February 3, 2023

El Cosmico

Every year, I anxiously anticipate writing this article because it means spring has finally arrived every time I do. If you’re into seasonal scents, you know that there is nothing better than switching from your winter scent to the one for spring. When warmer weather rolls around, it’s a chance to trade in heavier fragrances for something a touch lighter. Ahead, you’ll find 15 of my favorite warmer weather fragrances. Most are new, some are mainstays, but I promise you, you’ll love all of them. Keep scrolling to discover them all.

Byredo Mixed Emotions

Mixed Emotions
Byredo Mixed Emotions $196.00

Mixed Emotions was inspired by a year in quarantine and the emotions that we were all feeling simultaneously: loneliness, anxiety, longing, love, excitement, fear, wonder. No two people had the same experience in isolation.

Some of us were all alone. Some of us were holed up with our lovers. Others made a pact with their closest friends only to see each other. Not every second of quarantine has been bad. I hope you were able to find some moments of joy, but even if you did, if you are anything like me, those bright spots were tinged with a bit of uncertainty. Essentially, we were all experiencing mixed emotions: The good wasn’t all good, and the bad wasn’t all bad. Byredo set out to capture that in a scent.

Mixed Emotions blends maté (a tea-adjacent drink) cassis, which is a sweet, dark liquor made from blackcurrants, and wood. It’s interesting, I would liken it to a mix of blackberries and incense, like Byredo’s Accord Oud, but side by side, Mixed Emotions is much juicer. Often, scents like this can wear too heavily on the skin, but it plays really nicely on me. It’s tart and tangy but nicely balanced by the tea and wood. It’s got a lot of depth but is one of those scents that is just as good in the summer as it is in the winter.

Internal Affairs

Almost Guilty
Almost Guilty Internal Affairs $90.00

This is a Black-owned fragrance that first sold out quickly after it dropped, but it is a spring scent through and through. It’s fruity, with a bit of a peppery, herbaceous note that runs through it. I find it very addicting and so good.

The top features lemon, blackcurrant, and apple. The heart showcases pear (which I love,) raspberry, jasmine, and patchouli, with a base of vanilla, woods, and musk. For being as fruit-forward as it is, it’s bright and buoyant without being too sweet. There are just as many fruity notes as there are notes that add depth, so instead of jumping out at you one by one, they blend into something entirely different, entirely new. It’s so good.

Honestly, I never know what I’m getting myself into when it comes to new fragrance brands, but this one? An absolute delight. If the initial success of Internal Affairs is any indication of what’s to come, then I couldn’t be more excited for what’s next.

Tom Ford Costa Azzurra

Costa Azzurra
Tom Ford Costa Azzurra $195.00

Oh, this one is good. This one is dangerous. Costa Azzurra isn’t even so much a scent as it is a situation. It’s very citrusy, earthy, and woody. It’s strong. Costa Azzurra is inspired by and meant to emulate the smell of fresh sea air, which sounds nice, but have you ever smelled fresh sea air? It can sometimes be sulfuric (not something I’d want to smell like).

The second it hits my nose, I don’t think of the sea but of a wealthy man on a business trip that I meet at a hotel located on the crystal blue waters of the Amalfi Coast, after nightfall, of course. This scent is half retro, half contemporary, and all drama. It’s bossy and sexy and confident, the kind of cologne you smell through someone else’s shirt that you’re desperately hoping to take off.

Plus, shoutout the bottle. I love all Tom Ford bottles, but there’s something classic, simple, and gorgeous about this one. I love the look of it as much as I love how it smells.

Acqua Di Parma Arancia Di Capri

Arancia Di Capri
Acqua Di Parma Arancia Di Capri $210.00

This is every great citrus note you’ve ever smelled in a fragrance, combined and bottled into one scent. Arancia di Capri takes the process of peeling a citrus fruit with your bare hands and puts every part of that into an olfactory experience. From digging through the tough, waxy skin that smells vaguely pungent and green to slowly peeling it back and smelling the bitter citrus oils spray from the rind. And finally, the sweet, juicy fruit itself.

I love it. It’s bright, refreshing, tangy, and sweet. The top notes are basically every citrus you can imagine. You’ll find cardamom and petitgrain with a beautiful base of caramel and musk in the middle. The caramel is what sold me on this; you barely smell it, but it gives it the slightest bit of warm sweetness that wears beautifully.

