Sunday, August 15, 2010

Scents To Go With Summer + Giveaway

Before summer slips away… here are some of my summer staples this year in my perfume wardrobe. We’ve been blessed with a warm and sunny weather this summer (which I hope will prove to remain this way till it fades into fall). I’ve been spending each evening at the beach swimming in the otherwise freezing waters of the Pacific ocean. And I believe that this temporary change to my lifestyle, where my 2-level apartment turns into a beach house (quite literally: the entrance gets covered with sand every evening), my perfume choices are anything but the typical-Ayala wardrobe this summer.

I’ve been keeping my scent choices to the bare minimum. I find that scents are generally overbearing in the heat and tend to keep my scent choices similar to my garments this season - a minimal wardrobe whose highlights (both practically and style-wise) is Vancouver designed and made bikinis - and the rest are light fabrics to help me cool off (transparent white cotton shirts, bamboo and linen dresses, and screen printed nightgowns that are light as a feather), and some splashes of colour to keep everything lively and fun (how about some azure, turquoise and coral?).

So this is how my scent wardrobe looks like. It’s embarrassingly sparse but I love it this way.

Eau d’Orange Vert
Those who know my perfume tastes well enough should know that citrus is NOT my favourite fragrance family. I adore the scent of lemon verbena and lemongrass, not to mention the simple yet timeless aroma of freshly squeezed lemon and their zest dripping into the lemon juice (my favourite way to make a salad dressing is this and a drizzle of olive oil. Nothing more is necessary!). However, I find most citrus scent to lack dramatically in the area of originality or interest. This is greatly due to the fact that most citrus notes are top notes, and fade at an embarrassingly fast rate, usually leaving behind a “meh” trail of nondescript florals or woods, or, worse, the dreaded synthetic musks that are so common in nearly all modern perfumes. Eau d’Orange Vert is everything but a boring citrus. It bursts like a bubble of ether on a plump bitter orange peel. It’s dry yet juicy and nearly mouthwatering – as refreshing as a gin and tonic. It is absolutely non floral at all, which helps to cut through the heat, whether dry or humid; and last but not least important - it conceals a slightly mossy base with a light sprinkle of oakmoss, and that gives it the ultimate appeal for a Chypre lover like myself. Unforutnatley, this has been reformulated quite recently to include no oakmoss at all. And while it still has the juiciness of a grapefruit pulp plus a hint of green mango, both of which very refreshing, it is not as classy as the original. Nevertheless, still better than many other citrus out there.

Terracota Eau Sous La Vent
For those fine evenings at the beach, this strange product which is suppose to enhance tanning (I’m not sure I can attest to that) smells like a stunning white florals at nightfall and is refreshing yet creamy. It makes for a erfect beach scent, and its scent blends nicely enough with most sunscreens – and especially my favourite, which I will discuss shortly.

Hawaiian Tropics Sunscreen
Of all the sunscreens, this is the only one that I actually love its fragrance. Everything else makes me feel uncomfortably covered in an unwanted scent (not to mention some sticky or greasy texture). I can’t say it’s not sticky or greasy, but the scent definitely makes up for every other fault it may have. After all the sunscreen and preservative ingredient list, the very end reads like a tropical vacation – extracts of papaya, mango, guava and plumeria (frangipani) flowers. This might explain why the flies come for a sniff the moment you put it on at the beach, as if you just sliced up a fresh mango fruit! Thankfully, the can realize quickly that there is no real food involved and they leave you and your bikini alone with your beach daydreaming…

Vanille Banane
When I was a little girl, a trip to the beach always included a frozen treat. Usually – a banana flavoured icecream bar with faux chocolate covering. This is an intense and wearble version of this experience, and makes for a wonderful compliment to any pigrimage to the beach, even if you are already covered in sunscreen. Several dips in the ocean will also take the edge of its sticky sweetness.

Bronze Goddess (formerly known as Azuree de Soleil)
Whatever shape or form this fragrance comes from is quite the experience. Though I have to admit that when the brozed body lotion is a little mature the scent turns into something not altogether unique or pleasant (more like a heady drugstore mess). So use up the body products fast! Which is what makes me start thinking that the scent is perhaps better than applying the body oil or the glittery bronzed lotion (it’s full of glittery mica which makes one look like a goddess alright). As for the body oils – I’ve been switching to body oils of my own concoctions instead, and find them to be a lot more reliable as a product, as the scent does not turn into something nasty after maturing.

