The French jeweller from Saint-Tropez, André Gas, just introduced his first fragrance in 2006. It is called Ensoleille-Moi (Cast Sunshine on Me, Bathe me in sunshine, literally). It was composed by perfumer Mathilde Laurent. This profane prayer to the sun-god is yet another take on a beach scent, this time centered on Monoï. In Maohi, monoï means "sacred oil". In this case, it is more particularly a reference to a popular brand of suntan oil in Europe called Monoï Tahiti, but the Gas perfume derived from it is more sophisticated and polished than the original fragrant oil itself in which a tiare flower is seen macerating in coconut oil contained in a glass bottle. The original oil smells great but is more simply structured.
As the summer wanes, a little too soon alas in New England, my appetite for summery aromas may already feel a little décalé and out-of-season but how could I resist the luscious notes? If you like tropical beach scents you will fall for this one; it is a very good quality, complex, and elegant beach fragrance. If you uncork its flacon in winter it will easily ressuscitate for you the best days of summer or of past sojourns in tropical countries. Top notes are bergamot and tiare, heart notes are ylang-ylang and coconut, base notes are vanilla and white musk...
Ensoleille-Moi starts as light and cool as the juice of a fresh green coconut. It smells as limpid as clear water lightly scented with floating multi-colored exotic flowers. It reminds me of those dark orange and black Burmese lacquer rince-bowls of my childhood decorated with floating colorful and rich blossoms offered to guests at the end of a meal course requiring the use of fingers to pick up the food from plates. I feel refreshed as much by this evoking of a sensation of coolness in the midst of a constant summer as by the childhood memory.
The perfume then gathers up much more strength and develops body, taking on an intoxicating, full character. This excess mimics the luxuriance of tropical nature well. After the floral apotheosis, the perfume calms down and recedes like a wave, leaving the softness and calmness of coconut to soothe one's senses that were just before excited by the scents of flowers. Later, the perfume unfolds in all its langorous tropical creaminess, covering the skin with an aura of sensuality, both sweet and savory. The savoriness may as well suggest the saltiness of the sea - the grains of salt left on the skin - as the taste of a Thai coconut curry. Staying power is good but not outstanding, especially if you compare it with Fire Island by Bond no 9 which has raised the bar in this respect. It will probably not resist a couple of dives, but who said beach scents were just meant for the beach? These perfumes work great as de-stressers and comfort scents.
Update: Ensoleille Moi is available through telephone orders in two sizes at their New York boutique and retails for $85 and $65 for the 100 ml and 50 ml flacon editions respectively.
238 Mott St., New York, NY 10012
near Prince St.