switching scents

Summer.

It conjures images of barbecues and bicycling, outdoor festivals and sailing, sandals and -hopefully- lots of sunshine. Days spent at double-headers, on long car rides with the windows down, and listening for the ice cream man. Evenings spent sitting on the porch swing in pajamas, talking with neighbors and passers-by, and staying up late to catch fireflies and play flashlight tag.

Summer also smells: of burning charcoal, suntan lotion, and freshly cut grass. Of roses and peonies and hydrangea and stock.

As many of you do, I too switch scents in the summertime. To something lighter, something fresher, something ‘summery’. And, given that I am allergic to ‘florals’, usually something green and ‘citrusy’. Often, I opt for ‘The Pour Un Ete’. But this summer, two other fragrances have caught my attention: Eau Duelle and Rodin.

In the summertime, I tend to flit from perfume to perfume. And while Diptyque has seen its share of activity from me, this spring, I landed on my favorite thus far: Eau Duelle. It is subtle, to put it mildly. I spray it on and feel like it’s hovering just over my skin, a light, smoky wash of scent. Then, it lands and dries down immediately, settling comfortably into a spicy, vanilla musk. And it sits so closely, so secretly, I hardly believe it’s there. I love it.

Rodin, on the other hand, is jasmine to the nth degree. It’s arresting, completely anti-subtle. When I tried it, I sneezed. Never a good sign. Then I wandered out of the room. And wandered back in to grab a book. My first thought was that I’d left a window open. I braced, anticipating wonderful, warm breezes from the Mediterranean. Then it dawned on me: the windows were closed, it was 65 degrees and raining, and we live about 4000 miles from the Mediterranean. That lovely fragrance evoking those strong feelings was contained in that little unassuming bottle I’d just set aside on the dressing table. To this day, my nose/brain keeps waiting for warm, wafting breezes and a sunburn. Even perhaps a hint of gardenia or melissa. But this perfume is hard core jasmine, unrepentant, spicy, and bold.

Interestingly, both of these ‘summer’ scents share notes with Shalimar, which contains vanilla, bergamot, and jasmine. Typically, that’s what I wear, summer or winter. It is a scent that is near and dear to my heart, and one I’ve been wearing since college. Prior to that – and depending on the season, I flitted mercurially from one scent to another, as I mentioned. From Love’s to Bill Blass to Fracas to Lauren. Then I smelled Shalimar. It was instant attraction. Like I’d stumbled upon my ‘scent home’. Of course I’d walked by it loads of times in the shops; I’d just never stopped to smell the bottle.

But then I did – for a classic reason: a dear friend wore it and she smelled good. When I confessed that I liked it and was thinking of buying a bottle for myself, she gasped. Why would I do that, she wanted to know. Didn’t I love the Samsara I wore? ‘Nope,’ I admitted. It had been a gift from a boyfriend; and, while lovely and intriguing and everything, my olfactory glands (or ‘nose/brain’) had simply never bonded with it. Then she grinned. ‘Can I make you a deal?’ she asked. Of course, I replied. ‘I’ll give you my bottle of Shalimar if I can have your Samsara.’

We made the swap that night.

We’ve seen each other off and on over the years, and every time we embrace, we pull back laughing. ‘I see you still wear Shalimar,’ she’ll say. Smiling back, I’ll reply: ‘And you’re still with Samsara.’

From left: Shalimar, Rodin, & Eau Duelle

Now, since I know I’m not alone, tell me about your scent switching/swapping. And, coming this winter, look for an updated seasonal ‘scent switching’ post.

Onward.



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