Is Summer Perfume Necessary?

Sady Dole of The Guardian has written a very nice piece on summer fragrances, and one of the questions she poses is whether such a thing as a summer perfume even exists. My voice is a skeptical one in the story, while Angela Sanders of Now Smell This and Alyssa Harad of Coming To My Senses provide other perspectives.


While I think that seasonal divisions are mostly about marketing, why not have fun with it? Wearing Angel, rain or shine, is fine, but I think that it’s more interesting is to pick a fragrance to reflect my mood or the changes in nature around me. A summer perfume may be something lighter, brighter, with a cooling effect like Guerlain Vétiver. Or it may be a lush tropical floral–Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower–to remind those of us immured in the concrete office buildings that there is summer out there.

The only type of perfumes I avoid are the ubiquitous summer editions every brand brings out, the “Light” or “Summer” versions of their current top sellers. They are not always bad, but they’re rarely exciting.

So, what do you say on the subject of summer fragrances–do you always switch scents in the summer or not?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, one of the best summer perfumes.



  • Kate: I generally dislike cologne and favour more complex scents, so summer can feel olfactorially out of joint for me. However, I cannot see wearing Chanel Coco or Chopard’s Casmir in a heatwave! On the other hand, a fragrance like Guerlain Terracotta le Parfum is geared toward summer; I find it completely inappropriate in winter, and with certain types of clothing. Tropical flowers: frangipane, gardenia, tuberose, seem ideal for balmy evenings and bare skin. This is the only time of year my bottle of Fracas is likely to see some action.

    I enjoyed the Guardian piece with your comments, Victoria; it seemed refreshingly clued-in for a mainstream media article on perfume. June 24, 2015 at 7:22am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, gosh, no! I can’t imagine Casmir in a heatwave. Gourmands or anything too sweet feels stickier and more cloying in heat. June 24, 2015 at 2:45pm Reply

  • Karen: Hmmm, interesting article and I’m glad to see your thoughts, and others, were included. My one issue with the article is the writer’s rather harsh words that set the tone for her view – about choking us with perfume – in the summer. Plus, really most everyone is in air conditioning so much of the time (car to building to home), that it’s a bit of a false environment.

    For myself, I had put up fragrances I think of as heavier – Mitsouko, Portrait of a Lady and a couple others. Then one hot day tried out PoaL and thought wow- still gorgeous in the heat – and just brought everything out again.

    If I want something citrusy then I put on L’occtaine’s Lemon Verbena or FM’s Cologne Indelibile (which is more musk than citrus after the first blast), then later just go back to another one of my favorites. Heat and humidity just haven’t impacted my choices so far.

    Do agree about the white florals though – they shimmer in the summer. June 24, 2015 at 7:50am Reply

    • Kate: Karen,

      By coincidence I wore Portrait of a Lady yesterday (sunny and warm) and thought it benefits greatly from heat. Certain facets I considered ‘chilly’ when I tried it in the winter just seemed to bloom – the rose seemed jammier and the patchouli spicier and richer.

      I was wearing it outdoors though 😉 June 24, 2015 at 8:03am Reply

      • Karen: You are right Kate! It does benefit from the heat. June 24, 2015 at 8:32am Reply

      • Victoria: It also don’t feel too much for me, mostly because it’s not sweet. June 24, 2015 at 2:48pm Reply

    • limegreen: Karen — Good point, we do have seasonless environments. But since the article is in the Guardian, I wonder if the author is in London, and A/C is not necessarily as common from house to work, more people walk or use public transportation. That was the context I imagined for the “choking” comment.
      (You should read the piece below by the same author about searching for the great American perfume, there’s a passing dig at the “American” fragrance-free workplace. 🙂 ) June 24, 2015 at 8:31am Reply

      • Karen: As I was writing my comment I thought about that – sometimes forget that air conditioning is not used as much in other places. I haven’t read her other article and may skip it – usually articles generalizing on anything American make me cranky! I mean, really? Is any country (or even region) so easy to categorize? June 25, 2015 at 9:18am Reply

        • limegreen: She interviews the CB I Hate Perfume perfumer who gives an interesting take on “American” POV June 25, 2015 at 9:29am Reply

    • Victoria: I took it more tongue-in-cheek than serious. In heat, I’m more likely to skip perfume altogether, although today in 35C I was wearing Serge Lutens’s Iris Silver Mist and it felt just right.

      Love your choices too. June 24, 2015 at 2:47pm Reply

  • rosarita: I enjoyed this article but have mixed feelings. I am also a fan of deep dark perfumes – my collection could be described as brooding – and those perfumes are generally too much in hot weather, with the exception of incense which is often very cooling. The problem with summer fragrances for me is that they vanish instantly on hot humid days so that I wonder if it’s even worth trying to wear perfume, other than at bedtime, of course. Then there’s the issue of insect bites. I’m a mosquito magnet, not to mention deer flies etc, and perfume attracts them. Staying inside isn’t an option as the long winter will come around soon enough! June 24, 2015 at 8:12am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, the mosquito worry is what stops me from wearing perfume on humid summer days. I also get bitten by them. June 24, 2015 at 2:50pm Reply

      • katherine: Victoria, do you know of any research showing that mosquitos are more attracted to perfumed skin? I seem to get bitten the same – with or without perfume… June 25, 2015 at 12:40am Reply

        • limegreen: Hello from someone mosquitoes love to bite!
          (I stay away from florals and wear mostly citrus if I’m going to be outdoors a lot):

          These are great articles on mosquitoes and their attraction to “human musk” (the mosquitoes were attracted to just smelly socks!), and the “Chanel hypothesis” about perfume/fragrance attracting mosquitoes (a lot of perfume repels, but a small amount attracts!)
          No conclusive data as to exactly why they prefer one person’s skin over another’s:

