James Heeley Sel Marin: The Smell Of Summer
by Martin Green
How does summer smell?
The answer to that question is probably different for everybody, but to me it’s the smell of the ocean on a warm day, with skin massaged by the waves and kissed by the sun. Although there are many ocean-inspired scents on the market, probably too many, I had yet to find one that captured the summer fragrance I knew.
Until a couple of years ago when I was at Paris’ Place Vendôme on watch-related business with time to kill. It was a particularly hot spring day and I decided to walk to the Tuileries.
That brought me through Rue de Castiglione, where I discovered Jovoy. Calling this place a perfume store, scent boutique, or anything similar fails to do it justice.
Although Jovoy is housed in a large space, the setup is quite intimate. That is most certainly a good thing because the array of brands available makes the word “impressive” sound like an understatement.
Even seasoned scent connoisseurs are bound to get lost in this store, but fortunately Jovoy has an excellent staff with an encyclopedic knowledge – and noses! It was to one of these fortunate souls that I described my perfect scent of summer, and without hesitation he took two steps, grabbed a bottle from one of the shelves, and introduced me to Sel Marin by James Heeley.
Heeley is not your typical perfumer. Born in Yorkshire, England, he studied philosophy and aesthetics at London’s Kings College. When it comes to scents, he’s an autodidact. This probably explains his unique approach, which he backs up by crafting the scents in the traditional French way.
Sel Marin is cleverly constructed. On the skin, especially when exposed to the sun, you smell salty sea water with a touch of algae; it’s easy to imagine being on the Hamptons constantly exposed to the ocean breeze. Heeley used lemon and Italian bergamot as the top notes for Sel Marin, which provides that freshness when the summer breeze hits you.
The body of the scent is sea salt and algae backed up with a strong backbone of cedar, musk, and leather.
The result is a very sophisticated scent that is unlikely to be to everyone’s taste. Where most aquatic scents reflect the happy ocean life in a “Finding Nemo” kind of way, Sel Marin is by far more serious, but a good kind of serious, like serious enough to be old enough to drink.
So strap on your favorite bronze watch (see Give Me Five! Bronze Watches At Baselworld 2016), spray on some Sel Marin, get in your car, throw the top down, play Don Henley’s “Boys Of Summer,” and head for the beach!
For more information, please visit www.jamesheeley.com/en/eau-de-parfum/91-sel-marin-travel-set.
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