Smells like summer: Your ultimate summer fragrance guide

The purest elements of our favourite season are anything but passé

Digital Beauty Editor / January 31 2024

A perfect summer is the summation of a million moving parts.

It’s the green palm leaves that line the path to the beach, and the melon daiquiris you sip on after emerging from the glistening blue sea. It’s the sensation of sunshine on your back as you flit through flower stalls on a sparkling Sunday.

It’s the feeling you get when your senses are overwhelmed by the pure magic that the season has to offer.

That magic is exactly what this fragrance guide is all about: everything that smells like summer. Because while we’re yet to track down a Slush Puppy scent (leave it with us...), we’ll be spending our favourite season leaning into olfactory interpretations of the elements that make it what it is…


Considering no one has ever actually set foot upon the sun, the true smell of sunshine remains a mystery. The way it feels when it hits your skin, however, we Aussies are quite familiar with. Well, these eaus encapsulate the exact ecstasy of that experience. So, someone tell Natasha Bedingfield to quit bragging about her pocketful of sunshine. We’d prefer a bottle full anyway…

Sol de Janeiro SOL Cheirosa ’62 Eau De Parfum

Ever slathered yourself in the brand’s infamous Brazilian Bum Bum body cream and wished you could bathe in its sun-drenched scent? Now you can. This pistachio, vanilla and salted caramel concoction gorgeously captures the golden light of its namesake city.

$125 at

Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Shine Eau De Parfum

If tuberose wore a tropical fruit hat, and married the lovechild of citrus and sunscreen (but, like, the chicest sunscreen on the planet), the olfactory offspring would smell a lot like this – its bold brightness sparkles in the sun just the way the name would suggest.

$119 at

Clinique My Happy Lily Of The Beach Eau De Parfum Spray

“Bottled sunshine” is a tough tagline to live up to, but with a central note of ‘solar lily’ (which, yes, is in fact lily of the valley literally laid out to sunbake to convey warmth), plus frangipani for added luminosity, this sunny scent pulls it off with ease.

$35 at

Floris Bergamotto di Positano Eau De Parfum

This complex cologne goes on a similar journey to the sun itself, lighting up early with notes of sparkling citrus, burning brightest halfway through thanks to ginger and vanilla, and developing into a sensual wood and amber combo as it sets.

$249 at


Serenity and adrenaline aren’t usually sensations that come as a package deal, and yet that weird-but-it-works combination is exactly what the ocean offers us. These marine mixes work much the same, washing over your senses like a wave to offer both a buzz of excitement and pure refreshing relief all in one. Put simply, aquatic aromas are definitely worth diving into…

Maison Margiela Sailing Day Eau De Toilette

If you could bottle the water in Bora Bora, this is how it would smell (and look, to be frank – boy, is that blue bright). It’s an aquatic scent through and through, too,  with notes of red seaweed, salty ambergris and accords apparently direct from the depths of the ocean.

$180 at

Giorgio Armani Ocean Di Gioia Eau De Parfum

Talk about a splash of oceanic energy – we’d jump into a pool of this salt, sandalwood, pear and musk mix any day. It hits your nostrils with a crisp coolness akin to the feeling of plunging your head under the sea’s surface on a summer scorcher.

$140 at

Ellis Brooklyn Salt Eau De Parfum

Just like the waves it’s inspired by, this seaside-centric scent builds (thanks to heady hints of sandalwood, magnolia and musk) and then breaks, becoming a crisp coconut splash enhanced by Tahitian tiare flowers and a sprinkle of its namesake salt as it hits the metaphorical shore.

$168 at

Louis Vuitton Afternoon Swim Eau De Parfum

This decadent drop is the olfactory equivalent of docking your yacht in sun-drenched St Tropez before diving into the cool, clear water below. Wondering what that smells like in the literal sense? For Vuitton, it’s a crisp saltwater-citrus mix, anchored by the brightness of bergamot.

$440 at


You wouldn’t turn down a beautiful bunch of peonies, gardenias or roses IRL, so why restrict yourself from enjoying the fragrance versions of your favourite florals? By keeping your blossoms of choice limited to the ones that bloom in warmer weather, you’ll keep them seasonally suitable and bypass ‘powdery’ town altogether anyway. So, call us petal pushers if you must, but a bouquet of nature’s best is hard to beat…

Coach Dreams Eau De Parfum

We don’t mean to play flower favourites, but a good gardenia spritz is pretty much the pinnacle. Cologne in point? This Coach concoction, which pairs our beloved creamy white bloom with crisp cactus flower and pure ambroxan for a floral that’s fluid instead of feminine.

