28 June 2010

Summer Scents & Sensibilities


 Breitner the red kimono,Geesje Kwak posing

"Let a noise or a scent, once heard or once smelt, be heard or smelt again... & immediately the permanent & 
habitually concealed essence of things is liberated & our true self which seemed to be dead but was not altogether dead, is awakened & reanimated." PROUST

what fragrance moves you?

photograph by Eugene Atget, around 1910

my perfume cabinet

evoke a season, a person, a moment

violets ~ 
Viola odorata
my GranMa carried a violet bouquet at her wedding, Dec. 1918
 the smell of violet, hidden in green
pour'd back into my empty soul & frame
the times when I remember to have been
Joyful & free from blame-Tennyson

in the cabinet, Napoleon Bonaparte presides
as candle by CIRE TRUDON
candle maker to the French Royals since 1643

why should we settle for one signature scent?

the scents that say summer for me-
a rose- a bouquet of violets- rows of tuberose- tobacco- lily

 my grandparents had a field of tuberose each summer 
Polianthes tuberosa
tuberose is night-flowering-the Aztecs called it bone flower


the overwhelming heady scents of a tobacco warehouse
a constant summer memory for me- en masse, or
the sweet remains of the day on my father's collar

Scents & Buddha
from diptyque- L'Ombre Dans l'Eau
 from Hermes  24, Faubourg

Madame Gres & Summer fragrance

Hermes Eau des Merveilles 

summery citrus with rose notes

a favorite of Pauline de Rothschild so says Mitchell Owens-de Rothschild expert

Pauline de Rothschild 
photograph here

a heady single note

 around the house, Candles, Diffusers 
in summer I prefer a single note floral, or lemon


CITRUSY fragrances in any form are summer favorites

inexpensive & addicting- 

this- a fragrance and flower I could never fore go in the summer

Lilium Regale, drooping their heavy heads 
my own in the garden

"that was the moment I first saw the lilies. and that was the moment when, having seen them,I mentally signed the contract to buy the house...I had to possess those lilies...The lilies were a variety known as Regale, and they stood in rows of glistening white down the whole length of one side of the kitchen garden.a faint breeze was stirring, & as they nodded their heads there drifted towards us a most exquisite fragrance.never before, in any garden of the world, have I seen such lilies; their loveliness was literally dazzling;the massed array of the white blossom was like sunlit snow. nor was this shining, shimmering beauty merely the result of mass, for as I walked closer I saw that each individual blossom was a perfect specimen, with a stem that was often four feet high, bearing on its proud summit no less than a dozen blossoms." BEVERLY NICHOLS

Fumée d'Ambre Gris
John Singer Sargent

& Incense
the only one I use year round.

 Eau d' Teou
by Dissey & Piver
a label for the perfumer with Chinese figures & a dressing cabinet

my perfume cabinet is in the bedroom


 a rare perfume cabinet made of marquetry from the 18th century used for traveling
from the Natural History Museum in Paris


"Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it." Patrick Suskind

Hermes here
Diptyque here 
the Style Saloniste writes about Coup de Foudre by DelRae Roth here
Read the extraordinary post by Hawkwood about the sitter of Breitner's painting here
Rose C'est La Vie draws violets here
a Tobacco History here
Tobacco warehouse image here
the Esoteric Curiosa on the Baroness here
LUXE APOTHECARY here from Voluspa candles here
Fiquet Bailey on green here
Dissey & Piver label, 18th c. cabinet images from The Book of Perfume,by Barille & Laroze
Das Perfum by Patrick Suskind here


  1. oh so many; I'm a scent-o-phile!
    Generally I like light floral scents (lily of the valley, lilac) or herbal (rosemary, mint, lavendar). I can smell something a mile away which is generally more a hindrance than helpful -causing headaches and me having to walk out of restaurants on occasion (like this weekend at a new crepe shop that smelled so awfully of fried dough that I wanted to vomit).

  2. I fel for Diorissimo, with its prevalent lily of the valley scent, when I was a little girl -- my grandmother wore it -- and it is still a favorite, especially in summer. Also adore Annick Goutal's Chevrefeuille, as honeysuckle is a much-loved fragrance. For everyday, I use Annick Goutal's Eau d'Hadrien--so light and citrusy. Jo Malone's Verbena is also nice and light for summer.

  3. I love the florals also but what makes me swoon is Fleur D'Oranger anything! and Lilac!!!
    For the Home there is nothing like Agraria Bitter Orange, although a friend has the Lemon Verbena and it's divine. But what really makes me fall in love is a man wearing Guerlain's IMPERIALE. It just does, all the time.

  4. Stefan, as you can see, so am I. It is odd I have the a sick aversion to cigarette smoke-like you experience. but the unprocessed fragrance of cured tobacco is the exact opposite.

  5. M Cyn, Yes the fragrances of childhood stay with us-the lily of the valley is one I favor as well. I adore the fragrance of the honey suckle. It would be very difficult for me to select a single scent or two-as you can see! pgt

  6. The first scent I encountered was on my mother's dressing table: Worth's Je Reviens which is quite unlike any other perfume. And it was blue and oily, its bottle kept in a black felt pouch. I wear it now when I want her back. Otherwise, it's Hermes Caleche for me and I insist on my husband wearing Trumper's Wellington aftershave after a slather of violet shaving soap. They cancel each other out I know but I like sniffing the wooden bowl of soap!

    I confess I loathe the way scent is now marketed as 'fragrance'. I think Nancy Mitford insisted on 'scent' rather than 'perfume'. But perfume is such a great word.

    Marvellous quotations in this post, Gaye.

  7. Julieta, the Guerlain scents are alluring, my mother wears one. I am not familiar with Imperiale- apparently I have yet to find that irresistible man wearing it! pgt

  8. Rose, Aren't those childhood memories imbued within us. What else but Wellington, and I like that you insist on the combination with the violet. The Trumper's tried and true.
    Proust the nose of all noses on this topic. pgt

  9. Leather from freshly cleaned saddles, freshly cut grass, lavender, lemongrass, Opium (still), certain men's colognes, even.

  10. Flowers: lilac, which means spring after a long winter. Hyacinth, too, but I could not wear it as a scent. Fruit: lemon and orange. Leather and something a little darker. As for bottled scent, it's Eau de Merveilles. Strangely enough, it's the only one I can wear without going crazy.

  11. Full bodied scents are mine own selections.I could not stop at just the one though over the years a favorite will emerge or an old standby takes hold. Scents and your posts are both full bodied. There are many layers here and riches abound.

  12. Wonderful post, Gaye. I love the scents of summer - in my gardens, in my home, but I haven't really worn perfume for years. I think I may now be inspired to treat myself to a little spritz for my neck and wrists!



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