Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My favorites for summer 2010

I’ve often thought other bloggers were getting ahead of themselves when posting their “top favorites of the season” lists at the very start of said season. I made a conscious decision to hold off on mine until the end of the summer when I can actually tell you what I have worn and enjoyed the most. Now, this doesn’t make for increasing summer perfume sales anywhere, as most of us are now looking forward to Fall fragrances, but I guess depending on where you live you could easily have another month of summer weather ahead of you.

These are the fragrances that I wore the most this summer. These are not simply scents I think are perfect for summer, in theory, but rather the juice I sprayed on myself as I left the house for the day. Summers in Santa Fe aren’t like the East Coast where I’m originally from, there’s much less humidity, so I’m finding I don’t have to wear solely the lightest, sheerest, greenest colognes like I used to, but, being a creature of habit, I have been enjoying mostly the usual warm weather fare. And after I post this I need to check back to see what I was wearing last summer (surely there are a few of the same).

(alphabetical order)

Annick Goutal Le Chevrefeuille: My favorite honeysuckle iced tea fragrance. Pure perfection. I wear it every summer and always will as long as Annick Goutal promises to never reformulate or tamper with its deceptively simple beauty.

Atelier Trefle Pur: The Atelier line is quite nice. All are natural smelling and sheer, however, if you spray yourself wet most of their scents last much longer than you might guess. Trefle Pur is a beautifully airy green scent. It starts off like a gentle green clover filled meadow and dries down to a light woody green base. It’s different from other green scents in my arsenal because it isn’t bitterly green or stridently green as you might associate with the galbanum note; Trefle Pur is a gentle little green gem.

Diptyque L’eau de Tarrocco
: at one time I suggested Chandler Burr was crazy for rating this fragrance highly. I hereby eat my words. While L’eau de Tarrocco is definitely reserved for only the hottest days, it is an absolute jewel amongst citrusy cologne type fragrances. It is so naturally refreshing and joyous. I learned that I need to spray myself wet in order for this scent to register for about 2.5 hours, and so this is what I do.

Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese
: Therese is gorgeous, even with the melon note. I would slightly prefer wearing Diorama instead but I’m skittish about using my bottle of Diorama because it’s harder to get, only sold at the Dior boutique in Paris, while I can buy Therese easily in the US. I’m comparing these two because Roundnitska created both, with Diorama arriving on the scene wayyy before Therese and they are quite similar in structure. Therese is more natural smelling while Diorama has a more classic “perfumey” scent.

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Grosellina: Yep, even an Aqua Allegoria made it into my summer wardrobe. Grosellina is the tartest fruity scent ever! It smells of red currants that make my mouth pucker and water. It is a unique and unusual fruity scent and that is easily worn in hot weather and is the farthest thing from a derivative fruity floral scent.

Heeley Oranges and Lemons Say the Bells of St. Clements: This is a shockingly gorgeous citrus floral. It reminds me of Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier but the Heeley is a million times better. For anyone who loves citrus, neroli and orange blossom type scents this is a must try. The longevity is decent for a perfume of this type.

Il Profumo Blanche Jacinthe: Watery hyacinths. This little number has captured my heart and I’ve worn it a lot this summer.

Paco Rabanne Metal: One of the best green chypres on the planet. An especially great mood lifter at the start and it dries down to a gorgeous woody green chypre.

Parfums D’Orsay Tilleul
: This is typical summer fare for me, the best linden fragrance I’ve found so far.

Parfums de Nicolaï Mimosaique
: Again, this is typical summer fare, the best mimosa soliflore I’ve found yet.

Profumo del Forte Roma Imperiale: “bunny eared oriental” Roma Imperiale is the softest, gentlest, good night’s sleep, spring in my step, good hair day oriental I’ve found yet. One important note: I have found Ava Luxe Mousse de Chine to have a similar vibe. I wrote about Mousse de Chine awhile back and recently made the connection. So, if you happen to like Roma Imperiale but don’t want to spring for it due to the price you might try Mousse de Chine.

