Ten Fragrances That Smell of Summer : Seasonal Perfumes 2011


In the city, with its molten asphalt streets and suffocating subway cars, it is easy to forget the allure of summer. But the moment you leave the city, the summer appears in all of its indolent glory. Everything that seems to have been forgotten returns within a heartbeat—the long days of sunshine, lunches that somehow segue into dinners,  lazy afternoon naps. It seems as if summer is here to stay with its sounds of laughter, waves breaking against the shore, and rain dancing on the roof. And its sensations of rough sand against bare feet, of someone’s lips against your sunburnt skin, of velvety peaches. And its tastes of foraged wild raspberries, of grilled prawns, of milky corn.

And of course, the summer scents. My favorite summer perfumes not only capture the idea of summer, but they also evoke it well into the winter. Since in the summer I tend to have more time to change my perfume wardrobe, I have organized my selections around the scents I like to wear at different times of day.


Chanel Cristalle

I save the lush hyacinths of Cristalle EdP for the evening, but in the morning, few fragrances uplift me more than the green and effervescent EDT. Neroli and jasmine are set against a mossy backdrop, while the sparkling layers of citrus make Cristalle the olfactive equivalent of a glass of champagne.

Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine

A bright, juicy orange that feels both refreshing and elegant, a rare combination in a simple cologne. One of my year round staples.

Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess

Bronze Goddess combines the milky sweetness of white tropical flowers with the delicious warmth of amber, oscillating between the opulent sensation of gardenia petals on the skin and the smooth richness of sun bleached woods. A summer vacation in a bottle!


Prada Infusion de Vétiver 

A polished version of vetiver, with a strong minty and green accord that makes it very refreshing.

Frédéric Malle Angéliques Sous la Pluie

Cool roots, green leaves, wet petals… Angéliques Sous la Pluie is a fragrance that I have been wearing all through the past couple of summers. It has a delicious crisp verdancy that persists into the drydown, while the musky woods lend it a caressing softness.

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue

Ubiquitous though Light Blue may be, it is a terrific fragrance. Crisp, bright, vivacious, it wears easily and retains its sparkling freshness of green apples and citrus.


Serge Lutens La Myrrhe

An elegant interplay between rose and aldehydes, Lutens’ interpretation of Chanel No 5 à la Marocaine.

Donna Karan Gold

A beautifully contrasted composition that alternates between the crisp freshness of lily and the dark richness of incense.

By Kilian Beyond Love

The silky white petals of Beyond Love maintain their radiant brightness for quite a while, but soon the darkness sets in and the whole composition becomes suffused with warm amber, musk and vanilla. An opulent fragrance, but not too heady for summer.

Caron Tabac Blond

Although Tabac Blond is not associated solely with summer for me, I love its warmth on a summer evening, when one sits on an open veranda with a glass of wine, watching the sun fall behind the sea. The caramelized sweetness of tobacco leaves paired with mossy darkness has a sultry, mysterious quality.

To see other Top Ten of Summer lists, please visit: Grain de Musc :: Now Smell This :: Perfume Posse :: Perfume Smellin’ Things.

Photography © Bois de Jasmin.



  • Emma: To me vintage Mitsouko smells like late summer (the new one is more green and clean, I don’t detect the ripe peach notes in it anymore, even in the parfum version). Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger, Datura Noir, A la Nuit and Nuit de Cellophane also smell like summer. August 5, 2011 at 11:08am Reply

  • Alnysie: Hmmm I have to try a few of those! Angéliques Sous la Pluie sounds especially good… and I have to try Tabac Blond again, I liked it well enough the first time but maybe on the second try I’ll like it even more? August 5, 2011 at 11:29am Reply

  • Style Spy: I adore ASlP in the summer, it’s divine. As is Beyond Love, a tuberose of remarkable soulfulness. I also love MPeG’s Camelia Chinois in hot weather – a cool, refreshing floral. CdG Zagorsk helps to beat the heat, but when I want to just go with it, I reach for the big white florals like A la Nuit and Manoumalia and Vamp a NY. August 5, 2011 at 9:36am Reply

  • sweetlife: I’ll take the lips, and the raspberries and the milky corn, please!

