From fruity floral, oriental and citrus fresh to woody musk, spicy and gourmand, we live in a world where perfumes are a dime a dozen and sometimes it can be tough to make a decision – we get it.
Lucky for you, we caught up with Sophie Labbe, senior perfumer at Bulgari, who dished out some fragrance know-hows that will help you make sense of scent.
Plus, we’ve got you covered with four must-know perfume tips. Let your fragrance discovery journey begin…
Photography Tan Wei De
Art Direction Sherli Chong
Her World (HW): Testing fragrances at the perfume counter can be overwhelming. How should we go about it?
Sophie Labbe (SL): Try them out on blotters – you can sample five to 10, then select three or four to try on your skin and decide which one you like best. The next day, go back to the store – it is very important that you wear the perfume you have chosen on its own and see how you feel. It’s all about the emotion you experience when you wear a fragrance – maybe it makes you feel like a diva or more feminine; perhaps you receive frequent compliments (very important!) from family or when you’re in the elevator or on the streets. If you feel good, if you feel like you but better, it’s your fragrance.
This has the same fresh, water-based DNA as the earlier EDP version, but with an extra-citrusy zest, courtesy of the addition of neroli and mandarin. Rose and lily of the valley make up its delicate floral heart, while ambergris and a special note called Cashmeran give it a lightly musky finish with a salty tinge. Think spring blossoms, sea spray and sun-warmed skin.
Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pure EDT, $164.
HW: The three ways to wear a perfume are…
SL: [Heat and humidity intensify smells. That’s why] the best spots to apply perfume are on hot and humid points, which is where fragrances ‘bloom’ more. You can also wear [perfume by spraying it onto] your hair – you’ll be able to smell it well when you move, and other people can too.
Lastly, try spraying [it] in front of you and walking into it to get the feeling of being surrounded by the scent. It depends on your mood, really, on how you want to feel.
Expressing the happiness of life and new beginnings, this is a floral-fruity blend of jasmine sambac, neroli, tuberose and peach. Sea salt gives it a unique salty gourmand twist.
Dior J’Adore In Joy EDT, $134-$194.
HW: How can we prolong the shelf life of a perfume?
SL: As perfumes don’t like heat and light, keep them in their original packaging and store them in a [fridge dedicated to] your fragrances.
If you prefer a sweet, floral scent, reach for this one which has notes of grapefruit, orchid, passion fruit, orange blossom and tonka beans.
Abercrombie & Fitch First Instinct for Women EDP, $67-$114.
This fruity-floral scent opens with notes of hibiscus and bergamot before nectarine and peony come to the fore.
Sweet without being sugary, it stays fresh and airy despite the sensual base notes of musk and cedarwood.
Jimmy Choo L’Eau EDT, $69-$149.
Built around agarwood, this is an earthy sweet, bold unisex fragrance that manages to also smell clean and crisp.
Bergamot, angelica and zingy black pepper lighten it and lend an invigorating vibe, while geranium rounds off the scent so it doesn’t come across as overly sharp.
Atelier Cologne Emeraude Agar Cologne Absolue, $390.
PERFUME TIP #1: Perfume smells different in different climates.
Humidity, pollution and dry, cold air affect how the scent smells on you.
If you could bottle the scent of a fruit garden on a breezy summer’s day, it might well smell like this limited-edition concoction.
A sweet, luscious concoction of blackcurrant, grapefruit, pineapple and fresh florals such as white freesia and jasmine, it has a cedarwood base that gives it a sexy finish that lingers.
Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream Kiss EDT, $115.
This retains the original CK One’s citrusy green-tea signature, with the addition of amber, musk and paradisone (a radiant floral molecule) for a warm, woody aspect.
Calvin Klein CK All EDT, $88-$121.
PERFUME TIP #2: Perfume can stain clothes, especially silk.
So don’t spray it directly onto clothes. Instead, spray it into the air and walk through the mist.
This is a classed-up version of the ubiquitous floral citrus scent. While it has notes of bergamot, bitter orange, lemon and mandarin, there’s a verdant freshness to it, with notes of ylang-ylang, jasmine and lily of the valley adding depth.
Tom Ford Sole di Positano EDP, $330-$850.
With notes of iris, ginger and cedar, this is a classy, creamy and comforting unisex scent.
The lightly spicy ginger and woody cedar not only balance the sweetness of iris but also lend the fragrance a masculine vibe.
Berdoues Arz El-rab Cologne Grand Cru, price unavailable.
Perfume tip #3: Layer different textures for a lasting scent.
