Favorite Summer Perfumes : Around the Fragrance Wheel

A fragrance evoking crushed green leaves, or perhaps a smoked lily. Or a blend that smells of damp wood and moss. For my summer selection this year, I decided to unfold the fragrance wheel and visit 5 of my favorite styles–green, chypre, citrus, white flowers and incense. I wore one type of perfume for several days in a row and below are my discoveries.

Green

I have always thought that my favorite part of the fragrance wheel was the one where the white flowers bloomed in profusion–the tangles of tuberose, the jungles of jasmine, the groves of gardenias. Yet, this year I realized how much I like green scents, from the delicate and fresh Parfums de Nicolaï Temps d’Une Fête to the intensely green Diptyque Eau de Lierre. I can add more to this list:  L’Artisan Parfumeur Violaceum, Tom Ford Vert de Fleur, Annick Goutal Ninfeo Mio, Byredo Green, and Chanel Bel Respiro. One of the new discoveries is Parfums Dusita’s Le Sillage Blanc, a classical mossy chypre with a beautiful green accord.

Chypre

Perfumes with moss and woods–chypres in other words–are the most intriguing perfumes. Even the simplest blends have so many facets that I never get tired out of them. Parfum d’Empire’s Le Cri de la Lumière is a fragrance that might take some courtship, but being patient with it is worth the trouble. The iconic mossy chypre accord is garnished with iris, pear, rose and ambrette seed. The late drydown is a pure rose chypre, with the vanishing iris leaving behind its cool imprint.

Citrus

Citrus cologne is one of the most versatile fragrance genres. On a cold winter day it’s uplifting, on a sweltering summer one–refreshing. Chanel Paris-Deauville is my new coup de coeur. It’s based around a bitter orange accord, which has the floral twist of a sweet orange minus the pronounced acidity. The jasmine and orange blossom add softness. Another new perfume I liked is Annick Goutal Bois d’Hadrien. Improving on the original is impossible, and this version merely plays with the woods and citrus theme. The result is bright and sparkling.

White Flowers

I’m convinced that summer is the best time to carry a white floral sillage. The opulent floral notes bloom in the warm air and reveal more of their layers. I’m convinced that Jo Malone Jasmine Sambac and Marigold won’t be as interesting in the cold of winter, but these days it has enough shimmer to be uplifting and enough petals to be complex. Another option is the new version of Cartier La Panthère, the Eau de Toilette, a vignette of green gardenia and jasmine with a few drops of pineapple juice. Even more sunlit is Tom Ford Eau de Soleil Blanc, a summer version of Private Blend Soleil Blanc. It’s a tuberose dissolved in coconut milk and orange blossom water and then slathered on someone’s warm skin. “It smells like my ideal vision of a beach,” was a comment from my friend who smelled it on me. And it does.

Incense

Le Galion L’Âme Perdue is a good compromise on a day when I want it all–flowers and incense. Perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux took a portrait of a lily, giving it a ripe plum twist and then draped everything with incense smoke. On a balmy day, however, I turn to my summer staples like Serge Lutens L’Eau Froide and Atelier Cologne Bois Blonds, sheer, airy incense perfumes.  Arquiste Nanban, with its cashmere-like sensation, is a fragrance to wear for an evening stroll in search of ice cream. Its coffee and smoky leather notes are a delicious fit with Berthillon’s wild strawberry and hazelnut sorbet.

What’s in your summer rotation?

