In a feverish summer stroke of genius Ayala of Smelly blog aided by the ever resourceful Gaia of The Non Blonde came up with a project more substiantial than simply a list of summer favourites: here you will find assorted creative minds proposing scents for almost every summer eventuality, in essence the ultimate summer scent wardrobe! Perfumes which you can take or leave, arguably, yet these lists are by no means exhaustive and are intended to give a little nudge into finding your own special fragrances for this summer. So, have fun and tell us what your preferences are for your own summery occasions!
I have been hearing how this summer has been rather cool for most of Western Europe and North America so far, but let me tell you in the Hellenic land of the Gods, it's never a summer without a mean case of the heat (and inevitably the hots!). We have been having cloudless skies ever since May and temperatures above 32C for 2.5 months now and you can see lightly bronzed, slick bodies aplenty on the beach and in the streets, so I have pretty much adjusted myself in the fragrance department pretty well by now. Here are my preferences! (click the links for reviews)
Hitting the beach is but a stone's throw away and even if not dipping in the cool Aegean waters, just inhaling the iodine-rich smell of the sea-spray is invigorating. We used to count our summers by how many swims we had taken when we were children (much like others did by counting how many ice-cream sticks they consumed), but nowadays I find that even a leisurely walk on the sugar-spun sands adds a special something to my day. When I go for a swim I prefer to pack Dior Bronze Monoi Gelée in my little nécessaire, a perfect monoi smell (tiaré and amyl salicilate) which I put on both body as a moisturizer and on hair. It wafts deliciously, isn’t photosensitive and never clashes with my trusty La Prairie sunblock.
Sailing is another typically Greek expedition for summer and apart from afternoon lazy fishing we also discover many unchartered, unreachable from tourism beaches that way! (I call this heaven, don't you?) For lounging on the deck you can't beat the light and refreshing vetiver and light smoke of Chanel’s beautiful Sycomore; it even takes a subtle chocolate nuance when in the sun! The iodine aroma of Goutal's Vetiver is more hard-core, reminding me of days seeing workers doing metal-working on large boats, the fiery metal-induced sparks bursting all around mingling with the scents of tar and salt.
Al fresco eating in summery tavernas ~often right after that sea dip, hair up with a silk scarf and body wrapped in a Pucci-printed sarong~ demands something uncomplicated. If I had opted for only the monoi gel I follow with a spritz of my purse-sprayer of Malle's Carnal Flower. Its green tuberose along with the subtle coconut touch is the epitome of summers outdoors (and would also be fabulous for a summer wedding, but more of that on a seperate article). For a warmer feel I have been also using Tauer’s Une Rose Chyprée and Chanel’s Bois des Iles parfum a lot.
If it’s a Bar-B-Q I am attending (Greeks are infamous carnivores, but we also roast our seafood to great aplomb) I can get away with a smoky little something: lately that’s Encens Flamboyant from Goutal’s "Les Orientalistes" collection.
Jet Setting is another option. I try to travel light and bring few key pieces that match each other in multiple combinations, usually in the palette of white-red-blue. My suitcase has room for vintage souvenirs, foreign editions of books I've meaning to hunt down and of course new local fragrances! Two scents which are comforting and non obtrusive on airplanes and trains are Vanille Galante by Hermès and Bois d’Iris by The Different Company. I am also flirting with the limpid, coolly spicy Un Jardin après La Mousson.
Walking around town visiting open-air book fairs is one of my favourite past-times: The view of all the titles stacked neatly beside each other, the exhibition cubicles all identical creating a long uniform line of knowledge and the smell of new paper and freshly printed ink is intoxicating. I don’t want to compete with them, so I choose the complementing Messe de Minuit by Etro which really comes alive only in the heat of summer.
Sometimes there's even a school band performing! If I am only out shopping and walking I pick Guerlain’s Vétiver pour Elle or Diorella: elegant and exuberant! And if there’s a heatwave, nothing but the most bitter green chypres will do: vintage Shiseido Zen, Silences by Jacomo and Piguet’s Bandit.
Siesta napping in a cool room while the heat blazes outside is one of the great comforts after a hot morning. The lazy, languid feelings evoked are perfectly encapsulated by L’Artisan’s Extrait de Songe (re-issued as L’été en Douce), a scent of dry white cotton, smooth sheets and the hay nuance of coumarin. (come to think of it, if you can locate a bit of the African Dreams home oil of The Body Shop to put on a burner it’s just as clean-cool). For an upscale indulgence I bring out the cool Iris Pallida by L’Artisan.
The fun fair is brash and weird and I love the illusions in the mirrors chambers or the terror train: Dzing! by L’Artisan with its cardboard and zoo animals' aroma captures the warm, yet strange atmosphere perfectly.
Cinema in Sicily, Naples and Greece is often an open-air affair during summer evenings, big yards with fine peeble, rows of seats across the silver screen and gigantic vines of honeysuckle, ivy and jasmine garlanding the perimeter. There’s a nostalgic air about it, either watching Stromboli with Ingrid Bergman or Nuovo Cinema Paradiso and I like to bring out my most romantic scents: Grand Amour by Goutal exploring lilies, honeysuckle and hyacinth, Molinard by Molinard, a cherished gift of that special someone with jasmine under green and fruity accents or Chamade by Guerlain with its blackcurrant buds and hyacinth heart.
A big night out in the big city demands a different, sexier approach and I have curiously gravitated towards ambers and spices lately: Perfumerie Generale liquorish Cozé, a tiny dab of Ambre Sultan on pulse points or Opium Eau de Toilette over my navel so it wafts upwards. I also love the honeyed sensual smell of Une Fleur de Cassie by F.Malle and the silken polish of Tubéreuse Criminelle by Lutens .
I am leaving you with Loukianos Kelaidoni's nostalgic song Summer Cinemas about the passing of youth:
Please check the following participating blogs for more ideas:
Smelly Blog, Legerdenez, The Non Blonde, I smell therefore I am, Scent Hive, Savvy Thinker, Moving & Shaking, Bittergrace Notes
Vintage pic found thanks to The Non Blonde, Santa Monica Pier 1920 from Dr. X's Free Associations. Pics via culture.ana-mpa.gr, athens-gree.com, montesorri.gr, photonet.com, and Life mag (Greek billionnaire Stavros Niarchos on his sailing boat)