Sunday, August 1, 2010

Scents of the Mediterranean the World Over

First off, I have to say that I love the idea for this blogfest - my love of the Mediterranean and my love of scents all in one. I feel lucky to live in Croatia where each time I go for a vacation, of course I go to the Adriatic coast and enjoy my little part of the Mediterranean. It is also why my idea of the Med is associated with the sunny summer days at the beach even though I know that any season at the Med can bring it's own scentful rewards.

But this also posed a problem. How to describe that fragrant Mediterranean air in terms of perfumes I know?
Well, nothing worth doing is ever easy in the beginning but I will do my best to highlight some of the scents that make my heart do a happy, dancing beat.

So, I decided to start with the figs. As those of you who read my blog know, I love the smell of figs but for today's purpose, I decided to choose just one. The one that evokes the best my summer time in a little village at the Adriatic coast named aptly Smokvica (which means "little fig"). It was a hard battle between L'Artisan's Premier Figuier and Molinard's Fleur de Figuier.

And Molinard won. This is the one that most closely resembles the cool shade and smell of the fig tree from which we gather figs in our summers there. The one that transports me straight to the summer even if I'm smelling it in the middle of winter.

When thinking about this topic, I came up with the fig straight away but then I got a bit stymied. There are so many scents out there that smell like tropical summer but that is not what my Mediterranean summers smell like. They smell more of the salty, herbal breeze that gives off coolness for the nose (not really to the body during the summer). The smell of heat rising from the dry soil amid firs and some sunscreen wafting on the air.

This made me realize I smelled something this year that instantly brought to my mind the image of a Croatian beach - Heeley's Oranges and Lemons Say The Bells of St. Clemens. It smelled like my idea of summer, being on a sunny beach in the shade of firs and junipers and the smell of Coppertone wafting in the air.

And I saved my last Mediterranean discovery for last. Actually, I can't say I discovered it, more like Carol made me discover it when she included me in her blog project of Unlocking an Unknown.
It's Mr. Webber's 6T.

This one doesn't smell exactly like my idea northern idea of the Mediterranean - this one smells like my southern idea of the Med. Where heat comes off in waves from everywhere - from the sun up in the sky and from the soil where you're standing and from the rocks scattered around and the salty breeze from the sea makes you feel coated in the smell of sun, sea and aromatic air surrounding you.

Honestly, I wish I had more scents in my mind that evoke the Mediterranean, but that's why I'm hoping that all other blogs participating in this blogfest will come up with new scents for me (and you) to try so please go visit what they all had to say on the topic. :)

I would just like to say thank you to Elena of the Perfume Shrine for joining me in organizing this and to everyone participating, thank you for joining us in this quest after the scents of the Mediterranean.

Bonkers about Perfume

I Smell Therefore I am

Notes from the Ledge

Perfume Journal
The Non Blonde

Waft by Carol
Hortus Conclusus

A Rose Beyond the Thames

Smelly Blog

Katie Puckrik Smells
Perfume in Progress

Roxana Illuminated Perfume

Scent Hive

Perfume Shrine

Under the Cupola


  1. Good Morning Ines !
    Thanks for organizing this !
    I just recieved a sample of TDC de Baschmakov
    and it instantly made me think of sunny relaxed holidays in the MED !

  2. Hi Ines,

    You are so lucky to live where you do, and the fact that you never get blase about the beauty of the Adriatic just goes to show how spectacular the area is. Mr Bonkers has gigged recently in Split, Pula and Kastov, and is keen for us to emigrate!

    I am not familiar with any of the scents you mention, though you capture their vibe beautifully. I read all the descriptions of 6T the other week in that other blogfest, so am even more intrigued about this mysterious scent now. : - )

  3. Hi Ines, thanks so much to you and Elena for putting this together! How fun!

    LOL! You and figs! So awesome!

    I want to visit your Croatia--sounds so fabulous!

  4. Ah, you did go to figs! :) Hooray, for I know you love them so...and I wanted to hear about them from a Mediterranean contributor.

    Isn't that interesting that your first inclination is to go to sunny summer when conjuring Mediterranean? It makes me feel better, somehow, give that I, too, think "summer" when doing my conjuring.

    Fun how the Oranges and Lemons... entered the picture; and yes, of course, the Coppertone. :) I can see why you mentioned Bronze Goddess as a must for your vacation in an earlier post. Someday, we'll both need to try CBIHP "At the Beach 1966" for similar Coppertone-y reasons.

