What do we mean by calling a scent solar ? Although not an official fragrance family, it’s a word we’ve seen increasingly used to describe a whole range of recent launches.
Filled with sunshine, radiant and sparkling, we might once have called these fragrances ‘fresh-floral’ or, more prosaically, ‘citrus’. A new way of referencing scent taps into the zeitgeist, reflects how we’re feeling as a society and, therefore, how we want to project ourselves. In a world that for so long has seemed dark and scary, perhaps it’s only natural we’re being ever-more drawn to scents offering an olfactory ray of sunshine.
Actual solar flares are intense bursts of radiation emanating from the sun that can affect radio waves and send your Google Maps haywire. In a fragrance, yes ‘solar’ denotes a feeling of sunshine – but with it a physical feeling of being uplifted, of turning our faces toward the light source, a perfumed purr of warm cat contentedness.
Citrus notes are vital, but in this new genre they differ from Colognes because solar scents are more multi-layered: mellowed by breezy blossoms, dappled with cooler herbs or touched with a tingle of sheer spices and warm woods.
So, why is ‘solar’ trending? Quite simply, we need something that goes deeper than a quick, zesty pick-me-up; beyond merely feeling momentarily refreshed. As Louisa May Alcott puts it in Little Women, ‘Some people seemed to get all sunshine, and some all shadow.’ And quite frankly, with the state of the world at the moment, aren’t we all weary of shadows?
So, why not soak yourself in these solar scents, look towards the light, and let the sunshine in…?
Escentric Molecules M+ Mandarin £95 for 100ml eau de parfum
The KAPOW! of super-charged, fruity brightness feels like clouds parting and ends with a hug of ‘your skin but better’ softness. Sophisticated freshness that keeps on going (and helps you hang on to hope).
Floral Street Arizona Bloom from £24 for 10ml eau de parfum
Capturing the heart-soaring feeling of freedom this wide-open vista evokes a desert oasis. Queen of the Night flower lush with Balinese coconut, grounded by woody oakmoss and salted musks.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Vitae Cologne Forte (2ml of all three new MFK eaux de parfum are in Eau So Fresh Discovery Box, £23
Sun-drenched mandarin mixes with a sunny floral accord and brings to mind the warmest, glowiest early afternoon light, underpinned by the sensuality of the fragrance.
Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Azur £44 for 50ml eau de toilette
Sicilian lemon, Italian bergamot and Calabrian mandarin are shot through with salty licks of luminescence – neroli and orange flower buoyed by shafts of sunlight, warming to blissfully body-warmed milkiness.
Shay & Blue Mermaid Kisses (2ml eau de toilette is part of The Scented Retreat Discovery Box, £23)
Think honeydew melon, holiday cocktails on the shoreline at sunset, looking out to an endless horizon. We’re dreaming of bare, bronzed shoulders kissed by the evening air, the excitement of tomorrow’s adventures.
By Suzy Nightingale