Scents From Heaven — Hot Fragrances For Summer 2011
From coconut water to Hawaiian hibiscus, juicy peach, and driftwood notes, each of these fragrances captures the gaiety and splendor of the summer season in its own unique way. Check out the scents that have us yearning for an endless summer!
CLEAN Summer Escape Eau Fraiche Spray, $49. Available at Sephora.com
Could a flower picked from a patch of grass next to a sandy beach smell different than one plucked from a prairie garden? Absolutely! CLEAN’s newest fragrance, Summer Escape, transports you to a quaint shore-side locale, perhaps a beachfront cottage on Cape Cod Bay, where the air turns salty as ocean waves crash against the shore and bursts of sea spray sprinkle sand-dipped legs. Every so often, you’ll have sip on fresh-squeezed orange juice or a while sitting on the wooden terrace, the scents of driftwood, wet grass, sand, and nearby flowers mingling with your drink’s sparkling citrus aroma.
CLEAN Summer Escape, then, features top notes of crisp bergamot, beach grass, and mandarin orange that give way to a heart of water lily, summer peony, beach honeysuckle, and orange flower. Base notes include coconut water, driftwood, a white sand accord, and cotton blossom, which together help to create that sought-after, inviting, island-worthy smell. The cotton blossom note also helps to give the scent the trademark crispness we associate with CLEAN fragrances.
Considering the hard-edged visuals Rihanna embraced when releasing 2009’s Rated R album — from black-and-white photos of herself in the nude, wrapped in barbed wire, to a high-fashion, editorial shot of the chanteuse in a see-through bustier and fishnet, thigh-high stockings secured by garter belts lying languidly on a couch, her pretty head dangerously close to the open mouth of a fang-flaunting wild cougar — one might expect her first foray into fragrance to be bold, theatrical, and defiant to the max. And yet the Girl with the Finger Tattoos opted for a softer approach, one without lurid sexual overtones or uncommon notes mixed together for shock factor’s sake. In truth, Reb’l Fleur isn’t particularly rebellious — it’s soft, feminine, and youthful, capturing the more innocent side of Rihanna (the flirtatious, beach siren side of the singer captured in earlier songs like “If It’s Lovin’ That You Want” and “SOS”).
Created by perfumers Caroline Sabas and Marypierre Julien, the floral chypre opens with juicy and slightly tart notes of red berries and purple plum, as well as a splash of succulent peach. These ripe fruits quickly open the curtain to the Caribbean-grounded heart of the fragrance, which features notes of Hawaiian hibiscus flower, violet, tuberose, and coconut water. And, since no fragrance could bear Rihanna’s name without a dose of sex appeal, the base notes include creamy vanilla, carnal musk, warm amber, and patchouli.
While it may be an unexpected scent for Rihanna, particularly given its insubordinate moniker, Reb’l Fleur boasts a timeless charm, mainly thanks to the vanilla and coconut water notes, which endure for longer periods of time than the fragrance’s other notes and which imbue it with a demure sensuality.
Perhaps the most rock-flavored element of Reb’l Fleur is its packaging, which is shaped like an upside-down stiletto heel, with a matte black metal ribbon with sparkling golden edges wrapped around the rosy glass bottle.
Though last year’s Burberry Summer EDT was a lovely (though conventional) fruity-floral fragrance, this year’s edition is considerably livelier and fresher, with more or a green feel to it. Both fragrances boast top notes of mandarin and pomegranate but, while last year’s edition blended these notes with blackcurrant and white peach, this year’s version mixes them with orange and crisp green leaf for a zestier initial sensation. Similarly, both Summer 2010 and Summer 2011 relied on floral middle notes but, while last year’s version married freesia with honeysuckle, lily of the valley, and white rose, this year’s edition omits the honeysuckle and replaces the white rose note with a more romantic red rose note. Light traces of cedar wood, sandalwood, and white musk complete the limited-edition scent,developed by perfumer Lucas Sieuzac. Meant to capture the upbeat but serene mood of a summer morning in Britain, this year’s Burberry Summer EDT Spray is both classic and enchanting.
True Religion Hippie Chic Eau de Parfum Spray, $79. Available at TrueReligionBrandJeans.com
If Sheila Franklin and Jeanie Ryan (the two happy-go-lucky, free-spirited female characters in the musical Hair) lived in modern times, they’d probably fancy this playful scent, which perfectly embodies True Religion’s Bohemian spirit. But, in keeping with the brand’s fashion-forward aesthetic, Givaudan Master Perfumer Ellen Molner eschewed any cliché “hippie” notes, purposely omitting such notes as patchouli, incense, and sandalwood in favor of a fruity floral combination. The Hippie Chic girl, then, has more of a Zooey Deschanel or Kate Moss vibe — she’s a trendsetter, confident and stylish, and yet she doesn’t take herself (or life, for that matter) too seriously. There’s always a sparkle in her eye, an enchanting gaiety to her laugh, a coquettish flair to her movements. You can almost picture her picking flowers from a country garden or riding around in a vintage bicycle, a wicker basket between the handle bars.
To create this mood, Molner combined top notes of juicy red fruits (raspberry, pomegranate, and Fuji apple) with some of the mot fragrant, feminine yet innocent florals: star jasmine, hibiscus, and muguet. Last, to give the fragrance a hint of sensuality, she incorporated base notes of musk and sheer woods. The resulting fragrance is delightful — albeit ephemeral, as its potency weakens dramatically in a short period of time. But, hey, isn’t part of the hippie mindset knowing how to live in the moment?
Jennifer Aniston Eau de Parfum Spray, $55 for 1.7 oz. and $70 for 2.4 oz. Available at Sephora.com
With a few notable exceptions — among them Jennifer Lopez’s J.Lo fragrances and Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. perfume — I tend to be disappointed by celebrity scents. It’s almost like perfume companies bank on the mass appeal of the celebrities hawking these fragrances and hence produce some rather mediocre juices. Luckily, Jennifer Aniston’s signature scent not only deserves a spot among the very best celebrity scents, but it can duel with some of the most high-end fragrances on the market. First, there’s the trapeze-shaped bottle with its curved sides and dramatically arching bottom surface, which is meant to capture the fluidity and movement of a crescent wave while paying homage to the sculptural, malleable look of some of Frank Gehry’s most phenomenal architectural designs. Then, there’s the fragrance itself, which captures the air exuded by Aniston herself — it’s understated, laid-back, perhaps even minimalist, with a subtle, homegrown allure that’s never overpowering or intrusive (not even when first sprayed on skin).
When I first smelled this perfume, it reminded me of my own childhood in Puerto Rico, of my mother applying Para Mi Bebé’s Agua de Violetas fragrance to my pulse points after bathing me following a day of playing in the sand at the beach. Not surprisingly, the scent does feature a violet note, along with jasmine (a note Aniston insisted on including since it reminded her of summer evening in her native California), rose water, Amazon lily, a citrus grove accord, and bottom notes of amber, musk, and sandalwood.
Together, these notes create a light, clean scent that’s vaguely floral but which doesn’t feel overly girly. Instead, it seems to swathe the skin like a light aromatic veil, adding to the sensuousness of the experience.