Summer is finally here, and if feels almost too good to be true. As I type this, it’s 87 degrees outside and humid as hell, but I still have my balcony door flung open because this is the weather I wait all year for and I want to enjoy it at all costs. I thought about keeping my balcony shut and turning on the AC, but then I remembered just a few months back, I looked out these same windows and it was snowing sideways.
There are a handful of fragrances that I’ve deemed my summer scents, wearing them exclusively, almost superstitiously, in the summer.
I’d rather wear these than any new fragrance in the hot weather because they’re what I know and love. I’ve spent time with them, made memories with them under the hot summer sun. In the colder months, I’ll swap a scent out daily and try anything new because new fragrances get me all excited, and that’s what I need when it’s twenty below and I'm cranky. But right now, I want to stick to my summer standbys.
BUT – I still have a job to do, and that job is to bring you belligerent fragrance articles.
I may not be keen on wearing new scents right now, but lately, everyone has been talking about the two new additions to Armani’s new Gioia collection. And I mean everyone. I’ve seen them everywhere, in print, online, people won’t stop raving about them. Word on the street is that they’re summer in a bottle, which is exactly the kind of thing I love in a scent. The essence of a Mediterranean beach, imagined into two new scents to accompany the original, Acqua Di Gioia. There are few things better than a scent made for summer, so I figured it was safe to take these for a spin.
Armani will tell you that Sun Di Gioia is supposed to replicate the scent of salty skin, and the feeling of the sun on your shoulders at the beginning of summer. That’s not exactly what I got from it, but regardless, this is my favorite of the three.
Sun Di Gioia opens with bergamot and freesia, works its way down to frangipani, ylang-ylang, and jasmine, with a base of vanilla, iris, ambroxan, and benzoin. Though it seems heavy on the florals, they work to balance to a fragrance that is all warmth and sweetness. The bergamot at the top livens it up with a bit of natural juiciness, but the focus of the fragrance is on the base notes.
The best way I can describe this scent is “lived-in.” You spray it on and it’s like it has been there all along. You know when you get back to your hotel room after a day at the beach, how you smell like sunscreen and tanning oil and remnants of everything else you encountered that day, like sand, beer, cotton candy, cigarettes. It’s a lot like that, scents you picked up rather than a scent you sprayed on.
Last summer, I spent a lot of afternoons on my friend’s sailboat (solely for the Instagrams) and every time I’d get off the boat, I’d smell like expensive sunscreen and cheap rosé, my hair product that had been heating up under the sun for six hours, a scent or two that had rubbed off of my friends and onto my skin. This scent, though different, feels a lot like that. It’s a little familiar. You’re not quite sure where your life ends and the scent begins.
Air Di Gioia hits you like a floral bomb (not to be confused with Flowerbomb, I guess.) It’s aggressively clean, almost abrasively so, but that’s coming from someone who isn’t a big fan of florals.
This scent is all about ocean vibes. At its start, it closely resembles sea breeze, crashing waves, salt from the sea in the ocean air. This is largely due to the salt accord at the top, along with mandarin orange and neroli. In the middle, peony, ylang-ylang, and orange blossom make up the flowery heart of the scent, and the base is surprisingly earthy with moss, wood, cyprus, and patchouli.
Air Di Gioia is clean, assertive, and not quite as airy and breezy as its name would suggest. It calls to mind the ocean at night, after everything has cooled off, when you get the faint remnants of salt on your lips and in your hair. It wears nicely and I liked it better after six hours of wear than I did right away. As it warms up to your skin, it balances itself out and becomes more pleasant and wearable, even if florals aren’t really your thing.
Bringing it back to the original, Acqua Di Gioia is still as good today as it was when it launched back in 2010, and might still be the most impressive of the three.
This is one of those rare fragrances that covers all the bases at once while remaining balanced and very appealing. It jumps off at the top with lemon and mint, which keeps the scent fresh and cool throughout. As it wears, the heart of pink pepper, peony, and jasmine become more herbaceous than floral. Sugar, cedar, and labdanum create a woody, sweet base.
Acqua Di Gioia is hard to pin down. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, it shifts and exposes a new side of itself. It’s a little fruity, a little green, and clean without feeling sterile. It’s kind of tropical without actually trying to be a tropical fragrance. Every time I wear it, it reminds me of fresh pineapple, I don’t exactly know why since there’s no pineapple note, but it’s sweet, juicy, and clean, and that’s just what it gives me.
The three di Gioia fragrances all capture a different aspect summer, from the coolest night to the hottest afternoon, and everything that happens in between. They’re not so literal that they’ll feel out of season come October, but they, like everything else, are best in the summer.
Tynan smells like summer on Twitter @TynanBuck.