$155 at

Maison Francis Kurkdjian L’eau A La Rose Eau De Toilette

A peony perfume that does the flower justice is almost as elusive as a bunch of the real things (their season is frustratingly fleeting), but damn, this one delivers. With as many layers as the flowers themselves (violet over a peony and pear pairing, for instance), it’s lush, light floral magic.

$267 at

Prada Les Infusions Rose Eau De Parfum

Created to capture the crispness of dew-drenched petals in an early-morning rose garden, where the aroma spikes the air but doesn’t saturate it, this fresh, modern take on the misunderstood rose will no doubt dispel any ‘overpowering’ or ‘old-fashioned’ fears you’re harbouring.

$210 at

Dior For Ever And Ever Eau De Parfum

If you prefer a best-of-the-best bouquet to a focus on any one floral, this multifaceted mix is the petal-packed perfume for you. Housing everything from freesia and rose to jasmine and orange blossoms, it’s a ‘browsing shelves of blooms, inhaling all your options’ style scent.

$137 at


Grass between your toes has to be one of summer’s greatest simple pleasures. And yet the blades beneath our feet and the leaves that lace the trees are often outshone by the flowers with which they coexist. Give greenery its moment, though, and its chicness will shock you – no other category does aromatic-yet-energetic like it…

Creed Original Vetiver

If you’re an “I’d take a greenery garland over fresh flowers any day” type of person, you’re in luck; this earthy aroma doesn’t play host to a single floral. Instead it offers a vibrant fusion of vetiver leaves, and smells exactly like fields of uncut grass on a warm day.

$389 at

Hermès Un Jardin Sur Le Toit Eau De Toilette

Green grass may seem like a humble note to centre a luxury fragrance around, but wow oh wow, does it work. It’s steadied by red apple and rosemary, which is all delicious and dandy, but it’s the freshly mowed lawn aroma that keeps us coming back.

$185 at

Comme des Garcons Green Play Eau De Toilette

The bright lime hue of the juice and the emerald emblem on the bottle intro the scent inside well: with mint, juniper and lime, it’s just about as green as it gets. It smells a bit like a minty mojito at first sniff, before settling into a full-bodied basil and bergamot brew.

$160 at

Lancôme O De Lancôme Eau De Toilette

Hunting for a herbaceous spritz? This one teams basil, coriander and rosemary with hints of moss that somehow still deliver ‘summery’ vibes (seriously, we swear). It takes the colour theme directly, too, with a dash of green citrus (why hello, bergamot) rounding it out.

$100 at


Nothing quenches your thirst on a scorching summer’s day like a grapefruit negroni, lychee martini or raspberry daiquiri, right? Well, we’ll bet your pulse points are craving a fruit cocktail this season, too. So, whether you’re down to sink your teeth into syrup-y sweetness, or you’re after a fruity fragrance with a bit more bite, these fresh produce perfume picks certainly pass our taste test…

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream Daze Eau De Toilette

Jacobs definitely thought outside of the fruit bowl box with his freshest Daisy drop – it’s built around juicy longan berries (or as we like to call them, lychee’s cooler cousins), and their sweet-meets-sour scent is every bit as striking as their tantalisingly tart taste.

$89 at

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Passiflora Eau De Toilette

Passionfruit perfumes don’t come around everyday, and this tropical treat (which we’ve coined the ‘Frosty Fruit fragrance’, FYI) may be the reason why. One whiff of the grapefruit, lemon and bergamot notes bursting out of its blend and you won’t want for any other options.

$149 at

Tom Ford Bitter Peach Eau De Parfum

Tom Ford really said ‘peach but make it piercing’ with this latest launch. But while the namesake fruit’s sharp scent is as far from sickly sweet as the label indicates, it’s the Sicilian blood orange oil that locks up its ‘chicest fruity release of summer’ title.

$480 at

Solinotes Grapefruit Eau De Toilette

If you live for zest but want to stand out in a sea of classic citrus, try switching your alliance to the slightly sweeter grapefruit gang. This fresh fragrance invites a few other fruity friends along (melon and pomelo, to be precise), as well as a subtle hit of steadying cedar.

$24 at

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