Memory-laden Monday: Some early fireworks

With the Fourth of July holiday just around the corner for our Posse peeps in the U.S., I pondered what, if any, scent has ever set off fireworks in my brain.

It didn’t take long for one fragrance to pop up: Clinique Wrappings. It bowled me over (almost literally) when I first sniffed it way back when (1990, according to Basenotes). “Fizzy,” “boozy,” “effervescent,” and “nose tickling” were a few of the impressions that ricocheted around in my head after my initial spray. I remember thinking, “Mmmm, now this is what champagne ought to smell like.”

Wrappings is such a great hot-weather scent that I’m not sure why Clinique only sells it around the winter holidays (and only at select dept. store counters). Sure, I get the play on gift wrap, and I can understand that it might be seen as having kind of a winter vibe to some noses, but I think it easily could be a best seller for them year-round. Maybe they could market it as “the sophisticated girl’s Happy” (or “the tipsy girl’s Happy,” ha!) or something. I know people who simply adore it and would buy it by the caseload in any season.

Anyhoo, fast-forward a few years. The fashion editor at my newspaper brings over a magazine brief about a new fragrance from a French perfume house with which I’m only vaguely familiar. Intrigued, I called the store carrying it to get a sample for us to try.

When it arrived, I kept sniffing its top notes and getting flashbacks to another scent, wracking my brain for what it was, until it finally hit me. It was a a near-scent twin to Wrappings. Granted, it was more sedate and tea-like in its middle and drydown stages, but the two shared a similar sparkly opening. That scent was Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier’s Camelia Chinois.

A few years ago when I wanted to try the Gantier again, there were no samples available, so I broke down and bought a bottle on eBay. I eagerly sprayed, awaiting that burst of bubbly magic. Imagine my disappointment to find that its top notes had gone off so much that it was almost unrecognizable. I nearly cried. It smelled fairly true after the ruined top notes faded, but I really wanted my fragrant fireworks. Guess I’ll wait until winter and get my fizzy fix with Wrappings.

So tell me, what fragrance sets off sparks in your brain when you sniff it?

  • FragrantWitch says:

    Wrappings is on my must sniff list but by the time Christmas rolls around I am distracted by all of he other lovelies and forget. Plus, whilst I am close to London a shopping trip in to Harrods in Christmas crowds is not so much fun unless of course you have no agenda and can just give yourself over to the whole Harrods, lights, Oxford Street Christmas craziness! Funny, but I can’t think of any explosive fragrances at the moment.
    We are heading to a 4th of July party with other expat friends and we’ll light some sparklers for all of you! I miss celebrating with summer fireworks- here in the Uk all the big firework displays are for Bonfire Night on the 5th of November. Even after all of these years, I still find it strange to watch fireworks in the cold of November!

    • Ann says:

      Hi, sweetie. Glad you’re having a 4th celebration over there across the Pond. I don’t blame you for not wanting to brave the Harrod’s holiday rush; when younger (and childless), I used to love jumping into the fray and embracing the craziness of it all, but not anymore, now that I’m older and wiser (not to mention close to worn out). Do sample the Wrappings sometime; I think you’ll like it, or at least appreciate that it’s different. Have a fun Fourth of July!

  • Eldarwen 22 says:

    I’m still very fixated on Chanel no. 19 because it’s been so hot in Cleveland. I’m sad to say that I haven’t even opened my itty bitty bottle of the extract yet. But I have been starting to crave my bottle of Dia because it absolutely sparkles no matter what time of year it is. I sort of gravitated away from the Cliniques because they started doing all these flankers of Happy. I used to wear Happy through high school and most of college and got bored with it. But I have noticed with Clinique perfumes is that they have the tendency to go bad fairly quickly.

    Quick note is that no. 19 in EDP form is now back on the US Chanel site. As soon as I have some spending money…

    • Ann says:

      Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the heads-up on the Chanel. The original 19 didn’t like me one bit, I’m sad to say, but I did OK with the Poudre, although that doesn’t count, I know. You’re right about Clinique, though, they Happy’d us all to death there for a while.

  • Musette says:

    I have never tried Wrappings. I stopped at Happy and haven’t been back to the Clinique counter since! But now you make me want to try this. I’ll stop by Rosie’s and see if she has it, when I’m back in civ.

    xoxo :Devil:

    • Ann says:

      Hi, sweetie. If you liked Calyx and Cristalle, there’s a good chance you’ll like this one. I’m finding it a great heat-buster!

