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Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Dog Days

Review by Tom

One of the great things about the left coast is that, despite the fact that we live on the edge of a desert, we rarely have to interface with the dog days of summer. Our humidity is low, and even when the daytime temperature is nigh unto triple digits, we can hide in our air-conditioned holes sure in the knowledge that the evenings will cool off by twenty or so degrees.

Having said that, this summer has been practically a New York one- humidity as high as 85% and temps into the 90's well into the evening. While I agree with Colombina that MKK is perfect for Summer (or Winter, Spring, Fall, Bastille Day, National Sofa-Care Month...) I know that in the interest of not gagging the people next to me on the bus, it may be time to reach for something a little lighter.

Of course the default go-to for me is Eau d'Hadrien. So light, yet so complex. It couldn't be more refreshing if it were served, poolside, over shaved ice.

A
nother that I have discovered over the past years is Fresh's Index line of scents. They are light as a feather and quite refreshing, with the added bonus of being long-lasting and having great sillage. My three favorites:

Cucumber Baie: created in '98 and listed as "a diaphanous memory of a summer by the Red Sea..." on me it has a wonderful top note of grapefruit and galbanum, with cucumber popping up to cool and soften the scent, finally dying down to a very light ambery oakmoss. Their website also lists watermelon, which I don't get at all, and something they call "berry musk", which sounds vaguely filthy.

Redcurrant Basil: also from '98 and described as "a lazy afternoon in late summer visited by autumn's approach..." , it features topnotes of lemon, kumquat and basil (and delightfully, I can smell all three), drying down past a slightly sweet pomegranatey rose to the sheerest of cedar-toned musk.

Pomegranate Anise: from '97 and written of as "red lips beckon, a crisp winter kiss..." this is a whisper-light gourmand that starts with a burst of pomegranate, immediately softened by grapefruit and mandarin, slowly joined by lily and magnolia, drying down to a lusciously light ambered sandalwood. I suppose it could be construed as daring by the timid, but I wear it more in summer. Your mileage may vary...

The last one that I have had in my wardrobe was Bergamot Citrus: This one was my first encounter with Fresh when it was introduced (the fragrance, not the line) in '96 and described as "respite by an ancient stone fountain...", this is a very nice green scent with topnotes of bergamot and petitgrain, with waterlily and jasmine, drying to cypress, oakmoss and a hint of cedar. It has been supplanted in my wardrobe by others, not because it isn't a good scent, but because I have either found new ones or rediscovered old ones that have pushed it to the bottom of the list.

Fresh Index scents are available from Fresh stores in New York, Boston, Chicago and West Hollywood, from Fresh.com or from many retailers, including better beauty supply houses (like Larchmont Beauty supply in Los Angeles), and department stores like Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus (as I remember, they don't list them on their website, but I've bought them at Neimans) and at Sephora. The bottles are 3.4 ounces and cost a reasonable $70.

21 Comments:

Blogger Christina H. said...

Much love goes to Eau d'Hadrien. A fantastic summer staple for me.

11:30 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Hadrien is a staple, period; like a particularly stalwart friend. Sometimes I have to remind myself how wonderful Hadrien is. It's a testament to AG that it is actually in my earthquake kit. Or is that a testament to how much of a 'fume nerd I am?

In any case, the Fresh scents are a great line, simple and wonderful, and not expensive, considering the size and lasting power.

12:12 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

BTW- Columbina, I love the vintage shot of the Beverly Hills Hotel, it certainly jazzes up things. Of course, I live south of all that jazz in the "industrial triangle". Not quite "Slums of Beverly Hills" but close. As an aside, the 50's remodel (with the name in script) part was done by a legendary LA African-American architect, Paul Williams, who was partly responsible for the UFO shaped "Theme Building" at LAX, now housing Encounter restaurant, as well as most of the important houses in LA in the 40's and 50's. One of the few untouched parts of the BH Hotels's in the 90's is his coffee shop. If anyone comes to LA, it's worth a trip. And I can tell you where to park for free... {now returning control of the comments to the more level headed}

12:26 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I should write 90's remodel of the hotel by the new owner, the Sultan of Brunei. While his people did make the place more modern, they did lose a lot of the Hollywood Moderne that I loved. But the coffee shop is a time capsule of late 40's Hollywood.

12:36 AM EDT  
Anonymous timam said...

your reviews of the fresh index line did indeed rise my interest. I must admit I'm not a big fan of green, light, transparent, summery scents (philosykos and bvlgari's white tea being the only vaguely green & summery scents in my wardrobe); but if a scent like that manages to be at the same time long lasting and have a great sillage... now now, that's something that's worth testing.

