Short and sweet due to heat


We’re having a heatwave here in eastern England. Whilst torrential rain floods the west, we bask in unending sun, humidity and aphids. I’ve swallowed two today – running, so my fault really – and had a close relative – to those other aphids – crawl up my nose. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the village, my lettuces are all running to seed or collapsing into sodden manila paper, slick in your hands when you remove them. What was an aesthetic array of vibrant limes, greens and dusky reds, is now a dustbowl punctured by bindweed. I need to tidy and refresh, but want rain first. At least the tomatoes are happy.

And it’s Wimbledon. I’m missing Nadal – his affection for his opponents, his cheesy smile, that chipmunk-meets-surprised-squirrel face, not to mention his flair. I’m trying to be a Murray fan, but I find him hard to warm to.

These are all excuses for a lack of review. I am wearing perfume – living in Sel de Vetiver and Geranium pour Monsieur mostly. But the heat also makes me crave spice, which is why tonight is curry night. One of the wonders of Britain is the Indian takeaway/out. And for this celebration of colour and warmth and languid living, it has to be preformulation (or so I hear) Santal de Mysore, Lutens’ and Sheldrake’s rhapsody to spice markets, sandalwood, orange, yellow, red and sepia.

Tell me – how’s your weather? And what are you wearing to match it – or not?

Oh, and that picture is Holkham Bay. I’ll be there next weekend.

  • ScentRed says:

    Please send some sweltering days my way. I’ll gladly take them off your hands 🙂

    Just north of Toronto, it has been unseasonably cool and very rainy, which for a hot-weather gal like me is a sad situation indeed.

    I’m wearing L’Artisan Cote d’Amour and wishing I was beachside tasting the salty sea air…

  • jan v says:

    This topic is entertaining and that was a great essay, Lee. You’re quite a talented writer! I can’t complain as I’m enjoying hot but breezy southern California…our hot dirty weather is yet to come, probably August. It is warm enough to enjoy some refreshing scents though and I’ve been loving my new sample of L’Artisan The Pour un Ete. It changes from a lemony extract to delightful summery tea with a hint of herbal green! Of course, at the other end of the spectrum, who can resist Tauer’s LDDM in the heat? Surely, not me!

  • CynthiaW says:

    Well, I’m in Houston too, so the weather is mostly miserably hot and humid – but, we do have air conditioning, so I just mostly try to avoid being outside for longer than it takes to walk from my air conditioned car to whatever air conditioned indoor activity I’m heading to. Of course, with the economy, it seems as if everyone is economizing on the a/c – Houston is notorious for having frigid indoor temps in public venues and it hasn’t been the case this year.

    That being said – I’m wearing CK One Summer today, but only because I just bought it for $20 at Marshalls. Other than that, my scents of the last week have gravitated towards spicier/heavier scents – Mitsouko, Coco, Bois des Iles, and florals – Tuberose Gardenia, Fleur de Corail.

    I was in Ulta earlier this week and the SA kept trying to steer me towards summer scents and I was happily spraying myself with Coco and Opium (just because it had been so long since I smelled it on myself – but I may spring for a small bottle in the winter.) He thought that I was nuts, but then understood where I was coming from when I started talking about my collection and told me about his.

  • E says:

    It’s HOT here, and very humid. I am (perhaps somewhat perversely, given the name?) wearing the heck out of Frederic Malle L’eau d’Hiver.

    However, other than that I have been surprisingly “meh” about my usual summer arsenal of light, fresh scents, and have been wearing heavier things (Ambre Narguile, Chergui, Dior Addict, and even Botrytis one day) which are usually cold-weather picks for me but are blooming nicely in the heat.

    I stayed home in my bathrobe today and am wearing Cinnabar parfum — purchased on the recommendation of March and Patty in posts and comments here 🙂 — which smells simultaneously dated and comforting to me. When I was a kid, in the early 80s, my grandmother and my aunt gave me perfume samples to play with. They must have been Big Orientals, because this is That Smell to me — what I always thought that perfume was *supposed* to smell like growing up. So it smells like the early 80s to me, but I like that. Good memories :).

  • Eric says:

    For some reason, I like oppressive, heavy scents in heat. So I’m wearing some Shalimar Parfum de Toilette to match my current 104 F weather. The scent actually buzzes down nicely and since I’m dabbing, the scent is really muted and lovely to begin with. I’m probably just strange, though.

