Top 10 Best Perfumes of Summer

Top 10 Best Perfumes of Summer

Yesssss!  It’s SUMMAH!  And time for the Top 10 Best Perfumes for Summer.

I know a lot of folks hate summer, hiding out in their AC until the first nip of autumn arrives.  Not Musette.  I love the whole ‘so hot you can’t move’, louche, laissez-faire feeling of a Midwestern summer, as the tomatoes ripen and the sunflowers hit shoulder-height and the blood runs just under the skin,instead of having to drop deep into your core, like it does in deep winter,  just to keep you alive.

On the hottest days I get mah Freak on.  Where others might long for cool citruses and vetivers, my soul cries out for Amouage Tribute Attar.  Hey, go big or go home!  Of course, the Amouage line is an Omani house (Royal, don’tchaknow) – and those folks know a thing or two about perfume in extreme heat.  Tribute Attar comes into full bloom right about the 90F mark.  That raspy smoke accord that can be somewhat distracting in cooler weather morphs into this ashes of roses tone and the rose oil melds into your skin and the whole thing becomes a silken,languid lounge on the pavillion, watching sunlight play on the splashing water in the fountain.  If they made a body cream of this attar I would have to kill myself.  Christopher, don’t do it, I beg of you! (okay…do it!  Just. Do. It.)

Frederic Malle Carnal Flower.    This is another beauty that just blooms on hot summer days  but you know what?  In extreme heat the Body Butter (Beurre Exquise) is even mo’ bettah!  Something about the perfume goes a little scratchy in the summertime but that butter… yum!  It’s been reformulated so it doesn’t separate anymore – it’s a smooth slickery-slide of hot-flower goodness, with that beautiful stab of eucalyptus winding through it.  I am unrepentant about wearing it in high heat and you know what?  Folks seem to love it.  Either that or they’re too terrified to complain.  I wore it yesterday.  It was 96F.  Gorgeous!

Tom says:

We in Los Angeles are having out usual wild swings between chilly onshore flow and arid Santa Anas, with a week or so of humidity to make it interesting.  So my two summer faves have been from the vault:

Acqua di Parma (the original, whatever they’re calling it these days) is a go-to for summer weather.  A lovely citrus floral with a clean drydown that makes me feel crisp and fresh in the worst of summer.

The other that I’ve found myself reaching for is Montale Musk to Musk.  It’s light touch of spicy woods and warm oud that whispers.  I’m starting to run low on this one, it’s been in such heavy rotation.

From the lovely Ann:
For the never-ending heat wave that this summer is turning out to be, I’m dusting off something old and pulling out something new (well, not THAT new, but newish, at least to me).
With all the talk this spring of the royal wedding scent, Illuminum’s White Gardenia Petals, several comments bubbled up about its resemblance to Prescriptives’ Calyx. I loved the heck out of Calyx in the late ’80s but over the years sort of forgot about it. So when I sniffed the Illuminum, I definitely thought it could be Calyx’s quieter, more reserved younger sister. And although I liked the WGP a lot (but not enough to fall full bottle for), it did serve to re-ignite my love for Calyx and I made haste to get some in my hot little hands.
My second summer love is Le Labo’s Tubereuse 40. As others have said before, it really is sunshine in a bottle. There’s just something about it that tickles my nose, my mood and my fancy. It makes me happy, and, silly as it might sound, near-giddy. And all with nary a prescription drug in sight. Now if it weren’t for that hefty price tag and that pesky NYC exclusivity business, this baby would be mine in a heartbeat.

From Patty:

I am the most boring top 10 best perfumes of summer person in the world.  I pick the same things over and over.  Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan, Rose Ikebana, along with Rosine’s Zeste d’Rose and Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin. The last one used to not be on my list, even though I’ve had it in my drawer for years. I finally noted it was in a Top Ten Best Perfumes List from Perfumes: The Guide, so I tried it, and it’s really pretty freaking great.