If you would like to read more about the families I mentioned in this post, here are the separate articles: Green :: Chypre :: Citrus :: White Flowers :: Incense

For other summer lists and ideas, please visit Grain de Musc, Now Smell This, and The Non-Blonde.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

 

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76 Comments

  • Anne: I’m looking forward to breaking out my colognes and light florals. A sample of Herba Fresca is on its way. June 8, 2018 at 8:24am Reply

    • Victoria: Great! Hope that you will like it. June 12, 2018 at 2:25am Reply

  • Debi: My favorite green used to be Cristalle but I don’t trust the new versions. .guess I will look on Etsy for vintage original! June 8, 2018 at 10:41am Reply

    • Sandra: I didn’t think the new version was that bad.. June 9, 2018 at 6:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: The new version is quite good, I think. June 12, 2018 at 2:25am Reply

      • Debi: Sandra and Victoria, Thanks for the recommendation! I think I’ll visit the Chanel counter soon! June 12, 2018 at 6:51pm Reply

  • Sandra: I recently tried Assam of India and I am really liking that for summer…

    In the past my summer go to has been Songes. I feel like it really blooms in the heat.

    Today I am in Myrrhe Eglantine. June 8, 2018 at 11:19am Reply

    • Silvermoon: Hi Sandra, I agree that Songes is beautiful and rich in hot/summer weather. It really comes into its own and makes a bold statement.

      A couple of weeks ago I tried Myrrhe Eglantine and Sambac Cedre. Really liked both of them, but can’t decide which I liked better. What did you think of the SC?

      Other summer favourites are JM Orange Blossom, FM Lys Mediterranean, Byredo’s Flowerhead (if you like Songes, you probably will like this), Cristalle, SMN Zagara, MH Fleurs de Sel, to name a few. Of course, I wear all A’s and when it pleases me!

      I see Victoria mentioned a number I don’t know, so new perfumes to try. Yeah! June 8, 2018 at 1:43pm Reply

    • Kelly: Assam of India and Songes are both great! June 8, 2018 at 9:52pm Reply

    • Emilie: Ah forgot all about Songes! Isn’t it so beautiful in the heat? It almost shimmers in a good way. Adding a white floral segment to my summer wheel with Songes too 😉 June 9, 2018 at 4:15am Reply

    • Sandra: Songes shouldn’t be skipped in the summer but that is just my opinion!!! June 9, 2018 at 6:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: You smell wonderful! June 12, 2018 at 2:25am Reply

  • kat: I hardly wear perfume in summer – but if I do I prefer light scents like Thé Bleu (Bulgary), Brit Rhythm (Burberry), Eau Vitaminée (Biotherm) and Eau Nouveau (4711). Apparently I can’t make up my mind between lavender and citrus scents. (My beloved leather scents have to wait for autumn.) June 8, 2018 at 11:43am Reply

    • Victoria: Leather is one type of fragrance I rarely can wear in the summer, unless it’s the cool, iris leather of Chanel No 19 EDT. June 12, 2018 at 2:26am Reply

  • Hilde: I made a blind buy on Parfum de Nicolaï’s Cap Neroli (arriving tomorrow). I really hope this will become a summer favorite, just like ‘l Eau à la Folie and Eau Soleil. On really hot days I also like to wear Shantung by Etro or Hiris by Hermès. June 8, 2018 at 1:03pm Reply

    • maja: Cap Neroli is just beautiful, you’ve made the right decision. June 9, 2018 at 11:59am Reply

      • Hilde: Hi Maja, it gave me a scare with an ashtray opening!! Then I realized it was the oakmoss… great dry down and definitely a neroli with something extra! June 10, 2018 at 1:24pm Reply

        • maja: Hilde, I find it even a bit exotic with its fair share of ylang ylang. 🙂 June 10, 2018 at 5:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: Fingers crossed! You probably received it already, so I’m curious how are you enjoying it. June 12, 2018 at 2:26am Reply

  • Emilie: Lots of irises, Infusion d’Iris and La Pausa feature prominently then on to pretty fruit and floral combinations. I think come Summer my new Osmanthe Yunnan will get a lot of wear… I don’t think anyone else would call it a fruity floral but to me it seems that way. I get lots of squelchy apricots and peaches from this one as well as armfuls of flowers that I can’t pick apart but it is all so sheer and sophisticated. June 8, 2018 at 1:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: I can’t imagine a time when an iris perfume is out of place. 🙂 June 13, 2018 at 1:46am Reply