    • Musette says:

      No, you’re not strange- there are several of us on here who dip into the big guns when it hits triple digits. I just took some vintage L’Origan for a spin in 100+F, then I decided to see how Carnal Flower fared (very well) and vintage Shalimar parfum (wowzers!)

      Fracas in tripdigits is a trip!

      For regular old ‘gettin’ through the day’, though, my go-to scents are Agraria Bitter Orange and JCE’s Bigarade Concentree.


    • Lee says:

      Let’s face the facts, folks: we’re all flippin’ strange here!

  • Jan L. says:

    I forgot to add that I’m wearing the new Hermes, Eau de Pamplemousse Rose, which is spirited and summery.

  • Jan L. says:

    Here in the Deep South it’s intensely hot and terribly humid, much like walking through a volcanic rain forest or a sauna with the heat turned way up. Last weekend I returned to my car after Church and the thermometer read 109 F…at 6 p.m.! I remember when it used to get cool in mid-to-late September down here. Back in the 1960s and early 1970s we actually needed sweaters in that month. Now, we’re fortunate to have a cool Thanksgiving. It truly is becoming a hotter globe, and for those of us who prefer coolness, rain, clouds, and wind, we’re struggling. Last evening we had a lovely thunderstorm, which was badly needed, as our lawns are turning brown they’re so dry, and it was fantastic to hear the rumble of thunder, the escalating of winds, and then the glorious rains. Perhaps I belong in the British Isles….

    • Lee says:

      Oh Jan – that heat! But here in Eastern England our lawns are also brown brown brown. Very little rain. Perhaps you need to be in the west where it’s all verdant loveliness!

  • Aparatchick says:

    A friend in London and relatives in Saffron Walden have been complaining bitterly of the heat. Cry me a river, I say. Heat? We got heat. We got humidity. We got thunderstorms, so that after the heat and humidity, you get even more humidity. And bugs? Oh yeah. So perfumes with tea, mango, or fig notes have been my go-to choices of late. There’s just something so refreshing about them.

    I do miss reading about rain delays at Wimbledon. Somehow it just isn’t the same without them.

    • Lee says:

      You’re right. And that crazy roof on Centre Court even spoils the rain delay fun. One side benefit – no more dreadful singalongs with Cliff Richard.

  • tammy says:

    Yes, we’ve had a glorious couple months here in SoCal….and we’ve had a lovely, steady breeze to go with the perfect temps in OC. I have normally stopped wearing perfume by now…don’t tolerate it at all when it hits the 80s…but my YSL Paris spring-rose flankers are getting a lot of wearing lately, as is my Fleur de the Rose Bulgare.

    • Lee says:

      Oh, you smell delightfully floral – like an English cottage garden in June, no less.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I can’t complain about the weather- California in June is a glorious thing. Foggy and cool in the morning, burning off around 10 and becoming sunny, dry and 65. Every.Day. I wear a lot of different scents, except for really heavy ones. Today, it’s Parure. Maybe some Barbara Bui later. And some Vanille Oud before bed. I hope it cools down for you soon!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Oops, I should have specified East SF Bay, coast. There is so much variation in NorCal, even within a small area. It could well be 90 ten miles inland from here.

      • Lee says:

        You’re right about that variety. I was always startled by the 20 – 30 degree difference between Palo Alto and SF in June/July…

        • Elizabeth says:

          So you lived in Palo Alto? I hear it’s very nice, even from my DH, who went to Cal and loathes Stanford (though he would jump at a job offer from them, I’m sure!).

