Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer scent party

Ayala was kind enough to invite me to join a blog mob on favorite summer scents for every occasion, and of course my immediate response was "Sure, I'd love to." Than I started trying to put a list together, and was reminded--not for the first time--that I have a deep attachment to some rather marginal perfumes. I'm tempted to list the classiest summer numbers in my collection, just so everyone will think I have fine taste. But no--I cannot lie to you. I'm going to give you a list of true favorites. Don't judge me.

For a sultry big city evening: Midnight Flower (Neil Morris)--This cocktail of tropical florals and tea punch is perfectly suited to even the hottest weather, yet it has a sophistication that can carry you through a fancy night out. Goes perfectly with a silk slip dress and strappy heels.

For sightseeing, museum-going, and other tourist tortures: Marguerite (Bourbon French)--Marguerite is a light, green floral with a slightly soapy quality, and a spicy/mossy base. I sometimes call it Eau de NOLA Debutante, because it strikes me as rather young and sexless, but it's not fruity or childish at all. It has a refreshing quality that sustains me while I'm tromping around on a muggy day. One caveat: I have found it tends to cause a bit of sun reaction. I wear it under my clothes if I expect to be outdoors a lot.

For a barbecue: Blue (Ralph Lauren)--I can hear you groaning, but Blue is the ideal cookout fragrance. It's both light and lighthearted, and so bland that there's no danger of it clashing with the aroma of charring meat or boiling crawfish.

For the beach, or fantasies of the beach: La Plage d'été (Hové)--Just a clean coconut scent with a hint of bitter lemon, La Plage d'été is aptly named. It is not the least bit sticky or cloying, and can be worn by all genders. Sand & Sable, the drugstore oldie, is another perfect beach scent. Just don't tell anybody what it is and you'll be lavished with compliments. Get an older bottle off ebay if you can, but the current stuff is just fine. (Dawn Spencer Hurwitz used to make a dupe of S&S caled "Black Beaches." It was fantastic, better than the original. If you ever run across any, email me immediately.)

For walking in the woods without drawing bees, mosquitoes, etc.: Tilleul (Provence Santé)--Sweet, clean, and spiritually uplifting, Tilleul captures perfectly the experience of standing under a linden tree. This perfume will let you be one with nature.

For plays in the park, concerts on the lawn, and other high culture summer outings: Narcisse Blanc (Caron)--Narcisse Blanc is nothing like its sister, Narcisse Noir. NB is pure, virginal, brainy. Even though it's rich with sexy white flowers, it has a quiet, contemplative quality. It feels less alluring than receptive.

I could go on blathering about my summer faves, but I think that'll do. Starting tomorrow, July 17th, you'll find the lists of other guests at this party by clicking below. Happy summer sniffing.

Perfume Shrine


The Non Blonde

I Smell Therefore I Am

+ Q Perfume Blog

Scent Hive

Savvy Thinker

Moving and Shaking

Ayala's Smelly Blog


Gator Grad said...

I love the Summer scent party on all the blogs (I live in Florida; it's always summer).

I'm not familiar with any of these frags. Any idea if Nordys and Saks carry these lines? I'm considering running to a bigger city where I could do some testing...

BitterGrace said...

Blue is, I think, still in department stores for sampling, but you can get a bottle for a song at TJ Maxx.

Neil Morris frags, as far as I know, are only at his Boston store and at Takashimaya in NYC--but he sells samples at his website.

Neil Morris Frgrances

Hové and Bourbon French are New Orleans perfumeries, so if you are in Florida, you might think about visiting them someday. Both shops are great for sampling and browsing. Barring that, they both have websites and sell samples or travel sizes.

Bourbon French


Narcisse Blanc is one of Caron's urn fragrances, so it's not really avaialable anywhere but the New York boutique. You can buy a sample online at The Perfumed Court.

The one piece of good news is that Sand & Sable is as close as your nearest Walgreens!

Happy hunting

Abigail said...

So great to see Tilleul Provence Sante on your list. It's a great choice! :-)

Perfumeshrine said...

I like that you're going the unbeaten path (as usual). The "Eau de NOLA Debutante" sounds especially appealing!
And spot on NB being more receptive than alluring, it's a little Caron joke that those two are paired so close, yet are so different.

Trish said...

I love your "high culture summer outings" category and will make sure I try NB when I visit the Caron Boutique in NYC this summer. Can't wait! Thanks for that rec.


ScentScelf said...

Fun list, BG..."fun," and thought provoking. Always enjoy being privy to your thoughts.

I have Sand & Sable, and can't quite carry it off as a me scent. (Any surprise from one who wrestles with Fracas?) But I do enjoy spritzing the guest bath with it occasionally...

BitterGrace said...

I'm glad there are more Tilleul fans out there, Abigail. It seems to be getting scarce. I got my bottle at Whole Foods, but they don't carry it anymore.

I wish Narcisse Blanc had more fans. I worry that it will be axed.

I've often seen S&S described as "Fracas on a budget," so I'm not surprised you don't dig it, ScentScelf. I like the idea of it as a room fragrance. I'd love a hotel room that smelled of gardenia and tuberose.

Ayala Moriel said...

Wow, your list has no scent at all that I've ever tried!!! What an eclectic and original summer wardrobe!!!
I have to make a note of finding some Narcisse Blanc. It's one of the very few Carons I haven't tried yet that are still in production.
And isn't linden just beautiful? There are very few linden scents. But the best of them all is standing under the blooming tree itself. I just discovered there are a whole bunch of them on Robson street. Unfortunately their scent is overshadowed by The Body Shop underneath them :(
Thank you so much for taking part in this spur-of-the-moment summer craving for lists :) hope to do more of those with you in the future!

BitterGrace said...

Thanks for inviting me, Ayala. It's fun to do lists like these, and I never get around to doing them on my own.

Linden is a fragrance I've just discovered a love for in the past few years. I didn't know what I was missing.

Flora said...

Oh I love your list, so original and fun!

I love both Sand & Sable and DSH Perfumes, sure wish I had some of that Black Sand!!

BitterGrace said...

Thanks, Flora. Re the DSH--I wonder if we could get her to put it back in the catalog?

Alyssa said...

Great list! As usual with you, I haven't tried a single one. Except Sand and Sable. Which I Can't Do. But I'll try again some day.

BTW, re: Gator Grad's query-- The Caron boutique in NYC used to sell samples over the phone (and only over the phone, you can't buy them when you're at the store, isn't that silly?) -- $5.00 for a hefty amount of extrait--at least 2 ml, maybe more like 2.5 or 3. Don't know if they still do this, but it's worth a shot.

BitterGrace said...

Really? $5 for 2ml+ of extrait? Wow, I had no idea. I actually found that they were very generous with giving samples at the boutique--but of course, that was after I had shelled out for a plane ticket to NYC. Not exactly free, when you think about it.

Brian said...

Great, I had just gotten settled on my butt, now all I can think about is Sand and Sable at the drugstore, which is a mere five minutes away!

BitterGrace said...

Ha! No rush--I suspect they'll still have some tomorrow.