7 Summer Perfumes That Feel Fresh & Enlivening For The Warmer Months

By Ashleigh Cometti
Sisley Paris' newest scent occupies the space between the real and the imaginary. Photo / Sisley Paris

In search of some of the best summer perfumes? These are the scents that say sun-kissed and beach-bound.

Nothing offers a dose of escapism after returning from holidays quite like a fragrance designed to send you right back to golden beaches and balmy evenings.

In 2024, summer-ready scents abound

Generally speaking, fragrances worn in the warmer months tend to be on the lighter side, meaning they won’t smell as overpowering or attract unwanted attention from bugs or mosquitoes.

Endlessly fresh, citrus notes of bergamot, lemon and grapefruit are perennially popular at this time of year, reflecting the fruits of the season. Bucolic extracts like vetiver bring in verdant, uplifting elements, while fresh white florals and sweet coconut make for summertime staples.

For others, it’s their spicy, amber qualities that add to their allure, managing to somehow still feel summer-ready but are perhaps better suited to an after-dark affair.

As far as longevity goes, eau de parfums promise longer staying power in warmer climes, as they don’t evaporate as quickly as their lighter eau de toilette cousins. However, if you’re happy to reapply throughout the day, use an eau de toilette in conjunction with a body oil in the same fragrance family, and spritz strategically on the nape of your neck and in the bend of your knee.

Here, the seven best scents to accompany you through peak summer and beyond.

What it is: Mysterious and earthy, the 2024 edition of New Look was developed by renowned perfumer Francis Kurkdjian to capture the synergy between fashion and fragrance. Intended to mimic the audacity, spirit and nuances of the fashion house, Kurkdjan’s New Look captures attention with the freshness of its top notes and makes a lasting impression with the sensuousness and mystery of its warming base.

Fragrance family: Amber

What it smells like: Top notes of aldehyde C-12 MNA (a long-lasting, fresh and clean note with green citrus characteristics), a heart of frankincense extract and base notes of white amber, with hints of incense.

Where to get it: Available exclusively from the Dior Beauty Britomart boutique, or online at Dior.co.nz.

What it is: An homage to its Vietnamese roots, Diptyque has unveiled a limited-edition take on one of its most-loved scents, Do Son. Dreamed up by friends Christiane Montadre-Gautrot, Yves Coueslant and Desmond Knox-Leet in 1961, the fragrance maison acknowledges Vietnam’s special place in its story with its now-iconic scent. Yves recalls the trailing tuberoses — adored by his mother — being carried by the breeze in a seaside town in Vietnam, a scent that was later crafted and bottled by perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin.

Fragrance family: Floral

What it smells like: Top notes of African orange flower, iris and rose, a heart of tuberose and pink pepper, alongside a base of musk and benzoin.

Where to get it: Available from Mecca or online at Meccabeauty.co.nz.

What it is: Building on its collection of hair and body mists comes Sol De Janeiro’s new Cheirosa 59, the fifth scent in the Cheirosa story. The bright lavender bottle is befitting of the uplifting juice inside — a swirling co-mingle of sweet, creamy notes that evoke the warmth of winding down at sunset. Available in either a 90ml or 240ml size, this body mist makes for an excellent addition to any beach tote to freshen up post-swim.

Fragrance family: Gourmand

What it smells like: Top notes of vanilla orchid, a heart of candied violet set amongst a sandalwood base.

Where to get it: Available from Mecca or online at Meccabeauty.co.nz.

What it is: Acting as the third chapter in Amouage’s Odyssey story, Lineage transports the wearer to a sun-drenched desert island, with wafts of sea spray and the earthy minerality of suntanned skin. It’s the ultimate balancing act between sweet and spicy, with salty elements of myrrh and frankincense seemingly at odds with the warmth and creaminess of benzoin and labdanum, but somehow it works.

Fragrance family: Amber/Aquatic

What it smells like: Top notes of ginger, Sichuan pepper, saffron and Peruvian pepper, a heart of frankincense, myrrh and fenugreek, with a base of labdanum, vetiver, benzoin and patchouli.

Where to get it: Available from Smith & Caughey’s or online at Smithandcaugheys.co.nz

What it is: Composed by perfumer Clement Gavarry, Away Weekend continues Abercrombie & Fitch’s Away series, this time telling the story of a weekend sojourn spent disconnecting from the world and relishing the simplicity of life. Sparkling yet serene, the olfaction couples soothing lavender with bright white tea and ambroxan for a touch of warmth and comfort. It’s vibrant and inviting, and acts as a sensorial reminder to live in the moment.

Fragrance family: Aromatic

What it smells like: Top notes of fig, white tea and rhubarb, a heart of clary sage, lavender and jasmine, with base notes of musk, ambroxan and tonka bean.

Where to get it: Available from selected department stores and pharmacies including Life Pharmacy or online at Lifepharmacy.co.nz.

What it is: Uplifting and warm, this fresh, invigorating scent captures a life spent sailing in the Caribbean — evoking the tropical beauty of its surrounding islands and dazzling blue seas. A paradisaical scent to wear in peak summer or whilst on a island holiday, its cocktail of aquatic, citrus and floral notes is equally enticing when worn all year round to keep that summer feeling alive.

Fragrance family: Aquatic

What it smells like: Top notes of bergamot, Jamaican lime and Silician mandarin, a heart of hibiscus, ylang ylang and Indian jasmine, set amongst a base of coconut and tropical woods.

Where to get it: Available from Smith & Caughey’s or online at Smithandcaugheys.co.nz

What it is: New to Sisley Paris Le Eau Rêvée collection is d’Hubert, a powerful aromatic that captures the climbing geranium that sits proudly in Sisley co-founder Isabelle d’Ornano’s garden. Considered by most perfumers as a masculine rose, the geranium used here reflects a vibrant, green and unexpected scent, accurately capturing the strong aroma emitted from the plant when you rub its leaves. This offering from d’Hubert marks the sixth scent of the collection, with each fragrance revealing treasured memories, places or desires — occupying the space between the real and the imaginary.

Fragrance family: Citrus

What it smells like: Top notes of mint, shiso (an aromatic herb) and agathosma (hints at balsamic), a heart of geranium, papyrus and cedar, and base notes of oakmoss, patchouli and ambroxan (which boasts a caramel quality).

Where to get it: Available from selected department stores, including Smith & Caughey’s Queen Street or online at Davidjones.com.

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