          On human musk:

          On Chanel hypothesis:
 June 25, 2015 at 9:15am Reply

          • katherine: Thank you very much Limegreen. I couldn’t access the Scientific Smerican site just now but your “soundbites” are telling (and the second article is good news if most perfumes repel mosquitos). June 25, 2015 at 10:13pm Reply

            • limegreen: It’s not most perfumes that repel mosquitoes but using a lot of it (as in amount) that the study discovered would repel mosquitoes. June 25, 2015 at 10:48pm Reply

              • Victoria: Thank you very much for the links. Fascinating! June 26, 2015 at 11:33am Reply

              • Katherine: Limegreen. Thanks for the clarification and for a great excuse for occasional overspraying – which I enjoy very much at times. June 28, 2015 at 7:36am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: White flowers shimmer in the summer, true! My summer favourites are my tuberoses and jasmins. Maybe I am a terrorist with chemical weapons.
    Some vanilla’s are great in the summer: Shalimar, Un Bois Vanille. But not Chopard.
    I don’t divise my perfumes in summer or winter, although I must say that I like cool perfumes in the winter, in harmony with nature. June 24, 2015 at 8:15am Reply

    • Karen: Ha ha ha Cornelia! Did you read some of the comments in the Guardian article? Definitely not the BdJ crowd – so I say terrorize away! June 24, 2015 at 8:34am Reply

      • Danaki: Too many fragrance haters. However, for all my love of perfumery and fragrances, I detest sprayers on trains, planes and buses in the UK. They take out their little bottle from their handbag and proceed to spray in abandon before getting off.

        I think it is rude. I once got sprayed accidentally with Flowerbomb. Was.Not.Happy.At.All June 24, 2015 at 9:15am Reply

        • Victoria: I also think it’s inappropriate to spray perfume in close quarters in public. Simple courtesy to avoid exposing others to strong scents in this way. June 24, 2015 at 3:06pm Reply

      • limegreen: I went back and read the comments — of course the Guardian audience is not a specific audience like here, but hilarious comments about body odor on the tube! June 24, 2015 at 9:36am Reply

        • limegreen: I should amend — a hilarious DEBATE about whether perfume helps or makes worse the body odor issue on the tube June 24, 2015 at 9:48am Reply

    • Victoria: Un Bois Vanille would be great, you’re right. Not too sweet as far as vanillas go. June 24, 2015 at 2:51pm Reply

  • limegreen: What a fun read! Thanks for sharing it! And it took me to Dole’s interesting article on the search for the great American perfume, posted in related content below this article.

    I love your comment, Victoria, about the divisions that are about getting people to buy more perfume. Uh, most of us on in this BdJ community nerd out on these divisions! Where would we be without endless deliberations about a perfume’s edt and edp and parfum? 🙂 I’m sure they were created so we could have more to discuss! (wink, wink) (I do agree that most summer editions are kind of lame, but it puts things on a shelf that are new.)

    Marketing aside, in my life, weather does play a perfume role in the way that my food appetite is affected by weather. When it’s really cold, I don’t want to eat a cold salad, but it’s the most appealing thing when it’s humid and hot out. I have salad equivalents of perfumes and while they are mostly citrus colognes, my salad perfumes tend to be on the lighter side. (Bois Farine has been a recent favorite. 🙂 )
    Then again, as with certain foods we love eating all the time, No. 19 edt has no season for me! I also wear Noir Epices in all but super hot weather, and the orange really blooms in way that it does not in cooler weather. June 24, 2015 at 8:20am Reply

    • Hamamelis: It is so interesting Limegreen, as I would write the same about no 19 EdT, but yesterday I smelled it in a shop here in hot and dry Spain, and found it bitter! I never would have guessed it could behave like that….and I almost bought a bottle of Kelly Caleche which I would find too sweet at home in the cool lowlands. I was sensible and did not buy it, doubting I would wear it at home, but I am still somewhat tempted…. June 24, 2015 at 9:00am Reply

      • limegreen: Ha, ha! It’s just like my wanting to buy those beautiful wool sweaters whenever I’m in the UK and have to remind myself that I will rarely wear them back home (already with mostly unworn cashmere sweaters!).

        You will have to write another Scent Diary post, Hamamelis, on your Spain trip. I bet all the citrus tastes especially refreshing, maybe you will end up with lots of citrus colognes!
        Weird about no. 19 — I found the current formulation (Nordstrom store tester) to be different, not bitter exactly. (And Eau verte is delightful in the heat — be lavish with it!) June 24, 2015 at 9:26am Reply

        • Hamamelis: Lavish is called for 😉
          Besides citrus, what is totally beguiling is the figtree scent…especially when the sun heats up the leaves. Now if Ninfeo Mio would be for sale here…I would not contain myself! But I have Un Jardin en Mediterranee to do a fig when I need one…
          So funny to read about your sweater temptations! June 24, 2015 at 9:34am Reply

          • limegreen: Ooohh, can’t you find Ninfeo Mio to test? I think citrus and fig are irresistible and when one’s in the Mediterranean, it’s such an obvious combination. (how do you find Chanel for a bargain, thought they were all priced the same throughout Europe?) June 24, 2015 at 9:41am Reply

            • Hamamelis: Ailing Spanish economy?
              It was in a slightly run down perfumery.
              I need to test Goutal at home , but will do! June 24, 2015 at 9:49am Reply

        • Victoria: Ditto! I’d love Hamamelis’s Spanish scent diary. June 24, 2015 at 3:07pm Reply

          • Hamamelis: Could I write it end of this summer as my husband and myself will make a bit of a road trip then, through Belgium (Place Vendome I hope…), France and then to Spain, and visiting Grasse on the way back? Then it will include 3 countries and 2 perfume heavens! June 24, 2015 at 3:41pm Reply