      • Emilie: Very true 🙂 June 13, 2018 at 1:57am Reply

  • Alicia: Green:Bulgary, Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert
    Citrus: Chanel, Cristalle EDT, Guerlain, Pamplelune; my staple: Dior, Eau Sauvage
    Floral: Guerlain, Chamade and Apres l’Ondee
    Chypre:Lauder, Private Collection, Miss Dior (originale).The many citrus , not counting 4711: my Mediterranean blood. At the moment I have no incense, my choice for this time of the year would be Kyoto. Thank you so much for this post; quite inspiring. June 8, 2018 at 1:28pm Reply

  • Laura: Hmm… for me Tom Ford’s Eau de Soleil Blanc is like a cruel joke on the fabulous Azuree Soleil he created for Estee Lauder. Yes, the one they massacred later as Bronze Goddess. Wish Tom would take that into his collection. June 8, 2018 at 2:19pm Reply

  • Debby: My old summer faithfuls are Etro Vicolo Fiori and the original vintage Salvador Dali.
    I’ve just finally seen the point of Eau des Merveilles, I always thought it was too watery and insipid for words, but a highly uncharacteristic Scottish Highland heatwave has had me reaching for my sample and releasing how the heat really makes it shine! Full bottle at some point, though will probably last me a lifetime based on usual weather!
    I love incense fragrances, and for me L’air du Desert Marocain is lovely on a sultry evening.
    My husband recently surprised me by buying me Zoologist’s Dragonfly as an early birthday present, a wonderful green fragrance perfect for summer. June 8, 2018 at 2:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: Eau des Merveilles is one of my favorites, and yes, it feel uplifting. June 13, 2018 at 1:48am Reply

  • Sharon: I haven’t tried anything new in these genres of late, but I do love the oldies such as O de Lancôme, White Linen, Estee Lauder Private Collection, and Jessica McClintok. Oh wait, I do have a lovely new scent, SSS Bee’s Bliss, which sends me to a sweet scented yet earthy summer garden, full of buzzing bees pollinating every flower to be had. June 8, 2018 at 4:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Classics are always good. June 13, 2018 at 1:48am Reply

  • Jackie: Hi V and followers! I haven’t popped on here for a long time! Nice to “see” you all again! Thanks for the summertime suggestions, V. I will definitely have to try some of those, especially the airy incenses. 🙂 These days I’ve been wearing my default, Chanel 19, but also Fat Electrician by ELdO, which I’m sniffing as I write. Mmmmm. I also just bought a bottle of Body Shop’s Pink Grapefruit body spray for hot days (we had an early heat wave here, though now we’re back to seasonal temps). I’d been using their Pink Grapefruit body butter and getting compliments everywhere I went, so I thought I’d give the spray a try. Since it’s so inexpensive, I’ve been spraying it everywhere!! 🙂 Though I must say I think the scent lasts longer in the body butter! 🙂 June 8, 2018 at 4:21pm Reply

    • Victoria: It lasts pretty well, considering that it’s a cream. It’s also moisturizing. June 13, 2018 at 1:48am Reply

  • rosarita: I like the spin of the fragrance wheel that you’ve done here, V, wonderful choices including some I now want to explore! I love Le Temps d’Une Fete very much and miss it but this year I have added Zoologist Macque to my collection and will soon add the wonderfully leafy Elephant as well, both different facets of green that I enjoy. Zoologist has been my favorite house for months now, with Civet being the only perfume with tuberose that I have ever loved – tuberose hates me – and Hummingbird being my favorite fruity floral. L’Artisan Seville l’Aube and Un Jardin Sur le Nil are beloved summer staples with citrus and Etro Messe di Minuit my favorite summer incense, that cold stone church interior is like my own private air conditioner. I guess the citrus category is also where I need to list Jean Nate body splash, so cool and refreshing when kept in the fridge 🙂 June 8, 2018 at 6:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’re right, Messe de Minuit is an ideal summer incense. June 13, 2018 at 1:49am Reply

