Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Perfume for the Occasion: Beachy Scents

Ah, summer..! The occasion for this month’s PFTO is versatile and malleable: a summery state of mind. Whether you’ll be making your escape to an exotic local, a cosmopolitan resort, a blindingly white Mediterranean isle set against the endless blue, a relaxed camping where you’ll be spending your days at the beach bar and your nights drinking frozen beer around a campfire on the sand or right here in the city, escaping every evening and weekend to the roof-garden of a hotel to sip cocktails by the poolside with your friends, forgetting every little worry, you’ll need the perfect perfume to enhance the experience, the perfect fragrance to complete the marvelous sensory pleasure-bomb that is summer.

When looking for a fragrance to accompany your picture-perfect summer memories, the best idea is to look for something that makes you feel sensuous and ethereal at the same time. Perfumes that achieve this effect are a perfect match for the looks we all associate with summer: bright colors, light, natural fibers, revealing cuts, billowing fabrics, chunky, colorful jewelry, high wedges and sexy flat sandals. The most common note for summery scents is of course coconut, and it is indeed the note this month’s PFTO mostly focuses on. A lot of people would probably reference breezy, marine scents with obvious ozonic or watermelon notes for this occasion, but I think warm, sensual scents that manage to avoid being cloying or suffocating are better suited to the erotic, fun-loving mood of the summer holidays. Aside from coconut, look for notes of strawberry, vanilla, jasmine, orange blossom, tiare, gardenia and ylang-ylang. Before we take a look at my favorite picks for the occasion, a word of warning: If you are traveling somewhere where you are expecting really warm weather, and especially if you are going camping, make sure to decant a small quantity of your perfume into a purse spray atomizer and take this with you instead of your precious bottle. High temperature is perfume’s most vicious enemy – you don’t want to leave your bottle boiling in the heat!

· Beach by Bobby Brown : For those of you wanting to recreate the feeling of a retro beach, complete with colorful towels, wet bikinis, blinding, blissful sun and the sound of the rolling waves as the heat lulls you to sleep, this is definitely the ticket. Bobby Brown’s Beach is the most accurate rendition of Coppertone sunscreen, bottled as a scent. Memories in a bottle.

· Fire Island by Bond No. 9: Another very successful rendition of Coppertone sunscreen, Bond No.9’s Fire Island can easily be mistaken for Beach – they are almost twins. Fire Island is rather more citrusy up top, has a stronger sillage and a woodier base, but the effect is truly the same. Sand between your toes, beach ball games, laughter and sun. Smelling both Fire Island and Beach at the same time, I find it hard to decide which one I like better. Beach is more realistically close to its sun-block inspiration, but if I were hard-pressed to choose I’d probably go with Fire Island, whose sweeter approach has a more fun-loving appeal and a more interesting development than the more linear Beach.

· Ipanema by Satellite: From the absolutely stunning bottle complete with seashell decorations, to the saturated turquoise color of the juice, which matches the golden trimmings so perfectly to remind me of gorgeous summer outfits, all the way to the beautifully summery scent, I am utterly in love with Satellite’s Ipanema. I want this on my dresser, and frankly I am not sure I would be able to resist grabbing this one with me on my summer vacation. Forget decanting, I want the luxury of being able to hold this fabulous bottle in my hands every time I am ready to go out! It would put a spring in my step! A yummy, light coconut note, blended with white florals, which dries down to the warmth and sensuality of vanilla and woods. Visit Luckyscent to grab a bottle online, or visit Satellite’s own website to ogle the fabulous jewelry and find a stockist near you.

· Strawberry Perfume Oil by The Body Shop: Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking... Strawberry? Body Shop? Really? But yes, really, this is so very summery, so very happy, I couldn’t help but include it. A juicy, strong smelling, girly fragrance which smells both fruity and warm. Perfect for a day of exploring the labyrinthine alleys of a sun-drenched Cycladian island or an evening beach party. If you’re a strawberry lover, give this a try. Much better than Miss Dior Cherie. Hah!