  • tmp00 says:

    It’s nice here. Warm, with a marine layer at the beach (coastal fog)

    I’m feeling very pouty-pants at the moment (lost out on some minor thing) so I am wearing Muscs Kublai Khan

  • Elle says:

    Wonderful weather here today. Hot, breezy, low humidity. Heaven! Am wearing First – not to match the weather, but because it’s been on my mind since March’s post on it and I’ve got such great memories attached to it.
    SdM has been reformulated?!!!! WHY??! Am in a state of shock and despair. It’s amoung my top 5 fave scents of all time. I should have stockpiled it – in a major way. If I needed any encouragement for this stockpiling mood I’ve been in for the past year, this certainly is it. Must try to find time to sit outside today and contemplate why bad things happen to good scents. Deep sigh…

    • Lee says:

      From all the talk, yes I think it has. Supposedly smells quite different now…


  • Calypso says:

    Hey, I’m in Houston and don’t any of you try to tell me about heat. We have HEAT! We have had 21 days of +97 degrees and 13 days of triple digits! That’s something like 38C I think! We are also very humid. I’m leaning toward citrusy and especially orange scents during this time such as L’Occitane Feu D’Orange, but also using another recent love, Roja Dove Unspoken (I just have a decant, it’s too expensive to buy a bottle). It’s a great chypre with a bergamot blast at the start and just a truly beautiful, beautiful fragrance. And my third fabulous heat-treating scent is Parfums de Nicolai Eau Fraiche Turquoise, with some lime and mango, but still managing not to smell like a nasty tropical drink with a pink umbrella in it.

    • Lee says:

      Eau Turquoise is perfect.

      You live in an air-conditioned land though, right? I think I’d find that heat+humidity unbearable. I love my some dry heat but sticky? No ta!

  • mals86 says:

    After a very wet and cool spring/early summer, we’re into Hot and Humid territory here in the mountains of Virginia. (Um, that’s Hot and Humid for us – upper 80’s to low 90’s F, 70-80% humidity – it’s not DC by any means!) I’m wearing my Cool Green Florals a lot: Chamade pdt, Le Temps d’une Fete, and No. 19. The Ivoire de Balmain that I dissed in April as being too soapy-mossy is somehow just perfect in the heat. Also loving my samp of OJ Orris Noir and my mini of L’Arte di Gucci.

    So, Lee – I’ve always wondered – what temperature constitutes Hot in England??

    • Lee says:

      Exactly the temps you’re describing – but rrrrrrrrrramp up that humidity. Actually, it only hit 90 yesterday and now it’s cooling down.

    • Rappleyea says:

      Orris Noir! Thanks for reminding me Mals. That was also sampled recently and is a LOVE!

  • Melissa says:

    Another DC’er weighing in on the relatively cool (mid-eighties) temps that we have been enjoying. Unfortunately the afternoon storms have left my garden in horrible shape-it looks like a muddy jungle. The conditions are also perfect for Asian tiger mosquitoes, making it more than slightly unpleasant to venture outside to tackle the garden.

    As for fragrances? I’m enjoying pretty much everything in my collection, with the exception of those that I associate entirely with winter. I Profumi di Firenze Magnolia Dolce is my scent this morning, but I will probably wear two others by the end of the day. I’m thinking something big and bold by 7 pm. Maybe Amouage Gold?

    • Lee says:

      I imagine Gold might keep those mozzies at bay…!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Oh my, mid-80s=cool! I remember thinking that way when I lived in the oven that is Philadelphia. Now I find it quite uncomfortable.

  • March says:

    Missing Nadal as well… those arms! I am not envious of your weather, but I am envious of the upcoming Sniffa attendees. We have had a cooler than normal spring/summer, but on the few days it’s been hot I’ve enjoyed several incense fragrances, which I’d kind of burned myself out on. I’m hoping the weather in Maine improves since we’re heading up there in a week. Huddled in my cabin with the kids isn’t really what I’m envisioning after our perfect weather last year.

  • Kirsten says:

    Another delurker here! The rain’s just started here in SW Scotland after a week of horrible muggy heat.
    Missing Nadal too, and Murray’s not easy to warm to even for us ‘Sweaty Socks’ …
    Un Jardin Apres La Mousson today – seems to sit somewhere between humid head and torrential rain just nicely!

    • Lee says:

      So, back to normal, eh? 😉

      Your perfume sounds like exactly the right choice.


  • sara says:

    It’s unseasonably pleasant here in the Nation’s Swampital–lots and lots of tourists as well. As Louise mentioned above, we do get the daily mini-monsoons. I like spice and substance during the summer so I’ve been wearing several of the summer Opium flankers, L’Air du Desert Marocain, and Zagorsk which I love during winter and summer!

    • Lee says:

      How strange for all you DC types to have less humidity than us Brits…

      I like the smell of you.

