If you’ve ever spent the summer in the country or gone on a road trip for vacation, you know the unmistakable fragrance of grasses and fields on a dry, hot day. It seems to emanate from the earth in waves, matching the shimmer in the clear air.
Annick Goutal’s Eau du Sud brings back this experience for me. It captures the hot, still air of a the deep summer in Provence. Although it is a citrus scent, with notes of lime, mandarin, and grapefruit, it’s the basil that stand out for me, providing a definitive herbal note. Through some weird alchemy, it’s not luscious fruit orchards that I think of, but rather the famous lavender fields of southern France. Even though there’s no lavender in the mix, this perfume’s sharp, strong sting is similar to the astringent, distinctive tang of that herb.
As you may have guessed, this is not a subtle perfume. But even though warmer weather is supposed to call for lighter fragrances, I am only inspired to wear this on the very hottest, driest days of summer.
Corsica Furiosa by Parfum d’Empire sets off similar sense memories, but with a lighter touch. Flowers seem to float on top of something more mysterious. As the name suggests, we are someplace fierce and wild–the island of Corsica, known for its rugged, mountainous interior, the maquis. In fact one major element in the mix is lentiscus, a native evergreen shrub. Another is nepita, a local variety of mint. So now instead of the open fields, we are in a much less cultivated and mountainous landscape of scrubby plants, wild herbs, and hot stone, tempered by the far-off influence of the sea air. It’s the familiar smell of high summer, but in an unmistakably foreign place.
Now if only the weather here in Chicago would get in line and offer us some of that intense summer heat! In the meantime, I’ll have to rely on these two fragrances.