The alcohol fragrance is not as good. There's something about that oil, I tell you...!

At July 22, 2009 11:02 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Trish, Abigail, Gaia, Elena, Brian and Lou,

And thank you so much for reading my SmellyBlog entry and commenting!

Thanks to YOU and all the other participating blogs - for responding to my invitation to participate in this summer blogging project. It's been so much fun!
I'm sure we will do this again :)



At July 24, 2009 4:35 PM, Blogger Juan Garcia said...

Great posts as always! I think (and have been wearing) my fall collections but just use less sprays(and only chest haha). But I'm looking forward to wear Guerlain Vetiver, Terre D'hermes , Mugler cologne, Cartier declaration and Dior Eau Savage! ;0

At July 24, 2009 7:03 PM, Anonymous Chris G said...

I've been wearing Diorella, Ambre Gris by Balmain and most recently, Estee Lauder's new Jasmine White Moss.

At July 24, 2009 9:40 PM, Blogger Felicia Shenker said...

Am I too late??

I've been wearing Eros by Opus oils, vetiver and mandarin, I love vetiver in summer...


At July 24, 2009 10:08 PM, Blogger HJ said...

Hi Ayala, hope I'm not too late to enter!

I thought perhaps you could add a summer wedding to the list!

I recently attended such a wedding [although its actually winter here in Australia, just 13+ hours drive up the Western Australian coast you can find some rather balmy winter weather. The location boasts gorgeous turquiose beaches and fabulously warm sunny winter weather!]

I felt a beautiful floral summer scent was called for. I wore Liz Zorn's Sunset Rider [I think its had a name change since I purchased it]. I love narcotic jasmine that radiates from sun warmed skin.

Warm regards

At July 25, 2009 2:01 AM, Blogger Justine Crane said...

Hi Ayala,

Summer scents ~ Khamsa (mine), a little Youth Dew before bed so I fall off to sleep dreaming of warm, sweet things, and a little number called Madame Talbot sent to me by a beautiful friend, but I don't think I'm supposed to talk about that one yet. I was wearing Czech & Speake's Neroli, but it sticks too hard and I just end up washing it off after a few hours. Found a little tiny bottle of Devon Violets that I dabbed on my wrist. Sooooo sweet and innocent and sooo not my style!


At July 25, 2009 5:28 AM, Blogger thescentmuse said...

Annick Goutal's Mandragore has been my summer staple...and Liz Zorn's Grand Canyon.

What a great summer event!!

At July 25, 2009 7:22 AM, Blogger vischka said...

I'm wearing LP's Ananas Fizz and Ava Luxe's Moroccan Mint Tea. I tried a sample of LP's Tea for Two, which I'm finding is nice on rainy summer days. The draw is so exciting as I've been reading about JM scents lately but have yet to sample them.

At July 25, 2009 7:32 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Juan, you've got good taste! I am quite partial to all the scents you mentioned (except Mugler's Cologne, which is too soapy and musky to my taste for wearing as a scent.
I can't think of any other three scents that would smell better on a man than Vetiver, Terre d'Hermes and the timeless Eau Sauvage :-)

At July 25, 2009 7:34 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Chris G,
Diorella must be perfect in the heat. For some reason though, I can't pull it off (maybe too floral for me?). I love her sister and brother though! (Le Parfum de Therese and Eau Sauvage).

At July 25, 2009 7:35 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

I never tried Eros. But I can definitely agree with you about vetiver. It is very cooling in the heat, and I like the fact that it has more depth than the run-of-the-mill citrus!

At July 25, 2009 7:39 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

For some reason I think of Australian winters as relatively warm too. Maybe just a misconception... But what do you expect when you compare it to Canada?
Have you read Gaia's suggestion for a summer wedding scent? That part was so funny...!
Liz Zorn is ever so talented and knows how to make interesting and well-constructed perfumes. Sunset Rider is one of the few of her scents I haven't tried (at least not with that name).

At July 25, 2009 7:43 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

You must have good luck with a scent called Khamsa! Do tell us what's in it please?
And Youth Dew is so wonderful. As long as you are careful with how much you put in... But again, it's a winter scent for me. Though I can see it working just fine in the heat with the spices having a reverse cooling effect.
Haven't tried the others you mentioned yet.

At July 25, 2009 7:45 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Most of the Annick Goutals are so light they are perfect for summer. They actually bloom better on the skin in warmer weather. I really like Eau de Sud, and also Eau d'Hadrien (more in the body products though than the actual scent).
Wow, it looks like Liz Zorn's scents are popular this summer! I'm so glad to see so many of hers mentioned here.

At July 25, 2009 7:49 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

I LOVE the Tea for Two and interestingly enough have been wearing it quite a bit this summer (even though usually I reach for it in the fall). It's like a milky Lapsang Suchong.
And I adore Ananas Fizz but ran out of my samples of it so will have to get a decant (and maybe even a bottle eventually!).
I hope you enjoy the Jo Malone scents if you get picked by SmellyBlog's draw-of-the-hat picker.
If not, I have quite a few samples from that line that I have in my to-pass-on box so I can mail them to you to try. They are really light and summery, which is why I decided to use them for the giveaway. My personal favourites are Black Vetyver Cafe, Vintage Gardenia, Orange Blossom and Sweet Lime & Cedar.


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