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Our 9 Irresistible Fresh Fragrance Perfumes: The Fresh Scent Family

What perfumes make you smell fresh? Whether you want a cooling scent for summer or something light for everyday wear, the fresh fragrance perfumes category has you covered – crisp, crowd-pleasing, and always refreshing. 

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What scents smell fresh? Most fresh fragrance perfumes in this family feature notes from fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other plants. Fresh scents tend to be light, so some may require more than one spritz to get you the sillage you’re looking for. 

Fresh Citrus Drink

Do fresh perfumes last? While it’s true that some fresh fragrance perfumes don’t have much longevity, that’s not true of all of them (or of the ones on this list).

You can further break the fresh scent family into aromatic, green, citrus, aquatic and fruity sub-families. Don’t worry – I’ve represented them all here in our list of best fresh fragrance perfumes.

Our Favorite Fresh Fragrance Perfumes

Lime Basil & Mandarin by Jo Malone

Best Overall

Long-lasting, reasonably priced, suitable for the office, and truly unisex, Lime Basil & Mandarin by Jo Malone is my pick for all-around best clean, fresh-smelling perfume. First released in 1999, this one is well on its way to classic status.

Fernweh Editions Fern & Petals Candle

Top notes of lime, mandarin orange, and bergamot yield to a heart of basil, thyme, and lilac. Vetiver and patchouli round out the dry down. It’s refreshing enough for the summer, but bold enough for winter.

Some find this fragrance to lean a bit too masculine, so it’s worth trying before buying if that could be an issue with you.

PROSCONS
Well-rounded take on citrusSome women find it too masculine
  • Sillage: Very good
  • Longevity: Very good
  • Appropriate for: Everyday
  • Price: $$$

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Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon

Best for a Heat Wave 

In my opinion, the best fresh and clean perfume Victoria’s Secret carries is Cucumber and Green Tea. If you want something lighter than Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon or if you really like tea scents, you should check this 2020 fragrance for women out.

The notes are straightforward cucumber and green tea. There’s a hint of sweetness, but it’s subtle – nothing that could get too heavy in 90+ degree temperatures. It’s a great clean-smelling perfume for ladies.

PROSCONS
Great summer scentNot very complex, sillage could be better
  • Sillage: Good
  • Longevity: Very good
  • Appropriate for: Warm weather, everyday
  • Price: $

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Debaser by DS&Durga

Best for a Night Out

Simple and straightforward, yet intoxicating – Debaser by DS&Durga is just like the Pixies song it’s named after. This 2015 unisex fragrance by David Seth Moltz is worth seeking out, even if you’re not typically a fan of the notes listed.

The main notes here are fig, coconut, white woods, iris, and tonka bean. The fig is missing the creamy and sharp green notes of Diptyque’s Philosykos, but that makes it light enough to wear in even the hottest weather. 

Plus, the coconut lends a summery vibe without tipping the fragrance into sunscreen territory.

PROSCONS
Great scent for warmer weatherPricey, can be overly sweet to some
  • Sillage: Very good
  • Longevity: Very good
  • Appropriate for: Night out
  • Price: $$$$

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Library of Flowers Willow and Water

Best for Floral Fans

If you’d like your fresh fragrance perfumes to have a floral touch, look no further than Library of Flowers Willow and Water. This 2013 unisex scent is classic, airy, and light enough to wear anywhere.

The top note is cut greens, the heart is flowering lotus, and the base is watercress. Some detect hints of tuberose and lily-of-the-valley as well. It’s the perfect daily wear fragrance for late spring and is easily layered.

PROS CONS
Refreshing and pleasantSome detect an off-putting powderyness
  • Sillage: Good
  • Longevity: Very good
  • Appropriate for: Everyday
  • Price: $$

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Gentleman by Aramis

Best for the Office (Men)

If you need a fragrance to boost your confidence at work, try Gentleman by Aramis. This 2012 fragrance from the classic brand is spicy and distinctive, while still being professional enough for the office.

The main notes here are black pepper and ginger, with hints of Haitian vetiver, myrrh, and cedar. It smells classically masculine, but it relies on spice instead of musk. That alone makes it stand apart from many other fragrances for men.