Santa Maria Novella Melograno: This is an aldehydic, slightly powdery, slighty musky scent that bears no resemblance to “melograno” which is pomegranate. Nevertheless, it’s along the same lines (loosely, I mean very loosely similar) as one of my favorites, Chanel No. 22. Melograno is much more casual than No. 22 and is easily worn as a summertime scent for me. It’s also much less fierce and attention seeking. It’s rather difficult to describe, there are some slight incensey qualities and even a touch of leather upon dry down. It’s not for everyone but for those that like this sort of thing Melograno is unique and memorable.

Strange Invisible Perfumes Fair Verona: One of the few jasmine predominant perfumes I love, but it’s equally strongly on orange blossom so that might be why I can love it, the orange blossom tempers any of the typically attention seeking indolic jasmine qualities. I also love SIPs Epic Gardenia and again, this is coming from a person who doesn’t like gardenia. SIP does some brilliant florals. Fair Verona might be the easiest to love, a “beginner” SIP if you will. It’s fresh yet floral and I love getting whiffs of this one from inside my shirt.

Honorable mentions (I had to cut the list at 12, otherwise it would have been unruly):
Emilio Pucci Vivara Variazioni Sole 149 (lovely citrusy chypre in similar fashion as Chanel Cristalle)
Bond No. 9 Eau de Noho (gorgeous green linden)
Hermes Pamplemousse Rose
Hermes Au The Rouge (roobios tea with fig)
Chanel No. 19 in the most exquisite vintage formulation that I bought from a POLer (the difference between this vintage and the current is vast)
Creed Aubepine Acacia (unique citrusy scent with a slight mimosa/hawthorn heart and a much less heavy yet traditionally Creed dry down)
and last but not least Hermes Eau d’Hermes (this I wear when I’m craving a little cumin skank. But Eau d’Hermes is a sheer, easy skank and perfect for any season).

So, what have you been wearing this summer? Mostly old standbys or have you found a few new perfumes that have entered the winner’s circle? Do tell...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Paco Rabanne Metal

I happened upon Paco Rabanne Metal about 7-8 years ago in a discount bin at either Marshalls or TJ Maxx for around $25 bucks. I was clueless to what it smelled like. I think, at the time, I was confusing it with its far more well-known friend, Paco Rabanne Calandre. In my mind Calandre was something to have, and finding it for cheap was a completely sane, justified, unsniffed purchase.

I brought my bottle of Metal home to open, sniff and to eventually cherish. For at least a year I still thought I was wearing the more famous Calandre (I had the names confused) and at this time we didn’t have all the online resources for looking up fragrance names and notes like we did post-2005). I was wearing and loving Metal back in the dark ages, before I even knew who created it or could have read reviews written about it (though there are hardly any at all to this day). Eventually, after finishing one bottle of Metal and then purchasing a second, I was able to look it up online to discover I was in love with a nice Paco Rabanne fragrance, for sure, but it was not the more famous one called Calandre. Of course I then did a whole exercise in discovering all the Paco Rabanne fragrances, several of which are phenomenally good for such unknown fragrances. And, I’m pretty sure I read that Calandre was discontinued last year, much to the sadness of many who love that fragrance. Nevertheless, as good as Calandre is/was, my heart will always belong to Metal.

Metal was created in 1979 by Robert Gannon. I was 8 years old in ’79 so have no memories of it back then nor do I recall ever smelling it on anyone else in the 80’s. I was raised in a non-perfume-wearing family so it wasn’t until high school when all my girlfriends were wearing Poison, Loulou, Beautiful and White Linen that I started sniffing fragrance on others (oh, and the boys were wearing Polo and only Polo). I don’t recall smelling anyone wearing Metal in my life until that day in the early 2000’s when I picked up a bottle unsniffed. Smelling it now I’m astonished that it was created in ’79 because it seems so modern. Maybe the Metal I’ve come to know is a reformulation and this isn’t how it originally smelled, back in the disco and punk era when it launched. Even so, even if I am smelling a complete reformulation, I love it just the way it is.

For comparison’s sake, the most obviously similar fragrance, which almost everyone has sniffed is Chanel No. 19. Metal pays some tribute to Chanel No. 19, however, I don’t find it to be a derivative copycat at all. While Metal & No. 19 are both green chypres, Metal is brighter, more cheerful and effervescent, while No. 19 is a more subtle, serious, and steely confident iris.

