When it comes to summer scents, believe me when I say these 9 perfumes are in a league of their own

They're guaranteed compliment magnets

A pair of legs in the grass, under the sunshine
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As soon as the weather starts heating up, my whole fragrance collection rotates to feature citrus perfumes exclusively. And with many, many years of writing about the best perfumes under my belt, I want you to know this one truth: citrus notes are, hands down, the most versatile and impressive out there.

Consider yourself a loather of citrus perfumes? Let me school you on why your opinion is wrong. Not all citrus fragrances are warm, sticky, and sun-soaked. In fact, citrus notes are often leant on by perfumers to add a joy-inducing, mood-boosting quality. Whether combined with a deep, woody base, a floral heart or an effervescent top, a citrus element is, for me, a non-negotiable to any spring/summer scent.

Why? Not just because citrus is uplifting, fresh and happy, but also because the very best citrus scents are complex, enticing and magnetising. I am willing to guarantee that if you wear any one of the following citrus perfumes, someone will ask after it on first wear. The below 9 fragrances have each impressed me (and those around me) in their own unique ways—whether I first smelled it on someone else and became obsessed or have been forced to gift a bottle to everyone I know because the compliments just won't stop. Believe me when I say these citrus perfumes showcase the best of the best in perfumery.

1. Diptyque Eau Des Sens

Diptyque Eau des Sens

(Image credit: Diptyque)

Diptyque Eau Des Sens

Best citrus perfume overall


Blend: Eau de Toilette
Key notes: Orange blossom, angelica root, patchouli, juniper berry

Look, I'm the first to admit that I'm bigheaded when it comes to my perfume recommendations. It's my job to make sure people are informed and educated in their perfume choices—only buying the crème de la crème. For this recommendation, however, I need to credit Marie Claire UK Editor, Sunil Makan. It is, in my opinion, his signature scent. Frankly speaking, it is easily the best citrus perfume (hell, even one of the best perfumes full stop) ever made. Everywhere he goes, someone compliments him on it—I have seen it with my own eyes. 

At first it's cooling and fresh on the nose, but there's a comforting woody warmth that radiates a sense of familiarity and draws people to it—like an orange tree that has spent the afternoon soaking up the rays of the mid-summer sun.

2. Chanel Chance Eau Fraîche

Chanel Chance Eau Fraîche

(Image credit: Chanel)

Chanel Chance Eau Fraîche Eau de Parfum

Best expensive-smelling citrus perfume


Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Citron, jasmine, teak wood, amber

Nothing oozes expense and luxury quite like a Chanel perfume, and this one is really special. It's fresh (hence the name), juicy, quenching and lightweight enough to not feel overpowering. But throughout the whole thing is a ribbon of something sparkling—something that smells like money. It is as if the entire fragrance is laced with diamonds. Trust me, this one needs to be tried.

3. Olfactive O Citrus

Olfactive O Citrus

(Image credit: Olfactive O)

Olafactive O Citrus Eau de Parfum

Best sparkling citrus perfume


Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Bergamot, lemon, champagne, grapefruit, mandarin, marigold, amber, musk, philadelphus

This stuff is joy in a bottle. Seriously, it's impossible to not smile when you smell it. It is citrusy in its purest form—like tearing a lemon in two. What makes it so special, however, is the total lack of anything sticky or warm. It possesses an alluring freshness that is very hard to achieve in citrus-based perfumery (i.e. without verging into bathroom cleaner territory), and it glistens and sparkles on the tip of the nose.

4. L'Objet Kérylos

L'Ojet Kérylos

(Image credit: L'Objet)

L'Ojet Kérylos Eau de Parfum

Best juicy citrus fragrance


Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Yuzu, grapefruit, galbanum, lentisque, santal, white musk

The brief for this one for perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena? To create a fragrance that smells like an overripe citrus fruit crashing onto a sun-soaked Mediterranean rock on the beach. Needless to say, he nailed it. It possesses that juicy stickiness that I adore but without feeling cloying or overly sweet—there's a sea-like freshness that keeps the airways clear and spirits high.

5. Phlur Tangerine Boy

Phlur Tangerine Boy

(Image credit: Phlur)

Phlur Tangerine Boy Eau de Parfum

Best sticky citrus perfume


Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Tangerine, lemon, apple, amber

Want a sticky, orangey citrus scent reminiscent of beach days and ice cream? You got it in the form of Phlur's Tangerine Boy. Juicy, bright and full of life, this perfume smells almost edible. It's the sort of perfume I want to douse myself in when my skin in bronzed and I'm mentally prepped for a day of drinking cocktails on the beach.

6. Maison Margiela Replica From The Garden

Maison Margiela Replica From The Garden

(Image credit: Maison Margiela Replica)

Maison Margiela Replica From The Garden Eau de Toilette

Best green citrus perfume


Blend: Eau de Toilette
Key notes: Patchouli, geranium, green mandarin, tomato

This fragrance is one of the most beautiful things I have smelled in a long time, and it's far from the typical citrus you might expect. It smells like a greenhouse filled with the juiciest, ripest tomatoes. Having said that, there's a biting freshness to it that can only be achieved with the addition of citrus. Like a cooling shower after the hottest of days, it's a tonic.

7. Acqua di Parma Colonia Essenza

Acqua di Parma Essenza

(Image credit: Acqua di Parma)

Acqua di Parma Colonia Essenza Eau de Cologne

Best deep citrus perfume


Blend: Cologne
Key notes: Grapefruit, mandarin, petitgrain, patchouli, white musk, amber

This is the fragrance I use as an example whenever I encounter people who say they don't like 'citrus' fragrances to prove that, actually, they might be mistaken. It is, in its purest form, a clear citrus—notes of grapefruit and mandarin are clearly evident. However, that's not to say that anyone might identify it as such on first sniff. To me, it is sense-clearingly fresh, like lathered-up soap, but there's a woody depth that keeps it lingering on skin for hours on end. It's probably worth me noting here, too, that it is on my list of the top three perfumes ever made.

8. Serge Lutens Fleurs d'Oranger

Serge Lutens Fleur D'Oranger

(Image credit: Serge Lutens)

Serge Lutens Fleurs d'Oranger Eau de Parfum

Best floral citrus perfume


Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Orange blossom, jasmine, white rose

Not in the slightest bit juicy or overly warm, this fragrance from Serge Lutens is easily one of my most complimented ever. It's so good, in fact, that I have bought it for several friends as gifts after they have complimented me on it endlessly. It's as though an unripened orange (in that it still has its green freshness) is cloaked in a veil of white, velvety petals—light, delicate and probably one of the most beautiful things I've ever smelled.

& Other Stories Solar Essay Eau de Toilette

(Image credit: & Other Stories)
Best warm citrus fragrance


Blend: Eau de Toilette
Key notes: Lemon, coconut, cyclamen, mimosa, tiare, tonka beans, cedarwood

The best way I can describe this impressively affordable perfume? Sunshine in a bottle. The lemon inclusion makes it undeniably citrusy, but the addition of white florals and warming woods and tonka makes the whole thing glow—like bright sun rays are beaming out of it from every angle. It's akin to curling up on a sun bed under the midday sun without a care in the world and letting the day while away.

Shannon Lawlor
Executive Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is the Executive Beauty Editor at Marie Claire. With nearly a decade of experience working for some of the beauty industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear, Glamour UK, Stylist and Refinery29, Shannon’s aim is to make the conversation around beauty as open, relatable and honest as possible. As a self-confessed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for hard-working perfumes, fool-proof make-up products and does-it-all skincare.