Like summer romances and fickle affairs concocted between sea dips and nightime beach bars, most summer fragrances seem as ephemeral as the situations that they are desperate to evoke. That's fine, if you have made your peace with that. But what happens when you have not? What's available to cater for -say- historians who appreciate marbles still standing weathered by the harsh elements, who like the permanancy of real tatoos which mean something and who are dazzled by the billions of years of geophysical pressure it took to make diamonds? Those people (and I bet they're not solely restricted to these traits) appreciate something more: longevity. Unlike guys and gals that come and go, a great stand-by fragrance should be relied on to provide dependable stability. I call these PPP perfumes (that would make it 4 Ps in a row, beats fraternities any day): the Permanent Pleasure Principle.
I was thinking about this when readers asked about lasting fragrances and therefore I compiled a list of summery fragrances which last really well for you. Some are marketed as feminine, some as masculine, some as unisex, but in my opinion they're all eminently shareable between both sexes.Experiment and see if you agree with me!
- THE CITRUS BLAST
The scent of chic Italian holidays is the elusive holy grail of perfumers: How to capture the jovial, sun-filled warmth of living across the most picturesque villages and bigaradier groves across the shores without losing that freshness along the way? There's a reason this fragrance is so popular it got its own ancillary bath products: Neroli Portofino after the initial bitter neroli and clean orange blossom really lasts thanks to the ubiquitous white musks at the base.
How do you convey the scent of grapefruit when the essence of grapefruit is fleeting? Perfumer Sophia Grojsman, years before Jean Claude Ellena perfected his trademark streamlined approach, came up with a bag of tricks that relied on a few well-chosen accords that last exceptionally well. Calyx smells of the freshest, tangiest grapefruit, is using none (instead relies on raspberry-faceted musks, citrus and a cyclamen-rose accord with Calone) and lasts an eternity.
Yves Saint Laurent In Love Again
Somehow the success of In Love Again is that it manages to bypass the Scylla of hyper sweet, with a tart, zesty grapefruit accord that coaxes the sulfurous nature of the fruit into submission, making it easier to wear than the more difficult Pamplelune by Guerlain which often produces a strong ammoniac, catty effect on certain skins. A touch of green leaves, organic and warmed in the sun also contributes to its modern character, as well as what I perceive as tart berries. But it also has a soft ambiance about it, without resorting to the Charybdis of ease that is the powder smell of certain white musks, nor stooping to cheap air-freshener style. Although a modern fragrance wih hints of the fruit-bowl, In Love Again has something about it which makes me enjoy it in the warmer months.
Hermès Terre d'Hermès
The brightest bergamot gains the course by having a particularly long drydown after the refreshing overture; the unusual, intellectual, mineral facets in its core and the great radiance of its woody bottom (accounted by IsoE Super, more on which on this article) are the cornerstones on which the reputation of Terre d'Hermès has been cemented.Extrait de parfum doesn't budge at all.
- THE MUSKY MUSKETEERS
The fruity, musky scent of blackberries warmed in the sun is sensual and enveloping. With the radiant sparkle of the fragrance's top notes, freshness is apparent with citrus fruits (kumquat, bergamot) and aromatic notes lead by basil in the extrait de parfum version. Spicy notes (pink and black pepper) strengthen its contrast and add to the enchantment which leads to the base of blackberry-faceted musk.
Le Labo Gaiac 10
Developed in partnership with cult perfumer Annick Ménardo (Bulgari Black, Lolita Lempicka, Patchouli 24) in 2008, Gaiac10 is a tense formula built on gaïac wood and surrounded by muscs (4 different synthetic musk types in all), with hints of cedar and olibanum (incense). If you like the meditative, cool Eastern incense vibe of Kyoto by Comme de Garçons, you have good chances to appreciate that element in the Le Labo offering. The musks are the "clean" variety, lightly sweet with a faintly fruity tonality, with no funk or sweat involved. The woody background with a light peppery nuance is reminiscent of the base notes treatment in Poivre Samarkande for Hermessences and Bang by Marc Jacobs.
- MOSSY-WOODY WONDERS
Green and with the rush of sparkling aldehydes it is soon intensly mossy and floral, recalling a bygone era. The violet note is mostly reminiscent of an iris fragrance, slightly metallic and otherwordly; but the brooding synergy with the other ingredients brings out a luminiscent aura that is tantamount to wearing an expensive necklace of Peruvian pre-Colombian emeralds set on antique gold.
Hermes Un Jardin sur le Nil
Jean Claude Ellena is often accused for ethereal, fleeting compositions by those who simply prefer the oriental school of thought: On the contrary most of his creationslast exceptionally well, being technical marvels, only they do so by humming rather than performing hystrionics. Un Jardin sur le Nil is a particularly good example, and this one actually speaks louder than most, delivering a message of green mango (think tart and tangy) over greenery and somber, serene woods. Perfect in the heat!
- QUIRKY FRUITCHOULI
- FLORAL PANORAMAS
An initial fresh opening that is reminiscent of lemon groves overlooking countryhouses where potted tuberoses are kept takes you on a journey to an inner closed court with a fountain, Moor-style, where gardenias are kept in big pots. Their aroma mingling night and languor, beckoning you, beguiling you. The gardenia accord smells surprisingly true.
Les Nez Manoumalia
The almost fruity jasmine-y intensity of ylang-ylang and fragrea never fails to make my mind fly to warm tropical paradises even in the midst of winter cold, but it is the earthy unrooted vetiver that provides a grounding touch in Manoumalia, like immersing my hands into a bag of uprooted bulbs.
- JUST OUT OF THE SHOWER SCENTS LASTING ALL DAY
It is said that Ava Luxe was trying to recreate an existing scent with this: China Rain by Body Time, which apparently is something of a cult classic. I haven't smelled the latter (my friends tell me it's very good but slightly different), but Ava Luxe's take is phenomenal in both projection and staying power, while at the same time being particularly fresh. Fueled by aldehydes, giving off a soapy ambience that enhances the rosy floral and lightly musky aromas, China Rain resembles Glow by JLo and is a great choice for casual summer wearing (especially when one doesn't want to buy Glow for whatever reason).
Aramis New West for Him
Technically an ozonic/ marine fragrance (in fact the first one to inaugaurate the category in 1988), New West for Him is tingingly fresh with a plausible mint note that isn't too toothpaste-like, some aqueous Calone and lots of herbal lavender plus clean musks, epitomizing the ideal of a scrubbed down male who is gorgeous enough to not to rely on excessive preening. California images of rippled surfers fill the mind just by uttering its name.
Of course this is merely a kickstart, there are many more summery fragrances with decent longevity. Which ones are your picks?
pics via Dailymail and Ulta blog