Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Scents of Summer

Several of my favorite bloggers have chosen today to feature lists of their top 10 favorite scents for summer. Since my entire impetus for attempting a blog in the first place came from these women i met on a fragrance message board, it only seems appropriate to post mine, too.

Here goes, in no particular order -

Serge Lutens Santal Blanc - an amazing blend of fruits, spices and resins, with quite a bit of orris in the middle to keep it dry. Santal Blanc has that almost pickle-y quality you get from sticking your nose into a very old sandalwood box in a dusty antique shop. Extremely long-lasting, yet quiet enough on the skin to avoid being overwhelming in the heat.

Hermes Hiris - Unique among fragrances I've experienced in that it is light and fresh without watery or ozonic notes. It embodies the noble iris in all its glory - rhizome, sap and flower. One of my favorite florals, as lovely at the buttery-soft drydown as at the airy, heady topnotes.

Chanel Gardenia - with apologies to J.T. White...
If thou of fortune be bereft
And in thy store there be but left
Two loaves - sell one, and with the dole
Buy Gardenia to feed thy soul!

Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien - the perfect summer blend of crisp lemon and cool cypress - completely unsweet, refreshing. Unflustered, intellectual, ironic.

Salvatore Ferragamo Parfum Subtil - a recent discovery, one i've fallen in love with just this summer. Remember White House ice cream? Cherries in vanilla cream, all on a clean musk base. This is a very wearable scent - impossible to ove
r-apply, subtle as the name says, but still long-lasting.

J & E Atkinsons i Coloniali Javanese Cananga - Very "out of Africa", a perfume for adventuresses. Atkinsons weave a romantic fantasy of recovering long-lost formulae for their i Coloniali line - this scent would be quite believable on Isaak Dinesen. Cananga odorata is the Latin name of ylang-ylang, the flower of flowers. Here its heady, tropical note is poised upon a light woody base - the fragrance seems to take flight off your skin. Not terribly long-lasting, but worth reapplying.

i Profumi di Firenze Mirra - Technically i don't suppose this should be considered a summer scent - but i confess to sneaking tiny dabs, especially at bedtime, when i am longing for cold weather.
The richest, softest myrrh - as if you've taken those dark golden nuggets of incense resin, powdered them up and dusted on your skin with a silken brush. No hint of bitterness - and no sillage to speak of, as the scent simply melts into skin. This is an intensely personal, introspective fragrance - others will find you attractive, not for your scent, but for the serenity that flows out around you. (It's probably not fair to include this scent, as i believe it is available only at the perfumery in Florence. i received a jolly little bottle from a dear friend - who knows how i'll ever replace it!)

Donna Karan Black Cashmere - Counterintuitive though it may seem, spicy scents can be quite cooling. Black pepper and nutmeg blend with sandalwood and a hint of non-foody vanilla to create a zen-like aura of calm.Joy de Jean Patou - There's a fine line between love and sex and death and birth. Between exuberance and excess. Joy parfum blurs the line. Natural jasmine at this concentration does not smell of airy white blossoms; it is a beautiful stench. Indole, one of the main scent components of jasmine essential oil, is also promininent in coal tar and fecal matter. In defiance of our culture of sanitizers and deodorants, Joy revels in the heated, flushed, throbbing fecundity of nature - the profligacy of an entire glowing summer, distilled into a darkly flickering bottle.

Chanel Allure - i'm late to the party on this one...tried Allure when it first came out and was underwhelmed. But this summer i was lucky enough to acquire a coffret of Chanel parfums, Allure among them, and in the parfum version it is divine! A perfect blend of vetiver and vanilla, not too dry and not too sweet. Well-behaved enough for the office, yet sensual, too. Bergamot in the top notes is the perfume version of Sun-In. i can't tell yet if this will be an ever-after favorite, but i'm loving it this summer.

For more summer fragrance top-10 lists, check out, Blogdorf Goodman, Bois de Jasmin, Brain Trapped in Girl's Body, C'est Chic, Koneko's *Mostly* Beauty Diary, Life in Paris, Make a Mental Note, Now Smell This, Ombligo!, Seldom Nice Nowadays, Self-Styled Siren, and This Bananafish Smells Like Leaves.


Blogger ParisLondres said...

What a lovely list dear D! I need to try the Javanese Cananga. Also I will have to re-test Allure since you like it. Perhaps I was too quick to decide on that based on the super popularity.
We are perfume cousins are we not?


9:30 AM  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

D, you were not invited because I did not even know that you had a blog!

Great list, and if you will please email me I will both see that you are included next time, and will see if I can get your link added to the other blogs :-)

9:41 AM  
Blogger Annie said...


I am excited to see you have a blog D! Can I add you to my list of favs?
I love IPF's Mirra. That is a great fragrance. Many thanks for sharing that with me. I also am a recently convert to Black cashmere.

