2014 summer fragrance picks

On July 18, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

It’s often not mentioned, as it doesn’t show up in photos, but I’m nearly always wearing some perfume or another. Or, one way or another, I smell like something in addition to smelling like myself. Something good.

Here are the fragrances I’ve been reaching for so far this summer.

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 Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine – Literally, ‘blood orange’. A gorgeous orange scent with the bitter and acidic elements elegantly balanced with a mix of bright florals. Nothing overly sweet, cloying, or synthetic about it. It smells…like sunshine. A wonderful, unusual summer citrus. Unisex.

Guerlain Vetiver – OK, so I’ve mentioned this numerous times, but this is a gold standard vetiver, and one that smells great on many people in many contexts, in every season…and especially in summer. Leans a bit masculine, but in a way that makes me appreciate it all the more on a woman.

Guerlain Homme – I got this…must be 6 years ago now? I haven’t stopped liking it one bit. Smells like a mojito that is wearing cologne. Awesome. Younger guys, I would especially like to smell this on you. [Older guys, you could be potentially devastating in the Guerlain Vetiver, give it a sniff.]

Clarins Eau Dynamisante – Lemony and herbal, very light and unassuming. I’ve reviewed this before. Perfect to spritz on post-shower, like a luxe, actually appealing body spray.

The Body Shop’s Love Etc. – Smells like grass and popcorn, what more do you want for summer? Master perfumer Dominique Ropion did the mixing, so the blend is surprising and sweet, on the girlish side in a playful, innocent way.

Bulgari Pour HommeGrapefruit of the gods. Many summer fragrance lists plug citrus but this most often means lemon. Lemon is, for me, the most difficult of the citruses, the one most often disappointing in a fragrance. The one most likely to smell like pez. Or Pledge. Enough of lemon. Give me grapefruit, orange, and lime. I don’t know that I can call this my favorite fragrance—it is too difficult, and too unnecessary to choose such a thing—but I can say that when I am wearing it, I love to be wearing it.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Body Oil Spray – Smells like the beach, in the best way. Or like the way you wish suntan lotion smelled. No longer available in this form, evidently, but the eau fraîche skinscent is close, and also lovely, as is the body cream.  [Not pictured because I forgot, bafflingly.]

I have a few samples from the extraordinary Italian brand Profumum that I am loving, too, and will have to tell you about them as well. I got a handful to try and they are nearly all stunning for summer.

 

smell this: Bruno Acampora Musc

On April 4, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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When I finally picked up Bruno Acampora’s Musc this winter it had been at the top of my fragrance wishlist for over a year. I first heard about it when Katie Puckrik reviewed it on her channel and was, like many, instantly curious. A deep, earthy musk, beautiful, entirely unisex. The team at Lucky Scent gave it an unabashedly glowing review and I knew that I must smell it.

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They are right. It is beautiful. It is earthy. It is resinous. It is not, somehow, to my nose, that musky…it is musky, but not that musky. It doesn’t feel overwhelmingly like musk. Actually, it feels like patchouli (there is patchouli in the base). Like a rooty, vegetal, loamy patchouli.

The opening is peppery and vivid, there is that wonderful healthy basement odor I was trying to describe for Lalique’s Encre Noir. This is a completely different fragrance but it has that same great moldy element. For me it is distinctly mushroomy, which I mean in the best way. Imagine a dark loaf of bread that has just begun to mold, that point where the mold does not yet smell like a warning but instead like an invitation. The mold only adds depth and complexity to the smell of the yeast and the grain, and a slight powdery quality. [Everybody with me?] At the same time there is something I want to call sweet about it. Imparted partially by the cloves, perhaps. It is not sweet, but it has that level of saturation and intensity that sweetness can achieve. In the nose and mouth it feels the way sweetness feels. This is a proper, proper perfume. It is intense, concentrated, and a little goes a long way.

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The back of the box. “Color: gold.” That’s the color I am! In my mind/heart!

Part of the delight of this fragrance is the complexity, and the strangeness. It is hard to identify what you are smelling (I can’t really pick out the individual florals they reference in their description above), creating the [accurate] impression of an elaborate structure. This is the flip-side of the appeal of a clean, one-note fragrance; a simple citrus or soliflore that delights with its bright simplicity. Dark complexity is equally compelling, and Bruno Acampora Musc has it. The real beauty is, when I wear it, I think I have it, a bit. Or, at least, I project it. A few hours after application I find it wonderfully subtle, a muted and more ambery version of its initial self.