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”. 

Enrichment and Elimination


Kitty separation anxiety: so much less cute than it sounds. I’m working in the Nordstrom fragrance department over the holidays to study the DC perfume shopper, and my unpredictable retail schedule is freaking Zelda out. She cuddles now, you guys. Cuddles! The minute I walk through the door, she plants herself on my collarbone and demands ear scratches. She sleeps by my feet! And only bites them once or twice! Significantly less adorable is her newfound tendency to, as the cat separation anxiety websites euphemistically put it, “eliminate outside of the litter box”. When “eliminating” on the floor three times failed to stop me from leaving the house, the fuzzy little terrorist went for the duvet.

Dr. Google’s recommendations range from kitty prozac (what’s that saying about pets starting to resemble their owners?) to various methods of making Zelda’s environment more stimulating. So far I’ve brought in a cat tower, which she completely ignores, and downloaded some cat-enriching videos. (“Duck Rush Hour” is pretty much cat Game of Thrones.) Then I remembered a favorite Now Smell This post about zookeepers using Calvin Klein Obsession as “enrichment” to keep their tigers mentally stimulated. Inspired, I sprayed four of my most intriguing perfumes and attempted to enrich the elimination away. In the name of science, and an unshat duvet, I present my findings.

Chanel No. 5: Zero sniffing, and Zelda pulled back her head when I moved the paper closer to her. I have raised a deeply uncultured kitteh.
L’Artisan Dzing!: Faint interest. Some sniffing, and one paw at the piece of paper. Zelda has clearly never read the dozens of Dzing! reviews describing it as “animalic”.
CB I Hate Perfume Burning Leaves: Intense interest! A good fifteen seconds of sniffing, followed by multiple paws at the paper. My hypothesis: Burning Leaves has a salty, meaty aspect that appeals to carnivores.

Displaying the highest contempt for the scientific process, Zelda wandered off before I could test the last fragrance, Gorilla Perfumes The Smell of Weather Turning.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the commission. I’ll expect my research grant shortly.

Notes on method: I sprayed the fragrances on four identical pieces of paper to prevent Zelda from being influenced by packaging. This would have been a lot more impressive if I had remembered to include a control. 

Gorilla Perfumes Furze

Out of all of the nine new Gorilla Perfumes, Furze was probably the one I was least excited to try. I’d never heard of a furze plant before, and the notes (vanilla and coconut) sounded a little Bath & Body Works. I was more interested in the darker-sounding perfumes, like Voice of Reason and Hellstone. But when I finally had the chance to try all nine scents last week, Furze immediately emerged as the standout of the collection.
I’m not sure how useful my description of Furze will be, as it appears to smell very different to different noses. The Candy Perfume Boy described it as “incredibly crisp and green” in his review, while a Basenotes commenter called it “a gorgeous mimosa scent.” For me, Furze has that luminous sweetness that I typically associate with heliotrope scents, only without the powdery aspect that heliotrope often has. The Muse in Wooden Shoes once described the smell of her heliotrope plants as “jam-filled donuts”, and I think that’s a perfect description for Furze. Although I would love to smell The Candy Perfume Boy’s crisp and green version, Furze never deviates from sweet and creamy on my skin.
In addition to being one of the most enjoyable new Gorilla Perfumes, Furze also happens to be the cheapest. The smallest size is $14.95, and the largest size (3.1 oz/91 ml) is only $44.95! As usual for Lush fragrances, Furze has excellent lasting power. Even though Lush isn’t making it easy for you to try Furze (it’s only being sold in 15 out of Lush’s hundreds of North America stores), it’s definitely worth seeking out.

The Current Shopping List

In the absence of actual shopping (with the exception of one Lush binge, my last shopping trip was in December), my shopping list has been piling up! These are the perfume and non-perfume items that I’m currently lusting after. What’s on your shopping list? Please feel free to share your own list with us in the comments!

 Buxom Stay-There Eye Shadows

These cream eye shadows are named after dog breeds, and if you think for one minute that I am above this sort of gimmick, you’ve been huffing too much Fracas. I already own Pug (my very favorite kind of dog, and the most unique color, in my opinion), and am saving up for Mutt.

Gorilla Perfumes Voice of Reason


I’ve been looking for the perfect coffee fragrance for years and years now. Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Mokha was too sweet; Bond No. 9 New Haarlem wasn’t sweet enough. Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe is very close, but it sadly disappears from my skin within 20 minutes. Voice of Reason, which claims to smell like “espresso, French cigarettes, and whiskey”, sounds like a worthy contender.

Ted Baker London Print Fit & Flare Dress


I’m not usually a big fan of Peter Pan collars, but I can’t even explain to you how cute this dress looks in person. As an aside, this model’s legs are taller than my entire body.

Lubin Idole EDT


Last week I had dinner with the very funny and hugely knowledgeable Judith of The Unseen Censer, who spontaneously decided to buy a bottle of Idole after smelling it on me. It’s that good, y’all. This is the warm, spicy, saffron-y scent of my dreams. The EDP is richer and woodier, but it somehow feels less “me”.

We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy


I am deeply invested in the idea that women can be funny, because otherwise I’m just plain obnoxious.

Lush The Smell of Weather Turning

Lush fragrances were barely on my radar before Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez raved about the line in their Perfumes: The Guide. I was most intrigued by their description of Lush Breath of God, which they declared “a triumph” and awarded one of their rare five-star ratings. I finally tried Breath of God recently, and I found it… strange. Not strange and beautiful; just strange. In my opinion, The Smell of Weather Turning is the Lush perfume that truly deserves the attention and accolades.

The official list of notes are oakwood, hay, beeswax, nettle, English peppermint, mint, Roman chamomile. Here’s what I smell: a nighttime barbecue deep in the forest. The Smell of Weather Turning opens with smoke and bracing peppermint. You don’t smell the mint so much as feel the cooling effect. Then it becomes tree sap, green and spicy. The chamomile note adds a beautiful clarity to the drydown. For those worried by the name, I promise that there is not a hint of aquatic notes in The Smell of Weather Turning. The Smell of Weather Turning is exactly what I had hoped to find in Breath of God: both strange and beautiful. It’s the perfect perfume to add a little wonder to life when everything begins to feel a little too routine and ordinary.