Before the world ended (as my business partner likes to refer to the housing bubble/job market/stock market crash of 2008), I was a person who on occasion got to experience things outside of my station. One such thing was the best summer of my life, a summer spent in Cannes, for which I will forever be grateful to my parents.
Ostensibly we were there to study, but this Jersey girl with an incongruous hauteur and middle class origins got to order drinks at the Ritz Carlton on someone else’s tab, go clubbing with Grace Jones, lunch at private clubs, gamble in Monte Carlo (which isn’t nearly as glamorous as it looks in the movies), have her heart broken by minor Italian nobility, and reject the advances of a Waterford heir. It was the sort of summer everyone should be lucky enough to experience once, and I hope I’ll be able to give such a summer to my kids too someday in the not-to-far future.
It was a summer dedicated to fun, with all my problems on another continent. Having calculated to the minute exactly how much attendance in class was necessary to avoid getting kicked out of my spacious and comfortable dorm with maid service, the biggest thoughts in my head were where were we going out tonight and which boy did I want to kiss.
It was my last fully aimless summer, as the year after that I started my career, and though it turned out to be pivotal in the story of my life (I met a friend on that trip who introduced me to my husband), I didn’t know that then. I cherished it for its ephemeral nature and for the veneer of glamour because it was happening in France, even though I could have done most of the same things at the Jersey shore.
The summer was bliss. I didn’t belong there but I made a place for myself, which is kind of how I feel about the fragrance world. As soon as I smelled Bombay Bling, which has been reviewed by people a lot more knowledgeable than I, visceral memories of that summer came back. (Coincidentally, it was the summer I added Madame to my nickname of India, because I read tarot cards in the courtyard and a boy told me I needed a gypsy fortuneteller name.)
The blue glow of the harbor at twilight, warmed by a few bottles of table wine and good friends. The salt spray of a motorboat. The delight of finding an ice cube in your drink (ice cubes are more rare and precious than diamonds in Europe, in my opinion). The fits of schoolgirl giggles. Juice dribbling down my fingers during a picnic at the beach. And a couple of quite memorable kisses.
Notes in Bombay Bling are described as mango, lychee, blackcurrant, cardamom, cumin, cistus, Turkish rose, jasmine sambac, ylang-ylang, tuberose, plumeria, gardenia, patchouli, tobacco, sandalwood, cedar, and vanilla, according to Luckyscent. The fragrance could be dispassionately described as a fruity floral, in the same way Cannes could be dispassionately described as a beach town. “Joyful” definitely fits both. Besides Luckyscent, Bombay Bling is also available from the Neela Vermeire website. I received a sample of it from my monthly subscription to Olfactif, which has a theme this month of “on holiday.”