Is it the coolest time ever in New York—late ’70s, early ’80s, the punk scene? It’s got to be top three,” says David Moltz, the ebullient perfumer of Brooklyn’s D.S. & Durga, when discussing his salt-sprayed ode to Rockaway Beach. The fragrance shares its name with the sandy stretch of Queens accessible by public transit, but it’s the Ramones’ 1977 hit about the place that inspired Moltz: “A quick song about the simple joys of life,” he says. The same could be said of this scent, offered in August 2020 as a micro-batch Studio Juice, as his hand-blended experiments are called. Now, Rockaway Beach is back for a summer run, ozone notes mingling with the pleasing “plasticky” smell of privet hedges. Plus, he adds, “it has such a crazy sillage”—exactly the slow-fade quality we want from vacation.
When fragrances bottle up a sun-soaked holiday, where do we want to be transported? Francis Kurkdjian, Dior’s perfume creation director, hit the Côte d’Azur, finding himself caught in the cross breeze of roses and a “majestic fig tree, my sole companion,” on the way to making Dioriviera. For Elad Yifrach, whose design brand L’Objet just debuted four perfumes, Corsica calls. The island’s shoreline (“more rocky and sauvage,” he says) prompted Côté Maquis, a blend of labdanum, marine air, and cashmeran. “It’s fresh but kind of incense-y at the same time. You feel the heat and the salt.” Tom Ford’s Soleil de Feu goes to more rugged extremes: high temperatures, high passions. Tuberose and sandalwood conjure a steamy place at the ends of the earth. By contrast, Mr. Ford, who sold the business earlier this year to focus on films and fatherhood, is leaning into Palm Beach domesticity—as he told Bridget Foley, “What I need to do now is take a nap.”
After all, the truest mandate for summer break is rejuvenation, paving the way for uplifting scents. “It’s all about emotion first,” Vyrao founder Yasmin Sewell says of her fragrances’ focus on well-being, with the new Sun Ræ summoning joy. The ingredient list (cardamom, ginger, turmeric) reads “almost like an Ayurvedic potion”; it also reminds her of an Italian cologne. A morning juice at the Beverly Hills Hotel caught the nose of Louis Vuitton master perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud. Pacific Chill, his latest fragrance with artist Alex Israel, brims with carrot seed; black currant and a hint of rose recall the Frenchman’s childhood in Grasse. “I’m more a Bordeaux drinker than detox cocktails,” he smiles. “But I learned in LA how to feel good.”