Sunday afternoon, mission: finding my signature summer scent. I had been embalming myself with “Decadence” by Marc Jacobs lately but as the summer heat stroke approached, I felt like I needed something new and fresh. I love my Decadence’s smell greatly but I think that it’s too heavy for hot days. First I fixed myself a nice home brunch; a chicken salad with tangerine, organic mayo, basil, spinach, romaine lettuce and endives. Then I hit the streets.

Nothing is more pleasurable than a woman that smells fresh and clean. The kind of woman that has the scent of a magic spell, straight out of a genie bottle, the one you want to follow in the streets.

I got off the 6 train at the Broadway-Lafayette subway station on Houston Street and walked my way to Le Labo on Elizabeth street. They have been there for eleven years. The weather was just perfect for that kind of hunt. Not too hot, not too cold. Perfect. A fresh glass of white wine on the Italian Riviera kind of day even though I don’t drink. I got in Le Labo and it was a breath of fresh air. Everyone was so nice and I knew then that I was certainly going to buy something there. Jesse, my scent specialist helped me right away. He was nice enough to tell me a little about the scents that they make on premises and the history of the house. He walked me through each fragrance until I stumbled upon the Lys 41. After 15 minutes of sniffing and inhaling pleasurable odors, and debating back and forth between the Labdanum 18 and the Lys 41, I went for the Lys 41. It’s the kind of scent that brings you memories from way back, such as my mother’s ritual on buying perfume: Panthere de Cartier, Amarige de Givenchy, Pivoine de Yves Rocher and the list goes on. My mother always had an amazing collection of perfumes and still does, even more so than shoes. She often says, “Your smell is your signature”, don’t go around smelling like you just purchased the latest “Stunk weed fragrance” and I would die of laughter on our home, black and white mosaic floor. That was one of the first thing she taught me on how to be a lady. Well, lesson learned. The Lys 41 from Le Labo would do just right.

Lys 41 is a floral. It’s light and deep simultaneously. The vanilla and slight musk base are taking me back to memories of champagne bubble popping, ballerinas, and butterflies. The lily that tops it, is honey languid. It is pure sexiness and a sublime note. It took Devin, the nice African American chemist about 15 minutes to execute my order. This is now my new favorite perfumer. I spent thirty minutes of pure joy there. I’ll go back to refill my Lys 41 and maybe purchase the Labdanum 18 just because of the atmosphere of this establishment.

Still on my hunt, I headed over to Bloomingdale’s on Broome and Crosby street. In the woman fragrance department, next to Sisley’s Paris set up, I spotted Creed. I always love the smell of “Silver mountain water” and “Millesime Imperial” although they are men’s. My androgynous brain got a kick. I was about to splurge on the Silver mountain water until the sales associate gave me an unpleasant vibe. She didn’t think I’d spend $300 on a perfume that I sported for so many years and was rushing me in an unpleasant way so she could help other potential customers. She was very hostile to me. As if it were me that got her stuck on a beautiful Sunday afternoon behind a counter. The typical judgement placed on a black girl asking to see something that costs more than $20. I just laughed in my mind, if she only knew. I thanked her and left.

I want this perfume that opens with Bergamot and mandarin followed by a heart featuring green tea and black current. The base is composed of Galbanum, Musk, Sandalwood and Petit Grain. I’ll unquestionably buy it somewhere else. Sales associates in big department stores are certainly the reason I don’t shop in big surfaces.

62 Wooster street, I arrived at Byredo. I just adore the heavy door that I had to push to get in. Chaz was lovely; he greeted me with the nicest smile. After spritzing fragrances on cards and sniffing I went for “La tulipe”. It’s very close to my Lys 41 with just a touch more of tuberose. It’s certainly a spring celebration with a base of Blond Woods, Vetiver and notes of Cyclamen, Freesia, Rhubarb. La Tulipe of Byredo is a must have.

At Jo Malone, I fell hard for the “Peony and Blush Suede”. Also, a floral fragrance. With top notes of red apple, followed by Peony, Jasmine, Carnation and Rose on a Suede base. It’s my daytime scent but unfortunately it doesn’t last on my skin. I am faithful to it, as a matter of fact I own the whole line, shower gel, perfume, and their new shower oil. It is just a fresh aroma that I adore. The essence of charm, girly and flirtatious; an opulent sensual and fragile redolence mingling with a luxurious and seductive smell.

Although I indulge in Frederic Malle’s “Portrait of a Lady” on my girls night out gathering during winter time. I enjoy his “Carnal Flower” for summer. It’s fresh tuberose, animalic, spicy and sweet notes simultaneously stimulate my olfactory system.

Finally, at Neiman Marcus, Maison Francis Kurkdjian: “Aqua Celestia” is my favorite of all time, the cherry on the pie. Fresh, with clean floral musk notes. Pure and natural with touches of magnolia, mimosa, some citrus lime. My favorite since it came out this year.

I’ve been juggling for a week now, between “La Tulipe”, “Lys 41” and “Aqua Celestia” based on my mood. I appreciate them equally. They are my top pick for a summer signature perfume. Your call on choosing yours.

P.S_ Your fragrance needs to be stored in a dark room or box, away from light as it alters its scent; also, another thing that I’ve learned from my dear mother.