Song of Songs Anointing Body Oil
My own concoction, which I just released at my tea party, has been a long time favourite that I’ve decided to share with you. The term garrigue came up on this blog while discussing Mediterranean scents. Well, this is a combination of that impression (though no herbs are used in it per se). The responsible element to that effect is the labdanum. It’s like the heated rocks and herbs on the mountains, adorned by sensual roses and saffron. Applying it to the skin leaves it perfumed for some 24+ hours, not to mention a very nourished, silk-like feel to the skin itself, as if it was immersed with botanical gold. It has squalane oil (olive derived, which is a very rejuvenating to the skin as it is very similar to vitamin A), and tea seed oil (a natural anti-oxidant). The particular formulation there is very nourishing yet at the same time very light weight and fast absorbing.

This was my take on how to make a citrus not boring. Jasmine green tea accord is refreshing, especially with an overdose of lemon-verbena-like notes of litsea cubeba, and that underlining fir absolute, which is surprisingly refreshing despite its Christmas tree association. I shouldn’t brag, but Fetish keeps me interested even though it’s a citrus. And I wear it when it’s hot to the point of bothering and it’s not in the least cloying despite that hint of vanilla at the base (vanilla is one of those few natural notes that has a tendency to grow with time rather than fade).

I admit I worn it only once this summer. I also ate green figs once this summer, which come to think of it, is more than I usually get when I stay in Vancouver! A friend picked them from a tree in Kitsilano. As much as I appreciated them, they were pale in comparison to the fragrant figs we get in warmer, dryer Mediterranean countries. A summer without green figs is incomplete, and Philosykos can be a stand-in for the real thing.

Sienna Musk
Last summer Laurie and me had a little exchange of samples of our own scents and this one was love at first sniff. It was a very hot summer, and the forest fires were roaming so there was no sense in trying he Feu de Bois, because it was already smoky!
Sienna Musk is a subtle woodsy musky scent, from the same family as Kyoto (which is another favourite of mine). Wearing it reminds me of peaceful summer evenings on my balcony, burning incense and hanging out on the hammock.

ArbitRary Candle
It may sound counter-logical to burn a candle to reduce the heat. However, when temperatures go up, just placing an ArbitRary candle in the room brings in the refreshing aroma of basil, lime, hay and jasmine.

L’Eau d’Issey
Smelling an ozone-like aroma floating above the water surface was magical got me interested again in l’Eau d’Issey, a scent I wear sparsely and rarely. I love how it is in the parfume extrait form; though admittedly the white-musk dry down is a bit of a let down. But what can you expect from a designer scent?

Un Jardin Apres la Mousson
I worn this practically all summer last year; but neglected this scent for the most of the summer in favour of Eau d’Orange Vert. However, in the past 4 days it’s been so hot that the aloof character of this scent seemd in the right place, especially with its bracing iciness of vetiver, ginger and coriander seed.

Which scents go with your summer? Leave a comment and enter to win a Song of Songs Anointing Body Oil!

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At August 16, 2010 7:21 PM, Blogger odysseusm said...

My summer scents:
Agree about the Eau D'Orange Verte. What a marvelous splash!
Your own Ayalitta certain brings lots of happiness.
Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien, Guerlain Sous les Vent and the sadly discontinued Sud Est by Romeo Gigli also bring summer vibes to me.

At August 16, 2010 10:09 PM, Anonymous Bettina Donofrio said...

