Tom Ford Soleil Blanc

I consider Drake and Tom Ford to be one of history’s most charmingly unexpected bromances. Drake dedicated a song on his bestselling album, Nothing Was The Same, to Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather; in return, Tom named one of his (outstanding) lipsticks after Drake.


But I doubt even Drake would have much to say about the newest Tom Ford Private Blend. If Tuscan Leather merited a whole song, Soleil Blanc barely deserves a verse.

Soleil Blanc’s press release describes it as a “solar floral amber”. It’s a sunscreen fragrance, of the squeaky-clean Coppertone variety rather than a jasmine-drenched French tanning oil. There’s nothing that distinguishes Soleil Blanc from the numerous other sunscreen-y fragrances out there, like Bobbi Brown Beach or Bond No. 9 Fire Island. And at $220 for 50 ml, that’s kind of unacceptable. I was really hoping that Soleil Blanc would be the reincarnation of the heavenly Tom Ford for Estee Lauder Azuree Soleil, but no such luck. Hopefully the next Tom Ford fragrance will be more worthy of Drake’s adoration.

Disclaimers: This post was not sponsored and does not contain affiliate links. I tested Soleil Blanc at my local Neiman’s.

Perfumes for Hella Cold Beaches

I always knew that cold beaches existed, of course. I guess I just preferred to think of them as an unpleasant urban legend, like bonsai kittens or Chris Hemsworth’s marriage.

They're so cute together, too. YOU'RE KILLING ME, CHRIS.
They’re so cute together, too. YOU’RE KILLING ME, CHRIS.

That urban legend became cruel reality this past weekend, when my family moved University of San Francisco’s newest freshman into the dorms.

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Now, my grandparents live in Orange County. I’ve spent 23 Chanukahs in California. I was pretty sure that California and I had an understanding, the understanding being that California is supposed to be warm. San Francisco is apparently not aware that it is part of California. I DID NOT LEAVE THE EAST COAST FOR 59°, SAN FRANCISCO.

Needless to say, San Francisco’s idea of a beach involves fog, wind, and shivering. We’re talking two sweatshirts, minimum; don’t even think about packing a bikini. So what do you spray on those two sweatshirts? A blog post is born! Allow me to recommend a few fragrances for un-beachy beaches.

Embrace The Cold

CB I Hate Perfume Mr. Hulot’s Holiday. Mr. Hulot’s Holiday was filmed in Saint-Nazarene, a French town on the chilly Atlantic coast of Brittany. Fittingly, the film’s namesake fragrance opts for a salty slap of seawater instead of the typical sunscreen note.

Gorilla Perfumes Furze. Furze, also known as gorse, are sweetly fragrant evergreens. Their bright yellow bushes bloom even during those legendary British winters.

Luckyscent Decennial Lys du Desert. A deliciously warm ambergris fragrance to counter the extreme cold of desert nights. Deserts are pretty much beaches, what with all the sand, right? Right.

In Denial

Kai. A few dabs of Kai transforms even the most subpar beach into Malibu. Cloudy skies? Cold sand? I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over all this gardenia.

Smell Bent St. Tropez Dispenser. The notes come straight from your beach bag: a streak of sunscreen, coconut from your beachside piña colada, and a little aloe vera for the inevitable sunburn.

Estee Lauder Azuree Soleil. Literal liquid sunshine. The dearly departed Azuree Soleil was the perfect blend of fresh coconut milk and tropical gardenias. Reincarnated every summer as Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess, but I still love the original best.

Do you have a favorite beach fragrance? Please feel free to share it with us in the comments!

Disclaimers: This post does not contain affiliate links. All fragrances pictured are my own purchases, much to my wallet’s dismay. Sand dollar comes straight from a San Francisco “beach”. 

Estee Lauder Dazzling Gold and Dazzling Silver

Please don’t take advantage of this revelation, but I am extremely susceptible to suggestion. I have been hypnotized into thinking I was Tyra Banks with virtually no effort on behalf of the hypnotist.

I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is that yes, my runway walk was indeed fierce. I also smiled with my eyes. Oh, Tyra, you are a delight. Never change.

This leaves me particularly vulnerable to the charms of a good perfume name, and my fond childhood memories of Pokemon Gold and Silver made me an all-too-easy target for Estee Lauder Dazzling Gold and Dazzling Silver.

I had Gold, because that way you could get the legendary Pokemon Lugia at level 70 instead of 40. Is my nerd showing?

