5 Perfume Masterpieces for Summer

Beautiful fragrances can lift your mood. Over the past few months I have been wearing my most opulent perfumes without being concerned that they might become associated with a dark period in my life. I needed colors, texture, and vibrancy, and my beloved classics satisfied me. Complex fragrances have the benefit of being multifaceted, so that each time you wear them, you discover a new layer or create your own story to match the mood. Perfume may be a dispensable luxury, but like all beautiful things, it serves to elicit positive emotions and boost the spirits.

For my summer-themed selection, I’ve settled on a list of five masterpieces. These are the perfume equivalents of novels by Tolstoy and George Eliot because of their layers, nuances, and twists. Some are elegant colognes; others are lush florals and bittersweet chypres (mossy-woody blends.) The list is personal, but I think that you will agree that these are among the classical perfumes to try. Some of them might be ideal as an introduction to classics.

Chanel Cristalle

I mention Cristalle often in my lists for a reason. It’s an impeccably crafted composition that pairs a vibrant floral accord with mossy layers. Then it weaves a cool woody note throughout, adds a crisp citrus accent and a dose of subtle aldehydes. The result is like a sip of champagne, heady and sparkling.

Guerlain Chamade

A melody in lemon yellow tones. Chamade evokes mixed associations with its exquisite composition of green floral notes and mossy woods. A wistful hyacinth note is intertwined with the dark blackcurrant element, suggesting a beautiful contrast. Study Chamade as you apply it on your skin, and you will find a series of such contrasts and harmonies. If you think of scent in terms of colors, you might discover that the hues of this Guerlain classic deepen as it evolves, from soft pastels to saturated purple and brown shades.

Chanel Eau de Cologne

An elegant cologne with a modern musky-woody finish. Unlike classical bitter citrus compositions, Chanel’s is transparent and delicately sweet, with just enough warmth to take away the sharpness of bergamot and lemon notes. The citrus were cast as especially sunlit and effervescent. This sensation of shimmer lingers well into the drydown, where it contrasts it with the dryness of woods and the soft earthiness of musk.

Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower

A symphony of tuberose. Green nuances offset the richness of the composition, making it suitable for warm summer days. I recommend using Carnal Flower with a light hand to avoid a smothering effect; rightly dosed it’s one of the most evocative white florals all year around.

Dior Vétiver

Vétiver is not as much of a masterpiece as Eau Sauvage, but it’s one of the best renditions on the market. Created in the classical style, it has a distinctive citrusy brightness to lift the woody richness of vetiver. The interplay between the bitterness and freshness remains a leitmotif of this composition as it evolves. Reminiscent of grand vetivers like Guerlain’s and Givenchy’s before they were altered, Dior’s version is the most refined. For men, women, and anyone who enjoys the salted woods and roasted hazelnut facets of vetiver.

What are your favorite classics for summer?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin



  • Barbara F.: I love Chamade in the summer but also at other times of the year. It has become my go-to scent, no matter the occasion. It blends with my skin seamlessly. July 29, 2022 at 9:05am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s such a beautiful composition, and you’re right, it’s perfect anytime. It’s a shame to keep it for summer only. July 29, 2022 at 9:27am Reply

      • Johaboha: I bought my bottle of Chamade Edt around Christmas and associated it more with winter and spring. You made me try it in the heatwave we have at the moment. I works wonderfully, the sparkling and dry green opening makes me feel clean and fresh. I actually don’t like the typical citrus in summer so it is a good alternative! August 3, 2022 at 9:58am Reply

    • Debra Zarur: I have a few go-to for summer. My favorite is Tom Ford White Patchouli. The others are
      Jo Malone Basil Neroli
      Bvlgari Chystalline
      Tocca Giulietta February 20, 2023 at 9:43am Reply

  • Carol Melancon: Carnal Flower is one of my favorites. It inspired me to grow tuberose in my garden. I have three flower spikes opening this week. July 29, 2022 at 9:18am Reply

    • Victoria: Lucky you! Whenever I see tuberose at the local florist, I can’t resist picking up a couple of branches. July 29, 2022 at 9:26am Reply

  • Adam: Victoria, I’m wondering: are your favorites also vintage formulations? If so, do you have any confidence in the current formulations? I’m particularly curious about Chamade (though I haven’t tried any of them). July 29, 2022 at 9:21am Reply

    • Victoria: It depends on a fragrance. I don’t wear overly old vintages, because the top notes change and the experience is no longer the same. Guerlain’s recent formulas have been good, although I miss Chamade extrait de parfum. It was my favorite version. July 29, 2022 at 9:25am Reply

  • matty1649: I love Chamade. I will find my bottle and have a spritz July 29, 2022 at 9:29am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m glad that it has so many fans here. July 29, 2022 at 9:32am Reply

  • Dorothy Van Daele: These classics aren’t dated. Still striking, still satisfying. Cristalle is a go-to for me from April onward. So refreshing, and such a contrast to the heavier, humid air. Also Jour d’Hermes which has a lovely first few minutes of change.

