Anyone who’s bitten into a ripe apricot, peach or plum understands the juicy scents of summer. But today’s perfumers have created fragrances that make fruity essences available all year long.
Fancy an olfactory plate of ripe figs? L’Artisan’s Figuier Extreme and Ava Luxe’s Figue de Sucre showcase the creamy sweetness of the fruit, while Heeley’s Eau de Figuier and L’Artisan’s Premier Figuier evoke the entire tree, complete with green leaves, milky white secretions and twiggy branches.
A giant ribbon of Japanese plum unfurls through Serge Luten’s monumental Feminite du Bois, Keiko Mecheri’s Ume and Creed’s Acqua Fiorentina. Artemesia’s Saveur d’Abricot may call to mind the experience of standing under an apricot tree and biting into the last golden fruit of the season. In the same way jam makers often combine fruits to create new flavors, perfumers often pair fruit notes to salubrious effect. Liz Zorn’s Figgy Plum is a melange of ripe figs, plum blossom and black tea notes garnished with hints of cinnamon, tobacco and tolu.
Perfumers also love pairing sweet-tart berries with florals, spices, citrus and musk.
L’Artisan, the late Jean Laporte’s niche firm that liberated French perfumery from its heavy, classic yoke with translucent, modern compositions, ushered in this era with 1978’s breakthrough blackberry fragrance Mure et Musc.
Jo Malone, who made a big splash with crisp colognes, has several berry scents in her lineup, including Blackberry & Bay and Elderberry & Gooseberry, which is reminiscent of an aromatic Swedish cordial. Annick Goutal’s Quel Amour! and Eau de Charlotte pair berry against, respectively, notes of rose and cocoa. Trish McEvoy’s No. 9 Blackberry & Vanilla Musk and Lavanilla’s Vanilla Blackberry perfumes meld tart berries with sweet vanilla.
Talented perfumer and e-tailer Ava Luxe devotes an entire line to fruit perfumes including Strawberry, Wild Blackberry Musk, Pink Grapefruit, Peach and Mango.
The fragrance that catapulted green mango into the olfactory mainstream was Jean Claude Ellena’s Un Jardin Sur le Nil for Hermès, whose mouth-watering tart fruit note set noses everywhere aquiver.
Christian Dior’s J’Adore and Yves Saint Laurent’s Yvresse rock summer peachy vibes with well-blended florals.
L’Artisan wins the award for best pineapple-citrus with Ananas Fizz, a discontinued scent available as a limited edition this summer at Barney’s and select retailers.
If you have a perfume sweet tooth, check out the spun-aluminum bottles of Comptoir Sud Pacifique, which pair the fruits and exotic spices of the South Pacific with creamy vanilla.
The regal House of Guerlain began wooing the youth crowd in 1999 with its
Aqua Allegoria line of light colognes lashed with herbs, florals and fruit. Standouts include the crisp citrus of Pampelune and Mandarine Basilic, but Guerlain is constantly introducing new AAs and discontinuing poor sellers, so stock up if you find one you like.
For cherries, try Delices de Cartier if your pocket’s fat and the Body Shop’s Japanese Cherry Blossom or L’Occitane’s Cherry Blossom if it’s not.
Rhubarb, the crisp red stalks rendered into jam or paired with strawberries in pie, has also caught the fancy of perfumers. The apotheosis of these is Rhubarb by edgy Japanese firm Comme des Garcons, from its Red line. Jo Malone plays the tart, green notes of rhubarb against florals in her Rhubarb and White Lilac perfume and Burberry Brit Red is orchestrated around the tart/sweet notes of this noble stalk.
Denise Hamilton writes about perfume for The Times.