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I’ve started reviewing my batch of summer perfume samples! It’s been a cool and rather damp spring with very few weeks consistently sunny and 70 or over, so I’ve had a slow start on my new options for summer heat.
Annick Goutals’ Eau de Camille is one of those fragrances that has been on my to-try list for a long time, but for various reasons it never got purchased. AG is a line that ought to suit me well. Their design and marketing appeals to me and they have an emphasis on lifelike fragrance notes rather than abstracted/filtered versions of notes. I’ve found that most of their fragrances don’t live up to my expectations, being either too sweet and naive (i.e. Petite Cherie) or containing a squishy herbal vegetative thread (Mandragore, Nuits d’Hadrien, Ninfeo Mio up close).
Eau de Camille, I am pleased to report, is almost exactly what I’d hoped for.
Broken hedges, the crushed leaves of boxwood and privet in their springtime vitality, green green green, sap and leaf juices! So enters Eau de Camille. Maybe it’s the effect of hours in my childhood playing among the overgrowth in the vacant lot next door, sidling through the narrow passage behind our house lined with ivy and shaded by trees, but I do love a lifelike broken leaves note in a perfume.
As the top notes drift away, the greeny leaf starts to play This One or That One with the scent of lilies, both the rich spicy-sweet white oriental lily and the small cool lily of the valley. This part is really fun. You get a sequence of leaf, candy lily, leaf, muguet, leaf. The oriental lily is white and sugar-crystalled with a pink heart, yummy and intense while remaining in the realm of delicious rather than overwhelming. It is very distinct but quite light: not an overpowering density of lily. Honeysuckle is also a major component of the heart of this fragrance. I loooove AG’s Le Chevrefeuille, a honeysuckle soliflore, and am delighted that the delicate honeysuckle found there makes an appearance in Eau de Camille. Sometimes the honeysuckle is a vine wound amonst the shrubbery, and sometimes it is the nectar lifted on a breeze.
As the perfume wears, the green eventually becomes a background, discernable as the underpinnings of a green floral. The scent retains its light feminine heart nearly all the way through with that curious mixture of sweet lily and cool muguet. It appealingly displays both the tenderness of feminine youth and the green vibrancy of life. I can imagine wearing this on any summer day and feeling just about as pretty as it’s possible to get. Apparently Annick Goutal created Eau de Camille in response to her daughter’s request for a perfume that smelled like their courtyard garden in the suburbs, and I think she nailed it.
The sole reservation I have about Eau de Camille is that in the drydown, the flowers huddle close to the skin and the only notes apparent in the sillage are a greenish soap, sort of a clean and fresh sportiness that is not really in keeping with the sweet femininity up til then, and this stage lasts longer than I’d like.
I am sure some people will find this perfume too aggressive in its greenness. For myself, I love the green. Eau de Camille goes strong for four hours or longer on me, plenty for summertime. The sillage is perfect for my taste: enough that when I spray it on my wrist, I can smell it without particularly noticing where it’s coming from. I’m reaching for it often on these early summer days.
**** Four stars out of five.
Ok, there won’t be an “after” peek of the living room for at least a week – our house’s 70 year old underground pipes finally developed a slab leak, so the Chief spent the weekend running all new pipes for the whole house through the attic and walls. I helped. We are beat. Thankfully the house has water again (yay! for a wonderful, skilled husband) but the drywall holes still need to be patched and the contents of three closets and cupboards are piled across the house. So, no photos for a while.
However, I’ve been wanting to share something awesome-smelling that happened to me!
I love perfume because scent is so evocative/ transporting/ atmospheric/ emotional. As the seasons shift I start to yearn for different types of fragrances. Here’s what some of my favorite late spring/midsummer perfumes “feel” like to me:
Annick Goutal Le Chevrefeuille: light, cheerful, dancing, sunshine yellow, flowers in your hair
Diptyque Philosykos: On a hot day it smells like moist earth under a shady fig tree
Tauer L’Air du Desert Marocain: Bone-dry incense in the desert, hanging in the still air
Dior Escale A Portofino: A garden staircase arched over with honeysuckle and mock orange and sparkling dapples of sunlight
Now the exciting part – one of the best perfume blogs out there is Now Smell This, and it has a weekly feature called the Monday Mail. Readers will write in asking for perfume recommendations based on what they’ve already tried and liked or disliked, and they usually get 40 to 60 responses from their fellow perfume hobbyists. I’ve been dissatisifed with my current selection of summer-heat perfume options and a few months ago I decided to write in to get on the Monday Mail waiting list.
You can find the whole post here. I said I wanted something that would make me feel light and energetic, summery, feminine but not too sweet. I have to admit that my list of likes and dislikes got kind of long and picky, so to encourage the responders I made sure to be active in the comment section as I have noticed in previous Monday Mails that this makes people more willing to think their best for you :) Including my replies, there were over 70 comments!
I’m very, very excited to try some of the new things suggested by people who are more familiar with the world of perfume than I am and I’ll definitely let you know what I decide to try and how it goes.
The sad thing is, my turn on the Monday Mail came up more quickly than I’d expected – I figured I’d be up to bat in May or so, when the summer weather would be here to complement my request for summer perfumes. Instead, my turn came in March literally a week after I received a big order of summery perfume samples that I had already had on my list to try, and the weather has been too cold to even try those until just recently. So my Monday Mail gloryful list of stuff to try probably won’t even happen till the far end of summer this year. But I console myself with the thought of how much good stuff I have to look forward to.