A nice selection Ayala.
My personal favs are:
Profumi di Pantelleria Dammuso. Fresh, lots of grapefruit accompanied later by wood and a bit of vetiver. (at least for my nose) to me the scent for a vacation in the very south of Italy.
Another "you remember me of a vacation" fragrace is Vittoria Apuana by Profumi del Forte. This is the beach vacation at the Adriatic Coast in Italy around the late 60's early 70's. Brings back memories of the smell of the sun tan lotion along with coconut which was sold by the piece on the beach and candied fruits on sticks.
Nice and sweet but not overly sweet IMHO
Other favorites are Bigarade Concentree by Edition Malle
citrus Allegro by Prince Jardinier
Palermo by Byredo
All three very nice orange, citrus, grapefruit fumes.
Last but not least Bahiana by Maitre Parfumeur de Gantier.
And one more Aire by Pantelleria

At August 16, 2010 10:16 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Glad you are enjoying Ayalitta in the summer! I wear it year-around, but less so when it's very hot.
I like Eau d'Hadrien - the cypress really makes it stand out among other citrus scents. Sous le Vent reminds me of Paris, because that's when I worn it first. Love it.
And it's the first I hear of Sud Est. Too bad this party is over...

You too have a very nice selection of scents that I have never smelled in my life! It's so nice to find a good citrus. Glad to hear there is more to discover... Your summery beach memory are picturesque... Coconut and beach are two of my most favourite things!

At August 17, 2010 4:25 AM, Anonymous Amy H said...

That Song of Songs anointing body oil sounds wonderful. Did you go with the 2% or 4%? I'm not a body oil user in the summer, but come fall, I'd be all over that!

This summer I've been wearing Philosykos, a summer staple. Also wearing Eau de Sud, vintage Ma Griffe, and a cherished new acquisition, Sharini Parfums' Grains de Paradis, a truly gorgeous scent I can't even really describe in words, it's just perfection.

Have also been enjoying your Arbitrary candle so we have at least that in common :)

I also love reading about your evening swims in the ocean.

At August 17, 2010 7:30 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Amy, my 1st batch was made at 4%. I'm wearing a 2% now, and although I still smell it it is not as strong as the 4%. I think it's just going to have to be higher concentration and a more expensive product. I put it up online temporarily (with no photo for now) and at an introductory price so that my out-of-town customers could try it (my Vancouver customers got to try it in my Midsummer Tea Party and loved all the body oils, which I'm really thrilled about!).

I love Eau de Sud though I don't own it. It was my only love at 1st sniff from Annick Goutal, yet somehow I never came around to a full bottle.

Sharini perfumes are quite something. Nick is a very talented perfumer and I really enjoyed the perfumes I tried from his line, though Grains de Paradis was not among them.

And you'll never guess - I got a vintage Ma Griffe this summer. Not sure from which year, but it's from the good old times when you didn't need to list anything besides alcohol, water and perfume on the outer package. Those were the days... Haven't opened it yet. To me Chypres like that are something you open at fall/winter to mark the change of season.

I'm glad you like reading about my swims :-) I wish I can keep at it till the end of September. Though even the end of August would be considered quite fortunate here...

At August 17, 2010 8:48 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

This summer I've been wearing a lot of:
Penhaligon's Orange Blossom (so light and refreshing, it's like my idea of a cologne)

Diptyque Philosykos (love that woody fig)

GdG Hinoki (smells like the cottage to me)

Montale Jasmine Full (narcotic and addictive to me)

I'd love to try Song of Songs. And I'm still hoping you'll find a storefront in Toronto soon :)

At August 17, 2010 9:09 AM, Blogger Ankica said...

Great post you have :) as usual. Every year I have new "summer" scent but this year I was mostly surrounded with: DKNY Women, Kenzo Peace Vintage edition, Malabah from Penhaligon's, Sensi White notes from Armani, Aromavitalising from Guerlain and evening scents: Code (Armani), L'instant (Guerlain) and Alien (Mugler). Uh... too many...

At August 20, 2010 1:10 PM, Anonymous stellaglo said...

this summer, mine have been L'eau de L'artisan, the pour une ete, eau dynamisante, balenciaga paris, and every now and then a lush floral like chloe (original) or carnal flower.

At August 20, 2010 5:20 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Ayala!

Yes, good call on the EAU D'ORANGE VERT.

Me, I'm getting lots of summery vibes from Andy's ORANGE STAR. Juicy citrus, lemongrass and opoponax married to a slightly smoky-sweet base of birchtar, patchouly and a hint of tonka & vanilla.

I'd love to try SONG OF SONGS!



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