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Summer Fragrance Extravaganza Part II — Sniffin’ Out The Best

Last week, in Part I of our “Summer Fragrance Extravaganza,” we focused on tuberose-centered scents, pomegranate-rich splashes and mists, as well as fruity floral perfumes with a light-hearted, fun-loving spirit. In Part II, we’re showing you another array of scents with very different profiles: from the gender-bending Tom Ford Azure Lime to the jasmine tea-themed Ange Ou Démon Le Secret. Find out which summer scent suits you!

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Tom Ford Private Blend Azure Lime Eau de Parfum, $190. Available at Nordstrom.com

“Derivative” is simply not in Tom Ford’s vocabulary. Whether he’s bringing the sexy back to patchouli (as with the Sephora.com) or creating an intoxicating, spice-tinged, exotic orchid scent (as with the Sephora.com), the inimitable Tom Ford is always walking along the less trodden path of innovation.

The latest offering from the Tom Ford Private Blend Collection is the Tom Ford Azure Lime perfume, which was inspired by the private Caribbean island of Mustique. The fragrance opens with invigorating citrus notes mixed a dash of spice, with notes of lime water, Valencia orange, zesty lime, bergamot, Oregon mint, and black basil waking up the senses. These notes usher in the florals and spices that constitute the fragrance’s heart: Egyptian jasmine, Tunisian neroli, violet leaves, orange flower, the herb South African buchu, and Moroccan orris butter — all enveloped by citrus and mint. The base notes, lastly, include: sandalwood, patchouli, tonka bean, musk, sea moss and oakwood.

While the EDP’s name references the lime note in the formula, this isn’t your traditional sparkling citrus fragrance. The Tom Ford Azure Lime EDP opts to deviate from its summer fragrance brethren by eschewing the playful, flirtatious attitude and the sweet, juicy, fruit notes. Here, it’s the herbs and spices, along with the woody base notes, that boast the greatest staying power, making the fragrance’s sex appeal stem from its gender-bending vibe. This fragrance, then, will speak to your inner Victoria Grant (the cross-dressing female character in Victor Victoria), to the part of you that feels sexiest when wearing a suit (a la Madonna in the “Express Yourself” video) or when rolling on the bed in your boyfriend’s crisp white button-down shit.

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Burberry Summer Eau de Toilette, $65. Available at US.Burberry.com

Simple. Classic. Traditional. Uncomplicated. Like the signature tartan print that has been synonymous with the Burberry brand for generations, the Burberry Summer fragrance has a polished, effortlessly timeless feel. It’s elegant without being overpowering or needlessly show, long-lasting without being offensively intense. It’s not the most daring or innovative fragrance, and the list of notes won’t make you scratch your head in bewilderment — but, then, this is a Burberry scent, not one from fashion rebels like Alexander McQueen or Alexandre Herchcovitch.

The Burberry Summer scent, then, is a fruity floral eau de toilette with a buoyant, exuberant spirit. Blackcurrant, pomegranate, mandarin and white peach give the fragrance a light tang, leading the way to  a bouquet of freesia, honeysuckle, lily of the valley and white rose at the heart. Base notes of sandalwood and cedarwood complete the scent profile, adding some contrast to the classically  feminine allure of the floral heart.  It’s the kind of fragrance you can wear whether you’re 20 or 50, and it manages to capture the vibrant energy of summer without going into hyperactive, look-at-me-now (or, rather, smell-me-now) territory.

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Calvin Klein CK One Summer 2010, $44. Available at CalvinKlein.com

If you’re expecting the clean, lemon-y scent of the original CK One fragrance, follow Dionne Warwick’s advice and “walk on by.” To appreciate CK One Summer 2010, you have to approach this scent like a brand new fragrance, completely detached from the CK One legacy, save for its being billed as a “unisex” scent.

Truth be told, CK One Summer 2010 feels more masculine than unisex, bringing to mind the scent of a man’s skin right after he’s groomed and applied his aftershave. Though the fragrance opens with mandarin, pear, kaffir lime leaves, and a splash of watermelon, this olfactory fruit cocktail is hard to discern as it is rapidly overshadowed by the musk, cedarwood, vetiver and patchouli notes at the base of the scent. Even the floral heart — which includes notes like violet leaves, verbena, water lily and marigold — pales next to the earthier notes mentioned.

