Light, bright and upbeat, the Garden has an uncomplicated sunny disposition. The first fragrance from belif (pronounced ‘belief’), the top Korean skin-care brand now available through sister company Avon, gathers the bouquet of delicate white blossoms. What stops it from being a perfunctory floral (or smelling like upscale dishwashing liquid) is the zing of something like citrus gelato.
The Garden by Belif, $80 through avon.ca.
The new addition to Dolce & Gabbana’s lineup is a blast of acid red currant, together with mandarin and peach so juicy they’re almost soggy (think: boozy English trifle) and folded into a cloud of magnolia and, faintly, rose. There isn’t much rose effect in this fruity-floral unless you count synesthesia, the perceptual phenomenon where one sense experience comes through as another. In Dolce Rose’s case, the neurological trick is that when you smell it, all you see is intense fuchsia.
Dolce Rose by Dolce & Gabbana, $100/50ml eau de toilette at Sephora and Hudson’s Bay.
Each scent in the Parisian niche line Memo is built around memorable moments and places that co-founders Clara and John Molloy have visited. Here, the twirling steps of Argentinian tango inspire an interplay of rose, where Egyptian jasmine smoothes away the sharp edges of oud. There’s spicy, slightly dirty sensual nuance (thanks to cypriol, from a plant similar to vetiver) and at the bottom, beneath velvety rose, ambrette seed for powdery muskiness. It’s a husky scent and technically unisex.
Argentina by Memo Paris, $360/75ml eau de parfum at Etiket.
Dolly Scent from Above
As the legendary singer-songwriter proved in her first Super Bowl ad – in praise of the side hustle – Dolly Parton is no stranger to working overtime. This spring, she launches Dolly Scent from Above, based on the personal scent blend she’s worn for years. “It’s a combination of bath oils, powders and perfumes that have become my signature and is known everywhere I go,” Parton says. In a bottle adorned with a crystal butterfly, it begins with a decidedly feminine mix of sugared pear, sweet floral notes such as jasmine and peony, and creamy vanilla orchid. Because it dries down to a subtle and rather lovely amber and musk skin scent, even those who aren’t fans can’t get enough.
US$9.95 for 3ml sample, credited toward a 50ml bottle through dollyfragrance.com.
44 Gerrard Street
Since its revival a few years ago, 18th-century brand Atkinsons 1799 hypes its roots with Beau Brummell aphorisms and English eccentricity. What you first notice when you smell this unisex aromatic tincture is that it plays with the classic eau de cologne structure by starting with effervescent bitter green lemon but drying down to sandalwood. It also touts an eco-friendly extraction technology that captures accurate samples of odorous molecules, which can then be scaled up to industrial production levels without sacrificing any of their olfactive properties. In this case, it replicates the pungent smell of grated ginger and the menthol notes of eucalyptus. It’s a refreshing take on herbal cologne.
44 Gerrard Street by Atkinsons 1799, $185/100ml eau de parfum at Holt Renfrew.
Le Lion de Chanel by Chanel
As befits Coco Chanel’s superstitions and penchant for talismans, this addition to the Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection is inspired by the lion’s strength. The designer was born under the zodiac sign of Leo and the animal is also the icon of Venice, where she travelled at a pivotal time in her life. Tenacious notes of amber, dry vanilla and smoky birch tar (reminiscent of convent incense and a touch medicinal) provide texture and depth, and place it firmly in the same family as Guerlain’s legendary Shalimar. Beneath the initial tickle of bergamot and the animalic heart notes, citrusy, resinous leather performs a neat trick: it’s simultaneously opulent without feeling overstuffed, yet finishes crisp and clear.
Le Lion de Chanel by Chanel, $240/75ml eau de parfum at Chanel beauty counters.
Misting oneself with this feels like a viable alternative to the tropical vacation we’re all not having. It’s escapism in a bottle and the recipe is not complicated: one part suntan lotion, two parts lemon zing. The vivacious lemon in question is from Rodrigues, a small volcanic island in the Indian Ocean, and 92 per cent of the ingredients are of natural origin. Perhaps that’s why a deep inhale triggers the sense memory of a sunset, salt-rimmed cocktail in your hand, sand in your bag.
Lemon Island by Atelier Cologne, $63/30ml at Sephora.
Passage d’Enfer Extrême
Don’t be alarmed by the word “extrême.” If anything, perfumer Olivia Giacobetti has revisited her slippery 1999 creation in order to streamline rather than complicate its pleasures. She’s taken lemon-tinged frankincense and simplified it so that it’s now a highly wearable incense (think dried flowers and the diffused smoke of Chinese temples). The result is earthy and expansive. The initial sillage has the same uncanny effect of a smudge stick, as though you’re cleansing the world of bad vibes in your wake.
Passage d’Enfer Extrême by L’Artisan Parfumeur, $225/100ml eau du parfum at Etiket.
Dior’s summer fragrance release celebrates the history of an iconic hotel on the Mediterranean
A landmark of the French Riviera, the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc has a guestbook that reads like a who’s who of Hollywood royalty. Elizabeth Taylor, George Clooney and Marlene Dietrich are a few of the stars who have lain their heads on its pillows. It has been immortalized by F. Scott Fitzgerald, who based the Hôtel des Etrangers in Tender is the Night on the retreat, and photographer Slim Aarons, who famously documented attractive people doing attractive things by the seaside pool in the 1970s. Today, it offers a picture-perfect backdrop for the Instagram jet-set, appearing in posts by models Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski.
This year, as the hotel turns 130, it is being celebrated by Maison Christian Dior with its new fragrance, Eden-Roc. The fragrance is the work of perfumer-creator François Demachy, who said he composed the fragrance by imagining an arrival at the hotel by sea. “The accords tell a Mediterranean story of marine air, flowers and citrus fruits, aromatic scents and maritime pine trees,” he says. Opening with a salty top note, a whiff of jasmine follows with a hint of coconut. The verdant grounds of the hotel come to life through resinous amber and summer flowers, including jasmine.
While travel to the Côte d’Azur may feel no more attainable than a trip to the moon right now, a whiff of Eden-Roc offers an olfactory escape. Perhaps we can all find comfort in the fact that Christian Dior himself never visited the hotel.
Maison Christian Dior Eden-Roc, $330 at Saks Fifth Avenue in Toronto and Holt Renfrew Ogilvy in Montreal.