10 Best Summer Colognes for Men

Updated June 2021

Classic

Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio

Editor's Pick

Paco Rabanne Invictus Aqua

Best Value

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue

How We Found the Best Summer Colognes

5 Experts Interviewed

22 Fragrances Tested

Top 10 Picks

Liam Carson

Liam Carson

Summer is here – finally!  Time to put away your warm coats, woolly jumpers, hats and gloves and get out your t-shirt and shorts.

Most men won’t switch up their cologne once the warmer weather hits, but that’s a mistake!  Hot summer days and cool evenings warrant the use of different aromas, scents and notes altogether.  It’s time to put away the woody, spicy fragrances and get out the fresher colognes.

Summer is possible our favorite cologne season, and we’ve pulled together 10 of our favorites below.  Whether you’re deciding what to wear on your next summer vacation, or merely a casual fragrance to keep you smelling fresh during the day at work, there is bound to be something for you.

Read on to find out more!

Summary List

Summer Frgrances Ranked by Cologne Critic

Editor's Pick

Best Overall Summer Cologne - Paco Rabanne Invictus Aqua

4.6/5

Why we chose it

Sweet yet salty, Invictus Aqua by Paco Rabanne is classed as a woody aquatic, making it the perfect choice for a warm summers day.

In the opening, grapefruit pulls through with an almost sparkling character.  In the mid, we have sea notes as well as violet and various woody tones.  Ambergris and amberwood feature in the base for the woody finish.

Invictus Aqua is a moderate performer, and on most will last around 6 hours.  Sillage is around arm’s length, perfect for closer more intimate moments.

We find Invictus Aqua most suited so spring or summer days as opposed to nights, due to its fresh, citrusy notes.

Main Accords

  • Marine
  • Woody
  • Amber

Classic

Classic Summer Scent - Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio

Our Take

This wouldn’t be a complete summer list without featuring Acqua Di Gio.  A legendary fragrance still going strong after more than 20 years.

This scent drew inspiration from the ancient Pantelleria, an Italian island sitting off the southwest coast of Sicily. Giorgio Armani himself spends his summer on the volcanic island where he owns a vacationhome. 

This scent starts with a burst of freshness from the citrus.  Bitter orange and Sicilian lemon are two of the dominant notes. In the mid nutmeg, seafoam and peach finishing with oakmoss and amber in the base.

A classic fresh aquatic fragrance, Acqua Di Gio would be a perfect gift for a young man, or for an early evening beachfront drive.

Main Accords

  • Citrus
  • Marine
  • Aromatic

Best Value

Best Value for Money - Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue

Our Take

Light Blue by D&G is another classic fragrance on our list, first hitting the market in 2007.

D&G describe this fragrance as ‘mouth-watering’, and we tend to agree as Sicilian mandarin notes dominate the top, accompanied by citrusy grapefruit and bergamot.  In the mid, we have a herbal concoction of rosemary and pepper followed by oakmoss and incense in the base.

Light blue is easy to wear and very versatile, making it a great addition to any collection.  It’s a very safe and subtle scent, so we suggest it as a nose-friendly workplace cologne.  A very hard cologne to dislike and at such an affordable price is almost a no-brainer!

Main Accords

  • Citrus
  • Woody
  • Fresh Spicy

Best for Summer Nights

Versace Dylan Blue

Our Take

Inspired by the Mediterranean, Dylan Blue comes from the fashion superstar, Versace.

Top notes of grapefruit and fig leaves emerge followed by violet leaves, black pepper and ambrox, finishing with musky base notes.   The immediate freshness reminds of a breaking ocean wave which gives way to the spicier, muskier finish.

Longevity on this cologne is an average of 7 hours, but the projection really starts fading after the first few hours of application.

This fragrance gets a lot of compliments, so wear this if you need a pick me up!  Inoffensive and with mass appeal, perfect for summer nights.

Main Accords

  • Amber
  • Balsamic
  • Musky

Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Cipresso di Toscana

Our Take

Another unisex fragrance, Blu Mediterraneo Cipresso di Toscana by Acqua di Parma is a woody aromatic.  For this reason, we tend to feel it leans towards the more masculine side.

A blast of herbal citrus aromas shoots straight from this cologne.  Grapefruit and lemon mix with top notes of rosemary, mint and basil.  As per the name, cypress features prominently.

As the cologne dries down, spiciness starts to work its way through, finishing with pine and (more) cypress in the base.

This is a pretty good performer in terms of longevity at around 7 hours and has an excellent projection.

Another scent more on the casual side of things, we would recommend using this for visiting friends or walks on the beach. A highly recommended woody summer fragrance.

Main Accords

  • Woody
  • Fresh Spicy
  • Herbal

Davidoff Cool Water

Our Take

For many, Davidoff’s Cool Water is the ultimate summer scent.  When it first burst on the scene, it changed the perfume landscape forever. The success of this cologne is down to the quality of the formulation.  Today it is definitely one of the top-selling summer scents on the market.

The scent takes us straight to the beach.  Starting off woody at first, a subtle floral aroma creeps in to give an added depth that many have tried (and failed) to replicate.