    Lovely list, V. with a few surprises. Which version of Tabac Blond are you wearing these days? August 5, 2011 at 12:22pm Reply

  • Carla: Thank you for reminding me to enjoy the languid days of summer. I too love Cristalle EdP in summer. La Myrrhe is a beautiful and very unusual perfume that sometimes smells simply of soap for blowing bubbles and sometimes smells like a beautiful unsweetened aldehydic rose. I want to buy it when I’m in Paris, but I also want more oriental scents so I’m considering something like Bois Oriental. I feel La Myrrhe is so unusual I wouldn’t wear it enough. I’d love to buy both, but must budget! I also love 100% Love in the summertime. That is another very unusual perfume, with more tenacity in the heat. August 5, 2011 at 5:53pm Reply

  • Carla: Oh, I meant I love Cristalle EdT. I don’t own the EdP, though I do enjoy a spritz at the department store. August 5, 2011 at 5:53pm Reply

  • Victoria: Zagorsk has such a wonderful chilly quality thanks to its cool incense and iris! August 5, 2011 at 3:28pm Reply

  • Victoria: So true, the new version is balanced very differently, and while the peach is there, it just does not come across the same way to me. August 5, 2011 at 3:28pm Reply

  • Victoria: Definitely worth trying! Even better if you can find an older bottle. August 5, 2011 at 3:29pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you, Alyssa!
    These day I am wearing the parfum. It is from a couple of years ago, so it is not as dark as was it used to be, but it is still better than the newest version. August 5, 2011 at 3:30pm Reply

  • carmencanada: Since I perfume my hair (best way I know to get the real volume of a scent), I can’t really change fragrances mid-course during the day, but if I’m working for a while before I shower it’s lovely to go for something citrus-y or otherwise bracing that wouldn’t last much anyway… Eau d’Orange Verte is just perfect for that, and so is the shower gel.
    Never tried La Myrrhe (which always reminds me of you, V., and that day in the Palais Royal) during the summertime. Shall do in your honour! August 5, 2011 at 6:18pm Reply

  • Musette: I wore a vintage Mitsouko edt to bed last night – it was absolutely gorgeous! Normally I associate it with autumn/winter – was stunned at how it bloomed in this extreme heat!

    xo August 5, 2011 at 7:05pm Reply

  • Annette: I’ve not tried any of your favorites so it will be fun to sniff them out. I, too, have a favorite summer fragrance which is impossible to find in the United States. It’s 1902 Eau de Cologne Tradition NATURELLE by Berdoues. I splash it on after my shower and have added it to an atomizer so I can spritz during the day. Cool, clean, crisp, citrusy (the 4 C’s!) with just the slightest hint of sweetness. I’ve had many compliments. Once in a while I can find the 480ml bottle on eBay, and when I do I buy it no matter what the price so I’ve got a good stash. If anyone knows of a source for this please let me know! Thanks for your lovely blog. August 6, 2011 at 12:38pm Reply

  • Suzanna: I’ve been enjoying that latest Ellena–Sur le Toit. I agree with your review that the drydown is a disappointment, but I’ve found that the good bits can be preserved and lengthened by spraying the same areas twice. The crisp green apple, the pale flesh of the pear, the rosewater note and the aromatic, almost peppery basil move in and out of notice and prominence before the juice dries down to an indistinguished musky vetiver.

    Cristalle EdT cannot be topped, in my book. The lovely white florals in the heart flourish against the aldehydes of the top. It’s just right, always. August 6, 2011 at 11:33pm Reply

  • Elizabeth: For me, this has been the summer of White Linen – the perfume, that is! I love the soapy aldehydes and the green rose heart. Also, YSL Y, which seems like the perfect summery chypre. And when I start yearning for autumn on humid, 90 degree days, I turn to Ormonde Woman and dream of golden leaves. August 7, 2011 at 4:44pm Reply

  • Lavanya: Fun List! Orange Sanguine is delightful isn’t it- it literally feels like biting into an orange with the spray of fresh orange juice on your face- yum!
    I really need to try Serge Lutens La Myrrhe- it sounds wonderful- it has been on my list for a while now (must remember to order a sample!) August 7, 2011 at 5:08pm Reply

  • Kurt: Revisited Aqua Motu (edp) yesterday. Slightly synthetic but this beachy scent is summer in bottle! Also bought a fb of 4711, nouveau cologne. On first sniff not bad at all, considering the price… August 8, 2011 at 3:15am Reply

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