5:27 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

On my never ending quest for new HGs, I rarely finish bottles, but Hadrien is one of those few scents I've considered to be essential enough that I actually have gone through bottles and had to repurchase. I have Pomegranate Anise somewhere, but it ended up being ignored due to the lack of anise. I shall have to retry it and just focus on what it is. Have you tried their Tobacco Caramel? Not a summer scent necessarily (although I refuse to leave winter scents behind), but it was one of my favs from Fresh Index. It may have been d/ced.

7:36 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Tom,
Thank you, I loved that image too, the colors look so...oldie :-)
Eau d'Hadrien rules. My absolute favorite for summer and not only for summer. Out of all Fresh scents I, typically, like the one that was discontinued so throroughly, not even eBay sells it, Grape & Vine.
Thank you very much for the great article!

8:13 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Okay, you love Hadrien, so as far as I'm concerned you are A-okay. Feel free to spend your time from now to eternity writing about how great Axe is, and I will still think you're genius. (But if you write about what a gift Davidoff Cool Water is to modern perfumery, Marina will kick you off her blog. Just saying.)

8:50 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

politely butting in:
March, Tom has already passed the test once and forever by saying that he does not like POTL. He is now allowed to adore any other scents I dislike, even Cool Water. He has immunity. :-)

8:53 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Columbina- I do (did) love grape and vine, but I ran out ages ago :-(

10:49 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Elle, I tried and liked Tobacco Caramel (and yes, it's still available), but to me it smelled a bit like AG Ssbles, if there was such a thing as Sables light. In the interest of not having to move into my car, I try to keep the purchases down, and that was one that missed the cut.

But I am not above liberally spritzing myself with it when I am in Larchmont Beauty Supply (thank god tehy are nice people!)

10:53 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

March- I have immunity, so there!

(dancing aroung going "neener, neener, neener)

Hadrien was my first adult scent purchase (well, that's what I tell myself), bought, can it really be 25 years ago?!?! at Bergdorfs when I was, er, 4. It's one that I never stray far from and have happily introduced other people to.

If I am ever forced to choose only one scent, this would be it.

I've never smelled Axe, and I'm not sure I need to.

10:59 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

March, Columbina-

I honestly don't remember what Cool Water smells like- I don't think I've smelled it since it came out. I may have to run over to Macy's at lunch to remind myself. I remember it's aquatic, which I usually only like as, say, a beach.

Columbina, did you ever try Fresh Galbanum Patchouli? It was very nice and sadly cancelled. It's a bit "Borneo light"

11:06 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Tom,
No, but the name sounds great. Wonder if ebay would have any...*off to look*

11:08 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Nope, no such luck :-(

11:09 AM EDT  
Blogger chaya ruchama said...

Oh dear, oh dear...
Best to keep my fat yap shut...oh well... here goes:

You like Hadrien...that's GOOD!
You get to live another day...

At least, that is the going phrase in our house- it usually refers to the fact that they kiss me either on lips or scented nape, thusly ensuring their rights to life...

Hey, you like Fresh, I like cow dung- let's agree to disagree-

Besides, in all fairness, I've never smelt you- perhaps you wear them well!?!

So, until we blog again-

Happy Trails!

12:49 PM EDT  
Anonymous Ina said...

Thanks, Tom! Fresh is the line that I've completely chosen to ignore but I guess I need to rethink that.

2:53 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Chaya-

I worship and adore Hadrien.

Cow dung? To each, etc..

Ina-

Give it a sniff. But spray lightly, for such inoffensive scents they have surprisingly monster sillage.

3:44 PM EDT  
Anonymous Cheezwiz said...

Hadrien is one of my all time faves. Just a gorgeous citrus scent. Wish it lasted longer on me!

I haven't bought any of the Fresh Index scents yet, but am sorely tempted. I really liked Violet Moss, and my new fave is the very pretty Pink Jasmine. They are kinda pricey, so I've held off so far.

9:10 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Pricey? Maybe a little, but you get a lot of juice in that bottle, and I find they last a long time and need only one or two spritzes/

10:03 PM EDT  
Blogger ummm... said...

I've been slowly but surely dwindling away my Fresh Index Body Cream tube and I don't want to use it up. Does anyone know of a lotion or perfume that smells anything like it? I LOVE the scent and hate that it's been discountinued. It does have anything on the label but "Fresh Index Body Cream". If I had known it was being discountinued, I would've bought up the supply.

5:14 PM EDT  

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