Top herbal notes of mint, lavender and rosemary are blended with scents of the sea. Through the middle comes sandalwood and jasmine, while the base holds tobacco and cedar.

This cologne is truly versatile, and we are yet to find a summer occasion where it doesn’t work beautifully.  This is a solid scent to add to any man’s collection, and one of our top choices when it comes to the best summer fragrances for men.

Main Accords

  • Fresh Spicy
  • Marine
  • Woody

Bvlgari Aqva Atlantiqve

Our Take

Last but by no means least is this offering from Bvlgari, inspired by the scent of the Atlantic Ocean.  This was on our top list of men’s aquatic colognes but is a worthy addition to our top summer fragrances too.

This cologne has a fairly unique scent, mixing bergamot and lemon with the salty ocean breeze.  The mid contains traces of ambergris and apple, while the base finishes with patchouli, vetiver and sandalwood.

Performance-wise, this is one of the strongest contenders we have tested. Longevity comes in at an impressive 9-10 hours, keeping you feeling fresh for the entire day.  Definitely a long-lasting summer fragrance.

An incredible fragrance to finish our top ten list, this makes a killer addition to any man’s collection.

Main Accords

  • Amber
  • Aquatic
  • Marine

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Sun

Our Take

Next on the list is Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue line, aptly named ‘Sun’. This citrusy cologne starts with a bergamot and grapefruit tang, which is incredibly pleasant.  Behind the scenes, there is a subtle coconut note which reminds us almost of an expensive sunscreen.

The mid is occupied by rosemary and cedar, heading into a base of vetiver, vanilla and musk.

One thing we really love is the bottle of this fragrance.  The glass is tinted a light blue while the actual cologne is light amber reminiscent of an incredible Santorini sunrise.

Fragrance experts praise Sun highly, heralding it as one of the best summer fragrance releases from D&G in many years.

Longevity on Sun is about average, lasting 4 to 5 hours.  Now we should add that this is common amongst summer fragrances given the lighter aromas used.

Obviously a summer fragrance, we recommend this for daytime wear or casual situations.  We see it working well during an afternoon BBQ or on a day our to the beach.

Main Accords

  • Woody
  • Citrus
  • Aromatic

Byredo Sundazed Eau de Parfum

Our Take

Byredo is a niche fragrance house hailing from Sweden, founded in Stockholm in 2006.

The opening is relatively predictable, fresh and citrusy as you would expect from a summer fragrance.  The top notes at work here are lemon and orange.  The first spray unleashes the sour citrus aroma, which is pulled back by sweet floral notes, including neroli and jasmine.

In the base, we have musk and interestingly, cotton candy.

We think this a relatively best choice for a summer fragrance.  It is relatively linear, meaning the smell doesn’t develop much from its first spray.

It’s intensely playful, perfect for a first date at the funfair.

Main Accords

  • Citrus
  • Sweet
  • White Floral

Diptyque Eau de Minthé

Our Take

You get exactly what you expect from Eau de Minthé by Diptyque, an aromatic green scent dominated by mint, but cut with nutmeg.  Floral notes are also present, including rose, geranium and patchouli, which create a beautiful Fougere.  Although it is, in fact, a unisex scent, we definitely think it is more on the masculine side.

This is a recent launch from the brand traditionally associated with candles but is a wonderful choice and worthy of inclusion in our top ten.

Longevity is relatively standard, coming in between 4 to 6 hours and the same can be said for its projection.

The mint makes this fragrance particularly suited to the morning/ early afternoon.  A perfect pick me up when running errands around town.

Main Accords

  • Fresh Spicy
  • Aromatic
  • Green

Expert Tips

Summer, for most of us, is when we take to the great outdoors.  BBQs, camping, surfing, running and swimming are a fantastic way to make the best use of the summer months.

It’s incredibly important that during the summer, you change up your fragrance to suit the season.  Summer colognes are dominated by fresher, fruitier and floral aromas.  The warm weather can make heavier winter fragrances seem overbearing or too powerful.

Many fragrance houses re-imagine some of their most famous colognes for the summer.  Look for versions that include “sport” or “aqua” for a tell-tale sign of a summer perfume.

In case you didn’t know, the temperature has a noticeable impact on the performance of your cologne. Simply speaking, body heat helps to evaporate the molecules of the cologne, dispersing the aroma into the air.

In the summer months, our skin is naturally warmer.  This can lead to faster evaporation of colognes, and a reduction in performance, especially longevity.  There are plenty of ways to increase the longevity of your cologne, keeping your skin moisturized is an excellent place to start.

When it comes to storing your cologne, always do so out of direct sunlight.  Sunlight can lead to deteriorating of fragrances quite quickly.  Keeping them in a cool, dark place, such as a vanity cabinet is our top storage tip.

Hopefully, you are inspired by our list of colognes for the summer, and maybe you have picked out a new classic summer fragrance.

You certainly can’t go wrong with any fragrance on this list, but if you’re still unsure, why not read through some of our other articles for inspiration.

© 2021 Cologne Critic All Rights Reserved.

CologneCritic.com is a participant in the Amazon Services, LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Researched by a team of fragrance experts.