I type with one eye on travel news, hoping, like many thousands of Britons, not to see my summer holiday shelved. It could be considerably worse, and should I have to return the cutoff Levi’s, vest tops and what was worryingly described online as a “linen rompersuit” (I am 45) to their attic storage, I will not forsake my holiday scent wardrobe.
There’s something extremely intoxicating and gladdening about holiday scents. Easy, carefree and wearable, they evoke that very moment when, after a long day in the sun anywhere from Newquay to Nice, one emerges for dinner, freshly showered, skin hot, hair still salty through the shampoo, mouth glossed and gasping for an aperitif. I need any summer holiday scent to transport me to that golden hour in an instant, whether or not my flight’s grounded.
Guerlain’s ever-revolving collection of Aqua Allegoria fragrances are summer, bottled. They’re simpler, breezier, more linear fragrances than the Guerlain house icons (Shalimar, Mitsouko et al), which is not at all to say they’re not wonderful: you really must check out Herba Fresca (£63, 75ml), an extraordinarily lovely and still unsurpassed scent of mixed soft green herbs and grass. Aqua Allegoria’s latest is my favourite in a while, and takes my head somewhere cheery. Orange Soleia (£53.55, 75ml) smells exactly like a hot blood orange being torn open, the zesty juice misting its surroundings like an aromatic sprinkler system. It’s divine, and just the sort of fragrance I crave after a sticky day at the beach.
I hesitate to mention Bronze Goddess Azur (£44, 50ml) because I’ve already raved about the original over the years, but Azur is notable for being, in my view, Estée Lauder’s only successful deviation from the faultless “Eau Fraiche Skinscent” (now available year round). This limited edition take on Bronze Goddess is less coconutty and rounded, more citrus and salt, like a tequila slammer at sunset.
Another perfume that smells good enough to ingest (best not, though) is Jo Loves Mango Thai Lime (£70, 50ml). I was instinctively against this cologne (I’m baffled by mangoes. Too fibrous and weirdly rich), but the accompanying handwash proved to be my gateway drug. Both variants are absolutely delicious. Juicy, spicy and mouthwatering, with – to my nose – a dash of fizzy Lilt, Mango Thai Lime manages to circumvent all the reasons I avoid fruity fragrances and truly sent me wandering down the Co-op to give mangoes a final shot.
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