Summer Embrocation

Summer Embrocation
Available in:
5 oz Canisters

Pros: Cons:
  • Sheds rain
  • Little goes a long way
  • Premium packaging
  • Stains your white, Euro bibs
  • Scent tiptoes on overbearing

Mt. Ventoux… those two words transcend the sport of cycling and the act of climbing. Heros have raced here, suffered here, and some have even died here. Gaul, Merckx,Thévenet, and Patani have all won here.

Inspired by the furiousity of the mountain and its history, Rapha set out to create a skincare line that celebrates the climb. It’s muse is the foliage that flanks the 21.8km climb up the Giant of Provence.

Rapha Summer Embrocation has complex scent about it, smelling deeply of lavender, rosemary, and cypress; there are also supporting notes of pine and a hint of lemon peel. Like other Rapha Performance Skincare products, the intensity of the scent straddles a fine line between ecstasy and excess. When you first unscrew the cap, the embro explodes with fragrance; over time it dissipates slightly, but you will generally catch lingering whiffs throughout your workout.

The texture is ultra premium with the look and feel of liquid silk. It also has a concentrated quality about it. I found that a little went a long, long way here (which is good considering the price per oz); in fact, too much was not only wasteful, but made me feel like an oiled pig.

There is a healthy glide built in that makes pre-activity massage easy and enjoyable, as well as a very slight warming sensation. Note that the container says “Summer” and not “Non-Warming.” I am a big fan of this as Rapha Summer Embrocation helped to wake up the muscles while never becoming hot. I used the embro deep into 100°+ days and never felt that the heat scale tipped above a 2 (out of 10).

Another major positive characteristic of Rapha Summer Embrocation is its water resistance. You will notice this first after application, when you try to wash your hands. While soap helps, you more or less have to scrub it off with a towel. On the road, precipitation beads up and rolls right off like a Rain-X. This keeps cold rain water off your skin, thereby reducing thermal heat loss in your legs.

Take note of the color of Rapha Summer Embrocation – it’s brown. While this helps to supplant your quest to look like a Colombian Neo-Pro, it also stains everything you touch save black bib shorts.

As noted above, removal is a little different than with other non-warming embros. Rapha Summer Embrocation requires a healthy dose of soap, water, and a rag to wipe it off. And, yes… Rapha Soap did actually do the best job out of the many soaps I tried (Tip: soaps without built in moisturizers work best).

The packaging of Rapha’s embro, as well as its entire Performance Skincare line, is worth noting. The cream comes in solid, black canisters that have sleek, simple text on it, as well as a pressed “Mt. Ventox -1912” logo on the cap. The summit of Ventoux is 1912m above sea level, by the way.

If that was not premium enough, each canister comes in a black cardstock box emblazoned with photos of the climb. Every box is sealed with a pink tape, itself a work of art, with hand cut edges and a fact about the Domaine des Anges.


The verdict: Rapha Summer Embrocation is a stand out warm-weather embro. While it does comes with price, pomp, and packaging, it also comes with two far more important features: performance and perspective.

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