You want the best. And heck, you deserve the best. But there's a lot of choice out there, and sometimes the best is hard to find. Fortunately, we know where to find it. Every week, the Esquire editors reveal their favourite brands, from under-the-radar steals to luxury loves, so you can invest in the best clothes, watches and accessories that money can buy.
This week, the fragrance brands that always come up smelling of roses.
Finlay Renwick, Deputy Style Editor
"Let’s be real for just one second and admit that, before you even get to the smell, the bottle is the thing that first attracts you to a fragrance. Top notes this, base notes that; if the bottle is shaped like a clenched fist or a grenade, chances are your opinion will be influenced... one way or another. To that end, Le Labo has the best bottle in the business: clean, slightly wonky typewriter font, a general apothecary filament bulb and exposed wood vibe.
"Fortunately, the fragrances inside live up to the aesthetic. During its tenure at the top of the EDP tree, the New York brand has created a series of classics in Santal 33, inspired by the, errr, Marlboro Man; Baie 19, which smells like the rain (petrichor is the correct term) and Neroli 36 (orange blossom.) Along with the scents, which are great, Le Labo also offers a smartly scaleable product. You can spend £4 on a tester bottle of Tonka 25, or throw your money about and drop £692 on the 500ml version. Le Labo is a whole universe of sweet and expensive-smelling product and stationery. Plus, it has the best-looking bottle."
DS & Durga
Dan Choppen, Fashion Assistant
"Scent is the strongest of our five senses. The chemical particles from a smell float on up through our nostrils, and pass through the olfactory bulb for processing. Then, it's onto a tiny area called the amygdala, where emotions are managed, and finally, the hippocampus: the production line upon which memories are built. Sounds quite complex. But the point here is that fragrance is a complex thing, and it can recall all sorts of flashbacks by token of its cerebral, time travelling powers.
"Smellmakers DS & Durga know this, with the outfit creating fragrances purpose-built to send you back in time: the background burning smell of barbicide, your dad's old leather car seats, the poolside lotion of a first holiday abroad. It doesn't matter if you don't remember them. DS & Durga knows how to jog your memory."
Charlie Teasdale, Style Director
"For me, the whole point of fragrance is that it amplifies the general vibe you’re trying to emit that day. In the summer, I want to feel (smell) bright, fresh aquatic etc – like I’m on holiday, and no brand does that better than Louis Vuitton, IMHO.
"They just unveiled Meteore, a classically macho scent jammed with citrus fruit, and last but one was California Dream, a fragrance inspired by the Malibu sunset. It’s the colognes, though, that do it for me. To use a cliché, they are summer in a bottle. Cactus Garden is green and grassy, while Afternoon Swim smells like it says on the bottle; like you’ve just been for a dip in the sea. But Sun Song is the hero. It fuses neroli, orange blossom and lemon to inordinately powerful effect."
Acqua di Parma
Murray Clark, Digital Style Editor
"'You can't bottle a holiday', someone once slurred to me at 4am on a Goan beach. Or I think it was something along those lines. And, like his alarming views on fluoride, it was incorrect. Turns out you can bottle a holiday. You can bottle a holiday you've never even been on.
"Which is exactly what Italian label Acqua di Parma does so well. Brought into the world from the historical northern city of the same name, the Italian marque is known for recognisable scents a sniff above the usual last minute Christmas gift. In Colonia, the outfit's first ever fragrance, there's lavender, lemon and patchouli, which no doubt smells like the back of a handsome Vespa rider's neck circa 1973 (I've never actually smelt one). The Bergamotto di Calabria, with its musky base of vetiver and benzoin, smells like the leather of an Alpha Romeo racing down Tropea's seafront (I've never done that either). And the fresh, citrus-packed Arancia di Capri smells like a glorious, lazy morning fuelled by Aperol and sunburn on the Capri harbour (shamefully, I have actually done that). But it doesn't matter either way, for Acqua di Parma smells like good smells, but it also provides so much more. It's a year-round plane ticket."
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox
Need some positivity right now? Subscribe to Esquire now for a hit of style, fitness, culture and advice from the experts
You Might Also Like