Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer Scents

What I wore on my summer vacation, 2011

Summer is its own perfume category. Hot humid days cry out for cooling colognes; languid summer evenings beg for pretty florals; garden-fresh green notes just seem so right and if you can't get to the beach, you can always smell like one. On my staycation this summer, I hung around the city during some of its hottest days. Away from the restrictions of the office, I was free to spray on whatever and as much as I wanted. So here is list of what I wore to beat the heat.


Santa Maria Novella Acqua di Colonia
I first tried this in the spring on a trip to Rome. I was looking for a perfume that was quintessentially "Italian" and that would help me cope with the heat while we traversed the hills of Rome by foot. Acqua di Colonia fits the bill. It was originally created in 1533 by Dominican friars for Catherine de Medici. Its cooling combination of citrus, herbs and flowers feel as good as stepping into the Trevi Fountain on a hot day.


Penhaligon's Orange Blossom
A favourite of mine for sleeping in year round, this light, airy take on orange blossom starts with a pink pepper and end with a whisper of vanilla and wood.

Bvlgari Bvlgari Pour Femme
The perfect pretty floral perfume for a casual summer evening in a barely-there dress and sandals, Bvlgari Pour Femme is a carefree violet, rose and jasmine with a warm amber base.


Parfumerie Generale - Bois Naufragé
My beach in a bottle. This simple combination of wood, salt and ambergris makes my skin smell like I just went swimming in the ocean. The driftwood note and the salty-sweet skin note of ambergris combine with a pale "green plus coconut" fig-like note to make it seem like just the barest trace of suntan lotion is left on my skin under the salt.

l'Artisan Parfumeur - Ananas Fizz
Grapefruit and pineapple make this perfume a fizzy but not too sweet refresher. I find it somewhat balsamic and floral. When I wear it people say I smell like the beach.

Creed - Virgin Island Water
Virgin Island Water always makes me smile. Coconut, rum, lime and creamy ylang ylang smell like a tropical cocktail in paradise.


Eau d'Italie - Jardin du Poete
The smell of fresh basil is one of the best things in summer. In Jardin du Poete, refreshing bitter orange and grapefruit shine down on the bright green of basil and cypress like a garden at high noon. Moody green angelica, musk and vetiver bring you down to earth in that same garden at dusk.

Parfumerie Generale - Papyrus de Ciane
This is a good example of how perfume tastes can change over time. When I first tried this scent last year, I wasn't really into it. Now I adore it. The main notes are galbanum, neroli, incense, labdanum, vetiver and a gorgeous dark, mossy Mousse de Saxe base. Not really a "fresh" green scent, but more of a dry, smoky, resinous green, I know Papyrus de Ciane will continue to be one of my favourites right into fall.

So what are you wearing this summer to beat the heat?

Photo: Chasing Water I by andreaffm


  1. During summer I seem to turn more to vetiver and iris. I love Vetiver des Sables by Montale, Paul Smith Story, Tom Ford Vetiver, Mugler Cologne. And from my irises I turn to Infusion d' Homme and Iris Bleu Gris by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier. But for a short holiday trip I prefer L' Homme de Coeur by Parfums Divine, one of the better irises out there, supposed to be a masculine but something every woman should try at least once.

  2. Thank you for the recommendations memoryofscent. I will put L'Homme de Coeur on my must try list. Irises always seem a little melancholy to me, like I should be wearing them on rainy days, but we have plenty of those coming up soon in Toronto.

  3. Your beach scents = I'm SOLD! :D My anchor scent for summer is Murray & Lanman Florida Water (which I use by the gallon!) but a close second lately is Sanborn Orange Blossom, to which Bloody Frida recently introduced me & which smells like beach-kissed sun-warmed skin. On humid days I find I reach for the very dry L'Occitane 4 Voleurs... and a new love for this summer has been 64W by Lili Bermuda, the scent of a cedar bonfire in a bayside cove at dusk.

  4. Love reading summer perfume suggestions because I don't have many. This probably has something to do with disliking coconut and grapefruit!
    Really love the sound of Papyrus de Ciane and will add that to my "To Try" list. My summer scents are Diorella, OJ Champaca, Atelier Cologne's Oolong Infini and Trefle Pur, Kenzo' Ca Sent Beau, Eau de Campagne and L'Artisan's newly re-issued Fleurs d'Oranger.


  5. It's August 19th. Daytime temperature 20C. And I think it wasn't even the coldest day this summer. So this year I didn't need too many changes to what I normally wear during any other time of the year. Chanel No.19 Poudre got a lot of wear - just because it was a new purchase.

  6. I must try PG Papyrus de Ciane. I have been eyeballing it for over a year now.

    This summer, we had some unbearably hot days. We also had some terribly cold and rainy days!

    When it was too hot, I liked Guerlain Vetiver 4711, and Cartier L'heure Fougeuese.
    When it was cold, I chose Youth Dew, but I even wore that on a couple of hot days too!
    Also, Youth Dew dusting powder on a hot day was great - nothing else needed.

    Right now, I'm testing Bronze Goddess. It's not that coconutty on me, which pleases me to no end!

  7. I've been wearing Mauboussin. It's light and casual. Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere works too.

  8. Hi Olenska, did you read that they recovered a 19th century bottle of Florida Water from a shipwreck!? wouldn't you love to smell it? 64W sounds great, I'll have to try that.

  9. Hi Tara, Eau de Campagne is such a great green! It's on my Wish List.

  10. Hi Joan, I should get some Eau Premiere. One of the few great perfumes that you can get in a Shopper's Drug Mart.

  11. My fumey summer has been really weird - none of my usual things worked for me. (And I never like colognes anyway, no matter how I try. I've given up on them.) Didn't want my usual greenies and aldehydes, which is strange.

    Mary Greenwell Plum, TF Blk Orchid Voile de Fleur, Amoureuse, Cuir de Lancome, Shalimar Light - all sort of mid-weight things with gentle sillage.

  12. Hi Muse,
    We all go through perfume changes, don't we? My vintages just aren't working for me right now.

    I've heard really good things about Plum, I'd like to try that.

  13. I DID read about the Florida Water! I wonder how much a decant of THAT would set me back!... 64W is definitely my favorite of the LB line, if the frequency w/ which I turn to it is any kind of indicator. :)


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