My daughter, who grew up in Portugal and is now finishing up boarding school in England, recently told me that it is the smell of oranges and clementines that takes her straight back home. So I was stopped in my tracks recently by an elegantly packaged bottle of fragrance in a shop window in Lisbon’s Chiado district, that bore the words “Agua Clementina” across it in gold. Inside the shop, one spray of the scent told me it would please my daughter. I recognised the label too – Portugal’s Claus Porto, which, before now, I had only associated with finely fragranced soap.
It turns out that Lyn Harris, talented nose and founder of celebrated natural perfume house Miller Harris and later Perfumer H, has been brought on board by the 131-year-old Portuguese label to create its new fragrance collection, Agua de Colonia (€85 for 125ml). The inspiration for Agua Clementina was a bag of clementines Harris was given in the Douro Valley a couple of summers ago, as she travelled the country’s aromatic landscapes in search of inspiration for the collection. As she sat peeling them in the sunshine, the scent was born. The finished juice includes bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin rind infused with lavender, orange flowers and petitgrain with musk for a contemporary citrus feast.
Other scents in the collection take their lead from the fragrance of pine forests cooled by the ocean breeze, fields of sun-baked herbs, botanical gardens hidden in the heart of a city or the particular smell of rain-soaked granite stones.
I couldn’t wait the two more weeks until my daughter’s birthday so I gave her the scent at half-term break. She absolutely loved it and has spent her last few weeks away from home in a warm, ripe, sunny citrus fragrance that is carried on the breeze that she leaves behind.