Winter has arrived in Sydney but I’m still holding onto the memory of summer, wearing some of my favourite ‘freshie’ fragrances. With olfactory equivalents of cool greens, watery blues and zesty yellows, here are my current favourite freshies, some old, some new.
GOLDFIELD & BANKS BOHEMIAN LIME (2020)
Notes: Finger lime, bergamot, Atlas cedarwood, coriander, vetiver, sandalwood
Creative direction: Dimitri Weber Perfumer: Amélie Jacquin Before Byron Bay became a haven for Sydneysiders escaping city life, the hinterland area was an unspoiled paradise attracting hippies and eco-tourists before eco-tourism was a thing. Bohemian Lime pays homage to these rejuvenating rainforests north of Sydney, below Queensland’s Gold Coast. For the fragrance, Goldfield & Banks’ founder Dimitri Weber made native finger lime his focal point. The Citrus australasica tree grows abundantly in this area of New South Wales and its fruit has been a source of food for Aboriginal people for thousands of years. More recently, finger or caviar limes are used in contemporary Australian cuisine. With perfumer Amélie Jacquin, Dimitri utilised Givaudan’s ScentTrek technology to capture the scent of finger limes without removing a single piece of fruit from the rainforest. The result is an eco-friendly, refreshing scent of zesty citrus accented with juicy, tropical sweetness. With its bohemian name the inclusion of patchouli makes perfect sense. Add vetiver and cedar, and Bohemian Lime settles on skin with grounding woody notes and a touch of spicy coriander. While many of the freshies in this article are top note heavy, Bohemian Lime continues to evolve once the citrus notes recline.
SANTA MARIA NOVELLA, S.M.N PARFUM (1533)
Notes: Tangerine, lemon, neroli, bergamot, rosemary, lavender, petitgrain, clove, benzoin
Olfactive direction and perfumer: unknown
I love a classic eau de cologne like 4711. The German company’s antibacterial wipes, scented with 4711 cologne, are a staple in my backpack. Other staples include Guerlain’s 19th century Eau de Cologne Imperiale, Chanel Eau de Cologne, a classic cologne grafted onto a modern musky base, and Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino. Another favourite I’ve been wearing a lot lately is SM Novella Parfum. It doesn’t stray far from what an eau de cologne should be. It’s a timeless classic made with citrus and aromatic notes, and a splash of neroli. Whenever I go to Florence, I visit Santa Maria Novella’s 17th century apothecary to buy a souvenir. International travel in 2021 is still difficult but Sydney residents can visit Santa Maria Novella’s own boutique, which recently opened on Glenmore Road in Paddington.
SISLEY, EAU DE CAMPAGNE (1976)
Notes: Lemon, basil, bergamot, galbanum, plum, tomato leaves, jasmine, muguet, geranium, vetiver, musk, oak moss, patchouli
Olfactive direction: Countess Isabelle d’Ornano Perfumer: Jean-Claude Ellena
Green fragrances can be polarising, but Eau de Campagne is universally likeable. Invigorating citrus and cooling green notes open the fragrance, which settles on a classical chypre base. Created in 1976 by Jean-Claude Ellena, this is an early moment in the young perfumer’s career, which revealed his potential for greatness. Opening with tomato leaf, galbanum, lemon, bergamot and basil, the fragrance almost reads sporty – more tennis or polo than rugby or basketball. It captures the essence of the luxury French skincare and make-up brand. Fans of Dior’s legendary Eau Sauvage should enjoy this greener interpretation. I like that this genderless gem is hidden from the male gaze on Sisley make-up counters. It can be our little secret.
THE ZOO, SMILE & SHINE (2020)
Notes: Grapefruit, blood orange, lime, daffodil, lemon, tagete, turmeric, tolu balsam
Perfumer and olfaction direction: Christophe Laudamiel
Even anarchists need their time-out and relaxation. The Zoo is punk rock perfumery with perfumer Christophe Laudamiel as its leading protagonist. Like a summer holiday in a bottle, Smile and Shine shows another side to the perfumer’s work. When I spoke with Christophe last year, he updated me on his efforts campaigning for greater transparency in the fragrance industry. He had also been working on a new fragrance using citrus ingredients that perfumers typically steer clear of. Citrus oils are notoriously fickle, prone to colour and odour changes when they are not stored under correct laboratory conditions. Smile & Shine is a photorealistic essay on citrus. It captures the essence of the fruit from the flesh to the rind with notes of blood orange, grapefruit and lemon. The caveat being the perfume’s wearer must store their bottle in a refrigerator to protect the fragile ingredients. Smile and Shine offers an additional sensorial experience when the chill of cool alcohol is sprayed on skin.
NISHANE EGE/ΑΙΓΑΙΟ (2020)
Notes: Violet leaves, yuzu, anise, cardamom, mint, basil, liquorice, olibanum
Olfactive direction: Mert Güzel and Murat Katran Perfumer: Ilias Ermenidis
The Turkish were sanitising their hands long before COVID. It’s customary for guests to wash their hands in a cologne of citrus oils and alcohol when entering a host’s home. Nishane founders Mert Güzel and Murat Katran explored this ritual with their fragrance Colognise in 2018. It’s a past favourite of mine but the Istanbul duo’s 2020 launch called Ege/ΑΙΓΑΙΟ has been my favourite freshie of late with aromatic spices chilled with a salty marine accord and zesty yuzu fruit. Ege/ΑΙΓΑΙΟ was created as a tribute to the Aegean Sea. The name combines the Turkish and Greek names for this stretch of ocean. Nishane worked with Firmenich perfumer Ilias Ermenidis, who twisted a popular masculine fragrance construct with anisic notes of basil, star anise and licorice. It’s an easy fragrance to wear. Ermenidis has built a career on successfully creating mass fragrances, luxury fragrances and niche fragrances. Ege/ΑΙΓΑΙΟ is the confluence of those three worlds coming together in one fragrance.
CELINE COLOGNE FRANÇAISE (2019)
Notes: fig tree, neroli, white orris butter, tree moss, musk
Olfactive direction: Hedi Slimane Perfumer: Undisclosed
It’s always interesting when luxury fashion brands expand into fragrance using the niche model of generic bottles, multiple fragrances, limited distribution and a high price point. They don’t always get it right. Celine’s 2019 collection wasn’t the brand’s first foray into fragrance and with designer Hedi Slimane in charge, there was a good chance the collection would be extraordinary. During his tenure as designer for Dior Homme, Slimane changed the game with his powdery iris and leather scent for men, Dior Homme. Slimane’s Bois d’Argent, Eau Noire and Cologne Blanche, sold exclusively in his Dior Homme fashion boutiques, were so innovative they became the starting point for the Maison Christian Dior collection after Slimane moved on and Dior established perfumer Francois Demachy as its in-house nose. Slimane clearly has a panache for creating interesting fragrances. This collection for Celine took time to grow on me but the fragrances are all intriguing in their own way. There are reoccurring themes of lichens, orris and vanillin throughout the collection and like the designer’s clothing, there are plenty of retro references, but they are reorchestrated into something entirely modern. Cologne Française is the calming scent of fig leaves and bitter orange flowers, which leads to a dry down of orris butter, tree moss and musk, the unmistakable olfactory signature of Celine through the eyes of Hedi Slimane.
You can see more of my favourite fragrances for this season on my Instagram.
Samples were provided by brands or their local distributors for review.