Sunday 6 July 2014

Choosing a Summer Fragrance

If you type 'Best Summer Perfumes' into Google you will find a whole collection of 'Top 10 sizzling perfumes that you HAVE to try!' type of articles from all of the top magazines. Nine times out of ten these articles show the same fragrances and they all conveniently happen to be new releases. How can you be sure that these are real recommendations and not part of advertising campaigns? I don't think you ever really can be. Therefore, I have spoken to a group of self-proclaimed fragrance fanatics to provide their honest thoughts and opinions on the best summer scents and discovered what they will be wearing over the warmer months. 

"What is this summer of which you speak?” says Vanessa, a perfume blogger who runs Bonkers about Perfume. I think that it is a sentiment shared by many of us in the United Kingdom. Therefore, to begin, I would like to explain that I understand that summer in the UK is more of a fantastical season to many of us and that can affect our interpretations of style and in this case, preference of fragrance. I think that it is important to remember that when it comes to choosing a perfume in any season, you should choose one that you enjoy and believe represents your personality, feelings and style. What type of scent do you feel fits around you and your environment? As Christian Dior said himself, “A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting,” so why would you want to portray something that you are not?

Taking that into account, spend a second thinking about what type of scent you find yourself reaching out for in the warmer months. 

Annick Goutal - Ninfeo Mio. This fragrance features fig,
citrus, green and wood notes.
"I enjoy wearing citrus colognes - especially ones based on sundry bits of an orange tree ie with notes of orange blossom, neroli, petitgrain and bergamot,” explains Vanessa. “Then I like refreshing tea scents, fig-forward perfumes, and sultry (white/tropical) florals that appear innocent but pack a vampish punch. I am also partial to an emerging sub-category of 'green scents with magnolia', and finally to a group I can best describe as 'offbeat coastal scents', featuring notes like salt and aromatic grasses.”

Dagmara, a beauty blogger who runs Mummy’s Beauty Corner, says, "In the Summer my favourite scents are light floral, fruity.” Jess, a lifestyle blogger at Missnoodlebug, shares this sentiment, adding, "Fruity-Fresh top notes including, orange leaf, strawberries and musks seem to be high on my radar.”

Natalie - perfume blogger at Another Perfume Blog - on the other hand, says "For me, it is more about what I don't wear in the summer. Many of the fragrances I enjoy in the summer are the same ones I enjoy the rest of the year, but in the summer, I stay clear of heavy, thick amber or tobacco fragrances. ” 

Vanessa follows this notion. She says, “heavier orientals, strongly spicy or woody or patchouli-based scents, also ones with prominent incense, or treacly or 'barnyard’ vanilla,” are some of the scents that she avoids during the summer. "I would also add to that more powdery fragrances, which - while comforting in winter - can feel a little suffocating in hot weather. Examples of these fragrance styles would be Le Labo Labdanum 18 or Poivre 23DKNY Black Cashmere, Guerlain Angélique Noire or Bois d'Arménie - and maybe even my beloved Ta'if - though I might get away with it in the evening when the temperature has dropped a bit.  Yes, anything that makes you think of Christmas or bonfires or pumpkins or wrapping up warmly isn't going to work, basically."

Soap & Glory - Mist You Madly.
Jess explains that she prefers body
mists in the summer.
Dagmara agrees, "As much as I love sensual, musky scents for Autumn and Winter they are too heavy for me during warmer months, and I can't stand anything with strong vanilla notes, in the heat it just makes me feel sick.“ Jess continues, ”there's nothing worse than being stuck in a heatwave and feeling all hot and bothered by a heavily-scented perfume. For me, personally, I prefer body mists and fragrances which are light and refreshing for the warmer weather!” 

