Patty and March’s Top 10 for Summer


Summer´s got us by the bal- short hairs throat, and it´s time to weigh in with our seasonal list of scents that are proving to be summer-friendly.

March´s Top Five

1. Prada Infusion d´Iris – I don´t own this, and I don´t wear it. So why is it on my list? In our crowded, humid, sweaty city, can I tell you how insanely grateful I am that this seems to have been adopted by huge numbers of worker bees I encounter throughout the day on public transport in the wretched heat? As opposed to, oh, Angel. Or Euphoria. I don´t care if one in five women seems to be wearing it with her sensible suit, pearls and sneakers. It´s a pretty, sophisticated, ageless scent that manages the rare feat of being both subtle and pervasive. Women always seem startled I can smell it on them, but in fact it´s quite distinctive. Two lightly scented thumbs up.

2. Tea. (You knew I was going to cheat on the count, right?) Take Parfums de Nicolai Fig-Tea. Not so much figs or tea as a wonderful leafy, lightly floral summer staple. Or, there´s Bvlgari White Tea. I know I´m not inspiring you with that one. But I am trying to be honest. Every now and again I get an email that asks, so what do you really wear? White Tea is one of the very few scents I´ve had to buy a second bottle of, one of those scents I can throw on when everything else seems wrong and never regret it. Newbie lurkers: Bvlgari White Tea may not be that scent for you, but everyone needs one of those scents in his/her closet – the go-to fragrance that never turns out to be the wrong pair of shoes with the outfit. Because unlike shoes, fragrance can be harder to switch out of quickly. More tea: you can´t go wrong with L´Artisan´s The Pour Un Ete (although it lasts nine seconds), or, on the cheap side, Speziali Fiorentini´s Te Nero or Demeter´s wonderful Coriander Tea.

3. JAR Bolt of Lightning. The folks at JAR don´t discuss the notes in their fragrances, and you´d have to be a better nose detective than I am to suss them out, but I smell green leaves and forest, wet stones, distant storms, and something faintly sweet to offset the drama. A fragrance that makes me think of walking through a bamboo forest created by Louis Vuitton working with Michelangelo. Is that worth $800 a bottle or whatever this stuff costs? I don´t know, but it sure smells good. When I wear it to bed I have strange dreams. An on-the-cheap (relatively speaking) summer-greens alternative: I Am A Dandelion by CB I Hate Perfume.

4. Suntan smells – the new Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess, which is a close dupe of the old Tom Ford EL Azuree; NARS Monoi oil; the wildly overpriced but still tasty Creed Virgin Island Water; or (cheap treat!) Coty Sand & Sable from your local CVS, and one spray of that is plenty, trust me.

5. Jasmine. I love jasmine any old time, but it seems perfect in sultry summer, when it really blooms on my skin. Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint is the civilized alternative. I also love skanky jasmines like Donna Karan´s jasmine essence, Armani Prive´s Eclat de Jasmine (which on me smells like it´s growing next to the horse stalls), and Montale´s gloriously ripe Jasmin Full. NSFW, particularly, but if you wear it to a party, men follow you around like they´re hypnotized. Not that I´m speaking from personal experience.

5. Ormonde Jayne Champaca. They put some addictive drug in this thing; I can’t stop wearing it. It’s sort of incense-y, but not really – it’s not heavy, but it lasts forever on me. And since I wore it almost the whole time I was in Thailand, it now conjures all that up for me, which makes it even more special. Notes are neroli, pink pepper, bamboo, champaca, freesia, basmati, myrrh, green tea, and musk. I don’t read many raves for the scent, I think it’s kind of under the radar? I can’t understand why. Heaven in a bottle.

Patty’s Top Ten of Summer:

  1. Summer is when I love me some CBs. Dandelion, To See a Flower, Wild Hunt, Memory of Kindness, so many of them are just summer smells that have accompanied some of my happiest memories of summer. I love to wear them and wrap myself up in their comforting smells. Well, you should too!

  2. I join March on the Tea bench and raise her a couple more. Osmanthe Yunnan will always hit my top summer scents list because it is always perfect.

  3. Incenses rule during summer. Any of the CdGs work perfectly, as does Armani’s Bois d’Encens. The heat cools those incenses to where they just whisper across your skin and nose.

  4. Hermes Orange d’Verte. Duh. It lasts like 1 hour, then you reapply. Keep going all during the day. They sell it in that mondo bottle for a reason.

