Two Summer Fragrances: Quirky And Sophisticated

Illustration of fragrance notes in Atelier Cologne Cafe Tuberosa. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I love the lift that wearing a little bit of fragrance gives me, but fragrance in the warmer months can be tricky. Heat can intensify some fragrances, at the same time it may cause them to evaporate faster. I’ve come across two fragrances lately that are very different, yet both work for summer months.

Summer Fragrance: Quirky

Summer fragrance recommendation: Atelier Cologne Cafe Tuberosa. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Above: Atelier Cologne Café Tuberosa. I was not familiar with this brand when a Sales Associate recommended it to me a few weeks ago. When she mentioned coffee notes, I knew I’d want to try it. When I first sprayed, my reaction was “huh?” as I picked up the cacao note. But as it dried down, I was hooked. This fragrance is classified as “spicy,” but floral and sweet notes balance out the spiciness, and soften it. There’s playfulness to it, which is why I think it works for summer. Once it dries down, it stays pretty close to the skin, and the sillage is minimal. I find even used very sparingly, I can still smell it on my skin several hours later.

Summer Fragrance: Sophisticated

Summer Fragrance: Ralph Lauren Woman. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I was gifted a bottle of Woman by Ralph Lauren recently, and was fully prepared not to like it. But I do. White florals have been a popular fragrance genre the past few years, and can often be a nice choice for summer months. But my big grouse with so many popular white florals is that there’s no “warm heart,” nothing in the base to anchor the fragrance. This makes the scent feel very aloof, sharp, and cold, and annoys the heck out of me after an hour or so. But not this one; it has a nice creamy base that warms up without getting heavy or cloying. It’s a more polished, sophisticated fragrance, but not unapproachable. Le Monsieur who usually says “nice” or “enh” when I hold my wrist under his nose to get his opinion, responded to this one with “I like it!”

This eau de parfum has a light to medium sillage and I could still smell it on my skin after several hours. It’s also offered in a rollerball size, a nice option for travel.

Other summer favorites include Hermès Un Jardin sur le Nil, which is light and green and opens with a happy hint of citrus, Green Tea by Elizabeth Arden, and for those who like to kick it Old School, Chanel No5 Eau Premiere, a fresher, lighter version of the classic.

(I always try to be mindful of others around me when wearing fragrances, and don’t apply when I’m flying or will be in any close, confined spaces with people I don’t know.)

Do you have a favorite summer fragrance?

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    1. I agree! I find it very difficult to locate a summer fragrance that pleases me. Thank you for these ideas. I look forward to trying them!

  1. I’ve been in love and obsessed with Chanel Chance Eau Tendre for the last couple of years or so; when suddenly, a week ago, it seemed too heavy for summer. Remember CKBe? I’ve rekindled my relationship with it. And Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue.. Both are light and citrusy and are nice in the summer heat.

  2. I am not familiar with either of these so will try them next time I am near a larger store like Nordstroms or Bloomingdales. I have aspired to having a signature scent…always loved that idea…have used Narciso perfume for past 12 yrs. Someone I used to work with said they were in elevator, smelled it and looked for me…that made me so happy to hear. I have also played with Mademoiselle by Chanel occasionally, espec. in the summer just to have a small change.

  3. Thank you for all the suggestions— great blog and I have benefited from the fashion suggestions — favorite fragrances at present Chanel Beige( pricy!!) can only be bought at certain Chanel boutiques and Gucci Bloom — they are soft not too intense but have a lingering fragrance — just returned from my travels and as always enjoyed Paris particularly Musée des Arts Decoratifs and Musée d’Orsay

  4. I like Jo Malone’s orange blossom and Line and Basil colognes. Often summer weather makes heavy perfumes smell bad .

  5. Tom Ford Neroli Portofino.. ahhh! and at a softer price point, L’Occitane Orchid and Neroli. See a pattern here? LOL

    1. Reserve Acqua Neroli by Clean is very similar to the Tom Ford fragrance. It is a very reasonable price too and lasts forever.

    2. And the classic 4711 eau de cologne smells almost exactly like the Tom Ford and is so cheap you can splash it on liberally as often as you like. It is my summer go to here in hot Australia.

  6. Whatever happened to the summer popularity of Annick Goutal’s Eau D’Hadrien? I used to love that! These days I wear Acqua di Parma during the day, Santal Blush at night (if going out!).

    1. The reformulation of Hadrien is what caused me to stop buying it; it got much sharper, to my nose.

  7. Dior Portafino all the way!
    I love the lemony, fresh air, slightly spicy finish. I always feel clean, sophisticated and very Italian when I wear this lovely (and unfortunately discontinued in Canada) fragrance.

  8. My favorite summer fragrance is Issey Miyake Eau d’Issey. My husband brought me my first bottle on a trip he made to Paris, perhaps 15 or 16 years ago. I’ve loved it ever since, and get compliments whenever I wear it.

    1. My favorite summer fragrance also. So happy to hear another reader wears it. I receive numerous compliments as well. Something in our chemistry blends well with its notes.

  9. My favorite perfume of all time was the original Kate Spade. I think they stopped making it at least five years ago… oh it was lovely! Caleche Light is a runner up, but hard to find. So, of course, there is always a Chanel #5 on my dresser!!!

  10. I love perfume and have hundreds of bottles, but the heat of Southern summers narrows my selections down to just a few this time of year.

    My go-to is the original green tea fragrance, good ol’ Bvlgari Eau The Vert, but I also wear The Different Company’s Bois D’ Iris and TDC Rose Poivre ( all three by Jean Claude Ellena) Etat Libre D’Orange Jasmine et Cigarette, Annick Goutal Rose Absolu, PAtou’s Joy in EdT ( which is rosier) , Blocki For Walks, and Fig Tea and Weekend in Deauville by Patricia Nicolai.

