7 Fragrant Reasons Why I Love the Summer Heat!

7 Fragrant Reasons Why I Love the Summer Heat!

It’s been a beastly summer, yeah? In Tucson, July was the hottest month on record. Ever. We had 24 days where the high was 112 F or higher. When I grew up here, that was unheard of. 

I probably love hot weather more than most people, but anything over 105 is too much for me. All the same, I’m hanging on to summer, loving every brutally hot day, especially with frequent dips in our sweet stock-tank pool. 

I’ve heard the chorus chanting for pumpkin spice everything, but I’m not ready yet, sorry! Don’t let them take summer away from you! You waited all year for it. Maybe this post will persuade you to live and love in the moment a little while longer.

Summer is a perfumer’s nightmare in a lot of ways. As the days stretch lazily longer and longer, and the sun paints the world in warm hues, the air becomes a canvas for aromas that a perfumer’s “fine fragrances” can’t just can’t competing with. Here are a few of my late summer favorites:

  1. The Desert Monsoon. Late summer in Tucson is Monsoon season. If you’re lucky enough to have experienced it, you’ll never forget the sight or the smell of it. Blistering sun and blue skies in the morning give way to a crowd of massive, dark (very dark!) clouds building up in late afternoon. Flashes of lightning herald sometimes violent storms that can drop ¾ of an inch of rain in 20 minutes—vital water for Sonoran desert life.

    You can smell the monsoon before it the rain actually arrives, a cooling breeze that smells of soil, water, and…creosote. This desert shrub has one of the most complex fragrances I know: fresh, green, marine, chemical and slightly animalic. I’ve been asked more times than I can count for a Monsoon fragrance, and while I’ve been working on it, I haven’t quite nailed it yet.

  2. Grill Smoke and Pool Chlorine. Because of the heat here, Tucsonans often cook on their patios, and in their yards. Grill smoke at the end of the day mixed with a quick dip in the pool creates what perfumers call a phenolic note, an accord that smells a little like a mashup of a doctor’s office and a hamburger stand. It radiates from your skin and hair and doesn’t compliment any perfume very well.

  3. Peaches and Apricots. High-quality, ripe organic peaches and apricots are a perfumer’s dream. All fruits have aromas, but these two really smell like perfume to me. And the only time you get truly decent ones is in late summer. Merely touching one will fragrance your fingers with that soft lactonic (literally “milk-like” or creamy) peach/apricot scent. Slice them into a bowl of chilled, sweet cream, and you have the stuff of last meals on earth. I love the scent so much I used it in our all time summer favorite, Monserrat.

  4. Sunscreen and Adventure. Sunscreen is another perfume lover’s nightmare. I can’t count the number of times I’ve spritzed my favorite summertime fragrance before heading out to a hot beach or hiking trail where I dutifully applied sunscreen that fully erased my fragrant “look.” I’m not talking about Hawaiian Tropic here, but the suncreen-y smelling ones that actually work. All the same, there’s something sexy about the smell of sunscreen and sweat. My first whiff of the stuff in late May always fills me with joy because I know summer and chill times have actually arrived.

  5. Sun-Warmed Pine Trees. The city of Tucson is home to many ponderosa pines planted in backyards and streets. As the heat radiates through their branches, the resin within the needles and dripping down their bark releases a clean, woody aroma that, once again, I wish I could make into a perfume. You can still smell these trees in the cooler months, but it’s not the same without the heat.

  6. Hot Pavement, Urban Heat and Rain. Is it just me, or does anyone else think that wet concrete smells a little like cashmeran? Walking in a hot breeze down a searing sidewalk as the monsoon hits releases a warm, musky-minerally note. The steamy heat from the sidewalk is overhwelming, I get it, but there’s a scent in the air that I find intoxicating.

  7. Citrus Zest and Sun-Drenched Afternoons. OK. Technically, citrus season goes from winter into early spring, but I can’t imagine hot summer days without the fragrant relief of lemons and limes. Squeezed into a glass of sparkling water or a proper class of lemonade (or margarita, if that’s your speed), citrus refreshes the sweatiest days. Another true  love of mine that I blended into a fragrance: Limonata Soap, to wash off the hot days and settle into cool sheets.

Before this summer becomes another experience you hated at the time but you find yourself longing for in February, pause to take a deep breath and savor this moment if you can. As the sun sets, leaving a trail of vibrant colors in its wake, the scents of summer linger, etching themselves into our hearts and minds, ready to be reawakened months later when a twist of lemon or daub of sunscreen lights up the winter darkness.

Keep on shining brightly!