Atelier Cologne Pacific Lime

Pacific Lime
Atelier Cologne Pacific Lime $67.00

I always forget that lime is one of my favorite scents until the second I smell one, and I’m like, “Oh yeah, this is good.” Like all citruses, lime is bright and tangy, but it can also be really warm, in a way. As opposed to a lemon or an orange, a lime is bright and sharp and has a depth that you don’t get from other citruses. That said, of course, Pacific Lime is a standout to me. Coconut, which I also love, adds its milky warm sweetness, with spearmint and eucalyptus add a fresh, green base.

This is such an exciting, wearable take on lime. I’m always excited to see how Atelier Cologne brings a hero note to life because they never disappoint. This is a fresh, sweet, earthy take on lime that is an absolute must-try for the warmer months.

 D.S. & Durga El Cosmico

El Cosmico
D.S. & Durga El Cosmico $260.00

D.S. & Durga’s tagline is “perfume is armchair travel.” Rightfully so because each of their scents truly embodies another time and place. I’m a huge fan of the brand, and El Cosmico is incredible.

Inspired by the desert airs of Marfa, Texas, it’s made up of many notes: desert shrubs, desert pepper, and dry sand accord. There are also herbaceous notes throughout the fragrance. But with all of those earthy notes, it’s also surprisingly sweet. Not sweet like candy but sweet like a sour gummy worm.

To me, it smells like the desert air after an alien abduction or in the middle of the northern lights (which I am now realizing do not happen in the desert but go with it.) It is hard to describe, but it is one of the most interesting fragrances I’ve ever smelled.

Persons of Interest Supernova

Persons of Interest Supernova
Persons of Interest Supernova $72.00

Persons of Interest is a relatively new fragrance collection. If you gravitate to warm, sticky fragrances that tend to lean sweet, then I think you’ll like almost all of their scents. Supernova is an outlier in their collection in that it’s a little brighter than the rest of their fragrances, but it’s actually my favorite. The brand will tell you that Supernova is made up of woods, lime, patchouli, coriander, and amber, but it’s so much more than that in practice.

Supernova smells just like it sounds. It’s glistening like a brand new star. It’s purple, like a faraway galaxy. It feels like it traveled at light speed to get to earth and land on your skin. It’s bright but just a little bit bitter, enough to make your nose tingle. However, the sweetness counteracts all that and makes it deliciously addicting. Meanwhile, the woods and herbaceous notes give it a lot of dry depth and longevity. This is one of those fragrances that I can’t wait to wear again.

Vilhelm Parfumerie Morning Chess

Morning Chess
Vilhelm Parfumerie Morning Chess $128.00

Oh, this one is an all-time favorite for me. It’s a fragrance so good that I always remember exactly where I was the first time I wore it, even though the only standout about that day was the fragrance itself.

Morning Chess is inspired by the perfumer’s summers in Sweden as a girl, playing chess with her grandfather in the morning. Bergamot, leather, patchouli, and amber come together to make a profoundly lovely scent that I will never be without it.

This is one of those scents that’s everything simultaneously, so different parts of the scent will come out on different people. The bergamot really shines through with a sharp, satisfying sweetness, but the leather and patchouli create a strong base that never lets it get ahead of itself. It is deftly layered and perfectly balanced. It is really a true joy to wear, and I feel like there is so much of myself wrapped up in it. I’ve just been wearing and loving it for years.

Eat. Sweat. Undress. Diani Beach Hair Mist

Diani Beach Hair Mist
Eat. Sweat. Undress. Diani Beach Hair Mist $65.00

This is a hair perfume, but I’m putting it in this roundup because it smells like a fine fragrance and deserves to live alongside the rest of my favorites on this list.

I may have a buzzcut situation right now, but I had long hair that was bleached and colored within an inch of its life for a big part of my life. When you’re constantly playing with a ton of fun colors, you can’t wash every day because hot water and shampoo are the enemies of long-lasting color. I wish I had known about this stuff then.

If you didn’t tell me any different, I’d think the Eat. Sweat. Undress. Hair Mist was a regular perfume because it smells just like one. Diani Beach is built like a traditional fragrance with top notes of grapefruit, orange, coconut, bergamot, middle notes of pineapple, rose, black currant, and a base of amber, caramel, cedarwood, and vanilla. It’s beachy but not what you’d think of as a typical sunny, coconut beach scent. It’s more than that. It’s like a candlelit dinner on the ocean after a day in the sun, when its warmth is still radiating off of your skin.

Eat. Sweat. Undress. has five hair mists in all, but they also have a discovery set with mini vials of all five scents worth snagging.

