Love the idea of air travel and then let down by the reality? Squeezed in like battery hens, paying extra for just about everything, delays/strikes/cancellations… these days it’s more like an endurance test. If you’re lucky enough to be jetting somewhere over the next two months, being stuck at the airport has one silver lining at least. It means extended browsing time in the giant fragrance hall that we typically sprint past in mild panic.
Not all the scents we’ve chosen in our edit are available airside, so that just means you use the ample time to shop them online – waiting for the gate or for eternity at baggage reclaim. When you eventually reach your destination, without your luggage, change of clothes or deodorant, you’ll appreciate having generously spritzed yourself.
Brioni Eau de Parfum Éclat
Italian tailor Brioni has served up a very stylish summer scent, Eau de Parfum Éclat. Éclat, taken from the French, means brilliant or dazzling. This fragrance sparkles with juicy grapefruit and pink pepper over a heart of rose and patchouli, with creamy sandalwood, musk and ambroxan in the dry down.
The frosted bottle made by upscale glassmaker Bormioli Luigi adds to the chilled effect. It’s fresh, understated and invigorating.
Louis Vuitton City of Stars
Indulge your dreams of steamy summer nights in Los Angeles with this fizzing lime and powdery musk confection by perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud. It give us hints of coconut tanning oil and tropical cocktails from juicy blood orange and exotic Tiare flower.
The bottle captures the tones of a pink-tinged sunset, while the outer sleeve holds a scene of the shimmering West Coast city at dusk, an original work by artist Alex Israel.
Billed as an evening perfume, just try and stop us wearing this all day, everyday. It’s pure holiday magic.
Dries Van Noten Santal Greenery
As one of the original Antwerp Six, Dries Van Noten was part of a collection of visionary designers who graduated from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the early Eighties. Having left an indelible mark on the world of fashion, Dries Van Noten has always eschewed some of the commercial moves favoured by other fashion houses, including a lucrative fragrance line. So, yes folks, it’s only taken the best part of 42 years to get a fragrance collection from one of the most critically-acclaimed fashion designers.
It was worth the wait. This eclectic collection of 10 unisex fragrances has been created by a roster of top perfumers. Each perfume is housed in a crafted ceramic and glass bottle with an antique-style metal cap. They look like a hand-painted, treasure trove of heirlooms that you might stumble across in the loft. Best of all, for this amount of effort, all the bottles are refillable.
For summer, we’re into Santal Greenery: a combination of fig, bergamot and grapefruit over violet leaves, creamy fig accord, sandalwood and white musk, matched with an artisanal-style cream and green patterned bottle.
Come winter, we’ll switch it up for whisky coloured Rock The Myrrh, a deeply warming blend of smoked woods, leathery suede, patchouli and benzoin with a cypress and pink pepper top.
Bentley For Men Azure
It’s a good time to revisit old favourites, so we’re reintroducing the aquatic scent of Bentley Azure. It’s a classically masculine, herbaceous blend of citrus, pineapple, violet leaves, pimento, sage, lavender and tea, over a base of cashmere wood, tonka bean. Plus it includes an exclusive molecule, orcanox, which is a synthetic substitute for ambergris.
The Merchant of Venice Accordi di Profumo
From the fine Venetian fragrance house comes a diffusion line of sorts; the Accordi di Profumo (Perfume Accords). This collection of eight simple accords is divided into four fragrance families: floral, citrus, ambery and woody. Each family has two fragrances: Neroli Marocco and Tuberose India in floral; Bergamot Italia and Arancia Brasile in citrus; Zafferano Iran and Tonka Venezuela in amber; and Patchouli Indonesia and Sandalo Australia in woody.
The idea is, if you love a bit of Indonesian patchouli, Iranian saffron or Brazilian orange, you can wear them entirely on their own, or experiment by layering your favourites together to make a custom combination that’s unique to you.
Made with local Venetian glass and using sustainably-sourced ingredients, the Accordi di Profumo clock up some decent eco points too.
Edeniste Vetiver Imaginaire
More than just a fragrance, this innovative new collection of scents is clinically proven to change your mood. As the daughter of a nuclear scientist, founder Audrey Semeraro has taken a very scientific approach to Edeniste, using early clinical trials to establish which fragrance molecules actively effect our emotions.
Working with top fragrance creators and two established neuroscientists, together they have created a line of Eaux de Parfum and a complementary line of Lifeboost Active Essences, or mood enhancers, that can be worn together.
The Lifeboosts are Happiness, Energy, Wellbeing, Relax and Seduction, which are proven to enhance and stimulate areas of the brain. These perfumed pick-me-ups are designed to blend harmoniously with the fragrances and should be used whenever you’re feeling sluggish, sleepy or stressed.
We like to wear Vetiver Imaginaire and top up with the invigorating Energy Lifeboost throughout the day.
