Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Fragrances: A Compilation for Every Mood and Need

“I was surrounded by friends, my work was immense, and pleasures were abundant. Life, now, was unfolding before me, constantly and visibly, like the flowers of summer that drop fanlike petals on eternal soil. Overall, I was happiest to be alone; for it was then I was most aware of what I possessed. Free to look out over the rooftops of the city. Happy to be alone in the company of friends, the company of lovers and strangers. Everything, I decided, in this life, was pure pleasure.”

~Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy

photo by Jeanloup Shieff via pinterest

Summer fragrances come in all shapes and forms and there's something for everyone, from the die hard orientalist who can spray on Ambre Sultan (Serge Lutens) secure in the knowledge it's the driest amber out there, never cloying in the heat, to the women in their late 30s who still rely on Light Blue (Dolce & Gabanna) to make the insufferable lack of breeze seem less suffocating via the lemon-tart-on-cedars coolness. I have elaborated on summery fragrances numerous times on the blog, perhaps more so than any other season, exactly because it's the most difficult time for me to be coherent enough in the midst of the hot & infatuating Greek summer. (When I know I need to be collected, I resort to Chanel No.19, a review and classification of which can be found here. The bracing galbanum and the starched iris make me feel cool, especially paired with a white shirt and silver jewelry). Besides there's not one micro-climate: from the intense heatwave of the Midwest to the non-summer landscape of rain and coolish temperatures of northern Europe, "summer" itself is not a blanket term, so why should your fragrance be?

For all of you who want a shortcut there is a detailed post with fragrant suggestions for every possible activity you might be engaging in this summer in I Know What You Did Last Summer. If your major problem is having your perfume disappear before you want it to, I have some solutions in Summer Fragrances That Last. In case sultry is your speed and you can afford a little intensity, there's Sultry Summer Fragrances for you. For the contrarians among us (those who want a spicy oriental as dense as mohair when all the others are in sarongs or who live in a coolish country) there are 10 Unusual Summer Scent Choices (all right, not as thick as mohair, but satisfying all the same) with film clips to set the mood too. There's even the selection by perfume "editor" Frederic Malle himself on his favorite scent choices for summer. And if you're a simple and proud soul, there's Limon Kolonyasi or 4711 you can pop into the fridge for freshening up.

Some "categories" of fragrances perform better than most in the torpor induced by heat: see the entry on White Noise Fragrances if you want to still perceive your fragrance but not offend anyone, check out our Skin Scents selection if you want something very subtle & erotically reminiscent of naked skin, or take a look at the perfumes described in the Powdery and Dry Fragrances article which will be invaluable in sweaty situations. If it's the summer landscape and the memories of the sea and the beach you're after or you want to echo your surroundings (lucky you!), Beachy & Sea Evocative Fragrances for Every Style can be your comprehensive guide into finding the right "beach-evocative" perfume. And finally if you're after that perfect Coppertone or Ambre Solaire scent in an eau de toilette you can spray on, there are many Fragrances Inspired by Suntan Lotions and Tanning Oils' Scents, with creamy ylang, coconut or monoi nuances.

Last but not least, if personal rumblings are of interest to you (with a bit of beauty stuff, food and music thrown in for good measure), here is my Top Products to Beat Summer Heat from last summer with lots of suggestions by readers, which is also the case for the entry on Cooling Down Tips. And if you want to travel to the Mediterranean -and specifically to my country- via the evocation of smells, please visit Scents of the Mediterranean on this link.

Whatever you do, enjoy the season!


  1. thank you for this post! i need to look into "la manoumalia" next...

  2. NFS,

    you're welcome.

    Manoumalia is perfect for summer!

  3. Miss Heliotrope01:50

    I spent a lot of last summer (being Australian, you are all the wrong way round for me) in Chanel 19 or Sycamore. A sample of the latter had seemed sickly in winter, but as it warmed up, so did I to it.

    & I should like to repeat my thanks for the Dr Bronner's peppermint soap suggestion - it is brilliant in seriously hot weather. My husband & I found it very refreshing. The 4711 in the fridge is great, too - a nice pick me up. I also use it for headaches & when lying around feeling delicate.

  4. When I am on or near the water, I only want to smell the local aroma. Now that I can no longer be in the heat, this piece of music brings the sights and sounds and smells to me:
    Avangard on Youtube:

  5. Anonymous15:56

    My summer scents in heavy rotation are:

    Chanel No. 19
    Hermès Un Jardin Sur le Nil
    L'Occitane Thé Vert au Jasmin

    Occasionally, on a very muggy day, I like Jean Patou Sira des Indes.

    But for the most part, I prefer a crisp green scent to get me through my least favorite season.


  6. MH,

    the Dr.Bronner's is all thanks to my readers. It's one of those gold nuggets surfacing. :-)

    Your choices are very much simpatico to mine. Those are cool all right!

    And yes, I know, the upside down thing must be annoying to read in blogs. I promise to do something for this. ;-)

  7. Nadine,

    ha, I hadn't heard of that! Thanks! (But why is this reminiscent of the water? I suppose you mean of countries by the sea, right)

  8. Marsi,

    thanks for commenting with your choices.

    Summer can be good or it can be "la canicule" (and then it's not so me, I know!)

    I like L'Occitane in general, so am taking your rec seriously. (I was surprised by how much I liked their Maquis home scent and their Rose 4 Reines)

  9. Miss Heliotrope11:07

    It's not so annoying - one gets ever so used to it in the international world, but just being remembered - & not in the whole "O you're a season behind us" - why behind? we're in front, surely...

    (none of this is at all serious - it's not very late but I am rather tired)

  10. MH,

    You absolutely have a point. And you're ahead for sure, things rise from the east :)

  11. You ask me why the song performed by Avangard reminded me of the sea - it feels like things in gentle motion, a ship or boat working its way thru the Bosphorus, or people walking up or down natural paths, with donkeys, or camels loaded, all carrying their thoughts of happiness or sadness, but still moving on. The accordion and duduk are perfection to me in this performance.

  12. N,

    ah, that's a good explanation, thank you! I had't thought of it this way.


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