            • limegreen: Can’t wait! What a wonderful itinerary, have a great summer trip. Will you time your visit to Grasse for any harvests (lavender, etc.)? June 24, 2015 at 4:06pm Reply

              • Cornelia Blimber: Enjoy, and tell us all ! Veel plezier en goede reis! June 25, 2015 at 8:06am Reply

                • Michaela: Sounds great, Hamamelis! Enjoy! 🙂 June 25, 2015 at 10:31am Reply

                • Hamamelis: It will be end of August, so lots of voorpret 😉 June 25, 2015 at 11:48am Reply

            • Victoria: Oh, that sounds like an amazing trip! Of course, we can wait till the end of the summer to hear all about it. June 26, 2015 at 11:10am Reply

    • Ann: Well said. I was about to comment, but your entry says it best! June 24, 2015 at 1:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: That was a fun article too.

      We’re geeks, what can I say! 🙂

      Your comparison with food is spot on. Let’s see, my current salad perfume equivalent is probably Hermes Eau de Narcisse Bleu. June 24, 2015 at 2:59pm Reply

      • limegreen: Oh, yum! A good reminder of a perfume mostly forgotten by me. 🙂 June 24, 2015 at 4:04pm Reply

  • Hamamelis: Thank you for posing these questions, it is both fun and a moment to reflect upon why I wear perfume and to be more aware of my choices and preferences.
    I tend to choose fragrance in response to an inner need, while being aware of the requirements of what I do, as well as taking into account other people.
    Various factors play a part, climate and season being important ones, but there are many more.
    We did not have summer yet in the lowlands, but now I am lucky to spend time in really hot and dry summer weather. I experiment, enjoying a typical autumn scent (ambre merveilles) in the heat. I love Weekend, and am testing the various PdN Eaux, and enjoying them a lot (Folie, Chic). I bought a big bottle of Cristalle Eau Verte for a bargain here in Spain, and although fleeting it fits the heat well. Infusion d’iris fell flat, whilst A La Nuit was utterly gorgeous.
    And oh those strawberries…I would love to smell them! June 24, 2015 at 8:52am Reply

    • Victoria: I relate so much to your sentiment. Perfume is about so much more than just weather, but there is something very evocative about finding something that matches the nature around me, or the mood of the season. June 24, 2015 at 3:01pm Reply

    • Patricia: A big yes from me for the PdN Eaux! June 25, 2015 at 2:05pm Reply

      • Hamamelis: 🙂 June 25, 2015 at 4:51pm Reply

  • Elisa: I often, perversely, like heavy scents in summer — patchouli and amber and whatnot. But so far this year (as you’ll see when I deliver my summer top 10!) I’ve been wearing a lot of the kind of “light” stuff that actually gets marketed as “summer scents.” That and white florals — I’m so cliche this year! June 24, 2015 at 8:57am Reply

    • Victoria: Not cliche, though. It’s a classical summer, and hey, my Annick Goutal Neroli gets lots of wear June through August. June 24, 2015 at 3:02pm Reply

    • Karen: Summer is still young! You may be reaching for those ambers and patouchi in August! I had one of those d’oh moments yesterday (swooning in a good way over Rose Nacree du Desert) that as Victoria has said previously, incense, Oud, Amber and such all work in the heat as they are from desert areas. June 25, 2015 at 9:22am Reply

  • Danaki: I’m unlikely to reach out for some of my fragrances in summer – I avoid Calamity J, some ouds, spicy florals and heavy ambers. Likewise, I’m unlikely to be moved by Jour d’Hermes, Un Matin d’Orage or jasmines in winter.

    Generally I detest these divisions, as much as I hate the idea of day or night fragrances. I live with a fragrance hater, which means that evenings I’m either with what’s left over from my morning spray or unscented.

    Last winter, I couldn’t go anywhere near A la Nuit. Its ‘summer’y feel depressed me.

    Last summer, I found a tiny spritz of Angel to be just the ticket and a hot/humid clime. Very unexpected. Generally always happy to experiment as long as I’m not in an enclosed space and likely to bother people.

    Can’t make up my mind, actually. June 24, 2015 at 9:12am Reply

    • Victoria: Sometimes it’s also just intuitive. Nothing terribly complex or cerebral. Just a scent that feels perfect when you reach your hand for it. June 24, 2015 at 3:03pm Reply

  • Melissa Pham: Thanks for your opinion. I agree that wearing perfumes according to your mood and feelings is the best too. Wearing it seasonally is only a small factor, at least in my opinion. June 24, 2015 at 9:14am Reply

    • Victoria: Very true. It may help to decide, but it’s only one criterion out of many. June 24, 2015 at 3:04pm Reply

  • Celeste Church: I live in Los Angeles where it’s hot, and there is no real winter to speak of. I wear all my perfumes year round and have never had a problem at work or even on the bus. Just the opposite, really. Most people would rather smell Fracas than the incredible body odor of lots of those on public transportation. And I do love florals in the heat, they seem to bloom. That being said, I turn often when it’s really hot to Prada Infusion d’Iris and Paco Rabanne Metal, both of which feel cooling and like I’m wearing powder, which helps with the yummy wet feeling. I say wear what feels good to you. June 24, 2015 at 9:18am Reply

    • Victoria: Metal and Infusion d’Iris would be great choices for a hot day. Iris and aldehydes, overall, are good cooling notes. June 24, 2015 at 3:06pm Reply

