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Something about summer inspires a whole lot of sensory experiences—campfires, sunscreen, BBQs, tanning oil, salty beach air. Or at least, we wish our summers smelled like that. For most of us, those fragrances are memories; in big cities, one is more likely to smell hot garbage than a pristine pine forest in the sun. So to make up for it, we escape into perfumes that smell like our fantasy summers. Here are our picks for the best dreamy summer perfumes.
If you remember seeing a version of this bottle on your dad’s dresser, you’re not mistaken. The old school fragrance brand, Acqua Di Parma is known for its classic powdery musk cologne. However, you should definitely give Blu Mediterraneo a try. The Fico di Amalfi fragrance is a subtle warm weather fragrance with citrus opening notes and a fig, jasmine, and cedarwood underneath to leave you with a fruity and musky base. The perfect perfume if you’re dreaming of escaping to the Amalfi coast.
(Acqua Di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Fico Di Amalfi, $100 for 2.5 oz eau de toilette, Sephora)
This is the most popular of this cult fragrance brand’s offerings. Other than the alluring name, the scent has that transformative quality that smells a bit different on everyone. With notes of bergamot, lemon, pepper, juniper berries, incense, pine needles, orris, amber, vanilla and sandalwood, this opens up with a fresh hits of citrus and spice on top of a sweet and earthy base. For summertime adventures as well as backyard BBQs, a sophisticated summer scent is always appropriate.
(Byredo Parfums Gypsy Water Eau De Parfum, $145 for 100ml, Barneys)
Don’t worry—you won’t smell booze-soaked with this Commodity Fragrance scent, but if you’re daydreaming about long brunches in the sun with your best friends, this is the fragrance for you. They’ve interpreted the most delicious notes of a tasty mimosa with this fragrance that borrows from the sweetly effervescent nature of champagne and plenty of fresh citrus like blood orange, grapefruit and mandarin on top of jasmine and black pepper, anchored with ylang ylang and tonka bean so it’s not too sickly sweet.
(Commodity Goods Mimosa 100ml, $99, Commoditygoods.com)
If you’re dreaming of fresh floral gardens in the cool of a summer evening, Florabellio (the newest member of Diptyque’s fragrance squad) is for you. With sweet notes of apple blossom around a “marine accord” and roasted coffee beans, you’ll find that this scent strikes you as a very crisp scent that toes the line between beach air and fresh cut sweetgrass.
(Diptyque Paris Florabellio 50ml, $90, diptyqueparis.com)
If your dream summer involves baking on the beach, we’ve found your dream fragrance. Both vanilla and coconut are strong scents in their own right—mix the two together and you get Lavanila’s Vanila Coconut. The combination of two powerful fragrances gives you the best of a sweet and musky vanilla with a tropical hint of coconut, making us think of relaxing tropical getaways.
(Lavanila Vanilla Coconut Fragrance, $58 1.7oz, Lavanila.com)
The other lovely thing about Lavanila is that they have many varieties, if you’re into vanilla. In case you don’t necessarily want to reek of it, their natural deodorants have a much lighter scent, so that you can sport the fragrance of your choice without clubbing people over the head with it. Vanilla Passion Fruit is an unabashedly fruity sweet scent, which is why it works perfectly as a deodorant. A swipe of this will give you that sweet scent without making others around gag.
(Lavanila Vanilla Passion Fruit Deodorant, $14, Lavanila.com)
Ok, so we know that we can’t REALLY be mermaids—but smelling like a mermaid is definitely a summer fantasy. Orange blossoms are the key note here, complimented with a hint of salty sea breeze. It’s not cloyingly sweet, but is reminiscent of the ocean in the prettiest way.
(Mermaid Perfume, $50, Anthropologie)
The great thing about fragrances is that even if you can’t necessarily afford to whisk away to the Mediterranean for a holiday, you can at least bask in the scent of a luxurious getaway. Tom Ford’s fragrances have such a transportive power, like with their latest perfume, Fleur De Portofino. The citrus and bergamot of Italy open this summery scent, as sweet honeysuckle and juicy blooms of gardenia and acacia mingle with Moroccan rose and jasmine. The base of warm honey and vanilla lingers after the crispness is gone to leave you with a golden musk. It’s pretty much a Mediterranean sunset overlooking a orange grove on the coast… in a bottle.
(Tom Ford Fleur De Portofino eau de parfum 1.7 oz, $215, Neiman Marcus)
Your favorite hair care line heard your pleas and finally made their heavenly scented hair products available as a straight fragrance. Silver Pearl is a fresh green scent with comfortingly musky amber underlying, while the Côte d’Azur is a bit spicier with bergamot, tuberose and sandalwood making a heady sweet scent. We can’t quite decide which we like best, but we do know that we have our summertime day/night fragrances on lock.
(Oribe eau de parfum, $85 for 1.7 oz, Neimann Marcus)
If you’re on a budget and dreaming of creamy white florals, head to your local Target. We’re serious: this is a surprisingly sophisticated scent. Sonia Kashuk’s White Etheriana is a white floral dream with top notes of zesty citrus over sweet white florals, like a fun drink at a great party. It’s unapologetically girly without being nauseatingly sweet.
(Sonia Kashuk White Etheriana, $20 for 3.4oz eau de toilette, Target)