In the summer of 2004, I saved up enough money to purchase Bobbi Brown Beach from the local Belk in my hometown — and, from that moment onward, sunscreen-reminiscent fragrances became my passion. Over the years, I've spritzed and sniffed countless vacation perfumes from the very expensive Tom Ford Soleil Blancs and Maison Margiela REPLICA Beach Walks to the more affordable Eau de Juice BeachPleases and Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Cheirosa 62s. My criteria for the perfect beach scent: affordable but not cheap; fruity but not overly sweet; appropriately coconutty; long-lasting; transformative. In other words, the epitome of Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush. Uncomplicated, summer, cool. This brings me to a $60 bottle of gender-inclusive, SPF-inspired eau de toilette that launched in May and subsequently sold out (twice) leaving a 1,500+ waitlist in its wake. As of last week, "VACATION" by Vacation was restocked and I was offered the chance to take it for a test spritz. Read on for my full review of the closest thing to a vacation in a bottle my nose has yet to sniff.
Vacation took me to the beach — but not one where my mom was forcefully spraying me down with Banana Boat Sport.
At first spritz, I was hit with a distinct mix of coconut and banana notes. The pineapple and orange blossom were much lighter in comparison but still present enough to cut the creamier layers with juicy freshness. The quirkier bottom notes (pool water, lycra, and sea salt), although initially less noticeable, took on a more intriguing presence as the hours wore on. Together, the top to heart and bottom notes swelled into a scent that was delightfully transformative. Vacation took me to the beach — but not one where my mom was forcefully spraying me down with Banana Boat Sport. Instead, I found myself in Hawaii. Perhaps it was a beach on the North Shore. Perhaps it was circa 2002 and Kate Bosworth was there surfing a swell. It was playful but sophisticated and sincere. It was intoxicating without feeling cloying or campy. It lingered on my wrists and decolletage instead of fading away throughout the day. I was enveloped in sense of being sun-kissed and windswept from the salty air instead of pale and bleary-eyed from staring into my computer screen.
This scent perfectly conjures up that 80s and 90s summertime nostalgia. It does not smell cheap, nor super expensive.
Your inner sensual pool boy will emerge in two-inch inseam red shorts, glistening as you lay out on the pool deck.