The Scents of Summer

As summer draws to an end, Marian Bendeth highlights some of her scents of summer alongside her photos of the season.


I haven’t met too many people who dislike the summer season. For most, it’s the notion of liberation. Discarding heavy clothing, gearing up for some summer fun, feeling the warmth on naked skin, a literal mind shake-up and release after hunkering down for so long. The hard part is that it only lasts from June to late September so fragrance choices should be carefully considered, as they will be part of the olfactory soundtrack of our lives, memories of good times and lazy days.

When late August and September rolls around, and there is a nip in the morning and evening air, it’s time to dial down those base notes but still retain the floralcy and freshness for warm September days.

Here are a few considerations for this glorious season and for those who travel in the winter months. If you live in the Southern hemisphere, a taste of fun to come.


Drip dry with a citrus dash

Splash on notes of citrus fruits, lemons, limes, grapefruits, melons, and that crisp refreshing eau de cologne will serve as a beautiful respite on hot sticky days.

La Cuvée Secrete by Guerlain

Hot temperatures are greeted on moist skin with refreshing lemon orange and bergamot notes. At its heart, powdery lavender, petitgrain leaves and a dash of coriander cleans the senses and the skin.


Walking down the aisle

Wedding moments

This is the time when all those fears, headaches, and hopes end in “I do.” When white flowers, roses and peonies create the perfect posy for nuptials day. For Bridesmaids who loathe wearing those expensive awful dresses, they can at least smell good.

Gabrielle by Chanel

With the daintiest of flowers, one glimmers with bursts of jasmine, ylang-ylang, and orange blossom in tiny droplets. Tuberose from Grasse becomes more emboldened by the added fruity notes of blackcurrant, grapefruit zest, and mandarin peel. Warm sandalwood and white musk modifies the top notes with powdery accents.


A flower party on the neck

Petals galore!

A variety of flowers are synonymous with the long days of summer. From white floral notes such as jasmine, tuberose, gardenia, honeysuckle, and ylang-ylang to the many multi-faceted rose varieties with dashes of peony. These bouquet scents can go from luscious to pretty, fresh to narcotic, pastel to vibrant in just one spray.

Narciso Rodriguez fleur musc

Combining pink roses and peonies in the top notes creates a literal cyclone of petal floralcy with fresh accents. The base of the trademark musc is translucent and shimmery.


How your garden grows:

Do you fancy yourself a horticulturist? Must it be organic or bust? Maybe you enjoy a bit of landscaping or even potting some vegetables and herbs. Be it a trip to the country to pick fresh fruit from the vine or mucky knees from picking fresh fruits and veg, there are fragrances with herbs, leaves from fruits and citrus rinds. From herbaceous to aromatic, vegetal to fruity classifications, these green ingredients are also prized in the culinary world as well – think of notes like lavender, basil, tomato leaves, parsley, wild berries and fresh fruits from the soil to table to neck!

Herb Garden: Wild Strawberry & Parsley Green by Jo Malone

A hit of fresh parsley, tomato leaves and blackcurrant buds opens the nostrils to the bounties in nature. Add in wild strawberry, green violet leaves, fresh basil dug into a base of white musks and earthy tones makes a fragrance garden burst with goodness.


Agrestic Green

Try rubbing a rain-soaked leaf after a gentle rain and bring it to your nose. This is the fragrant foliage note one can find in some of the best summer scents. Add in some earthy galbanum, and fresher top notes and nature literally sings in the bottle.

Eau de Campagne by Sisley

Sisley’s classic, Eau de Campagne is the scented path that mirrors the vision of green rolling hills and forests that are slightly dampened by gentle rains.

With fresh basil, bergamot, lemon and earthy galbanum, we are immediately transported to the green outdoors in a field, park or forest. With the addition of spicy geranium leaves, jasmine, muguet, and plum tomato leaves, the heart is clean and spicy. Base notes of patchouli, green vetiver mixed with oakmoss and white musks provides the tree-lined vibe with depth and imagination.


Freshly mown

For some, the smell of freshly mown grass is exhilarating. For others, it means mega doses of anti-histamines – but that scent is undeniably alluring any time of year.

Posh on the Green by Atkinsons

Think picnics and impromptu baseball games; rolling down grassy hills and summer love in tall grasses, encompassing the fresh grassy notes of petitgrain and coriander. Galbanum rises through geranium providing an earthiness. Top notes of herbaceous basil, bergamot, and lemon reflect clean and open spaces of rolling green.


Late Summer August to September

When there is a decided nip in the morning and evening air, and petals and leaves randomly float to the ground, summer is winding down, as do the notes in our fragrance tastes. This is the best time for transitional fragrances where the bases become deeper, but still reflect the floral days of summer.

Twilly d’Hermes

Take one very sensuous dark tuberose note that drips slowly like tap water through a sieve of spicy ginger and pale sandalwood and the result is intoxicating. Here the spiciness of the Tuberose bridges the white floral gap from fresh to narcotic with powdery accents below.


Milk teeth with a bite – summer meets fall

Dent de Lait by Serge Lutens

Not so milky innocent?

Maybe your gourmand tastes stretch to bone and milk? A bit macabre maybe but Serge Lutens once more redefines the natural with the unnatural. If you enjoy a whirlwind in a bottle of enigmatic notes, this might be up your alley. With top notes of milk and heliotrope and creamy coconut, the dustiness is set but the sharpness of metallic notes (a baby’s bite with braces perhaps?) spicy incense, woody cashmeran, and Somalian frankincense provides the hidden drama to come. As a side bar, thumb-sucking almonds keeps the nose en-garde for more twists and turns.

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