As the temperatures start to rise, we can’t help but daydream about lazy summer days spent lounging by the pool or at the beach. But what would summer be without the perfect fragrance to accompany those memories?
Whether you’re looking for a beachy scent to wear on weekends by the shore or a light, refreshing cologne to spritz on during hot summer days, there are plenty of summer fragrances to choose from.
From breezy, windswept scents to suntan lotion-inspired smells, there’s something for everyone, and there’s sure to be a summer fragrance that’s just right for you.
What’s more, for those who want to keep that carefree summer vibe when the season ends, these fragrances can be worn year-round. They’ll make you think of sunny days, even when you’re tucked inside.
Here are a few of my favorites.
Beach by Bobbi Brown
As I passed the Bobbi Brown counter at Macy’s on a recent sunny spring day, the popular fragranceBeach was displayed on the counter. It beckoned me closer, reminding me that the summer season would soon be upon us. I eagerly spritzed a bit on myself and was immediately transported – if only in my mind – to my favorite place: the beach.
This summer-inspired fragrance is a blend of sand jasmine, sea spray, and mandarin, creating a scent – many say – reminiscent of Coppertone. It captures the essence of summer in a bottle and makes you feel as if you’re on a sun-drenched beach.
In fact, the sales associate told me that Beach reminds her of the first moments after arriving at the shore, spreading out her towel, and applying sunscreen.
“To me, it has more of a beach smell than others,” she said.
At its core, the singular (for the moment) fragrance in Bobbi Brown’s cosmetics collection is pure summer in a bottle.
Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder
What began some 15 years ago as a limited-edition scent for summer has now become a classic. The forerunner of many beachy scents to come (it was my first), Bronze Goddess, with its blend of amber, vanilla, coconut, and Italian bergamot, is a sexy and warm scent that makes you think of a summer night out – when anything is possible and desire is in the air.
It’s available as an eau de parfum, as well as in a lighter version, Bronze Goddess Eau Fraîche Skinscent.
Since it was introduced, the fragrance has spawned a number of special edition versions. Most recently, in 2022, there was Bronze Goddess Nuit, and this year Bronze Goddess Lumière made its debut.
“Both proved popular and sold out quickly,” said Mary, a beauty advisor for Estee Lauder.
Whichever version you choose, it is sure to turn heads and leave a lasting impression.
To complete the bronze goddess look, the line includes a bronzer, which Mary told me has become a cult favorite, a shimmering oil spray for hair and body, and self-tanning gelee. With these products, you will have everything you need to get that perfect sun-kissed look.
Eau De Soleil Blanc by Tom Ford
It’s little wonder why Tom Ford’s summer fragrances – Neroli Portofino, Rose D’Amalfi, Soleil Brûlant and Eau De Soleil Blanc, among them – have become so successful. Ford was the creative force behind Azuree Soleil, which later became Estee Lauder’s Bronze Goddess.
On a cold December day, several years ago, while purchasing one of Ford’s warm and comforting wintry scents, I received a sample of Eau De Soleil Blanc. One whiff made me wistful for summer when I would add a full-size bottle of the fragrance to my collection. For me, scent isan important part of the summertime experience. And I’m not alone.
“Eau De Soleil Blanc is one of our top sellers,” noted the beauty consultant behind the Tom Ford counter at Neiman Marcus.
The top, middle, and base notes of this fragrance are all well-balanced and work together to create a refreshing, warm, and inviting scent. The citrusy top notes are bright and crisp, while the base notes of warm amber and creamy vanilla give the fragrance a softer feel. The overall result is a refreshing and inviting fragrance that is ideal for the season.
Wood Sage & Sea Salt by Jo Malone
The London-based perfumer, Jo Malone (now under the Estee Lauder umbrella), is a master at creating nature-inspired scents. Wood Sage & Sea Salt is one of them – and a unique option for summer that captures the season without being overly floral or sweet, and without any hint of coconut.
Instead, it features salt and sage as its main notes, but also has a light musk scent from the ambrette seeds. Grapefruit and red seaweed give it a summery feel, while the woody earthy sage keeps it grounded. Wood Sage & Sea Salt calls to mind a windswept seashore, driftwood, dunes, and salty ocean air.
“It’s one of our top three sellers,” said Sandy, a client specialist at Bloomingdale’s Jo Malone counter. “What’s more, it can easily be layered for a more personal summer scent.” Sandy suggested Lime Basil & Mandarin or Peony & Blush Suede.
Jo Malone’s elegant simplicity extends to their packaging, a cream-colored box with black trim, adorned with an artfully tied black ribbon.
Sandy noted that Wood Sage & Sea Salt is often given as a gift, especially this time of year. For those who can’t get enough of the salt air scent, she added that “it’s available as a body cream, hand cream, candle, and diffuser.”
Un Jardin à Cythère Eau De Toilette by Hermès
This season, I discovered a provocative new scent: Un Jardin à Cythère Eau De Toilette, by Hermès.
“It is one of our newest launches and one of the most popular fragrances in our Parfums-Jardins collection,” the Hermes representative told me.
The Parfums-Jardins collection, which began in 2005, was “designed to explore the sensual nature of a small number of remarkable places.” This time, the perfumer, Christine Nagel, drew inspiration from Kythira, a picturesque Greek isle situated in the Ionian Sea.
Known for its stunning beaches, the island has inspired many artists, including Greek artist Elias Kafouros who, in a nod to his homeland, created the packaging that holds the fragrance’s vibrant sunny yellow bottle. His colorful sketch depicts green olive trees, golden grasses, and fresh pistachios, all of which provide the essence of the fragrance.
The integration of pistachio “is pretty unique in the fragrance world” the representative noted.
Made in France, the scent is sensual and sophisticated and has been described by some as a “citrus and woody fragrance.” Indeed, it invites wearers to experience the sunny, citrus-kissed air and olive groves of the Mediterranean.
Replica Beach Walk by Maison Margiela
As anyone in the fragrance business will tell you, summer fragrances are all about replicating the scents of the season. Inessa, a beauty consultant at Sephora, put it in perfect context. She said that the Replica line, as the name implies, “is all about replicating your surroundings.” They are also designed to transport you to your happy place. In the case of Replica’s Beach Walk, that happy place is, well, the beach.
With bright, citrusy top notes of bergamot, lemon, and a pop of pink pepper, coupled with warm, creamy middle notes of coconut milk and ylang-ylang, Replica’s Beach Walk is invigorating, and playful. It is also part of the French fashion house Maison Margiela, which dares to be different. Such innovativeness extends to the apothecary-inspired jars, and white cotton labels, that contain the eau de toilette.
At Sephora, the shoppers were mostly young, which prompted me to ask Inessa if she thought such beachy scents were appropriate for more mature women like us.
“Yes,” she said, “the body may age, but we are the same inside.”
Indeed. The best summer fragrances make you think of summers gone by and yet to come.
Let’s Have a Conversation:
Do you change your fragrance with the seasons? What’s your favorite summer scent? Would you wear a summer-inspired scent year-round?