I applaud those men who have found a signature scent and stick with it season after season. In a sense, there is a romantic underlying I often yearn for—that is, having the ability to elicit a rush of emotions instantaneously by my mere scent. The truth of the matter is, though, that I have a fragrance wardrobe. In other words, I have a collection of colognes that I rotate in and our depending on the time of year, occasion or personal mood. I’m always on the lookout for a great cologne to add to my wardrobe and there is no time of the year harder to pin down a specific scent to use then during the summer. When the heat cranks up, I want to feel and smell fresh, not bogged down by some of my favorite scents like La Duit de L’Homme. So put those woody-tobacco scents away and take the time to check out some of the best colognes for summer.
CK ONE SUMMER ($48 for 3.4 oz., calvinklein.com) The limited edition, seasonal offshoot of the world’s most successful unisex fragrance, CK One, perfectly encapsulates a day on the beach with a top note of lime and hints of cucumber, green apple and rum cocktail. Light and refreshing, CK One Summer allows you to breath easy as the sun beats down, never overpowering your senses or clogging up your pores. And don’t be surprised if you catch your girlfriend stealing a spritz here or there for herself. While not the best summer option for the office, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything else you’ll want to wear on your weekend beach trip.
DOLCE & GABBANA LIGHT BLUE ($58 for 2.5 oz., dolceandgabbanalightblue.com) If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit the coast of Sicily, one whiff of Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue will transport you right back to the Mediterranean. Tones of mandarin, juniper, rosemary, bergamot and grapefruit peel offer the freshness you want in a summer scent and mix well with your skin for long periods of time in the sun, but the undertones of oak moss, rosewood, Szechuan pepper and musk wood incense reaffirm your masculinity and make Light Blue a great option for the office and after hours. Looking for something even lighter? Don’t be afraid to see if Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue for Women fits your personal preference more. You might find yourself surprised.
BURBERRY SPORT ($57 for 1.7 oz., burberry.com) Burberry’s Brit and London fragrances have become mainstays throughout fall and winter. Look for Sport to continue that trend throughout spring and summer. Ginger, grapefruit and wheatgrass are grounded by dry amber ground, musk and cedar. What really makes Sport such a unique offering, though, is the top note of gin and tonic. Hey, it’s your go-to drink as the temperatures soar, why shouldn’t it also be in your summer scent?
ACQUA BY NOBILE 1942 ($150 for 3.4 oz., minnewyork.com) Family-owned, Acqua by Nobile 1942 can be difficult to track down, but is worth the struggle. Sicilian mandarin, cardamon and orange flowers produce a fresh blend meant to evoke scents of a breeze straight off the Mediterranean. Bases of leather and sandalwood allow this fragrance to find the perfect medium between masculinity and feminitity and is just right for those sticky summer months.
MARC JACOBS MEN ($58 for 2.5 oz., marcjacobs.com) A lot of lighter summer scents are inspired by the ocean. Marc Jacobs Men, however, takes it’s inspiration from days on the lake. Clear watery fig leaves combined with moss, Italian bergamot, spice, patchouli and masculine florals give off a modern, unexpected scent that you cannot help but continue to smell. Not only is it an incredibly natural scent, but also subtly sexy. Perfect for those days spent doing absolutely nothing but relaxing next to that one special lady.
POLO BIG PONY #4 ($50 for 2.5 oz., ralphlauren.com) All four fragrances in Polo’s Big Pony collection are excellent options for the summer, but #4 easily outshines it’s brethren. Kyarawood and mandarin create a bold, energizing, citrusy blend that is as appropriate for the bar as it is for the beach.
PRELUDE TO LOVE BY KILIAN ($225 for 1.7 oz., bykilian.com) Be warned, it takes a certain type of man to wear Kilian’s Prelude to Love. First, it’s extremely expensive and ridiculously difficult to find in the States. Second, Prelude to Love is a unisex fragrance that doesn’t utilize an abundance of wood and spice undertones found in nearly all men’s colognes. Instead, it goes heavy on the floral and citrus end of the spectrum. But that is exactly what makes this a perfect option for summer. It’s light, zesty and, as GQ’s Grady Laird puts it, extremely versatile.
D&G 3 L’IMPERATRICE ($69 for 3.3 oz., dandgfragrances.com) Much like Kilian’s Prelude to Love, it takes a certain type of man to wear L’Imperatrice. The key here: confidence. Another unisex fragrance, this is the most feminine offering listed here. Don’t be put off by the tones of kiwi, watermelon and pink florals that come rushing at you upon first sniff, though—the fragrance meshes so well with your personal scent that after just a few minutes, it takes on a completely different, more masculine form that is unique to you.
FRESH CANNABIS SANTAL ($80 for 3.4 oz., fresh.com) When it comes to summer scents, too many men instinctively reach for Acqua di _______. That’s not to say that those scents aren’t great (Armani’s Acqua di Gio and Bulgari’s ACQVA are two personal favorites), just it’s hard to stand out when so many men are wearing colognes that utilize the same base notes. Enter Cannabis Santal by Fresh. It’s distinctive, unusual, confident, sexy and will definitely leave a lasting impression. Instead of lighter fruits like lime and orange most summer scents promote, Cannabis Santal boasts tones of rich fruits like kumquat and dark plum. The key here, though, is the base of chocolate and vanilla musk. Try not to be too shocked when women start inching closer and closer as the night goes on—it’s a scent they won’t soon forget.
GIVENCHY PLAY SPORT ($75 for 3.3 oz., givenchybeauty.com) Early on I expressed my desire for a signature scent, but have never been able to commit to just one cologne throughout the entire year. With the introduction of Sport to the Givenchy Play family, I’m now given the perfect compromise. All three versions are rooted with middle notes of amyris wood and alter ever so slightly depending on which variation you pick up (Play for every day use or at the office; Intense for the night scene and those cold winters when you want a darker scent; Sport for when the temperature rises and your body is under full attack). In Play Sport, bergamot, lemon tree leaf, mint and ginger create a refreshing green aroma that continues to sit lightly on your skin throughout the hot summer days.