Summer is the perfect time to reinvent your signature scent. While there's nothing wrong with patchouli, amber, and tobacco in the summer—a cozy, comforting perfume on a hot evening can be surprising and sexy—the beauty of a summer day deserves to be celebrated with a fragrance to match. There's something to be said, after all, for the carnal abundance of an open tuberose or the dry nostalgia of a campfire, drifting behind their wearer as they stroll past on a balmy summer evening.
So when the mercury climbs past 70, I eagerly reach for one of my favorite scents: Hothouse Flower, by the indie fragrance brand Ineke. A lush floral that evokes a greenhouse of gardenias steaming in the midsummer heat, its verdant sensuality means that any other season can't do it justice; only summer gives the perfume enough air to breathe, letting the scent's indolic petals truly unfurl.
Even though I have a signature summer scent, I also love searching for something new. Below, find 10 of the best perfumes to come out in the past few months, and rest assured that wherever your summer takes you, you'll have the perfect fragrance as a close companion.
Tory Burch, Bel Azur, $96 for 1.7 oz, available at Sephora.
Imagine an immaculate beachside hotel in a Mediterranean locale at 10am: Travelers have just started to roll downstairs for coffee and sunscreen, exotic floral arrangements adorn every surface, and in the distance, you can hear the ocean lapping at the sand. That is, in a nutshell, Bel Azur. For those with a lust for glamour but a craving for peace, I suggest you grab this intoxicating scent, replete with warm notes of bergamot, neroli, vetiver, cedar, and crisp, cool salt water.
Phlur, Moab, $85 for 50 mL, available at Phlur.
If you’ve been longing for a road trip to Palm Springs, this is the fragrance for you. The founders of Phlur meant to evoke the “desert’s sun, wind, and openness,” which this scent's dry woodiness does with aplomb. Clove, tonka bean, and a hint of vanilla round out and soften this beautiful scent.
Goop, Edition 02, $165 for 1.7 oz, available at Goop.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s infamous wellness brand may not be your cup of tea, but don’t let that dissuade you from her second perfume, an aromatic bouquet of shiso (a Japanese herb reminiscent of mint and basil), juniper, palo santo, and oud. It’s reminiscent of a day spent in the forest, followed by an evening spent around the campfire, and then finally waking up in the morning to crystal clear air.
Hi Wildflower, Sándalo, $120 for 30 mL, available at Hi Wildflower.
Novelist and perfumer Tanwi Nandini founded Hi Wildflower after researching scent for her first novel, Bright Lines, and the powerful effect of the story, with its crests and valleys, is evident in each of her fragrances. With Sándalo, Nandini crafted a hypnotic ode to the big island of Hawaii. Sandalwood, patchouli, and volcanic ash complete this stunning fragrance.
Maison Lancome, Roses Berberanza, $195 for 3.4 oz, available at Lancome
Here is a perfume for a true lady. Velvety damask rose mingles with clove, saffron, pistachio, and oud, making for an unexpected, almost gourmand take on a traditional rose perfume. Spray this on your wrists before climbing into a freshly made bed; the cloud of scent into which you’ll awake will make you feel elegant and refined when you wake up in the morning.
Wen, Cucumber Basil Tea, $89 for 1.7 oz, available at Wen.
This youthful perfume brings to mind a cocktail sipped on a sunny afternoon terrace. The cucumber and basil dominate here; black tea acts as an aromatic base, grounding this simple scent before it drifts into adolescence.
Jo Malone London, Star Magnolia, $70 for 1 oz, available at Bloomingdale's.
When the British fragrance house launched this classic, clean perfume, it sold out from Jo Malone London stores in two short days. It’s still available from Bloomingdale's, but act fast—it likely won’t be for long. Unabashedly feminine star magnolia murmurs beneath cheerful lemon and ginger. Wear this to feel as if the lazy days of summer will never end.
Urban Decay, Go Naked Perfume Oil, $24 for 5 mL, available at Sephora.
On the hottest days, one of the very best feelings is stepping into the shower and letting the cool water drag the sweat and dehydration into mere memory. This perfume is that feeling. Lavender and bergamot unite in this clean, light, and fresh fragrance.
Atelier Bloem, 1614, $195 for 100 mL, available at Atelier Bloem.
As a child, I spent countless 100-plus degree days on the bank of the creek that ran through my town. This brilliant perfume smells like that—wet rock drying in the sun, the refreshing smell of cold, clear water, clover, and the scent of the woods around me. Jasmine, sandalwood, and musk elevate this lovely perfume into something you can wear year-round.
Kat Von D, Sinner, $65 for 1.7 oz, available at Sephora
A sunny floral with a dark heart. Makeup artist Kat Von D is famous for her edgy yet fun products, and this new release falls solidly into her repertoire. Cinnamon and clove curl around mandarin and orange blossom; this is for the woman with secrets she’ll never tell.