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Top Ten Beach Scents

Image_Wikimedia Commons - Varadero Beach, Cuba - by Wiilder

Gwen: It’s almost July. Can you believe it?

Kay: I’ll believe it as soon as we get some real hot sunny weather. This “a day here, a day there” routine of sunshine peek-a-boo is making me nuts!

Gwen: I know, pal. We need some solid beach weather. Remember those beach days when we were teen-agers? Slather on the Coppertone and lie there and fry with all our friends for the afternoon.

Kay: And we were blissfully clueless about wrinkles and skin cancer. I loved those smells of the beach – salt, wet sand, seaweed, sun-tan lotion, cold Coke in a bottle…

Gwen: Dune grass, pines, driftwood, old beach fires, dead fish…. just kidding! My experience is that beaches in different parts of the world tend to have their own unique scent.

Kay: You know you’re right! Between us, we’ve been to a lot of beaches - in Canada, the USA, Mexico, Cuba, the Caribbean, France, Italy, Australia, Brazil – they all smell different.

Gwen: You know, Kay, we’ve got lots of beach frags –  I think we should have some fun and match them up with the beaches we’ve visited.

Kay: I’ve already got some great match-ups.

Gwen: Then you go, girl!

Kay: OK, here they are....

Newport Beach in California is Bronze Goddess. Bronze Goddess is the smell of palm trees and the good life, the smell of the perfect vacation. It becomes the most perfect version of warm beachy ambery musky skin, with hints of rooty iris and woods - hot and sexy, and sophisticated, with a cool retro vibe.

Lostmarc’h in Brittany, France is Iroaz. This is the smell of a warm summer day at a northern seashore, when the natural perfume of wild roses mixes with aromas of long dune grass, seaweed drying on the rocks, and wild berry bushes growing on the cliffs. Green-grassy, salty, fresh-floral, natural, untamed.

Varadero in Cuba is Idole de Lubin. 'Set the jungle on fire with a woody liqueur rich in scorching spices, as sweet as sugar cane, and as warm as leather.' - Olivia Giacobetti. And don't forget the rum. Nuff said.

Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro is Ipanema Post Nove. Isabelle Michaud’s  inspired floral coconut accord is the star in Ipanema Post Nove. The florals and coconut create a lush milky orchidy cloud , and the unexpected green violet note keeps it steamy and exotic, with a slightly spicy dry-down. Mmm, fun in the sun in Rio!

Waikiki in Hawaii is Ananas Fizz. This is a whole perfect unripe pineapple with spiky leaves, smelling green and only slightly sweet, instead of juicy sweet ripened yellow pineapple chunks. After a few minutes the tart citrus-pineapple accord has interesting hints of resinous cedar wood and coconut, and transports me to a breezy tropical seashore stroll among the coconut palms. Just like Waikiki.

Gwen: I think you nailed those beaches with those frags, Kay. How about these matches:

Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera is Ensoleille Moi. Bergamot and tiaré give it a clear and transparent opening, and the tiaré remains at the center of the scent combining with a note of coconut to create that familiar note of sunscreen used on French beaches. As it blooms on the skin, it gets deeper, creamier and lush form ylang ylang. At the drydown, vanilla gives it a bit of sweetness, salicylates add a sea-saltiness and white musk rounds it out. It’s cool, not hot and just a bit salty-sensuous.

Fire Island in NY is Fire Island by Bond No. 9. It opens with a clean ozonic note that smells of the sea with a note of cardomom  to warm it up. As it blooms, a sunscreen accord - honey-sweet from aromatic neroli spicy and woodsy from white musk – is so evocative of people in the hot summer sun at the beach, I hear seagulls when I spritz it.

Escale à Portofino on the Amalfi Coast is the essence of summer on the Italian coast. Succulent orange, sweetened by almonds, with a piney note of juniper as counterpoint. It’s woody, green, soft and spicy with a drydown that is smooth and chic. It has more presence than most summer frags but still stays light and summery.

Biarritz, one of my favourite French beaches because Empress Eugenie’s palace on the beach, the Hôtel du Palais, gives the place a real tone. The match for this is Musc Monoï . Gardenia,  rich, creamy, ylang-ylang combined with indolic, animalic jasmine creates the impression of sun-kissed skin. Calone adds an aquatic, marine note. It’s refined, sensuous and sophisticated. It smells like warm, sun kissed shoulders, arms and legs - tanned and sea-sprayed skin after a lazy, languorous day spent sunning at the beach.

Then there’s Porto da Barra Beach in Bahia Brazil. This is Batucada country.  The opening is light and refined, not heavy or sharp. It leads straight to a sumptuous floral heart of rich tiare flower and fragrant ylang ylang that highlight cachaça, a sugar cane rum. This is a nod to the caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil . Batucada doesn’t smell boozy, too sweet or too sweaty, just softly tropical, sexy and quietly refreshing.

Kay: I know you’ve been to those other beaches, but I didn’t know you visited Bahia.

Gwen: Oh, I haven’t, but all this talk about heat, sun and sea got me thinking about tropical drinks, so I thought of having a caipirinha…

Kay: So you thought of Batucada...

Gwen: Close, your eyes, hold out your hand, grab the glass. Sip. Hear those waves, smell the sea air, feel the heat of the sun...

Kay: It’s doubt about it. Will you put some lotion on my back please?


Get in the mood for summer at the beach! Even if you don't live near a beach, it's easy - just click on the links to read all about our favourite scents, then order a few decants to sniff. You'll be on the beach in no time!