When I was a child, we lived by the ocean, on the coast south of Sydney. In the summer, the beach heaved with beach balls, ice creams and all the bustle of out-of-towners, whole families towing eskies across the carpark and slowly baking their necks and bellies bright lobster-red on sand so white hot it baked itself too, all crunchy on top like a cake. The surf would become frisky and choppy, the waves throwing themselves about and spitting spray in protest against the crowds (or so it seemed to me, resentful of sharing ‘my’ beach).
But in the winter, the ocean would become mellow. The swell would rise, each wave powerful and huge and they would roll into the shore with a gentle roar. The sand, dark and wet, softened around cold bare feet and I loved to swim alone in the chill water, without the harsh glint of the sun shielding what was beneath. On those cool cotton wool days you could swim right out into the deep to see the grey nurse sharks sleeping down under the rock shelves and seaweed gardens below.
Numb, returning to the beach, the water would cling and slide down in rivulets, each droplet making a tiny indentation in the sand.
It was pure.
Of course it’s no surprise that as an adult I love aquatic fragrances. L’eau d’Issey was one of the first scents I owned (showing my vintage), and Pure is the latest reinvention of that classic. Released from the dewy melon fruitiness of the original, Pure is drenched in marine accords, free to revel in the skin-clinging notes of ambergris and cashmeran. It’s restrained, refined, actually warm from those woods after only an hour or so, but so soothing, like that calm that comes after an ocean swim, from seeing what lies beneath…