I am unable to find much in the way of notes for Dazzling Silver (beyond “sun-soaked flowers”, of course). It hardly matters, though, as Dazzling Silver was clearly intended to be a bouquet and not a soliflore. I smell something sweet and purple, so my (wildly off-track) best guess would be lilacs. For perhaps 20 minutes, Dazzling Silver is a prim and professional floral, the perfect office scent. In my opinion, that’s quite an accomplishment. It’s not easy to strike the right balance for the workplace. A voluptuous tuberose like Fracas could suggest that you are the office hussy, while a green floral such as No. 19 can be interpreted as “frigid ice queen”. Dazzling Silver manages to come off as both approachable and competent.

Unfortunately, once those 20 minutes have passed, Dazzling Silver develops a strong undertone of drugstore vanilla hand lotion that it never manages to shake. My sample is from the ’90s, so it is very possible that it has gone off a bit. If anyone has smelled a Dazzling Silver without drugstore vanilla hand lotion, please chime in.

If Dazzling Silver is a creature of the office, Dazzling Gold is its unemployable little sister. Please do not wear this to an interview unless you wish to imply that you have spent the last three nights boozing it up. Dazzling Gold smells like that same old generic fruity accord marinated in too much alcohol. It is intensely syrupy, creating an overall impression of fruit preserves that nobody wants to eat. This is particularly weird considering that this is supposed to be a fruit-less floral fragrance. The only thing distinguishing Dazzling Gold from the thousands of other fruity fragrances out there is that Dazzling Gold is less pleasant.

Estee Lauder Azuree Soleil

Thank you for your excellent suggestions for florals/citruses, brilliant readers! It turns out I do actually own at least one proper floral (Bath and Body Works splashes don’t count): a long-neglected bottle of Azuree Soleil Eau Fraiche Skinscent. The Azuree Soleil craze, headed by the once-great Beauty Addict, swept the fragrance world in 2006. Everyone wanted to get their hands on what was reputed to be the-beach-in-a-bottle.

So does AS live up to the massive hype? Well, I personally am delighted to rediscover it. Azuree Soleil is a joyful blend of gardenia and coconut notes. It is indeed beach-y, though it lacks the sunscreen note that many beach-y scents utilize. Azuree Soleil captures the idea of the beach beautifully- the glint of sunlight off crystal blue waters, blindingly white sand. The often dirtier and less pleasant reality is nowhere to be found. In other words, AS is more Bermuda than Ocean City. (If you’re dying to smell like Ocean City, which… why?, consider Bond No 9 Coney Island.)

Ocean City: Eau de shitty $6 funnel cake.

Sadly, Azuree Soleil is currently discontinued. If this news plunges you into the deepest depths of despair, take heart: Estee Lauder, in its wisdom, now offers “Bronze Goddess” as a seasonal release. I’ve never tried BG, but it is by all accounts extremely similar to AS. It’s also $32, y’all. The proud Estee Lauder tradition of great fragrances for great prices is a beautiful thing.

Disclaimer: I purchased a bottle of Azuree Soleil way back when. It is going for $140 on Amazon, eek!

Tom Ford White Patchouli

After seven days of Snowmaggedon here in Baltimore, I finally made it to Sephora and Nordstrom for some perfume testing. I have long been intrigued by White Patchouli, with that stunning ad campaign featuring Erykah Badu. In my humble opinion, it is the most gorgeous ad that I have ever seen in my life. They should have used it for the fabulous Black Orchid, and not wasted it on this piece of dreck. Today was the first time that I actually tried White Patchouli on my skin. Let’s just say that I have some thoughts.

If White Patchouli were a movie, it would be the camp classic Labyrinth– that is to say, it is so awful that it is hilarious. Y’all, I am not a patchouli hater by any means, although I do think that it is often woefully misused in modern perfumery. The patch-heavy Prada is one of my very favorites. However, I can say with complete confidence that this is the ugliest, most unlovable patchouli note that I have ever smelled. It is the Carrie of patchoulis (the Stephen King novel, not the Sex and the City character). Sharp, bitter, and STRONG. Labyrinth is one of my favorite movies of all time, and hardly a week goes by when I don’t watch that classic tale of David Bowie and his epic package. In the world of perfume, however, the so-bad-it’s-good concept doesn’t work quite as well.

What did I tell you? Epic!

If you are, by some chance, a White Patchouli fan (and it does seem to have its supporters on Makeup Alley), it is available at Sephora, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue. It is far from cheap at $60 for 1 ounce, $92 for 1.7 ounces, and $138 for 3.4 ounces. OH MY GOD DON’T DO IT Y’ALL. Hey, how about this? If you like White Patchouli, please consider Estee Lauder Youth Dew instead. It’s similar in terms of strength, except for the part where Youth Dew actually smells good. It is also a bargain at $30 for 2.2 ounces. And that bottle is the cuteness!

Disclaimer: I sampled White Patchouli at Sephora. I have tried Youth Dew many times at Macy’s before.