Friday, June 8, 2012

Lighten Up! (Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel)

source

Do you like salty/marine fragrances or scents that remind you of the beach? I do. I grew up on the ocean, but the house Mr. Petals and I purchased is closer to the city than any beach, so my trips to the shore happen most often when I visit my parents.

I look forward to the approach to their house, where even the dog gets antsy over the first whiff of salt marsh. And when we round the corner onto Beach Avenue, I deeply inhale tangy, salty air that usually has a base of something murky (seaweed and clam muck) and know that soon I can curl my toes around cool, smooth, talcum-powderlike sand and taste the air.



This might be my first perfume review, so please keep my inexperience in mind. I can describe makeup colors til the cows come home, but even though I read about fragrance terms like top, middle, and base notes, as well as "drydown," I am not sure I can align those adjectives with the fragrances I wear, so I'll just skip the technical terms and report what I smell, shall I?

Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel is sharp at first and very salty--the way my skin smells after a day of swimming in the ocean. I initially detect something almost citrusy, but more herbaceous than floral. Instead of the sweet/savory rugosa I detect an herblike aroma of rosemary. The fragrance eventually softens into a gentle cloud of salty beach grass in the breeze, with earthy undercurrents, like wet moss creeping into a seaside kitchen's herb garden under the noon sun. There is also the faintest inference of skank--like an old suitcase in the attic or a wet animal sleeping under a deep canopy of trees on the damp and fecund forest floor after a summer shower.

My other (unreviewed) summer fragrances are:
  • Prescriptives Calyx (spring into summer)
  • CB I Hate Perfume Mr. Hulot's Holiday and Beach 1966
  • Bobbi Brown Beach
  • Jo Malone Assam & Grapefruit
  • i Profumi di Firenze Brezza di Mare
  • Profumum Acqua di Sale
  • Hermès Eau des Merveilles (summer into fall)
  • Hermessence Vanille Galante (summer into fall)

Bottom line: Fleurs de Sel is a sheer, light, excellent summer fragrance, practically guaranteed to not overpower or offend those near you. Alas, its gentleness is also fleeting; this fragrance lasts about as long on me as Dior Escale à Pondichéry, but I can layer it over an unscented carrier oil for better staying power.

What are your favorite summer scents?

18 comments:

  1. I love this fragrance, have had it for a couple of years and never tire of it . Great descriptions too!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Hannah. It was easier to describe this perfume than, say, Chanel No.5, partly because Fleurs de Sel smells so much like "home," even though I never lived at the home my parents live at now.

      Delete
  2. Lovely review, Zu! Now I want to try Fleurs de Sel! Ohhhh the grapefruity goodness of Calyx! I'm so pleased that they still sell it!!

    I think that you are very aware just how much I love your blog, but when I was nominated for a Liebster Blog Award the first blog that I knew I would nominate was yours!

    http://lolassecretbeautyblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/lolas-secret-beauty-blog-is-liebster.html

    xo, Lola

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am also pleased that Calyx was not discontinued. I always get compliments when I wear it.

      And, yes, I did see your post and thank you from the bottom of my heart. :)

      Delete
  3. Lovely evocative review. I have been wanting to try MH for an age and your review may just be the nudge I need. Thankyou Zu.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure. If you want to be sure, you can order tiny samples from The Perfumed Court. Oh, wait, you're not in the US. Are there business in the UK that sell decants? I can't believe it took me so long to discover the place, for it has surely spared me thousands of dollars in perfume mistakes! Plus, I love getting to try out some of the niche scents, as well as some that have been discontinued (which is a dumb idea because those are always the ones I love best ... of course).

      Delete
  4. I love perfume descriptions (I can't translate that nose-to-words experience), and yours is lovely. Sadly, Fleur de Sel was all "musty suitcase" on me. But I am happily wearing Diptyque Philosykos, Fresh Lemon Sugar, and Fresh Hesperides (grapefruity goodness! yes!) this summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, if FdS was musty, I wonder how Mr. Hulot's Holiday would be on you, with its old suitcase/tobacco/driftwood smell. I unearthed a Diptyque Vetyverio sample last night, which I am looking forward to trying. I think I got this sample from Beautyhabit.

      I must explore some more, as I ADORE citrus this time of year. This might sound silly, but one of my favorite scents used to be The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit. It went away for several years; in fact, TBS stores have completely changed form the charming sample-sized heaven they used to be. When they brought back Pink Grapefruit, they had changed the smell. Either that or my appreciation for it had changed.

      Delete
  5. Because I have ever-worsening MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity), I have to be very, very careful about fragrances. There is a chemical in some perfumes / colognes that immediately attacks my brain. I get a chemical taste in my mouth and my "fight or flight" system is triggered. It's awful.

    However, I can use some natural oils mixed with unscented lotion and I did stumble across this, which is perfect for your marine category and does not contain chemicals: Cote d’Amour by L Artisan Parfumeur is an aromatic aquatic fragrance for women and men.The perfume is the second in a line of 100% natural, eco-certified products of this house, after Jatamansi.

    Relaxing scent of sea coast Loire Atlantique, salty wind, bushes, wet wood and sand inspired perfumer Celine Ellena to create this fragrance. Cote d'Amour includes notes of salt flower, green tangerine, pink grapefruit, dune immortal flower, rosemary, cypress, gorse blossom, rose, broom, heather, maritime pine and floated wood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand your sensitivity, L. I had it badly for a few years, but before almost all fragrance gave me a dull, throbbing headache in my forehead, I used to practically go into seizures when I'd get near anything by Estee Lauder (designed by the house of EL, not bought up by them, as so many are these days). I'd feel it in the back of my throat and I know exactly what you mean about tasting it. *gag* I then lost my sense of smell for around 5 years, which really sucked because I could smell neither good (gardens) nor bad (gas leak, smoke).

