What does New Jersey smell like?

Well, at this moment, it apparently smells of approaching snow. I know what you're thinking: here we go again. Turn up the heat, turn down the refrigerator, gather up your candles, batteries, and blankets, and grit your teeth, because Nor'easter Athena is on her way.

So what fragrance to wear when the weather won't quit delivering below-the-belt hits?

For me today it's New Jersey by United Scents of America (we'll call it USA/NJ for short). Back in July, NowSmellThis hosted a very nice discussion about USA/NJ wherein number of readers chimed in to say some lovely and supportive things about our state. Seaside Heights being the veritable Ground Zero for all of the scent elements USA/NJ encompasses, I found it very ironic that there wasn't a single stockist within comfortable driving distance of this iconic Shore town. However, I really like the fact that while all of the other fragrances in the first release look nearly identical, USA/NJ alone is distinguished by the amber color of its juice-- which appears very warm and appealing in the bottle, as seen below.

Back on Sniffapalooza Saturday (was it really so short a time ago?) Ari of Scents of Self surprise-gifted me with her review bottle of USA/NJ. What seemed to me then like a purely fun, frivolous, and charmingly cheesy olfactory portrait of every Jersey Shore town I know now takes on a certain strange gravitas after the Superstorm-- parody turned elegy. That magical combination of Boardwalk carmel corn*, vanilla-tinged cotton candy, coconut tanning oil and sea air encapsulates memories and relics that cannot be named lest we start crying all over again.

Before Sandy, I'd have spritzed on New Jersey purely for a lark. Now I wear it proudly, defiantly. It does something for me I never expected it to: it warms me. It cheers me. It steps up and delivers in the tightest of tight spots... just like every other New Jersey soul I know.

*Yep, that's how many of us pronounce it... but I'm not sure where this originates. Is it a Pennsylvania thing, or perhaps the last shreds of my Illinois birth language? Henry Higgins, where are you when we need you?

Scent Elements: "Fresh buttered popcorn" and "cotton candy" accords, caramel, coconut, vanilla, peach, patchouli, musk