Summer can be a rough time for gourmands. Sweet, rich scents have the tendency to become cloying in the heat, and sometimes a light fruity scent just doesn’t cut it when what you really want is cake.
So here are my nine go-to options for sweet but summery scents. While some of them aren’t pure gourmands, they have enough of the right notes to satisfy any foody cravings I have during this stretch of hot, humid weather.
Cameo (Solstice Scents)
Almond, rose, yellow cake, tonka bean absolute, coconut flakes, creamed ginger and a light top note of bitter green orange EO.
This is probably my top choice for summery gourmands, and it comes with a great floral twist. The rose is very strong at first, but it gives way to satisfying moist yellow cake with layers of sweet almond or marzipan and creamy coconut. The richness is offset by light rose, almost rosewater, and a bit of orange zest.
Ceylon Cinnamon Sugared Donuts (Violette Market)
Sweet Ceylon cinnamon-sugared donuts with hints of Bourbon vanilla, vanilla cream, and powdered sugar.
Released as part of Violette Market’s State Fair collection, this is unique in my collection. It really does smell like bready spiced sugared donuts, and I think the carnival association is partially what makes this so summer-friendly. The vanilla cream is just a complement to the dough and never gets too cloying. I love layering this scent with Alkemia’s Patchouli Cacao to give it a soft chocolate drizzle and enough patchouli to ground it and make it a little less edible.
Fig leaf, fig fruit, honeyed almond milk, toasted coconut and sandalwood.
This starts out almost pure honey with an accent of fig leaf, creamy almond milk, and sandalwood. It stays sweet and settles into a heady honeyed fig scent with all of the components well-integrated. Definitely a bold choice for summer because of the rich sweet notes, but I think the fig and coconut make it more friendly for the season.
Crisp Apple Skins, Tart Peach Candies, Rose Absolute, Sugared Violet.
While this is more fruity than gourmand, this features a spot-on tart peach gummy note that gives me some serious candy cravings. The apple gives it a bit of juiciness at the start, and a dusting of violet and rose makes it feel more sophisticated. Occasionally the peach candy can lean towards being plasticky, but this is still a very pretty perfume.
New Radio (Sixteen92)
Vanilla milkshake accord, maraschino cherry, pink lemonade, grass clippings, waffle cone.
This is the quintessential ice cream parlor scent. Cherry-stained vanilla milkshake, ice-cream soaked waffle cone, and just a hint of the pink lemonade and grass to make it even more atmospheric. My full review is here.
Hellbender (Darling Clandestine)
Raw ginger, toasty amber, brassy saffron, deeeep vanilla.
I’m a total ginger fiend and gingerbread is one of my favorite variants of gourmand, but those heavy scents can be too much on a hot day. This is my favorite alternative when I’m craving a brighter gingery gourmand, and it pretty much just smells like gingerale without the fizziness. The ginger is fresh and crisp but significantly sweetened with vanilla and amber.
Skytyping with Chemtrails (BPAL)
Spun sugar, white amber, white musk, citron, and lemongrass masking a near chemical undernote of elemi, zdravetz, and ravintsara.
This is like fancy lemon candy, and it’s the sweetest scent I’m willing to wear when the temperatures soar above 90. The sugar is very prominent and the white musk leans towards being vanilla musk, but the zesty lemongrass and citron keep it sunny and fresh. I gave a more complete review in my last post on citrus perfumes, near the end of the list.
Sex in Heaven (Possets)
Coconut, vanillas (two fabulous types: Mexican and Tahitian), and a lashing of sandalwood.
This one took a while to grow on me. At first I thought it was just dull vanilla with some sandalwood and coconut flakes, no big deal. Maybe my bottle has improved with age or maybe this blooms better in the summer heat, but this suddenly has me reaching for it again and again. The vanilla is quite sweet without being cloying or heavy, the coconut adds a yummy tropical edge, and the sandalwood just gives it a stronger base to stand on.
Sudha Segara (BPAL)
Sweet milk and warm, healing ginger with a touch of golden honey and our blend of Ambrosia.
The ambrosia here is like the kind with pineapple, orange, and marshmallow, and it’s very prominent and evocative. Its fruity notes balance the sweet creamy base, and overall this is fairly light and even a bit airy, like whipped cream. In late drydown, it leans more towards sweet, milky warm ginger with a hint of fruitiness.