Big Island Vacation, Episode I: Perfumes

Until recently I thought that Maui was my favorite island, so over the last many years that was our most frequent vacation destination. But this year we decided we wanted a change and, after a short hesitation, booked our trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. Just in case you were wondering, we hesitated because of the recent volcano eruption but then decided it would be fine. Luckily for us, many others were less adventurous, so … OK, I won’t say that we had the whole island to ourselves but it was much less crowded than it could have been.

Hawaii Big Island

We managed to pack a lot into six days we spent there, and I plan to cover some of the highlights in the next several posts. But I want to start with the most appropriate topic for this blog: perfumes.

Over years of going to Hawaii I collected a wardrobe of perfumes that I always bring with me.

The only full bottle of perfume that has ever traveled with me anywhere is Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder. I bring it with me to every tropical vacation (Big Island, Kauai and Maui). This time though I used it less often than I normally do because we shared the condo with our friends, and I couldn’t do my usual ritual of walking to the fridge (where I keep Bronze Goddess when in Hawaii), spraying it all over my body and putting on my clothes after that. But it still got several generous applications during the trip and enjoyed it every time.

Hawaii Big Island Perfumes

My “vacation in a bottle” perfume – Ginger Ciao by Yosh – was as great on actual vacation as I remembered. Tiare by Ormonde Jayne and I have rekindled our friendship after a recent cooling-off, and both Tiare and its sister Frangipani felt wonderfully appropriate for the place.

Unexpectedly, I came to the realization that I should stop bringing to Hawaii Bombay Bling! by Neela Vermeire Creations. For years I thought it was a very good fit and kept being slightly disappointed: it didn’t smell as great as I remembered and usually would disappear too quickly from my skin. This trip we stayed in for dinner more often than went out, so I got to wear Bombay Bling! in a well air-conditioned room. Under these circumstances, with little heat or humidity involved, this perfume bloomed wonderfully, and I could still smell it in my hair throughout the night. So, while I still love it, no more Hawaii vacations for Bombay Bling!

Neela Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling!

L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Traversee du Bosphore and Byredo’s Pulp both are perfumes that I wear only in hot and humid weather, and these both were predictably good though I would prefer to spray them more liberally, which I couldn’t do this time: since the Island is called “Big” not for nothing, and it takes a couple of hours one way to get almost anywhere besides the close-by beach, we often voted for going somewhere in one car. And while it allowed us to spend more time in each other’s company, I had to be mindful of having four people in closed quarters for hours – so I was very discreet with my perfume application.

One more perfume that has proved absolutely not suited for the tropical weather was Selva Do Brazil by Parfums Berdoues. I brought my ScentBird decant of it with me thinking it would be just perfect there. It smelled very nice indeed… all 15 minutes that I could smell it either on me or on my vSO. I guess, Selva Do Brazi is one of those perfumes that are great to convey the idea of tropics rather than to be used there. Though, with hindsight, maybe it wasn’t that bad considering long car rides… Nah, probably still no.

I also did some testing of new for me perfumes, but I’ll probably leave it for the next post.

Hawaii Big Island Sunset

Do you have any perfumes that you always use for something particular – an event, place or something along these lines?

Images: my own


41 thoughts on “Big Island Vacation, Episode I: Perfumes

  1. I haven’t been on holiday for a very long time, so have no recommendations for vacations! But I usually wear Chamade for hospital appointments; maybe this is a weird choice, but it makes me feel a bit more “grown up”, offers a bit of protection with its galbanum and sandalwood, and positivity and hope with its spring vibe of hyacinth.

    I would be intrigued to know about your falling out then reconciliation with Tiare – what was the problem? I’ve had the cooling off but haven’t yet renewed my wearing. I found she was smelling too “salty” for my nose, and I was missing the actual tiare note.