      • Martha: I’m thinking of ordering it, and was wondering if the current formulations are still something you like. I adore Des Profundis, so think I’d like an incense for summer. I wear DS even now. June 21, 2018 at 11:04am Reply

  • Joy Erickson: I really enjoyed the fragrance wheel, also your link to shopping/sniffing techniques at the perfume counter. In Spring, Summer and early fall, I only have occasional access to Macy’s, or once in a while Nordstrom’s in Seattle. I mostly use sampling sites. In winter in AZ, I visit stores. The perfume counters can be intimidating if one is not prepared. I have had a SA follow me down the aisle continuing to try to sell me a new fragrance. I most often cannot find unique and interesting fragrances in stores now. I make my best finds by reading your and your reader’s suggestions then following up with a sample purchase.

    Two weeks ago, though, I was in San Francisco. I had a great time perusing the perfume counters.
    Here on the North Coast of Oregon just as we can wear our fleece shirts into early summer, I can continue to wear my more fall/ winter fragrances. Some days now I still wear Hermes 24 Faubourg or 1000. I do like to cross over into greens though as they seem timeless to me. June 8, 2018 at 8:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: The SAs aren’t usually trained well, but there are so many launches that they can’t keep up. Plus, the brands make them focus on the latest releases, which makes a shopping experience annoying. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been dissuaded from even trying the older fragrances, because “there is something newer and better.” As if! June 13, 2018 at 1:51am Reply

  • Aurora: I love the still-life photo. Thank you for describing many new fragrances. Your seasonal post makes me realize that I haven’t had much of a chance to think of summer fragrances yet, the weather has not been conducive and my feeling is of anticipation: 2 of last year’s discoveries l’Eau de Monteil (salty floral) and CD vintage Eau Fraiche, perennial Eau de Rochas, Un Jardin sur le Nil, PC Jasmine White Moss, Nuxe le Parfum when in the mood for sultry flowers, Trussardi My Scent, my favorite lilac of the moment, Carthusia Mediterraneo for the blast of citrus, like you I enjoy incense blooming in the heat and will wear Encens Flamboyant like smoky gauze. June 9, 2018 at 8:15am Reply

    • Victoria: Strawberries and elderblossoms make a perfect match.
      Your choices are so fun! June 13, 2018 at 1:52am Reply

  • Jennifer M: Lots of great fragrances mentioned here. My summer lineup is No. 18 (my heart belong to you, No. 18), La Pausa (though it doesn’t really stand up to the heat I adore it anyway), Sur Le Nil, Herba Fresca. I also keep Jo Malone Orange Blossom in my handbag because it’s very cooling and the perfect pick-me-up. I’m dying to try the new Chanel Paris-Deauville. So far I’ve resisted the urge to test it because I fear I will have to have it once I smell it, and my bank account fears so too. I bought Eau de Rochas a few months ago, wanting an affordable cologne for summer, but unfortunately it develops a strange quality on my skin. I think it’s the coriander. June 9, 2018 at 11:13am Reply

    • Jennifer M: I forgot to include Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling! Gin and tonic in a bottle. June 9, 2018 at 12:58pm Reply

    • Petunia: Too bad that Eau de Rochas doesn’t work for you. On me, it is a lemonade chypre. I love it! June 12, 2018 at 9:12pm Reply

      • Jennifer M: Oh, I love it too, it just breaks my heart a little! I get about an hour of joy with it before it gets a bit strange on my skin. My compromise has been to spray it on my sheets. I’ll keep trying because it is lovely. I’m happy to meet another Eau de Rochas admirer! June 13, 2018 at 10:57am Reply

    • Victoria: Eau de Rochas is a cologne on a mossy chypre base, so if you wanted something clean like Orange Blossom, I’d say that it’s not right. Paris-Deauville would be more like it, but the price… June 13, 2018 at 1:53am Reply

