two clear glass perfume bottles

In the summer of 2004, I saved up some money to purchase Bobbi Brown Beach from the small shop in my hometown – and, from that moment onward, sunscreen-reminiscent fragrances became my passion. I have sprayed and sneezed many vacation perfumes over the years, from the expensive Tom Ford Soleil Blancs & Maison Margiela REPLICA Beach Walks to more affordable Eau de Juice BeachPleases 62s and Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Cheirosa. The perfect beach scent should be affordable, but not too expensive. Fruity, but not too sweet. Coconutty. Long-lasting. Transformative. The epitome Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush. Simple, easy, summery, and cool. I am now at a $60 bottle SPF-informed, gender-inclusive eau de toilette. It was launched in May and has since sold out twice. There is now a 1,500+ waiting list. Last week, Vacation’s “VACATION”, a new eau de toilette, was available for me to try.

woman in green bikini on green inflatable ring on swimming pool during daytime

Born out of a collaboration with well-known perfumers Carlos Huber (of ARQUISTE Parfumeur) and Rodrigo Flores-Roux Vacation (the man behind Clinique Happy), created “VACATION” to be the scent version its cult-favorite SPF (“The World’s Best-Smelling SPF”). It’s retro-glam in a way that recalls a Floridian grandmother’s vanity display.

The bottle contains a potion that is said to have the ability to “Sunscreen Experience” and can be used to bathe in it. The unique experience is captured by the familiar notes of banana, coconut, pineapple, and orange blossom, paired with more unusual notes like pool water, pool toys and swimsuit lycra. Although the orange blossom and pineapple were lighter than the others, they still had enough freshness to cut through the creamier layers. The top to heart and bottom notes combined created a delightfully transformative scent.

two clear glass perfume bottles

My Vacation took me to the beach, but not one where I was forced to be sprayed with Banana Boat Sport by my mom. Instead, I found myself in Hawaii. It could have been a beach on North Shore. It could have been 2002, and Kate Bosworth was there to surf a swell. It was playful, but also sophisticated and sincere. It was intoxicating, but not cloyingly campy. It lingered on my wrists, decolletage and neck all day instead of disappearing. It was a feeling of being sun-kissed, windswept by the salty air and not pale from staring at my computer screen.

palm tree near seashore

I was curious to see what other people thought about Vacation’s perfume. So, I went through a variety of reviews from the public that described vivid scenes created by the scent. Vanessa T. wrote that the fragrance smells like a Caribbean vacation, complete with pina Coladas and sunshine: “It is a must-have for me. It puts me in a great mood. It’s amazing!”

George M. thought, “Neon pink Flamingos? You can check. Coconut Lime daiquiri? Check. Check. You can check. It’s almost like you’ve been there all day.”

Another user, KMason mentioned the nostalgic poolside characteristics of the scent. “This really captures lazy afternoons spent in a pool. The scent isn’t contaminated by chlorine and the plastic pool toys and lycra are subtle and will come in later after spraying. It conjures up the 80s and 90s nostalgia of summertime. It is neither cheap nor expensive.”

woman sitting beside swimming pool

Shawn C., a true poet and reviewer, has created one of the most moving scent pictures. He said, “Your inner pool boy will emerge wearing two-inch inseam, red shorts that glisten as you lay on the pool deck. The girls are enjoying a refreshing swim in the pool, while the lawnmower sounds off in the distance. Red polished nails hold onto the sweating margaritas as the mower hums.”

Vacation’s “VACATION”, at $60 per bottle, isn’t cheap but it beats its more expensive competitors that can go well over $200. It is high quality, right down to the packaging and the spellbinding scent that radiates throughout each day rather than retreating like the tide. It is like “wearing a memory”, to quote the final review by Jocelyn I., even though it is 5,000 miles from Kate Bosworth’s white-sand beach in Greensboro NC.