Fragrances are such bizarre things to write about online, because no matter how well they’re presented, you still can’t smell them. Which is kind of the whole purpose of a fragrance, right? To smell delicious? And yet if I ever feel like my perfume options need updating, my first avenues of research, more often than not, are blog posts and YouTube videos. This is particularly true if I can track down some content from one of my favourite influencers, which on the one hand suggests I’m a marketeer’s dream, and on the other that fragrance blog posts can sometimes be useful.
Before we go any further, I have to be honest about my knowledge of fragrances. Or lack thereof, should I say. I have no idea what a top note, heart note or base note is, I haven’t a clue which scents are complimentary to one another, and my entire fragrance history has been based upon ‘oh yeah, that smells decent, I’ll go for that’. As I'm picking up on which scents I love and the ingredients that make them up, I'm beginning to see a few repeat offenders which lend themselves to my personal preference, but largely I make it up as I go along. I feel like I know what patchouli and sandalwood are, but I don’t really know what they are. Like, if I saw them in a line-up, they’d get off scot-free, you know?
I do, however, concede that there are some fabulously glamorous people in the world that do have a clue about the art of perfume, and so I’ve included all of the info on notes and such below to hopefully guide you in having a ~ hot clue ~ what any of these beauties smell like. It’s also worth noting that if you give your favourite scent a quick Google, you can compare the ingredients and the blurb and gather an idea of the final scent. This is shopping in the modern world, ladies and gents!
“Why can’t we just jot down our favourites and head to our local department store for a spritz and smell?”, I hear you cry! Well, that leads us nicely onto why the heck I’m suddenly sharing fragrances with you in the first place. My collection has expanded quite considerably over the past few months, and I’ve been lucky enough to sample some brands and scents that aren’t quite as popular as the likes of Marc Jacob’s Daisy or Viktor & Rolf’s Blowerbomb. The following five are all new favourites, but they’re not guaranteed to be knocking about in your local Debenhams (they aren’t in mine, at least), so tracking them down for a sniff may be a little more difficult. I love discovering new fragrances online precisely for this reason though - you get to explore products that you may otherwise have missed, and there’s so much more in the way of choice for your personal tastes. Fingers crossed you’ll find a new gem for yourself below!
Charlotte Tilbury - Scent of A Dream
Key notes: Peach, Black Pepper, Magnolia, Patchouli, Amber
Price: £68.00 for 50ml
Wear with: A silky cami dress layered over a tee
Charlotte Tilbury designed this perfume alongside perfumer Francois Robert and a team of neuroscientists, aiming to create a scent which bypasses the conscious part of the brain and triggers an “uncontrollable and animalistic reaction”. Does it result in fellow sexy people ripping off their clothes and accepting your bad habits as ‘cute quirks?’. That has yet to be seen, but it does smell bloody good. I’ve seen a few criticisms of this scent as being too powdery or ‘old-ladyish’, but I think those have missed the mark; it’s definitely more of a mature scent in that it’s not aggressively woody or sickly sweet, but the softer finish lends itself to elegance and retro glamour. Musky in a floral way, the scent itself is very distinct and the finish isn’t too heavy, although it does last and you’ll get whiffs of it every so often as you move.
Elizabeth and James - Nirvana Rose
Key notes: Rose de Mai, Vetiver, Geranium
Price: £68.00 for 50ml
Wear with: The power suit of the moment, with a modern twist
My favourite scent at the moment, Elizabeth and James' Nirvana Rose is a deep, masculine scent that turns the traditional rose fragrance on its head. Rose fragrances tend to be my favourite, with two of my all time staples being Jo Malone's Velvet Rose & Oud and Miller Harris' Rose Silence. Nirvana Rose is deeper than both of these, and whilst it is still floral, it doesn't have that same sweet softness that you'd expect. There's almost a hint of alcohol as you take the first whiff, and whilst it can be quite strong to begin with (which, admittedly, I love), it does settle into a romantic, sensual, long-lasting finish. It's also worth noting that the bottle has some serious dressing-table potential, decked out in decadent deep reds, vivid gold edging and a shape reminiscent of a swanky hip flask. Powerful, confident, and a little bit seductive - give it a go if you like them heavy and alluring (your perfume, not your men).
Annick Goutal - Nuit Et Confidences
Key notes: Bergamot, Black Pepper, Tonka Bean, Vanilla, White Musk
Price: £85.00 for 50ml
Wear with: Something sexy as fuck
Okay I know I said the last fragrance was my favourite, but I've just spritzed this again to prep myself for the write up and I may possibly have changed my mind. Released late last year, Annick Goutal's Nuit Et Confidences is smooth, velvety, and so distinct that I've yet to find any other scent that comes close. I often write off Vanilla as being too sweet or too immature for my personal tastes, but in this case, it oozes through in a musky, quiet way that lingers long after you've sprayed. This is one of those fragrances that, if smelled on someone else, makes you want to be close to them. It's the kind of scent that garners compliments and evokes memories when you smell it on one of your jumpers a few days later. Nuit Et Confidences was designed with an artistic Parisian night in mind, and there's a carefree, feminine maturity that suggests the noses at Annick Goutal got is spot on.
Tory Burch - Bel Azur
Key notes: Bergamot, Neroli, Peony, Cedarwood, Vetiver
Price: £64.00 for 50ml
Wear with: A linen dress aboard the yacht you almost definitely own
Inspired by the legendary paradise of the French Riviera, Tory Burch's new Bel Azur fragrance evokes summer sun, sea, and sand. How can a fragrance smell of the beach, right (unless that 'beach smell' is grains of sand in a budget ham sandwich and an unshifting sense of regret)? That's exactly what I thought when I first read the press release, but somehow, they've done it. The finish is bright, fresh and light, with the citrus of the Bergamot leading the way and the earthiness of the Vetiver grounding it from coming across as too sickly. Bel Azur is again another distinct fragrance and definitely one that lends itself to warmer months, perfect for any early-season holidays or if you're ready to brighten up your collection with something more vibrant. Available March 2018.
Jean Paul Gaultier - Scandal
Key notes: Blood Orange, Honey, Gardenia, Patchouli
Price: £63.50 for 50ml
Wear with: A silky blouse and kitten heels for date night
There's an element of nostalgia laced into any Jean Paul Gaultier fragrance for me, because one of my Mum's staple scents when I was growing up was JPG's Classique. Scandal, then, is the contemporary update for the Classique wearer's daughter. Flipping the iconic JPG bottle on its head (literally), Scandal is topped with a pair of heeled silver legs, containing a scent which is shamelessly feminine but not too sickly in its delivery. Scandal, for me, is a playful, flirty fragrance, bright enough to be worn during the day but rich enough for night time too, with the fruitiness of the Blood Orange fading out into depth and sweetness from the Honey and Patchouli. If you're looking for an all-rounder with sex appeal, this is the one.