I didn't realize how much I missed summer bugs (animals, not diseases) till I left Virginia as a teenager. Living on Manhattan, then Los Angeles and now Seattle doesn't compare to the South when it comes to insect life. My childhood summers were filled with the sounds of crickets and cicadas. Butterflies put on a non-stop show in the flower gardens. Nighttime was when my grandmother and I would sit on the front porch (swatting mosquitoes, one bug I do NOT love) and watch the fireflies as we took in the heady scent of gardenias — whose white blossoms also lit up the darkness. I'd love to see a grasshopper or praying mantis, a big black-and-yellow garden spider shimmering in the sun, or a dragonfly flitting about my yard.
Here in Seattle I do get to see some beautiful moths, living their brief moments on earth holding fast to my deck screens or circling a light bulb. Tiny spiders are everywhere, inside and out, and I would never think to kill one — they work so long and hard to live and make a living. Right now in Seattle it's the season for ten-lined June beetles (a type of scarab beetle); my cats (to my chagrin) love to chase, torment and kill June beetles, who, as they fight for their lives, raise up their antlers (yes, antlers) and make puffing sounds to ward off attacks. Here's to bugs! (AND summer perfumes!)
Coqui Coqui Rosas Secas ~ This wonderful rose perfume smells of dried rosebuds mixing with a fresh rose bouquet; there's also a pinch of tobacco leaf. Rosas Secas is a great rose perfume for men. While I was choosing my ten best summer scents of 2016, my cat, Teddy Caramelo Calzini, jumped on my desk and sent my bottles of Coqui Coqui Rosas Secas, Rosas Frescas and Tabaco falling to the floor...where they all shattered. The sacrifices I make for Now Smell This! (Ted kills June beetles...and now this!)
Oriza L. Legrand Foin Fraîchement Coupé 1886 ~ Perhaps the secret to staying cool (at least psychologically) is to wear 'dry' fragrances in summer (as opposed to juicy or sweet perfumes). Foin Fraîchement Coupé 1886 (freshly cut hay) has a dry-grass scent that comes close to reproducing the aromas of sitting on a bale of hay in a field, with edge-of-the-woods herbs and greens thrown in for good measure.
Astier de Villatte Eau de Cologne ~ A big bottle of classic Eau de Cologne should be on every bedside table year-round. There are scads of possibilities in the Eau de Cologne genre but this time I'll vote for Astier de Villatte's Eau de Cologne, a beautiful herbal and sweet citrus (peel and blossom) concoction.
Parfumerie Generale Querelle ~ Why haven't I ever reviewed one of my favorite woody-resinous perfumes? Querelle is mellow and full of spice, vetiver, oakmoss...I can't get enough of it. It works in about any situation and is a great travel perfume (fitting for day or night, the beach or the opera).
Olympic Orchids Kyphi ~ Even in summer I burn incense and wear incense fragrances. Kyphi is an interesting 'hot climate' incense; its frankincense is balmy and mixed with cinnamon and lemongrass for an interesting twist. Apply lavishly for Kyphi's full effect (and while you're at it, spritz some in the direction of your favorite Egyptian god or goddess image — All Hail, Sekhmet!)
Santa Maria Novella Marescialla ~ What could be more invigorating than the scents of lemons and mace? I've yet to meet another person who wears Marescialla but it must sell SOMEwhere (thank goodness!)
Salvatore Ferragamo Tuscan Scent Golden Acacia ~ If you love acacia blossoms, fragrant broom, honey and beeswax, check out this opulent perfume; wearing it in early or late summer makes me hopeful for what's about to be, or nostalgic for what's ended.
Hermès Un Jardin Sur Le Toit ~ I didn't try this perfume for YEARS; my (almost) scent-twin Robin here at NST didn't like it and when she reviewed it she mentioned crisp apple and pear notes (not favorites of mine). Well. One foul day as I wore a particularly ugly fragrance (thankfully, just on my wrists) I decided I needed to scour the gross perfume from my person and walk to Nordstrom and apply something wonderful to replace it. I wanted to wear Hermès Un Jardin en Méditerranée but while running my mouth with the sales person I grabbed Un Jardin Sur Le Toit instead and doused each arm. I cursed my luck and walked back to work. I had not even sat at my desk before I was getting compliments and loving how I smelled. Yes, there's pear a'plenty but this is a dark, leather-y skinned fruit, that's tinged with earthy smoke-incense (peat?) I ordered a bottle and have been using it happily ever since.
Comme des Garçons + Monocle Scent Three: Sugi ~ a sensational light/bright cedar-like aroma (with lemony and iris accents). I think of Sugi as a great wood-based (as opposed to citrus-based) Eau de Cologne. It's a, shall we say, 'solibois?'
Mirus Wicked Stepmother ~ During the hot summer, if you ever need/desire to smell like a dark garden full of night-blooming flowers, give this heady and humid floral a try. I hope as you wear it you're hearing a sweet little cricket chirp and seeing fireflies twinkle in the air.
Note: top image by Jan van Kessel via Wikimedia Commons; Ten-Lined June Beetle image by Celeste Ramsay via flickr, some rights reserved; other images of Dragonfly, cricket and Cicada via Wikimedia Commons.