      • Jennifer M: Ah, chypre. You’re so right. Cristalle is another beloved scent I struggle with, but I crave that initial sparkling burst. I think I admire some chypres more than I can actually wear them. June 13, 2018 at 11:06am Reply

        • Victoria: It happens to me too with some fragrances! June 18, 2018 at 7:32am Reply

  • Michael: I love to wear Le Parfum de Therese in the summer. Also, Fleurs de Sels by Miller Harris, because the heat really makes the herb notes (rosemary, sage and thyme) stand out.

    This might sound a bit weird, but I also frequently wear Hollister’s SoCal cologne in the summer. There’s something about the fragrance that reminds me of the hot weather and sandy beaches. Also, many people have complimented me on Abercrombie’s Fierce. June 10, 2018 at 7:45am Reply

  • Tara C: I also have L’Eau Froide and JM Jasmin Sambac & Marigold in my rotation. Other favourites are FM Eau de Magnolia, Cologne Indelebile, Lys Mediterranee, L’AP Seville à l’Aube and Nuit de Tubereuse. When it gets very very hot, there’s always AdP Magnolia Nobile and Gelsomino Nobile in edt as well. June 10, 2018 at 12:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: More beautiful ideas for the summer scents. June 13, 2018 at 1:54am Reply

  • Mel: Where does one buy “Temps d’Une Fete?” these days? Luckyscent hasn’t carried it for quite some time. June 10, 2018 at 3:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: From Nicolai directly. They offer it, and if you don’t see it on their website, just drop them a line. June 11, 2018 at 12:57am Reply

  • maja: Hilde, I find it even a bit exotic with its fair share of ylang ylang. 🙂 June 10, 2018 at 5:36pm Reply

  • AndreaR: My summer rotation will include:
    L’Artisan, La Chasse aux Papillons
    L’Artisan, Premier Figuier
    Patricia de Nicolai, Eau d’Ete
    Annick Goutal, Eau du Sud
    Chanel No.5 L’Eau Chanel

    And my most recent addition, Humiecki & Graef’s Gest from the lovely Annindriya Perfume Lounge in Amsterdam, June 10, 2018 at 6:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: Annindriya Perfume Lounge is such a great place, isn’t it! June 13, 2018 at 1:55am Reply

  • Cybele: summer…Loewe 001 Woman, Outrageous, Envy and I feel like I want to try L’Ombre Dans L’Eau again June 11, 2018 at 1:24am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m happy to add these to my own rotation. June 12, 2018 at 2:35am Reply

      • Cybele: have you tried the Loewe? June 12, 2018 at 11:36am Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, I have, and I liked it very much. June 13, 2018 at 2:00am Reply

          • Cybele: that’s interesting and nice to hear, I don’t think I have seen any positive reviews on it but I love it and it transports me to Porto. It is the first scent in ages that became sort of a signiture scent for me. June 13, 2018 at 8:58am Reply

  • Figuier: Lovely list. I don’t wear perfume that often in summer, but what I do put on is traditionally ‘summery’, i.e. citrus, fruit, green: Narcisse Bleue, Bigarade Concentree, Cristalle edt, Roger & Gallet Bois D’Orange Huile Sublime, the odd dab of Bombay Bling. June 11, 2018 at 4:15am Reply

    • Victoria: We agree on many greens, I think! June 12, 2018 at 2:35am Reply

      • Figuier: Narcisse Bleue & Cristalle were initially discovered via your reviews, so that’s not surprising! June 12, 2018 at 4:12pm Reply

  • Lydia: A bad experience with a CdG reformulation put me off perfumes for a while, but I recently began sampling again and it’s fun to read what people here are wearing each season. The idea of a perfume wardrobe divided by the fragrance wheel is so interesting.

    My old favorite, Green Tea (The Vert) by Lothantique, is always nice in warm weather. It smells like linden blossom to me.