    • Chloé: (Hi Mom!) looks like my comment on this article didn’t post, but basically, I love a big white floral for summer. To me, Fracas, is a way for me to create the illusion of humidity in the arid California summer. When I’m in the mood for something more refreshing, Yellow Diamonds is a lovely mimosa scent. When I’m doing some outdoorsy activity, like hiking or cycling, Bandit is perfect: it smells like a hayride already. And when it’s so hot I know I’ll be dunking myself in a pool or the ocean, refrigerated Jean Naté is both cooling and cheap enough that I don’t mind that the water will be washing it off every time I take a dip. June 25, 2015 at 12:42am Reply

  • Celeste Church: Okay, that should have been yukky wet feeling! Certainly not yummy!! 🙂 June 24, 2015 at 9:20am Reply

  • Tammy: Growing up in a tropical country in the 90s, my olfactory reminiscences consist of Ck One and Davidoff Cool Water. But when I moved to NY, fresh scents suddenly seemed like a rap singer at a Wagner opera.

    recent serendipity: c o bigelow musk perfume oil. I wanted to sample pure musk completely in academic interest and discovered there is no such thing and if it is, it should be contraband.
    I digress: the oil is like a shirtless Chris Isaac fresh out of shower. The only way soapy is not offensive to my nose. After 40 minutes, when it is dressed casually, coolly in white t-shirt and blue jeans, you realize it is James Dean. Totally sexy, like I mean sexy.
    Strangely unisex. Girls can also pull it of. June 24, 2015 at 9:37am Reply

    • Victoria: I need to try it. Your description had me googling a sample. June 24, 2015 at 3:08pm Reply

      • leathermountain: Ditto! June 24, 2015 at 6:50pm Reply

      • Tammy: It’s available at C O Bigelow’s website for $15! It has recently gained some attention since Liv Tyler avowed her devotion to it (not that I give a flying f*** about that). June 25, 2015 at 9:10am Reply

        • elisa p: Very enticing and a great excuse to head down to Bigelow. I love Bigelow. June 25, 2015 at 10:17pm Reply

        • Victoria: That’s a fantastic price! June 26, 2015 at 11:23am Reply

      • Hope: me, too! August 15, 2015 at 11:28pm Reply

    • Hope: Wow! August 15, 2015 at 11:30pm Reply

  • Neva: I’ve divided scents according to seasons ever since I was a teenager and I still do so. Even in cold weather I never wear heavy gourmands, because it’s not my cup of tea. Winter for me means Gucci Rush/She Wood/Feminite du Bois. In summer I wear green or tea scents like Weekend a Deauville/Bulgari au the vert/Cristalle au vert. Only this year I discovered how great incense fits into higher temperatures and I avoided it so far. What a mistake! But I’ll make up for it.
    What I never really fell for is a limited summer edition of a perfume. Don’t like the idea of it being discontinued soon. June 24, 2015 at 9:44am Reply

    • Hamamelis: We’re almost summer scent twins, I am wearing both Weekend and Cristalle Verte. Love Au Te Vert but wore it in a pre perfumista days. June 24, 2015 at 9:52am Reply

    • Eleni: We were writing at the same time. I feel exactly the same way. June 24, 2015 at 10:10am Reply

      • rainboweyes: Me too! Although I have a lot of fragrances that can be worn throughout the year, I usually associate certain fragrances with seasons. So I’d never reach for Hiris, 28 La Pausa or Osmanthe Yunnan in the winter and I stay away from Byredo 1996 or Orris Noir in the summer! I’ve never tried my winter favourites Dzongkha and Iris Silver Mist in the summer but after reading your comments I will certainly do! June 24, 2015 at 2:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also don’t like something to be discontinued soon. Much more fun to look for a good regular line fragrance.

      Your winter choices are wonderful. I could wear them year round. June 24, 2015 at 3:12pm Reply

  • Eleni: I appreciate seasonal divisions, I really do. I am all for having a summer and a winter wardrobe. Thus, when the temperature hits 25 degrees, I will stop wearing Chergui and Eau des Merveilles and switch to Osmanthus Interdite and Lys Soleia. When it hits 35 degrees, then it’s Silences or Iskander or Cristalle, if I had a bottle. Conversely, I will only wear L’Air de Rien on really cold weather.
    Having said that, I am based in Athens, Greece so it’s not a coolish summer, it’s scorching hot and warm perfumes feel suffocating to me in the heat. I’m sure that I would feel otherwise if in a city with cooler summers. June 24, 2015 at 10:00am Reply

    • Victoria: It makes sense. When your summer is 40C+, it’s hard to wear the same fragrance you’d wear in the winter, especially if you like warmer, deeper scents. June 24, 2015 at 3:15pm Reply

  • Trudy: Nice topic! I have to say that I do have a special love for “summer” fragrances. Living, and growing up, in Southern California I think I naturally gravitate towards these types of fragrances year round. Soft blossoms with a fresh feel is the idea. To me good representatives of “summer” scents include white flowers, any type of citrus and orange blossom. Favorites include Carnal Flower, the newer Guerlain Terracotta, TF Neroli Portofino and Eau D I’talie. I feel some body oils are better than their perfumes such as Chanel Mlle and Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom. I also love the soap and body wash versions of Tocca’s Florence and Collette. On the other hand during our brief fall/winter season (which is often interspersed with 75 degree+ temps) I do occasionally find myself craving a deeper, warmer scent. For me, TF Fleur de Chine, Shanghai Lily, or SM Stella fits the bill. Then there are those fragrances that I love regardless of the weather such as the newer Narciso (in the white bottle) and my old stand by Hermes Eau de Merveilles. I suppose I just love a soft, fresh, warm skin fragrance regardless of season but especially in summer. Oh…I recently sprayed Fragonard Jasmin and found it to be light and very pleasing. I enjoy this blog so much and love reading everyone’s comments and suggestions. Bois de Jasmin has truly provided a great fragrance education! June 24, 2015 at 10:32am Reply

    • Victoria: I also love the new Narciso. It’s so versatile, elegant and interesting to wear. Like you, I imagine wearing it year round.