  • Rappleyea says:

    Unseasonably cool and rainy here in the Bluegrass (central Ky.), but then last week with heat and humidity, the heat index was over 100 degrees! Go figure!

    I’ve mainly been sampling lately – just a dab of this or that on the back of each hand. The best finds so far: Divine’s L’Ame Soeur and SSS’s Champagne de Bois.

  • aubrey says:

    Hot here too (Florida) and very, very humid. But at least we haven’t had any hurricanes yet this year.

    I couldn’t wear spice in the heat. I also can’t stand anything too sharp. Or too floral. Anything over 100 degrees and I think it’s hard to wear any perfume.

  • veuve amiot says:

    Right across the Channel from you, Lee, and very much the same here. It’s HOT. I’m sitting with my feet in an ice bucket. ‘Nuff said.
    I do miss Nadal, too – he’s always a nice counterpoint to Federer’s seemingly gruff manner. (I adore Federer, really, he just tends to resemble Oscar the Grouch when he’s concentrating)

    Scent-wise.. I’m lost. No scent during the day, unless it’s super refreshing; this weather is too headache-inducing to add scent to the equation. Evenings are better: I’m actually quite fond of simple sweet things now: Eau Parfumée au Thé Rouge, Reminiscence Do Ré… They come across as sultry where they’re usually timid.

    • Lee says:

      Budge over – I wanna share your bucket.

      Fed is fine, but Nadal trumps all for me.

      • tammy says:

        Andre will always trump all for me, and I am not sure why. There was just a certain sweetness about him that appealed strongly to me. Rafa could certainly come visit any time, however!

  • karin says:

    We’ve had the weirdest weather here in Maine – 3 solid weeks of rain, clouds, fog, and 50’s/60’s. I actually wore a WOOL SWEATER yesterday and TURNED ON THE HEAT!!!! In JULY! Very strange. And weekend is supposed to be more of the same…

    Yesterday I wore a decant of Chamade EDP and ended up searching around the web for a bottle. Only one I could find in the U.S. was from a discounter in L.A., and they supposedly had only 1 bottle left! I bought it. First purchase for 3rd quarter 2009, I suppose!

    Re: Chamade, I also have a decant of the EDT, which you find here in the luxury department stores, but the EDP is MIA – and of course, I had to have the EDP!!! Love it!!!

  • Louise says:

    Very pleasant weather here, perfect for sitting outside our local SBUX (overlooking the Macy’s parking lot) and reading-currently Bryson’s “Notes from a small island” and the NYTimes. We’re getting monstrous t-storms most nights, with refreshing mornings. No aphids, just the rare mooskito.

    It’s the perfect weather for almost any perfume-yesterday morning a drop of vintage L’HB (hi Kim!) and LL Jasmin in the evening. My Eau Premiere is getting a lot of play, as Anisia Bella.

    I fell in love with my first salt fragrance recently-Profumum Acqua di Sale, and am barely resisting an untimely purchase. I sampled MH Fleurs de Sel, and it wasn’t good on me, and plan on trying the Sel de Vet soon.

    Ah, what a lovely beach pic! Maybe a few sea breezes will cool you a bit 😉

    • Lee says:

      Well, Fleurs dS is great ALL over me. Not tried the other two. You know me, something of a perfume slacker these days…

      Is that bug all gone?

      • Louise says:

        Feeling much better, thanks. Non-contagious, even.

        Decided I need galbanum today-off to drown in MH Green, Green, Green, etc.

    • Musette says:

      Louise – have you tried Heeley Selmarine?


  • dinazad says:

    It’s hot here as well (after a week’s rain), so I’m wearing Vent Vert (then new one – no luck finding the ultra-green original so far), which fits nicely. As for aphids – they’re fighting for the real-estate on my runner beans. Some have even emigrated to the bougainvillea and the chervil. Never have they been this fat and aggressive! I can totally see them as monsters in some “Tarantula”-like monster movie. The attack of the giant aphids! But with Vent Vert on, no monster can scare me…. especially not a green one (God, I’m blathering, must be the heat).

    • Lee says:

      Bloody aphids. I’m battling green, black, brown, russet, translucent and grey. Even found some root aphids on a beet root, of all places…

      So much for a cold winter killing em off. They’re thriving. Grr.