    I discovered Histoire d’Orangers by L’Artisan Parfumeur this spring. I love the combination of white flower richness and fresh-squeezed orange juice, so maybe this is both a white flower and a citrus scent for me?

    Another white flower I fell for was Hiram Green’s Moon Bloom. To me it smells like a perfect gardenia recreation.

    DSH’s Vert pour Madame is a beautiful vintage-smelling green chypre that doesn’t seem quite as autumnal to me as most chypres do.

    Ormonde Jayne’s Orris Noir is sort of an iris- incense to me, with what smells like a spicy nutmeg note. The subtle iris in it is making me want to track down the current version of Luten’s Iris Silver Mist to see if it still smells as moody and rich. June 11, 2018 at 8:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: So many inspiring choices! Thank you for reminding me of Orris Noir.

      Which CdG perfume put you off sampling? June 12, 2018 at 2:28am Reply

  • Lydia: It was the White EdT. I bought a bottle before realizing it was no longer the subtle, complex incense I loved and was so terribly disappointed. (It smells like bug spray now to me.) I still have a sample from years ago & that’s still beautiful, so I know it wasn’t my nose that changed.

    Your review of Histoire d’Orangers deepened my appreciation of it so much! June 12, 2018 at 5:36pm Reply

    • Cybele: oh really? is there any confirmation that White had been reformulated? June 12, 2018 at 9:29pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s so disappointing! I used to love that perfume. June 13, 2018 at 2:14am Reply

  • Petunia: Lovely review! We have had cooler than usual weather for the last several weeks. I’m still wearing mostly spring scents. However, I am looking forward to wearing Cristalle, Diorissimo, Eau du Soir, Fig Tea and Opardu among others once the temperatures turn hot. June 12, 2018 at 8:52pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also like fragrances that remind me of spring. June 13, 2018 at 2:14am Reply

  • RAMIN1215: chloe nomade June 14, 2018 at 2:02am Reply

  • Carla: First Victoria, thank you for recommending the book about Francois I by Franck Ferrand. My husband enjoyed it.
    In summer – at least, this summer! – I love fruity chypres like Jubilation 25, or when it’s too warm for that, Le Parfum de Therese. I like unsweetened fruity florals like Calyx or anything rosy by Sofia Grosjean. White florals like Fracas, Tubereuse Criminelle. I am considering purchasing Sarrasins becaus Instill dream of the scent of my sample and remember how it lingered on my sweater, so beautiful. I think Sarrasins will be my jasmine for all seasons. On very specific late summer or early fall days I wear Missoni. I’m afraid my perfumes are stuck 5-10 years ago, there is very little that’s new in my rotation. This is partly because I haven’t lived in a cosmopolitan city since 2011, so I can no longer browse shops, make discoveries, come back for more and finally purchase. June 14, 2018 at 7:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s ok too. Sometimes I think that if I didn’t have a chance to try new perfumes because of work, I would be happy with what I have already and not be tempted to search further. June 18, 2018 at 7:35am Reply

  • Rox: I recently purchased Rhubarb Sherbet and Saint Julep for summer. I pulled out L’Ombre dans L’ eau and Floribello from Diptyque out of my collection. I also brought out Delina (Perfumes de Marly) for spring. I am really enjoying rhubarb and plan to test the Hermes rhubarb fragrance as soon as I can get to Nordstrom. June 15, 2018 at 10:11am Reply

    • Victoria: Rhubarb is a refreshing note. June 18, 2018 at 7:36am Reply

  • spe: Cristalle EDT, Caleche EDT, 24 Faubourg Eau Delicate, 19 Poudre, sometimes Kelly Caleche edp or La Panthere Eau Legere. Have not tried the la Panthere edt yet.

    I am considering L’ Aube from L’ Artisan for a purchase and will likely purchase one of the Chanel Eaux. June 21, 2018 at 9:43am Reply

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