Three Favorite Perfumes of the Moment

Three perfumes for warm days. Three ideas to evoke freshness. Three different scents for different moods. I originally wanted to make a list of summer fragrances like I always do this time of year, but as I was contemplating my list, my eye fell onto my dressing table and I saw three bottles. To avoid leaving perfume exposed to light more than necessary, I rotate what I wear, and these three perfumes have stayed on my dresser long enough for me to wonder what exactly I enjoyed about them and to share them with you.

You can watch my video for the description of scents and for my opinion on fresh fragrances in general. As a complement to the film, I would like to compare my current summer favorites to other similar fragrances and to give you more ideas on perfumes to sample.

Penhaligon’s Racquets 

Racquets is a squeeze of zesty citrus over dry amber. Amber here is a modern synthetic material that smells woody, dry and yet warm. It reminds me of unsweetened Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, with the citrusy accord being more natural and nuanced. Another similar idea is Acqua di Parma Bergamotto di Calabria. Even on warm days, I prefer my citrus with a darker edge.

Hermès Le Jardin de Monsieur Li

Green tea, green leaves, dewy jasmine buds. The first time I tested this perfume Le Jardin de Monsieur Li I found it pretty but unremarkable, but over time it grew on me. It’s uplifting, bright and yet wistful, reminding me not of any garden, but of a florist shop. It replaced by Kilian Water Calligraphy and Jour d’Hermès, which also play with a similar luminous floral accord. If you’d like a fragrance that skips the leaves and focuses on florals, then Estée Lauder Pleasures (or any of its flankers) is an option. If instead, you would like less flowers and more greenery, I recommend Eau d’Italie Jardin du Poète.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’Enfer Extrême

An incense for summer, you might wonder–and a warm, dark incense at that! One of my favorite notes in the summer is frankincense, whether cool and bright as Serge Lutens L’Eau Froide or dark and rich as L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’Enfer. Passage d’Enfer Extrême is darker than the original, but it’s light on sweet notes, so it still wears well on warm days. The best part is that it segues effortlessly from afternoon to evening, wrapping you like a delicate shawl. My main suggestion is to apply it lightly, or even better, mix it into an unscented body lotion the way I suggest in One Perfume, Four Ways to Wear It. It will tone down its richness without affecting the character.

What are your current favorites? 

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33 Comments

  • Zazie: Lovely list!
    Apart from Caudalie’s eau de beauté, which is not a perfume, I am not so much into refreshing fragrant options, even in smoldering heat.
    My preferences do change slightly in the summer, though not so much as to have a distinctively seasonal rotation.
    Here are a few fragrances that I particularly appreciate in the hot season: Niral from Neila Vermeire, Parfums de Rosine “secrets de rose”, BK’s Beyond love, SL’s tubereuse criminelle and Kai.
    I do wear everything year round though. I wear so little anyway that it never gets overwhelming.
    I prefer one nano-droplet of Shalimar extrait to multiple sprays of cologne – always! 🙂 July 5, 2021 at 9:31am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s an excellent approach, plus perfume will smell differently depending on season. A tiny dose of Shalimar works so well on warm days, and despite what people think, it doesn’t smell heavy or stifling. July 7, 2021 at 6:20am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: In the summer I like flowery perfumes, in harmony with the season. Fresh perfumes in wintertime; last snowy winter it was Iris Silver Mist and Eau de Rochas.
    In my neighbourhood there are many shrubs of jasmin. I enjoy the smell and leave that perfume to the flowers. ( A La Nuit when I want some jasmin in winter. )
    My favourites these days (moist, sultry)are First, Joy, and Gabrielle.When the weather is dry and sunny, I like Fracas. July 5, 2021 at 10:19am Reply

    • Victoria: A lovely list. I like florals in general, so I’m with you. July 7, 2021 at 6:21am Reply

  • Marsi: I’ve been wearing Chanel Paris-Riviera and Paris-Venise and am nursing a sample of MFK Oud Satin Mood (dumb name) until I can buy a bottle at Luckyscent in Los Angeles in a few weeks.

