Seashells at the Seashore- Profumum Roma Acqua di sale (1996)

‘The sun sets, behind your cheek

You are a little silly and will probably fall asleep soon

We have played like crazy all day, and had a ball

We were at the beach, and even talked of sleeping over,

But now it’s too windy, and it’s bloody cold,

And soon the sun will go to sleep’

by ‘Shit & Chanel’ 1978.

 

No matter where in Denmark you’re never far from a coast, and one of my favourite things to do is going for a walk on the beach on a sunny day long before or after the water temperatures become something you can bathe in.

A friend of mine alerted me to Acqua di Sale by Profumum Roma, which reminds me of just that; a walk on the beach when the weather gets warmer, and yet is far too cold once the sun sets.

shit og chanelThe song quoted above is a Danish pop song written by 1970s all female band ’Shit & Chanel’[1]. Quite a few of the band members are still active musicians and still very popular, which doesn’t make this old hit less famous. Apart from the catchy 1970s singer-song writer style and tune, I believe it’s the touching lyrics, sung by the lead singer to her daughter, which makes it so vastly popular. We that grew up with these songs as the soundtrack of our early childhood, and went to the beach similar to the description, remembering the cold air sneaking in upon a sunny day, the first day of bare feet in the sand, and sleeping soundly from the fresh sea air, to us the song is not just a musical flashback, but perhaps at that moment the composer/singer were singing our collective memory of a day on the beach.

Acqua di Sale with its official notes of salt, myrtle, cedar wood and seaweed, smells like a memory of a day on the beach, sea swept, salty hair and lips, sand in the shoes, warm cheeks. It has the unmistakable oceanic smell, yes also as in a ‘marine chord’ and what you might find in various ‘clean’ fragrances, but thanks to the saltiness, the herbs and a whiff of old salty algae, here it’s right, it belongs and becomes truly marine as in sand, shells and shore.49904

It was probably meant to be evoking Mediterranean shores, rather than Baltic ones, and the style for sure is Italian in its temper[2], but to me it might as well be a northern coast with its gushes of cold wind carrying the scent of sea air and minerals and the cries of sea gulls. Although Acqua di Sale is in many ways bottled memory, it still manages to be also a perfume, it never become just a ‘smell’. To me that’s important, it’s as with the song and text from before, something which awakens a memory and yet becomes its own thing; a sea song? A new memory perhaps?

 

 

[1] On a perfume related note, you will probably have noticed the proper female propagandistic band name ‘Shit & Chanel’ (one album even called Chanel no 5, even if this wasn’t their 5th album), while catchy and very 1970s red-stocking movement and all, in Paris Chez Coco, one did not find this amusing, Chanel threatened to sue, where after the band changed its name to ‘Shit & Chalou’

 

[2] Meaning; do not overspray, or the ocean might overwhelm you with ‘marine’, as it did me on first application.

Feat pic by me, Shit & Chanel from vinylpladen.dk, uncreditable picture from beach nær Greve in Denmark.

14 thoughts on “Seashells at the Seashore- Profumum Roma Acqua di sale (1996)

  1. Beautiful review, Asali. Interesting how you describe Acqua di Sale, your trips to THE sea and the Danish music. Do you wear it yourself as a fragrance ?

    • Thank you Esperessence. Yes, my friend gave me a decant that I enjoy wearing. You will probably know it’s not my usual style, but this one made me instantly think of this song, and at the moment I seem to enjoy salty fragrances… That’s the fun of it, there’s always something new to explore.

  2. Asali, what a lovely review to read today when I am at the beach – and your entire post is evocative of the day we had. Mark and I decided to take a vacation to Isle of Palms, South Carolina, and this was our first full day here, during which we walked barefoot in the sand (or at least I did) for a full ten miles, in sunlight but air that quickly was growing cool by the time we finished up.

