The time to emerge from hibernation has arrived; along with bright sun-filled mornings, iced soy lattes, and the inevitable eternal hunt for the perfect bikini/sunglasses/sandals. Yet a change in season means more than just a wardrobe revamp...
The effect of a new fragrance is nothing short of cobweb-busting; it can lighten your mood, make you feel cosy, flirty, or more confident. It can inspire you to make daring outfit choice, put on red lipstick, get up and go. It can bring back memories, stimulate the senses, and transport you to places you've never even been. Perfume sets the tone for the day and for the season.
So what better way to welcome summer than with a change of fragrance?
Summer puts more demands upon our fragrance choice than any other season, setting the stakes and standards high. Aside from providing a suitably seasonal refreshing and uplifting aroma, the summer scent is called upon to mask any unwanted body odours, last from pool-side to pool-party, and leap into our suitcases within a moment's notice. However, far from being an everyday purchase, perfume becomes a part of what others identify you by; it will serve to create, inspire and evoke memories, becoming as much a part of your identity as the colour of your eyes, and speaking far more for your personality than your sartorial choices ever can.
In a bid to open the floor to more than just the typical 'florals for spring/summer', today's post sees a bumper edition seasonal fragrance roundup, drawing upon a diverse range of ingredients. From zesty citrus notes, to heady patchouli, aromatic musks, and sophisticated florals [with a twist]; and with inspirations ranging from a Mediterranean summer to the Romany lifestyle, here are ten perfumes to suit every occasion on your summer agenda.
BEST FOR SUNDAY BRUNCH : RAMON MONEGAL L'Eau de Rose Eau de Parfum*
TOP NOTES : Rose, tea rose, tail rose.
MIDDLE NOTES : Neroli.
BASE NOTES : Patchouli, musk.
GRACE NOTES : I'm usually no fan of a rose scent, typically finding them stuffy, cloying, and almost certain to onset a migraine - yet here is the anomaly. A modern twist on rose [for this fragrance is unisex], and lightyears away from the rose scents your gran wears. Light and pretty, without being overly feminine, this has a soft prettiness which renders it ideal for early summer. It is fresh upon immediate application but transforms into a warmer and almost vintage scent, which calls to mind a bright morning in a sun-filled garden.
BEST FOR A POOLSIDE REFRESH : CLARINS Eau de Jardins Eau de Toilette*
TOP NOTES : Bergamot, grapefruit, lemon.
MIDDLE NOTES : Rose, bay leaf, mint.
BASE NOTES : Vetiver, musk, patchouli.
GRACE NOTES : For a relatively affordable option, this is no one-note wonder; presenting uplifting, beachy vibes via elements of mint, bergamot, spice, and cedar, which break through the citrusy top notes for a vibrant, punchy finish. Despite being infused with oils [which serve to moisturise and soothe sun-warmed skin], it's incredibly light and absorbs swiftly, serving a dual purpose which is more than welcomed in a summer essential. As zesty and refreshing as an ice cold cocktail on a hot day [just try not to drink it], this scent is as summery as they come and will undoubtedly be joining me poolside in the South of France.
BEST FOR A WALK IN THE WOODS : BYREDO Gypsy Water Eau de Parfum*
TOP NOTES : Bergamot, lemon, pepper, juniper.
MIDDLE NOTES : Incense, pine needles, orris root.
BASE NOTES : Amber, vanilla, sandalwood.
GRACE NOTES : Byredo's ability to find a name to perfectly suit and embody each fragrance stuns me every time I have the pleasure of exploring the contents of their iconic glass vials. In this sense [and many others] they are quite unrivalled. Gypsy Water is complex, sensual, and romantic; it calls to mind the weary traveller, a hot summers day turning into a cool summers evening, bare feet, and campfires flickering. This fragrance is delightfully natural, yet without being floral or herbal. I [for want of a better phrase] term it a 'skin-scent', for it somehow manages to blend and serve as an extension of my natural scent without smelling like a synthetic addition. Quiet, alluring, sensual, and somehow 'dirty' [in a delicate yet earthy manner], this is the epitome of a seductive scent.
BEST FOR DRINKS AL FRESCO : EX NIHILO Vetiver Moloko Eau de Parfum*
TOP NOTES : Bergamot, rose.
MIDDLE NOTES : Cypress, milk accord.
BASE NOTES : Vetiver, vanilla, amyris.
GRACE NOTES : Another 'skin-scent', this heady aroma is warm and addictive, undeniably unisex, but with an elegance that exudes a raw femininity. The zesty bergamot makes an instant impression, before giving way to a sophisticated woodiness, which perfectly captures the scent of sun-warmed skin and lingers, sweet and subtle. The ideal day to night scent, it will take you from boardroom to bedroom [and everywhere else in-between], but is nowhere more appropriate than as twilight falls upon a candlelit poolside bar.
BEST FOR A MEDITERANNEAN ESCAPE : ACQUA DI PARMA Blu Mediterraneo Ginepro de Sardegna Eau de Toilette
TOP NOTES : Juniper, pepper, nutmeg, bergamot.