· Vanille Coco by Comptoir Sud Pacifique: This is one of my summer staples and an absolute favorite. It is the fragrance that comes closest to my beloved Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil it terms of scent, and believe me, I have searched for that addictive smell everywhere! This is the most delightful, warm and delicious vanilla-coconut combination I have encountered. For me, it is the smell of summer. Arm-gnawing worthy, edible perfection. My boyfriend hates it, but it makes me truly, absolutely happy. Sometimes a girl has to make some difficult choices.

· Beautiful Hula Girl Hula Hula by DSH: This is one of the most summery fragrances the absolutely lovely Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has created! Hula Hula’s opening is a mad cornucopia of fruit and cream that fills the mind's eye with swirls of interchanging colors. After the initial explosion of fruit, this delightful fragrance settles down to a creamy, beautiful combination of yummy coconut, pineapple, light florals and mango. This is one of the most innovative summer scents I’ve ever tried, and truly worth its spot in my summer fragrance wardrobe.

· Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder: When all is said and done, Bronze Goddess is Azurée Soleil’s twin sister, a clever move by Estee, seeing as Azurée Soleil became a bestseller. Unfortunately, when it comes to packaging, Azurée Soleil’s bottle was far more summery and attractive, but the juice remains as lovely. Bronze Goddess is truly this summer’s must-have fragrance; if you’re going to invest in only one beachy scent this year, let it be this one! As last year's review of Azurée Soleil indicated, this one has it all: tropical dreams, coconut flavor, ripe fruit, narcotic blossoms, sea-spray and sensual, mildly animalic hints that make this fragrance scream of midsummer eroticism.

· Sampaquita by Ormonde Jayne: An absolutely unisex fragrance in my opinion, Sampaquita smells like grassy sambac jasmine and water lilies, surrounded by a warm cloak of spicy black pepper. An all-day round scent in the rest of the year, Sampaquita becomes an essential evening addition to a summer wardrobe where it perfectly reminds one of the day’s heat accumulated on streets radiating into the air in the nighttime and lovingly mixing with the scents of night-blooming flowers, which hangs thickly in the air. Sampaquita is one of the three Ormonde Jayne scents that also comes in the lovely pots of gold, Parfum d’Or Naturel, a dazzling, alcohol free way to wear your fragrance, perfect for summer evenings.

Lastly, before I close this rather long post, I have to mention three fragrances I have not personally had the pleasure of sampling myself as of yet, but which I have heard are perfect for the summer. These are: Patricia de Nicolai’s Cococabana, Anna Sui’s Dolly Girl on the Beach and Ava Luxe’s Venus Sands, which you can sometimes find in her Etsy Shop. For true beachy scent devotees, these are worthy of investigation!

What do you think of Beachy scents? Do you think they are bottle worthy, or do you hesitate before making an investment in a bottle that doesn’t often see the light of day during the colder months? Do you have a favorite? Let me know!

Images: Flickr by Januszl, Flickr by PinkMoose, wikipedia.


Unknown said...

I didn't realize you are such a coconut girl Divina :-). I would suggest adding Datura Noir as the perfect summer night fragrance. And really the Azuree Soleil bottle is lovely. As for me my summer staples are osmanthus and orange blossom.

DWR said...

Nice list! I'd add Annick Goutal's Songes to that list. To me it just SCREAMS summer.

Thanks for the linkage -- you've been linked in turn! :)

aka feminine things

rosarita said...

I confess that I have not explored the beachy scent genre much. The one love I have is Monyette Paris, which I shouldn't love when I read the notes but yet I do. My favorite summer fragrances lean more toward tea scents - I love the Bulgari line for summer. You have really intrigued me with the DSH Hula Hula description, Divina! My next sample order, I'm definitely going to have to try it. :)

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Ines said...

Hey Divina
I loved this article and completely agree about Bronze godess. Honestly, after trying an ordered sample, I practically moved earth and moon to get it, and now I have both eau de toilette and body oil. Lucky me :)
I must admit, I usually hate anything with coconut but this came as a surprise because I can feel it but what I feel around it is the summer sun and warmth so it gets lost in it. And I get lost in summer fantasies. :)

Divina said...