The nose behind Metal, Robert Gonnon, also created Cacharel Anais Anais, O de Lancome and Sikkiim for Lancome. I can smell some similarity between Metal and O de Lancome with Gannon’s fresh and liberal use of galbanum in both fragrances. And both O de Lancome and Metal have a similar woody, green, unmistakably chypre feeling dry down. Metal starts off so bright it’s almost as if I’m spraying myself with a grin. It begins with bergamot and galbanum in spades and this is the really green almost bitter sort of galbanum that I love. I found a list of notes at Fragrantica, and these somewhat give you an idea of the scent (though I admit to smelling nothing along the lines of peach, maybe a dash of lily of the valley instead):
Top: galbanum, bergamot
Heart: ylang-ylang, peach
Base: white iris and rosewood

It's namesake may be Metal but there is nothing metallic about this fragrance. It’s a dry, green, woody chypre. In fact, I find Calandre to smell more metallic than Metal. The bottle is very near identical (if not actually identical) to the Calandre bottle. I love these simple, streamlined, modern architectural type bottles. They seem beautiful and masculine to me.

When everyone else is hopping up and down about the latest Lutens, L’Artisan or Duchaufour, I have more fun and find more enjoyment when writing about scents that are unequivocally great, but never mentioned, and also inexpensive. Just like films and restaurants and many other facets of my life, I tend to love the sleeper gems the most, I’d say.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Spinning Plates: The Latest, the Newest, the Bestest, and More!

Recently, I started putting together a project.

Let me rephrase that: I started putting together another project, I should say. I put feelers out to some of my favorite writers/bloggers, wondering whether they'd be interested in participating with me, and some of them responded. Others didn't. When I asked one who had responded whether he thought I had the right address for someone who hadn't, he said, hmm, maybe she's skeptical; after all, there was that project you started back in January and never finished.

It stung, for several reasons. Wow. He remembered the exact month. It made me wonder. Am I the kind of person people consider flaky? Am I perceived to start a lot without finishing it? I was defensive at first but since then I've done a lot of thinking.

To get it out of the way, in my defense I would say that yeah, I have a lot on my plate. Writing and filmmaking, my two main preoccupations, involve many starts and stops. You never know where the inspiration will stick. Filmmaking, especially, being a collaborative art which requires financial assistance (alas), is always pretty touch and go. Most of this work takes a massive time commitment. My first film took three years to complete before it started making the rounds at film festivals. The one I'm working on now has taken a year, so far. Novels can take years as well.

Some ideas sound good when they pop into my head. A good idea can be a real thrill. But in order to stick it out with something over the long haul, you need material and circumstances which will keep challenging you without stopping you in your tracks. Some ideas, a week or a few months in, suddenly seem a lot less interesting or compelling than they did when they first occurred to you. Other ideas take a lot longer than you anticipated, because at varying points they require differing degrees of reassessment. Things get recycled; you never know how they'll end up. What starts as part of one project might end up part of something entirely different.

Having finished one film and a novel, and having edited an anthology involving over fifteen contributors, I tend to cut myself some slack. However, I've noticed a trend over the last year or so; I pile on even more projects than ever before. This means that even when the ideas are good, sound ventures, they can take a lot longer than they normally might, because I've overextended myself. Maybe, having accomplished certain things, I believe there's nothing I can't do. I doubt that, but accomplishment does tend to distance you from the time and trouble it took to achieve something. You remember the end, not so much the means.

I think more than anything it's age and culture. By that I mean that I'm old enough that I wonder how much time I have left. It's inevitable to start thinking that way, however morbid it sounds to you. How many more films can I make? How many more books can I write? There's so much I want to say. What if something happens next month?

As for culture, I think we're living in an environment which encourages the sense that you're only as relevant as the last thing you produced, tweeted, or exposed. I love the sense of conversation out there, but it can be wearying too. I don't always have much to say, and sometimes feel I'm just talking because it's expected and I want people to remember I'm here. What happens, it seems to me, is that a lot of useless crap gets thrown out into the mix, without much thought put into what it is, where it's being thrown, or how it's being said or done, let alone whether it's worth tossing in the first place.