  • tania says:

    I love Wrappings! I have one bottle ‘on the go’ and two backup bottles. I get it from Harrods every Christmas, as part of a gift set with the lotion. As far as I know, that’s the only place in the UK I can get it.
    It never occurred to me to wear it in summer, but now I’ll give it a go.

    I also have Camelia Chinois. I must admit I didn’t notice the resemblance. But now mine is ‘off’, too. In fact, it turned very soon after I bought it, despite my storing it in it’s box in a dark, cool place. (It’s so disappointing when that happens). So your ‘turned’ bottle is not atypical, I guess!

    • Ann says:

      Tania, that is so frustrating, isn’t it? And now I’m afraid to order another bottle because of the high likelihood that it’s turned, especially in this heat. For now, I’m putting everything I can fit into the fridge for safekeeping, ha!

  • rosarita says:

    Hi, Ann! I have never tried Wrappings and I kind of forget about it until someone writes about it and I remember that I want to try it. I do wish it was more accessible. Chanel Cristalle edt set off that champagne sparkle in my nose, but that was in the 80s and I haven’t smelled it since, so I don’t know if it still has the same opening. Bond 9 Silver Factory has a fizzy, sparkling opening too, very unusual for an incense scent, I think. Fun post! Fireworks have been banned in my part of the world due to the extreme drought; I’ll bet that’s happening in lots of places in the US this year.

    • Ann says:

      Yes, yes, yes! There was another scent I was thinking of while writing this, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it and it was Cristalle, so thanks for the memory jog. I adored it way back when so think it’s worth rediscovering. Sorry about the fireworks but looks like this is a bad year for everyone. Have a happy 4th anyway!

  • Sam says:

    I love Wrappings! I discovered it in the early ’90s–and I agree, I love it most in warm weather. I was so shocked when rumors circulated that it was being discontinued (this was back in the days before the internet, and I relied on a friend who wore Aromatics Elixir for my Wrappings updates) and then, yes, it seemed to disappear. It took me a very, very long time to discover what you described: that the scent reappears at xmas. Now I always have a bottle in my stash. And thanks for reminding me of it; it’s time to break it out to help assuage this hot weather!

    Hope you had a good trip last week!

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, sweet Sam, I did — so much so that I ended up staying longer than I had planned. Glad to see another Wrappings fan and very happy you’ve got a bottle.
      I got tired of all the conflicting rumors so I phoned and hoofed it around town to a number of Clinique counters this weekend and it seems that only a select few stores got the Wrappings gift sets last year in November and December. So now I know which ones to hit this winter.

  • Patricia Hall Borow/Olfacta says:

    Hello Ann — Hope you’re surviving this dreadful heat wave! With that in mind, cardamom does this for me. “Declaration” is the One, but it has a (really, really) animalic drydown, so I can’t wear it to the gym. Another is “Eau Parfumee Extreme.” Both by Ellena. I never really knew cardamom existed until I got into perfume. Now I make iced tea with it, and brew coffee with it too.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Pat! Thanks for the heads-up about cardamom; I’m not that familiar with it (the scent note or the spice) but now you’ve got me curious about it. Heatwise, it seems to be a little better today with some cloudiness (who knew we’d be so happy to see temps in the 90s? But I guess it’s all relative!). Stay cool …

    • Musette says:

      You get animalic in Declaration? Wow. I’ll have what you’re having. I love Declaration but it just sort of …..fades..away..on me. Would LOVE some ‘animalic’!


  • De Bachmakov and Pulp (and even La Tulipe) are very bubbly fragrances, but I think Insolence, with its berry-violet opening is the closest thing I have to being a firework.

    Hope you all have a great Fourth! With the heat wave and drought here fireworks are banned. I’ve got to think of something else fun to do (the air-conditioned mall is the best I’m coming up with, pretty sad!).

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Sherri! Hope you’re staying cool. We’re sweltering, too, with triple-digits but I’m hoping today and the rest of the week we’ll all be back into the 90s. I, too, love La Tulipe and Pulp (that one in small doses) but have been wanting to try the de Bachmakov.

  • Hey Ann,
    I haven’t tried this but now want to badly, sounds awesome!
    Ambre Russe and Liberte are 2 that made my head whirl, for entirely different reasons. Both have enormously explosive openings.
    Portia xx

    • Ann says:

      Hey, Portia! Do sample it (they have it at Surrender to Chance); I think you’ll like it, or at least find it interesting and not the same-old, same-old. Haven’t tried the two you mentioned (who is the Liberte by?), but will have to seek them out now. Thanks.