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 – but how can you capture this scent of’ sunshine in a bottle’ and why are these perfumes proving so popular right now…?
Filled with sunshine, radiant and sparkling, we might once have called these fragrances ‘fresh-floral’ or, more prosaically, ‘citrus’. But lately, we’ve felt that this is no more (solar) flash-in-the-pan, but the birth of a whole new fragrance family. And that doesn’t happen every day.
As with any trend, a new style or way of referencing scent doesn’t simply spring, unbidden, from nowhere. They tap into the zeitgeist, a feeling in the fragrant waters that 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 to let the sunshine in…?
Escentric Molecules M+ Mandarin £95 for 100ml eau de parfum
The super-juicy zing of fruity brightness becomes super-charged, an immediate mood-boster that 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
Jérôme Épinette captures the heart-soaring feeling of freedom – something we’ve sorely missed – in this wide-open vista of a desert-like oasis. Queen of the Night flower’s spiced by pepper, lush with Balinese coconut, grounded by woody oakmoss and salted musks.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Vitae Cologne Forte (2ml of all three new MFK eau de parfum are in Eau So Fresh Discovery Box, £23) Juicy, 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’s musk and sandalwood base.
Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Azur £44 for 50ml eau de toilette
Invigorating Sicilian lemon, Italian bergamot and Calabrian mandarin are shot through with sunshine and saltiness, neroli and orange flower showcased in shafts of sunlight, warming to blissfully sun-ripened fig, Ambrox, musks, coconut milk and cedarwood. Mais Oui!
Shay & Blue Mermaid Kisses (2ml eau de toilette is part of The Scented Retreat Discovery Box, £23)
The light, watery honeydew melon note is a pure juicy joy; think holiday cocktails on the shoreline at sunset, looking out to an endless horizon and all its possibilities, sun-warmed skin kissed by the cooler evening air and the excitement of tomorrow’s adventures.
By Suzy Nightingale