Hey Jen! You know, throughout the whole year, my coconut 'fumes don't see the light of day... Then, once June arrives I enter this twilight zone of extremely persistent coconut cravings, LOL! I don't know why the hell this happens, but I am *seriously* addicted to coconut in the summer. I used to think that ALL coconuty scents are completely unsuitable to city wear, judging them all as un-chic, but all this changed when I discovered Histoire Charnelle! Truly a lovely perfume, the ONLY coconut I've so far found that is not only absolutely chic and sophisticated, but also better for winter.

Divina said...

Hey Diana, thanks for linking back :) I love Songes too, btw!

Divina said...

Hey Anita! I haven't smelled Monyette Paris yet and I am not sure if I can easilly find it, but I'll definitely keep an eye out. I am wondering though, what don't you like about the notes? Is it the gardenia?


Divina said...

Hi Ines! You describe Bronze Goddess really beautifully - and I agree with you: even though the coconut is there, there is so much loveliness surrounding it, embracing it, making it float to the surface and at the same time drowning it in the hum of tropical island songs..

Even though I get a little peeved that it seeps right into my clothes if I am not careful, I do prefer the oil to the eau fraiche. There's something luxuriously summery about using the oil, and it is useful to make bare legs shine too :)

Fragrant hugs!

Flora said...

I agree with Jenavira about Datura Noir - it's a hot summer night in a bottle, and to me it smells like a beach too - but a lake, not an ocean.

You must try the Ava Luxe Venus Sands - I just discovered it and it's gorgeous! I would wear it all year round, I love it so. Drop dead SEXY is the word from here. It's stunning. ;-)

Divina said...

Flora, I know you must be right about Venus Sands! Dearest Chayaruchama is another Venus Sands devotee and she says the same thing, that it is sultry and sexy as can be. I will *definitely* try it if I get the chance - unfortunately I hadn't seen it at Serena's Etsy shop the few times I checked for it a while back. I'll keep checking every now and then for sure.

chayaruchama said...

An interesting list !
I'd add Molinard's Nirmala to the list- because it's fruity in all the right ways...

Beachy is FBW if you crave it; like anything else, I suppose.

I like Bronze Goddess- it's very subtle; but the VS just does me in.
Her Black Coconut, too, is very beautiful.

Divina said...

Chaya, I can't wait to smell Venus Sands, hopefuly I'll get the chance after I come back from my holiday. (Hey, there will still be a lot of milleage in the summer left, I rationalize). I haven't smelled Nirmala, only Habanita, I fear. Another one that is missing from my list but is truly ultimate summer luxury is Prada's exclusive orange blossom. It truly is a divine summer scent.


chayaruchama said...

I'll send you samps of all three soon, OK ?

Divina said...

Sweetheart, you're so kind! What can I say but thank you, soooo much!

Isa said...

Nice post!

My favourite summer fragances don't include coconut (Eternity Summer 2005, Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic...) but I can perfectly understand why coconut evokes summer to everybody.

I know some people who love Versace's Crystal Noir for beachy summer nights. The official list of notes doesn't includes coconut but everybody smells it.

Have a nice summer!

Karin said...

If you long for a true sweet coconut, The Body Shop has (or had) coconut oil. It’s not very long lasting, but conceivably you could dab some with other fragrances to give it a coconut oompf. Also, they have a coconut foaming bubble bath, which a male SA told me was better than the shower gel for showering. I liked the way it smelled better than the shower gel, so I’ve used it ever since. It is a HUGE bottle and smells delish.

Plus you know about Avon's Tahitian Vacation from my blog.

Divina said...

Hi Isa! Both of Versace's Crystal frags seem to get a lot of flack, but I do like both of them well enough. I haven't explored Crystal Noir well enough to be able to report on the coconut note, but you've made me curious - I'll give it a try again.

Divina said...

Hey Karin :) I actually love and use The Body Shop's Coconut Dry Mist Oil. It smells more natural to me than their perfume oil and I *love* layering it with some of their other frags. I've gotten heaps of compliments on these layering combos!