    I strongly suggest that those of you who love neroli fragrances seek out Cap Neroli, by Nicolai Parfumeur Createur. Patricia Nicolai was born into the Guerlain family and is an incredibly talented perfumer. Because she is female was told she could never be the nose for her family’s legendary maison, so she started her own company. Her fragrances are wonderful and her prices reasonable. I have such huge admiration for her, and it is my dream to meet her one day!

  11. I discovered Thé des Vignes by CAUDALIE one summer when I was in Paris. It seemed they perfect souvenir as we were off to visit our friends’ Chateau vineyard, but the more I wore it, the more I loved it. It is now my signature summer scent.

  12. Cologne and perfumes give many of people migraine headaches. I appreciate that perfume wearers love the scent. Please be aware that you become immune to the smell and when you put on more so that you can smell it, it is really strong to the rest of us. And please be cognizant that when you hug someone, your perfume transfers to the person that you are hugging. I am not saying that you should not wear perfume – but please don’t share it with the rest of the world. I don’t mean to sound negative, it is just so miserable for me and many others when we have to be near strong perfume wearers on planes, in theaters, restaurants, elevators, etc. Thank you for your consideration. Peace and Love.

    1. As someone who has asthma, I agree with you wholeheartedly. But a friend once told me that “suffering through strong perfume” and its headache is preferable to body odour. After enduring 6 hours on a plane with a person who certainly had body odours, I became less critical of perfume wearers. *winces*

  13. Very interesting post! i am experimenting with new fragrances as my old signature does not work anymore. I believe anesthesia from surgery changed my chemistry. I agree with going light in crowds. I hate when someone’s scent enters a room before them and lingers afterwards. I read somewhere that your scent should only be detected through physical contact or very close proximity. I now spray a tiny bit in my clothes closet and drawers every couple of days and don’t wear it on my body at all.

  14. I like Calyx by Clinique, jo Malone grapefruit and lime basil, and estee Pleasures, which was my moms favorite perfume so it reminds me of her and I like that connection. I’m a Chanel No 5 gal, but not so much in summer. But it is my all time favorite. I have a small sample bottle of Womyn so now I will open that one and see. Thanks for the reviews and perfume education!

  15. In the summer I wear CB Bigelow “Lemon” from Bath & Body works. The rest of the time it is a spicy scent and I love patchouli. Will have to give Atelier a try!

  16. I agree with you, Susan, about those sharp white florals that disappoint when it comes to depth. So difficult to find a fragrance for summer that is citrusy fresh on application, but then dries down to something with a lingering aromatic quality. I have tried allsorts over the years, but always come back to Versace’s ‘Versense’, with its citrus and bergamot top notes, floral heart and musky base. Such a beautiful bottle too, even in the 30ml size. Another similar perfume, again with citrus and bergamot top notes and a musky base, is Thierry Mugler’s ‘Cologne’, which has a lovely soapy quality.
    But I must say I like your description of the new Ralph Lauren fragrance and will give it a try.
    Love your blogs, Susan!

  17. I love your writing. Your descriptions of scent are so evocative. Un Jardin sur le Nil is one of the few fragrances I use. I was interested to learn it is good for summer. I hope you will give fragrance recommendations every season.

  18. Any experiences with Jo Malone fragrances and how long they last during the day? I got samples of 2 diff. ones and they seem to fade quickly.

    1. They are colognes not perfumes, they don’t last long at all. I love Jo Malone but use it primarily during summer months and when travelling to countries with humid weather.

      1. Totally agree, No sillage at all. I wear Wood Sage and Sea Salt and layer with the body cream and still one hour at most.

    2. I love their fragrances but they never last more than 30 minutes to an hour on me. That’s why I don’t buy them.

      1. I do have own one Jo Malone fragrance that does last for a long period of time. Earl Grey and Cucumber. Just not a favorite. Very green scent.

  19. My all time favourite summer cologne is Cristalle by Chanel. I don’t know if it available anymore but I remember my mother commenting that it smelled like a gin and tonic! Another fragrance which I know to be unavailable is Chloe’s Capucine, it is a lovely ‘green’ fragrance that seems to be loved by men! I bought two bottles on line so have some for the future. It is important to know how a perfume ‘dies down’ and what that lingering scent smells like. I bought a bottle of Jo Malone’s Basil and Neroli which smelled just great when I put it on but a few hours later I hugged my adult son who commented that I smelled ‘so OLD LADY’!! I sprayed some on a scarf and let that marinate in my closet for a day or so…yup, he was right.
    There is some hideous odour that is currently very popular among the masses that has that same nasty, powdery smell. I guess he picked up on that…Jo is in the garbage and my scarf is in the wash!! A good reason to secure a sample before buying.

  20. For the summer months I love Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt. Unfortunately, the sillage is weak. I’ve layered it with the body cream but still, like many Jo Malone scents, it lasts no longer than an hour. I hate to admit it but the perfume I ALWAYS get complimented on is TOMMY GIRL!!!! Yup, the perfume of a 16 year old girl. I’m almost ashamed to admit that! Both men and women always ask what I’m wearing and I’ve worn it for years. It’s fresh and clean which I love. I pick up a bottle at CVS when I’m running low. Department stores no longer carry it. LOL. When I want to mix it up I may wear Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Mandarine and Basilc. Not a fan of florals. They can actually make me nauseous. I love a good clean fresh scent maybe with a hint of citrus.

  21. Clarins Eau Dynamisante forever. I can’t wear scent at work, so I have to wait until I am off for the summer to indulge, and it’s not always easy to find (especially the deodorant, which is the best) so when I see it, I buy it. It just smells like summer to me!!

  22. Does anyone have an opinion (reinforced by those near you) about La Vie est Belle by Lancome??