From Nava:

Patty thinks she’s boring; she’s got company. Another Rose Ikebana fan here, albeit there ain’t much left in the bottle; Philosophy’s Enternal Grace has replaced Pure Grace this summer, because…I know, I know, you’re sick and tired of hearing about it. And bringing up the rear is Fresh Brown Sugar. That’s all I can tolerate; it’s been a freakin’ scorcher here in the Great White North!

for more Top Ten Best Perfumes of Summer picks check out  Now Smell This, Perfume Smellin’ Things, Bois de Jasmin & Grain de Musc.


  1. Wonderful! It reminds me to pull out Carnal Flower, something I haven’t done for a while. And my Hermessences samples!

    This summer, I’ve been grabbing whatever I seem to yearn for–for whatever reason. LIke these:

    1. Guerlain Cologne du 68–hands down brilliant in the heat
    2. SL A la Nuit–when 110+ heat kills all the flowers (and starts in on the trees), at least A la Nuit is around to drop hunks of jasmine in my lap.
    3. Mona di Orio Carnation–110+ heat is what this stuff is made for.
    4. Ormonde Jayne Seraphim–I need roses, roses, roses
    5. L’Artisan Fleur de Narcisse–I’ve barely touched the bottle I’ve had for years–until this summer. Here in rural, farmy Oklahoma, this is incredible. My favorite perfume this summer.

    • I’m still trying to imagine you in a farmhouse on some dusty tumbleweed-y homestead out in the Dust Bowl…….in the middle of August!

      Have you taken any pictures yet? I really am seeing Dorothy Gale’s farm, from the Wizard of Oz…:-? But that doesn’t make sense, given why you’re there…so I must be insane, right?


      xo >-)

  2. My favorites this summer have been Balenciaga Paris, the new Cartier Baiser Vole, MDCI’s La Belle Helene, L’Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse, New Look 1947, and the lighter version of Attrape Coeur – Vol de Nuit Evasion. Kind of surprising me cause I was so looking forward to my usual summer scents – the citrusy, fresh colognes. Instead I’m craving heady and pretty florals????

    • I really like the Baiser Vole’ but it vanishes in the extreme heat and humidity – we’ve been hitting high 90s and above (NOT heat-index, either :(( and it’s just brutal on lighter scents.

      I can’t wait to retry that in the cooler autumn, though!

      xo >-)

      • Nodding along happily to your picks, Karin. And I didn’t know you were a New Look fan, too — I adore that stuff as well! Musette, I’d like to try the Baiser Vole in cooler climes as well. The lotion is very nice, also.

  3. Wow, Karin! I think you’re my scent twin! Those are all my favorites, too! I haven’t tried Baiser Vole (maybe I should!) but ditto to all Karin’s fragrances plus the new Fiore di Riso (which is a light sugary gardenia though it can be a tad medicinal the first hour or so) and Lea St. Barth, of which I finally got a FB back in June or so after having been backordered forevvvvver. And DeBachmakov is just so refreshing also!

  4. Le Labo’s Tubereuse 40, Nasomatto’s Nuda, DSH’s Alba, Diptyque’s L’eau de Tarocco, Hilde Soliani’s Stecca and Comme des Garcons Rhubarb have been my favorite go to scents this summer. When I’ve been able to wear perfume. I’m an impossibly pale nordic type…not made for the sun and can’t tolerate perfume when the heat is grueling.

    • Thank you. I’m Norwegian on my Mama’s side, and Scots, English and Welsh on my Daddy’s side; try as I might, I can never understand how people can love the heat, though I get that they in turn don’t understand how I must sleep with the windows open unless the temps are below zero!

      • I feel way less terrified of nature in the heat, particularly out here in the country. My battery died on a remote country road in -20F in February…..the fact that I didn’t die from sheer anxiety is a miracle. /:)

        xo >-)

        • See, to me, the severe cold feels like something I can FIGHT against(bundle up, keep moving, chop wood, cook, eat, etc) whereas the extreme heat just makes me want to lay down and die immediately.