I think we're all well aware what kind of influence this has on the fragrance industry. A lot of content is produced, without too much substance. I complain about this all the time. So much out there, especially these days, feels so uninspired. You feel you're simply always being pitched a dog and pony show. You feel you're always being manipulated. You lose and miss that quality a fantastic fragrance can have--the sense that the Universe has opened itself up to expose some central wonder of life heretofore left hidden.

I don't want to contribute to this phenomenon. I want to make sure that the things I put out there attempt in some way to speak to real human experience; I want to add something valuable to the conversation, rather than simply contribute to the din. That's a tall order, especially for a blog. I have zero delusions about blogging, I think. I write what I like and a few people read it. But already this new thinking has penetrated my everyday life. Just last week, someone pointed out to me that if I start another film right this second, as I was thinking of doing, the one I'm trying to finish will inevitably suffer that lack of focus. Again, I was defensive, then I came home and realized I have seven film projects in the pipeline. That books me solid for the next, oh, ten years.

I can't control whether people respond to an email or really what they think of me ultimately. They might continue to be skeptical of my ability to follow through. But I can work at being more focused and intentional. I don't think the fragrance industry will have any such epiphanies--about what they commit to, about its quality or the conversation it generates (Womanity is not a conversation)--but at this point I need to step back a little and re evaluate my part in a phenomenon of substance deprivation and easy promises. I continue to be less than enthused and even, lately, dispirited, by what's being peddled as quality or novelty. What's our rush? How is all this connection and collaborative activity creating more division and isolation than unity? I'm not Ghandi. Again, no delusions there. But when I complain about culture I want to make sure I'm not part of the problem. Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Tea Project

Jean Claude Ellena did me a favor back in the late 1980’s when he created a scent that smelled of tea. Tea cannot be extracted into a fragrance like other notes, so Ellena had an idea that he could create a scent that smells like tea; the leaves, the water and a little bit of earthy smoke, and so he made it.

Ellena took his scent to Dior, who focus-grouped the smell to death and eventually turned it down. Then Ellena took his tea scent to Yves Saint Laurent, who also turned him down. Ellena ended up at Bvlgari, who thankfully had the good sense to understand this was groundbreaking. Bvlgari took Ellena’s tea scent, made it into a limited edition which sold only in their boutiques. Jean Claude Ellena’s first tea scent, Bvlgari Eau Parfumee au The Vert was a huge success and now just about every perfume house has a scent which centers on tea.

I tire of most light summery citrusy-green scents but the one note I can never have enough of is Tea. Maybe that’s because the tea note is extremely fleeting and I am forced to run after it like a stealthy butterfly never getting caught in my net. I mentioned this to Laurie Erickson, perfumer at Sonoma Scent Studio, and she confirmed for me that the tea note is an extremely fleeting one, an aroma that is just not going to linger for a long time. Nevertheless, unlike other fleeting notes, the tea note remains worth chasing for me.

I’ve been on a tea quest for quite some time so I thought I’d gather my findings together to assist others who might also be on the same journey. While I really love a good number of these fragrances, I’m still searching for the Perfect Tea Scent. This is part of the reason why I mentioned my quest to Erickson at SSS, I thought maybe someday she could create it. Sonoma Scent Studio fragrances all have excellent longevity on me, so if anyone can do it, I figure Erickson can. What I’m looking for is a strong black tea scent, with hints of fruits and florals. Imagine opening a fresh tin of passion fruit jasmine tea, or something along those lines. I love the smell of earthy black tea leaves, but I also love the mixture of fruits and florals with a touch of smoke.

..In the meantime, here are the tea scents I have:

L’Artisan Tea for Two: gourmand tea scent. Tea for Two is a fragrant cup of tea with milk and honey. It is to be worn by the fireplace in the winter months. For some reason, Tea for Two makes me a little nauseous; I think it’s the combination of lemon in this cup of milky sweet chai tea.

