The Scents of Summer

by Christopher Ehlers

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday July 4, 2022
Originally published on June 27, 2022

The Scents of Summer
  (Source:Getty Images)

Few things evoke time, place, and person quite like scent. It's often one of the first things you notice about someone. And, as anyone who has ever embraced, or... ahem... been otherwise entangled with someone who smells like heaven will tell you, the scent can linger long after.

Fragrance is personal, or at least it should be, and the search for the right fragrance can be a long and winding road. Have you ever bought something that smells sinful on someone else and like Windex on you? Or that smelled like sex in a store but seems to vanish on your skin as soon as you spray it? That's because fragrance reacts with everyone's skin differently, and everything from pH level of the skin and hormones, to medication and diet, can alter the way something smells on you.

While there will never be a one-size-fits-all approach to fragrance, here are some rock star scents for summer that will leave people saying, "What are you wearing?"

Malin + Goetz Strawberry Eau de Parfum

Strawberry? Really? That's what I thought, too. But this divine concoction is one of the most universally alluring — and surprising — fragrances that I've ever used. It's completely unexpected and unlike anything I've ever worn before. It opens with an effervescent bergamot and strawberry, then settles down into a floral and green paradise, grounded by cedarwood, oakmoss, captive musks, and orris root. It's nuanced and bold at the same time, and equal parts masculine and feminine. Originally intended to be a limited edition, this was so popular that M+G recently announced that it's here to stay. Trust me on this one. $95, MalinandGoetz.com.

Diptyque Philosykos Eau de Parfum

This is hands-down my favorite summertime fragrance of all time. I literally pick up the bottle throughout the day and inhale it like a fiend. Before using this, I didn't even know what fig smelled like, and now I want everything around me to smell like fig. Diptyque is all about dreams, memories, stories, and journeys, and this woody fragrance manages to touch on all of those. This isn't any old fig leaf fragrance, though: Diptyque literally found a way to shove the entire tree — roots and all — into a bottle. From the fresh green leaves and the milky fig flavor to the woody branches and roots, this is a dream in liquid form. $190, Diptyque.com.

19-69 Miami Blue Eau de Parfum

Founded in 2017 by Swedish artist and product developer Johan Bergelin, 19-69 is a luxury, genderless fragrance house with a cult following and a reverence for counterculture. He chose the name because 1969 was a seminal year for the world and, for Bergelin, represented an era of freedom, tolerance, and — yes — counterculture. It also happens to be the year he was born. 19-69's vast fragrance collection is inspired by all sorts of times and places: Pre-revolution Cuba; 1980s Sunset Strip; the Stonewall riots; Woodstock. And in the case of Miami Blue, a bygone era of 1980s Miami filled with blinding sunshine, artists, kingpins, and gorgeous models. This scent, fresh and aquatic but ballsy, is at once subtle and resolutely original. There are top notes of lemon and ginger and a strong base of amber xtreme, but it's the middle note that will get people talking: Cocaine. $195, Nineteen-Sixtynine.com.

Henry Rose Queens & Monsters Eau de Parfum

Founded by actress and all-around legend Michelle Pfeiffer, Henry Rose was born out of Pfeiffer's desire for a beautiful, high-quality fragrance that was both completely transparent with its ingredients and fully clean and non-toxic. That means, among other things, they don't test on animals, their formulations are hypoallergenic, and they're void of formaldehyde, carcinogens, and endocrine disruptors. After years and years of trying to get it right, she finally did. There's not one bad scent in this collection. There's not even one mediocre scent in this collection. But I had a visceral reaction to Queens & Monsters, one that did not subside with subsequent uses. In short, I never get tired of smelling myself when I have this on. This fragrance is light and dark at the same time, hence the name. It's also the perfect day-to-night fragrance in that it opens with flirty and breezy violet leaf, neroli, and petitgrain, settles into tranquil freesia and jasmine, and then lingers with a mixture of vanilla, coco musk, and sandalwood. $120, HenryRose.com.

Malin + Goetz Dark Rum Eau de Parfum

Another M+G fragrance? Hell yeah. And, frankly, everything they make deserves to be on this list. I love this so much I even bought the body wash. Inspired by old-world bay rum used by sailors traveling through the Caribbean, this alluring scent is sweet and sexy at the same time. Dark and spicy rum is sweetened with ripe plum and crisp bergamot, while leather and milk keep it smelling warm. This is another ideal day-to-night fragrance, from sun-soaked days to late night drinks, which will linger on the skin long past last call. $95, MalinAndGoetz.com.

D.S. & Durga Sweet Do Nothing Eau de Parfum

D.S. & Durga's website states that their scents are "fragments of half-remembered myths and imaginary landscapes that invite exploration. They are an invisible soundtrack that you can carry on your body throughout the day." And if there's a better description of what a fragrance should be, I haven't seen it. Picture yourself in a desert oasis, maybe lying under a starry western sky, without a damn care in the world. This is masculine but gentle, long-lasting but almost elusive. A hefty base of Texas cedar, water musk, and creosote is dotted with incense, orange flower, and fig, all of which is lightened up by green coyote chola. I have no idea what coyote chola is, but Sweet Do Nothing is ideal for the dog days of summer, particularly once that cool evening breeze starts to blow through. $175-$260, DSandDurga.com.

Acqua di Parma Yuzu Eau de Parfum

All of Acqua di Parma's scents are perfect for the summer: Nothing evokes a day at the pool (or on a yacht) with an Aperol Spritz quite like their Blue Mediterraneo collection does. But I wanted to choose something more unusual for this, something that's as approachable as it is intoxicating, and that's what ultimately led me to Yuzu. Yuzu is a rare Japanese fruit, and here it's combined with Acqua di Parma's signature citrus notes to create something wholly unique. It still gives you that classic ADP cleanness, but it stays grounded on the skin in a much more impactful way with base notes of musk, liquorice, and sandalwood. $135-$356, Saks.com.

Christopher Ehlers can be reached at [email protected], or on Twitter or Instagram at @_ChrisEhlers.