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 :)


Ines said...

Boy toys from the Gods?! You had me chuckling so bad over that one. :)
Aside form Philosykos, I don't know how the rest of your choices smell like - I can't wait to try them out (especially the most beautiful suntan oil).

Rose said...

Cigarette smoke and diesel! you are so right! and actually I almost want to smell them mingling with salty air, lemon groves and the like

Manolis sounds divine- and like he smelled very good indeed, lucky you.

Loved your post and your approach to it.

ScentScelf said...

Is this the True Confessions site? Can I confess? About that whole machismo thing and how I've written papers about the terror of such entrenched gender behavior and how reprehensible and objectifying it is?

And how one night, when a chef in Paris gave me The Eye, and I actually returned the glance, he took a LOT of cigarette breaks, and would steal glances of his own through the window, and it...well, it...well, it fed my ego, okay?! There. I said it.

I wish I knew what he was wearing. No, I don't. I'll spend a few years imagining, erm, in an intellectual exercise trying to think of the scent that would be fit him.

I don't think I'll settle on cooking grease.

ANYWAY, I enjoyed your perfume list as much as your narrative, though I need to thank you/smack you for bringing up so many things I haven't smelled yet. I think I'll promote Oltre to the top of the list; I do love salty smells, and if it's a salty marine, especially one that you say works so well, I want it.

Which means, of course, I'll have to start by giving it The Eye.

Perfumeshrine said...

Thanks for joining and for musing on what seems like an adequate part of the Med. I hope you come to Greece as well.
Now I must try Vittoria Appuana (which I hadn't yet) and laugh once again with your memory of the boy toy from the Gods. :-)

Suzanne said...

Even though you've never been to the Mediterranean Sea itself, I definitely think of Italy and Spain as Mediterranean countries, and lucky you to have traveled to both!

I loved your post. You have me longing to try Laura Tonatto Oltre and wishing I had an intern. I have a feeling I'm going to end up fantasizing about boy toys from the Gods all day today!

Scent Hive said...

Mmmm, I loves me some Fair Verona. And Manolis doesn't sound half bad either! What is it about the combo of dark hair and brown eyes??

Scent Hive said...

Meant to say dark hair and BLUE eyes, LOL.

Abigail said...

I think I may have stressed the Greek boys a little too much...oh well!

Not only did Manolis look divine, but he was one of the nicest, most charming gentlemen I have ever met. His Mom came to visit (from Greece) and she was a little angel who cooked who was also so proud of her son (he's a world famous scientist at this point).

I know! Normally I find this sort of machismo terribly overbearing but I think when it occurs briefly on a trip (not non-stop in my own culture) I find it rather nice (hides now).
And Laura Tonatto Oltre is *The Marine* scent for me. I mean, it smells like the sea for REALS, with seashells and shell fish and an almost shocking realism. If you are looking for a true marine scent, this is it.

Vittoria Appuana is wonderful. It reaches a level of beauty and sophistication that no other "suntan oil" fragrance ever has. I like Bronze Goddess, Azuree Soleil, Virgin Island Water and the like, but Vittoria Appuana is in a league of it's own.

Fair Verona is just so good. It was actually the first perfume I thought of when Ines asked me to join this project. Something about the combo of jasmine and orange blossom screams Mediterranean to me.

Vanessa said...

Enjoyed your post very much, boy toys and all! On a trip to Greece, my pal copped off with a goatherd/waiter whom she learnt the next day was only 15 (oops!). On the same night I pulled an Italian plastics engineer aged 30. Equally easy on the eye, and no call from Social Services!

(I am that Bonkers woman who sent you an email about Scandal. Which now seems rather fitting!)

Katie Puckrik said...

Abigail, me three on associating diesel fumes and cigarette smoke with the Med, specifically Greece, in my case. In fact, you just reminded me that I'd intended to include Etat Libre d'Orange Jasmin et Cigarette in my list for that very reason!

Har, ScentScelf - your "confession" reads like a capsule version of "Ninotchka"/"Silk Stockings": Soviet party apparatchik infiltrates decadent Western society, only to discover it thrives because it's so damn fun! Yours is the gender politics version.

Laurie said...

Hi Abby! Your post made me smile, and I'm adding Vittoria Appuana to my must try list too!

ScentScelf said... I'm laughing again! You are so right.

Now I'm going to adjust my fantasy so that in it, I am laughing like Garbo with Lubitsch's've stripped away the facade and given me permission to go all out here. ;)