          Not sure who all is familiar with Absolutely Fabulous, but the episode where Eddie warns Saffy to be careful in Morocco, as she isn’t used to the heat, then she and Patsy promptly collapse when they emerge from the terminal is my exact reaction to the heat!

          I am convinces the heat is what brought Southern drawls in to being. Just imagine taking the English/Irish/Welsh/Scots accents and dropping them in to such a viciously different climate. It probably took every effort they had to speak at all (Charleston, in August, in long sleeves, 6 petticoats, 2 sets of underwear and no running water anyone?) and I’m sure whatever words were actually spoken came out slowly and laboriously!

          • So THAT’s where the drawls came from? Too funny, Tammy — thanks!!

          • Tammy I’m from Minnesota but my husband is from Virginia. I’m not sure if his drawl gets worse in the heat or if my brain gets slower but the hotter it gets the harder it is for me to understand him.
            Some of us just are not made for high temps. Yesterday at WalMart one of the local lifeguards felt compelled to stop and help me pick out sunscreen, (I think he saw how white I am and was horrified that I actually go outside in the daylight.) He grabbed a bottle of SPF 110 and said, “I didn’t know they made 110 but maybe you should get this?” And I did. I have two redheaded, freckled children and keeping them from burning is a full time job.
            Le Labo’s Tubereuse 40 is one of the few tuberose scents that works on my skin. I love tuberose frags on other people but so few of them seem to work with my chemistry.

            • You lucky woman, with that sweet Virginia man! And as an auburn, I feel your pain with your little redheads. In addition to burning to a crisp, I get horrible, horrible cold sores when I go out in the sun, so don’t forget the SPF chapstick!

        • Musette, hey breaking down in -20 is scary stuff. Hmmm, I wonder what the perfect scent for a near freezing to death experience is?

          • Spent several days in a cabin with no heat, under 40 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada this winter, and I can tell you that, while it did not really work for me, Serge Lutens´ Fille en Aiguilles was rather perfect for the occasion.

            You had that pine note that blended well with the surroundings, and the incense note made you feel rather sanctified, as you calmly awaited your Fate.

            Ironically, we weren’t in the least bit cold, (snow is wonderful insulation material) but we were beginning to wonder if we were going to get out before we starved!

    • Hi, Joanna and Tammy on this heat — I’m just not built for it. But Joanne, glad you’re a Tubereuse 40 fan, too!! I would drink that stuff if I could.

      • That was s’posed to be “I’m with you guys on this heat…”

        • and Joanna — very sorry — my fingers have heatstroke! :)

          • Ann, that is okay I understand. I was reading a book the other day and for several pages I couldn’t figure out what “Elvis” had to do with the storyline. I had to go back and reread 1/2 a chapter…the word was evil. My brain had heatstroke too I think. It’s laughable but my brain really doesn’t function well in the heat.

  5. I like most all of the Posse peeps’ summer picks, but I have to say that I would love to sit in the heat of a summer afternoon sandwiched between Musette and Ann, when Musette is wearing either Carnal Flower or the Amouage Tribute attar, and Ann is wearing Calyx. (I haven’t tried the Le Labo Tubereuse 40 so can’t comment on that one.)

    My favorite summer scents include practically any tuberose perfume on the planet (currently swooning over Vamp a NY); Caron Tabac Blond extrait (divine in the heat); the new Via del Profumo scent, Sharif; L’Artisan Mon Numero 1; and (believe it or not, it doesn’t smell beastly on me, even in the heat) Muscs Koublai Khan. :)

  6. Just spritzed on some Carthusia Mediterraneo – that stuff is awesome. Other summer faves: AA Mandarine Basilic & Herba Fresca, Atelier Trefle Pur, Rose Ikebana, Osmanthe Yunnan, JM White Jasmine & Mint and Nectarine & Honey Blossom, CSP Aqua Motu, L’Artisan The Pour un Ete, Element of Surprise, and PdN L’Eau Mixte,

    • Some lovely picks there, Julie! I’ve tried and liked nearly all of them (especially love the Mandarine Basilica), save for the L’Eau Mixte and Element of Surprise. But they’re on my radar now, so thanks!