  5. L’Artisan Poivre Piquant. Peppers and heat, yes’m. Magic. Marina tossed me this idea when we were in NYC, and I’ve had Poivre Piquant in my truck all summer to spritz on me and the inside of the truck. It easily cools it by 10 degrees as soon as that smell hits my nose. Who knew?

Visit our other perfume blog friends who are also doing their Best of Summer:
Bois de Jasmin ::Now Smell This :: Perfume Posse :: Perfume-Smellin’ Things :: Scentzilla

  • Mariekel says:

    Great lists, folks. I have been surprised by what seems to work for me in the heat and humidity of the DC summers. Here goes, in no particular order:

    1. I Profumi di Firenze Agrumi di Sicilia
    2. Delrae Amoureuse — something about the jasmine and the honeyed drydown are just so damned sexy in the heat!
    3. Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate (with you on the tea also)
    4. L’Air du Desert Marocain — so evocative…
    5. TDC Sel de Vetiver
    6. Goutal Mandragore — spicy, elegant deliciousness
    7. Gobin-Daude Nuit au Desert — SOB, SOB, SOB!!!!!! Please come back to us, Victoire!
    8. CB Wild Pansy — esp. if its rainy. My favourite thunderstorm scent
    9. SIP L’Invisible
    10. Parfumerie Generale Harmatan Noir

  • Kim says:

    Lutens Un Lys, Douce Amere
    Guerlain L’Heure Bleue – this is just amazing in the heat!
    Guerlain Eau de Shalimar, Nahema
    L’Artisan Chasse Aux Papillons – I need to explore this line more!
    As always, Chanel No 5, Bois des Iles, and Cuir de Russie
    Lastly Ormande Jayne Tolu – I am revisiting this and it is great in the heat as well – full bottle worthy!

  • Vasily says:

    On my bottleworthy list of warm-weather faves:

    Guerlain Vetiver
    Guerlain Derby (the original)
    Tauer L’air du Desert Marocain
    Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo/Cipresso di Tuscano
    Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo/Arancier di Capri
    Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterrraneo Fico di Amalfi
    Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist

    I’ve tried Tauer Incense Extreme in the hot weather, and agree it works great. Will have to try CdeG Avignon, too. Today, I put on some CdeG Sequoia and loved it in the hot weather: like being in a redwood grove. I’m going to try Tauer Incense Rose, too, and maybe I’ll get a decant of SL Arabie just for the perversity of wearing it in the summer heat & humidity. 🙂

    • Vasily says:

      Oh yeah, I forgot Ava Luxe’s Midnight Violet, Figuier, Fig Leaf, and Fig Wood, all of which are delightful in the summer.

  • Anthony says:

    I kid ya not, just the other day, I woke up after an all night storm and woke up with the urge, nay ABSOLUTE NEED, to recreate this so I dabbed on some Bolt of Lightning. It worked! I need to visit the CB fragrances!

  • Catherine says:

    Also chiming in for OJ Champaca–it’s one of the best scents for summer. This year, however, it has become overshadowed a bit by Osmanthus in my fragrance rotation, a scent that is absolutely perfect for warding off humidity and creating an aura of happiness. Sampaquita, too, is exquisite in the heat–watery, cooling, and radiant. Indeed, so many of the Ormonde Jaynes work well in the hot months, as do all of the Mona di Orios. I’m particularly smitten with Orio right now, as I find it too sweet to wear in cooler months (even spring)–so I’m getting all the use I can out of it this summer. The Roja Dove fragrances, too, are showing themselves even better in the soaring temperatures than in the winter–complete love for me. The jasmine within them all is rich without being overpowering. But I admit to loving a bit of skank in the summertime, and Miller Harris’s L’air de Rien hits the spot. It’s not too much skank on me, however–or, at least, nowhere near the levels that others find–and my husband agrees. It’s just warm, sexy flowers.

  • Tarun says:

    I actually have 12 favorites for the summer but since we’re doing a top ten list, I’ll comply…

    1. Cipresso Di Toscana
    2. Dzongkha
    3. Eau d’Orange Verte
    4. Encre Noir
    5. Guerlain Imperiale
    6. Paestum Rose
    7. Philosykos
    8. Un Jardin sur le Nil
    9. Rose d’Homme
    10. Zagorsk

    Just in case you’re wondering what the other two were – Cuir Ottoman and Eau d’Hadrien.

