Gin Fizzing

LimeOnce upon a time the perimeters of summer were demarcated by the cocktails people drank from June to September, versus the ones they tossed back at all the other times of the year.  Having been born as WASP as it gets, I remember the buzz of cocktail parties, rising and intensifying as the decibel levels increased, over green lawns, lawns which hissed noisily themselves- if Joni Mitchell was to be believed- on those afternoons in the 70s. (or 60s.)

We were exiles from such gatherings, pretty tame in my father’s parish, but much more lively on Fire Island, paid off like undesirable boyfriends, only cheaply in our case, with picnic dinners and cans of Coke.  We took ourselves off to review some dad’s Playboy stash while the grownups managed to perambulate the decks of our neighborhood, glasses in hand, ending up at the house of some luckless housewife who’d drawn the short straw for the barbeque, by which time a lot of the dads were too blasted to know what they were eating anyhow, potato salad or crab melt?  Once my mother, who was dreadfully allergic to shellfish, ate clam dip by mistake, and had to trudge up and down the concrete sidewalk till dawn to evade anaphylactic shock.

We led exciting lives back in those days, what with the divorces, and the older kids’ drug busts.  And then there would be a new John Cheever story to tell us about the deadening anomie of it all, though I don’t recall being bored for a second.  When I was in single digits, Mrs. B. one of our neighbors, was devastated by the news of Adlai Stevenson’s death. She mourned him in a proper fashion, wading in the Great South Bay, in a bikini, tears streaming from behind her sunglasses, with a gin and tonic in her hand.

Who says that Americans are devoid of a sense of style?

So when I remember those years of my childhood, I recall the nostril stinging smell of gin and tonic or gin fizz with a great deal of affection because it was what my parents usually drank.  I loved the smell of the gin and used to tell my father that I wished there were a perfume that smelled like that.  My father, of course, told me that if I were a grown-up and wore a perfume that smelled like gin I’d get a ticket for DWI and a reputation, and that was the end of that.  But I’ve never really forgotten the smell of gin or gin cocktails and I still love a good scent version when it turns up.

This was why, when I finally ran across Lubin’s Gin Fizz I was so crestfallen.  Lubin makes some of the very best bottles and packaging in the industry.  They are lovely, but the contents are hit or miss, and while some are quite good, Black Jade, and the fabulous Idole, others are merely so so.  Gin Fizz, in its beautiful bottle, smelled like a cross between an aspirin tablet and White Linen to me, and I was made very sad by the fact because I had wanted to wear it so much.  Alas, it was not to be. Gin Fizz smelled nothing like the Gin Fizzes effervescing in my memory.

On the other hand though, I finally got around to smelling Micallef’s Royal Vintage and was pleased to discover that this oriental woody has a distinct juniper berry top note and a pleasant cooling woody body and dry down.  I had almost forgotten this, but find now that it is my favorite of all the Micallefs so far (my sample came some time ago from the makers).

I thought it would not be for me, and so forgot about it and only found the sample because I had been rooting about in the off season testers in my cellar. (I cellar perfume by the way, and that only sounds odd. It’s quite logical if you think about it.) The notes say something about bergamot and berries in the top but I smell juniper and thyme, and stick to this.  It reminds me of summer lawns and beaches, and cocktail party chat, and the gins and tonics on bright green lawns which I don’t drink.  In fact I checked our sole gin bottle the other day.

It was covered in dust.





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12 thoughts on “Gin Fizzing

  1. Lovely post, thanks. I like the smell of gin but have little experience of how it translates into fragrance. I tried Gin Fizz once and didn’t think it anything special, but I did have a very pushy SA hovering over me at the time. Lubin is out of my financial reach anyway, and so is Micallef usually. What I’d really love to try is Penghaligon’s Juniper Sling. Have you tried that one? When the summer rolls around for me I will just have to shell out for a sample, I think.

