Every July it happens. The oriental perfumes get packed up and put into my basement along with all the other “cellared” perfume. Every year when this packing up happens I experience a twinge of regret. It’s not that I wear large amounts of oriental perfumes – I don’t. But I do go in for the occasional spicy or woody oriental, and miss these when they are out of rotation. Now I wonder, does anyone else? If so, what do they do about the gap in the perfume lineup?
There are the usual suspects to be sprung from chokey every July: the fruity florals, the florals, the citruses, possibly a fougere or two. But some of the best denizens of perfumedom are incarcerated in my cellar for the entire season: aldehydic florals, chypres, and of course orientals, as well as leathers and incense fragrances. They are not even considered for parole until September, and even then, late September at the earliest.
This year, I decided things would be different. For one thing, it has been rainy all spring and continues to be rainy here in the New York area, and the rain is dousing my florals rather effectively. What’s left? Well, in the perfume collections of other, better organized and prepared people, no doubt there’s a good deal of choice. But I have this bad habit of giving samples away, and of running through the rest quickly, and of selling off whatever doesn’t make it into my collection (I choose by the simple expedient of finding out whether I wear it or not. If not then out it goes.) What that has meant this year is, a large clean out and a limited collection.
I keep my Carons, so I have Poivre but it does not do in July. I have got Gardenia Petale but this wet summer is spotting the gardenia petals pretty effectively. Emeraude is what I wear if there’s nothing else doing, and otherwise I have Hermes’ Elixir des Merveilles which is rather autumnal and autumn is a tough season for me already. What to wear?
Well, right now I have turned to Serge Luten’s Chergui,, which I know sounds more like October than July, but adaptation not just adoption, is the name of this game and Chergui reminds me of haying in Vermont. That is a wonderful smell by anyone’s standards- summer arrested in mid air on a pitchfork- and so I have taken to Chergui rather well.
My second choice oriental for hot weather is Lubin’s Idole. I’m using the edt in the original African art bottle, and find the scent remarkably transparent and light for an oriental. Idole stays on my skin for hours and hours, sometimes six to eight, but never does so intrusively, and the smell of the saffron, wood and black cumin is dry and sort of cooling.
The break down so far is that on wet days I wear Chergui and on dry hot days I wear Idole, and so far this has worked pretty well. In fact, it is working so well that by September I will probably be pouting about the unreasonable lack of florals I wore this summer.
But it’s a strange world that rains when it should shine and shines when it should rain, and so I have to change with it.
What are your summer orientals?