Personally, I thought CK One Summer 2010’s sexiness quotient was nonexistent, but another team member had an entirely different take — according to her, the masculine fragrance made her feel like she’d ravaged a sexy man the night before and his scent was still lingering on her skin. If you can appreciate her metaphor, then this CK One heir is definitely for you!

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Givenchy Ange Ou Démon Le Secret Eau de Parfum, $51 for 1 oz. and $73 for 1.7 oz. Available at Sephora.com

Though it’s a fruity floral fragrance, Ginvenchy’s Ange Ou Démon Le Secret is far from aloof or whimsical. If there really is an art to seduction, Ange Ou Démon Le Secret could be an essential, Kamasutra-worthy component of that art form.

The fragrance opens with notes of Italian winter lemon, cranberry and green tea leaves, then makes way to the white peony, sambac jasmine, and water flowers middle, with bottom notes of blond woods, patchouli, and white musk giving the scent the proper dose of carnal warmth and woodsy mysteriousness. The lemon top note adds a luminosity and slight innocence to the otherwise intensely sensual scent, with its predominant sambac jasmine and green tea notes. The green tea leaves, meanwhile, add a refreshing feel to the scent.

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Ralph Lauren Romance Summer Romance Eau de Parfum Spray, $78 for 3.4 oz. Available at Sephora.com

Developed by perfumer Harry Fremont, Ralph Lauren Romance Summer Romance is the latest addition to the RL Romance fragrance family — after all, even eternal love goes through many phases, transforming as time passes to reveal yet another facet of the sentiment.

For summer, the dailily, white violet, and lotus flower notes at the heart are replaced by tropical hibiscus and tiare flower blooms, while the lychee, chamomile, marigold, sun goddess rose, and yellow freesia top notes are replaced by juicy passion fruit and mandarin notes. Finally, the patchouli and oakmoss base notes found in the original scent are shelved, so that the simply bottom notes consist of exotic woods and a season-appropriate, sweet apricot musk.

I can barely detect the passion flower note, so I would describe this as more of a floral fragrance than a fruity floral, but the blooms selected do have an island-ready vibe that’s perfect for summer.

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Badgley Mischka Couture Eau de Parfum Spray, $65 for 1.7 oz and $90 for 3.4 oz. Available at Nordstrom.com

This fragrance is meant to make women feel like they’ve slipped into show-stopping couture gowns — elegant, feminine, and regal, Badgley Mischka Couture is a no-nonsense, belle-of-the-ball eau de parfum. The perfume opens with purple plum, blackberry and pear nectar notes, leading to a heart consisting of jasmine, gardenia and violet notes, with creamy woods and sensual musks grounding the scent.

What makes this scent so intriguing are the fruity notes selected. Sparkling, juicy and sweet fruits like zesty lemon and blood orange, watery melon, or tropical mango and passionfruit were dismissed in favor of more tart, tangy fruits like blackberry and purple plum. These give the white floral center a mysterious, intriguing, and sensual quality, but it also makes the fragrance lack any coquettish playfulness.

Since it is more of a madam than a mademoiselle scent, I’d recommend it for the 35-and-over crowd.

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pureDKNY Scent Spray, $60 for 1.7 oz. and $80 for 3.4 oz. Available at Nordstrom.com

Vanilla is one of the most sensual scents found in nature. It’s also the predominant note in pureDKNY, which also includes dew-drop petal accord, lotus, rose, transparent jasmine, freesia, orchid, white amber and sandalwood notes. Watery, sweet, feminine, and light, the pureDKNY scent practically floats above you like a fragrant halo or envelops you softly like an invisible but oh-so-savory shroud. It’s a delightful, warm and savory scent that doesn’t overwhelm or overpower, so that it feels like it’s radiating from your pores.

Additionally, in true Donna Karan form, the production of this fragrance has a humanitarian element: all the vanilla used to make pureDKNY is harvested by female workers in Uganda employed through CARE, a non-profit organization that aims to empower women in impoverished communities by granting them access to opportunities that will empower them and make them financially self-sufficient. And, in accordance with Karan’s eco-conscious mindset, the pureDKNY bottle is 100% recyclable.

 

 

 

 

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