“Some of the most beautiful perfumes are like a ball gown, but sometimes you just want to wear a comfortable pair of jeans.”
At this time of year, the ball gown analogy, though apt, breaks down to “the most comfortable pair of jeans”. Today was too lax and lazy for anything formal at all. I had been planning to wear my Guerlain LE Plus Que Jamais, but that was simply too grand. I had to roll around in Krigler’s Juicy Jasmine instead, the equivalent of a pop tune, rather than wear the complicated Miles Davis jazz piece that Plus Que Jamais is, or to continue the original comparison, shrug on a slightly slubby maxi, instead of a cocktail dress.
Does summer call for this sort of fragrance? I think so. In fact I can’t make myself wear anything that requires complication or thought. I just want comfort.
To this end I’ve compiled my brief list of End of Summer Perfumes, suitable for hammocks, barbecues, and porches. Their common denominator is the low number of easiness. These are perfumes that almost anyone can wear and enjoy whether a newbie, a collector, or a perfumista with a perfume population explosion.
1) Juicy Jasmine, Krigler: I keep rooting for this apricoty-jasmine mix because it really is a wonderful floral and although expensive, wears smoothly for hours too. As easy to love as your favorite cut offs.
2) Quelques Fleurs, Houbigant: One of the simplest of the old classics to wear and enjoy. A true floral bouquet of roses and jasmine with a faint aldehydic top containing a smidgen of tarragon, QF has been called “a dumb blonde of a fragrance” by Luca Turin, but he may not have known that this blonde was the inspiration for N0 5, as Ernest Beaux once admitted. Either way, this is softer, more floral, and gentler than N05 and a no brainer to pull off. Why more people don’t try I don’t know, especially as QF can be found very inexpensively as edp.
3) Farnesiana, Caron: Every year I end up wearing Farnesiana after July 30th, and although the mimosa bouquet is supposed to remind you of Spring, to me the yellow flowers and softly ambery haze of the perfume are August in a flacon. The current version smells fine to me, but buy extract.
4) Anne Pliska, Anne Pliska: This old variation on Obsession is still one of the best ambers for summer with a peculiar but refreshing root beer note chilling the whole concoction. If you love vanilla, and if love staying on budget, Anne is for you, and although you can buy Anne in parfum the edp is better.
5) Go Ask Alice, Parfums de Voyage: One of the best patchoulis I’ve ever smelled, fairly priced, easy to wear and endearing if you do with its earthy notes crumbling around your toes like soil in a well tended vegetable patch. Pure joy.
6) Honeyblossom, Aftelier: Hard to imagine anyone disliking this trip through a meadow full of clover and sunshine. An undiluted floral, with a honeyed dry-down, an all natural perfume that’s completely easy to pull off. The smell of a bumblebee’s flight across a field.
7) Conafetto, Hilde Soliani: Conafetto is quite simply Apres L’Ondee with all the difficult bits excised. You would think that would leave the perfume spineless and boring. Not at all, this is another fragrance that is very hard to say no to.
8) Cologne, Chanel: Yeah, I know it’s cologne and I know you’ve heard this before, but this one actually is foolproof, the cologne even perfume haters can love.
9) Calyx, Clinique (re-issue): An astute reader mentioned this one the other day, and she’s right. Calyx, one of the first and best fruity florals with so many fruit notes in the formula that it has Del Monte fruit salad beat, is hard to dislike and difficult not to have a good time wearing. I have to recommend this one. May it
find a new generation of wearers at its reasonable price point.
10) Tokyo, Les Parfums de Voyage, Guerlain: This is another one that I’m a fan of because it’s really a very unusual Guerlain, and unusually easy to wear for a Guerlain. Tokyo’s green, not a gourmand, also fresh, with a delightful green tea note better than my canister of The Mariage’s The Sur Le Nile! If you can find the old round eau de toilette bottles, Tokyo also has a beautiful Guerlain vanilla ending which is worth the six hour wait.
Do you have a surefire perfume that has no hard edges for the end of summer?