Monotheme Agrumi di Sicilia

We’re having ‘weather’ – what the rest of the world knows of as rather hot. But I shouldn’t be so flippant. It’s actually serious business.

It’s basically fine here in neverneverland.  It could reach 32 degrees Celsius/90 Fahrenheit on Monday. London and the middle of England, however, could completely bake. It may get up to 40 degrees C (104 F). This is not a country that does extremes of weather well (when I still lived in London and took the commuter train to work, sometimes a train would be cancelled because of ‘leaves on the line’). I can recall two major snowstorms. I had to drive home from work in the first to pick my son up from nursery. It took three times as long as normal and clearly no one had been taught during driving lessons how to steer into a skid. The second one was incredibly beautiful. It shut everything down for two days and then the temperature rose by 30 degrees and the village flooded.

Why am I writing about this? Well, because we’re going to have to travel Tuesday of this week for my son’s university graduation ceremony. The city where he matriculated will be a bit cooler than London et al (31 C/87 F) but we’re travelling by train and every major newspaper/news site is talking about go-slows on the rail system/buckled tracks, etc. I am deep breathing, being hopeful, crossing my fingers that we arrive within two hours of when we’re meant to.

Anyway. I wanted a cologne to bring along that wasn’t among my current stash and was cheap, like really really cheap – basically because I see us both spraying it on a lot simply to cool down along with all the water intake.

So, I did some googling for ‘best cheap colognes’. The first thing to pop up was an article with a list on UK GQ. I made it three entries in and found what I wanted. Marks & Spencer, a ubiquitous all-arounder shop that’s been around for yonks, offers the cologne noted in the title. Agrumi di Sicilia costs £18 for 100 ml and the notes list is hot-weather-perfect: orange blossom, tangerine, Sicilian bitter orange, jasmine, butterbush (pittosporum/cheesewood) and white musk (a note I tend to ignore after having sampled the Body Shop’s White Musc years ago).

So, sounded perfect and basically it is. I would never have bought this except for our ‘weather’.

It is gentle, sweet and nicely citrus, drying down to orange flower/bitter orange. It has the lasting power of a gnat which works fine because, as I said above, I mean for us both to use it over and over as we move in the heat from the hotel to the city hall (where my son picks up his graduation gown, pops it on, and then he swelters as pictures are taken), then to dinner at an Italian restaurant mid-evening, and then somehow back to the hotel (for long, luke-warm showers). I’m planning for us to have gotten through half of the bottle on Tuesday.

Wednesday, when the two graduation ceremonies take place – AM for his school, late afternoon for whole uni year – should be almost 10 degrees cooler. I might drench myself in the stuff so no one wants to sit next to me in the stadium (I’ll be masked – covid levels rose 30% this past week).

So, how about you? How’s your weather? What do you spray on repeatedly when things get a bit ‘warm’?

(This is my hat. Couldn’t leave home without it.)

  • cinnamon says:

    That AG stuff is cheap as chips on the evil-zon. Looks like summer in a bottle.

  • Tom says:

    Actually, we are having a bit of heat here too; about in the 90’s F but with some actual humidity. Usually our heat is bone-dry- bad for the firefighters but easier on the rest of us. Muggy heat makes me want to, well, mug someone.

    I’ve been keeping a big bottler of that Alvarez Gomez citrus that Alityke turned me on to. I’ve gotten several friends turned on to it as well. It doesn’t have the lasting power of a gnat, but does smell really good. I haven’t gotten to the point where I carry it with me in one of those foam drinks cozies or wrapped in a cold pack, but if the temps go over 100…

  • Dina C. says:

    Cinnamon, I hope you two have a great celebration in spite of the heat! For hot & humid Virginia summers, I love a citrus-y tang in my scents. Favorites includes: Escale a Portofino, Cristalle edt, Cristalle eau Verte, Lubin Gin Fizz, and 4711 Cologne. Cartier Declaration with its cardamom is also a winner, and vetiver, like in Silences, can be good, since it feels like a cool, dark forest.

    • cinnamon says:

      Tx. We did but the Tuesday weather was insane. Totally impossible to move around in. That’s quite a list.

  • cinnamon says:

    Ah, we could send you a bit of this for a bit of your cool. I think it would be a good trade currently.

    • cinnamon says:

      This is weird. The comment I was commenting on has disappeared. My comment sort of looks like it’s hanging in the ether.

  • March says:

    I might cave and get a portable A/C unit if my landlord decides no on the mini-split (a wall-mounted unit that’s fancier and also more expensive…) Either it’s hotter here or I’m more sensitive to the heat. Or both. Lots of cool showers and I’ve been spritzing myself with water and sitting in front of the fan! My scent has been my cedar mountain ambient spray, which allows me to delude myself that it’s forest-y (and therefore cooler!) in here… I hate to complain, because I’d so much rather have it hot than cold, but there you have it. Congrats on your son’s graduation and I hope you don’t suffer too much! PS I almost NEVER leave home without a big ol’ hat in the summer. I have a whole wardrobe of them!

