Monday, June 25, 2012

Green Summer Perfumes

Last week when I compiled my list of fresh citrus scents for summer I kept thinking how I prefer fragrances that lean green. I was sure I'd have an easier time coming up with a long list of favorite crisp green perfumes, but as I was working on this feature I realized that unlike lemon or lime, "green" is open to far more interpretations, not all of them summery. Take for example Chanel No. 19. It's loaded with galbanum and oakmoss (at least in its original formula) and it's certainly green, but I wear No. 19 more often during the fall and winter, and I find that the iris note takes it in a very different direction. Then there are various vetiver perfumes. Vetiver often has a green aspect, and when I asked the husband for his green ideas the first fragrance he mentioned was Chanel Sycomore. Is the murky and swampy Sycomore really green? I never think of it as a summer scent.

Apparently, this list requires a little more time and thought than I expected, but here are some green suggestions:

* The lightest in this category are probably green tea scents. There's the ever so popular Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, sheer and light as only Jean-Claude Ellena can make them. My personal favorite, though, is L'Artisan Thé Pour Un Été. A soft jasmine and lemon tea by the divine Olivia Giacobetti.

* Estee Lauder has not only Aliage, but also the original Private Collection, an elegant green floral.

* Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has a magical hand and nose for green notes. She offers quite a few wonderful options, but my absolute favorite ones are Vert pour Madame, Viridian, Celadon and Bancha.

* Balmain Vent Vert is as classic green as it gets. I've even warmed up to the current version, though vintage is superior. Still worth your time if you're after all that's green and grassy.

* Speaking of grassy, CB I Hate Perfume offers his #342 Grass Premium Accord as both an absolute and a water perfume. It doesn't get more realistic than that.

* From the dirt cheap department comes an oldy: Jacques Fath Green Water. It has no staying power whatsoever, no matter how much you spray, but even the flimsy new formula is green green green.

* Various green herbal scents: Diptyque Virgilio (exclusive to Diptyque stores) is all basil, Tauer Reverie au Jardin is a dream in lavender, and Heeley Menthe Fraiche is exactly what it claims to be: minty fresh.

*Greenwitch by Roxana Illuminated Perfumes is botanical and magical. A green marine chypre. I never smelled anything like it.

* A long forgotten gem was Shiseido Inouï. A galbanumy chypre that has all that's good and green. A really precious one if you can find some.

* Dark green like the shade of tall trees: Tom Ford Italian Cypress and the original Ralph Lauren Polo (ask your father if he still has an older bottle), as well as the enchanted forest of Ormonde Woman by Ormonde Jayne.

* My resident vetiver connoisseur says that Guerlain Vetiver is the summery of them all and I have to agree. Vintage is better, but the current formula is as bright and crisp as they come.

My list includes 20 fragrances after all, so I guess I really do love my greens. What are your favorite scents in this category?

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  1. I've got a few green scents I adore, my faves are EL Aliage. Chanel's Cristalle edt, Patou's Eau de Patou, Parfum de Nicolai's Eau Turquoise, Givenchy III, and Crown's Sarcanthus.

  2. I love Guerlain Vetiver so much! It's one of my summer perfumes and I wish I could sniff a vintage one. Time and time again I feel so deprived perfume-wise for having been born to late. When will this madness with banning certain substances in perfume end!

  3. Interesting about Green Water. On a really hot day, I want a scent that I can spray (for the cooling alcohol and then respray).
    My favorite greens are
    Trefle by Cologne Atalier (Clover)
    Collette by Histoires des Parfums

  4. For green summer perfumes, I wear Rabanne's Metal, Jacomo Silences, Balmain de Balmain and Krizia's Moods, which is a weird kind of green but strikes me as green nonetheless.

    1. I almost wore PR Metal today, but settled on White Linen instead.

      I love Roucel's version of the green floral, Gucci Envy.

  5. For me it is Jade by Olivier Durbano - a lot of green tea, mate, mint, moss, vetiver and of course a lot of other stuff.

  6. Private Collection is one of my favourite summer fragrances.

  7. I love Private Collection. I discovered it two years ago, and it's one of my summer staples. A bit difficult to find here, in Spain, though.

  8. parfum d'ete by kenzo. a wonderful light, not too intrusive scent that can be worn anywhere during the day - or even on warm summer evenings. plenty of freshly cut green grass balanced out by jasmine and lily of the valley. underneath it seems to me to smell slightly oceanic, but it's faint. it doesn't clash, however, when worn out for drinks oceanside! :)

  9. I wore Ivoire de Balmain today and have delighted in the bitter fresh cut stalks scent all day. Mmmm.... But, I would say Ma Griffe is my standard for greenness.

  10. Leila Lou perfume oil is one of my favorites lately, and has wonderful grassy notes. Used to love Prescriptives Calyx, but I don't think that's around anymore.

  11. I love original Private Collection, the couterpoint between flowers and galbanum. A rawer and more bracing take is Weil de Weil. galbanum, and a pronounced hyacinth note. One that has grown on me is Oscar de la Renta Volupté; this past summer it was my go-to for about 3 months, mild and violetty.


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