With temperatures rising, wardrobes changing and the waft of the odd coal barbecue in the air, summer appears to have finally arrived.
Whether you’re jetting off somewhere tropical, or stuck sobbing in a Heathrow departure lounge, it’s important to smell good while you’re at it.
But what scents should you be looking for to match your seasonal vibe shift? After all, you don’t want to be that aftershave guy – the one who chokes out everyone within a five-mile radius.
Rule number one here is to put the heavier, richer smells away and switch them up for something a little lighter and fresher – fragrances project more as the body gets warmer, and these colognes, with softer notes, mean you’ll still smell great, even if the sweat creeps in.
With that in mind, here are five choices that work just as well for a hot day in the office as they do a late evening drink on a roof terrace.
H24 by Hermes
This one is a little weird, so bear with us.
H24 is a 2021 release by fashion house Hermes, and it’s probably their most unusual men’s scent to date. The notes it’s made up of (things like clary sage, rosewood and something called scalene) won’t really give you a good idea of what it’s like either.
So how does it smell? In a word: green. But also a touch metallic? Imagine a man steaming a shirt while sipping cucumber water and, somehow, you’re there. It’s fresh, it’s a little sweet and it’s very modern.
It won’t be for everyone, but it’s perfect for summer in the city and it’ll absolutely get you noticed. There’s a reason it keeps selling out.
Buy for £89 from LookFantastic
Light Blue Italian Love by Dolce & Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue has been on the scene in one form or another since 2008, but the brand updates the range with a new ‘flanker’ (a spin-off fragrance under the same name) each summer.
These haven’t always been great – the less said about Light Blue Love Is Love, the better – but the company’s been on something of a roll recently, first with Light Blue Forever in 2021 and now with this year’s iteration: Italian Love.
With an opening hit of sharp, rind-y grapefruit and a musk dry down, you’ve got a unique scent that gives you the freshness you need on a hot day and a cosyness that still plays well late into the evening when temperatures cool off.
Buy for £65 from The Perfume Shop
Eau Sauvage eau de toilette by Dior
When it comes to fragrances with heritage, Eau Sauvage is one of the OGs.
First introduced in 1966, the fragrance was legendary in the 60’s and 70’s. While they’ve kept the classic barbershop bottle from that era, today’s formulation isn’t quite the same as it was 50 years ago.
As such, you won’t smell like your grandad, but it still captures the spirit that made the scent famous – namely a soft, citrus note that’s both fresh and creamy at the same time, and lingers with you throughout the day.
If you want to feel like you’re soaking up the midday sun at a small café on the riviera, then this sophisticated yet approachable fragrance is for you.
Buy for £78 from FeelUnique
Prada L’homme L’Eau
Another flanker, this scent is essentially a ‘summer’ version of Prada’s excellent L’Homme.
A first sniff of this fragrance might take you aback a bit – it uses iris as a dominant note; a clean, floral smell that used to be used predominantly in women’s makeup and perfume. These days however, it’s made its way into many men’s fragrance line-ups, often with great results.
That iris is still present in L’Eau, but in this version the perfumers chucked in some ginger and dialed up the neroli (think bitter, green orange) in the opening to make it much fresher and more suited to warm weather.
If you want to smell clean and fresh, this is the way to go this summer.
Buy for £80 from LookFantastic
Explorer by Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc’s Explorer is what’s commonly called a ‘clone’ fragrance. These, as the name implies, are fragrances ‘heavily inspired’ by other, usually far more expensive scents. Explorer is no exception, and is a clone of the highly coveted Aventus by perfume house Creed.
The difference here? You get a very similar, very solid scent from a respected brand for about a 5th of the price.
What makes this great? Well, similarly to Aventus, is has a sharp, pineapple and blackberry opening that soon gives way to a strong hit of birchwood and other, warmer notes. It sounds like an ill fitting combo, but somehow it works really well, with a bracing and masculine touch that’s instantly memorable. Great when you want to turn heads at your local beer garden.
Buy for £62 from LookFantastic
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