Fruit and fragrance have always had a symbolic relationship. Certain scents are described as having “citrusy” overtones, while others make passing reference to “tropical notes.” Not these puppies. This season’s latest offering goes all in with fruit as an olfactory powerhouse, conjuring juicy aromas instantly recognizable by their sweet smell of orange groves, fig trees, or a bowl of summer cherries. In celebration of this summertime fragrance trend, we’ve called out our favorite fruity scents and the history of their most notable note.
The scent: Tom Ford Lost Cherry
Top notes: black cherries, bitter almondsA closer look: Native to eastern North America, black cherry trees can grow to be 80 feet tall and 150 years old. Rich in color, black cherry wood is one of the most prized wood varieties in the U.S. And its bark, long used by Native Americans for its ability to treat congestion and act as a mild sedative, is still listed in many medical books as a pharmaceutical aid.
Extra credit: Adding depth to the fruity fragrance, this eau de parfum has a base of Peru balsam and roasted tonka blended with sandalwood, vetiver, and cedar.
The scent: Heretic Dirty Mango
Top notes: mango, orange, lemon, geranium
A closer look: The powerfully sweet-smelling mango fruit is native to India, where the ancient ruling class was bestowed titles based on mango varieties. References to mangoes can be found in Hindu writings dating back to 4000 BC, and Buddhist monks cultivated the fruit as it came to be associated with faith and prosperity among the religion’s followers. (Buddha himself is believed to have sought refuge under a mango tree.) Rich in vitamin A and various amino acids, the fruit is often used in organic skin-care products for a smoothing effect.
Extra credit: Heretic’s name reflects the brand’s nonconformist philosophy of forgoing commonly used synthetic elements, choosing pure raw materials, such as oils and plant extracts, that react differently to each person’s skin chemistry to create unique scents.
The scent: 19-69 Capri
Top notes: sweet orange, mandora, bitter orange A closer look: The most commonly grown fruit tree in the world, sweet oranges were first cultivated in southern China before making their way to Europe through seafaring traders. The Italians introduced it to the Mediterranean, where it was largely used for medicinal purposes in the mid-15th century. Sweet orange oil has a fresh and tangy smell, making it one of the most popular aromatics in luxury perfumes. Blossoms, skin, and leaves are also frequently included to add depth to citrus scents.
Extra credit: 19-69’s Capri eau de parfum is inspired by the ambiance of the famed French-Italian film Le Mépris, originally produced in 1963.
The scent: Ormaie Yvonne
Top notes: grapefruit, tagetes, blackcurrant, schinus molle A closer look: Although considered one of the “Seven Wonders of Barbados” (the island from which it hails), grapefruits are actually accidental fruits, discovered in the 17th century as a cross between a sweet orange and pomelo. The strong, slightly bitter citrus scent makes it ideal as a top note in perfume, and it’s created by cold-pressing the outer peel of the fruit to produce a greenish-yellow oil. Grapefruit essential oil is also included in many aromatherapy preparations, where it is believed to be a mood enhancer and stress reliever.
Extra credit: Reflecting the company’s focus on creativity, Parisian perfumers Baptiste Bouygues and Marie-Lise Jonak engage local artists and artisans to design the formulation and packaging of each new scent.
The scent: Diptyque Philosykos
Top notes: fig leaves, fig tree sap, fig tree wood
A closer look: The fig tree appears in both the Old and New Testament, and Sumerian stone tablets dating back to 2500 B.C. record the culinary use of figs. Older still, remains of fig trees have been found during excavations of Neolithic sites dating back to 5000 B.C. Symbols of fertility, peace, and prosperity, figs were bestowed upon early Olympians in recognition of their excellence. Their milky sweet scent softens a fragrance and adds freshness.
Extra credit: The aptly titled “Philosykos” is a Greek phrase meaning “friend of the fig tree.”
The scent: Byredo Sundazed
Top notes: lemon, mandarin
A closer look: Believed to have originated in Asia, lemons first appeared in Europe around the 11th century, and Columbus brought them to America on his second voyage in 1493. Along with offering a refreshing scent and cooking zing, lemons have been used as a deterrent of scurvy, kitchen cleaning agents, aromatherapy stars, and sources of invisible ink (visible only when heated).
Extra credit: Unisex line Byredo was founded by former professional basketball player Ben Gorham in 2006. Modern and romantic scents are the calling card of this experimental label.