    I love your conclusion, where you compare the perfume to being like the song, in that both are “something which awakens a memory and yet becomes its own thing.” Yes, that’s the very thing that makes something special – that makes art truly art, in other words. Speaking of which, your seashell painting is sublime.

    • Dear Suzanne, what timing, and I can absolutely image the day you’ve had, I wish I had been there too. Oh that first barefoot moment…
      Today my scarf still smells of AdS, and I keep thinking sand, sea, sun…
      Thank you, as you know it always means a lot to me 🙂

  3. Lovely review, Asali. 🙂 I’ve been looking for some summer fragrance and this sounds so fitting. I’d really love to give this one a try, but I’m a little hesitant since I’m not a huge fan of marine note. Maybe I should get a tiny sample.
    By the way, the watercolour is just fabulous. I’d love to hang it on the wall in my living room!!

    • Hmmm, yes, the marine note is definitely that, but it sits quite different from in other perfumes I ever tried and it adds a nice coolness to the scent too that I like. With this one (as with just about any fragrance) I would definitely advice a sample. I’m happy with a decant, since it’s such a special scent, I’m not sure I could wear it all summer. But then, the thought of only wearing one perfume all summer is not an attractive one either way…
      Awww, thanks, that’s sweet 🙂

  4. What a lovely post. Synchroncity indeed – though I think yours sounds better 🙂

    Fabulously evocative writing, especially loved the bare feet, sea gulls and falling soundly asleep after all that invigorating sea air. Just fab.

    Learning about the band was an added bonus.

    • Thank you Tara, well, it was just one of those where you read the notes, and yes, that’s basically it, but the feeling it gives is also much more than that. It also has the Italian temper, which is probably a major difference to the Jo Malone…
      The first time I wore the fragrance I could not get the song out of my head. Even if a Danish band from the 70s might not be very interesting to everyone else, I thought their name and consequent lawsuit might be quite fun for perfume enthusiasts to hear about.

  5. Overwhelming marine is not what I’d go for either. 🙂
    I think I actually smelled this and thought it was rather good. Sometimes marine notes actually work. 😉

    • Exactly, well said, this perfume kind of reminded me why that accord was even invented!

  6. Lovely review, which dovetails beautifully with those song lyrics. I haven’t thought of this perfume in years, but I remember quite liking its bracing marine notes when I tried it in Harrods – in fact I wish the new Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt had been a little bit more in that vein. I agree that it can be overdone too. It is a perfect scent to be paired with your extensive coastline too. I have memories of being stuck at the end of the road half way up the west coast, a stretch of water ahead, and my heart sinking, as I had a ferry to catch to Gothenburg. I remember the wind whipping my face as I peered at a sign on a pole by the shore. Just then, a small boat hove into view, manned by two gnarled old men. It had room for a couple of cars, and on I drove!

    And what a great band name – new on me, though I was into all sorts back then.

    • Another thumbs up for the marine note used here, I’m glad to hear it. With the number of new brands and perfumes one tends to forget the ‘good old’ niche perfumes, I mean 1996, if not actually vintage then look at it this way; had it been Chanel or Dior it would already have been pre-pre-reformulation ;-). What a shame that Jo Malone is perhaps not coastal enough, I should still lie a sniff some time.
      And lucky you for finding a boat big enough to take you and your car to Sweden just when you most needed it, that sea wind might smell good, but it isn’t always your friend.

  7. I like your review much more than, I think, I’d like the perfume – which I might never confirm since this is one of those brands that isn’t easy to come around here and I’m not so curious to start hunting the sample. But your review is very beautiful.

    ” it still manages to be also a perfume, it never become just a ‘smell’. To me that’s important,” – this is very important to me as well! I really prefer perfumes not to cross into the “just a smell” area: while I enjoy many smells I don’t necessarily want to be their carrier 😉

    • Exactly. I think it’s why soliflores and gourmands are always a bit complicated for me, since I am neither a dessert nor a rose bed.
      I am not sure this one would be for you either, perhaps a bit too Italian? But thanks for the compliment:-)

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