Suzanne's Perfume Journal

The girl called over from the bar. "Trois pastis?"

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Scents of the Mediterranean The World Over is a joint blog project, the concept of Ines from All I Am - A Redhead and Helg from Perfume Shrine, as a celebration of this beautiful part of the world they live in.  (Ines is from Croatia, which borders the Adriatic Sea, while Helg is from Greece.)  That they invited their perfume-blogging friends from the United States (and other non-Mediterranean countries) to join them on this endeavor is a wonderful treat.  Speaking of which, Ines informed us that we could write about any kinds of Mediterranean scents, including foods, so you'll find a smattering of that in my post below.  I took a crazy-quilt approach to writing this post, as I've had a crazy kind of week. Though it's patched together in a rough-hewn style, I hope there's enough here for you to hop along with me to that side of the world and enjoy!

composition, along with notes of galbanum, fir, bergamot, rose, frankincense, ambrette, orris, wood accord, ambergris, sandalwood, and cedar. Rêverie au jardin is, of course, more than a lavender scent; as its name implies, it presents an olfactory picture of a garden, and a mesmerizingly lovely one, at that!

C'mon, Join the Joyride
...that's the sweet reminder of the last Mediterranean scent on my list: Sarah Horowitz Parfums Joy Comes from Within. This is a sheer gourmand scent that’s quirky, flirty and fun. Notes of nutmeg, almond, orange blossom, vanilla, tonka bean and musk have a bittersweet quality in the beginning that reminds me of the almond-apricot smell of a Lazzaroni amaretti cookie. It's not a heavy smell at all, but as light and airspun as those tiny fragrant cookies themselves, which makes it delightfully easy to wear. And 'though it's the last stop on my tour, it doesn't have to be yours...

August 1, 2010:

Excerpt from Peter Mayle's 1993 novel, Hotel Pastis: A Novel of Provence.

I'm not a pastis drinker myself, but I do keep a big bottle of Pernod in my liquor cabinet, using this anisette-scented liqueur whenever I make Ina Garten's Seafood Stew (which is Provence in a pot, in my opinion), as well as lacing it into my pumpkin pies come autumn. When I am craving the smells of the Mediterranean in terms of cooking, I often turn to the foods of France: niçoise olives (the wrinkly, black, salty ones preserved in oil); the earthy chickpea crepe, Socca, which I've written of here before; and the garlic, herb, and wine-braised beef stew known as Daube de Boeuf.

Good Day, Sunshine!
You can't talk about the scents of the Mediterranean without sunlight figuring into the equation. Sunlight, the lover of beautiful flowers, pressing its full weight against them and rendering them ever more heady and sensuous by the heat of its embrace. Of course, Frederic Malle Carnal Flower immediately comes to mind (it will always be my number one tuberose perfume), but as that one gets the lion's share of attention on the perfume blogs, I thought it would be good to name a couple other perfumes that smell sunlit in that streaming, Mediterranean way.

How about Profumum Roma Acqua Viva? Featuring an amalfi lemon note so bright and shimmering, you can't help but feel happy when you spritz it on, Acqua Viva proves that flowers are not the only ones to capture the sun's loving attentions.

Or maybe you like a litte more complexity in your love affair with the sun? Sonoma Scent Studio's Jour Ensoleillé mixes glowing sunlight with pockets of restful shade: it's a romantic chypre scent featuring notes of orange blossom, tuberose, jasmine, neroli, beeswax absolute, labdanum absolute, myrrh, sandalwood, ambergris, vetiver, green leaves, and oakmoss absolute.

"Do you know," said Ernest, "I've never tried it."
    "Today's the day, Ern." Simon nodded at the girl. "Oui, merci." He looked at the bottles lined up behind the bar. As in most cafes in southern France, pastis was well represented.  He counted five: Ricard, Pernod, and Casanis he knew; the other two, Granier and Henri Bardouin, presumably local, he'd never seen before. "It's not exactly ideal weather for pastis," he said. "It should be hot. That's how I always think of it, a sunshine drink."
     The girl placed three tumblers on the table, a saucer of olives, and a flat-sided glass carafe. Simon added water and watched the liquid turn cloudy. The carafe was old and scratched, decorated with the Ricard name in bright yellow letters against a background of vivid blue. "Look at those colours," he said. "Sun and sky. That says Provence, doesn't it?" He slid the carafe across the table towards Nicole. "There. That's what I meant by a logo."
    She studied it for a moment, her head to one side. "So there's your name. Hotel Pastis. With the yellow and the blue."

When the Deep Purple Falls
Over Sleepy Garden Walls...

and you find yourself dreaming of lavender-filled days and dusky-blue twilight nights in Provence, nothing hits the spot like Tauer Perfumes Rêverie au jardin. This is lavender at its prettiest: a tranquil, almost silky rendering of the note (usually a difficult note for me, often coming across as brisk to the point of medicinally cruel in many compositions). Perfumer Andy Tauer uses “high-altitude mountain lavender from France” in this