      Thank you very much, Trudy! June 24, 2015 at 3:18pm Reply

  • Raquel: That’s me…wearing Angel, rain or shine…I live in a tropical country and basically there are two seasons: rainny season or dry season (what we call “summer”) I wear Angel, Shalimar, LPRN, La vie est belle and sometimes just Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse or Almond oil. June 24, 2015 at 10:47am Reply

    • Victoria: Almond oil mixed with rosewater is one of my summer favorites. 🙂 June 24, 2015 at 3:20pm Reply

      • Lynley: Oooh that’s a good idea! I’m guessing it would work equally well with orange blossom water.. 🙂 June 25, 2015 at 5:54am Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, except that orange blossom water is more indolic, so it might drydown too animalic. June 26, 2015 at 11:17am Reply

      • Raquel: I’m going to mix almond oil with rose water! Thank you. June 25, 2015 at 8:59am Reply

        • Victoria: Hope that you like the combination. June 26, 2015 at 11:23am Reply

  • Wendy: Summer to me means the 2 seemingly bottomless, well tended bottles of Chantecaille Le Jasmine and the original Frangipane that I keep in a dark cupboard. As I wear these for only 2-3 months out of the year they have managed to last me ten years now and not only do I still love them for themselves but now, as much probably, for their powerfully evocative powers….
    I wear the Le Jasmine on warmer, sunnier days and suddenly I am back in Mexico in Morelia and San Miguel Allende, I wore this during a move there and for months after until the rains came. On slightly cooler overcast days I wear the original Frangipane and I am immediately transported back to Spoleto and to a humid and occasionally rainy but always gorgeous Summer I spent in Umbria when it was the only scent I had with me.
    My love of these scents is so bound up with ritual and memory that I am a poor judge on the merit of these scents without these things…I have no idea where I’ll turn when they are gone! June 24, 2015 at 10:47am Reply

    • Trudy: Chantecaille Le Jasmine and Frangipane are lovely fragrances. I agree the fragrance memory of special places and times add so much to our perception and appreciation of a perfume. Glad you reminded me of these two beauties…I will re-visit. June 24, 2015 at 11:03am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for mentioning these two perfumes. I haven’t tried them in a long time, so I need to revisit. June 24, 2015 at 3:22pm Reply

  • iodine: I read the article yesterday and enjoyed it!
    I do love seasonal things- food, clothes and perfumes. In Northern Italy where I live- slightly depressed plain, with Alps shielding from cooler air and quite far away from the sea- Summers can be very hot and humid and certain fragrances- ambers, patcholui, leathers- are really unthinkable when temps are above 30° and humidity around 70-80%.
    My summer staples are florals- some jasmins (TDC Jasmin de Nuit, Tawaf, Venezia Giardini Segreti both by AbdesSalaam Attar), orange blossoms (Seville à l’Aube, Rubj), magnolias (Eau de Magnolia, Mito), lilies- figs and some lightly done incenses, like Acqua Santa by AbdesSalaam Attar, or woods. In Summer my skin evaporates fragrances at a super speedy rate, so everything is much richer and more complex.
    Those strawberries are really beautiful.
    Love your Instagram, V. 🙂 June 24, 2015 at 11:38am Reply

    • Victoria: I love how diverse everyone’s list. Yours makes me want to try AbdesSalaam Attar and go douse myself with Mito. June 24, 2015 at 3:24pm Reply

  • spe: In a fairly temperate climate, almost anything can be in rotation. By nature I prefer dry, effervescent scents – along the lines of caleche- but I haul out the florals (A La Nuit, Fleur de Chine, L’ Air du Temp) when I’m in the mood. Some of the frags people are mentioning, coupled with heat and humidity, are making my head spin and prompting nausea. Seriously folks, this is why us perfume people have a bad reputation among the indifferent. If I was next to someone wafting a heavy-hitter scent on a hot sticky day – I would think that person had no consideration for others and limited perfume options. Sorry. You know that I love perfume. Just to put this reaction in perspective, I live in the USA. June 24, 2015 at 1:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t know if it is fair to say that perfume lovers are responsible for the anti-perfume attitudes. In my experience, most perfume lovers are much more aware of the effect of their perfumes on others. And also, when you change fragrances, you never get “blinded” to your own scents. I knew a person who only wore one perfume and at some point he no longer smelled. So, he addressed the problem by wearing more, and more, and MORE! June 24, 2015 at 1:55pm Reply

      • rainboweyes: Yes, that’s my experience too. We have a Coco Mademoiselle overuser in our company, even if you don’t see her you will know where she’s just been. It’s horrible, I’ve developed a Coco phobia in the meantime (it’s needless to say that she isn’t my favourite co-worker 😉 ).
        She’s been wearing the same perfume for years now and I think she has exaclty the same problem – she no longer smells it. June 24, 2015 at 2:49pm Reply

        • Victoria: My cousin have been overdosing on Axe Apollo. (He is the guy who claims “not to wear perfume” and “to dislike perfume”.) I tell you, hell is scented with this stuff. It’s super diffusive too. June 24, 2015 at 2:55pm Reply

          • limegreen: (laughing hysterically) June 24, 2015 at 4:09pm Reply

            • Michaela: me, too! 🙂 June 25, 2015 at 7:39am Reply

        • limegreen: Your colleague is repelling mosquitoes as well as her colleagues!
          I posted this article above on the “Chanel hypothesis” about mosquitoes and perfume, MORE IS BETTER when it comes to repelling bugs (but less attracts them!):

 June 25, 2015 at 9:22am Reply

  • Elizabeth: My answer to that question is: Today I’m wearing Rose Oud! 🙂 I’m sure that people in tropical climates don’t limit themselves to light florals and citrus colognes, so why should I do so in the summer?

