Thinking of giving (or asking for) fragrance? Why not try one of my favourite launches.
As reassuringly traditional as Christmas itself is the idea that you’ll likely have wrapped up some fragrance for a loved one. Of course, when it comes to choosing that fragrance, you can simply look at what they already love and ply them with extra stock (it’s always appreciated). Or you can go for one of the blockbusters: you don’t need me to catalogue them here and they all come with a message akin to what songwriter Johnny Mercer would cite as you’re ‘glorious, glamorous, and that old standby amorous’. However, if you want to offer something different but also thought through, here (pictured clockwise from left) are some of my favourite scents from the past year…
La Perla has massively expanded into beauty this year and included some fantastic fragrances. But, on balance, I’d recommend Invisible Touch eau de parfum (from £88, beautybylaperla.com). It’s a warm and musky sophisticated scent with a quiet ‘come hither’ quality and really is like spraying on great underwear (notes include rose petals, ylang-ylang and patchouli). Plus it comes in a beautiful bottle – and is refillable.
Ordre Cosmique (£85, tothefairest.com) comes from new and independent perfume label To The Fairest, which is well worth your support. It’s a charming scent with a light, crisp feel plus a dash of sweetness and warmth, as well as oodles of positive vibes thanks to a blend of cardamom, water lily and cedarwood.
Bon Parfumeur 702 (from £35, bonparfumeur.com) has key notes of incense, lavender and cashmere wood that manage to smell both traditional and modern. It comes with a warm, spicy and rebellious kick that lifts it out of the classic style realm and brings a little edge.
Bamford branched into fragrance just a few weeks ago with impressive results. Woodland Moss (from £25, bamford.com) is an earthy and woody concoction (think wintry walks in the forest)with patchouli, moss, pepper and tobacco also giving a slightly sultry vibe. Since it’s Bamford, there’s a focus on natural and sustainable ingredients including an organic alcohol that makes up 80 per cent of an eau de parfum.
Zara has expanded its perfume offering, working with Jo Malone CBE, founder of Jo Loves, once again. This time each of its creations is inspired by a city and, of the eight in the range, my favourite is Stunningly Venice (from £5.99, zara.com). A mix of bergamot, red berries and myrrh, it definitely has a fruity zing – but there’s an elegant enveloping quality, too, rather than anything overly sweet. An excellent offering, especially at this price.
Eau d’Hadrien (£132, harrods.com) by Goutal has become a modern classic with its fresh but beautifully elegant notes of Sicilian lemon, bergamot and grapefruit to create a refined aroma with an upbeat outlook. So why is it in a line-up of new launches? Because, to celebrate its 40th anniversary, it has for a limited time been rehoused in the original style of bottle – which, in my opinion, is far superior to the redesigned packaging. So if this fragrance is already a favourite, snap up this version quickly while you still can.
Moncler Pour Femme (£170, selfridges.com) is the brand’s first foray into fragrance. It’s a sweet and fresh number with jasmine, heliotrope and what they call a ‘powdery snow accord’. With the fancy LED refillable bottle that ticker tapes the brand name across the front, this is what fashionable (and lucky) teenagers everywhere are going to want.
Une Balade en Forêt(£29.20 for members, £75 for non-members, beautypie.com) by Beauty Pie has elements of a classic and very sexy men’s cologne to it (and could easily be unisex) with balsam fir, bergamot and cedar wood. It’s spicy, earthy and as warming as a longed for embrace and comes with an orange faux leather travel case.
The Body Shop White Musk eau de toilette (from £16, thebodyshop.com) is a smell that many remember from their teenage years (it launched in 1981). Brought back from the archives this year, it’s sweet with a crisp cleanness and has an innocent charm to it and its notes of lily of the valley, jasmine and musk.
Synthetic Jungle by Anne Flipo from Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle (from £38, fredericmalle.co.uk) is an instant lean-in-and-nuzzle joy of a perfume. It’s opulent yet fresh and green with jasmine, ylang-ylang, basil and patchouli – truly one of the most beautiful fragrances I’ve ever smelt.
Beauty assistant: Alice Robertson