PROSCONS
Distinctive without being dramaticSome detect an unpleasant lemony smell
  • Sillage: Good
  • Longevity: Very good
  • Appropriate for: The office
  • Price: $$

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1828 by Histoires de Parfum

Best for Vintage Fans

“Barbershop scent” is sometimes used dismissively to describe a men’s fragrance that’s too fusty or old-timey. I suspect these people haven’t smelled 1828 by Histoires de Parfum.

Launched in 2001, this scent has top notes of eucalyptus, grapefruit, and tangerine. The heart notes are nutmeg and pepper, with a dry down of pine, cedar, and vetiver. It’s a nostalgic scent to be sure, but it also feels fresh and vibrant.

This scent is light enough to be worn year-round and versatile enough to go from day to evening. It also leans unisex for a men’s fragrance, so it’s worth checking out if you like the notes, regardless of gender. And it’s a clean-smelling perfume that lasts all day.

PROSCONS
Vintage without being old-fashionedSmells a bit medicinal to some
  • Sillage: Very good
  • Longevity: Excellent
  • Appropriate for: Everyday, day-to-evening
  • Price: $$$

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Wild Pears by Montale

Best for Date Night (Women)

Think of Wild Pears by Montale as the grown-up version of fruity drugstore body mists. This 2011 fragrance for women by Pierre Montale is sophisticated yet playful.

Top notes of pear and bergamot fade into a heart of carnation and lily-of-the-valley. The dry down features vanilla, musk, and sandalwood. The spicy edge of the carnation and creaminess of the sandalwood ground the fruit and keep it from becoming too cloying.

The pear note doesn’t work for everyone, so try this best fresh perfume for her out before getting a full bottle.

PROSCONS
Fruit-forward, yet matureSome find it overly powdery
  • Sillage: Excellent
  • Longevity: Very good
  • Appropriate for: Date night, day-to-evening
  • Price: $$$

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Fernweh Editions Candles


Daisy Spring by Marc Jacobs

Best for the Office (Women)

At this point, the Marc Jacobs Daisy line is practically an industrial complex churning out new varieties. For my money, Daisy Spring, designed by Alberto Morillas in 2020, is one of the best – it’s a great fresh women’s fragrance that’s youthful without being childish.

Daisy Spring adds a few notes on top of the fruity, white floral DNA of the original. There’s rose up top, rosewood in the middle, and cardamom in the dry down. If you like rose but find most rose fragrances too mature, give this one a go.

With pleasant notes and close-to-skin sillage, this one is great for the office or any other close quarters situation.

PROSCONS
Light and feminine, inoffensiveSome find it not substantially different than the original Daisy
  • Sillage: Good
  • Longevity: Very good
  • Appropriate for: The office
  • Price: $$$

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Terre d’Hermes Eau Givree by Hermes

Best for Date Night (Men)

Fresh fragrance perfumes can be a bit generic, but Terre d’Hermes Eau Givree by Hermes is anything but. Developed in 2022 by Christine Nagel, this one starts in a burst of citron before settling into juniper in the heart and woods in the dry down.

The interplay of citrus and juniper gives a really lovely gin and tonic scent. It’s a bit too irreverent for most offices, but it’s great for a first date as it’s original without being overwhelming.

PROSCONS
Great for summerLess good in colder weather
  • Sillage: Very good
  • Longevity: Very good
  • Appropriate for: Night out
  • Price: $$$$

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  TOP PICKS AT A GLANCE  
Lime Basil & Mandarin by Jo Malone
  • Well-rounded take on citrus
  • Long-lasting
  • Truly unisex
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Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon
  • Great summer scent
  • Fresh and clean perfume
  • The great price value
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Debaser by DS&Durga
  • The warmer weather scent
  • Unisex fragrance
  • Great for a night out
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Final Thoughts

Fresh fragrance perfumes are great for spring nights and summer afternoons. I’ve even worn some of my favorites in the winter with terrific results.

No matter what you’re looking for, this family has a lot to offer.

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Writer

Selena Marc is a fragrance enthusiast, freelance writer, and dog mom living in Houston, Texas. When she's not writing about her favorite new perfumes, you can find her enjoying yoga or a morning hike.