In the past, perfumes were primarily created around around florals like roses and orange blossom, often with warmer deeper notes of woods and musk.
But perfumery is changing swiftly and the possibilities are being thrown wide open.
There are some common threads seen in new fragrance arrivals – and those classic notes mentioned above still abound – however given advancements in perfume chemistry, the variety and creativity extends further than ever before. That includes the increased use of more fantastical notes, meant to replicate non-extractable elements like air, water and sunshine as well as perfumes designed to transport us to another place or time.
In addition, there are new gourmand notes.
Gourmand is a category of fragrance that showcases notes that smell almost edible. Because they capture non-extractable elements like chocolate, salted caramel, coffee, toasted nuts and popcorn they are generally always synthetic, rather than created from raw natural ingredients like rose petals.
The first widely credited gourmand was Thierry Mugler’s Angel, a smash hit first launched in 1992 that features a floral, fruity and sweet scent, with notes of praline, raspberry, vanilla and patchouli.
Now, there’s a new sweet, creamy scent quickly snowballing in popularity.
With the very descriptive name Yum, Pistachio Gelato, the new perfume from Kayali Fragrances promises a delicious explosion of pistachio, whipped cream, roasted hazelnut, sweet rum and marshmallow.
With numerous of clips on TikTok and Instagram discussing the scent and a rating of 4.3 from 985 reviews on Sephora USA’s website, it’s become a talking point as the seasons change and many are looking for a new scent to wear.
Fans say it has a fresh and light opening, before sweet elements and a touch of rum settle into skin. The lingering notes are said to be soft and cosy, which means the scent is likely to work well in both hemispheres.
Kayali, a niche perfume line available here at Sephora, was created by Mona Kattan Elamin. (If the name Kattan rings a bell, its because Mona’s sister is Huda Kattan of Huda Beauty fame.)
Interestingly though, the perfumer behind the new nutty and sweet scent is legendary French perfumer Olivier Cresp, the creator of that original gourmand hit Thierry Mugler Angel, as well as newer coffee-laced gourmand favourite Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent. Cresp worked with his son Sebastien, also a perfumer, on the creation of Yum, Pistachio Gelato.
While it is nestled in a sweeter combination in the new arrival, Olivier Cresp tells Refinery 29 on its own, pistachio is a typically savory addition. The perfumer says he is working more with nuts and saltier ingredients to give otherwise cloyingly sweet fragrances a grown-up edge.
“We’re taking things like peanuts, for example, or sesame and seaweed and infusing it with a woody, spicy edge,” he said.
Cresp says we can expect vanilla, and even more notes like derived from alcohol, like whisky, in the coming year.
“The alcohol profile is a great booster,” he says. “It brings a sort of richness that smells like caramel and toffee.”