From before I can remember to early adolescence, our December/January holidays were spent with my family on the Natal north coast – the inescapable destination. The night before our 6+ hour journey from Johannesburg, my siblings and I would stay up as late as possible watching “My Fair Lady”, or “Grease” so that we would be exhausted the next morning and therefore sleep for most of the tediously boring and literally nauseating trip (I suffer from motion sickness). This torture would soon turn to unbelievable excitement as we approached the sea. I would open the car window letting a blanket of hot humid sea air into the already hot car. I would breath in deeply longing to be on the beach. Alas, we would have to wait a while longer as we’d have to check into our accommodation that was inevitably dank and mouldy. A smell eternally linked to my beloved holidays. Eventually we’d all grab our towels, fish nets, buckets and spades and head off to the beach. The boiling hot sand under our feet and the seduction of the wild waves gave us an uncontrollable urge to sprint into the sea, but mom pulled us back and roughly smeared sunscreen lotion onto our bodies. We smelled of the beach. She’d barely have lifted her hand from our skin and we’d be off like Greyhounds after the Hare. After hours spent playing in the waves, our exhausted and sunburned bodies would head off the beach and trek the steep up-hill to our home for lunch. All the roads home would be adorned by magnificent Giant Strelitzias; tropical hibiscus; intoxicating star jasmine; and gorgeous frangipani trees. An obligatory deep sniff of the jasmine and delightfully dusty frangipani made the sweaty walk unforgettable.
The beguiling scent of star jasmine
All these aromas and smells from my sub-tropical holidays still invoke the childish excitement and joy in my belly. As I got older and girls became an integral part of these wonderful vacations, and I discovered a new smell. A smell that shattered the way I experienced the coast. It was still the smell of the sea, the beach, the lotion; the flower adorned streets; the mouldy apartment etc. But there was something carnal and seductive that arose. It was the smell of a holiday romance. Her name, I choose not to recall, but her salty, smooth, soft and sun-kissed skin oozed a fragrance that was so sexy, feminine, hot, humid, dark and irresistible. An odour that stops time, and for a few moments, I am in heaven. The closest smell I have come across which interprets that unforgettable moment-in-time is the masterpiece fragrance (in my opinion) by Lacoste – “Pour Femme” This fragrance is as timeless as young-fast-love. My wife owns a large bottle and whenever she wears it, I am amazed at how intensely beautiful she smells. I then take the time to sniff her neck a little more. Olivier Cresp, the perfumer behind “Pour Femme” uses fresh Freesia on the top and then he indulges us to the coastal aromas of Hibiscus and Jasmine in the heart. The base brings it all together with faint peppery notes, sandalwood and incense. Cresp’s secret ingredient though, is the ‘warm-woman-skin’ accord. He has it spot on. It is that moment in time, that holiday romance. It is a perfectly balanced perfume, suspended in the middle of the eternal universe. It is neither cloying nor ethereal, instead it comes and goes gently, enticing me to get a little closer. It’s the Siren of the sea and I am cast under her potent song.
Lacoste Pour Femme
Top Notes: Pepper, Freesia, Apple
Middle Notes: Violet, Hibiscus, Jasmine, Heliotrope, Rose
Base Notes: Labdanum, Sandalwood, Incense, Cedar, Suede