Solstice Scents’ Late Summer collection, released in the latter portion of this past August, revolves around natural atmospheres of desertscapes, conifers, and coast. These fragrances both uniquely transcend the season and are at the same time a paean to the long days, sultry nights, and soaring temperatures that go hand-in-hand with this sun-drenched time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the various magical ways with which we experience it.
See below for reviews of some of our favorites, and leave a comment to be eligible for a giveaway of a sample pack of the late summer collection scents!
SEA OF GRAY: Vanilla rain, saltwater, seaweed, ambergris (vegan), white amber, roasted seashells, frangipani.
The concept behind this scent is that you’re strolling along the beach and as tide rolls in, the sky darkens and the first drops of rain begin to fall, you take refuge in a nearby ice cream parlor. I would take this one step further; this is a seaside ice cream shoppe in Innsmouth, and you’re on a date with with of its fish-people denizens. This is not to say that Sea of Gray is a fishy scent, but there is more than a hint of murky dankness upon initial application, and, if only for a moment, you’re swept away in scents of sand, sedge-grass, and stunted shrubbery that gives way to crumbling houses and their repellent inhabitants, and a feeling of overall disquiet and decay. This feeling passes as soon as you cross the threshold into the cool, bright interior of the frozen dessert establishment; the cheery clanking of small metal spoons gently scraping faceted sundae glasses and the soft, vanillic aroma of cold, creamy confections lulls you into a feeling of well being as you glimpse the sun peeking out from behind the clouds again, and all that’s left of your brush with the murky seaside secrets of that shadowed port town is the salt-spray on your skin. Your fishy paramour is nowhere to be seen.
DESERT THUNDERSTORM: Desert Sage, Pinyon Pine & Resin, Petrichor, Sweetgrass, Creosote Bush, Sand, Ponderosa Pine, Smoke Scientist Richard Thomas explains that many natural dry clays and soils “…evolve a peculiarly characteristic odor when in contact with moisture,” and notes that this odor is particularly prevalent in arid regions and widely associated with the first rains after a period of drought. Thomas, working with partner Joy Bear, discovered a yellowish oil–trapped in rocks and soil but released by moisture–that appeared to be responsible for this smell, and the oil itself came to be named petrichor (from the Greek petra, meaning stone, and ichor, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.) This scent of petrichor –the blood of the stone– is the powerful opening blast of Desert Thunderstorm. Steaming gusts of hot stone and earth, upon which beads of moisture dance and sizzle, and release a fizz of aerosols resulting in the scent of wet dirt and minerals. Later, the fragrance of peppery, sun-baked sagebrush and pine’s verdant astringency mingles with the dusty, resinous scent of distant canyon fire and the subtle sweetness of milky, musty sweetgrass. I’ve never spent time meditating in the desert (or any time in any desert at all, actually) but this is precisely how I envision a strange desert journey alone, curling inward with myself and my demons, for a spell of mediation and healing.
CLIFFSIDE BONFIRE: Conifers, dry woods, rain, saltwater, seaweed, ambergris (vegan), charred wood, smoke.
I don’t much care for the gendering of scents, but I suppose this is the most traditionally “masculine” of the bunch. Cliffside Bonfire is a woody, coniferous aquatic fragrance–and before you immediately tune out, let me assure you that this is not the sort of milquetoast, watery “aquatic” that you may remember from high school in the 90’s, though anecdotally, this does remind me of certain high school experiences. This is dry woods, sea spray-kissed skin, and the barest hint of pine and spruce; I don’t get very much smoke or fire or char from this at all. It vividly recalls for me sunset streaked summer evenings after spending from noon until nightfall at the beach with my freshman year-boyfriend. Skin too hot to the touch from sun and hormones, sand in our hair and on our tongues, salt-tinged kisses and the impatient, inexperienced fumbling at damp swimsuit strings..twenty five years later this perfume causes a sweet, clenching ache, low in my stomach (and a strange, sexy nostalgia for a dude that kind of turned out to be a turd.)
SACRED VOW: Vanilla, bay rum, amber, saffron, sandalwood, oak, patchouli, vetiver, lime.
There is something delightfully old-fashioned feeling about Sacred Vow, and I mean that in the most beautiful way possible, not in the “ew this smells like old lady” sense that you sometimes see mentioned on perfume reviewing forums. (An aside: someone told me once that they knew a coder on one of these forums, and between the two of them they were so annoyed at this lazy description on the part of reviewers, that they programmed it so that every time someone typed in “old lady” to describe a perfume, it would appear as “bank of England.” HA! I don’t know if this is true, but I love it, anyway.) Warm, spicy, and resinous, Sacred Vow is an amber-focused Oriental blend with the faintest trace of floral notes. With its heart of bay rum and amber, touches of oak, vetiver and jasmine, it reminds me very much of my late grandmother’s bottle of Youth Dew by Estée Lauder; her small, mirrored tray of compacts and lipsticks, and a velvet-lined, mother of pearl jewelry box that held all of her sparkling costume jewelry–all of these luxuries specific to her rituals of beautification smelled softly of Youth Dew’s heady glamour. A strange, witches brew of balsamic resins, amber’s golden glow, and a soft, powdery vanilla.
Solstice Scents has generously offered has a sample set of Late Summer Collection scents to one reader!