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Scents of Escapism

Feature: Long Read
Words by Anna Lao-Kaim

If you’ve got a holiday on the horizon (or are dreaming of one), chances are that you’re staying put rather than galivanting across the globe. Being closer to home needn’t mean saying no to adventure, however – especially where scent is concerned. Whether you’re nostalgic for a dip in the Mediterranean or fancy whizzing to the Pacific, there’s a fragrance to fulfil your wanderlust. We’re calling it escential travel and there are no visas, passport checks or PCR tests required. Sit back, relax and transport yourself in a spritz by choosing from our edit of the finest summer holiday fragrances according to your wish list destination. Bon voyage!  

The Caribbean: Beachy Perfumes

Jet off to the Caribbean without leaving your sofa with a liberal misting of D.S & Durga St. Vetyver Eau de Parfum, a vetiver perfume with notes of sea grass, breadnut and bitter orange. It also features a base note of rhum agricole, a style of rum that’s distilled in the French Caribbean islands. This fragrance is the olfactory equivalent of a piña colada sipped under a palm tree.

Next up, sail into the sunset with Creed Virgin Island Water Eau de Parfum Splash, a bergamot perfume with notes of coconut, sensual ylang ylang and a twist of Jamaican lime. Speaking of citrus fragrance with a Caribbean flavour, the world’s most famous lime and basil perfume, Jo Malone London Lime, Basil & Mandarin Cologne, was created to evoke “a Caribbean breeze”. Try before a big meeting for instant stress relief. Lastly, Hamaca Eau de Parfum from 27 87 Perfumes is a calming coconut perfume bound to give you that unmistakable relaxed feeling you only get on holidays – notes of warm coconut mingle with Venezuelan tonka beans and Madagascan vanilla to make you feel as if you're spritzing summer sunshine onto your skin. 

David Seth Moltz, co-founder of D.S. & Durga


"A great scent is a world you can return to over and over – a keyhole into another realm."

D.S. & DURGA  St. Vetyver Eau de Parfum (100ml)
FREDERIC MALLE  The Moon Eau de Parfum
The Middle East: Musky Scents

Middle Eastern fragrances are steeped in ancient tradition and showcase the region’s precious raw ingredients to mesmerizing effect. Frankincense is one such natural treasure – try Frederic Malle The Moon Eau de Parfum for a frankincense perfume that brings rich oud, leather and berry notes into the mix. If you’re a fan of spicy vanilla fragrance, new Carolina Herrera Amethyst Haze is like a sweet, warm meander around a souk for your senses.  

 

Adore rose perfume? Huda Kayali Elixir 11 was created by Huda Kattan and her sister Mona to reflect the elegance and sophistication of their Middle Eastern heritage – rose de mai absolute is the superstar note. If you’re sniffing out amber scents, Bond No.9 Dubai Platinum Eau de Parfum is sure to please. Ginger, pink peppercorn and citrus notes add sparkle to the woody oud cologne, reflecting the cosmopolitan jewel in the desert that characterises Dubai. 

AERIN  Tangier Vanille Eau de Parfum (50ml)
Africa: Earthly Perfumes

African-inspired perfumes bring diverse wonders of nature – such as sunbaked sands and fragrant oases – straight to your nose. Head straight for Morocco via Aerin Tangier Vanille Eau de Parfum, a vanilla perfume with soft musk notes and a smooth sandalwood finish. It’s a desert sunset in scent form. Meanwhile, almond perfume lovers will find Serge Lutens La Dompteuse Encagée irresistible – Lutens comments that it’s one “to be savoured on the skin.” 

 

We’ll also make a pitstop for Tom Ford Soleil Brûlant Eau de Parfum, a sophisticated take on a suncream perfume. You know the scents that hit you like that first swipe of sunscreen on a hot summer day? This is that, with added mandarin and bergamot to cut through the warmth. 

The Far East: Exotic Scents

Floral, woody, fresh, smoky – Far Eastern inspired fragrance is as varied as the region itself. Begin with a woody floral perfume such as Xerjoff Alexandria III Pure Perfume, an oud fragrance that combines Thai and Laotian oud with Bulgarian rose and spicy cinnamon. If leather luggage is your globetrotting go-to, a leather perfume will be the perfect travel accessory – try YSL Wild Leather Eau de Parfum.

If musk perfume is more your style, meet Cartier Les Heures Voyageuses Oud & Musc Eau de Parfum. It’s one for devotees of both musk fragrance and wood scents – oud, oud resin and musk are the only notes, so it’s simple but powerful.

XERJOFF  Alexandria III Pure Perfume (50ml)

The Pacific: Tropical Perfumes

Who would say no to a trip to the Tropics? Alight at Atelier Cologne Pacific Lime Cologne Absolue to discover a lime coconut perfume with a refreshing eucalyptus edge. The best tropical fragrances aren’t always fruity, however, as the as the woody Nars Audacious Eau de Parfum proves – make-up artist François Nars’ signature scent blends smoky incense with Tahitian Tiare flower to meditative effect.

Round off your tropical tour with Loewe Agua Mar de Coral Eau de Toilette, a citrus perfume that’ll bring a burst of aquatic freshness to your dressing table (mint leaf and grapefruit notes add zing).

David Seth Moltz, co-founder of D.S. & Durga


"Perfume’s power to transport is now more important than ever."

ESTÉE LAUDER  Azurée d’Or Eau de Parfum
The Mediterranean: Lemon Scents

If you’re not tucking into an Amalfi lemon sorbet, you may as well smell like one. Atelier Cologne Lemon Island Cologne Absolue is a lemon cologne with creamy vanilla notes to balance out the sharp tang of citrus. For a more savoury fragrance fix, Parfums de Marly Greenley Eau de Parfum is a wood perfume with a flourish of Italian bergamot for levity. Native Italian bergamot also grates a whole lot of zest over Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Nettare Di Sole Eau de Toilette – it’s a honey perfume with a green finish that’s as delicious as any gelato.  

 

If floral perfume is more to your taste, Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee Eau de Parfum submerges fresh lilies in sea water with orange blossom and musk notes acting as a fragrant sundowner. See you at the beach bar. 

Staycation: British Fragrance

We’ve come full circle on our fragrance voyage and landed back in Britain, but we promise that exciting scent discoveries still await. Where better to start than the Harrods store itself? Harrods is the muse behind Robert Piguet Knightsbridge – an exclusive rose fragrance that brings some of the most cherished ingredients in perfume to the fore. Orris, derived from the bulbs of the iris plant, is at its heart and is sought after due to the fact that it takes up to four years to mature before it develops its powdery sweet scent.

Also paying homage to Harrods is Ex Nihilo The Irreverents Eau de Parfum. The spicy vanilla perfume fuses old and new in terms of fragrance notes – like Harrods itself. You’ll notice the distinctive Harrods building illustrated in all of its glory on the lid of Floraiku What a Day too. If fresh, spicy fragrances appeal, it’s a fragrance reminiscent of a London sky – dark one moment (that’ll be the notes of black pepper oil), bright the next (there’s bergamot on the breeze).

We’ll end our world tour with a trip to rural England at dusk in the form of Burberry Signatures Midnight Journey Eau de Parfum. Notes of thyme, lavender and rose mingle with enigmatic myrrh and black amber to evoke a shadowy pastoral evening.

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