Moving into Summer and Perfume Ennui

Well, we have had the last vestiges of “Winter” here in SoCal this past spring, complete with cold rainstorms and days without sun. Now the upside of this is that our drought is officially over (for the moment) and that I have been rediscovering some of the heavy-hitters I normally don’t wear this time of year, except at night for myself: Uncle Serge’s Borneo, with its slightly burnt cacao and patchouli combo that should have sent my Angel loathing self heading for the hills rather than to a bell jar. Or his Mandarine Mandarin which opens with tart celery before wamng up to the delightful orange. Or perhaps my hands down favorite: Musc Kublai Kahn, which has been known to send strong-hearted men running for the hills but on me is simply the cuddliest thing ever.

Now it seems however that summer is finally here and we are going to get the temps more associated with SoCal (if not I hope a repeat of last year- multiple 110 degree days are not my idea of fun, even if my pad has central air. The issue is somewhat exacerbated by the fact that I have been in a rather ennui kind of place with new releases: So many of my favorite Houses have either reformulated or been swallowed up by Estee Lauder. So I put my self in the hands of you, Tonstant Weader (not to Dorothy Parker) as to where I should turn next. Thoughts? Suggestions? Please leave in the comments; they will be greatly appreciated.

Image: Internets

  • Maya says:

    The above was supposed to be for Tara C.

  • Maya says:

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Meg says:

    I love MKK and not grabbing a square bottle when they were available is a huge regret of mine. *sigh*

    I, too, am bemoaning the modern state of perfumery. There’s a newer nearly-ubiquitous synthetic base that rubs me the wrong way, so with a few exceptions, I’m realizing most of my spring/summer favorites are at least 10 years old, if not older.

    My pics: Estée Lauder Azuree and White Linen (from back when the brand had more personality), Chanel Cristalle EDT (don’t get me started on O. Polge’s reformulations and releases), Azemour les Orangers (but mine’s an old bottle…I’ve read it’s been a bit neutered since the repackaging), various mossy Nicolai favorites (Odalisque, Vie de Chateau, l’Eau a la Folie), TF White Patchouli (hated it 10 years ago, but love it now). A more modern love is Bruno Fazzolari’s Au Dela Narcisse.

    Things on my to-try list: BF Unsettled and Nicolai Cap Neroli. Even my to-tries aren’t from this year. 🙂

  • Kathleen says:

    MKK, yum! Colorado has had record snow this year and May was all cold rain. The drought is over here as well. I don’t mind either, no air conditioning expense yet, and so much better to walk my dog in cooler temps.
    My fragrance ennui has had me exploring and re-visiting fragrances from the 80-90s. I was getting very disappointed with the recent fleeting scents for high dollar. I craved perfumes that enveloped me in their loveliness.
    It’s difficult to recommend Houses as everyone has their own preferences, but I agree with the positive reviews of Hiram Green’s Lustre. I blind bought a bottle (bonus on sale at Twisted Lily). I received it yesterday, and it is Love! I can’t get enough of the intoxicating rose, and I’m not a rose perfume fan.
    My recommendation is to visit Memo Paris fragrances, and also Sylvaine Delacourte (creative director for Guerlain for many years). Her series of citrus vanillas and musks are wonderful for the summer.

  • Musette says:

    You know I’m a huge fan of Go Big or Go Home in the heat – ‘we’re almost at the temps where I bring out the Amouage attars – they were made for much hotter temps than mine and bloom in the heat. I’ve also found that Liz Zorn’s stronger scents do extremely well in heat. I’ve been marinating in Centennial as well as Cordovan Rose and they do great in high 70s to high 80s.

    We’ve had nothing but rain – a number of surrounding fields look like good-sized lakes and the entire town smells like an aquarium, it’s been that much rain. On one of the cooler afternoons I decided to try to take Ambre Grisea for a spin, thinking the salt would marry nicely with the aquatic overtones in the air. I. Wuz. WRONG. That is, for me, a late Autumn scent.

    xoxoxo – and congrats on getting the rain I know you all so desperately need!

  • hczerwiec says:

    I’ve recently become an evangelist for Aedes de Venustas’ signature scent — a startlingly fresh rhubarb green chypre that just cuts through the swelter.

  • Leah B says:

    Love this post, because I totally agree – the heat of summer just makes me stand in the closet & stare at the walls! Last night I was running out the door & grabbed the first decant to hit my hand which was Fève Délicieuse – sprayed with misgivings because of the heat. But I was surprised! It smelled sharper in the heat, less of a cocoon & I really enjoyed it.

  • Maya says:

    Hi Tom. You’re asking a very hard question because we all like different types of perfume and even that changes periodically. I agree with several here especially on the more natural lines, but even then you don’t know. HG Luster smells rancidly sour to me and on me and yet I love half his perfumes.
    I think Goldfield and Banks perfumes would work beautifully (for me) in CA – Southern Bloom, White Sandalwood, and Desert Rosewood. Desert Rosewood took a while but it is now a love too. That is the one that makes me think most of CA. All 3 waft nicely but are not *thick* or heavy. CdG Lily is a similar type. It’s a lily of the valley without the awful sharpness many have and it always gets compliments.

    • Tara C says:

      Completely agree on those three G&B scents, I live half the year in San Diego and those are the three I own.

  • Tara C says:

    Hiram Green’s new rose scent Lustre, the upcoming Papillon Perfumery release, Aedes Oeillet Bengal and Pelargonium, and Atelier Cologne Blanche Immortelle for that sweet sun-baked smell of summer.

  • MxChris says:

    Ha! Good column, Tom. Perfume ennui has got me, too. I’m on the Other Coast and it’s getting very hot and muggy here as is the norm for May and June. The usual summer stuff-light florals, citruses, green things-is currently boring me senseless so I’m spraying on my ambers, incense-y things, chypres and what I call ‘nasty greens’ aka vintage Vent Vert. Since I work from home, if I overspray a patchouli heavy juice, it’s not the end of the world. I’m finding many of these scents that are supposed to be best in winter really bloom in 80 degree temps. There is a new one I’ve been enjoying from J-Scent, called simply ‘Honey & Lemon.’ It’s more of a traditional spring/summer spritz.

    Luckyscent has it and I liked it so much from the sample that I got a fb. Here’s their copy:

    The Scoop
    The pure scent of melty tasty honey and fresh lemon.
    This perfume starts with a fresh and simple scent of lemon, which is harmoniously blended with under notes of rose and jasmine. The nostalgic and bittersweet fragrance brings a heartwarming purity wrapped in a gently sweet base of honey.

    What We Think
    An everyday combination presented with distinction- the lemon is bright, clear, and fresh, and the honey is sweet, soft, and balsamic. If you love citrus but are looking for something more relaxing than energizing, Honey & Lemon is a perfect choice.

    Honey & Lemon Notes
    Lemon, Orange, Peach, Rose, Jasmine, Musk, Sandalwood, Honey Note

  • Hamamelis says:

    April Aromatics and Hiram Green.

  • Brigitte says:

    St Clair Scents

  • Anna Leonora says:

    Turn to next: April Aromatics. Great quality, not the usual stuff, and she has something for nearly every male/female taste. It’s expensive though, but you can try the sampler box at Luckyscent. Someday I will have Jasmina. It’s good to have something to long for.