For us guys, the art of summer fragrances requires thought and balance. It’s not an easy thing to accomplish! So to help you out, we’ve rounded up five of the best summer colognes this year (focusing on brands and scents that fly a bit under the radar).
Why is finding a good summer cologne so difficult though? Well, cold weather fragrances tend to be more grounded, the kind of classic scents you associate with a discerning gent.
For summer, you want something light and season-appropriate. Something that’s a touch sweet, or a bit citrusy, but not to the point that it smells like a middle school girl’s body splash.
Our five favorites here fit the bill in different ways, offering a range of styles.
A Few Warm Weather Fragrances We Suggest
We wanted to include a range of summer colognes at different price points, so no matter what your budget is, you can smell great! Here they are, in no particular order.
Barrel and Oak Mountain Sage
Formerly known as Oliviana, Barrel and Oak’s Mountain Sage fragrance is perfect for the summer because of how outdoorsy it is.
Even if you aren’t a man of the woods per se, the foresty smell is slightly brightened by citrus notes, which gives it a great under-the-sun vibe. The formula contains cedar and patchouli, making it more generally earthy, rather than super beachy though.
You can definitely wear this scent at a rooftop bar in the city, as well as at a Fourth of July barbecue.
I have to acknowledge one reviewer on Amazon though. He mentions that this fragrance smells like incense at a smoke shop. He’s absolutely right—if you overdo it.
It’s oil-based, another quality that makes it great for summer because its non-drying quality ensures it lasts all day. But, it will get stronger throughout the day as well.
Stick to one spray. If you’re going for an extra woodsy smell, you can go for two sprays, but only do this if you’re going to be outdoors.
When I apply this fragrance before I leave the house at 9am, I can still smell it on me whether I get home at 5pm or 12am.
Tom Ford Costa Azzurra Acqua
Costa Azzurra scents are the fresher smelling fragrances from Tom Ford. They’re lighter and brighter, and the Acqua variation is one of the most unique marine scents on the market.
Unlike the original Costa Azzurra, the Acqua has cyprus in it. And unlike the new gold-bottled Costa Azzurra, Acqua contains juniper. I think this is the best of both worlds.
Cyprus adds a slight masculine spiciness and darkness, while juniper berry gives a super subtle touch of nectar, so that the overall profile isn’t winter-fragrance dark.
As an aquatic scent, this cologne has a bit of a vacation tone, but the balance, reserved nature, and light projection actually make it very dressy.
I’d say the Acqua is appropriate for a summer dinner date or a professional situation—basically, any time you’re wearing a blazer. This scent lasts me a good nine to ten hours with just a spritz.
One thing to keep in mind when you’re buying designer fragrances online is that fakes are extremely common, even on Amazon. Always check in with your seller to make sure they’re legit.
Anecdote Summer Fling
Anecdote’s Summer Fling is effectively unisex thanks to its balance of sweet and crisp.
Laxy Summer Days...endless nights, sun-kissed skin and fleeting love under the stars. Summer Fling is careless dreams remembered. Anecdote fragrances are based on the idea that our sense of smell is closely linked to our memories.
The sweetness comes from the pink grapefruit and coconut, which is a bit tropical and not overly sugary.
And here’s something I really love. It’s so common for cologne formulas to rely on woodsyness to add a masculine touch to the profile.
Instead, Anecdote goes with white musk, which tempers the fruity notes with a moderate “clean” flavor, and also sweet tonka, a balance of vanilla and tobacco. It’s pretty clever and unexpected for a unisex scent.
Summer Fling is beachy, but not so beachy you can’t wear it indoors. It’s a versatile warm weather vibe that you can even take into spring.
Another plus? It’s all-natural, vegan, and contains zero parabens. For guys, I suggest just one light spritz every few hours. Any more than that, and it might get a bit too sweet.
Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet
If you’re looking for a formal scent and find that most of them are too dark for summer, but you also aren’t a marine fragrance kind of guy, try the Blenheim Bouquet by Penhaligon’s.
It’s a dry, classic formula, and it smells as elegant as its statuesque bottle looks.
It’s technically unisex, but the black pepper and musk undertones definitely lean masculine in my opinion. The darker notes are lightened up with lemon and pine, resulting in an understated and elegant smell.
Since it doesn’t knock you over the head with hard-hitting notes, I think this can be worn casually too. It’s like the vesper martini of fragrances: Quiet, well-balanced, and sweetly dry.
Dollar Shave Club Collection
Dollar Shave Club has a fun collection of non-intimidating fragrances, perfect for guys who don’t have a signature scent and want to try a lot of different flavors for the season.
Haven't found your signature scent? Dollar Shave Club's collection provides a cool crispness with these fragrances. Try all 3 in this collection.
Blueprint 103 is a mix of lemon, moss, and amber, a classic summer balance. It’s bright but grounded, and can be worn as an everyday fragrance.
101 is a fun mix of sea spray and melon (for patio and beach parties, perhaps?), while the lavender and bergamot in the 102 is fresh, evening-appropriate, and date-worthy.
Best of all, The Fresh Collection is a bundle of 15mL-sized bottles that allow you to try all three scents. They’re all pretty moderate too, just a level above aftershave, with a longer linger and slightly wider projection.
The Best Summer Fragrance for You
There’s more to summer fragrances than just beachy, and we hope you found one or two here that you can wear this season! Which cologne are you going to go for?
Let us know your thoughts! Feel free to DM us on Instagram anytime!