Saturday, March 27, 2010

Summer Scents

A lot of people reach for a citrus or fresh splash when summer comes, but I hate the way these scents can wither under the oppressive LA heat or take on a metallic bite. I like perfumes that can melt with me.


It's been so hot in LA, which means I get to dig out all my summer favorites. I love Shalimar in the summer, when it blooms all smoky and hay-sweet and vanillic. It takes a good sheen of sweat to make Shalimar go all golden and buttery on my skin. I love smelling it later when I get undressed for bed, the dry-down all salt-tinged suede at my throat. It's amazing to me that I used to find Shalimar old ladyish. Now it seems like a young, wild-child scent. Like something I might want to wear when I drive down to Chatsworth to go two-stepping.


All winter, I bypassed my musk scents. When it's too smoggy-overcast outside, I don't really want the skin-cling of musk on me, making me feel that much more weighed down and dirtied. It's only when the weather spikes above 70 that I start looking at my favorite musks again. I love the nutty-leather jacket scent of Annick Goutal's Musc Nomade. Its earthy-herbal musk is such an easy wear compared to animalic, skanky musks. I think I'm a bit anosmic to ambrette. I can't smell it at all in Le Labo's Ambrette 9. So perhaps the barely-there nuttiness of Musc Nomade is an anosmia thing.

I also love Narciso Rodriguez for Her, the edt and the body lotion. The lotion is especially warm and salty-skin smelling. Just thinking about wearing it during the winter made me a little queasy. But now, when it's hot and it'll haze there, all humid and girl-smelling, I love it. I can't wait until high summer to really sink into it.


I've had so much luck with antique malls lately (just this morning I grabbed up an unopened, boxed vial of vintage Tabu parfum) that suddenly I'm one of those vintage perfume people. You know the ones, who are like "Oh, this? It's vintage [insert obscure frag here]. You can't buy it anymore." I don't know what to do with all this stuff, I just put it in a shoebox that I open sometimes to ogle. It seems like a too serious responsibility for me, to own vintage frags. Who is this perfume collector I've become? I barely feel like an adult woman! What am I thinking? What if there's an earthquake! /anxiety attack!

But I wear them anyway. I'm not going to keep a box of unused old perfume in my closet so that they can all be shipped back to the antique malls when I pass away. I'm glad I wear them too. They really don't make them like this anymore.

Vintage Emeraude. I don't even know how to start. It's probably the most gorgeous perfume in my collection. Who would have thought, this drugstore standby would end up being my favorite thing? From my splash bottle, it starts off like you've powdered it on, a soft puff of scent on your wrist. But as it goes, it deepens, becomes rich and sunny. It's powdery but not in a powder-bomb way. It's smoky, but not barbecue. It's a gorgeous Shalimar-type scent that's much more grown up. Not ladylike exactly, but for a lady. It lays close to the skin, but I never feel naked in it. A few dabs here and there with a skirt and blouse and I'm halfway to put-together, even in the summer. Especially in the summer. Gorgeous.

Another new favorite is vintage Diorissimo. I read that one should never buy Diorissimo that has turned from golden/hay-colored to deep auburn or whiskey-dark. But I recently grabbed a bottle of a turned-looking Diorissimo cologne (in the houndstooth), and though it is a bit lighter wearing than my unturned vintage bottle, it is still Diorissimo.

I wonder if this is one I should try reformulated? I don't see how you can go wrong. To me, Diorissimo is just green, reedy lily-of-the-valley over girlish musk. I guess they've banned the aromachemical that makes up Diorissimo's lily? I don't know the details. But what a shame, because it's a perfectly simple, understated recipe. I don't usually like lily-of-the-valley, which can be sharp like a cold spike right to my frontal lobe, but the fresh greenery on top of Diorissimo and then the musky dry down that smells like girl-knickers is just so well-rounded and pretty. I sometimes like to dab a tiny bit on my wrist just for my own enjoyment while I make dinner or write. Anyway, this is a green scent I can get behind for the summer. It's got that refreshing dewy quality and squeaky-clean lily, but then an undertone of girl arousal. That's really what it smells like! I won't pull any punches.

For a modern take on the same idea, I'd go for Parfums DelRae's Debut. The lily there is almost cloying, but it goes musky quickly and is audaciously evocative of sexual arousal, I sometimes feel like I should pearl-clutch while wearing it.


People on basenotes are always saying things about patchouli that I don't get. One of my friends says "Patchouli is the spicest thing I can take, I guess," and I say "Patchouli is spicy?" And another girl: "Patchouli smells like a headshop to me," and I'm like "Patchouli is headshoppy?" All the headshops I grew up skulking around in smelled like Nag Champa. And the only hippie I knew who wore scent wore an essential oil called Rain (I think Neil Morris's Rainflower is of a similar style). So I don't have these kinds of bad associations with patchouli. But whatever, I have sandalwood problems. Does anyone else think sandalwood smells like peanut butter? No? Nobody?

So right now I've fallen for Etat Libre d'Orange's Nombril Immense. The ELDO scents I've tried (Fat Electrician, Charogne, Jasmin et Cigarette) were too indolic for me. The jasmine they use wavers between cleaning solution and the stinky halitosis breath. Fat Electrician left me reeling a little. I was worried when I traded Storer's Monk (too much civet!) for Nombril Immense-unsniffed-that I'd be disappointed.

Not so! Nombril Immense is strange and perfect and loamy. It smells like dirt and resin, but it's not heavy or sticky. The patchouli is earthy and fragrant. It's not a completely linear scent, but it starts out earthy and just gets deeper, richer, aromatic. I'd love to smell it on a man. My husband won't wear anything, I'd have to attack!scent him to get it on him. Sigh. This is exactly how I want my tv boyfriend to smell (who is Richard Alpert on Lost, ok?). For me, it's a light-wearing, cologne-type scent of the summer. I adore it.

That's my perfume post for now! I'll be back with stories about weird perfume compliments and exclamations.

No comments:

Post a Comment