    I haven’t used Chamade in many years and I think it might be because I was so disappointed in the changes to Chant d’Aromes which was so beautiful in the 50s and 60s and then suddenly wasn’t. But I must! Chamade was special.

    It’s such a pleasure to read your posts again Victoria. July 29, 2022 at 9:47am Reply

    • Victoria: Chamade is still special, so do try it if you have a chance. August 1, 2022 at 10:30am Reply

  • Julia: What a lovely list! I also enjoy Cristalle and Carnal Flower a lot and adore Chamade, but for me nothing beats Diorella and Azurée in the summer heat.

    I’m so glad you are posting again, Victoria!!! July 29, 2022 at 9:59am Reply

    • Victoria: I enjoy Diorella and Azurée as well. Nice choice for this time of year. August 1, 2022 at 10:31am Reply

  • Marsi: I know what you mean about trauma-induced memories triggered by the beloved perfumes you wore to endure an experience.

    When my mother, which whom I had a complicated relationship, was dying nine years ago and was in and out of consciousness during the week before her death, I wanted her to know I was there even if she wasn’t awake. I wore my longtime signature fragrance, Chanel Coco, from head to toe: the beautiful bar soap, body cream, ETD, and a touch of the parfum on my earlobes.

    After she died, Coco smelled like the hospital and it practically made me retch. I took a break from it for about four years. But Coco came back eventually, and rhe associations I now have are the really good and old ones: being an independent young woman living in a big city for the first time, going to college, falling in love with my husband, getting married, giving birth, and raising our son (now 26). I wore Coco during all of those times and events; no fragrance better embodies the woman I know myself to be.

    Coco helped me endure a very hard time in my life with my mom, but a little break was necessary.

    I am sure the same will happen with you, Victoria. ❤️ July 29, 2022 at 10:05am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much for sharing this story, Marsi. You’re right, a little break might be necessary from some fragrance I wore, but I know that I will still keep them.
      Coco has so many layers, doesn’t it? August 1, 2022 at 10:32am Reply

  • Alityke: Hi Victoria, another beautiful piece. Unfortunately I’ve spent months either visiting my very elderly mum in hospital or trying to rehab her at home. Now my DH is undergoing tests on a lump his consultant describes as abnormal & sinister. I hadn’t worn any scent recently but felt the need for something. I bought Clarins Eau Extraordinaire. It’s lightly pretty, lightly fruity, lightly green, lightly floral & lightly woody. On skin it lasts only an our or two but on clothing lasts a little longer. The purchase was for the smallest bottle & wasn’t expensive. If I am never able to wear it when this challenging time, more challenging for mum & my DH, it can be gifted on. Im sure none of us will want to have the olfactory memory!
    Most summers would find me wearing Cristalle EdT, the EdP is too sweet for me. Mitsouko would get some summer love. I don’t find her imposing, just bracing as is No 19, though Mitsouko would just out do No19 if I needed my Big Girl Pants on.
    On those days of English summer, floral dresses, strawberries & cream, tea from a teapot & drunk from porcelain outside on the lawn only Nahema will do. Complex with rosewater, lush David Austin roses, layer upon layer of soft velvet petals in all shades of pink. My last choice is 4711 applied often straight from the fridge on the days when the grass shrivels in the heat.
    Thank you again for returning July 29, 2022 at 10:06am Reply

    • Aurora: So sorry you are experiencing hard times healthwise. Sending your family healing vibes. July 30, 2022 at 8:53am Reply

      • Alityke: Thank you July 30, 2022 at 9:09am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m sorry to hear that you’re also going through a challenging time. Thank you for reminding me of beautiful things to enjoy. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep one motivated, but such small pleasures help. Mitsouko might been to be brought out soon too.
      Please take care of yourself. August 1, 2022 at 10:34am Reply

      • Alityke: Thank you Victoria. Your writing is a beacon of hope, joy & beauty in a world that sometimes feels dark & bleak.
        Perfume can offer a small measure of self care at those time as well August 1, 2022 at 1:49pm Reply

  • Sandra: I find it has gotten harder to find Cristalle at department stores.

    From Guerlain, I love Sous le Vent in the summer and also the way Shalimar blooms in the heat on my skin.

    Maybe not a “masterpiece” but for big white florals: Songes by Goutal is something I reach for.. July 29, 2022 at 10:10am Reply

    • Nancy Chan: Sandra, please see my comments to April baby. I believe it is currently out of stock on Chanel’s website.