MIDDLE NOTES : Sage, cypress.
BASE NOTES : Cedar.
GRACE NOTES : Paying homage to the Italian Riviera, this vibrant concoction immediately conjures a sense of lucid, pervading heat. I can smell this at any time of the year and instantly be transported back to a weekend spent on the shores of Lake Como, for its headiness is lifted by quintessentially Italian refreshing overtones, and a saltiness that calls to mind an ocean breeze. It's bold and addictive, and the spicy and aromatic blend of top notes cause it to linger noticeably but without being overwhelming. The perfect accompaniment to capri-pants and mimosas, this is summer in a bottle.
BEST FOR AN OUTDOOR WEDDING : ROGER & GALLET Fleur de Figuier Eau de Parfum*
TOP NOTES : Fig nectar, fig blossom, green leaves, bergamot.
MIDDLE NOTES : Patchouli, wood.
BASE NOTES : Musk.
GRACE NOTES : Unabashedly sweet and cloying, this embodies the sweet, fruity, candied side of fig; as opposed to the green, ripeness of most modern fig scents. It is pleasantly punchy - warm, full-bodied, and satisfyingly durable. Its fresh fruitiness renders it more than on-theme for a summer wedding, and the warm musky notes carry it effortlessly from day to night. Expect this to take you from brunch, to nuptials, to dance floor, without loosing its punch.
BEST FOR A STROLL ON THE BEACH : BYREDO x OLIVER PEOPLES Eau de Parfum*
TOP NOTES : Juniper, lemon.
MIDDLE NOTES : Iris, patchouli.
BASE NOTES : Sand, musk, immortelle.
GRACE NOTES : In collaboration with the chic Californian eyewear brand Oliver Peoples, the latest from Byredo is a scent inspired by synaesthesia [the intersection of the senses - in this case smell and sight]. The fragrance was formulated by Byredo's master perfumer, who sought to translate the sights of L.A into correlating fragrance notes. It's been three years since I was last in L.A., yet from first sniff this took me back in a heartbeat. Classically masculine, yet simultaneously elegant. Cool, modern, and versatile enough to be worn day and night; it evokes the sound of a city that never sleeps, the sensation of warmth radiating from concrete, and the sight of blue skies criss-crossed with palm trees. This is the kind of scent that will have people stopping you in the street to ask you what it is; dry, crisp, and with a note of the sexiness that comes with wearing supersized shades and cut-off shorts; accessorise it with bare feet and a skateboard. So L.A.
BEST FOR A FESTIVAL WEEKEND : L'ERBOLARIO Narciso Sublime*
TOP NOTES : Peach, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon, neroli.
MIDDLE NOTES : Magnolia, rose, lily, freesia, narcissus.
BASE NOTES : Amber, honey.
GRACE NOTES : Far from your typical ylang-ylang/patchouli-infused festival inspired scent, this is a fresh, modern floral and will mask all manner of unpleasant festival-induced odours. It's not overly complex, and is feminine without being girly - sharp, strong, and full-bodied. Inspired by the first blooming flowers of spring, it's clean and vibrant. Unlike most florals, this is refreshingly not overly sweet or sickly - affording it a valuable addition to any floral-addict's perfume wardrobe.
BEST FOR SLEEPING UNDER THE STARS : BYREDO Bullion Perfume Roll-on Oil
TOP NOTES : Pepper, plum.
MIDDLE NOTES : Osmanthus, magnolia, leather.
BASE NOTES : Sandalwood, musk.
GRACE NOTES : There's nothing quite like that otherworldly romanticism of camping wild; falling asleep to the sounds of nature coming to life and the smell of a smoking campfire. This opulent, smokey scent is inspired by Persian gardens and perfectly captures the mystery of a night beneath the stars. It's vibrantly exotic, but without going down the well-trodden route of cliché middle-eastern aromas. Initially sweet and sultry, as it mellows the musk and leather come through, quietly sexy but sophisticated. The best thing about Byredo's formulas is that, as beautiful as they smell, they're incredibly delicate; so rather than overwhelming people with a cloying cloud of synthetic scent, you're more likely to intrigue with a subtle "I naturally smell this good".
BEST FOR A ROMANTIC CITY ESCAPE : CHANEL No. 5 Eau de Toilette
TOP NOTES : Neroli, ylang-ylang, bergamot, lemon.
MIDDLE NOTES : Iris, jasmne, orris root, rose, lily of the valley.
BASE NOTES : Vetiver, musk, sandalwood, patchouli, amber, vanilla.
GRACE NOTES : The ultimate timeless classic. As chic as Chanel's RTW [and much more wearable, if you're not a millionaire], my earliest olfactory memories are of this perfume, which my mum has worn since before I was born. Sophisticated, powdery, and alluring, this is the iconic scent which Marilyn Monroe famously wore to bed. There's a touch of the exotic within, which keeps this fragrance on the right side of warm [summery rather than cosy] and its comforting spiciness has a fresh, sweet side which affords it universal appeal. This is foolproof and cultivated glamour.
What is your signature summer scent?