5 Ocean Scents For Those Who Live Far From The Sea

Landlocked? These scents will transport you to your favourite beach (airfare not required).
Publish date:
June 17, 2014
perfume, Tokyomilk, fragrance, tocca, MCMC, demeter, ocean scents, salty scents

If you grew up by the ocean like I did, you know that it never really leaves your bones. Sometimes I feel like a fish out of water here in Toronto, where the lakes are often too dirty to swim in, and the nearest salt water is a decent drive away--about seven hours.

I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but I miss beach hair, gusts of salty wind, and sand in my shoes. I spend so much time daydreaming about the west coast (or any coast for that matter) and the ocean that I am starting to really, truly believe I’m actually a mermaid. (One could even argue my current state of obsession is borderline unhealthy. More on that coming up.)

Emmett and I spent a day in Rockaway Beach on our last trip to NYC just to get closer to the sea.

There are a few things that I find really help with my home (sea?) sickness, and they are as follows: thinking about moving to a coast, taking a trip to the ocean, using sea salt hairspray, decorating my house with beachy details like seashells, dressing up like a mermaid, and, more recently, using saltwater-y fragrances.

The last point has become a powerful and cherished way for me to pretend I’m somewhere near the sea. Moving isn’t really an option right now for me, and though I might have a chance to swim in salty water this summer on a very special vacation (fingers crossed), nothing has been booked yet, so all I can really do in the meantime is drape myself in sequins, seashells, and salty scents.

The best part about ocean-inspired scents is they’re all totally unique, just like different beaches and coastlines all over the world. Here are some of my favorites, and the special places they transport me to.

Demeter Salt Air

Demeter never lists the notes or ingredients in their fragrances, which can make it hard to decipher what's going on, but in this case, the smell is undebatable: this scent smells like a tropical beach. I wouldn’t describe it as sunscreen-like or coconut-y, though there is definitely a subtle element of that present. The first whiff is extremely salty, but it slowly fades into something more well-rounded--sort of sandy and sunny. This is what I imagine an all-inclusive resort in Mexico smells like, though I’ve never been to one myself.

TokyoMilk Marine Sel

This one reminds me of home. The first time I sprayed it, I was with a friend who’s also from Vancouver, and we sniffed it at the same time. I immediately said, “It’s like those places where the forest meets the sea.” And she replied, “You know, that’s exactly it." A strong, earthy scent, Marine Sel has notes of white wood, mineral salt, and soil, and it smells just like the air when I go cliff jumping along the British Columbia coast. It makes me homesick in the best possible way.

Tocca Simone

Fruity, sweet, and intoxicatingly fresh, Simone is Tocca’s newest fragrance, and it’s heavenly. This is a surprising combination of salt air, plus watermelon, ylang ylang, and blonde woods. Simone is a sun-kissed beauty who hangs out amongst surfers (and presumably dolphins) at Bondi Beach in Australia. I’ve haven’t personally been to Australia yet, but I’ll take Simone’s mermaid life over my real one any day!


True to its name, Maui really does capture its namesake tropical paradise. With notes of sea air, ginger, tuberose, anise, green bamboo, and frangipani, MCMC describes this fragrance as, “the essence of freedom with a laid-back vibe." Probably the least salty on this list, I love how Maui captures the warm floral magic of Hawaii’s beaches without being too explicit. I’ve been to Hawaii a handful of times, and this fragrance makes me want to hop on a plane and get lei’d all over again.

Demeter Ocean

This one doesn’t transport me to somewhere warm and sunny like the others, but instead to a chilly fishing village, where everyone wears wool sweaters and dines on fish and chips. I haven’t had the chance to explore Canada’s East Coast yet, but I imagine this scent would closely mirror the scent of the beach-side towns there. For me personally, though, the place it conjures up is Iceland--an incredibly tiny country with a lot of heart, and a lot of cold, salty water surrounding it. I cherished every moment I spent there, and actually jumped into the freezing ocean while visiting, so this scent brings back some near and dear memories, though it’s very salty--and a little more spicy--than I usually go for.

Do you like salty, ocean-y scents? What are some of your picks? And what's your favorite ocean?