ot out there, isn’t it? At least, at the time of writing it is.
And what you need in weather like this is an actual vat of Eau de Cologne, to splash liberally over yourself all through the day. Ideally, I’d have a gallon of 4711 – the original and still excellent cologne from the city of that name – in my bathroom all summer.
Cologne is light, evanescent, transitory and uplifting. In short, it doesn’t last, but it gives you a tremendous lift while it does. In hot countries, you get cheap, light, citrusy colognes everywhere. The secret is to splash it on; don’t stint yourself.
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But as I say, it doesn’t last, so to supplement your cologne or if you like something with more body, I’m including scents that work especially well in the heat. Even in a mansion block in London you can be transported to lemon and bergamot groves, to lavender fields and gardens of figs. Heavenly.
This is the original cologne, 200 years old, and it’s still excellent: cooling, refreshing and enlivening. There are several new variants but I’d stick to the original formula, which is obviously secret, but includes lavender, rosemary, Neroli (orange blossom) and petitgrain. It comes in all sizes, starting off at about ￡12, but I say, if you like it, buy the biggest bottle you can, and lash it on.
￡37.50 | Amazon
Is there anyone who doesn’t like Acqua di Parma cologne, with its jaunty mustard livery, simple bottle and terrific style? This is a light and sophisticated cologne, good for both sexes and all ages. I’d always go for the original scent, but there are a bewildering number of variants. One of the nicest, I think, is the Arancia di Capri from the Blu Mediterraneo range,? with its elegant dark blue package which is based on the oranges and lemons of Capri and is warm and lovely.
Acqua di Parma
￡113 | Space NK
Also available at Selfridges
Oh boy, this is the business. It’s got the kick of a cologne with the staying power of an Eau de Parfum. And it’s by one Dominique Ropion, a name to conjure with. Anyway, there’s musk in there, and lemon, bergamot, orange blossom and narcissus. But it’s not overly sweet, just sophisticated and for me, a bit addictive. And if you don’t know Frederic Malle fragrance, it’s time to start.
￡124 | Liberty
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I was browsing in the Harvey Nichols fragrance department, as you do, and an assistant lured me away from cologne, and begged me to try this entirely different summer fragrance. And how right he was. There’s nothing uplifting or citrusy here, but there’s rich, creamy sweetness from milk of figs, sandalwood and musk. If you don’t mind making an olfactory statement, this is sensual and warm and delicious.
Van Cleef & Arpels
￡130 | Harvey Nichols
This is a lovely scent, said to be a favourite of Princess Diana. Whatever, it’s got the lift from Sicilian lemon and grapefruit and it comes in a pretty bottle, like all Annick Goutal’s fragrance. There’s an eau de parfum strength but at this time of year, I say go for the lighter eau de toilette. I was once told about a stern Parisian fragrance retailer who refused to let his customer buy this because at the age of 35, it was time to move on to other things. I say, go for it.
￡132 | lookfantastic
This is for the label junkies – and if we’re talking teenagers, we’re talking names they’ve heard of, no? But in fact, this is a fine scent, warm and sophisticated, with the neroli – which is just bitter orange blossom -? cut with citrus ( bergamot and lemon) for the summery uplift. It’s for both sexes,? but when it comes to fragrance, I am thrillingly gender-fluid. But do also check out the original (￡178 for 50ml, Harrods) Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Eau de Parfum, which is stronger and longer lasting and so less like a cologne.
￡89 | Space NK
This comes from a range of three fragrances from this house, Cologne Forte, and they’re all fresh, breezy and based on bergamot (which is what makes Earl Grey tea so good). I’m going for the Aqua Celestia, which is light and summery and attractive. The bottle is clean and classic.
Maison Francis Kurdkdijan
￡95 | John Lewis
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