      It's interesting that you mention "fight or flight." I learned that my chemical sensitivity was a direct symptom of hypoadrenia, better known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was so sensitive that driving by a dead skunk would force me to pull to the side of the road to vomit! It took a few years to heal/restore my adrenals, but I ultimately did.

      Now that my sense of smell has come back and the things I smell around me no longer assault me, I am much more cognizant of people around me. I wear fragrance for myself now, and almost never to work. Since I go to the office only 2-3 days a week, I have several other days in the week to enjoy. I like to spray my shoulders so I can turn my head and have a sniff. But I can't wear the same scent for more than 3 days because I stop smelling it. I have to switch things around if I want to enjoy them.

      Some days my nose works and some days it doesn't. It's one reason I have stuck to my four favorites by Chanel and Hermes for so many years--I know they harmonize with my body chemistry.

      Then you very much for the recommendation for Cote d'Amour. I was already hooked by your description of it, since I am predisposed to like marine fragrances that aren't too ozonic (is that a word?) but then I got to "green tangerine, pink grapefruit ... pine" and I was sold! I am happy to see that I can buy a carded sample at The Perfumed Court, so it's going into my next order ... which will now be sooner than I thought. :)

      Delete
    2. I wonder if I'm not suffering from the same thing. I get exhausted easily and my immune system is definitely weak--infections plague me and allergies flare. Something to look into, if I can just find the right doctor. Something is definitely not right.

      Delete
    3. It can be hard to find a knowledgeable doctor in this area, because Adrenal Fatigue is more a syndrome than a diagnosable illness--doctors are trained to either look for Addison's or Cushing's. Consider looking for someone who practices integrated medicine and/or a naturopath (fully-fledged MD, of course). The tests you want to ask for are serum for morning cortisol and DHEA-sulfate, as well as all the sex steroid hormones, and ideally, a salivary Adrenal Stress Index.

      Hormones are such a bitch, and trying to treat one without considering the others can be unbelievably complicated. The body's preferential pathway under chronic stress is called "pregnenolone steal" or "cortisol escape." Pregnenolone, the precursor to all steroidal hormones, is diverted to cortisol/cortisone (the hormone that the adrenals make), affecting the balance of progesterone, aldosterone (mineral/cortical pathway/sodium-potassium pump), DHEA and its metabolites: the sex hormones, estrogens and testosterone. As pregnenolone is diverted to cortisol-cortisone, DHEA depletion begins.

      Here's a link to an image of what this pathway looks like: steroid hormone synthesis pathway

      It has become so common for women to get these conditions, especially those of us who have been extremely busy/driven. Burning the candle at both ends feels great for a while. There's nothing like the adrenaline rush to keep us going ... until those poor adrenals sputter out from exhaustion. In the old days, they called it a "nervous breakdown" or "nervous exhaustion," but I have no idea how people were treated. The first time I heard of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was long before I had it, in the late 80s. I think it was Cher who said she had it.

      Before I got diagnosed/treated, I used to get knocked out hard by influenza and pneumonia at least once a year and had colds quarterly. At one point I'd get a bad chest cold every month. My allergies went through the roof, and I could barely drag myself out of bed each morning.

      I was under the care of a trusted doctor, but in the end I could only help myself by reducing the stress in my life. I even stopped listening to the news because it stressed me out! Healthy food (no sugar/flour), meditation, and yoga were the holy trinity for me. Oh, and as much sleep as I could get away with and not get fired! ;)

      I hope you find someone you can trust. I'd be happy to help point you to any resources. Feel free to email me.

      Delete
    4. Thank you for the info. I have found an MD in Winona, MN who may be knowledgeable in this subject. That's about an hour from me. She's the only one I've been able to find (on the Internet) that even seems to come close: http://www.karenvrchota.com/

      But, yes, I'll email if further questions arise. Thank you for all your guidance!

      Delete
    5. She looks very promising. As for not contracting with insurance carriers, that not unexpected as we edge away from mainstream, allopath care. These enlightened physicians do not want their treatment to be constrained by HMO business because, let's be honest, there really is no such thing as health care anymore; it's all about keeping shareholders happy at quarterly board meetings. I paid out of pocket for the most effective care I ever received, and he was worth every penny. Had I seen only my current doctor (who is excellent), she would have helped me, but it would have taken longer.

      I love the idea that the doctor you discovered treats food as medicine because it really is. I had no idea how powerfully (and adversely) certain grain-based proteins were affecting my life until I gave them up.

      Delete
  6. Mmmmm I like the sounds of this one! I love that real ocean/beach smell a lot! I grew up at the beach as well, not ocean but lakes. I'll have to look around for it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love lakes, too! We spent the month of every August at the summer cottage, and now as each August rolls around now, I can put myself back on those summer evenings, canoeing on the glassy-smooth lake with my father. Such different, slower times. Life before the Internet!!

      I loved how I could swim and not need another shower to wash off all the salt water. I didn't mind salt on my body, but it made my hair an ugly mess.

      Delete
  7. Oh, Zuzu. I must sniff this! Summery beachy perfumes are so delightful. I'm just waiting for the weather to get really hot so that I can drift in a cloud of Bobbi Brown Beach. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mmm I just spritzed myself with Beach before I go to bed shortly. We're having rolling thunderstorms and if I squeeze my eyes shut, I can pretend the thunder is the sound of stormy ocean waves pounding the rocks on the Maine coast.

      Delete

I love reading your comments. If you have a specific question or request, please feel free to e-mail me directly. Comments that contain advertising links or shameless plugs will not be published.