“On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave…
You can’t beat a beach scent, but in the world of watery, fresh fragrances, there’s nothing like the smell of just-fallen rain.
We are tired of the wet, slushy winter and crave sunshine, but a spring rain or thunderstorm has its own kind of pleasure. The smells waft up from the earth in a mixture of damp soil, vegetation, slick pavement and lush water. It’s a different scent than rain in the summertime; petrichor—from the Greek—that just-after-the-rain smell on dry parched earth. This is wet, dewy and rich.
Forget, for a moment, the beach with its salt and sand and consider the bring-everything-back-to-life wonder that is an April shower. Thus was our inspiration for these perfumes that smell like rain.
The Rain edition of Clean Reserve is lush and watery. This is the world post-rainfall and it smells good. Notes of bergamot, chilled cucumber and water lily mingle with patchouli and vetiver for a misty scent that is subtle and fresh. I’ve heard from detractors that this doesn’t smell like rain at all, but I disagree. I get the complex, watery scent that can only come from sitting on your porch and experiencing a spring shower or downpour. Bright and fresh, this scent is for people who find sunshine in the rain. Or can’t resist that even more rare and beautiful thing, the sunshower.
$125 (100 ml), www.sephora.ca
Neroli and vetiver are the stars of Derek Lam’s Rain Day from the 10 Crosby collection. Whereas spring rain evokes images of lush fields, this is the rain of the city. It’s not only wet pavement and subway steam—it’s also a refreshing break from overheated streets and dry skin. This scent doesn’t necessarily have watery notes front and centre. Instead it has bitter, citrus neroli mingling with green, atmospheric vetiver. The result is verdant, but restrained, not unlike sitting at your windowsill and quietly watching the rain beat down from a dry indoor perch.
$120 (50 ml), www.sephora.ca
Yes, this is an aftershave. But it smells really, really good. Like a rolling green countryside after a misty rain. Notes of earth, oak moss, grass, pine needles, orange, lemon, ozone, white jasmine, lily of the valley, geranium and musk all combine to create an aromatic scent that is truly outdoorsy. There’s more earth in here than water, but mountain men and earth mommas won’t mind. It’s fresh, but with some grit—sort of like bathing in a lake or getting caught in a storm on a hot day.
$15 (100 ml), www.menessentials.com
Frederic Malle’s Angeliques Sour La Pluie, created by perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, hits you at first as citrus and spicy tonic. It then quickly mellows to its namesake angelica note that swirls with juniper berries and jasmine before drying down to cedar and musk. This scent is a lovely nod to spring, a watery floral aimed at those who prefer the fresh, vibrant aftermath of an unexpected shower versus the watery overload created by a downpour.
$378 (100 ml), www.holtrenfrew.com
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Love the water? Take a read on our other water-themed fragrances stories:
Rainy day spritzes
Derek Lam’s 10 Crosby: Perfume and film
Destination frgrances: This way to the beach