Suddenly it’s gotten hot in Connecticut. This sounds like an oxymoron I know. However it can get hot in New England and usually does when you really could do without the humidity and the soaring temperatures, as in for instance when you’ve just moved north and thought it would be cooler.
Every year when the Great Heat Wave happens I’ve turned to different remedies and oddly this year my invisible cold pack is full of iris and patchouli. I’m not sure why I decided that iris was a good remedy for heat, unless the sight of a lone Japanese iris in bloom set me off the other day.
The flower looked so cool and unruffled by the heat, versus self, who of course has frizzled hair and a permanent sheen of perspiration on her skin, and is constantly peeling herself off the study sofa. Patchouli by contrast is an old remedy for the summertime blues. You get right down to the soil level with patch, and that’s where I spend half my time now, weeding and cutting into the leggy undergarments of rhododendrons. That is no place for dainty perfumes and obvious florals attract bees, so temporarily I’m off of roses and white florals.
Instead I’ve worn Zum’s Goat Milk Soap in Patchouli. OK , definitely not a Guerlain! But for the price, which is 5.85, you get a nice patchouli zap that lasts a good half hour. Sometimes I just use it as hand soap and sometimes I slather in the shower, but after a hot day in the undergrowth,you could do a great deal worse. Besides, the Hub raises no objections to patchouli for himself either, so the Zum is a winner, and I generally buy mine at Whole Foods.
My other patchouli fix this summer came from a sample I was sent by Anya of Anya’s Garden, a natural perfumer who has been producing scents for several years, and is one of the earliest natural perfumers in the States. I didn’t know her work until this point, but she included a sample of Enticing in her package, which is a patchouli perfume with musk and butter ( I would never have guessed the butter) a mushroom note, also clary sage and tuberose. Because of the natural musk there is a distinctly animalic character to Enticing that is appealing at the hypothalamus level, and which soaks into hot skin in a very convincing way. You know, one of those perfumes that makes you smell as if your sweat were a great deal sexier than it actually is? There is something very carnal but casual in this perfume, and I find that Enticing is one of those uncommon fragrances that go just about everywhere with you.
Beginning on an herbal note, progressing through the patchouli, and ending in a sweeter, lighter mode with tuberose and musk, Enticing is quiet but rounded, and would be an excellent companion for men as well as women. I really liked this patchouli a lot, and if I have a beef here at all it’s that I wished this attractive scent would last longer on me.
Then I had the problem of what to wear that was bearable in the humid evenings, and very often went the iris route. My choice usually was Penhaligon’s Iris Prima. This is a perfume that also smells like the trail is musk, in fact it is listed as a floral woody musk, but the notes which include an inevitable pink peppercorn and bergamot intro, subsequently blossom into jasmine and iris. I find the heart of the Penhaligon extremely pretty. This is, by the way, the second time I have fallen for a Penhaligon, the first having been Lily and Spice, which was one of those rare lilies I could wear without feeling like a walking vase. Similarly, Iris Prima features a heavy oriental base with vanilla, sandalwood, and musk, which means you can wear this perfume rather than feeling the formula wearing you, a risk with florals.
I also returned to Papillon Artisan Perfumes’ Angelique, but was disappointed for the second time. The perfume always begins so promisingly on me with a pretty airy iris note, but the prettiness devolves into such bitterness on my skin that I can seldom live with Angelique for more than half an hour.
This received good reviews from other bloggers, but whether it’s my skin,or the maceration, or something in the formula, the iris smelled like aspirin on me. Oh well. There’s always Iris Prima instead…