  7. We haven’t had too much of a summer here in Paris — I haven’t even put away the duvet. But the one scent I’m pretty sure I’ll take to Canada where, go figure, it’s been a lot hotter is Parfums de Nicolaï’s new Eau Chic which is mint, geranium, lavender and woods. Kind of does away with any stickiness: I’d love to have the stuff in towelettes.

    • Hi Denyse, that sounds like a lovely one to cut the heat. Can’t wait to try it!

    • I was reading your list on GdM and this one intrigued me (though Bois de Coton is at the top of my ‘must have’ list)…I love Geranium pour Monsieur in cooler weather – the extreme heat brings out a heavy musk I didn’t know was in there…it doesn’t come up until way later in the day but when it does, it’s ALL I can smell. This sounds like it might be a bit livelier!

      xo >-)

      • Geranium pour Monsieur is such a weirdo in Ropion’s oeuvre… I never actually wore it, as the first minty blast really burns my nose. The Nicolaï is bracing but a lot better-bred.

  8. We’re on our 33rd(?) day of over 100 degree temperatures here in Dallas, and are looking to break the record of 42 straight days by next week. We’ve already broken a number of daily records, incluuding the highest low temperature ever (88 earlier this week). I hate summer! I real, really do….but in spite of it all I’m loving the new Cartier, Baiser Vole, Chanel’s Eau de Cologne, and pretty much anything centered around jasmine to get me through the dog days. Can’t wait for Fall! Or at least some rain….

    • You guys have had a horrendously hot summer, maggiecat! Ours has been bad, too, but nothing like out there. Hang in there!
      I can’t wait for fall AND winter — and I promise: not a peep out of me about how cold it is. Glad you’re enjoying the Cartier; it is very nice, isn’t it? And I just sampled the lotion the other day and it’s lovely as well.

  9. I’ve been on a sampling rampage this summer, thanks to the discounts at the Perfumed Court. This morning I tried Fresh Cannabis Santal, which I am loving. My opinion is not shared by everyone however. This morning on the VRE train the lady seated in front of me got up and moved to another seat. I am trying not to take this personally……….

    • Hi, Claudia! Glad you’ve had a ball sampling at TPC. Those discounts had me sorely tempted, but being unemployed, I didn’t dare indulge.
      And, hey, don’t worry about the lady on the train — maybe your scent was so appealing to her that she didn’t trust herself to sit by you :)

  10. I don’t really do the seasonal thing but this summer, Guerlain Mitsouko, Serge Lutens Nuit de Cellophane and Vitriol d’Oeillet.

  11. Ooh, Emma — you’ve tried the Vitriol already; i’m so envious! What was your take on it?

  12. I’m grooving on Bois d’Orage, which I got in the swap, and I love it! It has a woody/salty/herbal thing that suits our cool, moody weather here (not trying to brag– I lived through more hot summers in the midwest and New York than I care to remember… and i feel for you guys, sorry it’s been so miserable!).

    My other new loves: L’Arte di Gucci, which is the first rose i can wear and not get a headache in the first minute– beautiful green rose and incense, like a toned-down Portrait of a Lady.

    And YSL Y– dry, green, mossy, pretty and soft as June grass. Such a beautiful, gentle, well-balanced chypre that also has non-headache-ey green rose in the heart notes. Oh, how I love it!

    Musette, you like Amouage Jube 25, right? There’s a cream version out now, and it smells faboo… and it’s cheaper than the juice…

  13. I’m loving me some sweet stuff this summer: SL’s Douce Amere and Jacomo Art Collection No. 8.

  14. Hi, Lisa. So you’re going with sweets to beat the heat — very nice. I need to try the Douce Amere.

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