It seems like an appropriate time of year to try a fragrance named for "Indian summer," so I was pleased when a sample of Histoires d'Eaux Été Indien recently came my way. Histoires d'Eaux is an Italian niche perfume house with French names and a collection inspired by an imaginary "chansonnier" of the 1950s who tells his life story through his song lyrics. (I think I got that correct.) Été Indien was developed by perfumer Dominique Gindre and includes notes of elemi, bergamot, clary sage, geranium, patchouli, vanilla, tolu balsam, styrax and labdanum.
As you can guess by that list, Été Indien is an oriental composition with an amber theme. It's a gathering of resin and wood notes, with a touch of sweetness. Its resin top notes are aromatic, almost nose-tickling, with an effect of camphor or pine; the fragrance seems to be hovering a few inches above the skin, rather than clinging to it at all. After a while, that effect dies down, and Été Indien fits the wearer more snugly. The resin notes of the heart and base are warmer and woodier, and there's a strong suggestion of spiced honey. That sweetness is most likely due to the styrax and the vanilla; it also reminds me a bit of immortelle, although immortelle isn't listed as a note. The base of Été Indien is still balsamic, with more oak-y and liquor-y woods swirled in. This fragrance has good staying power and moderate sillage; it happens to be nicely gender-neutral.
Été Indien feels "exotic" yet stripped-down, like a contemporary take on the classical amber theme. If you enjoy fragrances like Aroma M Geisha Amber Rouge, or Etat Libre d'Orange The Afternoon of a Faun, or the overall style of Parfumerie Generale's orientals, you may also like Été Indien. It's less lush than Amber Rouge, and less complex than Afternoon of a Faun, but it works well. I've been wearing it to mark the slow transition from a mild summer into early autumn, and I'm finding it as easy and satisfying as a new fall scarf. I'm hoping to review a few more fragrances from Histoires d'Eaux in due time.
Histoires d'Eaux Été Indien is available as 100 ml Eau de Parfum ($180). The company website does not appear to be active right now, but you can find more information at Osswald.