    (Also, here’s my POOR MAN’S version of Thé pour un Ete w/ lasting power: L’Occitane’s Green Tea with Jasmine layered over their Green Tea solid perfume. It doesn’t come close to replacing L’Artisan’s creation but it’s certainly wearable and at under $50 it’s a freakin bargain – use the left over money to pump gas in your cars!)

    • Shelley says:

      I, too, am a fan of the light but lovely and budget-conscious Green Tea with Jasmine.

  • Robin says:

    Great lists, both of them!

    A sort of side comment to the Champaca — what I’m noticing more & more is that brands that don’t keep to very regular & rapid release schedule seem to get forgotten. It’s sad.

  • Disteza says:

    Seconding you, March, on the Champaca. It’s too tempting for me to resist any longer–I’ve blown through two vials already! With my weird skin the heat + humidity don’t seem to matter as much as how much moving around I’m planning on doing. That being said the things I have drenched myself in this summer include Neil Morris Rose of Kali, Vetiver Tonka (my current go-to), MH L’Air d Rien (there’s something about wearing it while dancing in the heat), and SIP’s Tosca. I’ll agree on the tea note as well, but since they last all of a millisecond on me I have to go straight to L’Artisan’s Tea for Two. I’ll throw a heady floral in there just to round things out: SIP’s Magazine Street seems made for the crazy-hot and muggy Southern summer.

  • sweetlife says:

    I’ll chime in for tea and Champaca, March! I have you to thank for introducing me to the Ormonde Jayne, but as I haven’t progressed much beyond hoarding my sample vial I don’t feel I can really put it on my lists yet. Perhaps that needs to be rectified…

  • Maura says:

    Ahh…March…I wish I smelled Infusion d’Iris everywhere too! I still get hit with Happy and Coco Mlle!

    My 5 summer winners…this year:

    1. TM Colonge 😡
    2. A La Nuit…blooms beautifully in the heat
    3. SL 5 o’clock…this was *meh* in cool weather and needs the heat to really open up!
    4. L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger
    5. Chergui…seriously


    • Maura says:

      Ok…feeling guilty about only Top 5…here’s another 5

      6. Shiloh
      7. L’Air du Desert
      8. Narcotic Venus
      9. Montale Intense Tiare
      10 Montale Jasmine Full

  • Victoria says:

    Ah, March, I love your list! You are a lady after my own heart with those mentions of jasmine, iris, tea….

  • moi says:

    Here in the Desert Southwest, we usually enjoy a dry heat, so I spray with abandon. But nothing too heavy. Faves include:

    1. 4711
    2. Mandragore
    3. Bronze Goddess
    4. Calyx
    5. O de Lancome
    6. Annick Goutal Le Chèvrefeuille
    7. Bulgari Black
    8. White Linen
    9. Happy Heart
    10.Donna Karan Gold

    And to sleep at night: Etro Messe De Minuit

  • Eileen says:

    I’m still pretty new to perfumes, so no top 10 for me. My best hot ‘n’ humid scent so far has been Hermessence Paprika Brasil — not too much sillage for the heat, but still present enough to be enjoyed.

  • Solander says:

    Hmm, I think of the CBs as spring scents rather than summer scents, but I might wear Wild Hunt in the summer… So, since I already did an ordinary top ten om PST, I’ll steal your themed lists idea and cheat massively:
    1. Evergreeny, foresty, mossy scents: CB Wild Hunt, Mazzolari Mazzolari, SL Chene, TF Moss Breches (I don’t particularly “like” this odd mossy/powdery/musty/rosy thing, but I grant that it’s original and wild!), AL Midnight Violet, AF Anat Fritz
    2. Green green green stuff: CdG sherbet Rhubarb, CdG 3, MB Green green green and green, PS Story, RP Bandit
    3. Refreshing tea and citrus: AG Duel, Bulgari the blanc, LPJ Citrus allegro (the closest to a true lemon/lime-type citrus scent I’ve found… don’t like grapefruit (=men’s shower gel) or orange blossom (sickly sweet orange blossom in the summer = gag), Eau d’Hadrien is too aquatic, Un Zeste d’Ete too anise-y, Cologne Bigarade lovely but too Christmasy for summer…)
    4. Salty things: TDC Sel de vetiver, MH Fleurs de sel (I’ve been craving salty scents recently… any recs? I can’t stand most aquatics and I find Eau des Merveilles and Terre d’Hermes unbearably “perfumey”, aggressive and monolinear.)
    5. Sultry white florals: FM Carnal Flower, FM Lys Mediterranee (and I normally hate lily with a vengeance – maybe I like this because it’s actually ginger lily, which I think is an unrelated plant?), LAP La Haie Fleurie au Hameau
    6. Dry hot woody/incense things, like walking through a pine forest: TP Incese rose, CdG Jaisalmer, Gucci pour homme
    7. Tar: TP Lonestar memories, CdG Tar
    8. Dry hot sandy ambers: TP L’air du desert marocain, SL Ambre sultan, SL Fumerie turque
    9. Hot spices, oddly refreshing in heat: LN Oriental Lumpur
    10. Lilac: FM En Passant (lilacs in cool rain), Ineke After my own heart (lilacs in lukewarm saltwater, not exactly oceanic, just softly salty)