    In the meantime, I’m having a great time with Crabtree & Evelyn’s Vetiver and Juniperberry soap. My daughter bought me some for mother’s day. I can pick out both notes quite distinctly and it is very understated and elegant. I’d buy it as a fragrance any day!

    1. Can see that Crabtree and Evelyn will have to be on my summer stop by route because I love juniper! You are quite right about Juniper Sling, had forgotten all about it, often forget the Penhaligans because no one in my neck of the woods sells them.

      The Lubins were at a side walk sale of all things, and this is how I know them. Around here you never know what will turn up being dumped at 75% off, and sometimes it’s quite a weird selection.

  2. I love G&Ts, and the smell of juniper. Juniper Sling is very nice, fizzy and sparking. Clinique’s Wrappings also has juniper in it.

  3. Aren’t G&T’s nice? Since it’s going up to 90 today I wish I had tonic water, which darn it, we’re out of.

    Wrappings has juniper? Don’t remember the beginning of Wrappings, only that it’s curiously unavailable for most of the year. But it might be very nice right about now, one of those cooling dark fragrances that seem to cast their own shade.

    1. I know, funny that a green fragrance that would be good for warm weather is only sold during the winter holidays. A reviewer on Basenotes described it thusly: “You’ll think the Christmas tree was wrapped in garlands of roses and jasmine but tipped over and fell into your gin.” Love that because it’s so true. It is, however, a rather dense fragrance as opposed to airy and sparkly.

  4. Gin-and-tonic is my cocktail of choice when it comes to mixed drinks. I fell in love with them at a fairly young age (I think I was eighteen or nineteen) while visiting friends living near Baltimore who had invited us over to eat steamed crabs. The Old Bay seasoning for the crabs had a fire-y bite to it, and the gin-and-tonics were the perfect foil.

    Blacknall, have you tried Frederic Malle Angeliques Sous la Pluie? That perfume reminds me of a gin-and-tonic.

    1. Mine too, only slightly edged out by mimosas. As for Old Bay seasoning, I LOVE it, having been born in Baltimore and raised on crab cakes. I’ll even eat those crab flavor potato chips-which indicates a serious addiction. They constitute one of my summer pleasures, besides reading your post on summer pleasures, which was one today. That post reminded me of all the summer books I need to reread. Have you ever read Summer’s Lease?

      Angeliques Sous la Pluie? No I haven’t tried it properly. Smelled it, but with the Malles you need to mull them over for a while and so I have to go back and really experience some of them. ASlP is one definitely, Le Parfum de Therese and Une Fleur de Cassie as well.

  5. Oh, I love that Old Bay seasoning, too! And crab cakes! Baltimore is THE place for steamed crabs, crab cakes … don’t think I’ve ever had crab bisque there, but that’s another crab delicacy that I love. Well, now I know for sure that if we ever meet up in person, we have some food loves in common and would probably get along great at the dinner table. 😉

    Thank you for the very kind compliment on my post. No, I haven’t read Summer’s Lease but I saw the mini-series version on PBS and loved it! So much so that I actually did a post on it (if you’re ever curious, when you’re at my site go down the left hand column and click on my Profumum Roma D’Ambrosia post).

    1. Will certainly read your post! So glad that you liked the series, it was very close to the book as I recall it.

      And yes, I do think we have a lot in common food-wise, how can anyone not like Chesapeake Bay Crab?

  6. G&T is also my coctail of choice and separately I like the juniper smell. I didn’t think Gin Fizz smelled anything like the drink. Penghaligon’s Juniper Sling was much more to my taste though not impressive enough to go for a bottle of it.

    1. Oh, I was SO disappointed with Gin Fizz because of liking the cocktail, as you do, and frankly because the bottle was so lovely, but it was a no.

      At this point maybe we are better off taking Anne-Marie’s advice and sticking to Crabtree & Evelyn’s Vetiver and Juniper Berry soap?

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