However, not everybody feels the need to switch things up from season to season. Persolaise - a two-time Jasmine award winning writer, blogger at Persolaise, amateur perfumer and author of Le Snob: Perfume - says, "I don't really subscribe to the idea that some scents are better suited for warmer weather and others for colder. Having said that, I do try to match my perfumes to geography, which I suppose means that I'm indirectly taking weather into account, but climate is not my primary concern. So, for instance, if I'm travelling in the Middle East, I might go for a scent which presents an interesting alliance with my surroundings.” 

When choosing a fragrance for the summer, you do not need to feel as if you are constrained within an unwritten code of conduct. If a perfume doesn’t contain a citrus note or provide a fresh aroma, it doesn’t mean that you cannot wear it. You follow your own rules and you can break them at any time. "I know many people wear all their fragrances year-round,” adds Natalie. “Truly, anything goes!"

A sample of Thierry Mugler -
Alien Eau Extraordinaire
However, summer definitely brings numerous floral and citrusy scents to the market. This is easily seen in this seasons new releases. Dolce by Dolce and Gabbana features notes such as water lily and neroli amongst other florals. Thierry Mugler’s new Alien Eau Extraordinaire includes bergamot, neroli, tea and tiare flower. They are fresh notes, which as we have already seen are the types of scents that people are drawn to in the warmer months. 

But with the wide range of new fragrances, it can be difficult to choose which ones should be on your radar. "I think the new one from Dolce & Gabbana, Dolce, will do well simply on account of its pretty bottle and green juice,” says Vanessa, "I think green juice may still be 'having a moment' in the mainstream - there was that Givenchy Dahlia Noir L'Eau release last year, and Chloe and Miss Dior Chérie both had fairly recent green flankers.” This seems to be mirrored by what Dagmara continues to say. She likes "Marc Jacobs Daisy Sunshine Delights and Elie Saab L’Eau Couture,” both of which are new, green flankers of their originals. 

Summer isn't all about green juice, though. "I am very pleased that Thierry Mugler is releasing a set of new fragrances, rather than adding to the sea of summer flankers we see at this time of year,” says Natalie. "The Mugler Les Exceptions collection includes two picks for summer: Chyprissime and Supra Floral. I am also excited about the new perfume line from Roads, a Dublin-based lifestyle company. The fragrances sound incredibly atmospheric - can't wait to try them."

From a male point of view, Persolaise tells me his top picks of new male releases; "So far I've been impressed with the new Terre D'Hermes Eau Tres Fraiche from Hermes, the reissued Chaldee from Jean Patou, Cuir Cannage from Dior and Rozy from Vero Profumo.” 

DKNY - Be Delicious Blossom
However, when choosing a perfume, you don’t need to focus purely on the newbies. There are so many fragrances out there and most of the time the true beauties are hidden in the vast collection of scents on sale. "So far my favourite summer fragrance has been DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom, it's a very delicate floral scent that is perfect for sunny days,” explains Dagmara. Vanessa says, "I only discovered it in 2013, but I would have to say [my favourite] may prove to be my new scented squeeze of Zelda from En Voyage Perfumes.” 

Natalie states “Estee Lauder's Bronze Goddess,” as being her favourite summer fragrance.  She then adds, "This year, the brand is bringing out a shimmering body oil spray and a whipped body creme. Brilliant."

"My go-to [summer] perfume at the moment is Original Pink by Soap & Glory,” says Jess, "I wear that every day, if not then I'll alternate between that and their "Mist You Madly" body mist. At night, I think it'll be a tie between Valentina or Be Jeweled. Both claim to be fruity and sweet. Valentina, like "Original Pink" features notes of strawberries and jasmine.”

Following the idea of day and night fragrances, is there any apparent difference in preference? Are certain scents more suited to the darker hours than the brighter ones and should we be looking to purchase multiple fragrances with this in mind? "I don't tend to change the perfume I am wearing unless I am going out, and not even then necessarily, as it depends where I am going,” says Vanessa. "But I guess I am more likely to wear the citrus, tea, fig and offbeat coastal scents by day, and the florals of either kind by night, though I might not stick rigidly to that rule - I might go with a torrid tuberose scent for a hypothetical 'hot lunch date' - that's hot in every sense, we can but hope.”

