The list of beautiful things about summer can be as exhausting as a long day in the sun. Beach days, long weekends, the pool—for heaven’s sake. Still, each year, my favorite summer happening is the explosion of fresh green things in my fridge and on my plate.
In weeks, my local produce box abruptly shifted from holding waxy potatoes and sweet, overwintered carrots to nestling delicate packages of soft, fragrant green things. Young garlic shoots, juicy arugula, flowering bundles of chives, and wild ramps turn my crisper into a garden, and my mood lifts accordingly.
While I take great care not to smell like garlic and chives, I excitedly welcome many other vegetal summery things into my fragrance wardrobe. Some of my favorite fragrance houses have found lovely ways to incorporate notes of herbs, young shoots, and leaves into scents that bring the outside in. Ahead, find some of my favorite summertime scents incorporating fresh, green notes so that you can smell as good as your favorite farm stand.
Byrdeo De Los Santos
New from Byredo is De Los Santos, a fragrance created to honor the traditions of Dia De Los Muertos and the rituals around celebrations of life. Under a veil of refreshing sage sits a dry, palo santo and musk base. The brightness of the herbs keeps the fragrance out of hippie territory, and true to the scent’s origins, clary sage is known to aid in relaxation and stress reduction.
In Peru and Ecuador, palo santo has been traditionally used to bring luck and cleanse a space of bad energy. Indeed, De Los Santos is a welcoming, grounding, and refreshing scent, perfect for lifting spirits and reconnecting with nature after a long winter.
Rook Perfumes is a one-person fragrance house from a London-based perfumer (and E.R. doctor, and West End actor—seriously) Nadeem Crowe. Many of Crowe’s scents are inspired by natural ingredients and nostalgia, and Undergrowth takes the form of the specific and evocative act of pulling fresh mint from the earth.
Indeed, while the scent is as bold as the herb it embodies, the experience is linear and clean, drying down from its snappy entrance into a musky, grassy base. Spritz it when you need a reminder to stand up from your desk and get outside.
Comme de Garcons Amazinggreen
As with their clothing, CDG has a range of wild and delightful eau de parfums. Amazingreen is crisp and unusual, kicking off with damp green leaves—almost like cutting open a green pepper. It steps into the palm house at a nature conservatory or sniffing a fancy bottle of French red wines. Musk and smoke take over to guide the fragrance into tea-like territory. Odd but pleasing, Amazingreen is another home run experiment from CDG.
Vilhelm Parfumerie Basilico & Fellini Eau de Parfum
Inspired by the fistfuls of fresh basil the film director Federico Fellini would reportedly request at mealtime, this charming Eau de parfum incorporates the herb alongside other tender shoots like mint, grasses, and violet. The result is clean, pretty, aromatic, and well matched for a day at the beach and apero hour as it is for returning to the office.
D.S. and Durga
While binging The Great British Bake-Off, I learned that Brits know cilantro as coriander. Fitting, then, that this scent from D.S. and Durga is both fresh and spicy, an enticing interpretation of both forms of the plant. The fragrance is cleansing, crisp, and breezy, with juniper and clove adding elements of earthiness and depth.
Etat Libre D'Orange You Or Someone Like You Eau de Parfum
You or Someone Like You, from Etat Libre d’Orange, is one of many skin scents that is an accessible entrance for fragrance newbies and layering options for seasoned enthusiasts. Cool, citrusy, and fresh, this breezy scent is an instant mood-lifter. Mint and fennel combine for a bracing opening note before musk and leaf accord mellows into sunny undercurrents.
All fragrances take on a very different character on different bodies, and this one is no exception. Still, its clean profile makes it a safe bet for anyone seeking something highly wearable and refreshing for summer.
Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay
Jo Malone has made a name for creating layerable, delicious, simple scents. This one is no exception. If you’ve only ever experienced bay leaf as a pantry staple on hand for batches of chicken soup, get ready for this juicy interpretation of fresh bay, which seizes on the plant’s eucalyptus, menthol, tea-like qualities by placing it alongside fresh blackberries. The result is playful but stops short of being cloying. If you’re looking for something elegant, fun, and exciting but inoffensive, this fragrance is in the sweet spot.
Régime des Fleurs Cacti
As the English translation of their name suggests, Regime de Fleurs creates fragrances to celebrate flowers and plants of all kinds. With Cacti, the brand veers from blossoms and highlights zippy shiso, aloe vera, mate, and cucumber. The juice here is delicate, powdery, and shimmering. The lightly spicy kick from the shiso lends a surprising note, and aloe vera refreshes and soothes, just as the plant does.
While seasons are fleeting, and the beautiful produce you purchased last week might now be wilting in your fridge, these scents can act like time capsules, preserving refreshing summer energy all year.