When you last chose a perfume, how many people besides yourself did you consider might find it appealing?
History and biology tells us scent plays some part in attracting a mate, so there’s a long-standing precedent if that played into your choice. Yet of course the reactions of family, friends or that colleague who sits next to you might also have been factored in.
However, if the way it made you feel was your only consideration, perfumers say you are certainly not alone.
In particular, feel-good, self-soothing scents are seriously on the rise. In a post-pandemic world full of economic uncertainty, ecological challenges and fragile human connection, new perfumes are meeting our desire for anchoring, grounding notes.
What does that smell like? Elements we are sure of, as well as touches of nostalgia. Milk, vanilla and the gentle scent of skin are increasingly popular.
‘Skin’ scents often have clean, soft, unobtrusive notes and create a general feeling of familiarity you can’t put your finger on. They are more likely to offer elements of slow dry-down materials like musks, woods and amber, than obvious fruit, floral or citrus references.
Phlur’s Missing Person, a skin scent that blends white musk, jasmine and orange blossom, has been a recent smash hit, while Le Labo’s Another 13 and Narciso Rodriguez’s various musky iterations of its For Her perfume have retained astounding popularity over the years. For Her has just marked 20 years since launch. A new limited edition fragrance, For Her Forever, updates all the elements of the original’s success with elegant while florals and a musky base.
Diptyque’s brand new L’Eau Papier EDT ties up white musk, powder-soft mimosa and surprisingly an accord of ‘rice steam’ in a clean skin scent that invokes sunlight on a fresh sheet of paper. Different on everyone, the product nonetheless provides an optimistic ‘anything is possible’ vibe.
Even less predictable gourmand elements – sweet pistachio has been the focus of new releases from Hermès, D.S. & Durga and Kayali – offer a perfume lover a link to a favoured and mood-boosting treat.