  • sallycantdance says:

    I live in extreme humidity that causes smell to hover in evil scent pockets. Doesn’t matter if it’s smoke from a barbecue, chopped onion, dog pee on a bush, or MKK: Smell is an entity here.

    One is always aware of the fragrances of others. Within any enclosed space–heads up! SCUD!–these blobs of scent seem heavier than air and trapped around the wearer. One spray of Light Blue on a twenty-something college girl will perfume half a supermarket.

    A scent’s heaviest notes clobber the rest of them into submission; I believe this is what some people call “blooming” and what I call chemical warfare.

    I have a short list of fragrances that work well in the heat:
    Chanel No. 19
    Chasse aux Papillons (including Extreme)
    Andre Gas Ensoleille Moi
    Carnal Flower
    MPG Jardin Blanc
    Chantecaille Frangipane (this may be the ultimate hot-sticky-sweaty thing to wear)
    Coney, not Fire, Island
    En Passant

    You’d think Fire Island would work well, because what is it but mostly soap, but it jams between that rough soap and a more agreeable spice note that isn’t really present in drier climates.

    Indoles have to be avoided. Jasmine becomes jammy and the indoles become not only meaty but sour. This flower is best left on the bush, not attacking from behind it.

  • karin says:

    I didn’t even OWN ten scents last year! Though I’ve been a closet perfumista for years, rather than keep all my fragrances, I periodically purged my collection, making space for new ones. (The horror!) I currently have over 30, and don’t intend on getting rid of any right now, but as I discover new scents, the old ones tend to get shoved to the back. Sad.

    Anyway, I’ve only recently begun to discover niche houses (though I’ve had a few Annick Goutal and L’Artisan scents over the years), so my collection is sorely lacking in that area. I admit a current obsession with Parfums de Nicolai, though. 🙂 My current “summer” rotation:

    1. Juicy Couture – secret obsession!
    2. Parfums de Nicolai Cococabana
    3. Parfums de Nicolai Eau Turquoise
    4. Parfums de Nicolai Le Temps d’une Fete
    5. Parfums de Nicolai Juste un Reve
    6. Bobbi Brown Beach
    7. Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess
    8. Saffron James Le’a
    9. Marc Jacobs Daisy
    10. Hermes Elixir des Merveilles

    A few others – Diptyque Oyedo, Estee Lauder Pure White Linen, Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Banane, and my current summer evening favorite – Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur!

    • karin says:

      Oh, and I’m currently craving a tea scent! Going along with my PdN theme, I need to try Fig Tea. And I’ve never tried Bulgari White Tea. I wore the Bulgari Green Tea for a few years…was never one of my favorites, though. Other recommendations? Thanks!

  • Nava says:

    Great lists, ladies. I agree with you about Infusion d’Iris, March – fantastic in the heat. It’s going to be in the mid 90s here this weekend, and I am wearing it now, and probably for the next 3 days.

    On the Osmanthus front, please, please, PLEASE tell me you’ve sniffed Parfum d’Empire’s Osmanthus Interdite. Osmanthe Yunnan is gorgeous, but this one is as well, and it hangs around for more than an hour. 🙂

  • rosarita says:

    I can share the love of lots of y’all’s choices, esp Bulgari White Tea and Louise’s Balmain Ivoire. I also love Messe de Minuit better in summer than winter, it’s like personal AC. I obtained a bottle of Christian LaCroix’ Tumulte Pour Homme recently and have been wearing it a lot. It’s incense and woods, lots of cedar, and has a warm/cool vibe that’s very refreshing.

