There’s no getting away from summer in the South of France. It’s hot although thankfully it doesn’t feel quite as stifling as last year. The flowers on hedges and trees are simply beautiful, adding scent and bright pops of glorious colour to the villages in these parts. Plus everything just looks so much brighter and feels more joyful at this time of year. This is the first time I’ve lived near the sea and if I could do so for the rest of my life I would. The Mediterranean blue hues are superb. It’s a meditation app that you don’t need to plug in. I’ve also discovered a new favourite beach near Ramatuelle where you can hire kayaks and paddle boards and enjoy a picnic, try to improve one’s beach tennis and indulge in a spot of reading.
One thing that is hard to do in the heat is concentrate and write in the evenings. I have been thinking about this year’s summer scents and am trying to not mention perfumes I’ve already featured. This is proving a bit tricky but perhaps gets easier the longer you’ve been blogging? Or perhaps not! This Top 10 is a list of perfumes that have spent time on skin this summer. I’ve found that I tend to wear one perfume for a few days before I switch to another. The heat doesn’t let many fragrances stay around for a long time though so repeat spraying is essential.
This is my second Summer Perfumes Top 10 list so read here for my 2015 selection. On that list I’m still wearing quite a few including Terre d’Hermes Eau Très Fraiche from Hermes, REM EDT from Reminiscence and Tom Ford‘s Black Orchid when I feel like a bit of diva action. We need new blood for 2016 though so let’s crank on and get the list started. The lighter scents come first and the heavier (in a summer sense) perfumes are at the end of the list.
01 Bergamote Soleil : Atelier Cologne : Ralf Schwieger : 2016
This is a great morning pep up perfume that is nearly as reviving as a coffee. Bergamote Soleil doesn’t feel overly complicated yet it will effectively bring sunshine and happiness into your day. Surprisingly good longevity as well.
02 Five O’Clock Au Gingembre : Serge Lutens : Christopher Sheldrake : 2008
It wouldn’t be a Top 10 list without including a Lutens. Five O’Clock Au Gingembre is perfect in the heat. I’ve spritzed so much of it already this summer that the bottle won’t last much longer. This is a perfume that didn’t do too much for me in the cooler months but suddenly the sky-high temps have arrived and I finally ‘get’ it. It’s a tea perfume but not like any other I’ve smelt. Ginger is very prominent along with citrus and some pepper and cinnamon spiciness. It never goes sweet and invigorates as well as freshens. Five O’Clock Au Gingembre is a lighter style Lutens and you will need to respray in the heat. Still this is much more my thing than the L’Eau series and am so happy that I can wear it now.
03 Eau de Mandarin Ambrée : Hermes : Jean – Claude Ellena : 2013
If I’m honest the perfumes I’m most drawn to in the Hermes collection are the colognes in the simple, colourful bottles. I was tossing up whether to include this or Eau de Narcisse Bleu both of which I’m fond. The citrus won out on the day. This is a magnificent mandarin that smells heavier with the ambered tones. It has a muted feel and isn’t juicy sweet but for all of this is a great cologne. Eau de Mandarin Ambrée doesn’t last that long but while it does is fantastic. No doubt this is something that Jean-Claude Ellena can knock off blindfolded. You could say Eau de Mandarin Ambrée‘s simplicity, quality and integrity is what makes it stand out. The very same qualities that anchor the Hermes brand.
04 Harmatan Noir : Parfumerie Generale : Pierre Guillaume : 2006
How about some Pierre Guillaume wizardry this summer? Harmatan Noir smells like cool tea with a minty twist, deftly underpinned by woods. A skilful use of mint sets this perfume apart. It’s always tricky to pull this off without thinking of toothpaste but Guillaume is a wonderfully inventive perfumer. You’ll feel crisp all day but you will need to reapply in the heat.
05 L’Ombre Dans L’Eau EDP : Diptyque : Serge Kalouguine : 2012
The EDP version came out in 2012, although the EDT was created in 1983. I have a bit of a strange relationship with this Diptyque perfume that bores me one minute and has me spraying it liberally the next. It really doesn’t appeal that much in the cooler months. I find it a bit screechy but recently I gave it another go and suddenly it seems perfect in the heat. L’Ombre Dans L’Eau is a rose flecked with green leaves. The sweetness is overdone at the beginning but settles down nicely to feel refreshing and wonderfully fragrant at the same time.
06 Jasmina : April Aromatics : Tanja Bochnig : 2012
The scent of jasmine is ever-present in the South of France in summer and is unbelievably divine. It’s hard to beat nature’s best but Jasmina is a wonderful natural perfume that manages to capture the luminous quality of the flower. Jasmina is sweet, sunny and never scratchy as many jasmine perfumes can be. Wear this on a walk with your loved ones and inhale the goodness.
07 Giverny In Bloom Voile de Toilette : DSH Perfumes : Dawn Spencer Hurwitz : 2015
Yes we need a green perfume in this list and this is my new favourite in a genre that I tend to struggle with in general. Giverny In Bloom is one of the four perfumes created for the Denver Art Museums exhibition entitled ‘In Bloom – Impressionist and Post Impressionist flower paintings’. Giverny In Bloom brings together the accords in the three other perfumes to create this green, floral gem. Hurwitz perfectly conjures Monet’s emerald gardens (judging from photos, I’ve never been there) and plays up flowers and soil in the rain. It’s really exquisite and is my green ‘converter’ with its skilful blend of galbanum that never gets too heavy and an array of florals including lilac, linden and carnation. Beautiful.
08 Noontide Petals : Tauer Perfumes : Andy Tauer : 2013
It’s always a challenge to feel chic in the heat. Try this Tauer aldehydic retro styled perfume that harks back to the classic vibe of a Chanel No 5 yet smells modern, particularly in the dry down. While I don’t wear pearls, this is the sort of vibe Noontide Petals conjures for me. Try reading The Great Gatsby or Tender Is The Night to further channel the vibe.
09 Pasion Choco : Nishane : Jorge Lee : 2013
Gourmand lovers this is for you. Pasion Choco is a great evening scent for wearing outdoors in a bar on a cobbled side street (or wherever you may be), while sipping on a cocktail or an iced up rosé. It’s opulent and velvety with an unusually effective combination of passionfruit and coffee. There’s also a delectable swirling chocolate accord that smells dry and aged and good enough to munch. The sillage is pretty strong so it will be with you for at least a few hours.
10 Rozy EDP : Vero Profumo : Vero Kern : 2015
I’ve left the best for last. Just a bloody drop dead gorgeous rose and passionfruit perfume. But believe me it is sooo much more than this. Crystalline pieces of light cut through Rozy to create brilliance in a bottle. Spray this lavishly on summer evenings for the unexpected. If you haven’t tried any of Kern’s perfumes, please do. Her work has exceptional clarity. She is one of the best perfumers working today and I love this one but really they are all incredible – and in every concentration.
Let me know what you’re wearing this summer or what you’re dying to get your hands on. Or if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere – what scents are you looking forward to wearing in the summer months.
Notes : All images Megan In Sainte Maxime.