Like wardrobes and vacation destinations, colognes for men have a season. Amid the brisk days of fall and winter, we tend toward cozy, warm scents – think tobacco, dark musks, and wood. But come the long, warm days of summer, and those notes feel too bundled up and stiff, kind of like drinking a bourbon neat, on the beach. In sweltering July heat.
The best summer scents don't forgo those classic, guy-friendly smells; they just chill them out. So added to the mix are spices like saffron and pepper; greens like basil, sage, mint, and vetiver; earthy florals like violets, jasmine, and even a little rose; and, of course, some punchy citruses.
Can you still wear your favorite winter scent? Of course you can; that's completely your call, and some men understandably prefer to maintain a signature smell. But if you're looking for a season-appropriate upgrade, then look no further than our top eight men's scents, all of which are brand-new for the summer of 2013.
John Varvatos Platinum Limited Edition
If you could take, say, all the music from Van Morrison, Credence Clearwater Revival, and Simon and Garfunkel, and run them through a vintage whiskey still, the resulting elixir might smell a little like this limited-edition fragrance. It's warmer than the others we tried, with a burst of citrus, coriander, and sage, but it soon settles into musky, classic rock notes of leather, amber, and tamboti wood – all supported by a tenacious bass line of patchouli. Not that it's an "old" scent at all. It's just the fragrant equivalent to nostalgic, acoustic rock and roll, or a well-worn pair of old jeans. [$82 for 4.2 oz; johnvarvatos.com]