    • cinnamon says:

      Regarding how we feel the heat: I am finding this a lot harder than I ever found 90-plus weather in NYC when I lived there. I don’t know if it’s (shock, horror) ageing or if the weather is just different here. I too would rather have it hot vs cold, but high 70s/low 80s is just fine, thank you. Alas, I only own a couple of big hats. I think that’s a hole in my wardrobe.

      • March says:

        There are these hats called “ribbon hats” because they’re made with one strand of ribbon, wound around and around and stitched together. I love them — they’re packable, comfortable, lightweight, usually large brimmed, and (presuming the fit is correct) they stay on the head in a breeze — which is important here! I have several different colors at this point. San Diego Hat Co. is one better-known purveyor.

    • Musette says:

      AND! that heat of yours will cause your cuticles to jump clean off your fingers!

    • Tom says:

      The sucky thing about those portables is that they will quit as soon as the water reservoir (which is in place of it dripping outside your window) fills the thing shuts down. I borrowed one from a friend and between that and having to use a loooonnng hose to vent the hot air out the open window I wasn’t too sorry when my friend asked for it back.

      Of course on the day it hit 118 in downtown LA (maybe hotter, the official thermometer at USC died of heatstroke) I would have cheerfully murdered for it.

  • POLLY HOPE says:

    Gently baking in London means it’s time for Hermes Concentre d’Orange Vert or Jardin sur le Nil or sur la Lagune or best of all Malle Bigarade Concentree, pure cardamom/bitter orange joy, but it has to be spritzed on roughly every couple of hours and all over clothes not skin. Luckily we are OFFICIALLY BANNED from commuting into work so I can schedule 2-hourly scent refreshes all day Monday and Tuesday…

    • cinnamon says:

      Oh, my, take good care. Glad to hear commuting is banned. And that sounds like a wonderful list of hot weather stuff to help keep you cooler.

  • Portia says:

    Poor London. I’ve a few friends broiling there currently. My memory of warm weather living in London ’94-5 was that there are very few Air Conditioned homes. Everyone had room radiators but hardly any ceiling fans or A/C.
    Also, there’s not very much street tree planting to help bring street temps down, even for pockets of cool. I suppose becuse when you have sunlight you mostly want it all.

    Love the idea of a cheep and cheerful graduation spritz Cinnamon. You’ll always remember the day via scent.

    Good luck on the trains.

    I have a bottle of either Paris Hilton Fairy Dust or Siren in the fridge that gets summer cooling spritzes, can’t remember which one is actually in there right now.
    Portia x

    • cinnamon says:

      As a country this just doesn’t deal well with this kind of heat. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it isn’t as bad as the weather reporters and media keep saying. When I did live in NYC you just went from air conditioned place to air conditioned place. Fairy Dust … will definite have to look that up.

  • Maggiecat says:

    It’s “a bit warm” here bear Dallas – 107 F tomorrow, for example. It hasn’t been below 100F for weeks, and won’t be for more weeks. Everywhere is air conditioned, but still…. I found a 4711 Remix that’s focused on lemon while I was in Cologne last month (before I got Covid, but that’s another story) and I’ve been wearing that a lot. Will certainly wear it tomorrow when I meet a friend for brunch!

    • cinnamon says:

      We did look up temperature levels in Texas and places like Death Valley in an attempt to put things in perspective.

  • Musette says:

    Congraduation!! That cheap and cheerful cologne sounds like it smells perfect for your trip! Xoxo

    • cinnamon says:

      Tx. Now we just have to hope the trip goes off fairly easily. Fingers very crossed.

  • alityke says:

    As you are I’m in the UK though much further north & about 70 miles from each coast. It has been like an oven when stepping outside! A fan, a water spray & staying still are the order of the day. 4711 push up solid & a drenching of it are most welcome.
    Thunder bugs (flying ants) have all grown wings this morning & are swarming so. Listed windows are a must too
    Congratulations to your son. I hope you both enjoy his special day

    • cinnamon says:

      So, inland, which sounds like it’s much harder to manage than here on the coast (we so far have had consistent breezes). Plus our ant day occurred a few weeks ago. I hope you’re ok today.

      • alityke says:

        Hope the trains are running & you’re both cool enough to be enjoying the day.
        Currently 39*c that’s a touch over 102f in Northern England!!! Record temperatures & I’ve lived through 4 previous drought summers here.
        The forecast is for it to become cooler overnight.
        The definition of an English summer? Two hot days & a thunderstorm.
        I love thunderstorms in summer

  • Kathleen says:

    Congratulations on your son’s graduation! I hope your travels are not delayed and that the ceremony is a joyful experience. I tend to wear fragrances with orange and orange blossom in the top notes, but not colognes. I am a heavy hitter in my perfume choices mostly, have been enjoying Perfumes de Marly Safanad and Roberto Cavalli this summer.

    • cinnamon says:

      I don’t think heavy things would be manageable in our current weather. Even the idea of Le Labo Ylang 49 makes me twitchy.

  • Tara C says:

    Sadly it is cool,gray and overcast. Not what I was hoping for in San Diego. But apparently it is supposed to improve towards the end of the month. Summer at the beach here tends to be a glum affair, fall is when the really glorious weather arrives. Congratulations on your son’s graduation!