Escada Candy Love

Candy Love
Escada Candy Love $60.00

Let’s get one thing straight: Valentine’s Day lasts all year. It’s my favorite holiday ever, and I basically start celebrating in October. I think you should make every day feel like Valentine’s Day, and honestly, Escada Candy Love is one great way to do that. When I first saw it, I knew it was an absolute must-have, but I didn’t think the scent would be as good as the bottle. But it is!

Think about the way it looks and how you’ll think it will smell. It’s that, but better. The standout notes are apple, rose, and vanilla whipped cream. It sounds sweet, and it is, but there’s enough rose in there to balance the sweetness without muting it. It’s fruity, fluffy, and so much fun to wear.

Valentino Uomo Born In Roma Yellow Dream

Uomo Born In Roma Yellow Dream
Valentino Uomo Born In Roma Yellow Dream $82.00

This fragrance is so crazy, special, and made up of absolutely everything I love. Let’s get right into the notes because they’re specifically what makes this a standout. Born In Roma Yellow Dream opens with mandarin orange and pineapple. The heart is made up of a gingerbread accord, and the base is vanilla and cedar. It’s so unique and cool. I am obsessed with all of those notes. You never see pineapple or gingerbread in a scent, especially combined.

On the skin, it’s a real treat, and I suppose I mean that literally. It’s warm and smooth and sweet and has very commanding wear without ever being too strong. I am so happy I got my hands on it. It’s one of those scents that I’m always excited to put on.

Mugler Angel Nova

Angel Nova
Mugler Angel Nova $104.00

This fragrance is already iconic because it’s Mugler. Mugler wrote the book on wild combinations of notes that make for unforgettable scents. Angel Nova is a delicious, more approachable take on the Angel franchise. It is equal parts fruity and floral, with a base of woods to give it some texture. The top kicks off with a juicy red pairing of lychee and raspberry, with a heart of rose, and woods and benzoin, which is similar to vanilla, at the base.

This is a bright, fruity scent with an intellectual side. The notes in the scent are very well balanced, making for lovely wear on the skin that only gets better with time.

Maison Margiela Replica Under the Lemon Trees

Replica Under the Lemon Trees
Maison Margiela Replica Under the Lemon Trees $53.00

No one is doing it like Maison Margiela. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. Under The Lemon Tree is beautiful in its simplicity. There are many places this could have gone with the imagery of being under a lemon tree, bringing in notes of fresh grass, the leaves of the tree, the…bark. I don’t know. But this really hones in on the lemon itself.

The brand’s Replica fragrances are really good at bringing something to life right in front of your eyes, tapping into both your memories of it and memories you didn’t even know you had. I expected a very exact take on the concept, or at least the lemon, but what we got is a soft, approachable take on the bright citrus. The scent is essentially a fresh lemon, a little bit of wood, and some musk to let it breathe.

It’s fruity and airy and just really lovely. I think this one will also wear differently on anyone who wears it. Yes, I know all fragrances wear differently depending on the wearer’s body chemistry. Still, I think this will be embodied differently depending on if it’s being worn under a sundress or a leather jacket.

Lush Furze

Lush Furze
Lush Furze $105.00

I bet you don’t know that, along with bath bombs and Dream Cream, Lush makes very exquisite fragrances. I’m serious. And I know what you might think a Lush fragrance would smell like—patchouli and Whole Foods—but I promise you some of my very favorite scents ever have come from Lush.

Furze captures everything we love about the beach tableau through a Lush lens. It’s got a pairing of vanilla and coconut that are actually more reserved than either of the notes typically are, especially when paired together. Neroli, florals, and woods round it out to make a beachy scent that is less animated and more still life. If not a more accurate take on the beach, then it is definitely a more adult take. I’ve been wearing this for a couple of years, and I still reach for it every spring.

Imaginary Authors Saint Julep

Saint Julep
Imaginary Authors Saint Julep $95.00

If you have never heard of Imaginary Authors, do yourself a quick favor and take a scroll through their website. Each of their fragrances tells a story of a fictional author on an adventure that inspired the scent. Some fragrances are chapters in a larger story, too. I’ve never heard of another concept like it. Plus, they’re doing some of the most interesting things in fragrance right now. This is a great example of why.

Saint Julep is inspired by the legend of an old speakeasy that was transported to the middle of a mint field on the backs of two dozen men. So, mint is the standout note here. I love mint, and it’s so hard to find in fragrances, especially in ways that don’t make it smell like a cleaning product.

But this is great. Taking notes (literally) from the classic cocktail, the Mint Julep, you’ll find sweet mint, bourbon, sugar cube, plus tangerine and magnolia. It smells fresh and sweet, and it’s exactly what I’d hoped it would be. It’s something perfect for spring and even better to welcome in the hotter months.