It’s at this time of year – when you’re not crying real tears from the cold, but not quite basking in day-long sun either – that most of us retire the bulky winter gear in preparation for wearing less.
We ditch the chunky knits for paper-thin tees, the warming wool trousers for featherweight shorts and the heavy-duty jackets for breathable linen blazers. It’s a kind of menswear metamorphosis, only we don’t emerge so much winged and resplendent, as flushed, sweaty and pasty-legged.
But while we all recognise the fact that summer means a sartorial gear shift, men every year seem to miss the memo that your scent needs switching up too. Woody, oud-heavy fragrances might have served you well through winter – a mere sniff of their nose-tingling spiciness ramping up your body’s central heating system – but rising mercury means you need fresher scents.
So, to help you stay so fresh and so clean, clean this summer, we’ve rounded up SS16’s best new men’s fragrances. Better make space in your bathroom cabinet.
Givenchy Gentlemen Only Parisian Break
Much like the style of Parisian men, the success of Givenchy’s new Gentlemen Only spin-off is in its acing the basics. So, while perhaps not as intriguingly complex as some of its listmates, Parisian Break – which takes its cue from the idea of a walk along the Seine – is a solidly summery experience, kicking off with mint and citrus, cutting to a herby interlude (sage) and then trailing off with an earthy combination of vetiver and ambroxan (an organic compound that smells like ambergris).
Good For: Walking along the Seine in the sun. Or anywhere else for that matter. But switch to something heartier at sundown.
Available at John Lewis, priced £39.15 for Eau de Toilette, 50ml.
Tom Ford Costa Azzurra
As you’d expect from a man who’s made his name on the glamour of excess, there’s little light and airy about Tom Ford’s rich, heady and loftily priced fragrances.
So while Costa Azzurra – part of Ford’s coterie of summer-ready scents, Private Blend Neroli Portofino – might look like a frothy marine scent, just a spritz of its ample-bodied woodiness proves it’s anything but. Inspired by the Sardinian coastline, it opens with a fresh saltiness spliced with citrus and herby notes, eventually drying down into a foundation of driftwood, oak and vanilla.
Good For: Strictly speaking, balmy nights. Less strictly speaking, pretty much everything – this is the scent that had the FashionBeans office too intoxicated to type.
Available at John Lewis, priced £145 for Eau de Parfum, 50ml.
Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme Summer 2016
Fancy a freshen up? Then spritz this, the latest – and easily most refreshing – in a long line of updates on Issey Miyake’s original L’Eau d’Issey from 1994.
We’re hesitant to describe a fragrance as ‘aquatic’ (especially when water smells of basically nothing), but we’d be lying if we said this scent wasn’t pretty much an entire seascape in a bottle. Bursting with fruity top notes including kiwi and grapefruit, this latest incarnation of L’Eau d’Issey also features the tart sweetness of pineapple – which must make it at least one of your five a day.
Good For: A zesty pick-me-up. Spray some post-gym or en route to the office.
Available at Harrods, priced £41 for Eau De Toilette, 125ml.
Floris Bergamotto Di Positano
John Steinbeck once wrote, “Positano bites deep” – a poetic reference to the enrapturing beauty of the small cliff-side village on Italy’s Amalfi coast, a place whose allure is left printed indelibly on your memory once you leave.
Floris’ Bergamotto di Positano bites deep, too. Opening with a piquant pairing of bergamot and mandarin, its enlivening punch mellows over time, revealing a glowing bed of warm spicy notes like amber and ginger. There’s also a heart of orange blossom and vanilla which ensures a luxuriously smooth transition from first spritz to four hours later.
Good For: Taking on holiday. Or at least taking your nose on holiday if you’re staycationing this summer.
Available at Floris London, priced £120 for Eau de Parfum, 100ml.
John Varvatos Artisan Blu
Stateside designer John Varvatos’ clothing might be wrought from rugged leather and denim, but his fragrances are the result of a lighter touch.
His latest, Artisan Blu, is a fresher, more marine-inspired take on 2009’s warm-weather-ready Artisan. So, added to the lemony herbaceousness is a splash of refreshing chayote (an edible fruit from the melons and cucumbers family) which – when it washes over – gives way to the woody sweetness of patchouli, pine and pistachio.
In keeping with the nautical slant, Artisan Blu comes in a teal bottle wrapped in a sleeve reminiscent of a fisherman’s net. Which instantly makes your dopp kit a damn sight more interesting than some of the other fragrances on this list.
Good For: Seeing clear blue waters when you’re bound to your desk.
Available at Debenhams, priced £44.10 for Eau De Toilette, 75ml.
Paul Smith Sunshine for Men
The fragrance equivalent of a Paul Smith stripe, Sunshine does what every good designer fragrance should: distil the essence of what the brand’s about.
In this case, that means an especially light scent that channels both Smith’s liberal use of colour and his playful approach to pattern. Sunshine’s latest limited edition takes to the air with crisp, citrusy top notes in the form of a tangle of grapefruit and coriander, but it’s the midsection of black pepper, nutmeg and anise that really give this scent its character, creating a sweet fug that’s leagues away from the salty spray of marine summer scents. (And perhaps a little too sickly sweet for some.)
Good For: Smelling edible. So worth a spritz for daytime dates.
Available at Boots, priced £26 for Eau De Toilette, 100ml.
Is our round-up of the freshest summer fragrances making scents? Or is this list missing a key ingredient?
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