It’s funny; I love the scent of fresh berries so much more than the taste. More often than not, they taste sour to me, and I can’t stand their texture. Raspberries give me the willies, as does peach fuzz and wooden ice cream sticks. Strawberry seeds get stuck in my teeth and blackberries feel like a sponge that’s been left to decay next to the kitchen sink for oh, maybe a decade or two. I can tolerate blueberries as long as I can eat them with a heaping spoonful of sugar and and even bigger spoonful of sour cream. But, damn, I love how they smell!
Berry scents are hard to get right, and let’s face it – more often than not they are marketed to the under-18 crowd companies believe must go through a fruity “rite of passage” before moving on to more sophisticated fragrance choices. And, of course, they find themselves in the ubiquitous fruity-floral, fruitchouli mash-ups we all love so much.
Believe it or not, there are some sophisticated berry scents out there that have nothing to do with the stuff that’s competing for real estate in the local department store. Many of them are accented with red or black currants as well, which also smell wonderful, but for me are impossible to eat. Mind you, I’ve never been able to suck lemons either, so you can see this is a recurring theme. Maybe I’ll need to compile a list titled, “Food Nava Loves to Smell but Hates to Eat”. Somehow, I don’t think steak and chocolate cake are going to make it onto that one.
In the meantime, I have compiled a list of some favourite berry scents. Again, heavy on the fruit, light on the flowers:
Trish McEvoy No. 9: This one started me down the path to berry-ruin. When I first heard that the notes were blackberry, vanilla and musk, I believe I invented an excuse to leave my desk and race to Nordstrom to check it out. Of course I walked out of the store with a bottle. I wore this to death until I discovered the less expensive, but spot on duplicate, Falling in Love by Philosophy. I don’t know how these two co-exist together without legal action. They are exactly the same, save for the price. Right now, Falling in Love perfume oil is my stalwart, although for an oil, it doesn’t last very long. I’m also quite fond of the shower gel and body lotion.Trish’s “Sexy” version of #9 is just wrong.
Philosophy Unconditional Love: I guess you’d consider this a flanker to Falling in Love. It’s got some woods in it which warm it up, and a more concentrated blackberry/black currant note as well. Yes, fruit and woods do work well together.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc: When I first smelled this, I thought it was downright vile. It took me years to even go near it again. Then I said, oh what the hell, and gave it a spritz. About an hour later, it was true love. This one can be tricky because of the high concentration of musk. If you can pull this off without it smelling like berries and B.O., you’re set. I’m not sure I can handle that these days, and that’s all I’ll say without risking crossing the line into “TMI” territory.
True Religion for Women: I think this one has already been relegated to e-tailer purgatory after a too-short stint in the department stores. It had a citrusy/blackberry/cassis blend that I fell in love with during my one hot summer in Virginia. I also thought the bottle was adorable.
Antonia’s Flowers Sogni del Mar: Fruit? Check. Salt air? Check. Love? Yes. This blend of bergamot, cassis, rhubarb, and orange says it has lotus in it as well, but all I can smell is fruit and the ocean. In a good way, I swear. Luckily this was one of the bottles that was rescued from the clutches of my diabolically insane aunt.
Bond No. 9 The Scent of Peace: I was working my way through a third bottle of this gem when… Anyways, grapefruit, black currant and musk are the notes and it is the scent that solidified my status as a bona-fide “Bond Whore”. I just love this one so much…
Now for the really lowbrow stuff I can’t get enough of: Bath and Body Works Strawberry Lemonade, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Secret Wonderland, and their newest, Carried Away. Guess who walked out of one of their stores schlepping a dozen bottles of shower gel when they had their Buy 3, Get 3 sale last week? Unfortunately, Strawberry Lemonade is only available on their Web site.
And my all time favourite strawberry scented anything is a Bonne Bell Strawberry Lip Smacker. It doesn’t get any better than that; unless we’re talking about a Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker.
OK, your turn: Time to fess up your berry faves.