My Favorite Summer Scents. Part 2
Continuing the Favorite Summer Perfumes Hit Parade, today's is the second and final installment. Spicy, leathery, musky, incensy, gourmand, this is the real stuff!
Favorite summer spicy perfume
As Nigella Lawson once said, some like it hot, I like it very hot. It’s not surprising then that I could not limit myself to just three entries in this category.
Safran Troublant by L’Artisan. The creamy, spicy blend of saffron, vanilla, sandalwood and rose is to me incredibly appealing in any season. It sounds richer and heavier than it really is, in fact this composition is as light and as exquisite as the finest of silks.
Nuit Noire by Mona di Orio. I could have listed this scent together with my favorite summer florals, but to me Nuit Noire is spicy first and floral only second. The dirrrrty orange blossom in the top notes is incredibly attractive and so is the creamy tuberose, but what makes this scent so alluring to me is all the spices, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon…A striking, darkly sensual perfume.
New York by Parfums de Nicolai. Elegance with a spicy twist and a wild, earthy undercurrent, this is New York by Nicolai. Vetiver, thyme and citruses are spiced up by the red-hot pimento accord; as the scent develops the spiciness is not lost, in fact it is further enriched by the dark, velvety clove note. And if that is not enough to convince you that this is indeed one spicy number, how about some black pepper in the drydown? Hot, hot, hot and hot and I love it.
Idole de Lubin. Nocturnal, resinous, smoky, bewitching and surprisingly very wearable in summer, Idole is perfect on its every stage, from the pleasantly medicinal, sweet and spicy blend of rum and saffron of the top notes, to the strangely sweet, almost fruity, smoky and spicy wood accord of the middle notes, to the fantastic leathery and resinous drydown.
Piper Nigrum by Lorenzo Villoresi. It comforted me in winter and it keeps pleasing and soothing me in summer. This is a strange and strangely beautiful scent, warm and chilly at the same time. The cool, creamy mint note is as apparent as the warmly piquant pepper, and I find this contrast of hot and cold to be tremendously appealing.
Favorite summer leather perfume
Derby by Guerlain. A refined, almost austere blend, a perfect balance of elegant understatement and forcefulness. The leather here is first brightened by citrus, then spiced by pepper and softened by a gentle floral accord before finally settling into a beautiful green-earthy drydown of oakmoss, vetiver and patchouli. Très chic!
Lonestar Memories by Andy Tauer. A new addition on my list of favorites, this a perfect smoky leather scent. The birch tar accord is to die for as is the sumptuous, earthy accord of myrrh, sandalwood, vetiver and tonka. Sophisticated and a little wild, this is a scent of adventure.
Agent Provocateur Eau Emotionnelle. Another new addition. Meant by the creators to be a softer version of the original (and not loved by me) Agent Provocateur, Eau Emotionnelle is piquant, spicy and, although the official list of notes does not seem to include leather, leathery on me. The smell of a black leather rose, tangy, dry and a little wicked.
Duel by Annick Goutal. Husky and soft, the leather here is sweetened by rose and refreshed by Maté leaves. It is not the strongest of the leathers, but it is delightful nevertheless. Smooth, understated, very subtly smoky, Duel is simply beautiful.
Favorite summer gourmand perfume
Flowerbomb Extreme by Viktor & Rolf. The scent of candied flowers, bergamot, tea, balsam, amber and patchouli, this version is in my opinion better blended, smoother, more interesting and in general superior to the regular Flowerbomb. Yes, it is a little reminiscent of the Great and Terrible Angel, but then what scent on the market isn’t? As far as Angel-smell-alikes go, Flowerbomb Extreme is to me one of the best if not the best. Rich, sumptuous, incredibly delicious and unexpectedly wearable in summer. Don’t try to look for it in the stores though. It was a limited edition is now gone. For good. Oh woe is me!
Psychedelic by Rich Hippie. Imagine Diptyque’s Eau d’Elide with its interesting “dirty” undercurrent being sweetened and softened by vanilla and spiced up by a sweetly piquant ginger note and you have Psychedelic. This gourmand composition, which makes me think of some wonderful, exotic sweet-and-spicy dessert, has a surprising almost-animalic little something, what Diptyque called “a trace of faun”.
L by Lolita Lempicka. I adore this scent. It is delicious, fresh and wonderfully musky. The citrus accord of bergamot and orange is sweetly spiced by cinnamon. The flowers are soft, vaguely tropical and have that candied quality that I always find irresistible. As the scent progresses, vanilla becomes more apparent as does the beautiful, rich musk, which reminds me of Musc Ravageur (and no wonder, the two scents share the same perfumer, Maurice Roucel).
Favorite summer musk perfume
Apart from L by Lolita Lempicka, which is one of my musky scents of choice for summer, this category also includes two “usual suspects”:
Muscs Koublai Khan by Serge Lutens. Ugly-beautiful, dirty and shockingly wearable in any weather. Alluring and repulsive at the same time, it is a scent of bloodthirsty, unwashed Mongolian horse riders and the most exquisite flowers. Primal and sophisticated at the same, Musc Koublai Khan is the sexiest scent I know.
Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle. The more complex and more luxuriant relative of L de Lempicka, Musc Ravageur is warm, spicy, sensual…I have raved about it so many times, I am lost for words. Suffice it to say that this is one of my absolute favorites, be it winter or summer.
Favorite summer incense perfume
Messe de Minuit by Etro used to intimidate me, but those days are gone. Perhaps my skin chemistry has changed, perhaps my nose has grown to appreciate the finer aspects of this scent, but nowadays Messe de Minuit is not all about the dark, somber incense, it is also about the unexpectedly bright citrus accord in the beginning, which, like a ray of sun through a stained glass of a murky chapel, illuminates the shadowy corners of this scent making it –who’d have a-thunk it!- very enjoyable in summer.
Labdanum by Donna Karan. Logic says that this scent should have been filed up under my favorite amber scents, but Karan’s Labdanum is really not about amber on my skin. This is a subtle, almost transparent and so very serene smell of incense softened by an even more ethereal floral accord. Comforting and soothing and great on hot days.
Bois d’Argent by Christian Dior. Dry leather and somber incense are softened here by vanilla, iris and honey. The result is a gentle, velvety fragrance, smooth and light enough to wear often and with much pleasure in summer.
*The images are by Jason Brooks, from jason-brooks.com.
Tomorrow, Diptyque Eau de Lierre.