Buy the product extensions to the fragrance and layer them. Start with the bath products, followed by those for the body, and end with the perfume.
It’ll really help the fragrance last longer, says Sophie. Click here for other hassle-free hacks to make your perfume last longer.
The unisex potion is a zesty bergamot fragrance with a green twist, thanks to notes of coriander and ginger. It dries down to reveal warm, musky and vanilla notes. Perfect for everyday wear.
Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Bergamote Calabria EDT, $143.
There is pleasure to be had in little moments and simple things, like that first sip of freshly brewed tea.
Running with this idea, Elizabeth Arden has come up with this soft musky-woody floral that’s very easy on the nose.
Opening with zingy Italian mandarin and a fresh sea breeze note, it develops into the soothing, tranquil scent of white tea.
Madras wood, ambrette seed and a trio of musks round things off gently.
Elizabeth Arden White Tea EDT, $24-$49.
PERFUME TIP #4: More synthetic ingredients mean a more enduring scent.
According to Sylvaine Delacourte, director of fragrance evaluation and development at Guerlain, fragrances with more natural ingredients will become more intense and the colour will change over time. So if you’re particular about how your perfume smells, look for one with more synthetic ingredients.
Spring is the season of joy and fresh beginnings – notions Miu Miu wants to evoke with its fresher version of the brand’s eponymous signature perfume. It opens with the delicate, somewhat sappy scent of lily of the valley, then bolsters it with crisp, refreshing green notes, white florals and the scent of morning dew. Akigalawood – a sweet, peppery accord that smells like patchouli but without the muskiness – lends it a surprising kick.
Miu Miu L’Eau Bleue EDP, $103-$176.
PERFUME HACK #5: Road testing the perfume on your skin lets you gauge the scent compatibility.
As Thierry Wasser, master perfumer at Guerlain, puts it, “It’s not always because you love a fragrance, and the fragrance loves you. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work for some people, so it’s important to try the fragrance on the skin.”
Say “oriental fragrance” and those with milder tastes will probably run in the opposite direction. This should not be the case with this Guerlain creation, a lighter take on conventional orientals with its freshness and soft warmth.
Balancing opulent notes such as jasmine, rose and sandalwood with clean-smelling, herby Carla lavender and sweet gourmand vanilla, it’s sensual and uber-feminine– like its muse and face Angelina Jolie.
(top right) Guerlain Mon Guerlain EDP, $98.
Inspired by a rose from the family estate of Isabelle d’Ornano – who was the wife of Sisley’s late founder – and named after the Polish short form of her name, this is a modern rose fragrance which, though bright and dewy, is also too sophisticated to be casual.
The sweetness of white bergamot, freesia and tea is balanced by pink peppercorn. Rose, freesia, angelica and peony intensify the scent, while cedar and musk round it off in a clean and powdery way.
(bottom left) Sisley Izia EDP, $130-$280.
Paying homage to both the house’s glittering history and iconic flowers are Bulgari’s Splendida Rose Rose and Iris d’Or.
Based on the damask rose, the former is ultra-feminine, and starts off fruity and sparkling, with notes of blackberry and mandarin. It then dries down to a soft, powdery finish with patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver and musk.
The latter, on the other hand, is a warm, radiant creation that’s like bottled golden light. Fresh, green notes of violet and mimosa lead in to a heart of sensual iris.
Sandalwood and tonka bean base notes round off a posh, creamy scent.
Bulgari Splendida Rose Rose EDP and Iris d’Or EDP, $111-$229 each.
Kenzo’s attempt to translate the beauty of light into perfume resulted in this creation, which aims to evoke the energy and positive emotions of this life-giving force.
Various points of the light spectrum are represented: bergamot captures the freshness of white light; the richness of Bulgarian rose and jasmine sambac express the strength and vitality of daylight; and white musk embodies soft light, lending the fragrance warmth and a sexy vibe.
Kenzo Flower By Kenzo Eau de Lumiere, $83-$156.
This story was originally published in the July 2017 issue of Her World magazine. Photos by Tan Wei Te and Vee Chin. Art direction by Sherli Chong.
- Berdoues Arz El-rab Cologne Grand Cru
- Bulgari Splendida Rose Rose EDP
- Calvin Klein CK All EDT
- Elizabeth Arden White Tea EDT
- Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Bergamote Calabria EDT
- Iris dÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Or EDP
- Jimmy Choo LÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Eau EDT
- mac releases
- Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream Kiss EDT
- Miu Miu LÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Eau Bleue EDP
- Sisley Izia EDP
- Tom Ford Sole di Positano EDP