    • Louise says:

      R-you’re right, we are related. I wore MdM last night-blooms nicely (no mold on me) in the heat-I actually get more vanilla from it in summer :d/

  • Silvia says:

    My summer top 5 are:
    – MH Fleurs de Sel (herby salty wonder);
    – CdG 2 (crisp woody odd addictive potion);
    – PdN Eau du Lude (wearable garden jasmine amongst other flowers);
    – Diptyque Virgilio (Mediterranean herbs in the dry heat);
    – EM Escentric 01 (stolen from the hubby)
    March, I am a BIG Champaca fan. I associate it more with spring, but it’s beautiful in any season.
    A lovely week-end to everyone ! <:-p

    • Silvia says:

      Ooops, it’s top 10. I’ll then add:
      – PdN Le Temps d’Une Fete
      – L’AP Passage d’Enfer
      – SL Un Lys
      – SL Sa Majeste’ La Rose
      – FM Lys Mediterranee

  • Kristy says:

    I love Montale’s Sandflowers and Ineke’s Chemical Bonding for summer. Sandflowers is sort of a desert-oasis type scent, and Ineke’s is a sort of Fizzy Citrus Beverage Bearing Android Harem type of smell, both summery but also a little unusual.

  • Marina says:

    I was just meditating over my sample of I Am A Dandelion yesterday, love it too! Summer has me by the…throat too, but we’ll get through. Hugs!

  • sariah says:

    I’m with you guys in the tea. Summer staples for me are Fig Tea and yes, Tommy Girl.

    Also like the Jasmine in summer, but even more for summer I like orange blossom. Today I’m wearing SL Fleur d’Oranger. Sounds like too much for the office, but I think it dies down enough between spritzing it on, doing my morning stuff and actually arriving at work. Or maybe they’re too nice to tell me I’m stinking the place up.

    March – my version of your White Tea, the wear anytime scent, is Eau de Cartier.

  • Carol Sasich says:

    Profumi di Pantelleria Aire – tea and the sea
    La Base for her – I changed the name to Snowdrops
    Santa Maria Novella Mavrorachi – 4000 years can’t be wrong !!
    Profumi di Pantelleria- Profumo di Pantelleria herbs and citrus
    Guerlain Sous le Vent – if I could drink it I would
    Robert Piguet Baghari- so fizzy I makes me drunk
    Laura Tonatto Solista- a big floral that fits
    Santa Maria Novella Melograno-comfort personified
    Chanel Cir de Russie edt -some nights I wanna sizzle
    The Pink Room no 1-every library needs a rose

    • GGS says:

      You tried the Mavrorachi! Me too, it’s very special.

      In honor of our Italy trip, I’ll wear the citrusy cologne: Mediterrannee by Carthusia today.

      My summer basics top 3: Osmanthe Yunnan & Champaca (yes, March! Lovely in summer!) & Un Jardin en Mediterranee.


      • Carol Sasich says:

        G-I wondered if anyone would notice…makes me feel like a queen .
        dang I still have never smelled the O Yunnan..

  • MattS says:

    Just last night I was reading up on Osmanthe Yunnan and thinking that I needed to get my nose on some of that. Sounds perfect!

    Is it summer already? Somebody pass me the MKK…

  • Louise says:

    It’s so much harder for me to chose summer fragrances-I often really just hate the heat, and skip perfume altogether. That said, this summer the following are getting a lot of play:

    Vie de Chateau-perfect hay/grass, does make me sneeze sometimes ; )

    L’Air du Desert Marocain-dry spices rule, til vanilla jumps out

    CDG Original-again, the spices bloom in the heat

    Jasmin de Nuit-my perfect (only?) jasmine

    Balmains-Ivoire, Balmain especially-grassy/herby wonders

    Chanel 19 extrait

    Fresh Sake-is just fresh, musky

    Calyx-always works, also fresh to musk

    Datura Noir-evening sweets

    Arabie-just to see if I can scare you 😮

    • MattS says:

      Mmmmm…love, I’d never thought of CdG Original this time of year, but I’ll bet you’re right. Might have to give it a go today. I get really nostalgic about Calyx also. I haven’t smelled it in years, but I used to wear it when I was young and carefree. It was the first time I ever didn’t give a damn about gender packaging for fragrance. It is heavenly and I wore it just cuz I loved it.

  • Francesca says:

    Ok so I’m on vacation, up late, playing with samples. And the one I’m playing with is Avignon.I absolutely love it. It’s a lot cooler here on top of a mountain in Connecticut than in NYC, but I think I’d like it both places