We all know that scent is evocative, that it can trigger memory in an instant, but it’s only when we catch a note of oud in a scented candle and remember the perfume our mum used to wear, or when we get a whiff of freshly printed ink on a new magazine and remember our school days that we really feel it.
It’s for this moment, for the instant feeling that a spritz of perfume can deliver, that we choose our fragrances.
A perfume laced with citrus can deliver holiday joy in an instant whereas a scent rooted in rose has us feeling dolled up and date night ready.
Here we talk you through which scent to choose for different occasions…
Working nine to five
AKA your staple spritz. This is where colognes come into their own; try one with lemon or cherry blossom (which is neither as sweet nor sickly as it sounds) and enjoy a subtly mood-boosting cloud as you boss your way through endless meetings.
For your nine to five choice, you want a scent that’s welcome both when you apply first thing in the morning and when you catch its last moments when you get home. I have some perfumes so heady spraying them in the morning would be overpowering at best and offensive at worst. So, stick to the lighter, simpler end of the spectrum and focus on uplifting fragrances full of citrus fruits, grassy freshness or notes of herby rosemary and lemon thyme.
A rare day off
Without the perils of commuting and air con to contend with, you find yourself free to pick a perfume with a touch more complexity. Look for eau du parfums or eau du toilettes with unusual, unexpected combinations such as pink pepper and rose or cocoa and frankincense.
This perfume should feel a touch special and be one you’d like to act as your signal to take you back to kids birthday parties, celebratory brunches and staycations over the years so allow yourself to loosen the purse strings slightly and pick a scent with staying power and touch of gravitas.
A mid-week event
Whether a first date or a work event it’s good to have a confidence-boosting perfume in your arsenal. In fragrance terms that means adding a touch of clout so look to punchier scents like woody oud, tantalising patchouli and earthy musks.
A perfume with unusual note can act as a good conversation trigger, perhaps a scent with a touch of coffee bean or aged leather. You never want the perfume to overwhelm you but something discernable that might lead to a “Ohhh, which perfume are you wearing? It smells amazing….” is always helpful when you’re stepping out of your comfort zone.
The fancy do
Whether a wedding, an anniversary celebration or just a touch of self-celebration you may not often have cause for a fancy perfume, but when you do you want to make sure it’s gutsy enough to complement the occasion.
There’s something beautiful in the ritual of spraying a perfume you only wear for the very best occasions. A limited-edition perfume bought in Florence has become the scent-soundtrack to all and only the most magical of moments in my life.
Your fancy perfume should be the most evocative of your collection, the perfume that smells how you feel when you’re at your best. For me that’s deeply woody and rich with spice, for others it’s a heady bouquet of roses or complex oud. Steer clear of eau de toilettes and colognes in this instance, you want the longevity and quality of eau de parfum.
Cosy winter holiday
Taking a different scent on holiday with you is a wonderful way of remembering trips over the years (and travel-sized, or decanted miniatures mean you can save packing your ornate glass bottles too).
For approaching cosy winter holidays gravitate towards woodland, smoky scents that evoke chopped firewood, countryside walks and wood-burning stoves. A wintery concoction like this will add a certain romance to your short stay away whilst also narrating the season in a poetic manner. Next winter, when you come back to it, you’ll be whisked straight back to a roaring fireside.
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