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

Best Summer Perfumes


Who What Wear

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 to, but other topics like hair or fragrance feel trickier.

For example, I have an unapologetically straightforward and boring hair product routine and styling repertoire, and I've just never been a huge perfume lover. Perfume is a personal part of one's beauty routine, and historically, I've found recommending fragrances (let alone trying to describe them) to be 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 most 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 can find a new favorite. As I've been spritzing and testing away the past few 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 below. 

If you love: Skylar Isle Eau de Toilette

Fragrance family: fresh

Key notes: cardamom, bergamot, sandalwood

Customer review: "I would recommend this to anyone looking for a light, fresh scent. Definitely a great clean summer smell. The scent reminds of a beautiful beach vacation, in the absolute best way."

Try: Skylar Salt Air Eau de Toilette

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. 

Customer review: "I'm so glad I bought this one! It really captures the beach vibe and has a clean, fresh scent. I absolutely love it!"


If you love: Prada Candy Eau de Parfum

Fragrance family: warm, spicy

Key notes: white musks, benzoin, caramel accord

Customer review: "This is a full bodied fragrance. Its olfactory family is spicy gourmand. It's warm, creamy, luscious, and decadent. It's sweet but not cloying like bubble gum and cotton candy."

Try: Sol de Janeiro Sol Cheirosa '62 Eau de Parfum

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. 

Customer review: "If you're a fan of classic SDJ scents, you're likely going to love this. With notes of salted caramel, vanilla bean, and rich almond, this smells like a sophisticated version of the classic Bum Bum scent. I absolutely love it. It's not too intense, it's not too grandmotherly, and it doesn't make me smell like I took a forest bath in a Claire's jewelry store."

If you love: Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad Eau de Parfum

Fragrance family: floral

Key notes: rose, tuberose, jasmine

Customer review: "Kilian fragrances are not inexpensive, but they are well worth the splurge in my opinion, and Good Girl Gone Bad is one of my very favorites among any brand. If you love fruity florals, it's well worth a sniff. Tuberose is the main note, underpinned by narcissus, jasmine, and orange blossom. There's also a noticeable osmanthus note, which gives it a peachy aspect. It's floral without being old fashioned and fruity without being juvenile."

Try: Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad Eau Fraîche

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. 

Customer review: "What a beautiful, crisp, watery version of the OG. This is so refreshing in the heat. Now I'll wear the extreme in cool temperatures and nighttime, the OG in the spring and fall, and this in the high heat of the summer. Really glad I took a chance and bought all three. Quality is top-notch like always."

If you love: Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum

Fragrance family: warm, spicy

Key notes: cattleya, jasmine, freesia, rose, patchouli, vanilla

Customer review: "Buy this scent. It doesn't matter if you hate florals or love them. This fragrance is floral enough for those that like floral scents, with a sweet twist that keeps the fragrance flirtatious and feminine. Alternatively, those of us that typically go for very gourmand or oriental fragrances will adore this fragrance because it is sweet enough to balance out the floral notes, and it has that patchouli and jasmine edge that makes it just oriental enough in style. Neither facet of this fragrance is overpowering, though, and the combination is just divine."

Try: Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb Dew Eau de Parfum

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!)

Customer review: "This is a lovely floral perfume. It's younger-feeling than the original Flowerbomb. It has a little bit more sweetness but not overpowering. I love this more than the original."

If you love: Diptyque Fleur de Peau Eau de Parfum

Fragrance family: floral

Key notes: musk, iris, ambrettolide, pink peppercorn

Customer review: "Fleur de Peau is a scent that made me like wearing perfume again. I love the fresh and clean scent, not too strong for my sensitive nose. It works well with my body's natural smell, and I don't need to put on a lot to enjoy it. I've received compliments from other people. I've even been stopped by strangers on the sidewalk who then asked about my perfume."

Try: Diptyque Eau Capitale Eau de Parfum

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 a café allongé.

Customer review: "This fragrance really smells like Paris!"

If you love: Yves Saint Laurent Libre Eau de Parfum

Fragrance family: floral

Key notes: lavender essence, orange blossom, musk accord

Customer review: "I was in the store and followed this scent to the test counter! Absolutely delicious smell. Very light and not overpowering. I'm very sensitive to scents, and most give me a headache. This one was a winner for me."

Try: Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris Intensement Eau de Parfum

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. 

Customer review: "I think the rose notes really shine, which makes Intensement much more wearable and more of a day perfume rather than evening. It is still seductive but light and rosy fresh at the same time. Such a beautiful scent."

If you love: D.S. & Durga Italian Citrus Eau de Parfum

Fragrance family: fresh

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

Customer review: "It has been years since I bought a new perfume. I wanted one that was not heavy and that I could wear both day and night. This fit the bill perfectly!"

Try: D.S. & Durga Crystal Pistil Eau de Parfum

Fragrance family: citrus

Key notes: bergamot, green leaf, pear stem, fig, coconut milk, iris, blond woods, tonka bean, moss.

Okay, so this summery fragrance is so cool. It's a fragrance made to capture memories of humidity in August. Notes like fig, green leaves, and coconut milk will heighten any summer day. 

Customer review: "I love this. Opens floral and green and then settles into woody and rich, yet fresh. It is so unique."

If you love: Acqua di Parma Fico di Amalfi Eau de Parfum

Fragrance family: floral

Key notes: bergamot, cedarwood, fig

Customer review: "I have been wearing Fico de Amalfi for the past 15 years and still love the smell. It reminds me of a vacation on the Amalfi coast in Italy. It is light, and I never feel like it is over-powering a room."

Try: Acqua di Parma Yuzu Eau de Parfum

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 woodier), 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).

Customer review: "It is a delicate citrusy smell, fresh and fruity but very distinct—it is the perfect perfume for a summer holiday. It lasts a long time, and I never get bored of this smell."

If you love: Armani Beauty Sì Eau de Parfum

Fragrance family: chypre

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

Customer review: "The scent is absolutely gorgeous. It's sweet and green at the same time. Perfect for any season really. The chypre note makes it work for summer, but the vanilla gives it a hint of warmth. It's beautiful and a definite staple in my collection."

Try: Armani Beauty Sì Passione Intense Eau de Parfum

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. 

Customer review: "Sweet and romantic yet sexy scent. Good for daytime or a night on the town. This has become one of my favorite fragrances."

If you love: Ex Nihilo Venenum Kiss Eau de Parfum

Fragrance family: warm, spicy

Key notes: neroli, saffron, nutmeg, rose absolute, davana, amber, vanilla, styrax, sandalwood

Customer review: "I would recommend this to anyone looking for a light, fresh scent. Definitely a great clean summer smell. The scent reminds of a beautiful beach vacation, in the absolute best way."

Try: Ex Nihilo Explicite Eau de Parfum

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.

Customer review: "I would recommend this to anyone looking for a light, fresh scent. Definitely a great clean summer smell. The scent reminds me of a beautiful beach vacation in the absolute best way."

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

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