Scent of summer: The best perfumes to buy now

At this time of year, fragrances should be fruitier, lighter and more playful

While most of us have a favourite or “signature” — if we’re having notions about it — fragrance, scent is highly seasonal. The smoky and woody notes needed to cut through the heavy damp of Irish winter air can seem hysterically melodramatic and overdressed on a light summer breeze. At this time of year, make-up and hair change along with our wardrobe. Scent tends to go the same way. In tandem with the golden tones and brighter colours pulled from the back of the wardrobe or make-up bag, fragrance gets a bit fruitier, in every sense of the word. Lighter, more playful notes just fit the weather better. They articulate the sort of wild optimism that can only exist on a warm day in a country that sees approximately 12 such days a year.

Don’t worry though — if you prefer a fragrance with enough body to fill a pair of oversized designer sunglasses as they survey the weather and declare there’s grand drying out, you don’t have to compromise this summer. The key is for a fragrance to have depth rather than weight. Jo Loves Mango Thai Lime Fragrance Paintbrush (€50 at Space NK) is a raucous celebration of that summer spirit. Herbaceous, crisp and sparkling, it embodies all the joy of hot weather, ripe fruit and an empty afternoon stretching languidly before you.

Interestingly, I had a not insignificant argument with my husband over Cochine Vanille & Tabac Noir Eau de Parfum (€130 at He steals it, you see, and I refuse to share a single drop. Inspired by the sultry heat of summer evenings, it contains a nutmeggy spiciness with sweet vanilla, sharp cardamom and the flush of tobacco flower. The first sniff of it is a bit like prolonged eye contact with a very attractive person who doesn’t happen to be the one with whom you’re in a relationship. It’s a frisson of something safe yet thrilling before you go about your evening as normal (because for all his perfume thievery, your husband is nice, really).

La Perla About That Night Eau de Parfum (from €100 at has a similarly edgy vibe of dalliance in a bottle, but with a symphony of notes. With fruits such as pear, blackcurrant and bergamot giving way to a floral heart that includes jasmine and lavender, it settles into a base of heavy hitters such as musk, vetiver and warm ambergris. This is one for those who like a scent that plays with gender norms, and gives you everything it’s got for every moment of wear time.


For a subtler option, Glossier You Eau de Parfum (€58 at is the ideal cool girl summer scent. It contains all the fragrance sweet spots — a perfect blend of pink pepper, white florals and woody (but not wintry) amber, it’s a true chameleon fragrance. It works as well at night as it does during the day and is feminine but not fussy.

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about beauty