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New perfume trends highlight desire for softer, warmer and gently nostalgic scents


New perfume trends highlight desire for softer, warmer and gently nostalgic scents

Seeking a signature scent update? This season’s new perfume arrivals gently extend our repertoire from summer’s bright and pretty releases, dominated by white flowers, sparkling juicy fruits and bright ‘solar’ elements, into a softer, warmer and gently nostalgic place.

Richer, intense perfume notes are often on the cards as the weather cools. Elements of this season’s batch – think sweet, spicy, musk, wood – are in step with our increasing wish to choose fragrances that matches our environment and mood, or enhances it.

Fresher green notes also reconnect us with nature, even as we spend more time indoors.

Mintel’s Future of Fragrance Market Report 2022 indicates the pandemic has shifted our priorities further away from the impact wearing perfume can have on others (for example, the age-old role of scent in seduction) and towards feel-good, self-soothing scents.

“Further integration of wellness-centric elements, such as functional benefits, will attract consumers who are eager to care for their emotional, cognitive, and physical health,” the report states.

Spicy and warm: Amber and woods are the heroes, but there are interesting outliers like cinnamon, pepper and leather. Ellis Brooklyn Super Amber EDPBoss The Scent Le Parfum for HerTom Ford Ébène Fumé EDP.

MECCA Creative Director Marita Burke agrees that what we are seeking from our fragrance has evolved. “Lockdowns have made us more aware of fragrance as a form of self-care,” she says.
“A new genre of scents is emerging with a more intimate, subtle sillage [perfume trail], designed to be detected only by the wearer and the people close to us, to create a sense of wellbeing. For example, Le Labo The Matcha is an introverted fragrance with a subtle, graceful character, and Ellis Brooklyn Super Amber is a comforting scent reminiscent of warm skin and cashmere blankets.”

Beyond the note profile of new arrivals, how scents are made is becoming a larger part of the conversation. Wider consideration of sustainability issues and the various benefits or disadvantages of natural versus synthetic ingredients and formulations continue to be fiercely debated. Certainly mass market brands – many long reliant on synthetic ingredients – are moving to highlight the natural, ethically sourced extracts they are using, but there is also growing recognition of the challenges that this increased demand causes.


Green dreams: Green scents extend from fresh, herby profiles to wider inspiration, like freshly-picked figs, damp moss, and citrus zest. Gucci 1921 EDP, Frederic Malle Synthetic Jungle EDP, YSL Black Opium Illicit Green EDP 

Given the scarcity of certain precious natural ingredients that are necessary to create perfumes traditionally, and the large amounts of these ingredients needed, looking for alternatives has
become a top priority.

Givaudan, one of the world’s largest flavour and fragrance manufacturers, and supplier to many of the most familiar perfumes on department store shelves, has been working on the idea of ingredient upcycling for several years. One of its approaches involves extracting the olfactive components from rose petals a second time after they have already been processed.
Instead of being discarded, the processed petals offer a new product, with a markedly different, but still desirable scent profile. Another approach is a cedarwood extract made from sawdust
collected as a byproduct of the furniture industry. Its first round of processing results in cedarwood oil; its second, a new aromatic ingredient for perfume use.

New Gen florals: New blooms are introduced while old favourites like rose and orchid meet up with juicy peach and soft vanilla. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Ruby Orchid EDPLouis Vuitton Spell on You EDP, Coach Wild Rose EDP

In another indication we are seeking more from our fragrances than just capturing the scent of flowers in a bottle, ‘skin’ and ‘nude’ scents are a rising trend and expected to gain increasing
attention this year. With soft and warm gender-neutral notes, they tend to offer elements of slow, dry-down materials like musks, woods and ambers.

Evidence comes via the sell-out of new scent Missing Person, by emerging US brand Phlur, which is currently experiencing a wave of social media hype. The brand’s fragrances are inspired by “memories, moments, experiences and feelings”. Specifically, Missing Person is said to capture the intensity and experience of a loved one’s skin when they are absent. Accords of white musk, nuances of jasmine and orange blossom, and a light trail of woods combine for a scent that is “pure, provocative and undeniably familiar”.


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