A few months into my first stint as a beauty editor I learned that scent is powerfully linked to memory. Science tells us that specific odours trigger recollections of associated events and feelings in order to help us identify that particular scent. (Which is why the smell of apple pie baking might remind you of your gran who was known for her secret family recipe.) Since then, I've been mildly obsessed with hacking my own olfactory system to manufacture a library of fragrance-based recollections.
Not content to settle for random connections, I deliberately plan out special perfumes for all occasions. For instance, every time I go on holiday, I choose a new fragrance to wear that fits the trip. This year I drenched myself in Tom Ford's Soleil Blanc ($325) on vacay in Bali. Now? A single spritz transports me back to the beach in Canguu. (A convenient—if momentary—escape on drizzly days, let me tell you.) On my wedding day I opted for Byredo's Rose Of No Man's Land ($240). Now, I wear it on every date night.
(#Romance.) My fixation with creating scent memories means I also cycle through perfumes with each passing season. All this to say that (as you can imagine), I'm in the market for a new fragrance pretty damn often.
Lucky then, that summer always brings with it a whole host of new fragrances, ready to be snapped up by perfume lovers like me. In order to bring you the best of the bunch, I roped in the Byrdie team to nominate the only scents worth buying RN. Ahead, you'll find 12 of our favourites for the season, along with a snippet of info on where and when we plan to wear them.
Keep scrolling to find your perfume match for summer.
Pictured: Jo Malone Orange Bitters Cologne ($195)
"At Byrdie Australia HQ (and pretty much everywhere else in Sydney), 2016 was the year of the Aperol Spritz. This festive blend of bitter orange, sweet mandarin and warm sandalwood captures the freshness and effervescence of our team cocktail perfectly. It's got 'afternoon drinks' written all over it."
Pictured: Venustus Mr & Mrs Organic Water Perfume Roll Ons ($99 for both)
"Next month marks my six month wedding anniversary but I'm still feeling peak newlywed vibes. This duo of organic water perfumes is designed to complement each other (see what they did there?) but I'm bogarting them both for summer beach dates. Mr is a sultry cocktail of vanilla and sandalwood, while Mrs is all about zingy lime and spearmint."
Pictured: Guerlain Shalimar Souffle de Parfum ($109)
"This description of this perfume had me at 'jasmine and orange blossom water mixed with white musk'. (All three are favourite notes of mine). The scent itself is girly but not overly so, and gives off elegant vibes—perfect for Christmas brunch. Bonus points for the bottle, the ocean blue glass is hypnotising."
Pictured: Map Of The Heart Red Heart v.3 ($250)
"This scent really jogs my memory... I can't put my finger on it but it smells very much like a happy past time. Both tuberose and musk are right up my alley, and the fact it includes sandalwood at the base makes it that much more interesting to sniff (and wear)."
Pictured: Salvatore Ferragamo Signorina In Rosso ($116)
"Like a little red dress, this perfume is equal parts racy, romantic and intriguing. (And great for dancing in.) You'll pick up hints of rose, pink pepper and patchouli, along with a juicy splash of blackcurrant. In a word? Delicious."
Pictured: Marc Jacobs Decadence 18K Limited Edition ($195)
"I'll admit I was initially drawn to this one purely because of the gilded bottle, but the juice inside is just as luxe. A yummy mix of Italian plum, saffron, and honeyed amber, it's definitely my go-to for warm summer days."
Pictured: Rodin Olio Lusso Perfume ($346)
"I'd do just about anything to be more like Linda Rodin (the woman is the epitome of cool), and this scent is a good start. A lush jasmine-based floral, it's exactly what I want my summer holidays to smell like."
Pictured: Tom Ford Velvet Orchid Lumiere ($125)
"I always find Tom Ford fragrances really nail the balance between feminine and masculine, and are never not sexy. This one is a delicious cocktail of mandarin, honey, run and creamy vanilla. It's the fragrance I’ll be wearing to ring in the New Year."
Pictured: Shiseido Ever Bloom ($120)
"Chic, feminine and timeless. This musky white floral is perfect for day or night, and for any occasion. It really is a workhorse in my perfume collection."
Pictured: Giorgio Armani Si Le Parfum ($240)
"On sultry summer evenings, I always reach for this. A delicious and heady combo of blackcurrant, jasmine and incense (with beautiful packaging to match), it's especially perfect for date nights."
Pictured: Burberry My Burberry Festive 2016 Limited Edition ($150)
"Apparently the perfumer behind this scent set out to capture the luminosity and freshness of London after the rain… I’ve had my fair share of rainy London days, so it’s no wonder I fell for it. With notes of sweet pea, bergamot, golden quince and Damask and centifolia roses, it’s both sophisticated and modern. Plus, the shimmering gold flakes in the bottle remind me of a Christmas snow globe, only so much prettier."
Pictured: Nest Dahlia & Vines ($105)
"I was initially drawn to this EDP by its pretty, illustrated packaging, then I fell in love with the fragrance. I’m a sucker for a rose-based scent and this one features daffodil, peony and garden vines for a light, romantic perfume that's perfect for daytime. It’s top of my Christmas wish list." (Shop in store at Sephora.)