The two new Marc Jacobs Daisy flankers
Photo from Fragrantica.
"I've just bought Marc Jacobs Daisy Sunshine Delights and I can see me wearing this perfume throughout the Summer [day time] a lot,” says Dagmara, "for the evening it will be Dior J'adore as it's a bit stronger, more sophisticated scent but not too heavy or overpowering and it’s my all time favourite!"

Vanessa adds, “If the weather is pretty 'meh', which it is most of the time where I live, I wouldn't hesitate to carry on wearing some of my favourite light orientals, ambers or musky scents such as Annick Goutal Musc Nomade, Prada l'Eau Ambrée or Marc Jacobs Splash Amber.  And if the weather is truly dire, it's no holds barred!"

Discussing what himself and Madame Persolaise will be wearing during the summer, Persolaise says, “truthfully, we make no distinction between day and night scents. I suspect I'll be wearing Chaldee, Terre D'Hermes Eau Tres Fraiche, Interlude Man and Laine De Verre, whereas Madame Persolaise will be wearing Portrait Of A Lady, Lys Soleia, Sahara Noir and Santal Majuscule."

It can be very easy to be drawn in to the heavily promoted new perfume releases when you wander into a fragrance shop or department store. You will likely be told that it is the ‘necessary’ fragrance that everybody needs right now, but the key word to hear is ‘everybody.’ If the scent suits you and it feels right, then by all means buy it, spray it and love it. Just don’t feel forced to smell the same as everybody else in the street! If you think it smells bland and boring whilst everybody else is raving about it, don’t feel pressured to buy it! You choose a perfume for yourself and not for others. It is a personal choice.

When it comes to choosing a new summer scent, you need to act within your own barriers. Do you love citrus scents? Then choose a citrus! If the sales assistant raves about florals and only wants to show you floral fragrances, then just request to test the citrus that you really want to smell. Fragrance shouldn’t be about blending in to the crowd, it should be an expression of your personality - a second skin, if you will - and a sales assistant promoting a new release does not dictate your method of expression. You are the one with the control over that.

If you feel uncomfortable asking for samples, The
Fragrance Shop offer a Discovery Club box filled with
samples that you can test at home!
Along with this, never feel bad about asking for a sample of a perfume - especially if you’re looking at spending a lot of money on it. Sometimes the answer will be no, and this is much more likely if the fragrance was released years ago. However, having samples gives you the ability to test out a fragrance for yourself to see whether you love it enough to commit to a purchase.

If you find yourself nodding along in agreement with the comments from the wonderful people who have contributed their thoughts here, then definitely find some time to check out the fragrances that they have discussed. You could encounter your new signature fragrance!

To round up, though, I am going to leave you with this quote to keep in mind when you next go perfume shopping:

"It's true that among the perfumes reckoned good or great, there are some that will move you more than others, and some that will leave you entirely cold or even sickened, because either they won't say what you're longing to hear or they say what you never want to hear again.” Tania Sanchez, Perfumes: The Guide

What perfumes are you wearing this summer?
Let me know in the comments below!

Zoe. @Beautifinous


  1. Great post Zoe! And thank you for featuring me and my blog! xx

    1. You are far too welcome! :)
      & Thank you again for your contribution!

  2. Omg Marc Jacobs and his "Daisy" line. Love it.

  3. Great post, it is always nice to wear a different perfume in summer :) I love your blog and I have followed you with Bloglovin , if you ever get a chance to check out my blog I would be delighted thanks!

    Camille xo.

    1. Thank you very much! :)
      I have followed you back!

  4. Nice post! I am wearing a lot of Chloe and Light Blue Escape to Panarea this summer :)

    1. I haven't yet tried Escape to Panarea, but the original Light Blue is beautiful! :)

  5. Hey there. Super cool piece. Loved reading what you all are wearing this summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
    Portia xx

  6. Nice article, thanks for sharing such information

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