A week ago today we reached Summer Solstice here in North America. Which means, to make a gross generalization, that it's hot out. And this warmer weather has led us to an astonishing discovery: herbs smell fantastic in the heat.

Clary Sage:
Used for: removing lodged objects from the eye, flavoring in wine, its fragrant essential oil, and relieving fear and anxiety

Incense Series: Quarzazate
Comme des Garçons
50 mL

Originally with Quarzazate I thought it smelled so much like a desert that it wasn't enough like a perfume, but over time I realized that was a very good thing. It successfully replicates the scent of hot arid terrain while leaving the wearer comfortably cool inside their air-conditioned home. It's a beautiful juxtaposition. Alternatively, wear it out on a sunny day for full effect, effectively transporting you from sitting at a bus stop to basking in the tranquil sun North of the Mediterranean. Labdanum resin, Kashmir Woods, Pepper, Clary Sage, and Vanilla to soften the edge (see shop for a more complete notes list)

Bay Laurel:
Used for: spice in Mediterranean cooking, Bloody Mary mix, ornamenting the house, arthritis in massage therapy, ear-aches in aroma-therapy, and crowning the heads of ancient Greeks and Romans as a symbol of high status and victory

Scent Two: Laurel
Monocle Magazine X Comme des Garçons
50 mL

Laurel is a whole different story. Here you've got a similarly natural, herby accord comprised of cinnamon leaves and bay laurel, but it's dressed in a way that creates a stark contrast between the two fragrances. Whereas in Quarzazate you see a complimentary list of warming notes, really sending the wearer to the desert, in Laurel you see the introduction of cool notes intended to turn the herb focus into something a little lighter, a little cleaner, and fresh. Laurel, again like Quarzazate, smells like its odor could radiate directly from wild herbs, though mantains a level of personality and character difficult to achieve with such a non-perfumey focus. Grey pepper over bright thyme and lemon, accented by patchouli and violet, on a bed of woods, with a touch of galbanum. It's just so cool!

Just ask Apollo, who fell for the wood nymph Daphne, who then turned into a laurel tree to avoid Apollo's lust, who then withdrew several leaves and branches, molded them into a wreath to adorn the head, and proclaimed the Laurel tree sacred. Those Greeks sure know how to tell a story..