These "Solar" Perfumes Are Basically Sunshine In A Bottle

What does the sun smell like, anyway?

Caroline Wurtzel/Bustle; Shutterstock; Perfume bottles courtesy of brands
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Fragrance notes like rose, sandalwood, jasmine, vanilla, and even the more whimsical cotton candy have one thing in common: Because the raw materials have a memorable real-life scent, you know *exactly* what they’re supposed to smell like.

A new scent-centric trend is currently having its main character moment in the world of perfumery, and unlike more traditional fragrance elements, it doesn’t really have a specific aroma associated with it. In fact, it’s better defined as something inspired by an overall essence or vibe.

Sun Fragrances Are Totally A Thing

Sun-inspired — or “solar” — perfumes are currently taking over the fragrance space, with countless new launches that use the buzzy term in their names.

Most recently, DedCool welcomed a new signature scent to its indie collection by way of Sunlit Blooms, a pale yellow, sun-colored juice that smells like summer in a bottle. Not long before that, it-girl brands like PHLUR and Amouage released Solar Power and Sunshine Woman, respectively, which both give a general idea of how they might make you feel by name alone.

The sun, of course, is very much associated with heat, happiness, and carefree days of summer. But what does a sun-inspired perfume even smell like?

What Do Solar Perfumes Smell Like?

Akin to the sun itself, solar perfumes all tend to have a certain mood-boosting vibrancy and warmth that radiates from skin after it’s been applied. Pinning down what the sun smells like, however, requires a bit of imagination.

“The sun smells yellow, like yellow flowers,” says Givaudan perfumer Guillaume Flavigny. “The sun is essential in our lives. It's something positive, optimistic, strong.” As for specific yellow-tinted florals, he goes on to name daffodils and mimosa flowers as a few that embody the energy of the sun.

Bee Shapiro, the founder and CEO of Ellis Brooklyn, echoes Flavigny’s sentiment. “[Sun perfumes] can evoke sensuality, bare skin, and also joy. Typical notes are actually tropical flowers, like Tahitian tiare and ylang ylang, while adding citrus notes is a more fresh and playful approach.”

In other words? If certain notes happen to be yellow or orange in color — like lemons or mandarins — it’s likely they’re a good fit for a solar fragrance. Moreover, a sun-inspired formula has to have an undeniably lively aura that directly nods to the force of the sun’s rays.

11 Sun-Inspired Perfumes

Whether you’re on the hunt for a perfect summertime scent or are in need of some joy for the gloomiest of days — here are 11 fragrances that are all things solar-powered and sun-drenched.

Filled with vibrant citruses and the warmth of exotic woods, Sun Force takes cues from the vibrancy of the sun itself.

“The sun is a strong ‘yang’ energy,” says Flavigny, who is the perfumer behind this fragrance. “I used the energy of yellow citrus, like lemon and bergamot, mixed with a strong ginger and saffron. [I added] a touch of narcissus and burnt smoky woods.”

Inspired by a field of flowers that are drenched in the golden light of the sun, Sunlit Blooms smells of buttery orange blossom, radiant ylang-ylang, and a benzoin resin note that adds a heated signature that lasts on the skin.

SUN is a refreshing scent that instantly transports you to sunnier days with its sweet clementine, sheer orange flower, and warm vanilla notes. “I was imagining this very joyful aspect of spending a perfect day at the beach,” says Shapiro of the creation process. “There's the peppy opening notes and the sweetness of a summer day that's captured in one playful and lovely body mist.”

Solstis’ luxe bottle may be adorned with a sun on the label, but it isn’t meant to be defined by a single season — rather, the aroma embodies them all at once. Crisp apple, pink pepper, and citrus notes are definitively scents of summer, while spiced nutmeg and cardamom represent the chill of autumn. Vetiver is reminiscent of the rain-drenched earth of spring, and vanilla-drenched sandalwood honors wintertime.

You know that feeling of sweet lethargy and total contentment after a day spent soaking in the sun? Sundrunk aims to bottle that sensation up with notes of neroli, honeysuckle, rose water, and orange zest.

Solar Power is a strong unisex scent that expresses the sun’s aura with the aromas of sun-kissed bergamot, juicy red mandarin, musky driftwood, and a radiant bouquet of neroli and jasmine flowers.

Lust For Sun is inspired by sunny days in the tropics, as the aromas of warm ylang-ylang, cool coconut water, and sweet vanilla swirl around your senses.

If Sunlit Clementine & Vetiver were a destination, it would no doubt be The Hamptons. Why? This perfume beautifully balances a laidback essence with an air of total sophistication, just like the New York hotspot.

Sundazed is inspired by a sun-induced state of total bliss, with notes of lemon, neroli, jasmine, and musk that whisk you away to a secret spot underneath the sun.

Breathing in Tilia is like running through the flower-filled English countryside, with its lime, jasmine, and vetiver notes that can’t help but enliven your aura.

Sunshine Woman is a sweet-smelling floral gourmand perfume that exquisitely marries the aromas of heady blackcurrant liquor, creamy osmanthus, vanilla-covered tobacco, and earthy patchouli.