Put any fragrance in an aquamarine bottle, mount it on a plinth in Duty Free and I’ll be there like a mosquito drawn to a bare ankle. Just as I can’t help myself perusing improbably jewelled flip-flops in Accessorize, as soon as I get to the airport I start convincing myself that I need a perfume with coconut at its heart. It’s like I go into some sort of holiday trance and I have to buy one of those Pret coconut chocolate bars to cure the compulsion.
When it comes to summer perfumes, my opinion is that you should succumb. Once you get past all the silly-season stuff about cool breezes, dancing waves and summer laughter, there are some lovely (and affordable) perfumes for your summer hols out there. Here are my five favourites...
The holiday in a bottle: Next Summer Sun
This is the most ersatz of them all – I love it. It smells like coconut oil on skin with a sweet toffee and amber base. It acts like virtual reality, instantly transporting you to a parasol-scattered beach. At £8, it is also extraordinary value.
The hand-luggage-friendly one: Flower by Kenzo, Le Cushion
Perfumed gels and brush-on scents from Jo Loves and Byredo have sprung up of late and now Kenzo is joining the craze with the mouthful that is “Le Cushion Perfumed Jelly”, in the brand’s classic Flower fragrance. I’m not entirely sold on the format in general, but this one really works. I love Flower because it smells like a pile of crushed-up Parma Violets blown out through a wind machine. I’m seriously impressed.
The summery spray: Chanel N°5 L'Eau All-Over Spray
This aerosol is hailed as "a new way to wear fragrance". Someone clearly missed out on the Impulse years. However, I do get the body-spray direction here, because it turns N°5 from a slightly intimidating perfume into something akin to an invisible down on your skin. The newer L’Eau version of N°5 is more dulcet than the original in any case and, in body-mist form, it’s even softer and perhaps slightly more accessible. It’s as addictive to use as canned air con.
The indulgent one: Sana Jardin Revolution de la Fleur
This perfume is a dreamy, steamy, tropical fog of flowers (I noticed in particular the frangipani and ylang-ylang). A thick, juddery layer of crème pâtissière-type vanilla gives it lickability. You certainly don’t need to be going on holiday to enjoy this one – just putting it on will make you feel rebooted. Sana Jardin generally excels at fleshy florals (I hate the word "sensual", so this is the best equivalent I can find) and they’ve just, thankfully, released 50ml sizes, which makes them a bit more affordable.
THE SUMMER FLING: JO MALONE CATTLEYA FLOWER BODY MIST
Whenever I wear this bottled fiesta, I expect a float carrying Lionel Richie and backing dancers to surge around the corner. A confession: I’ve never smelt a real Cattleya flower. This feel-good fragrance is a holiday romance of a perfume. You might not want it forever, but you’ll get a few months of fabulous times from it.