Summer struck my particular neck of northern New England this week, and with it came a predictable, corresponding craving for refreshing fragrances. Citrus-based scents are nicely crisp, and green fragrances can cut the heat, along with mint perfumes, if you can find the right one. But in 95-degree weather, I don’t want cool, I want cold. Snow. Ice. Frost.
So I pulled out a perfume sample that had just arrived a few days earlier: CB I Hate Perfume Walking in the Air. Offered originally in 2008 as a Home Spray, it’s currently available in perfume form as well. On the CB I Hate Perfume site, Christopher Brosius wrote:
One day, in November 2007 when it was unseasonably warm, I found myself longing for the smell of Snow. Not on me but in the air around me in my studio. I wanted to imagine myself working quietly in the middle of a snow covered pine forest – rather like the ending of the first act of Balanchine’s Nutcracker…
So I made up a bottle of Snow-scented Home Spray.
Narnia in the Winter, the Waltz of the Snowflakes, or perhaps just the fond memories of Snow Days away from School, the smell of Snow is one of the most beautiful things I can think of…
Just what I was looking for! I poured on some of the absolute and waited for the snow to start falling. First up, I got a nice airy menthol note that I smelled/felt more in the back of my nose than right up front in my nostrils, if that makes any sense. Crisp. Near-minty. Yes, I could buy that as winter. Then, just after a waft of wet earth coasted by, I got fluffy. Sweet fluffy musk. White musk, enhancing the snow effect, but warm and cuddly, not crisp at all. My nose lead me right back to childhood: ice-skating on Wollman Rink in Central Park at night, cocooned in a fluffy angora sweater. Walking in the Air offers that same pleasant contradiction: a hint of frost ending in cuddly warmth. On my (sweet-enhancing) skin, the sweet and warmth grow until they take over and the scent becomes a white musk fragrance, all hint of crispness gone. So, is it a snow scent? Yes! Is it refreshing? Not so much. I actually think it might be quite warming in winter!
That mix of frosty and cuddly reminded me a bit of Frederic Malle’s L’Eau d’Hiver—apparently created by Jean-Claude Ellena as the first “Eau Chaude”—so I spritzed on some of that. After a refreshing burst of bergamot, this crafty scent develops a split personality, half frozen, half molten. The cold part is crisp and mysteriously vegetal: I picture a dark-green plant growing out of an ice-covered stream. The warm side of L’Eau d’Hiver is a bright streak of caramel that twines through the frost. Rather than detracting from the perfume’s icy bite, the warm sweetness heightens the chill, illuminating and sustaining it. The two sides of this personality dance around each other until the perfume is nothing more than a whisper of musk on skin. L’Eau d’Hiver never fails to refresh in summer—but, as I imagine could be true of Walking in the Air, I can wear it during the colder months, when the caramel comforts perfectly.
What are your beat-the-summer-heat scents? Do you have any icy fragrances you adore? Does citrus do the trick, or have you found something more crisp? Please share!
My sample of Walking in the Air was purchased from Surrender to Chance; my spritz of L’Eau d’Hiver came from my own beloved bottle.