Scents of My Hawaii Vacation

What did my Hawaii vacation smelled of? It smelled of freshly mowed grass on a golf course next to our condo; of papayas, mangos and dragon fruits we were eating for breakfast; of a night ocean breeze and sun-heated seaweed as we walked along beaches; of orchids (including the one that smelled like chocolate!), plumerias and other tropical flowers, of greenery wet with rain and of dusty lava fields – as we hiked in the volcano park; of 100% Kona coffee and white Hawaiian honey we tried at different coffee farms. But since it is not a travel blog I should probably write about more important stuff – perfumes.

Hapuna beach parkFor this week-long trip I decided to be “minimalistic”: one full bottle, one mini, one travel spray and two sample vials. I’ve voted against any new perfume testing not to skew the first impression by the unusual heat, humidity and … by being on a vacation.

You know how when you’re flying any airline they start the boarding with the first/business class passengers, then members of their super-duper-exclusive clubs, then… During this trip United has overdone itself: I couldn’t imagine there were so many special privileged categories. It felt like there were more passengers labeled one way or the other than “regular” ones.

My vSO and I have many small rituals and traditions when we travel together. One of the newest rituals is sharing Voyage d’Hermes scent for the flight. We use it from a mini bottle (dabbed, not sprayed) so it’s very light and not offensive to those around us but if we lean close we can get a whiff of it from each other. So my flight was scented by Voyage d’Hermes and, on a several occasions, by my neighbor‘s very strongly perfumed but luckily short-lived B&B Works’ Orange Ginger lotion (I didn’t ask, I recognized the scent).

Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder

Bronze Goddess with dragon< fruit>s

Bronze Goddess is such a beautiful perfume! Never too much, never too annoying but always summer-y, bright and perky. Just right for a perfect day in tropics. Being “pigmentally” challenged (©Olfactoria’s Travels – please read her very enticing and nicely illustrated review of Bronze Goddess), the closest I could ever get to being a bronze goddess is to smell like one. I did.

Speaking of [not] tanning. I know that summer is over for most of my blogo-friends, but I still want to mention three products with sunscreen by which I swear (links aren’t affiliate, just for the illustration purposes): Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Spray for body – very easy to apply, not greasy, with a subtle scent (for a sunblock), doesn’t leave white residue; Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream SPF 55 PA+++ for face (for swimming or hiking) – absorbs well, doesn’t leave shine or residue, doesn’t clog pores (I have a sensitive skin); and Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream SPF 35 PA+++ for face (for less engaging activities) – the similar characteristics as for the face cream above but with less SPF and not being water-resistant, it’s really lightweight.

As I promised to my new perfume friend Tiare by Ormonde Jayne, I took her with me on my tropical vacation. In the evenings when an ocean breeze would put out a day heat, all dressed-up for dinner I would adorn myself with Tiare. I truly enjoyed her company. I think it is a perfect perfume for a tropical night out. It feels so right in place on the open terrace under the moonless starry sky, surrounded by palm trees and the sound of the invisible ocean just a hundred steps in front of you. And a slick travel spray will fit even into the smallest purse. Read real reviews for Ormonde Jayne’s Tiare at Olfactoria’s Travels and Bonkers about Perfume.

Two samples that I brought with me to Hawaii were Frangipani by Ormonde Jayne and Black Orchid by Tom Ford. I wore Frangipani one night and I was surprised that I liked it much less than I remembered. It was still nice but something was wrong. When I came home and checked my notes, I found out that I liked Frangipani a lot in winter (ok, that was a Californian winter), on cool but sunny days. So for whatever reasons a tropical flower-based perfume doesn’t work for me in tropics – go figure. On the other hand, Black Orchid about behavior of which in a hot weather I had my reservations was just wonderful. I do not know if I should partially attribute that success to the place I was visiting at the moment, so – just in case you ever decide to reproduce the experiment to a tee – I give you all the details.

