Summer Essentials

Summer calls for light scents, there is nothing new about that. It seems that the most summery scents divide into the following four categories:


There is something about the rind of citrus fruit makes most people feel rejuvenated and refreshed. Citrus oils have been in use in many toiletries due to their anti-bacterial properties, and therefore are associated with cleanliness and purity. For many, a citrus cologne is all they can take in the summer. An even funner way to enjoy your citrus fragrances, especially if you live in the tropics or the desert is to refrigerate the cologne and enjoy a double-cool splash of citrus throughout the day.
Although I've never been much of a citrus wearer personally, I do enjoy the lemony bite of Le Parfum de Therese, Eau Sauvage, O de Lancome (all are Chypre-Citrus of sorts)and my very own ArbitRary & Fetish.

Dry Woody

Dryness in the sense of un-sweet and non-cloying is a desired effect when heat and humidity reign. The note of vetiver is particularly effective in that regard. They have been considered cooling in Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds if not thousands of years. In the tropical countries where vetiver grows wild, vetiver rootlets are woven into mats, blinds and fans. When moistened with water, they release their cooling, clean-woody and earthy-sweet scent and create a calm, grounded feeling. When the wind comes through the moist blinds this aroma enters the home and relieves the dwelles from the heat. A wood fan scented with sandalwood or agarwood (I found mine in Chinatown and am just grateful for their aroma and design when I travel to my air-conditionered home-village). A woven vetiver-root fan can be found at Samara Botane and in the summer they sometime also offer vetiver hydrosol which can be sprinkled on the fan for an extra vetiver boost.

My favourites of the vetiver genre are Vetiver Tonka, Guerlain's Vetiver, Vetiver Extraordinaire and my own , Sabotage & Vetiver Racinettes. On the more woody side, Bon Zai and Philosykos have that tingling fresh dryness that is so rejuvenating when there is no fan to be seen.


Beach-summer association requires no explanations. Suntan lotions, vanilla ice cream cones, coconut oil and the scent of sun warmed sun and skin are for most people the epitome of summer’s olfactory symbols. Any scent that would even vaguely remind us of these sensual and lazy experiences is welcome in summertime (or when sunshine is missed here on the northern West Coast!). Azuree Body Oil (or Bronze Goddess, if you will) Fire Island's sun-tan lotion sans the grease, or chocolate-dipped banana ice-cream bar, also know as Vanille-Banane (or for that matter, take a pick from any of the Comptoir Sud Pacifique line and you'll be sucked into one beach fantasy or another).
And from my own creations the beachiest are Coralle & Gigi.

Tropical Floral

Summer nights are filled with the intoxicating scents of white flowers. Night blooming jasmine, orchids, garenia and frangipanni.
There is Samsara, with it's minimalistic yet rich melange of jasmine, sandalwood and vanilla; Songes, shamelessly floral through and through with jasmine, frangipanni and powdery-sweet vanilla foundation; or Ormonde Jayne's airy and light rendition of Frangipanni Absolute. And from my collection: Yasmin brings memories of summer nights soaked in indolic air and Tamya gives me that happy feeling like biting into juicy mango.

I would like to close this blog entry with three additional lists: my own summer-staple list, of scents I've been wearing for several summers in a row now; my summer fragrance wishlist; and finally - my own prediction of what I think I will be wearing a lot of this summer:

My Summer Staples
Le Parfum de Therese
Fleur de Shanghai
Bronze Goddess

My Summer Wishlist
Kelly Caleche
Un Jardin après la Mousson

My Summer Predictions
I will be wearing a lot of my Vetiver Racinettes & Gigi (on their own or layered - I noticed that when putting on Gigi after I've worn Vetiver Racinettes for hours, Gigi agrees to last longer) as well as Le Parfum de Therese; And of course - a lot of Un Jardin après la Mousson, once I decide to take the plunge and rather than emptying one sample vial at a time go for the whole bottle.

What's on your wishlist? And what do you have in your collection that is a tried and true summer fragrance you seem to always come back to - and look forward to every summer?

Vetiver Racinettes - New Perfume

Ayala Moriel is proud to present a new, limited-edition perfume for summer 2008:
Vetiver Racinettes.

Vetiver is the root of a tropical grass native to India, Indonesia and Java. It is known for its calming and cooling effect on both mind and body, and is considered “The Scent of Tranqulity” in India.

Ruh Khus is wild vetiver from India distilled in the wilderness, in portable copper still. Its distinct earthy, copper-like aroma, married with the intense licorice sweetness of tarragon absolute creates an outstanding aroma never to be explored before in the realm of the vetiver perfume genre. Along with vetiver from four other countries, Vetiver Racinettes is at once earthy, sweet and cool like the aromatic roots and rootlets brewed to a bubbly rootbeer.

Vetiver Racinettes was born out of a long period of intensive study of this singular note, which really was part of a personal journey to better understanding of my own physical and emotion connection. At that time last year, I had a deep need for its therapeutic qualities and cooling effect and I have become aware of vetiver's many virtues and its particular connection to the well being of the people and the planet in present day. Vetiver is a purifying, sacred root with a woody aroma, and in many ways I feel that it takes on a similar role that was once reserved to sacred woods such as sandal and oud.

The result of my vetiver journey is a perfume that contains all of the elements that I've ever loved in the vetiver scents I've tried, as well as my own conclusions from my journey in the route of vetiver. It has the warmth of earth and firey spices and at the same time - the coolness of clay and vetiver curtains sprinkled with water; the medicinal dryness of herbs and grasses and the luxurious tenacity of woods; the sweetness of tarragon and earth with the bitterness of coffee and mud.

Vetiver Racinettes starts off warm and spicy, and will remain that way for a while when worn in a cool weather - accentuating the sweet tarragon, spice and coffee notes. However, in the heat of the summer it will quickly transform into a cooling elixir, bringing a quiet calm to one's physical and emotional existence, like drinking fresh water from a cool well, directly from the spout of a clay jar.

Top notes: Black Pepper, Fresh Ginger, Cardamom, Kaffir Lime Leaf
Heart notes: Haitian Vetiver , Nutmeg Asbolute, Coffee, Spikenard
Base notes: Ruh Khus, Indonesian Vetiver, Vetiver Bourbon, Attar Mitti, Tarragon Absolute, Cepes

Vetiver Racinettes is a limited edition fragrance that will be available throughout Summer 2008. We are currently sold out of the first batch, and the next batch will be ready on the official launch date, June 21st, is the first day of Summer. Advance orders are available through the website and will be shipped on a first-come first-serve basis, so hurry up - our batches are very small!

Vetiver Racinettes is available in 9ml parfum extrait flacon ($110), Perfumed Pendant ($150) 10ml perfume-oil roll-on bottle ($130) and 5ml perfume-oil roll-on bottle ($65).

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