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Sweden is All I Can Think About

Suzanne's Perfume Journal

March 17, 2010:

I’ve never made one of those Eleventy-One Things To Do Before You Die kind of lists, but I do keep a list of places I have a burning desire to visit in this lifetime. The one that has been at the top of the list for a very long time has been Sweden: I’ve always wanted to experience the midnight sun, but more than that, I wanted to experience it in a place that offered reliably good weather, incredible natural beauty, and access to a cultural hub offering all of the cultural pleasures. That’s what appeals to me about Sweden. Despite its northerly location, its summers are made delightfully temperate by the Gulf Stream, and it strikes me as being a country that is, by turns, as polished and full of European charm as it is rustic and natural. I hope so, anyway, and will find out soon: last week my husband said, “Book it!”—and I did. Stockholm, the city they call “the Venice of the North” (it occupies 14 islands at the confluence of Lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea), will be the home base of our trip in mid-June.

In the excitement of planning the trip (and trying to learn some Swedish with the Rosetta Stone programs—has anyone else tried these?—they’re great, but not exactly geared towards conversational dialogue), I have been hard pressed to put pen to paper and write my weekly perfume review. It’s much more fun thinking about what fragrances to take with me to Sweden, so for lack of better focus, that’s what my post this week is about: fragrances for mid-summer in Sweden. (Made all the more ludicrous by the fact that we haven’t yet seen our first crocuses here in central Pennsylvania, but heck! Even the weather here is looking great this week, so I know those crocuses will be popping soon and mid-summer will be here before we know it. And this blog ain’t exactly no stranger to Ludicrous, so this is how I’m rollin’ this week.)

Angeliques Sous La Pluie by Frederick Malle Editions de Parfums
In Stockholm, we’ll be staying in a hotel on the waterfront, and I don’t want something heavy to compete with the smell of the Baltic Sea-air. In fact, I want a fragrance that complements it, so I’m taking my mini of Angeliques Sous La Pluie. It has a light and gentle, cool and crisp piney smell that reminds me of a gin-and-tonic. And since I will probably have a gin-and-tonic in my hand at least part of the time that I’m on vacation, this fragrance will be especially complementary to the whole vacation vibe. (Plus, I have it in the 10-ml travel size. Perfect!)

Jour Ensoleillé by Sonoma Scent Studio
I’m thinking this fragrance belongs on my Top Ten list (and will put it there just as soon as I can figure out which frag to bump off). For that reason alone I’m taking it with me, but also because it seems so perfectly suited to the weather and rustic splendors of Sweden. A white-floral chypre that is sunny without being tropical—its mixture of orange-blossom-and-jasmine brightness offset by its woodsy-leaning-towards-balsamy base—Jour Ensoleillé is the olfactory companion to Stockholm’s sunny-and-70-degrees summer temps.

Carnal Flower Beurre Exquis
The solar beauty of the exquisite tuberose flower made even more sexy by putting it into a shea butter cream. Sometimes I think I like the Carnal Flower body butter even more than the eau de parfum—and that’s saying a lot. I’m going to scoop some of this luscious stuff into a small travel container and take it with me, because the tub is rather hefty, and a little dab of the butter goes a long way. This is what I’ll wear for nights out on the town and strolls through the medieval alleyways of the “old city,” Gamla Stan.

Hermes Eau des Merveilles
Similar to choosing Angeliques Sous La Pluie for its low-key sillage, I think I’ll bring along this one too. Whenever I wear Eau Des Merveilles, it reminds me a bit of the sea—not of the beach, but of the saltiness of sea air on a deserted stretch of coast—and mixed with the buoyant, sparkling quality of orange, it makes me feel happy. (A tranquil kind of happy, as you would expect from such a whispery scent.) Eau des Merveilles seems like the perfect scent to wear with a bathing suit: everything about it says warm skin … come nuzzle me.

Histoires de Parfums 1828 (Jules Verne)
A marine scent that smells like a wind that blew in from a rugged coast fringed by beach pines—and which surprises you in the drydown by becoming lightly incensey. I won’t go into a lot of detail in describing it here, as I plan on doing a review of it soon, but it’s another scent that seems to complement the landscape rather than distracting one from it. And if that landscape includes some handsome, blond Swedish men, then this scent is very fitting indeed.

So there you have my pick of fragrances for my mid-summer Scandinavian vacation, when it’s still only March, and you don’t give a tinker’s dam where I’m going three months from now, and I don’t blame you.  But as they say in my neck of the woods, Come back again soon, there’s more where that came from!

Image: photo of Stockholm can be found on a number of Internet sites (I don't know who the photographer is, or what site to properly credit it to).