    • Love Chamade and also think of it as of a spring perfume. I should try its calming effect on my next doctor’s visit.
      I like many things about the theme I use for blog but the way they handle links: it’s almost impossible to see them in the text! You can read all the details about our “falling out” with Tiare – I linked the story there, but the link wasn’t obvious until, after your question, I remembered that I usually try to add an artificial underlining to the links I insert into my posts :).


  2. Oh, so many favourites in one post! Ginger Ciao and Bronze Goddess in particular – they are made for the summer. May I also say how thoughtful you are around your friends to ensure they are not exposed to unsolicited sillage in either the car or the apartment. I don’t put much scent on at the best of times, but that is something I might forget to be careful about if I did. Glad you had a good holiday and look forward to reading more about it..;)


    • In case with apartment I wasn’t worrying that much about sillage (my friends are “perfume-friendly”) but was rather limited by the sense of propriety: I think you’ll agree that even with the closest friends it would have been just a little strange if I were to march naked through the living room to the fridge to apply my perfume before dressing ;)


  3. I haven’t been on a real vacation in about 21 years. However, the original Prescriptives Calyx reminds me of summer many many many years ago…the Long Island beaches, my favorite local Thai restaurant and dancing in Manhattan clubs. That was my go to scent for many summers when I was young, carefree and single.


      • I haven’t had a bottle of Calyx in ages . I did buy a bottle of the reformulated one when Prescriptives was bought out by Clinique but it wasn’t the same..much tamer and more floral.


  4. I have never found anything I enjoy more at the beach than Bronze Goddess! My huge bottle from ten years ago is almost empty. I hope it hasn’t changed significantly as I will be needing more soon.


  5. I have a travel Bronze Goddess that always goes to Florida with me for spring break. I rarely remember to use it the rest of the time so I spray liberally on vacation!


  6. Hi my dear,
    thanks for starting to share your 2018 vacation with you.

    I don’t have any attachment to the perfume you wear during your holidays (this could be our biggest difference!) except for Bombay Bling – which it’s a shame that it didn’t work in the heat of Big Island. Summers here are different and it works then.

    I like to wear my Prada Amber Pour Homme to any formal activities – job interviews, work presentations etc.


    • I’m not surprised that you are not a fan of the most of my vacation perfumes: they are more on a feminine side, and you and I usually coincide on those that are unisex.
      Bombay Bling will get enough love and skin time outside of a week-long (at best) Hawaii vacation, so don’t worry about it :).


  7. We go to the beach in Maine every summer, but a proper ‘get on a plane’ vacation hasn’t happened for about 10 years.
    Fragrances that remind me of good times on past vacations would include Antonia’s Flowers, Aromatic Elixir, Gucci Envy, Wood Sage and Sea Salt. But the most evocative fragrance would be that of Bain de Soleil tanning gellée.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They still make that Bain De Soleil??? Love that scent!!! Next time you are in Maine let me know if you have a “permanent” address.


          • Is it the Bain de Soleil gelée in a tube? The tube is orange-ish with some brown. The tanning gelée comes out the texture of Vaseline and is transparent orange. If that’s what you see, you’re in luck. That’s the original that smelled divine!
            If it’s a Bain de Soleil Lotion, as opposed to gelée in a bottle, that comes out like a thin, white liquid. It doesn’t smell anything like that thick, heavy gelée.
            Please tell me what you’ve found. I’ve been hunting down the original for years!


              • Yes!! That’s it. That stuff is sooo thick and tacky, it’s like smearing Vaseline all over your body. If you wear it to the beach and it’s a windy day, guaranteed you’re going to end up looking like a piece of Shake ‘n Bake chicken. And you’ll never get the sand off by going in the ocean either. The whole lot needs to be washed off with soap in the shower. But oh my! It smells great (or used to) and leaves your skin incredibly soft.
                I’ve ordered the single because I need to know if it still smells the same. But really? It’s going to cost me almost $18.00 with all the duties and taxes we get slapped with 🙄. However, I’m doing this for all of you and for scientific purposes. I guess I’ll need to book a beach vacation right quick and do some in situ testing. Will I or won’t I end up looking like Shake ‘n Bake? Oh! And do they still make that stuff?


