The Beginner’s Guide to Men’s Summer Scents

Men’s Summer Scents – An introduction

The arrival of summer means that it’s the perfect time to discover your signature summer fragrance and attract attention to yourself for all the right reasons. Certain men’s summer scents immediately evoke happy memories: the smell of ice cream on the beach, sea salt in your hair, or laying on freshly cut grass. The right summer aftershave can help you to recreate these scents of summer, helping you to feel fresh, clean, and perfect for the season.

You may be tempted to wear the same fragrance year-round, but it’s important to remember that whilst warming tones of rich leather, musky charcoal and earthy cloves are perfect for winter, they will feel very out of place when the temperatures rise. The new season demands a lighter, and more refreshing summer fragrance.  

When picking a fragrance, it’s important to choose something that will deepen and evolve as the day wears on. You may love a fragrance’s initial top notes, but if it doesn’t have a rich base then the scent will have simply disappeared by lunchtime. Fragrance notes are separated into three categories: top (or head) notes, middle (or heart) notes, and base notes. Each of these categories simply refers to how long the fragrance can be smelt and enjoyed after the fragrance has been applied: the lower the note, the longer it will last.

If you’re totally new to the world of men’s fragrances, then you may want to have a look at our fragrances infographic because it will give you useful information to use when hunting your summer aftershave.

Here are our top picks of the perfect notes for summer, to help you choose your next summer scent.

Top Notes

Top notes, sometimes known as head notes, are the initial scents that you will enjoy when you first apply your fragrance. These notes are light and zingy. The right top note will first attract you to your fragrance, as well as helping to put a spring in your step when you get out of bed in the morning. Vibrant, fruity top notes are perfect for summer fragrances. Reminiscent of refreshing cocktails enjoyed in the sun, fruity fragrances are surprisingly durable and perfect for perking up your day.

Citrus is a popular top note because its smaller scent molecules will quickly lift from the skin. This allows you to smell and enjoy them straight away. Acqua di Parma’s Chinotto de Liguria is the ideal fragrance for citrus fans, combining rich scents of Italian lemons and mandarins. On first spray you’ll imagine that you’re strolling through the lush vegetation of a Sicilian orange grove. After this, the fragrance deepens to give an earthier, beachier finish.

For something a little more unusual, but with the same refreshing fruit concept, why not try Creed Aventus? Offering vibrant and refreshing top notes of pineapple, blackcurrant and bergamot, one spritz will carry you away to the tropical shores of a far-flung beach.

If you don’t enjoy fruity fragrances, then don’t worry. There are other top note portfolios that work perfectly for summer aftershaves. Kenzo Pour Homme presents an aquatic offering reminiscent of a refreshing swim in the ocean. Salty seaweed is the dominant top note, combined with a rich mahogany that lends the fragrance an earthy and masculine feel. Refreshing and aromatic, this is the ideal fragrance for long summer days spent surfing at the beach.

Middle/Heart notes

The middle notes are vitally important for bridging the top and base notes and creating a smooth harmony to your scent, and can make up anywhere between 40 percent and 80 percent of the total fragrance. Designed to last much longer than the fleeting top notes, heart notes tend to be much more potent and complex. You will begin to enjoy the middle, or heart, notes of your fragrance around 5-10 minutes after application.

Middle notes are designed to beguile and bewitch, enticing their wearer with memories of happy summers past. One of the best scents for this important mission is rose, which lends a fresh floral bouquet. You’ll find rose heart notes in both Creed Aventus and Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio. Like a walk through a luxurious garden in your favourite hotel, or country house, rose can immediately evoke memories of summer romance.

For something a little more masculine and distinctive, why not look for heart notes of refreshing mint? Peppermint is particularly summery, designed to refresh both your skin and your mind. Classic fragrance, Davidoff Cool Water, utilises peppermint as one of its middle notes, and this only adds to its cooling and refreshing fragrance. The overall feel is fresh, clean, and romantic. This is the perfect every occasion summer fragrance.

Base notes


Base notes are the most durable part of your fragrance. This is the scent you will continue to smell at the end of a long day, so it’s important to pick base notes that you really love. You will enjoy the emerging base notes of your summer aftershave between 15-20 minutes after you initially apply the fragrance: wait for these base notes before you decide if a new fragrance is right for you. Remember that whilst the scent profile of each bottle will be the same, the way this interacts with your skin means that the same fragrance could smell completely different on two different wearers.

Base notes tend to have deeper, earthier, scent profiles, and one of the most popular bases for summer aftershaves is oakmoss. Oakmoss is an exhilarating scent that has rich and woody overtones. Like taking a bike ride through the woods to escape the unrelenting heat of the sun, using an oak moss base note will instantly make you feel cooler and more refreshed. You’ll find this popular base note in a wealth of summer fragrances, including Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio and Ralph Lauren’s Polo Blue.

For something a little cleaner and fresher, look for ocean-inspired base notes, such as ambergris. Fresh enough for summer days, but with a rich heat that means you could wear this versatile fragrance long into autumn, Tom Ford’s Oud Minerale utilises ambergris as its base note perfectly. As strange as it is beautiful, the base here smells like the sea air after a storm, and is a fun and incredibly manly take on the scents of summer.

Now that you know more about summer aftershaves, click here to view our top tips for finding your signature scent.

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