    Though on some very humid days, I can’t bear anything more than a splash of orange blossom water. June 24, 2015 at 2:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oud is the choice of the tropics, and it makes sense. It doesn’t feel too much. June 24, 2015 at 2:56pm Reply

  • Alicia: I am eclectic in this matter. Although I tend to wear citrus and light florals in the heat of summer days, and my chypres and orientals in the winter, the fragrance I choose to wear at any given moment is often a matter of mood: a winter day I might earn for Spring and go to Diorissimo; a sulttry summer night brings me memories of the jasmines inn my mother’s patio, and I would delight in SL “A la Nunit”. Besides, there is a point in considering what type of outfit one is wearing. “Light Blue” may accompany my casual clothing to the supermarket, Chanel #19 my tailleur in the way to a university meeting, Nahema my evening gown.There are so many factors in this question, that I doubt that any type of rules are proper. It is too personal a matter of feeeling and taste, and I suspect even of cultures with their many traditions. Even your family tradition is important: my mother wore classic French perfumes all through the year, Mitsouko and Narcisse Noir. I still love to smell them at any hour, day or night. They are my “madeleines.” June 24, 2015 at 4:59pm Reply

    • Hamamelis: Wonderfully put! June 24, 2015 at 5:21pm Reply

      • Alicia: Thank you, Hamamelis! Forgive the typos in my post, please. June 24, 2015 at 6:13pm Reply

        • Karen: Seconding Hamamelis’s sentiments! Beautifully expressed Alicia! June 25, 2015 at 9:26am Reply

          • Alicia: Thank you, Karen, thank you indeed. I am also grateful for your thoughtful posts. June 25, 2015 at 12:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: Gorgeous madeleines, Alicia! Your mother’s choices were pure elegance. June 26, 2015 at 11:13am Reply

  • Septimus Hodge: I spent a large chunk of my life in Southeast Asia, and I rarely wore perfume outside, as any scent would be dominated by the body odors emanating from crammed public transportation or the stink of raw flesh from the fish and meat markets. I associate summer with the smell of herbal mosquito repellent and tiger balm/salve for bites and cuts.

    Even though I no longer live in a humid climate I instinctively skip the perfume on hot, humid days. If I feel like wearing some scent, I sometimes douse myself with a little Chinese Florida Water (花露水) or Osmanthus Water (桂花水). I keep bottles of both in the fridge. June 24, 2015 at 5:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: Is it possible to find Osmanthus Water outside of Asia? I remember lovely osmanthus colognes in Korea, and I still wish I bought them. June 26, 2015 at 11:14am Reply

  • JoDee: Today I am wearing Tam Dao in 100 degree F weather and loving every second of it. Yesterday I tried my sample of Infusion d’Iris in equally warm weather and noticed the powdery notes enveloping me. However, the two I have enjoyed and sprayed the most this warm June have been Chanel Eau Premiere and FM Carnal Flower. June 24, 2015 at 5:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: Tam Dao is perfection in hot weather, because it has an instantly cooling effect. I notices this about many other dry woods. June 26, 2015 at 11:15am Reply

  • Aisha: I don’t think it’s necessary to change ones fragrance based on the season. As long as a person is careful about not dousing him- or herself, I think a typically heavier winter scent could also be worn in the summer.

    That being said, I personally LOVE organizing my fragrances by seasons. I get great pleasure from switching out a wardrobe of winter gourmands for a collection of spring florals, or the florals for the greener notes as summer approaches. Is it unnecessary to own more than one fragrance (and more than one fragrance per season)? Perhaps. But switching them out keeps me from getting too tired of a particular scent and gives me something else to look forward to as seasons change. 🙂 June 24, 2015 at 7:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: When you start enjoying scents and paying attention to them, it’s hard to wear only one perfume. It feels limiting. But of course, it doesn’t mean that one can’t have a signature perfume as well. June 26, 2015 at 11:16am Reply

  • Normand: Hi!

    I love this topic! I prefer my big perfumes in the summer because I’m out of doors a lot. My Estée Lauders get extra attention. And, I agree with what Denyse of Grain de Musc once said… “Fight fire with fire!”

    Actually, in my books, anything goes. 😉

    Normand June 24, 2015 at 8:21pm Reply

    • Victoria: A perfect motto! 🙂 Anything goes is how I think of my seasonal perfume choices too. June 26, 2015 at 11:16am Reply

  • Chloé: I am a person with a signature scent, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wear anything else when the mood or season strikes. Fracas, along with a strand of pearls, go on me every day, unless I decide otherwise. They both feel very “me,” and if I’m feeling low, they bring me up: “You’re wearing pearls and Fracas! You’re Chloé! Own it! Get your head in the game!”

    But sometimes I want to select something to go with the season. I live in southern California, so seasons are a bit hard to come by, and for instance, when a Genuine Fall Day shows up, I sometimes like to celebrate with a fall scent. And if a season refuses to show up, as they often do in California, I try to recreate them with scent.

    Fall is Bottega Veneta Knot, or Roma by Laura Biagiotti.

    I don’t really have a winter scent, but I am considering adding Cashmere Mist to the roster for January. Winter here is just late-fall, so I usually wear my fall perfumes.

    Spring is Ralph Lauren Romance, or occasionally Chloé.