    I love wearing a big baroque stinker in the summer. People in the Middle East wear such opulent, “heavy” fragrances and they have no winter weather to reserve them for — so I often follow their example. July 5, 2021 at 10:29am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, true, although in the Gulf countries, the fragrances are rich but dry, so they don’t feel overly heavy. And then, the air is hot and dry, so the effect is different. July 7, 2021 at 6:22am Reply

  • Dorothee: I’m relatively new to perfumes so I ha e been doing a lot of sampling. I’ve been surprised by some of the fragrances that I am enjoying during summer weather: Dama Bianca, Ylang in Gold, Tea Tonic, Cavatina, Splendiris, Inlé mixed with a little Marfa, Do Son on its own or layered with Marfa. July 5, 2021 at 10:30am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve never tried layering Do Son, but it sounds fun! July 7, 2021 at 6:22am Reply

  • Trudy: I love Chanel Riviera. I was on a girls get-to away with a friend and she went into the bathroom after I finished getting dressed and said wow what is that beautiful fragrance? She promptly bought a bottle and now it is one of her favorites as well. It seems underrated to me but I enjoy it so it’s fine that its not too popular but I’m glad to hear when others like it as I don’t want it to be discontinued. July 5, 2021 at 10:53am Reply

    • Trudy: this was intended as a reply to Marsi’s comments July 5, 2021 at 10:55am Reply

    • Victoria: Oops, my comment also was misplaced.

      I like this perfume, and I think that it’s doing well on the market. It definitely has a nice sillage. July 7, 2021 at 6:24am Reply

  • Jeanne: On sweltering days, I enjoy neroli scents such as Atelier’s Grand Neroli and Hermès Eau de Neroli Dore. Refreshing and beautiful. For something a bit more sheer and fleeting, I wear Serge Lutens’ Fleurs de Citronnier. July 5, 2021 at 11:41am Reply

    • Victoria: I love neroli and orange blossom in all forms. July 7, 2021 at 6:24am Reply

  • rickyrebarco: My favorite refreshing scents for summer are Jo Loves signature with pomelo and black pepper, Laboratorio Olfattivo Mandarino by Jean-Claude Ellena and Teo Cabanel’s Meloe, a citrus with a softer side. July 5, 2021 at 11:55am Reply

  • Perfumelover67: This summer, I have in heavy rotation Guerlain AA Herba Fresca, Serge Lutens L’Eau Froide, Chanel Paris-Venise, Paris-Deauville and L’Artisan Un Air de Bretagne. I usually spray on something different in the morning, before going to work. Once I am back home I enjoy wearing these. July 5, 2021 at 1:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: This is similar to my list last year. Many favorites are here. July 7, 2021 at 6:25am Reply

  • Nikos: Having reached temperatures of even 40 degrees Celsius here I could tolerate nothing less refreshing than my summer staple Gin Fizz by Lubin. No matter how short lived it is on my skin I can’t find a cologne as effervescent and refined as this. As you have previously mentioned to try unconventional notes for summer (like myrrh) I did get a sample of Passage d’enfer and it is indeed great to wear on crispier summer nights. Last but not least I did succumb to a full bottle of Immortelle Corse and I’m not looking back. Have a great scented summer everyone! July 5, 2021 at 1:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, enjoy Immortelle Corse! It’s such an original perfume. July 7, 2021 at 6:25am Reply

      • Nikos: Thank you Victoria, I had some doubts at first but it’s imortelle at its best. Enjoy your summer! July 7, 2021 at 8:25am Reply

  • Tati: What great lists to explore! I’ve found in the heat and working at home I’m craving simpler scents and am surprised to see many of them are herbal: 10 Corso Como, Eau d’Italie, Cannabis Rose, AA Mandarine Basilic, and Cartier Baiser Vole. July 5, 2021 at 2:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for sharing yours. So inspiring! July 7, 2021 at 6:26am Reply

  • Jennifer: Usually I am really enjoying my Annick Goutal Eau de Hadrien or Hermès Jour s’ Hermès. Right now I am longing to try a few new samples from Le Labo, especially their Neroli . July 5, 2021 at 8:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like the way Le Labo Neroli turns jasmine-like in the middle and later become orange blossom-like. July 7, 2021 at 6:26am Reply

  • Charlotte: Un Jardin de Monsieur Li is one of my favourite fragrances to wear to work in warm weather; so pretty and refreshing, and just slightly quirky. I haven’t tried the Extreme version but I love the original Passage d’Enfer, it’s one of my favourite early spring scents. After this lovely description I would like to try Racquets, although I struggle with lemon in fragrance as I associate it with cleaning products!

