Picking a scent can be daunting and confusing given all the options at our fingertips..or rather nose. I know when I’m on the hunt for a new fragrance, it’s usually hard for me to even articulate to the salesperson what it is I’m exactly after. Many times I love a fragrance in the store, but end up hating it once it settles on me. If I say floral or citrus, they usually show me something that’s to far to one side of the spectrum. Over the years, I have established a few favorites when it comes to scents, but find myself always wanting to add new members to the collection. After years of research, nose blindness and scent serendipity, here are my top picks:
CREED // This 250 year old fragrance house is one of my favorites. Creed’s scents are consistently interesting and have a luxe depth to them. If you gravitate towards floral scents Spring Flower is a soft, well balanced fragrance with an understated elegance. Acqua Fiorentina (pictured) is Spring Flower’s younger, spicier sister. (Think a feminine pink Louboutin, but with a spiky toe). Both would be classified as floral, with Acqua having a bit more edge.
I also love Santal as a men’s pick. With spicy, rich notes it’s a sexy fragrance that says I’ve arrived. It’s my favorite out of my husbands collection followed by Bond no. 9 Chez Bond. The Bond no. 9 is a clean, crisp scent perfect for everyday.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian // This house is the real deal when it comes to French parfum. I first came across Kurkdjian in Paris (more on this later) and fell in love. Once back in the States, I quickly befriended Bergdorf’s Kurkdjian specialist. I was so obsessed with my first fragrance from the line, after looking at every scent under the sun, I knew my next purchase would be from this house. Amyris Femme is a beautiful floral with a touch of fruit. It’s fantastic on it’s own, but also to my excitement, lovely when layered with my first Kurkdjian scent, A la Rose.
I also love the travel size option (3 large vials for $100). It’s a great way to try a fragrance without committing to the whole bottle.
Le Galion // On my first trip to Paris I was obsessed with finding a quintessential French fragrance. I wanted something flowery but not to sweet or over powering. Something that was different from my current collection and that wasn’t easily available in the States. On our way to afternoon tea, my husband and I stumbled up on a quaint perfume shop. It was exactly what I was after. The shop housed 50 odd French perfumes, carefully curated by the owner-the epitome of the chic French woman. I explained I was after something in the floral family but a bit more special that mainstream fragrances. After smelling her top 3 picks I was intrigued by the La Rose. Floral-yes, but there was another element to the scent that was unique and just worked. The base notes are rich, with an almost Chanel #5 depth, but encased by the delicate rose. I consider this my “special occasion” scent as it really stands on it’s own.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian // Although my first perfume experience in Paris with Le Galion was fantastic, I still had another destination on my list to visit: Nose. As you can guess, the fragrance shop is on top of it’s game. Touted as on of the most unique fragrance experiences, I quickly learned the hype was true. I was invited to the nose bar upon arrival to understand my scent profile. The sales girl quickly handed me an iPad with questions on which scents I currently love and fragrance profiles I gravitate towards. My top 4 were generated and quickly brought over for an arm test. Each scent was so different but spot on. I ultimately decided on Kurkdjian’s A la rose. As far as a true floral, this is the holy grail. Yes there are many “rose” scents out there but this one was very special. Made with over 250 petals and two breeds of roses, I could feel the luxury of this fragrance as I spritzed it on my arm. Pricy-yes, but worth it. This is currently my favorite go to scent as I also layer this with others from my collection.
As each scent in the Kurkdjian house has it’s own personality, I quickly also fell in love with one of it’s specialty scents: Rouge 540. I was given a sample of this and could not stop smelling it. I soon learned this was a private collaboration with Baccarat and was only offered in a stunning crystal jar for over $4000. Apparently others felt the way I did and demanded a version more down to earth. I quickly got on the wait-list at Bergdorf for the arrival of Rouge 540. This scent is fruity, slightly floral and woody and completely intoxicating.
BYREDO // I was first attracted to this fragrance in Barney’s because of it’s Diptyque like packaging and simplicity. Byredo was new to me and after reading about the creators inspiration of scents tiesd to memories, I was intrigued. Each scent is so different and complex, yet light and unassuming on the body. My two favorites are Palermo followed by a newer addition, Mojave Ghost. Palermo is the epitome of a juicy citrus orange blossom. It’s fresh, vibrant and makes you feel like you’re standing next to a Sicilian orange tree. On the other side of the spectrum is Mojave Ghost. This rare flower gives a soft, mysterious fragrance with sweet undertones that settle into a woody base note.
I also love Blanche for a clean, fresh laundry scent. The roll on versions of each scent and perfect for travel.
Jo Malone // It’s safe to say that some version of a Jo Malone scent is in your home. Candles, fragrance, lotions-Malone knows yummy scents. I like the fact that the fragrance’s smallest size is perfect for travel as well as giving you a good taste of the scent. It’s really hard to choose, but my personal pick is Blackberry & Bay. The fact that citrus and floral are perfectly combined in this fragrance is spot on for everyday as a fresh, light option. Malone also is fantastic for layering within the collection.
OTHER FAVES // Le Labo Bergamont 22– A trip to Le Labo’s NYC location is like a visiting a fantastic science lab. Each scent is mixed onsite and personalized if you so choose. Bergamont is a scent profile I almost always love in any fragrance, so it only made sense I would love this pick. It’s fresh and crisp but unique and soft when worn. Serge Lutens-I was recommended this fragrance by a friend who is the queen of subtle, fresh, clean scents. Although the fragrance is delicate, it falls to a light citrus punctuated with fresh, clean characteristics.