“For me, a great fragrance is like a gorgeous red lipstick,” Linda Sivrican, a Los Angeles based perfumer and the founder of Orris Perfumery, tells The Zoe Report. “It goes with everything, can instantly make you feel chic, and accentuates your personal style.” And just like lipstick, the most-coveted shades — or scents — change every season. For summer 2019 fragrances, that means a move towards spicy florals, unisex notes, and warm musks… basically, as far away from “beach-y” coconut- and vanilla-spiked scents as possible. After all, there are more innovative ways to evoke the feeling of summer.
“For a lot of people, the beach means aromas of cocoa or vanilla, but for us, it was important to express our idea of it through a more spicy opening,” Benoît Verdier, the co-founder of EX NIHILO, tells TZR. The company’s latest, Lust In Paradise, leans on pink pepper (for spice) and white peony (for sweetness). “The inspiration is the French Riviera, its whole atmosphere,” Verdier explains. “It’s not only beach-y, it’s solar.” Which is precisely why warm base notes of cedarwood and musk are intended to leave behind “the feeling of skin heated by the sun.”
The fragrance touches on a key trend echoed throughout the industry: spice. “[Spicy] notes like pink pepper are fresh and radiant and make fabulous gender neutral scents,” Carina Chaz, the founder and perfumer of unisex brand DedCool, tells The Zoe Report. She believes the season’s focus on spice — as seen in her brand’s Ivy Blanc (with pink pepper) and Carine Roitfeld’s just-launched perfume line (coriander features heavily in the Lawrence formulation) — is part of a larger movement toward inclusivity. “As conversations are becoming more open, people are gravitating more and more to gender neutral scents,” Chaz says.
Mint is another note set to take over the gender neutral space in summer 2019, as evidenced by DedCool’s Rocco and Diptyque's Eau de Minthé, the brand’s first foray into unisex fragrance. Made with Cascade mint (an herb grown on Oregon’s Cascade mountains) in a nod to the Greek nymph Minthé, Diptyque says the clean scent signals “metamorphosis” and “transformation."
That's not the only, uh, herb in the spotlight, though — even perfumers can’t resist the siren song of cannabis. Find it in Heretic’s Dirty Grass and Carine Roitfeld’s George.
Finally, brands are embracing warm, woodsy notes as a way to hint at the thrill of summer days (and nights) spent outdoors, without being too on-the-nose. “Warm scents along with prominent wood notes, such as sandalwood and oud, are unexpected,” Sivrican says. “These notes evoke feelings of being grounded and comforted, and are sensual and elegant." Both can be found in her recent collaboration with contemporary artist Cassi Namoda, NAMODA X SIVRICAN, a limited-edition fragrance (only 70 bottles were produced — so scoop yours up ASAP).
Ahead, shop 19 unexpected scents for summer — from spicy-meets-floral fragrances, to unisex blends, to the sexy, sun-warmed formulas you'll want to spritz again and again.
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"To me, Lust In Paradise is quite a spicy floral," Verdier says. "It starts a little bit intriguing, then it melts with the blooming peony. The musk then comes in as a reassuring, comfortable, and soft ingredient that gives comfort and texture." (May 2019)
Floral jasmine plus spicy coriander equals your new summer scent, care of Harper's Bazaar alum (and all-around style icon) Carine Roitfeld. (May 2019)
Inspired by Elizabeth Taylor, White Diamonds En Rouge is a timeless blend of sweet (rose, jasmine), spicy (pink peppercorn), and sexy (vanilla, patchouli). (Mar. 2019)
"In our most recent collection, Series // 2, you’ll see we pair florals with musks, and ambers with pepper notes," Chaz explains. Ivy Blanc's blend of pink pepper and sandalwood is surprisingly light, with a pinch of spice. (Mar. 2019)
Already a fan of Ralph Lauren's Woman Eau de Parfum? Opt for its "Intense" update this summer, which infuses the classic blend of orange flower and jasmine sambac with spicy pink pepper oil. (Apr. 2019)
Tocca's most recent release, Gia, relies on rose for femininity, tangerine for a fruity mid-note, and zesty pink peppercorn for an uplifting vibe. (Apr. 2019)
The clean, minty notes in Eau de Minthé inch toward the "traditionally masculine" end of scent scale; but touches of geranium and patchouli bring balance. (May 2019)
Cannabis is the star ingredient in the just-launched George from Carine Roitfeld. Paired with leather and oakmoss, it makes for an earthy scent that works on just about anyone. (May 2019)
Formulated with a hit of CBD oil, Dirty Grass features the intoxicating aroma of cannabis... minus, you know, the intoxication. (Apr. 2019)
"People are looking past gender marketing and identifying with scents that are more for the individual wearer and/or sharing with partners," Chaz says. This mint- and clove-infused concoction is one that *everyone* will love. (Mar. 2019)
Share it with your boyfriend, brother, roommate, whoever — you'll both find this new mix of sage and pine refreshing for summer. (Apr. 2019)
Per usual, Byredo is breaking all the rules with its new summer 2019 release. Sticky-sweet cotton candy communicates summer in a way that's more "boardwalk" than "beach-y," while a base note of white musk gives warmth. (Apr. 2019)
"I wanted to play around with very unique ingredients sourced from Africa, Cassi's birthplace," Sivrican tells TZR of the perfume collaboration. "The fragrance came out to be a completely new scent profile, as woody, tropical, and musk notes are not usually combined." (Apr. 2019)
Mouth-watering vanilla meets woodsy patchouli in this "sensual" scent from Henry Rose, actress Michelle Pfeiffer's foray into fragrance. (Apr. 2019)
On its site, the brand says the latest addition to its "Dirty" line is inspired by "sultry tropical nights and a hint of BDSM." Translation: Fruity and sexy, with a sun-warmed note of sandalwood at the base. (Apr. 2019)
Part of the brand's April collaboration with model Karlie Kloss, Carolina Herrera's Good Girl Dot Drama blends light jasmine and sweet cacao for a super-feminine perfume. (Apr. 2019)
Personally, I don't even want to *think* about the summer ending before it even begins. But that won't stop me from trying Gucci's Last Day of Summer, a dreamy interpretation of Alessandro Michele’s "clear vision of a particular moment when walking in a forest in early autumn," according to the brand. That moment, apparently, is filled with notes of patchouli, vetiver, and nutmeg. (Jan. 2019)