      See my comments below. July 29, 2022 at 5:50pm Reply

      • Alityke: I think Cristalle EdT is either out of production temporarily or may even have been d/ced. It disappeared late 2019/2020. It did disappear from Chanel.com initially, then returned late 2021 but has show as sold out almost immediately. I hope it’s a supply issue & they plan to produce it again. Eau Verte is available on their website but not sure where else July 30, 2022 at 10:36am Reply

    • Brigitte: Cristalle has been discontinued. July 30, 2022 at 9:20am Reply

      • Nancy Chan: Definitely not discontinued. It was back on the Chanel website about 2 weeks ago, then sold out very quickly. July 30, 2022 at 5:06pm Reply

        • Kathleen: I see Cristalle EDT and EauVerte available on US Chanel website July 31, 2022 at 11:18am Reply

    • Victoria: Ah, Sous le Vent is so beautiful. August 1, 2022 at 10:35am Reply

  • Filomena: Victoria, I truly enjoyed this post and all the comments that follow, all of which I can relate to. I am going through a very tough time in life right now, but sometimes wearing a lovely perfume lifts me up somewhat and makes me feel more hopeful. I go to perfumes all include Iris and my old standby is Hermes H’iris. July 29, 2022 at 11:12am Reply

    • Victoria: Please take care of yourself, Filomena. I hope that this difficult period shall pass soon. August 1, 2022 at 10:35am Reply

  • Hamamelis: So nice to see another post. Thank you. Summer classics are Cristalle and no 19. I received a sample of Paris Riveria and it was much lovelier than I thought it would be. So maybe another Chanel may be added, not yet classic though. I haven’t worn Chamade for a long time so I will give it a try. As for white florals I love Songes, and Moon Bloom, and SL a la Nuit. July 29, 2022 at 11:12am Reply

    • Meredith Russell: Chanel-Riviera is my favorite of that collection even tho it is seldom mentioned! July 29, 2022 at 7:32pm Reply

      • Trudy: Chanel-Riviera is my favorite from that collection as well. I think it is lovely and I wear it often. July 30, 2022 at 12:55pm Reply

    • Trudy: I’ve only had samples of SL a la Nuit so far but I feel fb is coming. So beautiful. Agree with you about Chanel Riviera. July 30, 2022 at 1:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love Songes all year round. Thank you for mentioning it. August 1, 2022 at 10:36am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Chamade is beautiful indeed, but I can’t wear it. Hyacinth is prominent (to my nose) and Hyacinth gives my a headache. Same with Cristalle. I would like to have a hyacinth in Christmas time, it is such a festive flower, but no, headache!
    I love Joy (Patou of course, not Dior!), so rich and flowery. And 1000 .
    Other classics are Après L’Ondée and L’Heure Bleue (I own both the vintage edp and the current one, and like the current one better, more transparant if that makes sense).
    First is one of my other beloved classics, a masterpiece in harmony and balance. In that perfume I can wear the Hyacinth.
    And No 5…. In the current versions, I prefer the edp. Eau de toilette in the past, but to my nose it is too fleety, and thinner than it used to be. Extrait I had years ago. Wonderful.
    All of them in summertime (and wintertime)
    I love J’Adore Absolu (jasmine) especcially in summer, but that’s not a classic: too young (2018). July 29, 2022 at 11:31am Reply

    • Victoria: What a beautiful list with a nice variety. J’Adore flankers, btw, are really well made. August 1, 2022 at 10:36am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: How could I forget Jicky! I wear it every day this July. July 29, 2022 at 11:35am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, a perfect choice. August 1, 2022 at 10:37am Reply

  • April baby: So glad to see this post, Victoria. Hoping all in your life are safe and well. I love love love Cristalle ( in edt and EDP) for so many years. An eighth of a bottle is sitting on my bureau as I write. It appears unavailable anywhere including Chanel’s website. I do believe it’s been done for awhile now. I have been looking for a ” replacement” – so to speak and though not a replacement this post is helpful.
    The Eau Verte cristalle doesn’t do it for me. Though not my style usually at all- goutal Songes works for summer for me. Going to go order a decant.
    Take care all July 29, 2022 at 11:40am Reply

    • Hamamelis: Hi April baby, Cristalle is still available on the European (at least the Dutch) Chanel website. Hopefully a good sign… July 29, 2022 at 12:01pm Reply

    • Nancy Chan: April baby, Chanel edt is still available from Chanel’s website. Chanel informed me that Cristalle edt was back in stock on 12 July 2022, and so it was.

      The next day, it was all sold out. The No.5
      soap had the same problem, but now that is available in the boutiques again.

