IM Subscribe / register IM Subscribe

11 best men’s fragrances for summer

Update your collection for the warmer months with a fresh scent

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Summer’s here and the time is right to refresh your fragrance choices. That bottle you picked up in the winter months must be running out by now and the warming tones of charcoal, leather and cloves are feeling somewhat out of place with your short sleeved shirts. For the longer days, hazy evenings and countless weddings you have to attend you need something fresh, clean and well...summery. So here a few of the best men's fragrances out and about this season - come rain or shine.

Paul Smith - Hello You! 50ml, £35, Boots

The British designer is back with a brand new fragrance this season, in the form of Hello You! With the brand's signature stripes down the side of the bottle, Paul Smith's distinctive handwriting on the front and a pin-up girl grinning widely from within, this a beautifully designed addition to the bathroom cabinet. The fragrance itself ages wonderfully, with a sparkling citrus and coriander scent to begin with that matures slowly giving way to rich pink pepper and and amber as the day progresses. It’s a brilliant, all day scent that can suit practically any occasion or taste - best paired with a drink, sunglasses and hefty dose of vitamin D. 

Buy now

D.S and Durga - Cowboy Grass 50ml, £139, Liberty

If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, off the beaten track and simply unique, D.S & Durga’s Cowboy Grass might be stallion for you. One of the most remarkable scents in this list D.S & Durga have done it again with this remarkably potent and perfect fragrance. What hits you instantly after a spritz is the aroma of fresh basil and fiery American sagebrush. This combination forms the heart of the overall scent which also boasts tyme and a little rose. It evokes fond memories of their other excellent fragrance Coriander, in terms of its spiciness, but Cowboy Grass is a completely different animal. It’s like nothing out there at the moment and will no doubt turn heads. DSD say Cowboy Grass is perfect for robbing banks on horseback, while we can’t condone such actions it certainly wouldn't be a bad idea to smell great doing it, just steer clear of the tassled suede jacket. 

Buy now

Issey Miyake - L'Eau d'Issey Pour Homme Summer 2018 125ml, £44, The Perfume Shop

No summer, or fragrance list for that matter, is complete without a little Issey Miyake. Every summer since 1995 Issey Miyake have invited artists to reinvent their most popular scent. This latest creation is a stunner both to smell and to look at. Additions of kiwi, grapefruit and coriander give the progenitor a new remix, a perfect summer palette. This only continues to improve as aromas of pineapple and nutmeg start to appear. The new version comes courtesy of French creators Tyrsa and Alice Aubioron, and it’s housed in the iconic Issey Miyake bottle adorned with chunky colourful lettering and a blue tinted cap. A brilliant new member of the family and well worth picking up if you’re a fan. 

Buy now

Ted Baker - Ted’s Travel tonic 25ml, £25, Ted Baker

For the travellers out there - especially those who like to move light with a carry on bag in hand - Ted Baker’s Travel Tonics are an excellent grab. Wonderfully affordable and exceedingly smart looking (enough to make you feel like the real 007), these little metallic spritzers come in three distinct flavours and can be dropped into any weekend bag for a refresh on the go. Gold sees spicy bergamot and clove notes alongside jasmine and vanilla. Silver features more violet, leather and cedarwood. While third on the podium is copper, with zingy grapefruit and pepper. The fragrances themselves last well, clocking in at around eight or nine hours - but when you do need a refresh a bottle is never far from reach.

Buy now

Robert Graham - Fortitude 250ml, £222, Robert Graham

At the other end of the price spectrum we have the super luxurious Robert Graham fragrances. These old school, weighted bottles with their ornate stoppers make the aftershave too impressive for the bathroom cabinet and the liquid inside them is just as unique. Part of a range of expressive scents, we sampled Fortitude, which comes complete with a horned ram’s skull set with green Swarovski crystals. With top notes of tobacco and a base of tonka bean, Fortitude is wonderfully indulgent, deep and rich. On paper it smells like a whiskey cocktail and after it settles on the skin it matures wonderfully with time. At over £100 for 100ml Fortitude is an investment, but for those with the cash, passion and a penchant for making a statement, this smokey sweet scent will suit - and the bottle will look fantastic on any shelf.