    I'm starting to get more than a bit jealous about this 6T stuff. Carol really found a treasure trove, didn't she? And how wonderful for the karma of perfume appreciation for her to share it like that.

  5. Hi Inez,

    I love that you included the name of the village you visit on your vacations. Smokvica, "little fig" -- what a darling name! You've spoken of your love for fig scents many times, and now I know why. I've recently fallen in love with a couple of them myself. Will have to sample the Molinard now!

    Thanks for including me in the fun!

  6. Nice post. Will have to try your fig suggestion -- thanks! :)

  7. Carol, it seems you always manage to find something that sounds just perfect for me. :)

  8. Flittersniffer, I'm with Mr. Bonkers! :) Come - then we can hit the perfume boutiques in Zagreb together. :)

  9. LBV, thanks, you know, I just can't do anything related to summer without at least a short fig mention. :)
    You should visit Croatia, I'm sure you would have a lot to satisfy all your interests.

  10. ScentScelf, I think Carol has a life-long worth of karma for sharing her find with the rest of us. :)
    I coulnd't help it - sun is what the Mediterranean is all about to me. It just seems to brighten everything with more life.

    And I'm always for coppertone-y scents - bring them on!

  11. Suzanne, thanks for joining the fun. Each time I read your posts, I lament the fact that I can't comment on them.
    It was a wonderful quilt approach from which I came out with new ideas for smelling. :)

  12. Sonomascent, I saw one of your perfumes featured in one of the posts, and now I definitely added it to my list of stuff to try.
    Thank you for participating! :)

  13. Ines, I so want to visit Crotia, it sounds so lovely. In the realm of natural botanical perfume we have no "fig" essence, it would need to be recreated from scratch, which sounds like a fun exercise. I must go take a whiff of Fleur de Figuier by Moilnard before I begin.

  14. Ines, Diptyque Philosykos is my favored fig experience in perfume, but even that is heavy going for me. Fig smells are so rich and sweet - I find them oppressive. But maybe I'm still reeling from Thierry Mugler Womanity.

  15. I thought 'fig' too- and then Philosykos as soon as I thought about this project. I've loved reading everyone else's ideas too and it's thrown up some interesting ones for me- especially foody tastes and smells and the labdanum from the Levant (the Med' is so big when you think about it properly).

    Thanks very much for arranging the project and including me. My post went live a little bit late because the wireless was down at my flat last night so sorry about that.

  16. Roxana, I am always glad to hear that someone wants to visit Croatia - I try to impart on people my love for the wonders of my country (which are seriously unappreciated by its residents).
    I didn't know that fig needs to be recreated - thank you for sharing that. :)

  17. Katie, after reading many takes on Womanity (including yours), I feel lucky that I haven't smelled it (it feels very strange writing that). :D
    I actually got so used to strong figs that when they appear lightly in scents I tend not to notice them.

  18. Rose, no worries about the posting, I'm just glad you did it. :)
    Figs are just a part of the scenery to me (together with olive trees) - I'm glad to see other people think of them as well like that.

  19. "Little fig" is the most darling name for a village, it's so great to find out about these small things.

    Thanks for organising this (I bet you got a LOT of ideas of things to try out) and enjoy the jewel-like Adriatic coasts. Summer fleets so soon...

    ETA: my "confirm" safe word was "figster". LOL!!!!! Even on purpose you couldn't get this.

  20. You should have put few images... than they would get whole picture :) :) :)

  21. Ines,
    I have never tried the Molinard fig scent you speak of! I will have to remedy that straight away. Do you have Philosykos? That's the one I always come back to, and I have tried at least 10 fig perfumes.

    Heeley O&L Say the Bells of St. Clements has been a huge hit with me this summer. It is gorgeous and lasts quite well for a hesperidic perfume.

  22. Helg, I got so many ideas to try that I have no idea where to start from. Oh, I feel so lucky! :)
    Yes, summer fleets, my vacation is starting tomorrow afternoon and I know that the 3 weeks I have are going to pass too soon. At least I'll get to enjoy them. :)
    Thank you so much for the help with organizing this!

  23. Abigail, Philosykos was my first (or second) fig scent. I have a decant at all times. :) I just love figgy scents, so I'm always on the lookout for more and that's how Molinard found its way to me. Do you know that 100ml costs 31 euros? I couldn't believe it. :)

  24. Bellatrix, I'm off to have a vacation - I think pictures will be appearing then. :)