Everyone responds to heat differently. Some of us don’t budge from the poolside or the beach, some of us get out of town and stay out until work schedules and other tiresome realities intervene. Some of us just go down the cellar.
Our current cellar, vintage 1940, is a corker. For one thing, it smells like a cellar, but a very good version, say a platonic ideal of one. It is my daughter’s favorite smell. She, and most of her little playmates too, will stand on the top of the cellar steps and inhale. “Your cellar smells awesome!”
For why, I don’t know. I don’t keep, or bury, or dry, or store anything of note down there. It is, in fact, by the standards of most U.S. cellars, rather empty. Nothing is going on down there except for some sterlite boxes packed with off season clothing, some china I don’t use, two bottles of perfume sealed, plus a bag or two of samples. That’s it.
Is it the dust, is it a particularly attractive earth smell? Whatever, I’m willing to bet that when we finally leave this house my daughter will genuinely mourn the lost smell of the cellar. Talk about nostalgie de la boue!
Still, that smell (what’s it like? Bal a Versailles?) is reminiscent of something that can be smelt in the perfume world (Vol de Nuit? No? Terre d’Hermes? No? Wrappings?) Is it animalic? Not really, the smell doesn’t have the warmth of an animalic and so musk is really out of this equation. (Aramis? No. L’Air de Rien? Nope. I know, it’s Azuree…)
Possibly, it’s got an amber element to it, but the amber element is dry and dirty. (Wait, it’s L’Eau d’Ambre at L’Artisan! No, maybe it’s Ambra del Nepal? No? Maybe it’s Imperial Opoponax from Les Neireides?)
I still haven’t hit it. There’s something mineral buried inside this smell. (No 10 Corso Como, Padparadscha by Satellite, Sec by Knize?) It’s probably something rather literal like Dirt or Black March or Wild Hunt from CB I Hate Perfume.
I’ll figure it out one day. In the interim, when it hits 100 degrees you can use anything already mentioned that- admittedly- doesn’t quite smell as good as my cellar, to beat the heat.