Going out out again, eh? Whether you’re heading back to the office, or reuniting with friends, it can feel thrilling, and a bit daunting, after such a long break. There’s the mental gymnastics of figuring out what to wear – with a wardrobe of clothes that no longer fit or look as they should – but thankfully, you can never really go wrong with a fragrance.
Sales of scent rocketed during lockdown, and now you can enjoy sampling the new season releases straight from the perfume counter. This is Ape’s edit of the best seasonal scents available now.
A new men’s fragrance from Hermès is a rare occurrence, so it warrants immediate investigation. From first whiff, we strongly suspect that H24 has the power to de-throne Terre D’Hermès as the top men’s summer perfume.
Composed by Christine Nagel, the distinctive accord features a prominent metallic note of sclarene, with green clary sage, narcissus and rose wood to warm the cool metal. It has a clean, classy vibe with solid, linear projection – and the makings of a blockbuster scent.
Acqua Di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Bergamotto di Calabria La Spugnatura
La Spugnatura is a much sexier word for ‘sponge’ – but make no mistake, this is Calabrian Bergamot: The Sponge Edition. The name refers to an artisanal extraction technique, where the essence of the fruit is harvested by the application of a sea sponge. This delicate process is done by hand to preserve more of the facets of the fruit, giving it a unique sillage. It’s a precious resource, hence the limited run.
The porcelain art deco bottle is refillable, so it can live on when the juice runs out, and the special pattern makes it ideal for Father’s Day gifting. It opens with a full on citrus medley of mandarin, bitter orange and grapefruit, with a green, floral undertone of galbanum, geranium, cedar and vetiver in the base. Familiar with the original? This one is fresher and longer lasting.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Collection Cologne Forte Aqua Universalis
The Collection Cologne Forte is a trio of fresh, long-lasting summer-ready scents with Italian bergamot as a central theme: fruity Aqua Celestia, sun-soaked Aqua Vitae and Aqua Universalis.
Each has its own distinct personality (we thoroughly recommend sampling all three) but Aqua Universalis is a good place to start. Kurkdjian’s original inspiration came from unlikely source of the musks used in laundry detergent in the early 19th Century – now considered too pricey for mass production. A musky citrus, it contains the best Bulgarian rose and Calabrian bergamot, layered over a white flower accord of honeysuckle and sweet pea that captures the crisp, clean aroma of freshly laundered linen.
Jo Malone Marmalade Collection Orange Peel Cologne
As heavy rain washes away another late spring day, we’ll take comfort in Jo Malone’s rather jolly Marmalade Collection. This limited-edition range of five colognes is inspired by English fêtes and includes the classic tastes of a picnic spread with Blackberry & Bay, Tangy Rhubarb, Rose Blush, Orange Peel and Elderflower Cordial.
In a departure for the house, the collection comes in a unique cream bottle with a retro typeface that has a whiff of granny’s jam jars. The masculine scent of the ensemble, Orange Peel Cologne, is a woody citrus with a zesty, bitter fresh top note and a heart note of orange bigarade over a warm base of cashmere woods.
It’s bright and uplifting and has good staying power – unlike the average British summer. Grab it while you can.
Montblanc Explorer Ultra Blue
Free travel is limited at the moment, so we’re happy to embrace Montblanc’s spirit of adventure. Encased in azure blue, etched saffiano leather, Ultra Blue is a new flanker for its successful predecessor, Explorer.
An aromatic citrus scent, the main notes are exotic fruits, Sicilian bergamot and pink pepper, with marine notes and ambergris in the middle, and woody notes of Indonesian patchouli leaf and leather at the base.
Easy and breezy, it’s deliciously uncomplicated – rather like the holidays of old (a traffic-light-PCR-test-Brexit-paperwork-quarantine-free zone). It’s also available in a mini 30ml travel format – perfect for your next camping trip.
Brioni Eau de Parfum
Those who dream of slipping on a made-to-measure Brioni suit now have a chance to sample its wares without maxing the plastic. The eponymous new scent, composed by Michel Almairac, opens with an ozonic accord, crisp green apple and pink peppercorn, with a silky undertone of violet and creamy Ambroxan, cedar wood, Tonka bean and musk.
Powdery, peppery and aquatic, it’s a perfectly-tailored, fresh fragrance that will suit the warmer months. The silk label on the front of the smoky blue bottle is a nice touch and a tiny piece of Brioni’s famed craftsmanship.
D.S & Durga St.Vetyver
D.S & Durga’s latest offering, St. Vetyver is a powerful grassy vetiver. With a diverse list of ingredients – sour orange, pink pepper, seagrass, cane, clove leaf, toquilla (palm) straw, vetyver, bread nut and rum agricole – it has a distinctly Caribbean flavour.
Like all things D.S & Durga, it’s a modern take on an old-world style. Earthy and aromatic, it won’t wilt in the heat, and will surely defy anyone who becomes anosmic to their regular scent.
Bentley Momentum Unbreakable
Unbreakable is the latest concept from Bentley Motors, adding to the Momentum line. A rock cutting covers the front of the bottle – a genuine slice of crystalline mica schist – neatly illustrating the theme. The tactile matt black finish on the back mimics the marque’s knurling from the second car built by W.O Bentley in 1919.
Expect a similar level of attention to the juice: a woody mineral accord containing violet leaves, mandarin sfuma, lavender, geranium, orris, patchouli, papyrus and Biotech ingredient Dreamwood, a sustainable alternative to Mysore sandalwood. It has a velvety smooth feel, like driving a Bentley.
Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 + Patchouli
Patchouli has been sullied by its associations with hippies and incense – it’s all a bit student bedroom. However, this patchouli is a very chic affair that you’ll definitely want to wear.
Perfumer Geza Schoen used two specific types: Patchouli Coeur, a clean, soft patchouli without the camphor note, and Indonesian patchouli oil to round out the top note. Mixed with the velvety cedar of Molecule 01, Iso E Super, it’s a match made in heaven.
Kenzo L’Eau Kenzo Hyperwave Pour Homme
Love marine scents? Get on board with L’Eau Kenzo Hyper Wave. A tsunami of mandarin, aquatic notes over a base of moss make for an uncomplicated, refreshing summer scent from the French fashion house.
Kenzo Parfums collaborated with Seaqual Initiative to create a reusable, waterproof pouch made partly from recovered marine plastic – the perfect place to stash your beach valuables. Looking for a no-strings holiday fling with a smaller carbon footprint? This could be it.
Sei is inspired by Amangiri, the stunning luxury resort in Utah (check out the incredible pool). Perfumer Jacques Chabert creates a portrait of the rugged desert landscape using intense notes of pine needles, juniper and clary sage, over smouldering cedar, vetyver and ciste labdanum to create an earthy, aromatic scent that’s not heavy to wear once the temperatures rise.