L’Artisan The Pour Un Ete: chilled jasmine tea with a wedge of lemon and sprig of mint. The Pour un Ete is among the few fragrances I genuinely love from L’Artisan. L'Artisan, for me, is a house which makes far too many fleeting fragrances, but I forgive them with The Pour Un Ete because we know the aroma of tea just doesn’t stick around no matter who creates it. I previously reviewed The Pour un Ete last year, and it remains a beautiful summertime tea staple for me. The tea note fades but what is left is an exquisite airy jasmine.

Dior Escale a Pondichery: black tea with cardamom and jasmine was a great idea but somehow this doesn’t live up to its description at all. I love Escale a Portofino and don’t even get annoyed with its fleeting nature because, well, it’s supposed to be light and short lived. I very much looked forward to Pondichery’s release last year but I find this one falls flat. It does smell of black tea with Indian spices and jasmine at the start but it quickly morphs into a vaguely citrus aroma with very little charm. If I wanted citrus I’d just wear its sister Escale a Portofino. If I want tea I’ll just wear something else.

Bvlgari tea trio: this consists of 3 fragrances, a green tea (au The Vert), a white tea (au The Blanc) and a red/roobios tea (au The Rouge). I prefer the red tea scent because I find it unique as far as tea scents go. Au The Rouge is a little fruitier and nuttier than the other two teas from Bvlgari. I do think it smells of roobios/red tea, which is a unique scent. I previously reviewed Bvlgari Au The Rouge because it’s my favorite of the tea trio.

Elizabeth W Sweet Tea: This is almost the scent I’ve been looking for except it doesn’t have enough fruits and florals. Elizabeth W Sweet Tea is a tall glass of summertime iced tea with a big spoonful of liquid sugar. You know you can’t mix granulated sugar into a glass of iced tea, right? Granulated sugar doesn’t mix and falls to the bottom of the glass. Mix in some (preferably flavored) liquid sugar and you have a delicious glass of summertime sweet tea. Elizabeth W brings sweet iced tea to us in a wearable fragrance.

Parfumerie Generale L’eau Rare Matale: “mate” is a type of tea common in South America which has a distinctly toasted quality. PG’s Rare Matale reminds me the most of CdG’s Sweet Nomad Tea (coming along shortly) but it’s more wearable for me. PG Rare Matale is a mildly sweet citrusy tea scent that is extremely natural and realistic and smells of this mate type of tea. This one works best for me layered on top of other scents which aren’t strong enough on the tea note. This is a tea jumper cable of sorts.

Aroma M Geisha O-Cha: this is a zesty powdered tea scent. I don’t mean powder as in baby powder, I'm referring to instant powdered tea in a packet as opposed to loose leaf tea. This smells like a packet of Lipton iced tea with a lemon. It’s still zesty and nice and if you spray it on your clothes it will stick around for the afternoon. Instant-tea-packet might not sound appealing but I actually find O-Cha quite nice.

Creative Universe Te: greenish oolang tea with hints of osmanthus and faint florals. CU Te is a relaxing tea scent, with a fresh citrusy quality that fades into a pleasant subdued floral. The tea note and celery note are interesting in the way the PG and CdG tea scents are but it’s immensely more wearable and typical instead of just plain weird.

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz The Vert: brisk, realistic green tea. Longevity is decent if you spray liberally. DSH The Vert is closest to CU Te but it’s much more focused on green tea with less florals and citrus. If you are looking for a straight green tea scent this is the most exact I have ever smelled. It’s earthy green tea with an overall herbal quality and a touch of smoke.

Comme des Garcons Sweet Nomad Tea: another “mate” type tea scent but this one is truly weird. It’s more about sweet mint sprigs and very tannic tea. Sweet Nomad Tea is appealing if you like strongly herbal scents but it does also have a brisk tea note, as promised by the name. This won’t make much sense but Sweet Nomad Tea is sweet in the most unsweetened way. It’s actually quite interesting and unique but not something I normally wear. CdG Sweet Nomad Tea is perfect about 1 time per year when I get in the mood for something herbal and non-perfumey. Actually Sweet Nomad Tea smells a lot like fresh pot (aka marijuana, hemp, weed, whatever you call it) once it dries down.

