To everything there is a season. I think one of the disciples said that, or maybe it was a Beatle. I'm not very well-versed with either, but I can only assume that they were talking about seasonal fragrances.
I love complex, sophisticated scents, but I also love a sweet, trashy perfume, especially in the summer months. Whether I like it or not, my go-to warm, spicy scents have to be put away during the hot weather because no one wants to be bogged down by their own heavy fragrance when they're sipping a marg on a patio in the middle of July.
The best summer scents don't come from perfumes at all. They're the mixing of sunscreen and tanning oil, the spray of a lime that has dried down on your skin, the sweet, sticky smell of stale beer, cigarette smoke, matte lipstick worn so long it has faded into a stain. The best summer scent isn't something that has been bottled (yet) so until some genius perfumer can capture that, we'll have to supplement it with other scents so sweet that they're begging to be worn in the summer sun.
My favorite summer fragrance release caught me completely by surprise. It's by Lacoste, of all brands, and part of their new Eau De Lacoste L.12.12 Pour Elle fragrance collection. There are three newbies: Elegant, which is very floral, not unremarkable, but nothing groundbreaking. Natural gets a little more exciting — a tropical cocktail that includes pineapple and coconut, two of my favorite fragrance notes.
But shit really pops off with Sparkling. The pink bottle gives you a hint as to what's in store for you, and the first spray hits you with it full throttle. It's Clueless in a bottle, or maybe Mean Girls, depending on what generation you're from.
Sparkling spills open with blackberry, red apple, mandarin, and a little bit of spice. The heart of the fragrance is what defines it — are you ready for it? The unapologetically sweet macaron and cotton candy, a pairing that tests the limits of even my sweet tooth. At the base, musk, vetiver, patchouli, and wood try to wrangle the scent back in, attempting to balance the scent and making it more palatable. I'm not sure it works, but I'm not sure it needs to.
The biggest surprise is that the fragrance itself is actually wearable. The cotton candy and macaron notes are right out front, but the muggy base of patchouli, wood, and musk play with your body chemistry and warm it up to you. It surrounds you before you notice it, but once you do...
The fruity top notes add a bit more depth to the scent, so it's not a one-note sugar bomb, but nothing takes away from the fact that it's a sexy, saccharine summer in a bottle. What saves it is its throw. The scent is a banger, but it stays close to you.
Switching your fragrances by season, occasion, and setting is great, but I firmly believe that you can and should wear whatever you want, whenever you want to. There's something fun about a fragrance that is fragrantly sugary without much of anything trying to tone it down. Sparkling doesn't lower its hemline, button its shirt, clean up its beard, or cover its tattoos. It's young, it's a blast, and it's bold.
What makes Sparkling so fun is that it's by Lacoste, the brand known for being so clean cut and preppy. Your high school boyfriend's parents that hated you wore Lacoste, or that prick that tried to get your number at the bar last weekend. Even I still shudder when I see that little crocodile patch coming toward me. It's never been a brand that I identified with, and I never really vibed with the people who did.
That's why Sparkling feels a little rebellious. The brand known so well for staying inside the lines drops a fragrance that's Barbie's Dream Car in a bottle. The scent is housed in a bottle of rose glass, which is appropriate, because when you're wearing it, it makes it feel like you're seeing everything through, well...you know.
Don't let the muted bottle fool you, everything about Sparking is hot pink. It's Angelyne, it's Jem, it's Rainbow Brite, it's a Marilyn by Warhol.
Sparkling is a Lacoste that I can relate to. It's a scent that I can party with, from a brand I didn't think I could. It's everything I like in a scent, but nothing I expected, especially from a brand like Lacoste. It's one of the most exciting scents of the season, in all of its candied, rebellious glory, and best of all, it's sitting right there, deceptively, waiting for you on your department store's fragrance counter.
What are your favorite candy-inspired scents? I've got a few more up my sleeve. What's your go-to summer fragrance? What are you wearing right now? You know what to do. See you down below.
Tynan smells like cotton candy on Twitter @TynanBuck.