French fries, avo on toast, fresh pretzels - all of which would not be the same without a sprinkling of everyone’s favourite condiment: salt. It’s the mineral that puts the deliciousness in your dishes, and it’s now also the element that’s being liberally sprinkled into the latest scent formulas - making them just as addictive perhaps?
“It comes as no surprise,” says James Craven, Fragrance Archivist at Les Senteurs, he adds: “As we learn more and more about the senses we find out that the tongue plays far more of a role in smelling than the nose. Some scientists now estimate the tongue plays up to 70% of the 'smelling' function - so it makes total sense to explore a type of scent you taste!”
So not only do chefs use it to aplomb in your favourite plats du jour, it works really well when layered with other notes too. Romano Ricci, Founder and Artistic Director of Juliette has a Gun has just launched Vanilla Vibes, Dhs546, he says, “I have been wanting to work with vanilla for some time. Not being a huge fan of sweet notes, I needed to find a twist. I chose sea salt. This transports the vanilla into a mineral dimension. Far from being overwhelming, the vanilla becomes suddenly more atmospheric, more elegant”.
Saline notes have the magic to transport you to different places – with the sea facet in fragrances like the new Bond No.9 Jones Beach, from Dhs1,625, that’s all about sand, surf, sunshine and sweaty skin. “The feeling is very vintage,” Bond No. 9 founder and president Laurice Rahmé says: “In the seventies, most New Yorkers would go to Jones Beach. It’s about the sand, the boardwalk, the music. It was, and is, the people’s beach—it’s what New York is all about.” Perfumer Aurelien Guichard included notes of violet, orange blossom and calone, and it’s the latter that gives it the salty edge. Depending on how the individual takes in the notes – calone actually gives a whiff of a salty sea breeze, green algae and seaweed, with an undertone of greenness from watermelon rind too. Find it in Harrods (20th June), and then Paris Gallery in the summer.
While Hermès Un Jardin sur la Lagune Dhs370, became Christine Nagel’s, (Hermès in-house perfumer) personal obsession. The fragrance notes are based on the Garden of Eden, Giudecca, an island in the Venetian lagoon. It’s usually off-limits to the public, (much to keen gardeners and Instagrammers’ disdain). However, Nagel persisted and she spent time every month noting the blooms during the different seasons. There was one accord that stuck. With the garden’s flora and fauna so close to the water, the flowers and plants took on notes of surrounding salty seawater. After 18 months in development, la Lagune was born, and the resulting spritz is a zesty mineral mix – which is a little akin to a Lebanese café blanc. The tisane made not from coffee - but from distilled orange flower water - so you could say La Lagune is from Venice via Beirut, and the sea in-between.
Another well-travelled saline scent is Heeley’s Note de Yuzu, created for Maison Kitsuné in collaboration with Masaya Kuroki and Gildas Loaec, from Dhs698. It contains the energy and zest of Japanese yuzu fruit layered over aquatic, marine notes. The citrus softens to reveal a sensual saltiness on the skin, reminiscent of a traditional Japanese yuzu bath, and also that yummy fresh, zingy dressing you get from some dishes served at Nobu.
Some existing spritzes have had resurgence in popularity. Craven thinks it’s down to a more “savoury” element becoming trendy again, along with the rise of “veganism and gender fluid fragrances.” Head over to Robinson Festival Mall and try The Different Company’s Sel de Vetiver Dhs495, the fragrance inspiration was the smell of skin after a sea bath when the water has evaporated under the heat of the sun,” says Perfumer-designer Céline Ellena, and what doesn’t sound yummy about that? Gourmands rejoice it looks like ‘seasoned’ spritzes really are worth their salt this summer, and what’s more – arguably just as addictive as the table version too.
Photos: Supplied and Unsplash