Summer: 98 posts

Perfumes that put me in a summer mood, all year round

4711 Original Eau de Cologne : Perfume Review

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Simple. Lemon with a touch of lavender and piney rosemary. Not a perfume to wear if you want a big trail. Not a perfume that will make you ponder the mysteries of life. Just a good, no-nonsense cologne that smells bracing and sharp and makes you feel clean and energized. And the name is straightforward too, just four numbers. 4711.
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When I first smelled 4711 at the now defunct pharmacy on New York’s East Side, it smelled so familiar and traditional that I could picture my grandfather slapping some on his shaved cheeks or my grandmother adding it to her bath. This was, of course, pure fantasy. 4711 didn’t exist in my Ukrainian childhood, but because the scent of a classical cologne–and 4711 is anything if not classical–has such a recognizable form, it feels as if this German cologne has always been around.

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Parfums de Nicolai Musc Monoi : Perfume Review

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Summer ends the same way for me. It seems that only yesterday I made vacation plans, unearthed a swimming suit from a pile of winter clothes and bought an extra bottle of sunscreen. And then I wake up at the end of August and see that the local stationery store is advertising “start of school” sales and tall lindens lining the avenues in the city are slowly changing from green to gold. If I could hit a pause button for a moment, I would, if only to capture this languid, golden sensation of late summer days. But everything rushes forward inexorably, and the most I can do is reach for bottled summer fantasies, such as Parfums de Nicolaï Musc Monoi.

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Monoi (also called tiare) is a tropical blossom that smells creamy and intensely sweet. It’s macerated in coconut oil to capture its heady perfume, and the scented oil is used on skin and hair. If you’ve ever seen a fragrance or body product advertised as having a tropical fragrance, then this monoi-coconut combination is something you’ve already encountered. In France, summer scent often means sweet orange blossom, such as L’Oreal’s classical Ambre Solaire sunscreen, and in Musc Monoi, perfumer Patricia de Nicolaï weaves both Mediterranean and tropical inspirations.

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Parfums de Nicolai Eau d’Ete : Perfume Review

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“I don’t like colognes. They scream hygiene and wholesome, boring cleanliness to me,” said a friend the other day, explaining that she wants a perfume that feels fresh but still sensual.  Classical citrus colognes are very much about zest and refreshment, but it’s not hard to find options that do much more than this. For instance, Parfums de Nicolaï Eau d’Été.

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Eau d’Été has been around since 1997, but wearing it today I discover that it hasn’t lost any of its appeal. Yes, its blend of orange, lime and bergamot is as refreshing as a sip of iced lemonade, but the sprinkling of cinnamon and jasmine adds a sultry touch. There is nothing boring about it.

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Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum : Fragrance Review

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Although I indulge in plenty of fantasies of spending summer by the sea, preferably a tiny fishing village where I would have nothing to do but read books and gaze onto the blue waves, every August I find myself in the city. With everyone rushing to the coast in search of their own summer fantasies and with airfares skyrocketing, I just create my own city vacation. I take long walks, experiment with my photography and just enjoy the strange calm of a European city during the summer break.

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I turn to perfume to make my city summers feel more tropical. In principle, cologne is the most refreshing choice on a hot day, but I hardly ever reach for citrus in the summer–gloomy winter mornings are another story. Instead, my perfume wardrobe blooms with white flowers–Marc Jacobs for Her, Annick Goutal Un Matin d’Orage, Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower, Chanel Beige, and now, Terracotta Le Parfum.

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A Travel Tip

The Paris Review ran an interesting article called A Travel Tip, in which the columnist Sadie Stein recommends marking each vacation with a new scent. I thought that the idea was charming.

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“So I recommended wearing a new perfume when one goes on a trip. I’m not advocating for the purchase of an expensive bottle every time you go to a cousin’s wedding. But for me, the act of dignifying a journey with its own scent can be enough to elevate a humble getaway to vacation status. It’s nice to find something that has a connection to wherever you are, but the actual perfume is secondary. The point is to create a sense memory for the experience that has, for you, no precedent. I’ve worn the same perfume since my twenty-third birthday, when I treated myself to my first bottle of [Frédéric Malle] En Passant, but from the moment I get in the cab to the airport, I like to wear something different, unfamiliar.” To read the rest, please click here.

What perfumes are you going to make for your summer vacation? And if you took a break already, what was your most worn perfume?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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