The sun is sustenance. It brings us the light and warmth we need to survive and for our planet to flourish. We depend on it, sometimes even worship it, and throughout history, artists have painted it, written about it, photographed it – attempting to capture, in some form or another, the intensity of our star. But what about fragrance? Can perfume be evocative of the sun? Can it bring the same warmth, light and nourishment? Well, the simple answer is ‘of course’!
In fragrance, ‘solar’ can mean many things, and it’s an impression that can be interpreted in several ways. Solar can be the smell of hot, tropical flowers, and it can be the scent of tanned skin on the beach. It can also be used to describe an ethereal and iridescent character in perfume and therefore, is incredibly versatile. But not all sunlight is the same. And this week, I’ve put together a selection of fragrances that evoke the sun as it moves through the day; capturing three important moments: sunrise, noon, and sunset.
As the sun rises its white light catches the drops of dew in the grass, each one flashing with iridescence, like a carpet of diamonds amongst the long emerald strands. The air is cool and crisp, filled with stillness and the promise of a new day, all before the world rises. For me, the classic Eau de Cologne 4711 perfectly captures this moment. It is dewy, filled to the brim with bergamot, lemon and orange (a biting shot of citrus) but also calm, breezy neroli and the greenery of herbs. 4711 shimmers, but only for a brief moment because just like the morning dew, it evaporates and disappears until the day starts again (or you just splash some more on!).
The sun reaches its peak at midday, sitting at the highest point in the sky and showering the world below in heat, light and energy. This is when the sun is most powerful – the moment when it radiates like gold and burns with intense, vibrant power. To me, Alien is this moment. It is the full force of the sun raining down in glowing golden droplets, showering the world in a solar wave. Alien is a jasmine fragrance made on an intergalactic scale, with towering white floral blooms that radiate with a syrup-like sweetness. Supported by the effervescent woody material Cashmeran, Mugler’s second fragrance is a warm ambery fragrance that creates a whiteout effect by reaching a crescendo of light. It’s like looking directly into the sun – dangerous, but beautiful.
As the sun sets, its colour becomes richer. What was bright and brilliant, become sultry and warm. Heading towards the horizon, ready to hide behind it for the night; the sun bathes the world in a fantastic array of rich colours, with oranges, reds, pinks, blues, and purples presenting a spectrum of colours that we know as sunset. When I think of a sunset, I think of the intensity of orange blossom, and when I think of orange blossom, my mind goes straight to Le Parfum by Elie Saab. Le Parfum is a heady, sun-kissed perfume that pairs the juicy, white floralcy of orange blossom with the rich, effervescence of patchouli. The result is a fragrance that smells like an endless sheet of golden light. It really is as beautiful as watching the sun set.