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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

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

Tomorrow, Diptyque Eau de Lierre.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, sweets! This could very well be my list, with the exception of Messe de Minuit and Piper Nigrum. Right after I read your post, I went to dig for a sample of PdN New York - wow, I've forgotten how awesome this is! Herbal spiciness. Oh, and I must smell Duel soon - for some reason, it has escaped me.

11:53 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

You are a Dirty Girl. A Dirty, Dirty Girl. Go to your room (and spritz some Piper Nigrum on while you're there.) I know where you live, and it can't be much cooler than it is here! I am picturing you attending, say, a summer bar-b-que wearing MKK or or Nuit Noire and having people glance around nervously, wondering what the heck that smell is.... you do have a number of my favorite winter scents on there, though! Just as I have the sweet-eating skin, you must have the skank-eating skin, and for that I envy you.

7:57 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Love the list! (And I'm loving the Lonestar Memories) We share so many it's not worth making my own. But I would add to the leathers (always adding to the leathers): Knize 10, whose herbal notes make it perfect for the warm weather,
and my standbys, which I wear in any weather
Chanel CdR
Kolnisch Juchten
Actually, the only leather I will not wear in summer is Tabac Blond (did it once--a memorable experience, but not a good one:)

Also needing to smell Duel. . .

8:23 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You have to try Duel, you will love it!
And I am lemming a big bottle of New York so much.

8:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

This coming Sunday we have to go to a corporate kind of BBQ, with bouncy castles, pony rides, all sort of "fun" things...I was actually thinking of wearing something kiddie-pleasing, vanillic and fluffy, like L de Lempicka or Psychedelic...But I like your plan much, much better!
*evil grin*

8:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You haven't tried Duel either? If I had a bottle I would be sending the samples to you and Ina right now, because I know you both would love it. There isn't *that* much leather there, just a hint, but you'll love it anyway, it's a great scent.
And I am making a note to myself that I have to re-try Knize 10. It's all about Knize 10 these days, isn't it? :-)

8:46 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Yeah, I don't know what has happened with Knize 10, (which has, after all, been around forever) but I do know it's driving Patty crazy:) For myself, the herbal quality makes it work much better in this weather than in the winter, when it seems a bit wimpy on me.
Putting Duel on my mental list. . . also (with some trepidation) RH Psychedelic. Loving the drydown of Aomassi: the sweet opening does shock me, and even after that it's a little too sweet for awhile on me, but then it becomes fantastic! I'm getting a lot of leather here too.
I think I, too, must have the opposite skin of March--sweet (and citrus) get magnified; skank almost always does well!

9:17 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I'd scratch that Psychedelic off your list. We are very similar in so many scent-areas, but I think I have much higher tolerance for sweet scents and for gourmand scents than you. And Psychedelic is sweet! I mean, SWEET. :-)
Les Senteurs had some new Knize scent recently added to their line, I wonder if they have Knize 10 too to sample. Off to look.

9:27 AM EDT  
Blogger priscilla said...

Thanks for the list! I must try Musc Ravageur. I love Nuit Noire and Idole...

11:18 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Y'all weaklings compared to Judith, Ina and I :-) (Just joking!)

11:26 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh you must, you must try Musc Ravageur! :-)

11:27 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love this list. I'm with you - I can wear what most people consider winter scents any time of year and in any weather. Am living not too far from the equator now and am purringly happy w/ my beloved leathers, incenses and spices. It's just about how much you apply. I'd die of boredom w/ just light, fresh summer scents. Just put on some Nuit Noire. Pure joy!

1:08 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Ah! A girl after my own heart :-)
Nuit Noire is gorgeous, isn't it?

1:40 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

M, very interesting reading indeed! I know some of your scents but mostly not.
I'm still undecided about "songes"; the first time I tried it, it seemed too sharp somehow, not at all romantic and rounded to me. lately, I caught myself strangely lemming it, have to try it again ASAP. I really want a summery floral with character and it should behave in other seasons, too. would songes do in your opinion? also, EDT or EDP?

4:32 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think Songes fits your requirements perfectly. Perhaps try it again, see if it behaves better this time? Some scent that are now on my Top 10 list...I didn't even liked them the first time I smelled them.
I'd also recommend to compare EDT and EDP, because they differ slightly. I find EDP too vanillic, but I am in minority, I think most Songes lovers prefer EDP.

5:04 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

MKK as a summer scent? I love it!

You will appreciate this: today was my birthday and one of my best friends forgot. She was prostrate over it really and asked what I wanted. She's going to France for a wedding, and I told her that she could get me a bell jar of MKK as both my b-day and X-mas gifts and I would be very happy.

And I plan to do the same with an even older friend of mine who forgot. I plan on hitting her up for Rahat Loukoum. She's going to be there in September.

I am eeeevil.

12:46 AM EDT  
Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Colombina, I second your choice of Safran Troublant - I almost picked it for my own list as well.

Labdanum is the single note that I think is complete on it's own, and does not need any additions to be a true perfume. It's earthy, ambery, rosy, musky, sexy, incensy, woody all at once. Just perfect.

I love Agent Provocateur and find it great in almost any weather (after the initial blast that is quite perfumey and strong, yet very much to my liking, it softens quite a bit and turns musky and powdery on me). I am very curious to try the new scent!

I wow your ability (or is it courage?) to wear Muscs Koublai Khan in the heat. Way to go. It's definitley one of the sexiest scents ever created. You just reminded me I should get another decant of it soon.

1:41 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Happy Birthday!!!! Wishing you all the bell jars you want!
That is a great, cunning plan you have, awesome *evil cackle*

9:13 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I absolutely agree with you on Labdanum. On its own it is already a complex, many-nuanced scent. I adore that note.
I don't think I am particularly brave to wear MKK in heat...I guess I am just lucky that it behaves well on my skin and is never cloying. But there are some scent that I wouldn't dare put on in summer...Lipstick Rose, Sacrebleu, Teint de Neige...

9:16 AM EDT  
Blogger katiedid said...

So funny, Idole never pinged me with saffron. It just smells like the warm woody but slighly medicinal first shock of taste from an American whiskey. Oh well, I will look for the saffron again later ;)

Shoot, am I going to have to try "L" after all? It sounds like I will. Thanks M.

6:49 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You've gotta try it! Have I not sent you a sample? Oh, shoot, I should have!

10:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Kristen said...

First off, LOVE the list!

Secondly...I discovered Jason Brooks through the images in this post and I am swooning! I am dying to use some of them on my blog. Did you work out an arrangement with him or just "borrow"?

1:05 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I borrow and acknowledge the authorship and give the address of the site. Now, if I wanted to incorporate one of them into my header or something (I was thinking about that), I'd have to contact Mr. Brook.
Love his work!

4:08 PM EDT  

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