Tom Ford Costa Azzurra Parfum
Giving strong Liberace vibes of glitz and glamour, this pure gold edition of Tom Ford’s popular summer scent will look the business in your bathroom. A more intense version of the original, it captures the salty air and pine trees edging the beaches of the Italian coast using key notes of cypress oil, oakwood and salty amber.
It also contains lemon, mandarin, juniper berry, basil, lavender and agarwood, over cistus. It’s the scent of having a dip in the sea and drying off on the sun deck of a private yacht.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Cologne Forte Discovery Set
Channel your inner boy scout and be prepared for any occasion. This indulgent trio of Aqua Cologne Forte scents is ideal for people who like to have the options of a fragrance wardrobe, wherever they may be.
A limited edition set of strengthened 35ml colognes, it contains: Aqua Vitae Forte, a citrus scent underpinned by spicy cinnamon and sandalwood; Aqua Celestia Forte, a floral green scent containing green citrus and soaring blackcurrant blossom; and Aqua Universalis Forte, a cool woody musk that conjures the soapy cleanliness of line-washed linen.
Day or night, there’s an Aqua Cologne Forte for the occasion.
Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Pride
Pride season is here so prepare for random brands to plaster the LGBQTIA+ rainbow over products. Thankfully, at Jean Paul Gaultier we know it comes from a place of genuine solidarity. For this year’s Pride edition of Le Male, the torso wears a striped sailor top bearing the French words liberté, égalite and sexualité, while the scent is a juicy, non-binary blend orange blossom, orange blood, blond wood and zesty yuzu.
The Fragrance Shop and Jean Paul Gaultier will donate all proceeds from this limited edition to Akt, a charity who work to provide safe homes for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people and those living in hostile environments.
Roja Parfums Apex
The launch of Apex was held at Amazonico in London’s Berkeley Square, where we were transported to the lush greenery of the rainforests. Here we sampled all the notes that make up Apex – and there are a lot.
This is a maximal scent with top-line notes of lemon, bergamot and red mandarin in the opening; jasmine, cistus and pineapple in the heart; with fir balsam, frankincense, sandalwood and a leather accord in the base. But it doesn’t stop there. Galbanum, elemi, patchouli, oak moss, rum, tobacco, cypress, juniper berry, casmir wood, benzoin, amber, labdanum, ambergris and musk are all part of the base accord.
It’s a super-smooth chypre, inspired by the natural world, majestic predators and primal urges. It takes a special kind of chef to be able to throw everything in a pot and produce magic, but master perfumer Roja Dove is an alchemist.
Comme des Garçons Zero
In a first for the house, Zero is a certified carbon neutral perfume. Composed by perfumer Fanny Bal it offers a vision of less is more. Using few ingredients, it has a top note of bergamot with a heart of Haitian vetiver, rose oxide and a varnish accord, layered over a base of cashmere, musk and cedar.
Along with conserving resources, the cedarwood is hand harvested and extracted using hydroelectric power. The packaging is entirely plastic-free using part-recycled glass for the bottle, an aluminium cap, recycled FSC cardboard outer packaging with single ink printing and interior paper wrapping.
Smelling good needn’t cost the earth.
Montblanc Legend Red
This crimson edition of Montblanc’s leading scent is infused with blood orange, grapefruit and a prominent cardamom note, layered over cedar, juniper berries and a woody base of mahogany, atlas cedar and tonka bean.
Jimmy Choo Man Aqua
Devised by noses Julien Rasquinet and Paul Guerlain (grandson to Jean Paul Guerlain of the famed French perfume house), the new Jimmy Choo release is a woody marine scent with a pared-down ingredients list that comprises of cardamom and grapefruit, sea water and clary sage and patchouli and moss.
It’s fresh and inviting, just like the lure of the sea on a hot day.
Paco Rabanne Invictus Platinum
Gold, as they say, is for champions, whereas platinum is for the Gods. So make like Hercules with the latest iteration of Invictus.
Platinum contains notes of absinthe and grapefruit, mint and lavender, cypress and patchouli. Woody and aromatic, it’s a green take on the original with chilled mint and sweet absinthe. The perfect summer cocktail.
Dior La Collection Privée The Original Trilogy
There’s no rest for Francis Kurkdjian, who runs his own line while holding the role of Perfume Creation Director for Dior. This season, he’s put his talents into a re-edit of this polished trio of scents he created back in 2004.
Part of a limited-edition set, Eau Noire, Cologne Blanche and Bois d’Argent appear in dinky 40ml formats, so they won’t get snatched away by airport security. Composed by Kurkdjian, Eau Noire is a nocturnal blend of lavender, myrrh and liquorice accord, tinged with honey. This daytime version of Cologne Blanche features orange blossom, violet accord over a base of amber. Finally, Bois d’Argent, which was released in 2014, is a study in iris and amber.
Admittedly, it costs as much as an airfare, but we’d take a staycation to smell this amazing.