Mauka Coffee FarmMauka Coffee FarmMauka Coffee Farm

If you ever travel to Big Island I full-heartedly recommend visiting Mauka Meadows Coffee Farm. I’m a coffee fan but not a connoisseur so I cannot tell if their coffee is really good though I liked it enough to buy some coffee to bring home. But it’s not the coffee that made the place special for me. It’s their garden. Their own website doesn’t do them justice! They have beautiful well-kept grounds – a coffee farm surrounded by a very organic fusion of a tropical-themed Japanese garden and a fruit orchard. This area of the island is very wet, so it’s not too hot and it rains there often in the afternoons. The first nice touch was a selection of umbrellas to borrow in a shed  on the parking lot. As you walk through the gardens, down to the main pavilion, you can not only enjoy the view but also you can sample fruits from the trees along your path. We ate very ripe and flavorful small red guavas right off the tree. Also, for the first time in my life, I tried fresh macadamia nuts (there was a special cracker placed next to nut trees). I’m glad I do not have an easy access to those nuts: it would have been an awful temptation.

Mauka Coffee FarmWhen you reach the foot of the hill you are greeted with a sample of their coffee. You can sit (either under the roof of the open pavilion or, if weather permits, outside at one of the lawn tables) and enjoy the tranquility of the view – a water pool flowing to the horizon and meditation music. There is no pressure to buy anything but if you want they offer three types of coffee in a variety of sizes and local honey. A minivan is ready to take you back up to the parking lot (unless you choose – as we did – to walk back through the garden). The first time we came there just by chance when we couldn’t find the coffee farm recommended on Yelp. But it was so peaceful and so beautiful that in a couple of days I just had to go there again. That was when I wore Black Orchid and it completed the wonderful experience.

Hawaii - Paradise on EarthIf anybody still had any doubts, here’s the proof that Hawaii is a Paradise on Earth: more than once we observed the commensalism, peaceful coexistence of local cats, birds, and mongooses (click on the image to see two mongooses eating/drinking from cats’ bowls).

The trip, as great as it was, wouldn’t be complete without some interesting new perfumed experience, right? So for those who are still reading, I want to announce that in the upcoming week I plan to publish an addendum to my vacation story to share with you my unexpected perfumed encounter. Stay tuned!

As always, feel free to post a link to your blog’s post(s) related to the topic.

Images: my own


33 thoughts on “Scents of My Hawaii Vacation

  1. I love reading about your vacation in Hawaii. It’s one of those many many places that are still on my ToGo list. But I am going to Greece next week so I’ll probably be doing a post on how I smelled there, as well :)


  2. I always wanted to go to Hawaii on my honeymoon, but we only made it to the East coast. Your post reminded me that someday I have to go, it sonds heavenly!
    Your perfume choices seem to have fit perfectly.
    Thank you for the links! :)


    • All Hawaiian islands are very interesting and worth going (ok, Oahu is my least favorite, but even there you can find something to see for one visit) and I hope one day you’ll be able to visit it. And when you do, I’ll be really curious which perfumes you’ll take with you.


  3. You made me laugh at least twice; I love that ;)

    That photo with BG and the fruit is stunning! It looks like an advertisement from a magazine— I hope you frame it!!!

    I also love the idea of you and your VSO leaning close and sneaking sniffs off of each other; it’s adorable and romantic, and it makes me want to try Voyage again…



    • Thank you, Dee. You were on my mind during the whole trip :)

      To tell you the truth, I bought those dragon fruits with the picture in mind. And then had a real photo session one morning trying different combinations, positions, etc.

      If you need more encouragement for trying Voyage, find and re-read Birgit’s review for it.


  4. I love your article, as it’s about two of my favorite subjects. I too think that Bronze Goddess is perfect for Hawai’i. I need to get more of it so I can SPRAY! I do enjoy certain fragrances more in Hawai’i. Some things (Diptyque Do Son, for example) really bloom on the skin in the warm humidity there. I’m glad to have discovered your blog, and now I see that Dee (this has got to be Dee from NST, one of my scent twins?) has a blog too. I’ve been missing a lot!


    • Hi Heidi, nice to see you here. I “know” you from the NST and FBFF.