    Summer is generally BIG WHITE FLORAL, which is both my favorite family, and helps me create the illusion of humidity in an arid climate. So in addition to Fracas, I’ll wear Do Son, and Bond No. 9 I Love New York for Earth Day. Earth Day in particular gives me a vivid picture of summer nights as a teenager. If Fracas is a grown woman owning her sexuality-type of tuberose, Earth Day is the frisson of a young woman just discovering the power of her sexuality-type of tuberose. If I’m going to do something sweaty, like a hike or a bike-ride, I wear Bandit, because it smells like a hay-ride; it feels very late-summer. And if I need something a little more refreshing, I wear Yellow Diamonds, which is such a great mimosa scent. It just smells like sunshiny nectar and hummingbirds. Of course, if it is a crazy hot day, it’s time to reach in the fridge and splash some Jean Naté on myself. I can’t imagine wearing that scent in any other season. It’s also nice and cheap, so it’s great for days where I might be cooling off at the pool. I don’t want to put on something expensive, only to wash it off an hour later. June 24, 2015 at 9:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love your descriptions and your perfume/season choices. Sounds like you know perfectly well what fits you when. Yes, summer, as a season when many white florals blooms, seems uniquely suited for them. June 26, 2015 at 11:22am Reply

  • Malmaison: I’m just enjoying reading this because I’m sitting here shivering on what is apparently New Zealand’s coldest day of the year so far … wrapped in a big warm scarf that smells of TF Shanghai Lily, my current obsession. It’s not that I consciously separate summer and winter perfumes, it’s more that in winter I tend to automatically grab the spice/incense/woodsy fragrances, possibly in some kind of mistaken hope they will warm me up? Nice to think about wearing Carnal Flower, Fracas and Terracotta again though. I do feel, perhaps wrongly, that those poor flowers will wither away in this cold snap we’re having.

    Eau des Merveilles though: that one I can wear all year round. It cools me in Summer and warms me in winter, and I have no idea why! June 25, 2015 at 1:40am Reply

    • Michaela: I love Eau des Merveilles, too, no matter the season. Maybe it’s a temperature-smart perfume 🙂 June 25, 2015 at 7:41am Reply

      • Malmaison: Yes, I like that idea! Am now adding ‘temperature-smart’ to my list of perfume categories. June 25, 2015 at 8:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: Spices do make me feel warmer, so I reach for fragrances like Lutens’s Arabie or Fendi Theorema on cold days. Gourmands also work well. Winter is a good time to walk around wafting caramel and bitter chocolates from one’s scarf. June 26, 2015 at 11:21am Reply

  • Aurora: Very interesting article. I broadly agree with the general view that flower perfume bloom in the heat, for eg. lately I made a friend test Joy on the hottest and most humid day and the scent was incredible. However I don’t think I would wear Fracas on such a day but that is personal I do not fare well with a dominant tuberose.

    At the moment I am enjoying Eau de Rochas with its refreshing citrus and its drydown of stones warmed by the sun. To my nose it has remained very much itself and sailed through the reformulations – it probably never contained some of the forbidden ingredients in the first place. Noa L’Eau’s fruits are delightful in the heat as well. I love these two very much. June 25, 2015 at 7:53am Reply

    • Victoria: I also don’t think I can do Fracas on a hot day, but Carnal Flower works well. I think it’s because Carnal Flower is greener and less creamy than Fracas. June 26, 2015 at 11:19am Reply

  • Therése: I am completely mood-driven when it comes to perfume, I rarely consider the weather. But then I live in Sweden where summers tend to not be super hot. This year it is particularly cold. Two of my coworkers came to work in winter coats today and I’m wearing shoes usually worn in autumn …
    So today I’m wearing La Chasse aux Papillons, just to cheer me up! June 25, 2015 at 8:02am Reply

    • Hamamelis: It’s been so cold in the Netherlands as well, and I saw these pictures of Norwegian roads with 1.5 mtrs of snow still! Admittedly I would be more concerned about a cooling trend in our climate than a warming one…at least enjoying warm Spanish weather now. June 25, 2015 at 9:14am Reply

      • Therése: There is still snow in Northern Sweden too, what a nightmare! The seasons up here seems to be turning (I don’t know if I’m explaining this very well?) June used to be a summer month, september used to be the first month of autumn, but nowadays september feels more like summer than June! Takes a while to get used too …
        Spain sounds lovely! June 25, 2015 at 9:24am Reply

        • Hamamelis: I hope Chasse helps! Snow in June is a nightmare! From what little I understand from climate and weather this turning of the season is caused by a less stable jetstream, which is influenced by the amount of sunspots (very little of them currently) and the solar magnetic field. But I am no scientist…all the best in cold Sweden! June 25, 2015 at 9:40am Reply

    • orsetta: i am in denmark now and this morning i felt that a nice pair of gloves + a hat would be just the thing! May & June have been really cold this year and i’d say that La Chasse aux Papillons sound great for today June 25, 2015 at 9:57am Reply

      • Therése: La Chasse really made a difference, it made the day happier (and even a little summery). June 27, 2015 at 12:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: Woah! I didn’t realize that you had such a cold spell. Stay warm, Therese! June 26, 2015 at 11:18am Reply

      • Therése: Thank you! June 27, 2015 at 12:44pm Reply

  • MontrealGirl: Summer is FINALLY here in Montreal and now I can’t wait to wear some summer perfumes. I’m convinced there is such a thing if only because it is often a reminder of summer holiday destinations and travel. Many perfumes are just too heavy. One of my favourites is Cerutti 1881 for women based on the flax flower. It smells of clean cotton which I associated with summer dresses and shirts. My new favourites are from a new niche brand called Dame Perfumery from Scottsdale, Arizona. All simple, light and fresh. I just love the Mate, Heliotrope & Patchouli. Maybe it just takes a perfumer from a hot place like Arizona to design the perfect summer perfume. June 25, 2015 at 9:07am Reply

    • Victoria: Enjoy the warm days! Glad to see Cerutti 1881, a pretty and versatile perfume. June 26, 2015 at 11:23am Reply

  • orsetta: i don’t like rigid categories in anything (except plant & animal taxonomies 😉 ) and my perfume choices depend on my mood. last summer i wore a lot a great cheapie, Animale by Animale, which is quite a forceful oriental with a honey note, and nobody seemed offended by it.
    this year i found a forgotten bottle of ’21’ by Costume National and it was great to observe the different ways of its behaviour in hot Italy and cold Denmark – and it worked perfectly in both environments! June 25, 2015 at 10:05am Reply

    • Victoria: I also like Costume National 21, and I can see how it would suit different climates. Like you, I don’t like to be too strict with my categorizations, especially when it comes to perfume. June 26, 2015 at 11:26am Reply

  • Figuier: Great to see some of the stellar perfume bloggers quoted in the Guardian – congrats!

