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Wednesday 2 July 2014

Grown Up Perfumes You'll Wear Forever

If you're still wearing the same scent your boyfriend bought you when you were 15, it may be time to explore something more grown up. Some of us find our signature scent early, but for others it's a longer journey. For years I stuck to fruity, youthful scents that I could spritz at will, but recently I've found myself drawn to more sophisticated scents. Here are the ones I think will drag you away from your old faithfuls... while looking amazing on your bedside table.

Carven is a french fashion house that's enjoyed a renaissance recently thanks to a new designer who has a knack for creating quirky-chic clothing that looks great on people like Emma Stone and Alexa Chung and frumpy as hell on the rest of us. Luckily the perfume (£52), which is a proper old school floral with ylang ylang, jasmine hyacinth and freesia, is pretty failsafe, and comes in a bottle that is about as far from a Britney Spears fragrance as you're ever going to get. This is grown-up glam in a bottle.

Marc Jacobs has done a good job of seducing us purely with packaging over the last few years, but if his over the top rainbow coloured bottles (complete with flowers, bugs and other embellishments) were a bit much, his new fragrance may be more up your street. Daisy Dream is launching nationwide very soon (it's currently exclusive to World Duty Free shops) and puts a lighter, fresher, more airy twist on the usual offerings with coconut water, blue wisteria and lychee. If you just can't see yourself in a woodsy or floral scent, try this first.

Elie Saab makes all those embellished pastel or metallic lace dresses seen at awards shows, so it's no surprise that his namesake perfume (£33 and up) is a sophisticated affair with plenty of romance. When shopping for this perfume look for the dark, amber coloured scent. The fresher green one isn't a patch on its sister, which is rich in jasmine and rose and makes you want to get a posh blow dry, put on a sparkly dress and go somewhere with lots of dark wood and velvet upholstery for overpriced cocktails.

Most people didn't know who Viktor and Rolf were until Flowerbomb became one of the 2000s cult perfumes. This is a huge bestseller for a reason. Don't let the fact Cheryl Cole loves it put you off (seriously, her first fragrance is going to be called 'Stormflower'). This is an addictive perfume that people remember. The extreme version (£76) is the nuclear option, bursting with floral notes, plus the inexplicable blackberry note that seemingly comes from nowhere. Spritz sparingly, you have been warned!

Come on, like we'd have a perfume round-up without something inspired by gin! Penhaligon's Juniper Sling (£110) is a unisex scent, though we're not sure how many men would spritz something with a bow on the bottle (bow tie, I suppose). The strongest note in this classic scent is juniper (natch) but you also get pepper and brandy for added fun. Yep, this is essentially a cocktail for your dressing table. What's not to love?

I won't beat around the bush, this perfume basically smells like sex. Or warm holiday skin. Michael Kors may be better known for rose gold watches and 'affordable' designer handbags, but if you ask me, his best creation is his eponymous fragrance (£55). It's sultry, sexy, and spicy. If you're the kind of girl who likes red lipstick, seamed stockings and pencil skirts, you need this in your life. If you're not, Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude is like the beginner's version. A pat instead of a spank, if you will.

Speaking of sexy, nobody does it quite like Tom Ford, and when I discovered he'd created a scent inspired by my home, I had to investigate. London (£140) is another unisex scent, and this is one I think men would happily steal. It's rich, deep and woody, with musky notes and a whiff of museum. Yes, museum. Imagine the fragrant Mr Ford himself taking you round the V&A, pointing out all the best stuff. Sold? Me too.

A London-based perfumerie shouldn't be so good at making tropical scents, but Ormonde Jayne's Frangipani is excellent. This is the only way to wear fizzy, fruity scents when you're too old to get away with a Dewberry body spray. Frangipani is actually a flower, of course, but it's blended in this case with plum for a fruity feel, plus green orchid and jasmine (because all good perfumes need jasmine). This stuff lasts all day, and despite being fresh and tropical it feels anything but cheap. No, really. It's £90.


  1. Alas, I have no sense of smell, but those bottles look lovely!

    1. Unrelated to your comment - but oh my, your blog is gorgeous! I love your work and want to join Moon Club (I'm glad the zine had a happy ending).

    2. Glad I just popped back here, thanks for looking at my blog! As for Moon Club; you should come, we're very welcoming!

  2. My signature scent has been Cinnabar by Estee Lauder ever since I was a college student. I had sinus surgery about a year ago and just recently my sense of smell has recovered and Cinnabar doesn't smell as nice to me anymore. So I will be looking for something else I guess - I might look into some of these. Also, Juniper Sling sounds perfect for my daughter, she loves the unisex clean scents.

  3. I've recently fallen in love with Armani Diamonds summer edition :)

  4. Ooh, I want to smell that Michael Kors scent. I'm drowning myself in anything by Francis Kurdjikan at the moment which is going to become a really expensive habit if I don't find a different scent to use during the day.

  5. Any chance of a round-up of more "natural" based perfumes? I love the idea of a signature scent, but most perfumes give me such a headache I have to scrub them off- and I've even tried the indie perfumiers who do lovely bookish scents. I have to zoom through the perfume areas in department stores and duty free! The only ones I've found that don't have me all woozy in minutes are the Lush solid ones (my fave being the greeny-grassy one) but the sticks go into a sticky mess in the warmth and I'd love a bit of variety! There's a challenge for you!


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