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  1. #1
    Dependent Birdboy48's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
    Bend Oregon USA

    Default What are the various categories of "Summer Fragrances" and some classic examples of each ?

    Well darn, as a newbie I was just starting to get the hang of cool-weather things, and now it's summer.

    What little I know (from my reading here) of Summer fragrance categories narrows down to this :

    Citrus-based frags : Apparently they've been around for so long, and are so classic in nature that no one dares to criticize them.

    Aquatic / Marine frags
    : A somewhat-recent addition to the summer category, and a bandwagon that was jumped on by so many makers that now they tend to get pooh-poohed by folks here.

    "Fresh" scents : Not an area I'm familiar with, I'm afraid. Are aquatics considered a sub-category of these "fresh" scents ?

    "Sport scents" : Are these simply watered-down versions of the above ? Another category that gets dissed here a lot.

    Other summer scents
    : Where do things like Un Jardin sur le Nil, and Philosykos fit into all this?

    Basically my question is (and I suspect a question of other newbies as well) ....what do folks with experience in this area see as the various Summer fragrance categories, and what would be some decent reference examples of each ?

    A rather involved question I know, so my apologies in advance.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Default Re: What are the various categories of "Summer Fragrances" and some classic examples of each ?

    These topics are always interesting. There are many people, even vastly experienced fragrance collectors, who choose to pay no attention to categories whatsoever. Personally, I try to just keep them in the back of my mind, but I never let a so called category define what I smell. Now getting into definitions, you're right that these are all summer appropriate, but obviously fragrances aren't manufactured to be seasonal. I'd say that citruses, aquatics, and greens are subcategories of the "fresh" category. And I generally think of sport scents as just lighter versions of their original counterparts. In my mind, the breakdown works something like this:

    Aquatic- I can't really describe what notes make up the marine scent. According to wikipedia, it's a chemical called "calone". I think of scents like Bond Coney Island, Cool Water (GIT), Bulgari Aqva, CK One.

    Green- I'm not sure if this is correct, but my mind jumps to vetiver. Apparently, there's also a resin called "galbanum" that's used a lot in greens. I also think of florals being combined with fruit notes.

    Citruses- These are the most obvious to me. I think of Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue for Women (which also has that pear-peach opening), Bergamote 22 (obviously), pretty much anything with a sharp bergamote/grapefruit/orange opening.

    Let's see, I'd stick Un Jardin Sur le Nil somewhere between citrus and aquatic. I'd personally think of Philosykos as green, though I think there's also something of a woody element.

    Just my ideas. Don't quote me!

  3. #3
    hednic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Reside in McLean, Va., Manhattan NYC, Manuel Antonio Costa Rica & Búzios Brasil

    Default Re: What are the various categories of "Summer Fragrances" and some classic examples of each ?

    Quote Originally Posted by icanzapyou View Post
    These topics are always interesting. There are many people, even vastly experienced fragrance collectors, who choose to pay no attention to categories whatsoever.
    I would fall into this group.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Washington, DC

    Default Re: What are the various categories of "Summer Fragrances" and some classic examples of each ?

    As usual, one can define as many categories as one wants. Interestingly, the classification by Edwards, perhaps the most commonly used, is not based on "freshness" or seasonality at all, and summery frags would fall in different categories.

    But anyway, materials that are usually considered fresh and summery.

    Citrus, as you mention. But real citrus is fleeting, so most citruses are actually lengthened with sharp chemicals that make them unpleasant (an example would be Light blue for woman). A subcategory of the citrus genre are Eau de Colognes (in the sense of the original recipe), which are based on orange flowers: they're superfresh and are gone in 5 minutes. And they should, despite people's protestations. 4711 is perhaps the easiest to find example. Acqua di Parma has various ones, usually made more persistent by adding some other materials.

    Marine/aquatic: I cannot really comment on them given my strong aversion to calone and associated materials; to me, they smell like swamps or bilges. But they are very popular, so go figure. You can get a good idea of their demonic miasmas if you smell L'Eau d'Issey or (worse) Light blue for men (where the bilge is paired to a powerful, sharp woody-amber).
    "Sports" scent often contain marine notes (see Dior homme sport), or else some other sharp synthetic material that recall household cleaners. Let's keep dissing them.

