There are many hit songs that, when heard, instantly transport the listener to the time and place when that single was popular. This is especially true for each year’s Song of the Summer (think “Call Me Maybe,” “Despacito,” “California Gurls,” “Crazy in Love” as top Songs of the Summer on this side of the millennium). These are all classics, no matter how recently they debuted. When one of them plays, you’re instantly back to the year it became a hit, sweating it out in your car, on the dance floor, by the pool, etc.
Classic summertime fragrances have the same effect. To be fair, most people can’t necessarily say “I was in X place in X year when I first smelled Louis Vuitton’s Sun Song EDP.” Even then, there is no denying that people who encounter this scent (as well as the 5 others on our list) are instantly transported to some splendid summery setting. Take a huff in winter, and bam, your brain’s Out of Office message goes up and you’re sipping a spritz by the ocean blue.
If you want a timeless scent to supplement your summer—or to remind you of sunnier, beachier days come December—then shop this list of our favorites below.
1. Vacation EDT
The funny thing about Vacation’s namesake scent is that it sets out to remind you of something other than itself: This fragrance replicates that coconut-y smell of classic sunscreen. It transports you to every summer of your childhood, lathering on layers of scented sunscreen, and you love it for that nostalgic reason.
But no scent conjured by master perfumer Rodrigo Flore-Roux, as well as Carlos Huber of Arquiste, would leave you with a single, coconut note. At play in Vacation are subtleties like banana, pineapple, solar musk, pool water, swimsuit lycra, sea salt, and bergamot. It’s the entire cast of summer—and the scent contained in Vacation’s own sunscreen, too.
2. Sun Song EDP
Sun Song is citrus and orange blossom, high up in the hills at golden hour. Pair it with your half-unbuttoned shirt, a cocktail in hand, and a +1 by your side. It’s one of Louis Vuitton’s many “Les Colognes” scents, each of which nods to summer from a specific angle.
But Sun Song is the collection’s most timeless; a simple sniff procures your fondest memories, even if it’s your first interaction with the notes. That’s some serious solar power. If you want to place your order online, be sure to use the store locator so you can pick it up in person—these units tend to fly off of the virtual shelves.
3. Gentle Fluidity Silver EDP
Gentle Fluidity is a walk in the park, or perhaps even the botanic gardens—and with a gin tonic in hand. Thus, it’s no surprise that juniper berries take center stage, elevated by musk, nutmeg, and coriander.
It’s the most sophisticated of this roster, yet still manages to be as breezy as a summer day. It wears exceptionally well year-round, too, and works overtime to remind colleagues, friends, and even strangers that you’re someone who is as awesome and carefree as Paid Time Off. Another gin, please!
4. Aqua Aromatica Blade of Grass EDT
Few scents are as aptly named as Blade of Grass. Imagine lying in the park, after grass that has been freshly mowed, and you’ve got this brilliant concoction from Richard James. It is unmistakably summery by nature, thanks to all the other crisp, green notes that round out that park sprawl: Bergamot, rosemary, fig tree, patchouli, vetiver, cedar, moss, and green tea.
So worry not: You won’t smell like a lawn mower with this one. What people will instead perceive is the perfect stillness of summer, staring up at blue skies, but blanketed by God’s green earth.
5. Blu Mediterraneo Bergamotto de Calabria EDT
Perhaps half of the classifiable summer scents are an ode to the Mediterranean coastline, perhaps due to crisp bergamot’s popularity in this category. Leave it to the Italian Acqua di Parma to excel above the rest, though: This is the crispest Calabrian citrus you’ve encountered, supported by cedarwood, ginger, vetiver, musk, and resin. It is the fruit, the air, the woods, and the terrain, all tethered into one. Bellissimo!
6. Acqua di Giò EDT
We can’t do a summer scent roundup without the pivotal aquatic aroma: Acqua di Giò. It masterfully marries an essence of sea water with crisp citrus accords, aromatic musk plus earthy moss and patchouli—and with a subtle floral bouquet to keep things sea breezy. This one is a day on the sailboat (or the yacht, if you insist); it’s the carefree, waterborne brother to the coastal Calabrian cologne mentioned above.
Photos via Brands