    • Antonia’s Flowers is one of those brands that is a mystery to me: they still produce perfumes (and those are still sold at Barneys!), but I never hear anything about them. I still like their Tiempe Passate. The bottle of Antonia Flowers that I had had gone bad, and I haven’t replaced it. I should check if my other samples are still OK: I’m curious what I’ll think about them now.


      • I bought my first Antonia’s Flowers in the 80’s somewhere on Florida’s west coast. Naples? Fort Myers? Used it up real fast and my husband adored it on me.
        The second bottle my SIL brought back from New York for me. Still gorgeous, but my tastes were changing and I did not finish it. When I did smell it after a year or so, it had gone off. I don’t think her fragrances keep well.
        But, I still keep the bottle, with a tiny bit of the fragrance in it to remind me of all the wonderful March Break vacations we enjoyed in Florida 🌴🌴 ⛱🏝

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ll interpret your question as what perfumes do you bring on vacation. I’m lazy, so I have staples that live in my suitcase (Chanel No. 19 EDP, No. 5 EDT and No. 5 L’Eau). If the weather will be very hot, I tend to bring Atelier Cologne Cedrat Enivrant and Hermes EdM Bleue.

    Thanks for sharing your vacation. As much as I like traveling with friends. I generally dislike having to “compromise”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My question was “broader” – not necessary for a vacation but any repetitive rituals – like for job interviews, important meetings or going to theater.

      The friends we went with are our usual partners in Hawaii trips. Normally we go for two separate apartments. But this time the condo was big enough to share, and though we had two cars, since this time we did many things together (which isn’t always the case during these trips), driving both cars for hours seemed inconvenient. But, in general, perfumes were the only sacrifice I had to make.


  9. Hey Undina,
    I LOVE your usual Bronze Goddess ritual. How freaking decadent and lavish.
    My usual holiday frags are Niki de Saint Phalle, vintage Miss Dior extrait and whichever of the Hermès 15ml travel bottles I grab as I’m packing. Mohair travels with me quite often as did Guerlain Oriental Brulant while I had a 15ml decant.
    Other things come on and off.
    Something I particularly like to wear to bed is CHANEL No 5, but haven’t done it for ages.
    Portia xx


    • Since I like rituals in general, I have many “designated” perfumes for different occasions – tropical vacation, winter vacation, planes, etc. For all other trips I also tend to take whatever I have as a travel bottle or a decant.


  10. Beautiful photos and it sounds like you were perfectly scented the entire time! Interesting findings about your Bombay Bling. I would never have suspected that it was more A/C friendly but it makes sense. I have sampled that one before and it is lovely but maybe I didn’t connect with it due to the Florida heat and humidity. I love to wear Solstice Scents Foxcroft EDP anytime I go to a fall festival or pumpkin patch. It is a lovely autumnal atmospheric. <3


    • Thank you, Julie.

      Clearly, I didn’t expect that from Bombay Bling since it’s not the first (or even second time) when I bring it with me to Hawaii :) But since I spend most of my year NOT in Hawaii, and our climate is not humid, I hope I’ll have enough time to enjoy BB where it works the best.


  11. Loved reading about your vacation selection, Undina. Looking forward to more Hawaii posts. I used to use whatever seductive perfume I had on me when I had to hand in a file to the big boss. I like to think it worked like a charm! Tee hee!


  12. Pingback: Big Island Vacation, Episode II: Perfume Testing – Undina's Looking Glass

  13. I’m SO behind, but thanks for sharing your vacation, I wouldn’t mind a bit of Tropical Island holiday. I’m glad you found good use for Bombay Bling. Although isn’t it funny, what you *think* works and what *actually* works are often not the same. It has kept me from buying perfume abroad because I’ve been disappointed at how the same perfume performs in the Danish climate. I hardly ever bring bottles on holiday, but travel sprays and samples, so it’s often random.

    Liked by 1 person

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