Monday, August 28, 2017

Travels in Spain, Part One: Mallorca with Keiko Mecheri Isles Lointaines

My vacation to Spain started on the beautiful island of Mallorca and I have my friend "A" to thank for deciding to celebrate her birthday with friends on this idyllic spot in the Mediterranean Sea off the Spanish coast. I'm not sure that Mallorca would have ever been on my travel radar otherwise.  We were situated on the southeastern  coast near a national park. Our base was Santanyi, a quaint town with golden stone buildings, picturesque bell towers, and a string of umbrella clad cafes in the town square. In addition to the well known tourist beaches there were secret hidden swimming spots accessed by a trudge down rocky paths lined with scrubby trees, suddenly opening to tiny perfect turquoise swimming beaches bordered with white sand. Most of my beach experiences have been around Asia where I've lived the last many years and I have a repertoire of perfumes that smell of sultry jasmine, coconut sun block, and sea water that I reach for when going to these destinations. I sensed that Mallorca's beaches would be a different experience and wanted something out of the ordinary to commemorate my introduction to European beach life.

A recent purchase of Keiko Mecheri Isles Lontaines seemed to be a good bet so I decanted a large sample and off we went. Keiko Mecheri is one of those brands that has been around for quite some time and has a large number of perfumes on offer, but it is not always the easiest brand to find. Ms. Mecheri is most known for Loukhoum, a perfumed ode to the Turkish treat Rahat Loukhoum which became one of those cult perfumes everyone wanted to try. I've sampled several of Ms. Mecheri's perfumes and I always felt that Loukhoum, the one that brought her the most attention, was a little out of character from her other offerings. Personally I love it but it's a powerhouse whereas I find most of her perfumes to have a certain restraint.

Gardenia and sweet almond are listed as the opening notes for Isles Lointaines but for me the gardenia is muddled with the jasmine and tiare from the beginning to form a soft mishmash of white florals. Gardenia and jasmine can both appear as sultry or green in perfumes, but in this perfume they do neither. They are a poised and polished vase of white flowers with lashes of almond blossom thrown in. Not one of the white flowers is a solitary standout although jasmine makes itself the most present on my skin. The sweet almond note is soft and powdery without the strong foody note that some almond perfumes can have like this one from Prada. The sweet almond serves to cocoon the florals in a cottony soft cloud, keeping everything somewhat refined and reserved. If you are wary of white florals you may think they are fairly strong, but as as an indolic white flower lover I find them fairly tame. The scent gives me the polished beach vibe I'm looking for, more glam and and less Bain de Soleil and pina coladas.

Keiko Mecheri's inspiration for Iles Lontaine was a South Seas island  reminiscent of turquoise seas, breezy beaches, and sun-kissed skin. The florals do deliver the balmy, slightly humid feel of tropical flowers blooming near a sandy beach. Mallorca has a thriving almond orchard industry so it was the almond note in the perfume that made me think of it for my trip.  Mallorca's almond trees blossom in late January and February and evidently the scent is magnificent during the weeks the trees bloom. Sadly I didn't get to experience this but I've added it to scented trips I'd like to take, along with Provence in June and Isparta during rose harvest.

I typically don't like to label perfumes feminine or masculine but this one is very pretty and does lean very much toward the feminine to me. On opening there is a brief sparkle of citrus but the white flowers and powdery almond move in quickly and don't change much during the several hours of wear I get from a spray. In addition to the jasmine, gardenia and tiare the perfume also features notes of tuberose and rose. As the perfume settles in I smell creamy tuberose and it slowly becomes the most dominant of the white flower notes. Base notes are benzoin, amber, and vanilla. I mostly smell the vanilla and benzoin and they are subtle, not overdone, and amp up the creaminess factor. The florals project through the life of the perfume. The three descriptions that come to mind when I'm wearing Isles Lointaines are creamy, white, and powdery. The powdery note is soft, not a face powder scent but used to mute the floral's intensity. I enjoy this perfume but decided it really doesn't translate to a beach perfume to me. It is a very pretty white flower perfume that I would enjoy wearing any time of year but especially in the spring and summer.

For more posts on Spain travels and perfumes see Part TwoPart Three, Part Four, Part Five and Part Six.

First photo: Pinterest image. Second photo: Sample from my own bottle.