The Panel: summer scent
The smell of freshly mown grass is one of the first signs that summer has come, turning one's mind to thoughts of barbecues, the beach and balmy evenings.
Smell is such a powerful thing, triggering memories and changes of mood, and a summer scent on your skin is so satisfying. A bit like the spirit-lifting effect of slinging on a sun-dress and sandals, a sniff of a summery scent can help you to shake off your cold-weather character and get you feeling properly sunny.
When it came to scents that lend you a personal ray of sunshine, many of those we encountered were cute, floral and just that bit old-fashioned or adolescent. There was a surprisingly good choice of fragrances that tended towards greenish notes, or that slightly nutty smell of sun oil and holidays. We discovered that not all the blossomy smells were stuffy, and found something for almost everyone, while acknowledging that fragrances vary from person to person and that smell is not just suggestive, but entirely subjective. That said, these were the five that found the most favour and summoned up sunny days for us.
Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Soleil, €59, Estee Lauder counters nationwide
A limited-edition spin-off of the summer-themed Bronze Goddess collection. The original scent is very much redolent of coconut oil and summer skin, but this version has more of a citrus zing, which tends more towards grapefruits and limes than the sweeter oranges and lemons. "This made me want to go on holiday immediately," said one panellist. "It smells like warm skin and sun oil, but not in a sickly or overwhelming way."
Best Garden Bouquet
Clarins Eau des Jardins, €40, Clarins counters nationwide
Hugely pleasing as a floral scent which does not bowl you over with sweetness or frothiness. Fresh, clean, light and yet lingering, it is as much about the cut grass of a garden as it is about the flowers. "Lovely, really pretty but not too girlie or silly," one panellist said. "I kept going back for more sniffs. A great alternative to Eau Dynamisante, which is my usual summer option."
Best Fresh Flowers
Roger & Gallet Fleur d'Osmanthus Fresh Fragrant Water, €39, selected pharmacies nationwide
Of all we favoured, this fragrance came the closest to a cologne in its quality. While very feminine, it's wonderfully fresh and crisp, with orange and grapefruit and sandalwood, although this means it's not as long-lasting as some of the others. "The name says it all," a panellist said, "in that it's fresh and has the refreshing character of cool water. I liked how this was a cool rather than a warm scent."
Best Blast of Blossom
Jo Malone Sakura Cherry Blossom Cologne, €80, Brown Thomas Dublin and Cork
Pale pink in the bottle, this is most definitely the most feminine and warmly floral of the fragrances in the top five. It is slightly powdery, with cherry blossom -- obviously -- rose, mimosa, bergamot and mandarin, all combining to delightful effect. "The instant impression was a little like an old-fashioned soap, but, in fact, this becomes a more edgy flower arrangement," said one panellist. "Sort of delicious, and very addictive."
Best With Bonus
Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche Sheer Moisture Mist, €32.50, Chanel counters nationwide
This is a chic can of the super-fresh friend of the original floral scent, Chance. This version is enlivened with citrus and vetiver, among other elements, and this slightly milky formulation sprays on to the skin like a light lotion and lends silkiness as well as scent. Every aspect of it feels like a suitably seasonal change. "The metal bottle is lovely and handy to throw into a bag for holidays, while the double-jobbing is also nice for when you're away and bare-limbed," one panellist said.
Pictured, from left: Clarins Eau des Jardins; Roger & Gallet Fleur d'Osmanthus Fresh Fragrant Water; Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Soleil; Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche Sheer Moisture Mist; Jo Malone Sakura Cherry Blossom Cologne