I´ll preface today´s post with a thanks to Matt for giving me food for thought on the subject of wearing orientals in summer. Not only do I wholeheartedly agree with him that you should spray on whatever darn pleases you, I´m also a staunch supporter of the idea that oriental, spicy perfumes are made to be worn in summer. Why? Well because they, as we perfumistas fondly like to say, bloom and meld with our skin amplifying nuances and accords that can seldom be experienced in the dreary cold of hateful winter. What´s more, I love summer. I live for summer. Nothing in this world compares to the feeling of being hypnotized by the breath of hot desert air that muddles your senses and benumbs your limbs; of walking barefoot on the scorching beach sand; of having an unexpected, mischievous gust of wind tickle you undershirt and dry your sweaty brow as you lie in the cool of a linden bower; of your sun-taut skin sizzling when you splash into the sea…
So, in the spirit of Matt´s post, I spritzed Fumerie Turque on before going to work and waited for it to weave its magic. Sure enough, the winter-specific punch of tobacco ash burnt off in a matter of seconds leaving behind a breathing layer of spicy leather dipped into honeyed rum. Not for a minute did it feel heavy or overbearing, not even during my bus ride. In fact, it was perfect. L´Air du Desert Marocain, one of my desert island perfumes, is another favorite that will not reveal all of its secrets unless you let it blend with your skin at an egg-boiling temperature.
But then, there are sweltering days when the air is so humid your clothes will cling relentlessly to your body and the sweat will drip from your every pore. On such a day I wouldn´t be caught dead wearing an oriental. Let me put it this way: I´d rather have my nipples pierced and my nether bits dry-shaved by a drunken, freshly jilted cosmetician than brave say, Chergui. I rather choose to battle the icky heat with greens and aromatics. A summer staple in my collection is Emporio Armani White, a widely underappreciated gem. White´s opening is a burst of juicy citrus and rosemary and is the equivalent of a refreshing herb-spiked lemonade, if such a thing exists. Cardamom and thyme appear in short order, the whole soon being overlaid by soft, white skin musks. White is a simple scent, really, but it´s the only one I´ve repurchased in the 100ml bottle and that says a lot, no? Reading comments on Basenotes, you´ll find however that many have longevity issues with this scent. Thankfully, I don´t have this problem as 3-4 spritzes last forever on me. A word of warning, though: if you´re a fan of White´s top notes, be sure to reapply it from time to time rather than overapply – instead of creamy musks, you could end up smelling like hairspray. Another green aromatic that appeals to me this time of the year is Calvin Klein´s Truth for men. I´m not much of a fan of the line, but this one seems to be the odd one out. Lovers of the scent of freshly cut grass, take note – the first few minutes of Truth will make you feel as if you were rolling in dewy grass, preferably with your loved one (sadly, my girlfriend hates the smell). Truth then gathers warmth from basil and cardamom and ends on a note of dry cedar, all the while keeping its natural vibe. An even better experience than Truth is its feminine version. I hear that the Lush flanker is more wonderful still. Do comment if you´ve tried both!
If aromatic citrus isn´t exactly your thing and you prefer your summer scent to leave a trail of transparent elegance, Eau de Cartier should work like a charm. It is easily my favorite natural´ of the bunch. Eau de Cartier feels like… a spring shower on your skin, a smile, a crystalline marriage of violets, greens and lavender. I am surprised by how little it moved me the first time. Yes, it can be a ghost of a scent, but if you´re patient enough, at the right time and the right place the ghost will cast its shadow, and if you´re quick enough, you´ll step on that shadow, just like I did.
Sometimes though not even these will do. The title of yesterday´s post, August(e) in June, is so true of the kind of weather we´re having this week. Only, we´re talking humid August, and the one that comes as an assault on your senses after a long spell of shy spring weather. You can well imagine how I felt the other day after a lengthy mid-afternoon tutoring of a group of listless two in a non-AC room, not to mention the toing-and-froing in buses from hell. All I could manage when I got home was a quick shower (didn´t help much, btw) after which I crashed on the bed, nekkid and still comatose, my head pounding. And then it hit me – what little I had left of my sample of Guerlain Vetiver I dumped all over. Ahhhh! Instant Cooling. Dee-vine. Should Be Prescribed As Medicine. Lying there in the dark with a moronic grin, I remembered reading on one of the blogs about someone who keeps their bottle of Vetiver in the fridge. Isn´t that cool or what? I´m going to do the same as soon as my bottle arrives, hee.