What’s a man to wear this summer? That is the question. What’s new, what’s good, what’s perfect for the season? Other questions: should we stick to brands that we know or search for something different? Argh, even more, questions! But don’t worry, gentlemen, picking out a new scent for summer really isn’t that difficult, and I’ve pulled together five excellent choices that feature new launches, quirky alternatives and hidden gems. Whatever your style, fragrance taste, or whatever occasion, as always I’ve got your back.
#1 Montblanc Explorer
Let’s kick off with something new – something that will be the scent of summer 2019. This is the time of year where we pack our bags and head on adventures across the globe so it makes sense that Explorer, the latest scent from Montblanc, would be a perfect summer companion. Inspired by the idea of a voyage, Explorer is a mish-mash of notes, boasting top notes of bergamot and pepper, a heart of patchouli, and a base of leather and cedar wood. The result is a warm and evocative scent with a suede-like feel. I smell it and think of worn leather jackets, canvas bags and cotton scarves. It’s a trip across the desert and a hike in the mountains – in fact, this explorer is whatever you want it to be.
#2 Guerlain L’Eau Boisee
Vetiver is a staple ingredient of masculine fragrances, and it’s also completely versatile, lending itself well to warm originals and fresh, barbershop fougeres in equal measures. It has several distinct facets: grapefruit, earth, smoke, salt, liquorice, which means that it can be many things in many different ways. In Homme L’Eau Boisée, GUERLAIN pays homage to their iconic Vetiver fragrance by giving the eponymous note a modern twist, in which the grapefruit and liquorice facets are the main focus. This is like mixology – a zesty lime-filled mojito with a twist of bitter anise, and a curl of wood on top for a garnish. It’s handsome, cooling and utterly classic – definitely one of GUERLAIN’s most underrated gems.
#3 Comme des Garçons Blackpepper
I know what you’re thinking, black pepper sounds like the least summer-appropriate ingredient one can find, but it’s actually pretty perfect. We look to fruits, citruses and ozonic notes to gives us refreshment, and black pepper can join that list too. The note is metallic-fresh but also breezy and light with a sheen-like filter of citrus. In Blackpepper, the black pepper note, rather unsurprisingly, takes centre stage. It billows with a fresh, mineral breeze of crackling black pepper, carrying with it iridescent threads of silver, all cushioned by a pillow of white musks and soft, pale woods. It’s a great thing to wear with a white t-shirt and blue jeans, and it makes a perfect alternative to fresh scents like L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme and D&G Light Blue.
#4 Goutal Paris Bois d’Hadrien
Do you know that feeling, where you’re sat out in the evening sun, and you can feel the hot ultraviolet rays of our nearest star hitting the tanned skin on the back of your neck? It’s that bronze moment of the day where the low sun bathes the world in a blanket of terracotta-coloured light. That is the scent of Bois d’Hadrien by Goutal Paris – a fragrance that, through sun-dried citrus notes, roasted woods and baked herbs, recreates the feeling of a balmy Italian evening. It’s the perfect fragrance for a holiday, all you need to do is pack your linen shirt, espadrilles and Ray-Bans. Summer level: expert.
#5 Miller Harris La Feuille
La Feuille takes its inspiration from autumn leaves, but there’s actually something wonderfully summer-like about it. With the juicy refreshment of tomato leaves, La Feuille presents a lush, piquant character that speaks of greenery in an elegant, masculine way. It bursts with citrus and the mouthwatering fullness of tomatoes, while a bitter green vein of galbanum runs through the core, creating a nostalgic flourish that is suave, and almost dandyish. This is the summer scent of an artist or a creative – of someone who sees the beauty and emotion in nature and wishes to capture it in some way or another, perhaps via a story, a photograph or a painting. La Feuille recreates this beauty via olfaction.