      I suggest you sign up for Chanel’s email notification for the product you’re interested in. They will notify you when the product is back in stock. July 29, 2022 at 5:48pm Reply

    • Victoria: Eau Verte Cristalle is not the same at all. It goes more into the cologne category. August 1, 2022 at 10:37am Reply

  • OperaFan: It’s so lovely to be able to read your writing again, Victoria! NJ has been mostly hot, hotter, and humid this summer and cooling and refreshing fragrances have been ones I’ve reached for after cleaning up from morning exercises and gardening work.
    Annick Goutal’s Ninfeo Mio and L’eau d’Hadrien, and Bulgari’s Eau de The Bleu have been ones I frequently reached out for, as well as Sisley’s Eau du Campagne and Jicky – my trusted standby.
    Coming home from my vacation in Greece just 2 weeks ago, I picked up a bottle of Coco edp to backfill my old ’93 bottle that I’ve been using sparingly, plus a spray can of No.5 L’eau, which I expect to be extra refreshing in the coming dog days…. July 29, 2022 at 12:07pm Reply

    • OperaFan: Oh, yes, and Guerlain’s Vetiver (in the early 2000’s redesigned horizontal ribbed bottle) has been indispensable for this summer’s heat. 🙂 July 29, 2022 at 1:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: I just tried Eau de Sisley 1 and was pleasantly surprised. A good option if you liked Eau de Campagne. August 1, 2022 at 10:38am Reply

      • OperaFan: Thanks for the tip, Victoria! I’m a long-time fan of both Eau De Campagne and Eau du Soir. I know the formulas have changed but a recent purchase of EdC from Sisley still retains that sharp blast of green at the top that I love, so I just keep re-spraying.
        I will give #1 a try when I get the chance. 🙂 August 1, 2022 at 1:52pm Reply

  • John: As I’ve probably mentioned already in a previous post, for me this summer’s big discovery has been Acqua Di Parma Colonia Essenza. This last July has felt like a very positive turning point for me (professionally in small ways but mostly in terms of relationships and family), and for this reason perhaps my experience of fragrance seems to be shifting as well. There is something really reassuring in the wonderful blend of citrus notes and the floral and herbal accents one associates with a classic cologne. This composition is noted for its heavy use of neroli, but what keeps me coming back is the beautiful but subtle use of musk… The way the floral and citrus aspects float on that cushion of musk reminds me of walking into a chilled florists on a hot day…The scents speak of the sun, but the air feels conTained, quieting and deliciously watery. It’s a phenomenal experience that I seek out each morning before I even brew the coffee. I am hoping I can extend this beyond August as a kind of ‘invincible summer’ (thanks Albert Camus!) July 29, 2022 at 12:09pm Reply

    • Aly: I discovered Colonia Essenza this year too! I’m a big fan of Colonia and a full bottle of the Essenza is on my wish list. It’s wonderful. July 31, 2022 at 2:53am Reply

    • Victoria: This is such a tempting description, John! I agree that it’s an excellent perfume. August 1, 2022 at 10:39am Reply

  • ClareObscure: Hi Victoria & perfume fans.
    I’ve had a connection with Chamade since my teens when a friend’s grandad brought her the extrait in “that” classic bottle, all the way from Paris. Smelling it opened a world of possibility for the sensual experience of fragrance. I now see this was a life altering moment for me. The next step came decades later when I discovered bois de jasmin & that other people got a kick out of sharing & describing perfume.
    A recent bout of Covid has altered my acute sense of smell & I’m hoping this situation will improve as certain fragrances no longer smell appealing. I keep detecting a soapy note that is unpleasant to me now. Hoping this will pass.
    I love this article, Victoria, and the chance to comment.
    This summer I have been wearing Chanel no5 edp. I have the edt but it is just ok, not divine like the edp on me. I’ve also worn Serge Lutens L’Eau Froide, a lovely cool incense perfume. I did recently acquire Diorissimo after hearing more about it in an interview with Roderigo Flores-Roux. It’s in a “houndstooth” package & is a lovely lilac heavy white floral I never would have appreciated at a younger age.
    Have a good summer. Sorry to hear that so many of you have recently been through tough times. It’s so great to be able to get back on bois de jasmin. July 29, 2022 at 12:13pm Reply

    • Debi Sen Gupta: I recently got a discovery pack from Fredrik malle, there are 7 10ml bottle and I really liked carnal flower though it isn’t the type I usually enjoy.

      Portrait of a lady and une rose also stood out. July 29, 2022 at 1:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: Diorissimo was tweaked, but I like the current version too. I need to find that interview. August 1, 2022 at 10:40am Reply

  • a.: your evocative descriptions always make me want to try so many fragrances i’ve not had the pleasure of smelling, victoria! i don’t have a large collection, but one that i think of as a summer classic is prescriptives/clinique calyx.

    strangely enough, while most of the world is going through a heat wave, where i am it’s been fairly cool in the last couple of weeks. so i haven’t been drawn to wearing/ testing fresh/ green/ summery fragrances as i was earlier in the summer. i can, however, very much relate to using fragrance to boost my spirits as i’m currently going through some difficult times. yesterday i put on shalimar and while sometimes its vanilla is too gourmand for me, yesterday i felt wrapped a cozy, comforting blanket. and its opening citrusy sparkle felt “season”-appropriate. July 29, 2022 at 12:34pm Reply