  • pyramus says:

    It is bizarrely cool and wet here in eastern Canada, which I concede is not a region known for its heat waves, but it actually does get fairly hot here in the summer, just not this summer. We’ve had a few hot days, but mostly it’s relatively temperate. As a consequence, I’m foregoing most of my usual lightweight, hot-summer scents for, well, pretty much anything I care to put on: Serge Lutens Douce Amere and Chypre Rouge (not at the same time!), A*Men Pure Malt, Hermes Rocabar for rainy days, and spicy things like Catalyst for Men and Escada Casual Friday. I mostly wear Terracotta Voile D’Ete and some of the summery Demeters on days when it actually does get hot.

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Hello from steamy, swampy London! I’m just glad I work from home and don’t have to wear business attire and commute – eeek. It will be like playing in soup at Wimbledon this afternoon and yes, I miss Rafa too.

    I don’t go for light cologne-like scents either so am in the glorious Amouage Ubar today – just a few drops are working beautifully.

    Watch out for thise aphids and be glad you aren’t in the City!

    • Lee says:

      I think it’s near enough as swampy here in Suffolk as it is in the city.

      Think cool green thoughts!

  • Kim says:

    I also prefer spicier colognes in the heat, not cool colognes. I find the spice perfumes do a better job of covering the, shall we say, scents of the heat?

    I love Guerlain L’Heure Bleue in the heat and recently tried Guerlain Nahema – it was lovely. Somehow, the heat and humidity brings out the animal/spice in the depth of these and they are just divine!

    Another favourite in the heat is Lutens Un Lys, sometimes layered with just a bit of Un Bois Vanille or Douce Amere. Makes sense Lutens would be great in the heat – didn’t I read that much of his inspiration is from Morocco where he lives? Now that is some heat!

    • Lee says:

      I tell you, even in February, southern Morocco (not the mountains) can be hot…

  • carter says:

    Wet. It’s wet. I feel like I’m in England. Or, the other England. I am willing it to be hot and dry so I am wearing Let Me Play the Lion for all it’s worth.

    You’re a hell of a writer, Lee.

    • Lee says:

      Thank you – I think. I’ve just reread what I wrote and it strikes me as singularly pedestrian!

      I love LMPTL. Should own a bottle.

      Hoping you get sun…xxx

  • Clemens says:

    Heat went up just recently in Vienna, after a week or so of heavy rain. I mostly reach for two: If I wanna feel free and summerlike and like I’m walking through a fig grove I go for Philosykos. This makes me have my own little private vacation here. If I wanna feel more professional and sleek or have some important appointments that don’t allow me to feel all happy go lucky, I put on Jardin de Kerylos. Both are still remains of my last years efforts to put up a all-fig all-occasion row of perfumes, which is still not finished.

    But posting this makes me want to experiment – I guess I will go for something different and try some Brin de Reglisse.

  • Annelie says:

    It´s really, really hot here in Sweden to (at least where I live, an hour south of Stockholm). I have cravings for Missoni by Missoni and of course all I´ve got of it is a tiny sample even tough I am on the hunt for a bottle of it. When not emptying my sample of Missoni I am wearing either really cool perfumes (Eau Radieuse from Humiecki & Graef for instant) or warm, sweet and simple one´s like Casmir…

    • Lee says:

      I must sniff that Eau Radieuse sometime. I think stormy wether may soon cross the North Sea to greet you. It’s flirting with us here – grey cloud so heavy looking it should be supported by struts, but not much rain as yet. And the humidity continues to rise…

  • eldora says:

    Delurking cause you mentioned a favorite of mine- Santal de Mysore *swoon*. Sorry for your heat wave, summer has finally arrived here in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Off to Hololulu this weekend. Any idea when SdM was reformulated? Sending you cool breezes and crisp alpine air!

    • Lee says:

      No idea. I think it’s suggested in Perfumes: The Guide, and probably due to shortages of Mysore sandalwood… defeating the name of the perfume somewhat, eh?

    • Tommasina says:

      Eldora! What happened? MANY thanks for fab parcel (sorry this post is OT but I had no way of being in touch otherwise)

  • tammy says:

    Am I allowed to be missing Nadal’s arms, and the overall Perfection that is his physique???