CB I Hate Perfume Russian Caravan Tea: This, like a lot of the CB scents (and prior to CB, Demeter scents) is almost an exact replica of a cup of tea. It is a strong black cup of tea, with a dash of bergamot and a hint of smoke. It is really nice and lingers longer than most, I just need to layer it with something else in order to make it read as a perfume on me. Layering this (and I hardly ever layer) with Nez a Nez Vanithe after Vanithe loses its tea quality is quite nice.

Nez a Nez Vanithe: Vanilla Tea. This reminds me of Loulou with an herbal tea note at the start. Overall it’s very sweet and the opposite of most of these other brisk, refreshing tea scents. Vanithe was introduced to me by a kind POLer otherwise I would probably never have tried it. This is the most perfumey, sweet and synthetic smelling of all my tea scents in this list but it is actually one of my top favorites. The initial verbena, rosemary and Earl Grey tea notes are wonderfully balanced with the sweet vanillic base notes. The top notes vanish after awhile and even though I’m left with only the memory of them I do enjoy the sweet slightly woody-honey-vanilla base.

Annick Goutal Le Chevrefeuille: someone, somewhere, called this an iced tea fragrance which suddenly struck me as the reason I love it so much. Le Chevrefeuille is honeysuckle iced tea and absolutely gorgeous. Honeysuckle, as an exact note, might otherwise be awfully sweet and cloying but this sparse, fresh, hesperidic and slightly brisk tea/honeysuckle scent is genius. Please pray with me that this hasn’t been or isn’t about to be reformulated.

Annick Goutal Duel: a beautiful yet thoroughly too fleeting tea/citrus/smoke scent. Duel is almost perfect if only it lasted longer than 20 minutes. It’s not just that the tea note vanishes; the problem is that the whole scent vanishes for me. But it is an awesome 20 minutes.

Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate: grassy meadow of mild mate (tea). LV Yerbamate is less about tea and more about the softest green meadow and newly mown hay. It’s a bucolic country scene. I really should wear this more.

Do you know of some good tea scents that I don’t have listed? Please tell me! I’m always hunting for tea...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Summer malaise causes me to list some top favorites

I've been indifferent to fragrance lately. Sure, I've found a few new gems the past few months, but overall I think I'm having the summer doldrums. Around this time of year, and more often sooner than this, I get bored stiff with my fresh, zesty, green, summer choices. I don't mean to put myself in a fragrant rut, but I can't bear to wear anything heavy or oriental when it's hot outside.

Just for the fun of it, I thought I'd list some of my ultimate favorite fragrances today. To remind myself why I love perfume so much, and try to shrug off this scented malaise I'm in:

(alphabetical order)

Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile
Angel and Alien Liqueur de Parfum
Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche
Annick Goutal Grand Amour
Annick Goutal Heure Exquise
Annick Goutal Le Chevrefeuille
Bond No. 9 Chinatown
Cabotine by Gres
Cacharel Loulou
Chanel Coromandel
Chanel No. 22
Creed Angelique Encens
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz American Beauty
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Tubereuse
Diptyque L’eau Trois
Diptyque Philosykos
Donna Karan Black Cashmere
Frederic Malle Carnal Flower
Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese
Givenchy Amarige (pre-reformulation, also the Harvest Editions)
Givenchy Organza Indencence
Gucci (original edp)
Il Profumo Blanche Jacinthe
Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum eau poudree
Keiko Mecheri Oliban
Lanvin Arpege
Le Labo Aldehyde 44
M. Micallef Gaiac
Parfums d’Orsay Tilleul
Parfums de Nicolaï Mimosaique
Parfums DelRae Debut
Parfums MDCI Un Coeur en Mai
Profumi del Forte Roma Imperiale
Roja Dove Scandal
Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger (pre-reformulation)
Soivohle’ Underworld
Sonoma Scent Studio Champagne de Bois
Sonoma Scent Studio Tabac Aurea
Sonoma Scent Studio Vintage Rose
Sonoma Scent Studio Voile de Violette
Strange Invisible Perfumes Epic Gardenia
Strange Invisible Perfumes Fair Verona
Yves Saint Laurent Nu edp
Yves Saint Laurent Opium in pure parfum

And last but not least, my #1 HG of all time:
Teo Cabanel Alahine

I could go on, but I think I’ll stop here.

