PoP: Six Scents That Speak Greek

Katie Puckrik ON Aug 06, 2010 AT 10:48 am

Katie Puckrik

Katie Puckrik: Photographer Martin Shaw

by Katie Puckrik

Armrests down, tray tables up, seat belts buckled, please. We’re traveling to a distant land: the Mediterranean of my mind. It’s just a little bit south of the windmills of my mind. (If you get to the boxing ring where angry squirrels battle my internal tantrums, you’ve gone too far. Please stay safe when you venture into my unruly brain.) So slip on your comfy walking stilettos, and let’s go!

My in-depth research (Googling a world map) has revealed that if you want to be all technical about it, the Mediterranean Sea flows all the way from Morocco to Syria, lapping past a whole bunch of other countries that don’t seem to have too much in common — other than fantastic food. And a ton of ancient history, of course.

So while I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time in Morocco, Spain, France, Italy, and Israel, I’m going to narrow things down for my Mediterranean musings. I’m pinning the donkey tail on…Greece! The following perfumes slingshot me right in there:

Annick Goutal Eau Du Sud

Annick Goutal Eau Du Sud

Tom Ford Private Collection Neroli Portofino. This is the billionaire version of the old classic 4711 cologne, which I’ve always associated with Mad Men-era jet set travel. Neroli Portofino is the smell of airplane moist towelettes of the gods. It’s “just” sweet neroli, tart citrus, distant woods, some laid-back amber warmth, but it is shockingly glamorous. Wear it and you wouldn’t dream of traveling in sloppy sweats — or those overgrown toddler clothes seen on the middle-aged American male (baggy long shorts roomy enough for diapers; chunky white sneakers that look like baby booties).

Annick Goutal Eau Du Sud. The smell of hot sunshine and herbs. When I first discovered Eau du Sud, I’d already had history with Chanel Cristalle and Diors Diorella and Eau Sauvage. I felt right at home with Eau de Sud’s mossiness, and loved the combination of fresh grapefruit and orange with the vaguely sweaty, lived-in aspect that materializes at the drydown. (Eau Sauvage does “lived-in”, too — only more on the leathery side.) Eau du Sud’s aromatic basil starts to blur the line between smelling and eating.

Etro Sandalo

Etro Sandalo

Eau d’Italie Sienne l’Hiver. Speaking of blurring the smelling/eating line, you could practically spray Sienne l’Hiver on your pita bread. Olives! It smells like olives. And earthy, truffley, mushroomy savoriness. Is eating all you’re going to do while you’re in Greece? What about filthy sex in strange places? C’mon! What’s a holiday for?

Etro Sandalo. The ferry from Athens to Naxos is filled with exhaust fumes which permeate your tiny, sweltering cabin. Shutting the door that won’t lock doesn’t guarantee privacy. But it does guarantee that you can’t see anything, because there are no lights. Maybe you’d better leave the door open a crack for air? And whatever you’re doing in the dark there, you’d better make it fast.

Etro Sandalo kicks off with the sharp note of gasoline. It’s sort of ugly, until a milky sourness rises up to harmonize with it. Together, the petrol and the sourness soften into creaminess. Before you know it, the initial discomfort has passed, and Sandalo has ripened into a sexy, warm-skin sandalwood. Awkward to begin with, it really gets there in the end.

Yves Saint Laurent Kouros

Yves Saint Laurent Kouros

Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel. A snootful of salty sea air and remnants of last night’s bonfire on the beach. It’s simultaneously green/aromatic and charred/leathery. The opening sharpness of the vetiver gradually gives way to faint iris and rose struggling to thrive in the dryness. Fleurs de Sel is evocative and delicate — qualities not normally associated with masculine accords.

Yves Saint Laurent Kouros. Evocative, yes; delicate, hells to the no. Its barnyard powderiness vibrates between incense and soap. In your luxury Cretan hotel room, generations of maids have doggedly applied daily scrubbing bubbles to bathroom tiles permeated by the ghosts of guests past. But the smell of shaving cream, unguents, and personal emissions will never fade. And neither will Kouros. This fragrance is a memory of life fully lived, with the promise of further adventures in foreign lands.

For more fragrance rants and rambles, visit Katie Puckrik Smells www.katiepuckriksmells.com
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