The Best Summer Perfume to Try Based on the Cult Classic You Love the Most

As a beauty lover, I wish I could say I loved all of my editorial beats (hair, makeup, skincare, nails, wellness, etc.) equally. Alas, I do not. I could wax poetic about my favorite skincare and makeup products for far longer than anyone would ever want to pay attention, but other topics like hair or fragrance feel trickier. Re: hair, I have an unapologetically straightforward and boring product routine and styling repertoire, and re: fragrance, I’ve just never been a huge perfume lover. Scent is such a personal part of one’s beauty routine, and historically, I’ve found recommending perfumes (let alone trying to describe them) extremely difficult and, at times, a tad forced. However, in my opinion, the past couple of years have been uncharacteristically wonderful in terms of obsession-forming perfume launches. As someone who used to turn my nose up at the majority of new fragrances I’d sniff, I’ve been stunned by the number of fresh scents to strike my fancy recently. The turn of the season is also a prolific opportunity to identify a new favorite scent, and this spring and summer have been no different. I’m sharing 10 of the best summer perfumes in anticipation of the season so you too can find a new favorite. As I’ve been spritzing and testing away the past couple of weeks, the sparkly summer selects below have provided a comforting mood boost, and because I know choosing a new perfume can be incredibly difficult (like finding a needle in a haystack), I’m comparing these perfumes with some of the best cult favorites from seasons past. Hopefully, this will provide some context as far as notes, fragrance family, and the like. Keep scrolling! The 10 best perfumes for summer (and the popular formulas they’re similar to) await your perusal just below. 

Fragrance family: fresh. Key notes: cardamom, bergamot, sandalwood

Fragrance family: fresh. Key notes: driftwood, sea salt, seaweed. To date, Isle might be Skylar’s best-selling fragrance, but we have a hunch the natural fragrance brand’s Salt Air might give the aquatic-themed perfume a run for its money. If the refreshing, calming smell of salt-crusted sea breeze were captured inside a bottle, this would be it. Better yet, all of Skylar’s scents are designed to be mixed, matched, and layered, so feel free to layer Isle and Salt Air for a unique, dreamy summer perfume. 

Fragrance family: warm, spicy. Key notes: white musks, benzoin, caramel accord

Fragrance family: warm, spicy. Key notes: salted caramel, pistachio, vanilla. Prada’s Candy Eau de Parfum is one of the most iconic fragrances on the scent market, and it’s especially beloved among those who favor a sweet, enveloping aroma. So we think the same crowd will be over the moon for Sol de Janeiro’s exciting perfume which—you guessed it—is reminiscent of the cult-loved scent of the brand’s famous Bum Bum Cream. It’s summer in a bottle, and no, you won’t smell like a candy shop melting in the sun. 

Fragrance family: floral. Key notes: rose, tuberose, jasmine

Fragrance family: fresh. Key notes: orange blossom, jasmine sambac, tuberose. Just in time for summer, Kilian offers an ode to Grecian villas and the neighboring Aegean Sea in the form of a slightly fresher (and less floral) take on the brand’s cult-favorite scent Good Girl Gone Bad. This summer perfume prioritizes luminous orange but retains the rose and jasmine sambac inclusions you love from the original. 

Fragrance family: warm, spicy. Key notes: cattleya, jasmine, freesia, rose, patchouli, vanilla

Fragrance family: floral. Key notes: bergamot, dewy rose accord, iris, musk, pear accord, ambrette. One of the reasons Viktor&Rolf’s OG Flowerbomb perfume is so popular is its ability to lure both the floral and spicy/sweet sets of fragrance lovers. For summer, the brand has leaned into the former with a dewy scent that’s a rich blend of florals designed to evoke a subtle, early morning earthiness that reads like a second skin post-spritz. (We recommend experimenting and layering both of them!)

Fragrance family: floral. Key notes: musk, iris, ambrettolide, pink peppercorn

Fragrance family: chypre. Key notes: rose, bergamot, patchouli, pink peppercorns. A musky-floral ode to the mythical love between Psyche and Eros, Fleur de Peau is one of Diptyque’s best-selling perfumes. For summer, however, we recommend opting for the brand’s very well-received Parisian improv, Eau Capitale. It’s lush, full-bodied, and vibrant. Spritz and imagine a side of crusty baguettes and acafé allongé.

Fragrance family: floral. Key notes: lavender essence, orange blossom, musk accord

Fragrance family: floral. Key notes: black currant, rose, white musk. Sure, there are a few other iterations of YSL Mon Paris, but if you love Libre (as we do), we dare you to try this one in particular. Both scents are grounded with rich musk but lend different notes from florals and fruits to create a similar yet still differentiated fragrance experience. With this summer perfume from YSL, Libre’s lavender and orange blossom are swapped out for rose and black currant. Crispy, juicy, and beautiful. 

Fragrance family: fresh. Key notes: pressed lemon, chinotto, blood orange, green mandarin, musk, incense, copaiba balsam, ambrette, oakmoss

Fragrance family: citrus. Key notes: orange flower water, dew-on-petal, pink pepper, crystallized flower parts, paradisone, jasmine water, civettone, white musks, ambrette seeds. Okay, so this summery fragrance is so cool. Yes, you can most definitely wear it as a light and airy perfume on its own, but it’s actually intended to elevate the effect of other D.S. & Durga favorites. We especially love it with the blend of spicy Italia-inspired citrus above. 

Fragrance family: floral. Key notes: bergamot, cedarwood, fig

Fragrance family: floral. Key notes: yuzu, bergamot, sandalwood. A few fun facts for you: This citrus-meets-floral scent is one of our favorite perfumes for the summer, and it also features yuzu, which hails from Japan and is one of the rarest fruits in the world. Similar to Fico di Amalfi (which is slightly more woody), this new summer perfume features bergamot as a star player note-wise, while Fico’s cedarwood inclusion is swapped for sandalwood (which feels a bit peppier for the warmer months).

Fragrance family: chypre. Key notes: chypre, blackcurrant nectar, airy florals, musky blond wood

Fragrance family: floral. Key notes: black currant nectar, jasmine, patchouli, vanilla. If not you, we’d bet money you know at least one person who considers Armani’s cult-favorite perfume Sì their signature scent. For summer, the brand has an exciting iteration that brings the heat with floral and woody aromas that amp up the intensity of the OG best seller. 

Fragrance family: warm, spicy. Key notes: neroli, saffron, nutmeg, rose absolute, davana, amber, vanilla, styrax, sandalwood

Fragrance family: warm, spicy. Key notes: nutmeg, pink pepper, peony, lily of the valley, praline, vanilla, sandalwood, amber. If you’re a fan of Venenum Kiss, we have a hunch you’re going to fall harder and faster for Ex Nihilo’s summer-ready fragrance, Explicite. Both are warm, opulent, and a bit daring—the kind of fragrance that people will comment on. (So prepare yourself for all of the questions and compliments.) They’re well-rounded and sweet but not all saccharine thanks to the additions of elegant florals and unexpected spices.

Up next, It’s Official: These Coveted Perfumes Prove Rose Has Outgrown Its Grandma Label

This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.

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