Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Surfing for a Summer Scent

[Products marked * were provided by PR for review. Everything else was purchased by me. No affiliate links.]

I know, I have enough perfume for several lifetimes. But every summer, I try to find something light and refreshing - and fail. I'm well stocked in creamy, coconut/jasmine scents (Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum, Sweet Anthem Juliet, even body products like NUXE Huile Prodigieuse*), and I wear the beautiful Diptyque Eau Duelle year round, but I want something invigorating and cool.

Tricky, because I don't typically like marine aquatics (they make me nauseous), old-school citrus cologne spritzers, or fresh linen scents. What I'm looking for in my "summer easy breezy" is icy herbs - mint, basil, rosemary, or something of the like - that stay spritzy without being fizzy. But I'm willing to dabble in other combinations. Here are some I explored, and what I'm eyeing.

Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia edp
Image source: Sephora
It's a popular one, although I was initially predisposed to dislike it because every dude-bro in high school and college wore Acqua di Gio. I have a sample and like it, but don't love it. I wish it had more mint - I was actually surprised to see that listed as a note. It's a summery scent that is fresh without evoking dryer sheets or other household cleaning agents. I typically dislike spritzy lemon scents, but this one is ok. It's a brown sugar (that borders on a bit too synthetic smelling) that nevertheless stays crisp with a splash of lemon, like lemon sweet tea without the tea, if that makes any sense. It's also not overtly floral, which I appreciate. Maybe if it were a touch less cavity-inducing, and mintier...ah, well. Also, did you know they launched an Air di Gioia and Sun di Gioia?
notes: mint, brown sugar, lemon, jasmine, peony, pink pepper, cedar wood, labdanum

Laura Mercier Tea Menthe Citron edt
Image source: Nordstrom
The name of this makes no sense to me, since "menthe citron" is French, but they smashed that with the English word for tea, rather than the French one. Ok, whatever. I was initially really excited about this launch, because I LIKE tea and mint. But, no. Why do we always feel the need to dump lemons in everything? And why do we promise mint and never deliver? I smelled this in store and it just smells like lemon, with that abrasive citrusy "green tea" note that is so common and that I hate. Why do green tea perfumes always just smell like citrus?
notes: green tea, cardamom, mint, cedarwood, lemon
image source: Sephora
(Actually, Maison Margiela Replica Tea Escape smells like earthy matcha, which is what I personally want out of a green tea note. Sadly, it's 1. too earthy for summer, and 2. I think it's one of those scents that I love on paper, but would smell like absolute rubbish on my skin. I have an inkling that it would translate to a different kind of eau de pee on me. BUT, if you too have been on the hunt for elusive matcha, this is it.
notes: citrus notes, bergamot, green tea, sambac jasmine, crisped rice)

L'Occitane Thé Vert & Bigarade edt
image source: L'Occitane
Yes, I know, I just said that I don't like citrusy spritzers or the "fresh" brand of green tea, but this one isn't bad. I had a mini splash bottle that I put in a Travalo, and it's almost gone. It is a touch too astringent and very fleeting, but I like the bigarade combination much better than tea + lemon - it gives it a spicy edge that is much preferred. I would't buy it again, though.
notes: sparkling citrus notes, bitter orange, green tea

Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine
image source: Sephora
I reviewed this (link above). It's still the best, most genuine orange note ever. But it is a little too grounded, woodsy, and spicy to be a reckless summer scent.
notes: Blood Orange, Bitter Orange, Jasmine, Geranium, Amber Woods, Tonka Beans, Sandalwood.

Firebird Bath & Body Black Tea and Mint, perfume oil
image source: Firebird
Firebird is an indie company that used to be Flourish, many years ago, and that's actually when I purchased my sample of Black Tea and Mint. I still love it - it's a linear black tea and mint (novel!), delicious but not oversweet. It's iced black tea, not a Southern Sweet Tea. And, thank goodness, no damned lemons to be found. This is the mint I've been craving! In general I suppose mint is just intended to freshen blends up, rather than be featured prominently, but I want to smell like a mint leaf. The only problem is that it's an oil, with minimal sillage, and while I love the zingy feeling of peppermint massage oils, sometimes it's nice not to have to apply something directly to skin. Still, I find myself reaching for my sample over and over, and might purchase a full bottle this summer ($10, at Firebird, which I just learned is local to me).
notes: mint leaves, iced black tea, sugar

Comme de Garçons Series 5 Sherbet: Peppermint edt
image source: Lucky Scent
I ordered a sample of this and was sad. It's too sweet and creamy. Like those crinkle-wrapped peppermint candies you used to get after dinner at old steakhouses. Le sigh.
notes: curly mint, peppermint, bay rose, white pepper, cardamom, amber, white musk

Right, now here's what I'm looking at. 
summer scent


L-R: Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca, L'Artisan Fou d'Absinthe, Heeley Menthe Fraiche, Ayala Moriel Musk Malabi, Comme de Garçons Play: Green, Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Anisia Bella

The Heeley and Ayala Moriel are prohibitively expensive for a summer scent, and I suspect that even though I want to love a creamy, rice pudding custard perfume, Musk Malabi would probably make me nauseous. Heeley's Menthe Fraiche sounds perfect, but is reportedly fleeting.

Fou d'Absinthe will probably suck on me, since L'Artisan is hit or miss for me and I've had more misses, and Anisia Bella has been discontinued (though I'm contemplating a tester bottle on Beauty Encounter. Has anyone purchased there before?). Herba Fresca sounds refreshing, but the citrus makes me pause, and Guerlain prices for an edt I am not sure I'll love...I'm hedging. Finally, CdG Series Play: Green could be bright and green, but...vetiver. I eye you suspiciously, vetiver.

And I can never write a short, pithy perfume post. I apologize. If you have thoughts on any of the above, let me know. What are you wearing this summer?