    • a.: oh! and a couple of other perfumes i like for warm weather: the late, great (IMO) CK truth, which i enjoyed wearing in humid boston summers years ago; plus, its also-discontinued flanker truth sensual. and also, a perfume whose mention i fear may get me banned from posting in these parts, bulgari omnia crystalline. it just so happens that all three are alberto morillas creations, in part or completely. (the latter two smell similar enough to me that i consider them near-dupes. which i don’t mind really, since the former is discontinued!) July 30, 2022 at 1:08pm Reply

    • Aly: Oh Calyx! I adore Calyx! I’m going to dig out my bottle. July 31, 2022 at 3:09am Reply

      • a.: IKR!? it’s one of the first “real” fragrances i ever had, because i somehow got a generously-sized mini bottle (i think from my older sister, who didn’t want it). i love how it contrasts ripe fruit with bright, sharp verdancy.

        i’m realizing i didn’t say anything about truth, et al. truth’s intertwining of sharp, citrusy green notes, soft, lush florals, and a woody ambery accord is like nothing else i’ve ever smelled. truth lush (for some reason i always call it truth sensual, but it’s truth lush! oops) plays up what the perfumers describe as the “lush” (floral) acccord, but i get lots of the woody amber one as well as traces of green notes. i suppose i shouldn’t be going on about it so much because it isn’t even available anymore, and bottles sell on ebay for a pretty penny these days. omnia crystalline smells simpler to me, with less of the woody base that truth lush has. but pleasant enough for a summer day. July 31, 2022 at 11:54am Reply

    • Victoria: Lucky you! You can enjoy anything then, and Shalimar does seem appropriate. It has lots of vanilla, but the bergamot top keeps it effervescent. August 1, 2022 at 10:41am Reply

      • a.: this is true, i must admit! (re: being able to enjoy well, at least a good variety of fragrances with the weather we’re having) today i wore ormonde jayne tolu for only the 2nd time (sample) and realized i’d forgot how much i love it and want a FB. the way it contrasts cool, foresty notes and fresh florals with warm ambery resins, making the latter feel plush but not suffocating, made it also feel to me, a perfect scent to wear in such weather. August 2, 2022 at 5:40am Reply

  • nozknoz: These times are definitely ones in which I need to fortify my spirit with beauty.

    A perfume that I especially love in summer is the deeply rich and weird Etro Palais Jamais. I feel it’s one of the all-time great perfumes.
    (Mine is from around 2010 in the green paisley box.)

    I keep it in the refrigerator and wear it at home in the AC, where I shelter when the stifling steam blanket of DC heat and humidity descends each year. July 29, 2022 at 1:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: Palais Jamais sounds so inviting on a hot day. I like your idea of keeping it cold. August 1, 2022 at 10:42am Reply

  • Lori Casimiro: I’ve discovered Cristalle and No 19 this year and love them both. But my absolute favorite find this year is Diorella. It took a few wearings for me to fall in love with it but now I can’t imagine being without it. July 29, 2022 at 1:49pm Reply

    • Marianne: Yes, I’ve just discovered Diorella as well and like you love its … how to describe … the word that comes to mind is pedigree. I sense its origin in the sixties, a time of glamour, assertiveness and innovation. I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s available here in Australia. So many lovely perfumes, including Dior’s Vetiver, are not. August 1, 2022 at 6:56am Reply

    • Victoria: I really like Diorella. August 1, 2022 at 10:42am Reply

  • Perfumatrix: In terms of summer classics, let me proffer a few of mine: O! de Lancome, with its grassy green, linen-like crispness (is this a scent much used in Europe? I am currently in the States, where vintage bottles can be found with relative ease). Terre d’Hermes (the mineralic, icy freshness is lovely, and is also present in Serge Lutens L’Eau Froide and Dent de Lait). I also love Hermes’s Eau d’Orange Verte, which to me, is tied with Atelier’s Orange Sanguine for the most photorealistic, glorious orange note in perfumery. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea is another good summer staple (though I prefer Bulgari’s Eau Parfumee au The Vert, and The Blue is my favourite tea perfume for summer, aside from L’Artisan’s The pour une Ete).
    I hear many talk of Goutal’s Eau d’Hadrien, but for summer I prefer Nuit d’Hadrien, Mandragore, and Duel. I also like the old Alberto Morillas standby, CkOne. Finally, for galbanum-green, though I like the immortal Bandit, I prefer the softer side of vintage galbanum as represented by Elizabeth Arden’s Blue Grass, and Jontue by Revlon. For a unisex scent that smells like the bath soap at the world’s most luxurious hotel, try Maurer & Wirtz’s Tabac (an odd name, because to my nose, there is no tobacco note). And has anyone tried vintage Guerlain Muguet (1908)? Mahsam Raza has recently put out a re-creation of that one. Cheers, Friends. July 29, 2022 at 3:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, O de Lancome is still available here. One of my classical summer staples a few years ago. I need to wear it again.