    Not convinced by seasonality a rigid categories, but I do tend to wear colognes etc. more in the summer (though a few years ago I went through a phase of loving Coromandel in 30c heat!) Still, here in the moody UK, the weather veers about so much there’s always an opportunity to wear most kinds, from the heavy ‘wintery’ to the fresh ‘summery’. Today it’s warm but muggy, so I went with Encre Noire, and might switch to Bigarade Concentree later on… June 25, 2015 at 11:23am Reply

    • Victoria: Encre Noire, like most vetivers, is my go-to summer fragrance. One of the most uplifting notes!

      It was a fun article and fun interview questions. June 26, 2015 at 11:30am Reply

  • elisa p: Fun article! I am also more mood driven and the synesthetic “color” of the perfume has to match my outfit ;’) Sometimes it’s about wanting to feel more masculine or feminine. My taste or cravings change. I used to love citrus scents but they haven’t appealed to me as of late even in the heat. I wore Rochas Femme edt today in 86 degrees. It was divine. The spices really sizzle in the heat and the sweaty cumin (although to me it smells more like sweaty cedar) was just right. But I used a light hand because I’m sure the love is not universal. I also drink hot coffee year round. Never iced. June 25, 2015 at 10:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: Many perfumes are synesthetes. You have to use different sense and create unique associations in this field. So, it’s not surprising that the same thing is true for anyone who enjoys fragrances.
      I’m also very mood based when it comes to my scent of the day. It may also be about wanting to convey a certain image or experience a certain epoch. June 26, 2015 at 11:33am Reply

  • adriana: Well, I personally think so long not too headaching sweet, everything goes for summer. I have a few friends trusting themselves on wearing heavy patchouli scents in the midd of 35 degrees and I tell U, it is not at all as bad as one thinks; a bit outcoming, yes, but who doesn’t want to be out of the tendency nowadays. Was just thinking writing now of my trip to Dubai where all the local ladies were heavily, believe me, heavily scented and the heat was high and still the heavy fragrances incredibly beautiful!
    A bit in a shaddowy mood nowadays which reflects in my perfumes wearing as well, I go for light ones, find myself coming often to Diorissimo lately and / or Arpege plus Noah or Ultraviolet. For whatever reason, Ultraviolet has been a summer fragrance for me ever since I know it. June 26, 2015 at 2:45am Reply

    • Victoria: I’d love to read about your Dubai trip. I also recall from Oman women and men wearing heavy, rich scents. But the heat there is very dry and the fragrance is experienced very differently. In the less severe but very humid Belgian summers, some of these perfumes didn’t work nearly as well. June 26, 2015 at 11:35am Reply

  • mj: In the very humid summer of Barcelona, when I’m still working (not vacations time yet) I usually wear fresh scents (or what I find fresh). So now, that we’re experiencing our first heatwave is either Madragore or EL Private Collection (the original one).
    However, comes August and days at the beach,my taste changes to things like A la Nuit or Matin d’Orage. I find these scents go very well with my lazy mood of doing next to nothing (just reading and reading), and enjoying very long walks in the beach at sunset. June 26, 2015 at 5:04am Reply

    • Victoria: Gosh, just imagining A La Nuit (jasmine!), the scent of seaside and warm skin makes me long for the Mediterranean. 🙂 June 26, 2015 at 11:35am Reply

  • Austenfan: I keep reading Sadly Dole instead of Sady Dole. I have my preferences for colder en warmer weather. I’m one of those people who loves ambers in the heat, and Chergui and Carnal Flower… June 27, 2015 at 6:26am Reply

    • Austenfan: Oh, and I liked the article! June 27, 2015 at 12:21pm Reply

  • Gil: Like you, for me perfume is less about a marketer’s whims and more about personal mood. The reason I don’t purposely have a summer/winter fragrance wardrobe is the same I don’t stick to only ‘masculine’ scents; I don’t want somebody else to dictate what I can and cannot enjoy on my body. June 27, 2015 at 11:51am Reply

  • Julie: I’m looking for a strawberry scent for summer. Are there any out there that someone could recommend?? Thanks. July 21, 2015 at 8:52am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s an oldie, but Victoria Secret’s Strawberries and Champagne is a good option. More blended and less sweet is Juliette Has A Gun Miss Charming. Estee Lauder Pleasures Delight has a nice strawberry note, together with patchouli and cotton candy. Ralph Lauren Ralph Wild is very sweet for me, but it’s a nicely made fruity scent. July 21, 2015 at 12:07pm Reply

      • Julie: Thanks Victoria for the great ideas. I remember I’ve tried the Strawberries & Champagne in the past and liked it….but forgot all about that one. Maybe I can get samples of Juliette, Pleasures Delight and the Ralph Lauren Wild to try. Sounds like a fun experiment! July 21, 2015 at 7:06pm Reply

        • Victoria: I completely forgot about Miss Dior Cherie (now it’s just called Miss Dior). It also has strawberries. July 22, 2015 at 7:15am Reply

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