My focus lately in my personal life has been on travel. I thought I would combine my two interests with a new feature on EauMG – travel and perfume.
Many perfumes are “destination perfumes”, perfumes inspired by places. These perfumes are meant to brighten olfactory memories of erstewhile travels. Or to take us to the places we long to visit. Perfume is powerful like that.
I’m starting this new feature with a focus on Brazil (whooo World Cup ’14!).
I’ve never traveled to Brazil but would love to. One of the reasons that I started with Brazil is because there are so many perfumes inspired by this country. I actually feel sort of bad for how Brazil is portrayed in perfumery because it seems to feed into stereotypes that people that have never traveled there seem to have. But, that’s the problem with many “destination perfumes”.
It’s possible that there are so many Brazilian-inspired perfumes for a few reasons. The first reason being that there is a large fragrance market in Brazil that many brands are hoping to tap into. If you watched that BBC Perfume documentary, Brazil and their love of fragrance was covered in detail. Another reason why there are so many Brazilian perfumes may be with how non-Brazilians perceive Brazil. People think Brazil is overflowing with models like Gisele sun-bathing on sultry beaches. They think the country is filled with gorgeous women, non-stop parties and endless, pristine coastlines. You know, it’s a never-ending misogynistic music video! And then there is the rain forest – so much biodiversity. Overall, you see two themes with Brazilian inspired perfumes: fêtes and (tropical) forests. And these two things have provided so much olfactory inspiration. And really as far as a “stereotypes for people that have never traveled there before”: beautiful scenery, beautiful people and beautiful plants isn’t so bad (as far as stereotypes go).
I’ve put together a guide to perfumes that mention Brazil as their inspiration.
Destination Inspiration: Brazil
It doesn’t surprise me at all that perfumers would draw inspiration from the alluring and peculiar biodiversity of the Amazon Rainforest. It’s still a place on this planet that instills awe and wonder in people. (And ecotourism is very popular for this reason). But, keep in mind that most Brazilians don’t live in the rain forest 😉
Infusion Organique Açai Rain EDP – This is a fruity, tart green fragrance inspired by a “magical fruit”. Retails for $35 at drugstore.com. This scent is also available in their home fragrance line (which is rather good).
The Body Shop Amazonian Wild Lily EDT – It’s a fresh, dewy ozonic scent. Sort of retro 1990’s but I think that is the point. I think it’s for those that loved the movie Fern Gully. Retails for $22 at The Body Shop.
Food & Beverage
Who doesn’t think of food when they think of a region? I remember my travels by their flavors!
Pacifica Brazilian Mango Grapefruit EDP – This is a really fruity citrus inspired by mango. Retails for $22 at Pacifica.
Hermes Paprika Brazil EDT – Inspired by paprika and Brazilwood, this is a spicy fragrance with rich woods and a powdery iris.This is my favorite of the “Brazil” perfumes. Retails for $245 at Hèrmes.
Frau Tonis No. 88 Bahia EDP – Inspired by the state of Bahia, this perfume is a spicy almond blossom. Retails for 58€ at Frau Tonis.
The Body Shop Brazil Nut EDT – Did you know that in Brazil that it is illegal to cut down a Brazil nut tree? This is a really sweet nutty gourmand that goes with their Brazil Nut body line. Retails for $12 at The Body Shop.
Party All Night/Music
I have a feeling that many perfumes want us to think that all Brazilians do is party. And then drink. And then party some more. Nobody works. They just get waxed and tan and party 24/7…ugh. But, you know most of our lives are rather dull and the thought of non-stop parties appeal to some people.
Maitre Parfumeur Bahiana EDT – This is pretty much a fancier version of D&G Light Blue for Her. But, it has festive feathers! It’s a nice citrus with coconut water over “driftwood”. Retails for $130 at Luckyscent.
L’Artisan Parfumeur Batucada EDT – This is one of those tropical cocktails on the beach scents. It’s a salty citrus with aquatic florals. For some reason I like it, but I wore it to Puerto Rico and now associate it with that trip 🙂 Retails for $100 at Beautyhabit. Full review here.
Reminiscence Paris Rem & Bow EDT – This is a mango-marine tropical cocktail scent inspired by Brazil. Retails for $70 at Beautyhabit.
Escada Rockin’ Rio EDT – A super fruity fruit juice fragrance that suggests all one does in Rio is party. Retails for $75 at Macy’s.
DKNY I Heart Rio EDP – With a name like this, this flanker is destined to hit the discounters…yesterday. It’s an apple floral with the addition of “exotic” passionfruit. And isn’t it nice to know that DKNY hearts Rio? Anyway, retails for under $30 at Fragrancenet.
Beyonce Heat Rush EDP – Ugh, I hate the name of this flanker! It always makes me think of “heat rash”. It doesn’t directly say that Brazil is the inspiration but it does talk about hot nights and alludes to Brazil with notes of Brazilian cherry, mango, passion fruit, etc. It’s a musky fruity-floral that is like a cheapie Escada Rockin’ Rio. Retails for about $20 at Fragrancenet. Full review here.
Estee Lauder Brazil Dream EDP – This is one of those weird limited editions that Estee Lauder does that I can only find at duty free shops. Maybe I’m supposed to buy this when I’m traveling to or from Brazil? This is a fruity-coconut cocktail thing. Retails for about $30 at Fragrancenet.
As you can see most Brazil-inspired perfumes focus on food, fauna and festivals. I have never traveled to Brazil so I can’t say that these capture the essence of Brazil (and yes, it’s a huge country and it has many essences). For those that have traveled or live in the country, which perfumes or fragrances do you think best “represent” or you associate with the country?
Quick thoughts – notice how many of these bottles are orange and use warm colors? I’d love to see a perfume represent Brazil’s snowy mountains…give me something different.
Also, if you want to check out a Brazilian indie perfumer, let me suggest Ane Walsh Perfumes. I’ve reviewed her Essaouira and Robin. I love how she incorporates natural regional essences into her products. I want to see more indie Brazilian perfumers actually put Brazil into their perfumes…and then let me smell them 😉
I’m also intrigued by this Brazilian-based perfume, Angico Branco Mahogany. I know there are so many Brazilian brands out there that aren’t so easy for those in the U.S. to get their hands on! It’s interesting to see how Brazil marketed to those outside of Brazil varies from how Brazil is marketed to those living in Brazil.