    I’ve recently been using Sublime Blossom and Hidden on the Rooftops; both by Bertrand Duchaufour for Miller Harris. Sublime Blossom is warmer, with sweet sandalwood, musk and citrus. Hidden is more herbal and lighter on the woods, with a rich honeysuckle note.

    Like Cornelia, I love smelling the jasmine in my neighbourhood at this time of year. Recently I passed a woman in the street and had to stop her to ask what fragrance she was wearing with the most incredible sweet and warm floral sillage; it was Chanel Gabrielle so I have dug out my sample and am enjoying it a lot.

    PS Victoria I love your blouse in this video! July 6, 2021 at 3:22am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much!

      Sublime Blossom is so pretty, isn’t it? It reminds me a bit in terms of its style of the fragrances BD created for Ann Gerard. July 7, 2021 at 6:27am Reply

      • Charlotte: I haven’t smelt any of Ann Gerard’s perfumes but have read your reviews here and they sound lovely.

        Sublime Blossom reminds me a bit of Penhaligon’s Amaranthine (also by BT), a long-lost favourite of mine!

        I’d be interested to hear what you think of Hidden on the Rooftops; have you tried it Victoria? July 10, 2021 at 4:08am Reply

  • Emily: For the truly hot days I sip a lot of hibuscus agua fresca & liberally reapply Comme des Garcons’ Rhubarb from the Sherbet Series. That tart opening! Also love Hiram Green’s Moon Bloom all summer, it really does bloom on warm skin & is always a rapturous pick-me-up. & Rogue’s Jasmin Antique is particularly lovely sprayed at dusk if we’re eating al fresco, so I can pretend I’m on the coast of CA & not NYC. July 6, 2021 at 5:40pm Reply

  • Eudora: It’s funny! When I tried Le jardin du Ms. Li I really LOVED it, I thought I found a “you have to be mine”, but then I read your review… it’s silly, I know… I live in the countryside plus the COVID-19 situation make me difficult to reach for Ms. Li, but now I won’t forget.
    I am happy bathing me those days with a huge bottle of Eau de Rochas. I found it modern knowing it’s already a classic. The body milk after a shower is a delight.
    I love your videos, thanks Victoria. July 7, 2021 at 9:52am Reply

  • Caro: I’ve been wearing L’Été en Douce since the weather started getting warmer. It is definitely a light floral fragrance, but I wouldn’t call it fresh. It gives me a relaxed and, perhaps, lazy feeling. Interestingly, I’ve been passing by some still blooming linden trees during my walk back home after work. They smell lovely, especially when it is humid.

    Besides, sometimes I use the Paris – Biarritz shower gel. This one is citrusy and fresh, but it also has some sweetness. And the scent lasts for a couple hours. July 8, 2021 at 12:26am Reply

  • John: I LOVE
    Tilleul by Le Galion. Fresh green floral, I could bathe in this. radiant and delicious but never cloying or heavy, sunny and summery skin scent. Probably my favorite.
    Experimentum Crucis by ELO a masculine version of Portrait of a Lady. perfect for evenings. Massive rose followed by a gorge patchouli dry-down, cumin whispers from time to time. very DRY oriental.
    Neroli36 super fresh tonic….cuts through the heat like nothing else. July 8, 2021 at 8:20am Reply

  • niche: I really like Hermès Le Jardin de Monsieur Li and I agree, it is a fantastic fresh scent. All the Chanel Les Eaux fragrances are good in my opinion.

    I have to admit that I would sometimes spray Chanel Chance Eau Fraîche. It was a gift and I would never have bought it myself as my initial reaction was ‘this is for teenagers’. BUT, with my body chemistry on a hot and muggy day, it is so good. July 8, 2021 at 10:02am Reply

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