Perfume for a picnic

Picnic scene

At last, the weather is starting to warm up. Now I can open my office window to fill the house with air scented by honeysuckle, lilies, and roses from the garden. It won’t be long before I start scheming dinners to take down to the river as the sun sets. Of course I wonder, what perfume should I wear for a picnic?

I turned to Teresa Mitchell, founder and Creative Director of Beautyhabit, for a few suggestions. It turns out that she’s a big fan of picnics and had suggestions for both spring and fall picnics. For a spring picnic she suggested Ineke Balmy Days and Sundays, Potter & Moore Bergamot & Green Ginger, and Parfum d’Empire Eau Suave. Balmy Days and Sundays she chose because “the name says it all!”, and, wearing it, I have to agree. It’s a warm floral that smells like a hot afternoon as storm clouds gather over an urban flower garden. Bergamot & Green Ginger is crisper and more tart. Teresa describes it simply as “herbs, freshness, citrus — natural and light”. I swear I smell lily in it, too. Eau Suave is more of a classic cologne and purports to smell like Empress Josephine's imperial greenhouses. My grandpa used to have a greenhouse beside his trailer where, beer and cigarette in hand, he tended orchids. It sure didn’t smell like Eau Suave in there. To me, Eau Suave’s elegance would be terrific for a meal outdoors, but one at a garden party and not on a blanket on the ground.

For a fall picnic, Teresa turned gourmande and chose Brandy, Comptoir Sud Pacific Amour de Cacao, and Institut Très Bien Cologne à la Russe Eau de Parfum. Brandy she described as “a grown-up — delicious warm baked apple pie”. I wasn’t looking forward to trying warm apple pie on my wrist, but the scent is more sophisticated than Teresa’s description lets on. It would be perfect as a comfort scent on a chilly evening at home, and I’d recommend it to someone for whom Hermès Ambre Narguile is too viscous and foody. Amour de Cacao, on the other hand, is like wearing brownie batter and has the body and sweetness that so many of the Comptoir Sud Pacific scents have. Either you have the stomach for it or you don’t, and unfortunately I don’t. Cologne à la Russe Teresa describes as “sunny, yet warmed up with amber, perfect for in-between seasons and outdoor use.” Cologne à la Russe carefully straddles the line between a crisp cologne and amber, and I think it would be a good fit for either a spring or a fall picnic. I’ll be sad when my sample of it runs out.

But, you say, I don’t have a lot of money for picnic perfumes, what can I get on the cheap? Well, do you have $11.49? If so, you’ve bought yourself an ounce of Love’s Baby Soft, a scent with which Wendy, the Walgreen’s Beauty Advisor in my neighborhood, says you can never go wrong. Yep, they still make it and it smells exactly as you remember it. Wendy’s other recommendation for picnics is Jovan White Musk, which can be yours for $11.99 for half an ounce of “concentrated cologne”. It’s not Serge Lutens Clair de Musc, but it’s the next best thing for change that you might find in the couch. Wendy quickly dismissed Dana Tabu, Dana Chantilly, Coty Emeraude, and Antonio Banderas Spirit for picnics but suggested the Instyle line of fragrances, which send up “an impression of” scents like Estée Lauder Pleasures and Yves Saint Laurent Opium. She said that they’re light, and the purse size is only $1.99. I tried them, and I say save your money. You’d be better off with a dab of Hawaiian Punch behind each ear.

If I don’t end up with a bottle of the Cologne à la Russe or Brandy, I may spring for Love’s Baby Soft for old time’s sake. The scents Teresa suggested are all available at Beautyhabit: Ineke Balmy Days and Sunday (75 ml $78), Potter & Moore Bergamot & Green Ginger (100 ml $63), Parfum D'Empire Eau Suave (100 ml $110), Brandy (50 ml $48.50), Comptoir Sud Pacifique Amour de Cacao (22.5 ml $27), Institut Très Bien Cologne à la Russe (100 ml $95).

Note: image by Jersyko via Wikipedia.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Greta rec's – thanks! I have a sample of Eau d'Suave that I haven't sniffed yet – now I'm going to go home and sniff it.

    What about Ananas Fizz by L'Artisan? Or, what immediately came to my mind was New West for Her by Aramis (love the watermelon note in this…)

    I love picnics!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I haven't tried New West for Her, but I think Ananas Fizz would be perfect! Something grassy would be nice, too. Maybe Goutal Eau du Ciel.

    I'm still working on trying to find the perfect fried chicken recipe for a picnic, but I'd be happy at a picnic with just a basket of strawberries and a box of wheat thins, to tell the truth.

  3. Anonymous says:

    For me it would be Laila all the way. Complete with the real watermelon tied to a rope floating in the spring next to our picnic spot! Wow, I'm there !

  4. Anonymous says:

    Oh Angela, you've got to try Emeril's Chicken in a Box. It's to die for! I think you can go on food network to find it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    K, I saw Laila at Nordstrom yesterday, and I was thinking that I had to try it, but I didn't. Next time, I'm definitely stopping for a hefty spritz!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I'll see if I can find the recipe. Why is it “in a box”? Do you cook it in a box? Or maybe you box it up once it's cooked. Anyway, I'll look for it, thanks!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hello! Have just recently become enamored of perfume — and perfume blogs — and I absolutely love this site! For a summer picnic, may I suggest CdG Soda — fizzy and lemony? Also CdG Rose — almost a rose-raspberry sorbet. For an autumn picnic I'd go with CB's Gathering Apples.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I think I'd wear Diptyque Virgilio (or maybe their Foin Coupe room spray), Guerlain Sous Le Vent, L'Artisan Piment Brulant, the lately much-blogged about PdN Fig Tea or perhaps Vie de Chateau (although I find it a bit sweet).

