Oriental Embargo

Jardin_chinoisEvery 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?

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8 thoughts on “Oriental Embargo

  1. For the record, I wore Dzing! today (admittedly not really hot weather here in Greece).
    I just wish to add how much I enjoy your writing! Full of knowledge and eloquent, I read it wholeheartedly. Most of the time I cannot answer as my perfume background is rather limited. And I’m embarrassed just to add a “thank you” every time without elaborating on the subject matter. But know this, even if I do not comment, I am still there, and always always read and re-read your posts. So, every time you write, there is a covert “Thank you” on my behalf!
    Enchantée!

    • What a very kind comment to write! I appreciate it all the more as we have had one of THOSE days, the highlight being my Hub’s fender bender in a neighboring town. (I do so prefer a quiet life, don’t you?) Anyway, what you wrote cheered me up tremendously.

      Dzing is so much fun, and is indeed another one of those orientals that can stalk their way through summer weather. Should have put it on the list. Next year!

  2. Blacknall, can we huff and puff and blow this rain out to sea? I am that fair-weather person who should pack her bags and move elsewhere. I don’t mind humidity, to a point, but these tropical depressions bum me out.

    I never retire my orientals, and your post has me wanting to wear Chergui today, as that one always smells better to me in summer. Your description of it as “summer arrested in mid-air on a pitch fork” is lovely as all get-out … and true!

    • From your mouth to the ears of whoever is in charge of the weather!

      Plus, think you’re pretty brave and bold to hang onto the orientals in the heat, am always afraid myself that someone will ask who in the #%** is baking on a day like today!
      Chergui seems to work regardless of temperatures, and does have that hayfield smell, but why can’t there be a cool oriental? Eau de Limestone Cave or something?

  3. Our evenings are usually cool enough to wear almost any perfume but I try to follow some formal season designation.
    Yesterday I wore and enjoyed Lancome Mille et Une Roses. Other orientals from my collection that I still consider appropriate for summer: Chanel Bois des Iles, Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain, Guerlain Chamade, Hermès Brin de Réglisse, Ineke Field Notes From Paris, Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, Parfum d’Empire Equistrius and Tom Ford Black Orchid.

    • Sometimes, I really wish we had your climate! Here there’s no way I can wear Bois des Iles after May because it’s too humid. The Dark Amber yes, because I wore a sample of that one summer, and I can see the Equistrius doing fine. (Dropped mine all over the kitchen floor. At least the kitchen smelled great for a while!) Will have to try Field Notes if the humidity lets up, and Brin de Reglisse …sounds really good. Haven’t tried it, don’t suppose it’s anything like Eau de Reglisse?

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