      Guerlain Muguet is a nice rendition of lily of the valley, with a bright green note. It’s worth sampling. August 1, 2022 at 10:44am Reply

  • Debby: Goodness, I’ve barely tried any of these, this needs to be rectified! Sadly the only store that sold Guerlain and Chanel in my poor excuse for a city has closed. Chamade sounds truly wonderful. My limited knowledge of Carnal Flower tells me I probably need it in my life, I’ve been on a bit of a tuberose mission lately. One of the best I tried was Maison Violet’s Compliment, but Carnal Flower has that OTT quality I think tuberose perfumes demand. IMHO, of course. July 29, 2022 at 3:29pm Reply

    • Victoria: I think so too. Tuberose perfumes deserve to be flamboyant. August 1, 2022 at 10:44am Reply

  • Dina C.: Victoria, I also love Chamade parfum and Cristalle edt. My summer favorites list also includes Dior Escale a Portofino (bergamot cologne smoothed with almond), Chanel Cristalle au Verte (magnolia blossoms and lime), and Lubin Gin Fizz (like a sparkling gin & tonic). I live where it is hot and humid, so I appreciate zesty, sour, and crisp scents in the summer. July 29, 2022 at 5:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like your summer list! August 1, 2022 at 10:45am Reply

  • Natasha: I am also a fan of Bulgari’s Eau Parfumee au The Vert for summer, though I wish it had longer staying power on me. It’s one of the frangrances I get the most compliments on, as in “Wow, you smell good!” rather than “what is that fragrance?” lol. July 29, 2022 at 5:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, it’s a beautiful perfume. August 1, 2022 at 10:45am Reply

  • Amanda M: Beautiful choices, Victoria.
    I just adore Chanel’s Cristalle! I have hoarded several vintage bottles, which I’m storing in the refrigerator in readiness for the intense heat of our upcoming Australian Summer. It’s so lovely, cool and refreshing. July 29, 2022 at 8:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Just perfect, isn’t it? August 1, 2022 at 10:46am Reply

  • Kay: So glad you’re finding beauty, Victoria.

    Love this list! My add is Dior Homme Cologne: crisp non-sulphurous grapefruit.

    I was once recommended St Clair Scents’ Gardener‘s Glove for hot and humid weather. Sebastian, if you‘re reading, I still cherish the recommendation! Hopefully St Clair will recommence shipping to Europe at some point, and until then I am enjoying what this perfume has become in my imagination. And rediscovering Cristalle, which is glorious. July 30, 2022 at 4:13am Reply

    • Victoria: St Clair Scents’ Gardener‘s Glove was on my list too after reading that thread. I still haven’t tried it. August 1, 2022 at 10:46am Reply

  • Sebastian: Speaking of Cristalle, in the Chanel line I sometimes think of Paris-Edimbourg as a kind of Cristalle pour homme. It’s also very nice in the summer.

    Chamade is an all-time favorite of mine, but surely not pour les monsieurs. July 30, 2022 at 7:41am Reply

    • Sebastian: messieurs. Well. July 30, 2022 at 7:43am Reply

      • OnWingsofSaffron: Why not? Are men not allowed to wear pink coloured business shirts (as many straight Spanish men do with great aplomb); are narcissi forbidden for cis men; are salads no-go for males? C’mon, surely we‘ve moved on from that standpoint? August 1, 2022 at 12:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, it’s an excellent choice. August 1, 2022 at 10:46am Reply

  • Aurora: Such a lovely, classic list with your beautiful writing. I too have enjoyed Cristalle edt, my experience is also that it is back in stock in Europe, the similar Estée Lauder Jasmine-White Moss, I enjoy YSL Rive Gauche with its metallic rose 🌹 that blooms in the heat, Paco Rabanne Calandre for the same reason, and I use Quartz de Molyneux this year, like a more laid back Diorella. July 30, 2022 at 9:28am Reply

    • Victoria: More wonderful choices. I like your description of Quartz as a laidback Diorella. So spot on. August 1, 2022 at 10:47am Reply

    • Aprilbaby: Aurora, thank you. This would have been my list as well. I’ve been trying to find an EL jasmine white moss as well. Quartz- lovely. All hard to come by. Calandre was my first perfume buy as a young person followed by cristalle. Appreciate the ” list” August 13, 2022 at 12:04pm Reply

  • My1stGradeTeacher: What a gr8 list. Getting some ideas for my query on “Recommend Me a Perfume.” <3 Thank you! July 30, 2022 at 10:35am Reply

    • Victoria: Hope that you will find something! August 1, 2022 at 10:47am Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: Aurora mentioned Rive Gauche, that’s a good one! Rive Gauche is from the 70s and was very populair for a reason. Maybe your teacher wore it. August 7, 2022 at 7:16am Reply

      • My1stGradeTeacher: omg I had that on my list but forgot about it! Looking at the notes looks to be a big possibility:) thank you 🌱 August 7, 2022 at 10:27am Reply

      • My1stGradeTeacher: Hi Cornelia! I’ve read a few ppl say that Rive Gauche smells “like a spray can” (like how its actual perfume bottle looks). Do you know what they mean by that ? If so drop me a line<3 August 13, 2022 at 10:04am Reply