    Vetiver: my favorite fresh material. It smells vegetal, green, grassy, sometimes a touch rooty. Very natural smelling and persistent. Examples: Guerlain Vetiver or Tom Ford Grey Vetiver

    Green or white florals: not very common in male perfumery. But certain flowers can be made light and fresh. For green florals, Paco Rabanne Metal or Chanel Cristalle eau verte. For white florals, Tommy Girl.

    And then there are the odd ones, made of various materials whose combination somehow smells fresh. An example would be CDG2 man, where the incense and candle smell is surprisingly fresh.


  5. #5
    Power Where You Need It
    alfarom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Default Re: What are the various categories of "Summer Fragrances" and some classic examples of each ?

    Personally, I strongly believe that there are good and bad scents in any genre and/or cathegory. No matter if they're florals, aquatics, woody, orientals or whatever else. I honestly think that, according to one's personal taste, there are some favorites notes and genres but generalizing and say "I don't like rose in any scent available on the market" it's a bit silly and quite limiting.

    That being said, citruses are probably the most "antique" of the summery notes. Generally they are very fleeting but, today, we can have good quality citrus-centered fragrances that have a pretty long lasting quality yet avoiding the usual chemical mess of most of the modern fragrances in this cathegory. Xerjoff delivers quite a few compositions well worth checking out if you want a natural smelling fresh-citrusy fragrance with great lasting power: Nio, 1861 and Fiero are great examples. Personally, I'm not always obsessed by longevity so Chanel's Eau De Cologne it's always a winner in my book as well as most of the Guerlain Colognes (du Coq, Eau De Guerlain, Pamplelune, Imperiale)

    Aquatics are definitely not among my favorites but there are still a bunch of great quality fragrances even in this genre: Tirrenico, Play by Comme Des Garcons, Sel Marin, New West for Him. Fortunately, not all the aquatics smell like D&G Light Blue Pour Homme which, btw, it's mainly spoiled by a huge dose of woody amber and not calone.

    Fresh scents can go in any direction. From the synthetic/experimental avant-gardism of many Comme Des Garcons (Skai, Dry Clean, Odeur 53 and Odeur 71 among others), to the bio-organic stuff released by Testa Maura (their Capo Di Fieno EDC is a light immortelle centered eau de cologne which smells incredibly natural and summery).

    Other summery scents may be green (Calamus, Papyrus De Ciane, Baime), fruity (Baihana), floral (Metal, Givenchy III), green-woody (many vetivers), weird (Sissel Tola's Hsideews), atypical (CDG2Man, CDG3), leafy (Jardin De Kerylos, Figueur)...

    Discover my Guest Reviewer Of The Day here

  6. #6

    thebeck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Biggest Little City

    Default Re: What are the various categories of "Summer Fragrances" and some classic examples of each ?

    Just an opinion but I think Aquatics and Sport frags should be banned. There's no place in perfumery for such nonsense.
    Currently wearing: Pikovaya Dama by Xerjoff

  7. #7

    Default Re: What are the various categories of "Summer Fragrances" and some classic examples of each ?

    Lavender doesn't seem to have been mentioned and it is also a classic note in the fougere category (which has it's own various subsets) and can work really nicely as a cooling note in summer. Nicolai Pour Homme & C&S Oxford & Cambridge are interesting (relatively) modern takes on a green lavender.

    Yerbamate is another good one for the heat - Duel (Goutal) & L'Heure Fougueuse (Cartier) are terrific examples. I guess you could lump them in with the 'tea' category.

    Sous le Vent is a personal favourite for the very hot and humid HK summer - citrus opening, touch of verbena and herbs and a cool oakmoss undercurrent. Light aromatic chypre, I guess. Aromatics Elixir and the new Goutal 'Mon Parfum Cheri par Camille' deliver the same vibe for me. Eau de Guerlain sits close to these guys.

    Although they are technically more on the oriental/ woods side I also recommend New York, Tiffany for Men and Santal Noble in summer - especially evenings. Timbuktu works for me too, dry woods, and I quite like that Monocle Laurel one - need to revisit. Blu Med Cipresso Toscana (?) is not bad, but pretty fleeting.

    Granville is another summer favourite (actually any season) with a garriguey sort of citrus, herbal and touch of pine thing going on.

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