  9. Anonymous says:

    Butting in to 2nd the Foin Coupe, and do wish Diptyque would make a personal scent to match it!

  10. Anonymous says:

    A, you put the chix in the box and transport it that way, YUM! I know it is in his potluck cookbook. Also Ina Garten, the barefoot contessa, does a great one that you fry first and finish in the oven… really good too. It's probably the crispiest chicken I've ever had. They both are great cold and at room temp, essential for great picnic chicken!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I printed the recipe off his website, and it looks really good! It calls for something called “Emeril's Original Essence”, so I'll have to keep an eye out for that, or substitute some sort of Cajun seasoning (I'm assuming that's what it is). Thanks for the tip!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to the site! Your suggestions are perfect for picnics. I love the Soda idea, especially. It sounds like it would mesh well with cold fried chicken (now I'm obsessed with this chicken thing–I'll probably have to have a platter of fried chicken before the week is out).

  13. Anonymous says:

    Except for the Piment Brulant, it looks like you veer away from the food-like scents. I haven't tried the Diptyques, but now they're on my ever-growing list of “to try”s. Funny you should mention Sous le Vent, too–I was just thinking this morning how nice it would be to have a giant spray bottle of it around the house rather than a couple of little glass vials *sigh*. I do love that scent.

  14. Anonymous says:

    O.K., now thanks to you and Tigs, Foin Coupe is on my list to try and underlined!

  15. Anonymous says:

    For a spring picnic, I'd try Jour de Fete, Ananas Fizz, or a great find, Ava-Lux's Green Grass or Clementine (which has a wonderful honeysuckle/grass waft). But I'm really interested in that Bergamot/Ginger combination.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Do I have to eat my picnic outside?
    What if there are bugs?
    Can I eat it on my back porch, with my reading lamp and a good book? After the kids are in bed? With a big ol' honking glass of well-chilled plonk and the crickets for company?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Great choices! I've only tried a handful of the Ava Lux scents, and they've all been warm, deep scents. Someday I'll try the fresher scents you mention (more for the list!).

    The Bergamot & Ginger was a lot more floral than I'd anticipated once the top notes faded. I love the ginger in it. I have a feeling this is a good one sprayed on instead of dabbed from a sample vial.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The Late Night Porch Picnic! A classic! Other good additions: sleeping dog at feet, blanket for lap in case the breeze gets a little chilly, and someone that you can barely see through the dim light, but who is close by and who is also a glass or two into the plonk, who you can share embarassing stories with. Then maybe a little ice cream.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I was going to comment earlier that I'm allergic to bees, so I try not to eat outside or wear perfume in meadows, etc. But one can dream…..

  20. Anonymous says:

    Then the Night Porch Picnic is definitely for you. Bees and yellowjackets can be vicious once summer sets in, although yellowjackets really seem drawn to meat. Bigarade Concentree would probably be a no-no. (To me, at least, it's one meaty scent, although the nicest meaty scent I've ever smelled.)

  21. Anonymous says:

    Angie, what a lovely topic you've treated us to today! For someone who revels in nature's beauties and gets an immense buzz from lying in dewy grass on a crisp spring day, I'm ashamed to admit I can't remember when I last did that sort of thing. But when I do do it, hopefully very soon, I'll be wearing Truth for men to be in synch with grassy green and woodsy brown. I might also go with L'Eau de l'Artisan, kick my shoes off and dive into a strawberry bun somewhere near the Danube.

    Kisses to you, sweetie!

  22. Anonymous says:

    You know what's fun, too? To wake up in the middle of the night, then go outside for a picnic. I only did this once. I set my alarm so that I could see a meteor shower, then dragged a sleeping bag and a cup of tea into the backyard to watch all those stars shooting around. Then I went back inside and back to sleep. That would have been a good time for one of your faves, La Myrrhe!

  23. Anonymous says:

    You do know how to enjoy life! I admit I'm feeling a bit envious :-) The best thing is you can always invoke that meteor shower whenever you feel down. Just like you brilliantly pointed out in your last post: one can find beauty everywhere and live for the moment, no matter how ephemeral.

    And how great that you remember my love of La Myrrhe! :-) Have you tried it since?

  24. Anonymous says:

    I did try La Myrrhe once, but it was on the skin of someone else, so only secondhand! It smelled great on her, though.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Angela – I love your idea for a meteor shower picnic. There was a big one last summer, but I wasn't able to stay awake long enough to go outside and watch.

    Do try Laila – I sampled it once at Sephora and thought it was lovely! This weekend I'm purchasing a bottle of Annick Goutal Neroli, which I think would be a perfect spring picnic fragrance.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I will definitely try Laila! I've smelled the Neroli, too, and I really like it. Enjoy your bottle!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Hello Angela.

    As usual an interesting idea/article.

    What I would recommend for a woman going on a picnic is:

    Fleur d'Interdit de Givenchy or eau de Rochas. For men, Jesus del Pozo's Agua Fresca.

    I know both female recommendations sound perhaps too strong but both remind me of spring flowers and the outdoors.

    For an autumn picnic ( I must say that autumn is also a GREAT time for picnics) I should recommend Roger&Gallet's eau de Gingembre for men OR woman. And Greenergy from Givenchy for men.

    Loved the article!


  28. Anonymous says:

    P, thanks for the suggestions! Besides Eau de Rochas, I haven't tried any of them, but I plan to (on to the list they go). I especially love the sound of eau de Gigembre.

  29. Anonymous says:

    this is way late, but parfums de nicolai vie de chateau seems like the perfect picnic scent!

  30. Anonymous says:

    It does sound perfect–great suggestion!

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