Is it possible to have too many fragrances? Looking at the crowded state of the bathroom shelf it would seem so, and yet there always seems to be room for one more. That’s because different scents are like different outfits or new identities: there’s a one to slip on for every mood and occasion. You can’t really be a fragrance hound and limit yourself to a handful – especially when there’s a constant flow of newness to tempt you. This crop of autumnal scents present a tale of contrasts – dominated by leather, rose and the rich, spicy greenness of galbanum.
Gucci Mémoire d’Une Odeur Eau de Parfum
Like anything, fragrance is personal and subjective and for too long our tastes have been dictated by marketing managers at giant perfume houses telling us what “masculine” and “feminine” is. Gucci’s major fanfare at launching its first “universal” scent basically ignores its existing line and its own Alchemist’s Garden collection in particular.
They’re not the first big fashion brand to unveil this concept: Calvin Klein did it very successfully in the 1990s with CK One. Still, Gucci’s first stab at encouraging the masses to share a scent is a pretty good effort all round; from the cult-inspired ad campaign with Harry Styles and friends, to the actual juice itself. It contains chamomile, jasmine, vanilla, woods and a synthetic mineral edge that reminds us a little of vintage books – in a good way.
£92 for 100ml; gucci.com
Frederic Malle Rose & Cuir Eau de Parfum
First, imagine a chauffeured Bentley with the finest of leather seats; now, picture a grand dame doused in expensive rose water reclining against the plush upholstery. As she exits the car her scent will linger, wafting airy rose with a darker undertone of sumptuous leather. That should give you an idea of the new Frederic Malle edition from Jean-Claude Ellena. And yet, it doesn’t contain any actual rose: it has Timut pepper, peach accord, blackcurrant and bourbon geranium in the top, vetiver, cedar and cumin in the middle and leather accord in the base.
£200 for 100ml, fredericmalle.co.uk
Comme des Garçons Copper Eau de Parfum
Always pushing the scented envelope, Comme Des Garçons is a fragrance house with a fondness for abstract concepts. After all, the cult Series 6 Synthetic line featured notes such as tar, kerosene and nail polish remover and had names like Garage, Soda and Dry Clean.
The name suggests a cooler, metallic scent but it is not. In contrast, Copper is comfortingly warm and spicy. Galbanum, pink pepper, tobacco leaves, cassis and violet leaf are the ingredients listed – with a sweet tobacco note coming through most strongly. It’s the perfect autumnal scent.
£140 for 100ml, comme-des-garcons-parfum.com
Tom Ford Soleil Neige Eau de Parfum
First there was Soleil Blanc, now there’s Soleil Neige. So, winter sun in a bottle then? Tom Ford’s inspiration for his latest release is the jet-set playgrounds of Morzine and Courchevel. Sun on snow is brought to life via carrot seed, jasmine, orange flower and Turkish rose with a dry down of labdanum, benzoin and vanilla. It’s creamy, cool and smooth. Think of sun glinting off a fresh layer of powder, under pure blue skies, high in the French Alps and you’re there.
£164 for 50ml, tomford.co.uk
D.S & Durga Notorious Oud Eau de Parfum
The latest offering from D.S. & Durga, Notorious Oud, is a bear hug of a scent. The NYC perfumers have created a Brooklyn take on this Middle Eastern (Indonesian in this case) staple and spun it with a diverse set of ingredients including Afghani saffron, camphor and white galbanum; Bulgarian rose, lavender, civet, catalo; and North African papyrus.
Oud is a big note, and rather like die-hard New Yorkers in general, it’s brashness conceals a big heart.
£220 for 100ml edp; harrods.com
Byredo Slow Dance Eau de Parfum
Slow Dance is a celebration of the awkward intimacy of the first dance. In America, it’s a more romantic concept that plays out on Prom night with everyone dressed for the occasion. In the UK… well, it’s a naff school disco with a cheesy sound track. Thank god fragrances aren’t literal. Otherwise, this should rightly smell like a potent mix of Lynx Africa, Impulse body spray, sports hall sweat and Bacardi Breezer.
Just like the classic prom scene movies, Pretty in Pink and 10 Things I Hate About You, where “teenagers” are played by 20-year-olds, Slow Dance is wiser than it’s years. The combination of labdanum, violet, vanilla, patchouli and opononax (myrrh) smells a lot more sophisticated than the spotty youth we remember.
£110 for 50ml, libertylondon.com
Acqua Di Parma Yuzu Eau de Parfum
The Signatures of the Sun collection marks a redesign of some existing Acqua Di Parma scents in black glass bottles and the unveiling of a Japanese-inspired floral collection that sits beside it: Yuzu, Camelia, Osmanthus and Sakura.
One of our favourites is the bitter sweet Yuzu, playing homage to the native Japanese citrus fruit. It features Sichuan Pepper, lotus, mimosa, violet leaves, jasmine, musk, liquorice and sandalwood. It’s an energising, uplifting floral scent that will wear well in the day, especially for mornings.
£197 for 100ml, acquadiparma.com
Jo Malone Rose & Magnolia Cologne
The cornerstone of Jo Malone’s Christmas 2019 collection is a big Ol’ floral fragrance, Rose & Magnolia, alongside a reprise from Orange Bitters, which fans will welcome. You can get your hands on it already because “Christmas” now begins in October for certain retailers. Rose & Magnolia has all the hallmarks of a classic Jo Malone scent – aficionados will not be disappointed.
£104 for 100ml, johnlewis.com
Malin + Goetz Leather Eau de Parfum
Leather is the key theme over at Malin + Goetz. How funny that we would revere the smell of dead cow hide so much we’d create entire scents dedicated to it. This is definitely vegan friendly, because the impression of leather is created with notes of lotus flower, pepper, clove, muguet, orchid, green violet, leather cedar wood and sandal wood. It’s warm and enveloping like an old chesterfield.
£75 for 50ml, malinandgoetz.co.uk
Baxter of California Pacific Cannabis Eau De Parfum
You may have notices that cannabis is currently garnering a lot of air time and column inches at the moment. And in the ensuing rush to create CBD-related personal care products it was only a matter of time before someone celebrated the humble weed in fragrance form. However, while this is a perfectly pleasant scent from our favourite barber – it has strong notes of patchouli and sage – it’s a bit disappointing due to the lack of the green, earthy scent of the cannabis plant, which we expected.
£95 for 100ml, selfridges.com
Floris London Vert Fougère Eau de Parfum
The fougère is considered the original blue print for “masculine” fragrance and one of the main olfactive families of perfumes, after Paul Parquet created Fougère Royale for Houbigant in 1882. Floris has been around for even longer, and it’s created a modern take on the storied fougère.
Galbanum, grapefruit and bergamot open the scent, revealing a heart of neroli, ginger and lavender over a unique base of amber, patchouli, cashmere & cedar wood and a smoke accord. It’s full of layers with a dark, green undercurrent.
£120 for 100ml, mrporter.com