        • Cornelia Blimber: Hi 1stGrade Teacher!
          Rive Gauche Eau de Toilette and edp always were in a spraycan. Only the extrait was in a bottle. I own some vintage RG edt and a edt spraycan from about 1990, but I don’t smell the spraycan, only a wonderful aldehylic rose perfume! but it always had a slightly metallic note. Maybe that’s more prominent in a recent reformulation? I never smelled the current version.
          Maybe some body else can tell you more! August 13, 2022 at 10:58am Reply

          • My1stGradeTeacher: (Update: Finally got to try Rive Gauche, Chamade, and the much-lauded Cristalle !!! Fun trying them, but they aren’t my 1st grade teacher’s. Ah well, the search continues & still open to ideas:) September 8, 2022 at 11:06pm Reply

  • Briony: Shalimar is my all-time favourite. It’s probably the one perfume I could never do without. Other summer favourites are Apres l’Ondee, Cristalle and Serge Lutyens La Myrrhe. On really hot days, I find Eau du Sud goes down a treat. July 30, 2022 at 12:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: More beautiful choices! August 1, 2022 at 10:48am Reply

  • Ruth: What wonderful suggestions, and thoughtful replies here. In summer heat I love Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune, and Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil. Both are refreshing and seem to last a bit longer than most in their families. Also I love, love Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay in the summer. I am definitely not a sweet fruity fragrance lover, but this one is different for me because of the spicy, woody notes. It is also an olfactory memory in that it brings back long summer bike rides in my teens, past blackberry thickets before the berries were ripe.
    We had many cooler and damp days earlier this summer, and plenty of dark news swirling around in the US and abroad so I reached for Bottega Veneta EDP, a comfort scent. I noticed that I am running low, so I thought to buy ahead (given the ongoing need for comfort) but it looks like it’s unavailable in the US now. :\ July 30, 2022 at 4:17pm Reply

    • Trudy: Ive always wanted to try the Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil. Ive heard so much about it. I will search it out next time I’m in Nordstrom. The JM Blackberry and Bay sounds delicious. July 30, 2022 at 4:47pm Reply

      • Jack: If you want a cheap hand soap thrill, try Mrs. Meyers Clean Day liquid hand soap in “Rain Water” fragrance. Smells JUST LIKE Hermes Sur Le Nil to me. Stays on your hands about as long as SLN on skin too, lol. It is almost uncanny and I wonder how Mrs Meyers gets away with it, legally? July 31, 2022 at 12:08pm Reply

        • Trudy: I will have to check it out. Thanks! August 1, 2022 at 12:48pm Reply

        • Dorothy Van Daele: Thank you! I’ve seen this brand! August 1, 2022 at 1:19pm Reply

        • My1stGradeTeacher: Funny August 2, 2022 at 12:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also heard that Bottega Veneta is becoming more difficult to find. Hope that they won’t discontinue it. August 1, 2022 at 10:48am Reply

  • Trudy: I enjoyed this post and all the comments so much. I don’t have much to add as I don’t have any of the truly classic perfumes but I do have a summer favorite that is getting harder to find. Marc Jacobs Woman which I believe was his first perfume release. Clear rectangle shaped bottle, black cap with a small black bow. It is a beautiful soft gardenia fragrance. I don’t wear it that often anymore but whenever I spray this on it makes me close my eyes and sigh….just so special and (to me) unique. Truly lovely. July 30, 2022 at 4:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also liked that fragrance. It evokes the texture of flower petals so beautifully. August 1, 2022 at 10:49am Reply

  • SoSuSam: Thank you for celebrating two of my favorite perfumes–favorites any time of year, but especially summer. I’ve loved Cristalle EDT since the 80s. It was the signature fragrance of a dear friend. I loved it, too (tho I was not capable of perfume monogamy). It’s crisp yet sophisticated, lemony yet so much more. I always feel pulled together when I wear it. Your description is perfect: a sip of champagne indeed. I’m so terrified this is gone for good; I read the comment that it reappeared on the Chanel site for a day in 2022, but I can’t seem to find a way to sign up for notification when it comes back.

    My other favorite is that exquisite Chanel Eau de Cologne. Like you said, it’s a cologne, but more floral than most. And while it’s far from bracing–the citrus is gentle, not sharp–it’s cooling. To me, it smells like a breeze coming off a flower-strewn alpine meadow. It’s so gorgeous. Its ephemeral quality means it disappears from my skin within a half hour or so…but that half hour is perfection, and then I have the pleasure of re-spraying. Thanks again for revisiting these. I hope your family and loved ones in Ukraine are safe. July 30, 2022 at 9:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Eau de Cologne de Chanel is impeccable, but yes, it’s a bit too fleeting. August 1, 2022 at 10:50am Reply