10:05 AM  
Blogger boisdejasmin said...

Debra, I did not know you had a blog! This is such a great list, and I love the variety it offers. You reminded me of some of my other favourites, such as Chanel Gardenia and Donna Karan Black Cashmere. Granted, Black Cashmere would not work in the PA heat, but I really enjoy this fragrance.

Please cc me at when you write to Robin, or just drop me a short note to add you to the list. I am sending out permalinks to everyone tonight, and if you want to be included, it would be my pleasure to add yours.

Have a nice day,

10:26 AM  
Blogger katiedid said...

I love that you can carry off the I Coloniali Cananga di Java in the summer! I sure wish I could. Oh I bet you smell fantastic!

I too was underwhelmed by Allure. You sure do make that parfum sound pretty interesting, though.

4:16 PM  
Blogger red-queen said...

Thanks, all, for your kind comments; you have all been my fragrance mentors :>)

i guess i have not done such a good job of "marketing" my blog, LOL, and should therefore not complain if no one knows about it! Annie, Robin, Victoria - i would be flattered to be linked to yours.

K & N - please do re-try Allure - i was a reverse-snob about it, too, due to its extreme popularity, but this time around...mmm!

5:57 PM  
Blogger careerlady (on said...

What is it about Black Cashmere?! I have a tiny sample and hoard it, and am afraid to wear it, because it's oddly addicting. It might have been called Black Magic instead! I tested the Javanese Cananga and found it to be beautiful - and nostalgic. There is something very Edwardian about that perfume.... so many mysteries, so little time :-) Hugs, L

8:40 PM  
Blogger Atreau said...

Debra, I had no idea you had a blog! How fantastic, I just fell for Black Cashmere a few months ago and know it's going to be a staple of mine when the weather is cooler!

I love Chanel's Gardenia, don't know why I haven't caved on it yet!

9:01 PM  
Blogger red-queen said...

Welcome Atreau & Lucia! i too nursed a little sample vial of Black Cashmere...then another...then finally acquired a bottle - and WHAT a bottle. This could be my holy grail, except for that black-plastic-computer-mouse bottle :<( i understand it's supposed to look like a polished river rock; they should have made the surface matte and the shape more irregular, IMO. Your thoughts? Someone convince me that the bottle is *all that*?

9:18 PM  
Blogger katiedid said...

So I followed the permalink to test it and make sure it works, and I finally noticed the text you put at the footer! Or is that something new you added? Anyhow, I love that.

I think we should become a two woman grass roots PR campaign for the Javanese Cananga? Whaddya say? I can't believe more folks don't know about it. There's a salon in downtown Portland that sells it, and the same lonely bottles of it that were there when I got mine months ago are STILL sitting there. 'Tis a pity and a shame, especially because one of the clerks told me that the I Coloniali Peony Water was flying off the shelves. (Not that it's bad or anything, it's just not as deep or as good. Well, you know that.)

1:17 AM  
Blogger red-queen said...

Katie, i feel honored to join your campaign - as i commented on your blog, your top 10 list is so discriminating, i hadn't even heard of most of them! i wonder if people are put off by the name; Javanese Cananga sounds a bit fierce, LOL. BTW, were you a fan of Ralph Lauren Safari? i find JC somewhat reminiscent.

The footer quote has been there all along - glad you like it :>)

6:05 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Debra, dear! I love reading your list! I've been looking at I Coloniali fragrances lately (have sampled and am on the fence about the lotus one) and the Javanese one caught my eye. Your liking it means I probably would, too!

6:40 AM  
Blogger katiedid said...

I tried Safari years and years ago, and now that I'm curious about it again, my Meier and Frank doesn't seem to have it on the shelves. Well, maybe they do and they just ran out or something? All I saw was Lauren, and all those pink and blue bottles. I'll keep my eyes open for it.

7:38 PM  
Blogger red-queen said...

K - Sadly, Safari was discontinued last year. Another inexplicable marketing decision - "Oh, this is our best-seller of all time? Out with it!" Still available at TJMaxx on a fairly regular basis. Snatch some up now - it'll be worth a mint on eBay one day!

8:03 PM  
Blogger eula_w said...

Thanks for this. I was very pleased to see some of my own favorites appear on your list. :)

women pheromones

9:54 PM  
Blogger Laura Lee Curtis said...

I do have this listed on ebay.
J & E Atkinsons i Coloniali Javanese Cananga - Very "out of Africa", a perfume for adventuresses. Coloniali line - this scent would be quite believable on Isaak Dinesen. Cananga odorata is the Latin name of ylang-ylang, the flower of flowers. Here its heady, tropical note is poised upon a light woody base - the fragrance seems to take flight off your skin.

9:47 AM  

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