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Top 10 Summer Fragrances 2013

LandArt Engel Angel

Having appropriated most American technologies, cultural tics and lifestyle choices, Canadians feel we know a lot about our neighbors (neighbours!1) to the south and we tend to be quite sensitive about a perceived lack of knowledge on the other end. Canadian comedian Rick Mercer, a national hero of sorts, came to prominence with a series of television clips called Talking to Americans, where he poked gentle fun at this relationship by interviewing ordinary Americans on the street — in addition to people like George W. Bush2, David Hasselhoff and a Harvard Professor of International Relations — and getting them to do silly things on camera: to congratulate Canucks on converting to a 24-hour clock (from a 20-hour one)3, to sign a petition trying to stop the planned polar bear slaughters in Toronto, or to sing along with a completely fabricated Canadian national anthem. Once, I had an encounter in Buffalo, NY that felt like a Mercer moment: I struck up a conversation with the gentleman beside me at the mall, who turned out to believe that Canadians did not experience summer. “But I live an hour or so away from here,” I kept explaining to him. “We have summer! We have the same climate as you do!” I could not convince him.

If you live in the southern U.S. — let alone in Australia, Southeast Asia or the Middle East— then you may not believe that people in Buffalo experience summer weather either. In truth, neither Buffalo nor Toronto (where I live, unmolested by polar bears) suffers from frequent Louisiana-level humidity or the week-long 100°F heat waves of Houston. Although I love classic citrus colognes and refreshing splashes, my perfume collection gravitates towards scents with enough heft to stand up to cooler temperatures. Still, we get our share of urban jungle here, normally from June until September, and though I’ve never done a Top 10 Summer Fragrances post before, I’ve written previously about my preferred remedies for when the heat is on (here and here). Below are ten more of my favorites for the swelter season; please comment with your own…

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Vero Profumo Mito ~ fragrance review

Tivoli, Villa d'Este

Until now, the Vero Profumo line had three fragrances: Onda, a mysterious herbal leather; Kiki, a fresh, bright lavender; and Rubj, a romantic, seductive orange blossom. Each perfume has a distinct personality, and each is different from the other. What would Vero Profumo’s logical next fragrance be? A green chypre, of course. In true Vero Profumo fashion, Mito Eau de Parfum is styled as a recognizable, but not entirely predictable, member of the family.

The fountains and statues in the garden of Italy’s Villa d’Este inspired Swiss perfumer Vero Kern to create Mito. Mito’s notes feature citrus, magnolia, jasmine, galbanum, hyacinth, cypress and moss. I’ve never been to Villa d’Este, and maybe I’ve fallen victim to the power of suggestion, but to me Mito does evoke a grassy garden smelled over a twist of fresh lemon peel and peppery bergamot. Shade dapples the velvet-fine lawn, and shrubs and trees dominate the garden’s alleys. Mito’s jasmine and magnolia don’t take center stage, but they soften the crisp galbanum without sweetening it…

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Vero Profumo Onda ~ fragrance review

Vero Profumo Onda Eau de ParfumIt’s rare to smell a fragrance that seems completely new, like nothing else on the market. It’s even more rare to find something that smells not only new, but at the same time ancient, as if unearthed from an Egyptian sarcophagus. Astonishingly, Vero Profumo Onda manages this last trick. There’s nothing of the focus group about it. If someone told me Onda was Mata Hari’s secret weapon, I’d believe it. If she told me Onda was Comme des Garçons’ latest fragrance, “Bilge Water Supreme,” I’d believe that, too. It’s a marvel.

Vero Kern, the nose behind Vero Profumo, released three fragrances in extrait — Onda, Rubj, and Kiki — in 2008. In 2010, she released Eau de Parfum versions of each fragrance. These three perfumes are Vero Profumo’s only offerings. Vero Profumo is one of the few perfume houses that doesn’t hustle one or two new perfumes out the door each year. While it’s a relief not to have to field a regular raft of new perfumes, Onda, Rubj, and Kiki are so interesting that I’m eager for her next release.

I first smelled Onda extrait when a Now Smell This reader passing through town slid a spray sample across the table of a Thai restaurant…

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