When I get overexcited I clap my hands in sea lion fashion. A lot of clapping and maniacal grinning has been occurring during the last few days as I make lists and stuff my rucksack for a trip to the charming island of Paxos in the Ionian Sea.
Sadly this means there’ll be a short break from the perfume waffle.. but fear not as I’ll be making lots of notes for Greek island inspired smelly words on my return. My beloved moleskine journal is packed already.
In the meantime though, my thoughts are cast to the art of choosing perfume for the holiday. How do you pick one (or 6 obviously)?
Firstly, my blood is akin to crack cocaine for the hungry mosquitoes. No kidding, no matter who I holiday with, I always endure a ravaging by the vile things. As my travel partner sleeps sweetly in a comfortable cocoon of lump free skin, I remain awake, tortured by the high pitched sound of my imminent attack. So my primary concern is choosing something that covers the acrid smell of jungle strength bug repellent.
For evening: I will mask the smell of Jungle Formula with Robert Piguet’s marvellous oriental – Visa. This stuff has the sillage and longevity of an 80s power scent that might put my fellow diners off their souvlaki and stuffed peppers. I’ll be careful though and use a maximum of 2 sprays (honest).
For travelling: Paxos does not have an airport. It’s one of those places where after you’ve survived the dubious pleasure of the flight, queued for baggage and waited in the transfer coach for an hour for a confused couple inebriated on aeroplane plastic wine to find it, you are then deposited at the docks to sit on your rucksack to shield your bum from the 44 degree tarmac, awaiting the Hydrafoil which will give you motion sickness. It’s worth it though. I’ll be taking a big decant from my bottle of Guerlain’s – Eau de Cologne Imperiale to spray over my chest and face every 15 minutes, using it’s copious notes of lime and bergamot to revive myself. No doubt I’ll be fully revived as I sit with a large gin and tonic staring at the milky way in an inky sky later on!
For atmosphere: Paxos is covered in pine trees, one my most frequently desired notes in perfumery. With the August heat, I imagine the island will shimmer with the scent of it’s delightful sap. Just in case it needs a little boosting, I shall pack Serge Lutens – Fille en Aiguilles (clever name, it translates as ‘girl on needles’ which could imply either walking on high heels or on a bed of pine needles). This mega pine bomb has a spicy/fruity/smoky base that turns it from vociferous toilet cleaner into number 3 on my unblogged list of greatest perfumes ever created.
To scent the room: I’ve made some travel candles in mini Tiptree jam jars (pinched from my mum’s house last weekend, she buys lovely breakfast tat when she has guests staying over). I’ve used plentiful quantities of the essential oils of cedar, rosewood and clary sage mixed with a teeny drop of patchouli. They smell magnificent and bring a little sensuality to the blank foil of a basic hotel room.
Because it’s hot: I’ll take an overly subtle ‘skin scent’ to see if my baking skin amps up the projection. Probably, my sample vial of Hermessence Brin de Reglisse. I do so love it but it’s a wimp.
Because he’ll raid mine: I’ll pinch Andy’s glorious Lavender - Caron Pour un Homme when I grow short of my own stash of fume.
Upon my return, you can look forward to Part 3 of 'The Scent of British Spirit' series, this time featuring two truly independent perfumers. Prepare for some seriously quirky fumes in the English eccentric manner!