Buy now

Calvin Klein - One Summer 100ml, £19.99, The Perfume Shop

This latest adaptation of CK’s One fragrance - helpfully titled CK One Summer - is a wonderfully clean, crisp take on the original. Much like its predecessor, One Summer is simple, pleasing and no-nonsense. The fragrance boasts top notes of lime mojito, which is about as summary as it gets to be honest, which mellows out into more traditional woody notes with a cheeky hit of guava. It’s a really unique little scent, wonderfully put together for the season and with just the right amount of oomph to set it aside from the competition. Like the original CK One, the summer version comes in CK’s plain bottle but this time around it’s sporting a very fetching turquoise colour. Like a reliable white cotton t-shirt, this is a scent you can just throw on and roll with.

Buy now

Acqua Di Parma - Blu Mediterraneo, Fico di Amalfi 150ml, £93, John Lewis

Roll down the roof of the car, put The Kinks on the radio and start winding your way along the winding coasts in the south of France. There are only a few fragrances that truly encapsulate the sweet, sun kissed feeling of the summer months and fortunately Blu Mediterraneo, Fico di Amalfi does exactly that. Even better, it doesn’t cost as much as a villa. With a nice hit of grapefruit, lemons and fig conjuring up memories of the Med, Acqua Di Parma’s fragrance almost earns compulsory inclusion in any summer list. For those of you actually travelling, not just sitting in an office wistfully counting down the hours to a slightly ramshackle beer garden, it also comes in a handy 30ml travel size version - perfect for when you’re headed to the yacht, darling. 

Buy now

Mont Blanc - Legend Night 50ml, £46, John Lewis

As Danny and Sandy once said… ‘summer fling don’t mean a thing, but, oh, those summer nights’. Scholars have yet to fully comprehend such words of wisdom, but they have a point - it’s not just the sun drenched days you have to contend with this season, the nights will be just as fun. The only problem is, fizzy citrus scents and floral tones don’t always suit an evening do, or a suit for that matter. That’s where these two excellent sprays come in. First up we have Mont Blanc’s amazing Legend Night. This divine fragrance features hints of sage and cedarwood but the savvy inclusion of cooling peppermint and cardamom really make it something special. The bottle itself is effortlessly cool to match the scent, with the amber liquid housed inside making the whole thing look like an aged cognac. 

Buy now

Givenchy - Gentleman Eau De Parfum 50ml, £56, John Lewis

Staying in the rhythm of the night, we have Givenchy’s Eau De Parfum version of their hugely successful Gentleman fragrance. When Gentleman first hit shelves last year, the quiet sophistication and quality was apparent. It was designed to be a subtle addition to an ensemble, like a tie clip or a watch. The eau de parfum version, however, is here to make an entrance and knock your socks off. With a punchy heart of black pepper accompanying black vanilla pods and sweet iris, this is a deeply powerful fragrance that stays with you for hours. Givenchy set out to own the night with this scent and they’ve certainly done that. Much like its brother, EDP Gentleman comes in an understated, cooler than cool bottle, with a heavy base and a jet black interior - a perfect little 50ml addition to any night bag.  

Buy now

Lacoste - Eau Fraiche L.12.12 100ml, £47, Lacoste

Last, but by no means least, we have Lacoste’s latest offering, Eau Fraiche - a zesty little number full of freshness, vim and vigour. With citrus and aqua notes wrapped around a heart of limoncello, the overall effect of this new kid on the block is that of energy and passion. The limoncello is an especially nice touch, conjuring up smokey Italian nights, good food and ice cold refreshment. Top tip: drop some limoncello in your prosecco, you’ll be amazed. Contained in the instantly recognisable Lacoste bottle with the fabric croc, it’s tricky to see how this scent can go wrong. Perfect for day-to-day use, it lasts for ages and, with a 100ml bottle, it’s perfect to carry around for a little refresh.

Buy now

Verdict: Men's summer fragrances 

Whoever said summer fragrances were just about citrus? These remarkable scents are all fantastic in their own right, perfectly complimenting every summer occasion. With Paul Smith’s latest edition you really won’t go wrong, its versatility and quality are matched only by the playfulness of the fragrance itself. But, those with a more adventurous taste should really try out D.S & Durga’s Cowboy Grass, a truly unique fragrance that is hard to match. Wherever you find yourself this summer, be it straining to get that last inch of light in the beer garden, or beach hopping on some distant shore, look and smell excellent doing it.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

Article bookmarked

Find your bookmarks in your Independent Minds section, under my profile