It’s a balmy 30 degrees and, literally, 18″ of snow outside my window. But inside, on my wrist, it’s July, in Seville. And I am Entre Naranjos – Among the Oranges (or, if you’re really feeling silly, Between Oranges. Either one works for me). Entre Naranjos was my introduction to the Monegal line of perfumes – I’d not yet smelled it but I was captivated by the packaging – their signature faceted inkwell flacon just thrills my soul! I’m a bit ‘iffy’ on orange blossom so I was a bit worried – would I get that itchy soap feeling. Then there was the actual orange. I got bitten by another orange scent a few years ago – I was expecting a zesty, effervescence – instead I got an armful of Minute Maid. So….y’know… Just a Bit Nervous there. So I put off testing it, fearing the Dreaded Breakfast Beverage Accord.
But it’s 30F, 18″ and the wind is moving at a brisk 38mph. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I needed some Sunshine. So I cracked open the Naranjos. And wow, did Ramon Monegal deliver! Do you know the Ray Bradbury story “All Summer in a Day”? This is that story, without all the sad parts – and instead of incessant rain, we have incessant snow. And nobody’s in a closet. This is Everybody Outside! At first spritz it’s a sunny Summer day, walking through an orange grove. Most of the oranges have fruited but there are still some blossoms on the trees, which emit a soft clean ‘blossom’ scent. A fresh wind picks up and a slightly still-green orange falls to the ground. You pick it up and the bruised rind transfers a hint of orange zest to the palm of your hand. You snap the leaf off the stem and a bit of sap mingles with the zest, creating a bit of yin/yang, with the darkness of the leaf sap tugging against the sparkle of the zesty rind. There’s a bit of a tear in the rind so you begin to peel the orange, and the bitter pith creates yet another yin/yang tug, this time against the sweet warmth of your fingertips. The orange is unripe, so you don’t sample the juice – it’s enough to know that it is the promise of sweetness to come. You drop the orange in the compost pile at the end of the row of trees, while the sun sparkles like diamonds through the leaves. You wipe your hands on a crisp, clean cotton handkerchief, which you tuck in your bosom. Hours later, as you prepare to dress for dinner, you pull that slightly worn handkerchief from its hiding place and it smells nothing short of miraculous, the perfect blend of sweet warmth with a hint of sour coolness. Entre Naranjos promises the sparkle of a Summer day….and in the end it delivers on the sensuality of a Summer night. It’s a totally beautiful scent from beginning to end. Like most citrus-based scents the sparkly orange zest fades pretty quickly (I’m sure none of you are surprised) but I tried this last night as well (hey, it’s SNOWING!) and this morning I got the orange-scented amber blending with sleep-warmed skin. Oh, yum. The only thing better? If I’d awakened to find it on Taye Digg’s wrist instead of my own.
I’m glad this only comes in 50ml bottles. Otherwise I would be tempted to dive into a bottle and not come out until June. The way this first week of March is going, Entre Naranjos may be my only shot at summer this year. As gorgeous as it is, I might – might! – be able to live with that.