By Betsy Aaron

With the descent of the dog daze, the last thing I want is to be on the subway. The next-to-last thing I want, if forced to endure a subterranean commute, is to arrive at my destination smelling like, well, a dog. Since I’ll be in the city working like said canine this summer, I thought I’d bone up on my scentimental education.

Sublime, by Ajne, the organic perfume apothecary located in Carmel, California, is aptly named. I haven’t thought of myself as a soft, floral type since the rebellious age at which I rejected most things pink and girly. Apparently, my inner girly self slept like Snow White waiting to be awakened by this scent. It comes bottled in a pendant, has a top-note of lime citrus with a powdery heart of linden and a vanilla base. It’s intimate and seductive, perfect for protection on sweaty subways, warm, yet light and inviting for sultry, summer days – and hot, hot nights.


Roses Solid Perfume from Aftelier Perfumes is not the cloying floral your third grade teacher drowned herself in daily. The beautifully packaged scent is subtle, soft and smells of actual, fresh flower petals. As it melts onto your pulse points, you’ll find yourself transcending the stinky F train to meander in a dusky garden- is it Italian or Indian? Fir Solid Perfume, also in a base of organic beeswax and jojoba oil, is herbaceous, earthy, and savory likes olives in Barcelona. It’s delicious and would be more so when worn by an other of significance. The two scents mixed together will transport you to a shaded arbor in a rose garden at twilight and that’s what I call an alchemical get-away.


I’ve never been sold by celebrity endorsement but I do admire Tilda Swinton both for her acting chops and her iconic sense of style. I was curious about what kind of scent would bear her signature and the name, “Like This,” after the poem by Rumi which goes, in part, like this: “If anyone asks you how the perfect satisfaction of all our sexual wanting will look, lift your face and say, Like This.” Like This Tilda Swinton from Etat Libre D’Orange is composed of mandarin, ginger, pumpkin, neroli, vetiver and “musks,” which, as nature lovers know, are now necessarily synthetic and require purists to be a bit flexi. This warm, cozy scent has legs and would be great for traveling when you want a reminder of home.

Availability: Henri Bendel, Fifth Ave and

For a natural fragrance that transports you this summer, follow your nose – and carry a small fan to keep the strong scents of the subway far, far away.

Originally published August 2010
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