      I guess that the first favorite subject was Bronze Goddess. What about the second one? Did you mean Hawaii or Dee? ;)


  5. It sounds like you had a great time, and what a gorgeous environment! Hawaii is so beautiful. I’m looking forward to reading part two.


  6. Love the picture of Bronze Goddess with Dragon Fruit! What an amazing holiday destination – I have always wanted a proper “tropical paradise” holiday, and yours sounds perfect. Admire your discipline at taking so few perfumes with you, and am happy that Tiare (a bit love of mine) made the cut. Thanks for the mention, by the way!

    Did you come across any Saffron Jameses, the indigenous perfume house, I believe? I like a couple of those. And were there any avocado trees growing by the beaches?


    • Vanessa, I think that Hawaii is a perfect tropical destination: the best thing about that place is that since it’s a part of the U.S. there is no real poverty. While enjoying your vacation you do not have to feel guilty seeing a real outside of the gated wealth (I had that unpleasant feeling during my trip to Mexica).

      We saw many avocado trees (with avocados on them) in different gardens in the wet part of the island but not along the beaches since it’s too dry in that area.

      I haven’t had a chance to try Saffron Jameses, I was on a different island. Now I’m curious. Which ones did you like?


      • I would definitely like Hawaii then from your description – sounds idyllic! That’s interesting about the avocados too..

        I have only tried the original three Saffron Jameses, thanks to a tip off from lovethescents (another NST reader), and liked Ume and Le’a best, plus the drydown of Punono. That one was rather full on like MH Fleur Oriental, but improves as it develops.


  7. Sounded like a great vacation!
    I loved the cats and your picture of Bronze Goddess is just gorgeous!
    … I bought BG when I realized that I want a tropical vacation sooo bad, and that it probably won’t happen this year. Bronze Goddess became a friend who comforted me.


    • It was a very nice vacation, I wish it could be a little longer…

      I have several better pictures of those cats but mongooses ran away by the time I got into the better position so I had to use this one to illustrate my thought.


  8. Thank you for sharing your adventures! I’m glad you had a wonderful time.
    I have always wanted to visit the islands of Hawaii. One day, I will.

    I’m looking forward to part 2.


  9. Oooh, Hawaii, lucky you! I’m totally jealous; here in Pennsylvania, we’ve had about 4 nice days since the start of September. It’s pretty much been solid rain here and utterly miserable.

    I’m glad you had such a wonderful trip, Undina. Looking forward to reading the second installment. Until then, aloha!


  10. OMG!
    What a lovely vacation (and a wonderful smelling one). :)
    Thank you for sharing, as the chances of me getting ever there are very slim, this is the next best thing.


    • Thank you, Ines. You never know where life brings you so you can hope to go there one day. But in any case I’m sure there are beautiful (and definitely wonderful-smelling ;)) destinations closer to where you live.


  11. Undina, after reading your opening paragraph, I closed my eyes on this foggy and dreary New England day and was nearly transported to Hawaii. And a coffee farm in the middle of paradise seems absolutely heavenly! Thanks for sharing!


    • Thank you for reading. I was so taken by that coffee farm that I wanted to share it with as many friends as possible! I even think about e-mailing them and offerring to contribute some of my pictures if they want to use them on their website.


  12. Hawaii is so beautiful! The CEO and I spent about five days there four years ago – two in Honolulu visiting the Univ. of HI and the Pearl Harbor memorial as well as an afternoon and evening at Waikiki, which is pretty cliched but still gorgeous, and the rest on the Big Island, visiting Volcanoes National Park. I much preferred the “real people live here” feeling of the Big Island.

    Gorgeous. And lovely photos.

    (I like B&BW Orange Ginger lotion myself. If it went on smelling like that for hours, I’d probably hate it.)


    • Thank you, Mals.

      Oahu is my least favorite island: it reminds me of a tropical but somehow poorer version of Las Vegas. It’s too croweded, too touristy and too city-like. Thought historical part (Pearl Harbor, Missoury Memorial and Submarine Museum) is worth visiting at least once.
      Big Island keeps developing. I visited it four years ago as well and this year I could definitely tell that a lot has changed (so far – to the better, I think).


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