Heaven scent: The best summer fragrances

Fragrance would be nothing without its supernatural power to evoke mood and memory

Summer fragrance is the best of the year. Those may sound like fighting words if you love the grittier, cosier depth of a nice winter scent, but hear me out. The switch over to a new scent for the summer season – generally something that reflects longer days, warmer temperatures and, hopefully, a little more recreation time – helps to unlock a new mindset. Fragrance would be nothing without its supernatural power to evoke mood and memory.

As much as I like a good winter scent – generally something smoky and ungendered – summer scents have more ebullience and joy in them, and more sparkle. While I think that fragrance is an investment product – it is, after all, sheer luxury and completely unnecessary – this really means spending what you can and what you want to.

I recently wrote about The Body Shop relaunching its famed White Musk fragrance, without a generous spritz of which you simply didn’t qualify as a teenage girl in the early 2000s. I still love it and happily picked up a bottle for a little more than €20, so while fragrance tends to be expensive, and several of the ones I’m writing about today are, it doesn’t have to be.

In setting your usual cold weather perfume down for a few months, you don't have to part with drama, if that's an element of fragrance you love. Van Cleef & Arpels Orchid Leather (€155 plus shipping at harrods.com) smells of a rich widow in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce, on the way to the funeral of her ninth husband. Warm, fruity leather with plum and vanilla, with an exceptional spicy note of cardamom dancing through it. It is maximally dramatic, completely unapologetic, and will thrill anyone who longs for the depth of winter fragrance in a summery scent.


For something lighter and more traditional, Ostens Impression Jasmine Absolute (€203 plus shipping at ostens.com) is exquisite. Jasmine is a tricky note to capture. There are so many drab, synthetic facsimiles floating about, and most of them induce both headaches and disappointment. At its heart sits a rich, buttery and unmistakable jasmine, but the scent has the most delicious complexity to it. Black pepper oil, violet leaves, davana oil, mineral accords and more make this a real perfume enthusiast's scent.

If you want something universally appealing, Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Dew eau de parfum (€66-€90 at brown thomas.com) is a new iteration of an enduringly beloved scent. Rose, bergamot, pear, cashmeran and musks give it an ethereal softness that still feels fresh and seasonal.

Adopting a new summer fragrance isn't just for women. The rules around who can wear what are thankfully disappearing, but if you like a classically masculine scent (and most men tend to), then Giorgio Armani Code eau de parfum (from €79 at boots.ie) is a lovely option. It has a snug heart of warm tonka, with a clean, playful infusion of rosemary and lavender, and a summery squeeze of lemon, mandarin and bergamot at the top.

Perfume of the Week

La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Aquagel SPF30 (€34 at pharmacies nationwide)