Perfume often works by association, evoking emotion through scent memories and it’s the truly inspired perfumers who can really capture a sense of time and place within their creations.
Think of childhood summer holidays, do they evoke warm aromas of sisal-grass beach mats? Vanilla ice-cream? Sun-warmed sand? I know I’m not alone (for my generation anyway!) in remembering the scent of Ambre Solaire – quite useless as sun protection, but it did smell good!
The word ‘Salicylates’ might not conjure up summer associations, but it’s these natural aroma chemicals that are at the heart of tropical white florals such as ylang, jasmine and orange blossom. Add a touch of vanilla and subtle woodiness, and voila, you’re taken in imagination to sunnier climes.
The first rule of a summer perfume is that it smells good in hot weather; too sweet or rich and it’s sickly, too musky and it’s stuffy, not fresh. What’s required is that freshness, but then a simple citrus, while refreshing, doesn’t really evoke the idea of sun-scented skin and sand or the aroma of summer flowers drifting on a warm breeze.
Lalique, the French glassware design house founded by artist, master ceramicist and jeweller René Lalique in 1888, created their first perfume bottle designs in 1907 when the house collaborated with perfumer Francois Coty. Their first perfumes launched in the 1990s, with gorgeous glass design and perfume bottles going hand-in-hand it made perfect sense to align these arts.
One of their recent and most popular launches in 2021 was Lalique Soleil – a fruity floral vanilla scent with much appeal to contemporary taste. This year their new creation, Soleil Vibrant, plays on the floral vanilla aspects of the original Soleil, but adds deliciously fresh notes of bergamot and pear.
Created by sustainable natural ingredients, Soleil Vibrant was conceived by master perfumers Nathalie Lorson and perfumer Alexandra Monet. Their challenge was to compose a fragrance that ‘smells as delicious as sun-kissed skin. That makes you feel as happy as a summer day. And that’s kind to the planet’.
I find it to be one of those easy-on-the-nose perfumes that’s absolutely perfect for summer days and evenings. It’s warmly floral, with sunny jasmine sambac and orange blossom at its heart, with complementing notes of clementine and Italian bergamot lime – a combination that’s guaranteed to uplift the mood. Cedar adds subtle nuttiness, then natural Bourbon vanilla and sandalwood a creamy depth to the dry-down. Saffron makes its presence felt with a bittersweet dusky note that complements the whole (and smells particularly good on natural fibre clothes I find).
Easy to wear, like a natural linen dress, it’s not saying anything challenging or provocative and therein lies its charm; though beautifully composed, the sense is that it’s not trying too hard. I find myself wanting to re-spray more often as it makes me smile (and my partner sniff appreciatively!)
Lalique Soleil Vibrant can be found online and in most perfume departments.