  • Aly: Hello Victoria, first time commenter here. I’m so happy to see that you have returned.
    My summer classic rotation is Colonia, First, No 19, Samsara, Nahema and Eau de Guerlain. You’ve inspired me to wear Cristalle today.
    My very best wishes to you and yours, and also to the lovely fragrance community who comment here. Hello! July 31, 2022 at 2:57am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much for visiting, reading, and commenting, Aly! It’s a pleasure to meet you. August 1, 2022 at 10:51am Reply

      • Aly: Thank you Victoria! August 2, 2022 at 4:46am Reply

    • Marianne: Hello Aly, lovely to meet you. I’m also a Geurlain fan, Samsara was my signature scent one time and I’ve just finished a bottle of Nahema.
      For something exquisite have you tried Sisley Eau du Soir? It would be perfect for hot days, any day actually! August 1, 2022 at 6:58pm Reply

      • Aly: Thank you Marianne for your kind reply! I haven’t tried Eau du Soir – I will look for a sample, it sounds wonderful – thank you! August 2, 2022 at 4:49am Reply

  • Fitzwong: This year, in Canton, it is burning outdoor . So I choose to wear: 4711, Guerlain Herba Frasca, Lime Basil & Mandarine Cologne, Atkinsons English Lavender (recommoned by Luca Turin), Calyx (especially in sultry summer nights). I definately need to wear Cristalle more often! July 31, 2022 at 8:18am Reply

    • Victoria: All of these are perfect choices for sweltering summer. August 1, 2022 at 10:54am Reply

  • My1stGradeTeacher: Annick goutal eau d’hadrien is in my current Top 3 & is perfect for summer 🍋 July 31, 2022 at 10:15am Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, it’s ideal for this weather. August 1, 2022 at 10:54am Reply

  • Jack: For me, summer fragrance is all about feeling refreshed. Maybe even a bit crisp or bright upon application. Mugler Cologne never fails. Nor does Oolang Infini. The issue is when people are wearing all the Ouds they insist on buying in the middle of July in the U.S. Headache City, for me, lol. July 31, 2022 at 12:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oud doesn’t work in our European summer for me. When it’s humid, it becomes too oppressive. August 1, 2022 at 10:55am Reply

      • Janis: Ahh Cristalle! My all-time favorite!! Sadly discontinued 😞. But yes, the most amazing and impeccable perfume ever. November 14, 2023 at 3:23pm Reply

    • Aly: I agree. I can’t bear all the wafts of oud in the hot weather. It’s so popular at the moment too. August 2, 2022 at 4:50am Reply

  • Marianne: Thank you Victoria. As always your elegant writing inspires and delights. I can’t wait to try Chamade again. It was also helpful to read threads about Cristalle in terms of differences between edt and edp. I’ll go back and try the edt again as previously I found this more nuanced and sparkling than the edp.

    I’d like to ask a question … up til now I’ve always bought edp versions because of better strength and sillage and therefore expecting better value for money. Today several edp versions are not available in Australia, eg Guerlain, Dior, leaving only the Eau de toilette to buy (or not). Does anyone have a point of view around this? August 1, 2022 at 7:11am Reply

    • Victoria: EDT and EDP are usually different enough, and the differences has to do with more than just strength. The EDP tends to be more floral, for instance, while the EDT has a fresher opening. Some perfumes are excellent in both, like No 19. Some are best in the EDP like many Guerlains. Chanel Cristalle EDP is much more floral than the EDT, which is fresh, crisp and mossy. August 1, 2022 at 10:58am Reply

      • Marianne: Thank you Victoria. I’m delighted with my new bottle of EDP, Chanel no. 19. It was a decision between that and EDP, Cristalle, which to me in the past had a more unconventional edge, but I just didn’t get that ‘vibe’ … now I know why, it was the Cristalle EDT that had evoked such appeal. I’ll go back and try the EDT! August 1, 2022 at 6:50pm Reply

  • Dorothy Van Daele: A summer scent I haven’t seen mentioned, not citrus, Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel. It’s a long weekend here and cars are lined up on the highways waiting to get on to the longed for Lake Huron, Lake Erie beaches. Fleurs de Sel reminds me of the beach, the water and shifts to something more classic over time. August 1, 2022 at 1:27pm Reply

  • Fernando: Is there really a Dior vétiver? I can find no trace of it. August 1, 2022 at 8:10pm Reply

  • Alessandra: Much as I constantly feel the need to find something new for the summer (or at least new to me), I am also constantly driven back to my staples, much of whom are in your list, Victoria! Cristalle and Eau de Cologne are definitely my points of reference, together with Diptyque’s Philosykos, Memo’s Inlé, Sunny Side Up, SL’s fleur d’oranger (in small doses), Guerlain’s Joyeuse Tubereuse and some muscs or warm orientals for the evening. I need to try Chamade again, though! August 7, 2022 at 5:27am Reply

  • My1stGradeTeacher: omg I had that on my list but forgot about it! Looking at the notes looks to be a big possibility:) thank you 🌱 August 7, 2022 at 10:24am Reply

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