Do you have a list of top favorites that bring you back to perfume time and again even when you’ve lost a little of the passion?

EDITED on 8/9/10 to say: how could I possibly forget 1000 by Jean Patou?! I must have been half asleep. 1000 is my #2 HG after Alahine. I feel better now that I've fixed this outrage :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Scents of the Mediterranean: A group project

When Ines of All I Am A Redhead invited me to join this blogfest, I said, yes, of course, sounds fun! But then I hunkered down to write about scents that evoke the Mediterranean, I realized this is a bit harder than I initially thought because I have never actually been to the Mediterranean sea or the most obviously Mediterranean country; Greece. I’ll have to remedy this awful situation sometime soon. But for the time being, please humor me, and work with the Mediterranean of my imagination. I’ll invoke the countries I have traveled to, which are close neighbors to Greece and other parts of the Mediterranean; I have been to Italy and Spain.

From traveling to many countries in Europe, Italy in particular, I have to get this off my chest. One aroma that reminds me of the Mediterranean is Diesel!

And cigarette smoke.

And men who wear buckets of cologne. But you know, that’s ok with me, I would prefer a man to wear too much cologne and pinch my ass once in awhile, it makes a gal feel like she still has it.
Oh, that reminds me of Manolis. Manolis was a beautiful young Greek boy (intern) I had a few years back when I worked at a university in Boston. He had wavy black hair, which he wore on the long side, just above his shoulders, olive skin and the bluest eyes. I mean Blue like the New Mexico sky, it was so terribly distracting. Sigh. Manolis wore Hermes Terre de Hermes so that is etched in my brain as a “Greek Scent.” (A scent for boy toys from the Gods, really). I also think of the most amazing tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes and basil. Lemons and citrus. Grape leaves and rice. The smell of steamed rice. Lamb. Figs. Olives and wine. Jasmine and orange blossom. Eggplant. Moussakka, spanakopita, feta cheese, calamari, tzatziki, baklava and stuffed zucchini. And I can't forget Greek yogurt (thank goodness we have Chobani yogurt in the states now).

For perfumes which remind me of the Mediterranean, here’s my list:
The most obvious scent is probably Diptyque Philosykos. Philosykos holds a special place in my heart because it was my very first niche purchase back in the late 90’s. Philosykos smells like a real fig grove to me, growing on the hillside in Greece. It’s not so much perfume as it is an actual place in time.

Strange Invisible Perfumes Fair Verona is a gorgeous and realistic rendition of jasmine and orange blossom. I stress realistic because I imagine a Grecian breeze carrying this scent up to me while I dine al fresco on my terrace. Wine, cheese, olives and Greek boys in my presence.

Lorenzo Villoresi Dilmun is not often (not often enough!) mentioned orange blossom fragrance which is simply gorgeous. A grove of orange trees growing along an idyllic Mediterranean scene simply must smell like this.

Profumi del Forte Vittoria Appuana is the scent of bronzed bodies sunning themselves by the sea. Vittoria Appuana is the most beautiful “suntan oil” fragrance I have ever come across. Chic bikini clad ladies with bodies to die for strolling along the shores of the Mediterranean smell like this (hey, it’s my imagination).

Carthusia Aria di Capri is the smell of air lightly scented with mimosa, iris, jasmine, peach and bay leaf. It’s a fresh and very low key floral, easy and breezy. Did you see that cheesy romance with Keanu Reeves called A Walk in the Clouds? Well, the air in that movie smelled like Carthusia Aria di Capri. And I not so secretly loved that flick.

Laura Tonatto Oltre is the most realistic smell of salty sea air I have ever come across. Oltre is so true to nature I actually get hints of seaweed and fish, but it is not unpleasant. Oltre smells of your sweater after a day at the shore. Your sweater is still a little damp and sandy but you don’t want to wash it just yet. You want to linger with the scent of relaxation and dreams.
For more Mediterranean musings, head on over to these other blogs, who, like me, are surely aching to get to the Mediterranean pronto (aside from Perfume Shrine and All I Am Redhead who are lucky enough to live there)!

















So what reminds You of the Mediterranean?

Happy August everyone :)