The 50 Best fragrances

From Miller Harris to Tom Ford, stylist Beth Dadswell picks sexy scents and classic perfumes for men and women

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The Independent Online


Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis, £105 for 70ml eau de toilette

Aqua Universalis quite literally smells ‘luminous’, largely due to the inclusion of lily of the valley, mock orange and Sicilian lemon.

Givenchy Dahlia Noir, £42 for 30ml eau de parfum

Riccardo Tisci, creative director of French fashion house Givenchy, has worked with Francois Demachy to bottle the essence of the brand in his first fragrance.

Stella McCartney Summer, £40 for 100ml eau de toilette

If you fancy a blast of zingy tropical colour on your bathroom shelf, treat yourself to a bottle of Stella’s updated summer fragrance.

Bottega Veneta Eau Legere, £54 for 50ml eau de toilette

This floral chypre will appeal to those that like their scent to be sensual and feminine. Gardenia, musk and oakmoss give it an earthy, warm heart.

Bobbi Brown Beach, £48 for 50ml eau de parfum

The smell of suntan lotion and sand is neatly encapsulated in this bottle, and one squirt will transport you (metaphorically speaking) to your favourite beach.

Byredo Inflorescence, £130 for 100ml eau de parfum

Pink freesia, lily of the valley, magnolia and jasmine infuse this new launch with delicate scents of spring, blended to create a punchy statement.

Eight & Bob, £125 for 100ml eau de toilette

The simplicity of this men’s fragrance, with chic modern packaging, belies the fact it was conceived in the 1930s by a Parisian aristocrat.

Blood Concept Red + Ma, £58 for 30ml perfume spray

The distinctive packaging here represents the inspirations behind this quirky scent: blood and milk. Sounds ghoulish, but it is rather nice.

Hermes Jour d’Hermes, £47.50 for 30ml eau de parfum

A vivacious floral ‘juice’, from perfumer Jean Claude Ellena, Jour d’Hermes is perfect if you like to smell like armfuls of freshly cut flowers.

Le Labo Rose 31, £95 for 50ml eau de parfum

Inspired by the Grasse Rose, this traditional ingredient has been modernised and turned on its head with the addition of cumin, olbanum and cedar.

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb La Vie en Rose, £55 for 50ml eau de toilette

A summer version of the Flowerbomb fragrance, with even more emphasis on floral notes. This is a powerful choice for the summer.

Maison Martin Margiela Replica Flower Market, £65 for 100ml eau de toilette

The Replica fragrances by Martin Margiela are inspired by nostalgic scents; Flower Market evokes the smell of freshly cut wet blooms.

Comme des Garcons Amazing Green, £57 for 50ml eau de parfum

This is a bold, unpredictable scent. Top notes of green pepper and jungle leaves dry down to smoky base notes of vetiver, smoke and white musk.

Agent Provocateur Petale Noir, £32.40 for 30ml eau de parfum

Floral, with violet, magnolia and rose taking centre stage. But after a couple of hours, the ginger and leather notes kick in for an oriental, spicy twist.

Marni, £68 for 65ml eau de parfum

The hotly anticipated first perfume from Marni has finally hit stores, and rather lovely it is too. The fragrance cleverly mixes bergamot, pepper, rose and cardamom.



Acqua di Parma Colonia, £50 for 50ml eau de cologne

If you like your man to smell sophisticated but masculine, buy him this gorgeous blend of citrus, lavender, rosemary and sandalwood.

Lanvin Arpege, £50 for 50ml eau de parfum

A floral, fruity scent created for Jeanne Lanvin in 1927, this classic feminine perfume blends jasmine, lily of the valley, vanilla and patchouli.

Penhaligon’s Bleinheim Bouquet, £80 for 100ml eau de toilette

Created in 1902, this is one of Penhaligon’s most popular men’s scents, with its citrus top notes and pine base notes.

Guerlain Mitsouko, £52 for 50ml eau de toilette

An initial burst of peach is soon replaced by the warmth of spices patchouli and labdanum, which linger languorously on your skin.

Sisley Eau du Soir, £75 for 30ml eau de parfum

Elegance and refined glamour ooze from this classic French fragrance. A floral chypre, this starts with a burst of citrus and dries down to an amber musk.

Thierry Mugler Angel, £44 for 25ml eau de parfum

This star-shaped bottle is as iconic as the fragrance itself. One of the first mass market ‘gourmand’ perfumes to use candyfloss and chocolate.

Chanel No5, £67 for 50ml eau de parfum

One of the world’s best-selling fragrances, this floral scent was groundbreaking in Paris in 1920. A ‘classic’ perfume creation of the 20th century.

Dior Eau Sauvage, £38.25 for 50ml eau de toilette

Crisp citrus notes blend effortlessly with lavender and warmer woody notes in this elegant men’s fragrance. Loved as much by women as by men.

Jo Malone Lime, Basil & Mandarin, £38 for 30ml cologne

Endlessly imitated but never bettered. Instantly recognisable mix of peppery basil, fresh lime and sweet mandarin.

Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, £32.50 for 30ml eau de toilette

The woody fragrance has a hint of rose at its heart and was inspired by the bohemian crowd on Paris’s Left Bank.



Comme des Garcons Series 4 Vettiveru Cologne, £32 for 125ml eau de cologne

My personal choice for spring. A fresh, zingy blend of bergamot, cardamom oil, cedarwood and vetiver.

Prada Infusion d’Iris, £57 for 50ml eau de parfum

If you prefer a subtle wash of scent on your skin to a fanfare of loud, clashing notes, Infusion d’Iris may be for you. Inspired by classic men’s fragrances, but with a twist.

Molton Brown Mahina, £60 for 60ml eau de toilette

Described as ‘navigations through scents, from London via Tahiti’, Mahina is exotic and other-worldly. Top notes of orange blossom, jasmine and vanilla, with cedarwood.

Tom Ford Café Rose, £135 for 50ml eau de parfum

Gorgeous smoky fragrance balances masculine and feminine notes. It is seductive and sexy without being too obvious, and subtly mixes rose with a smoky wood base.

Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule, £83 for 50ml eau de parfum

If you like woody scents, you will adore this rich, sensual scent with a hint of bitter cacao at its heart to offset the warmth of the sandalwood.

Calvin Klein CK One, £17.25 for 50ml eau de toilette

The original ‘Unisex’ scent, sharing CK One was revolutionary to 1990s teenagers, when it was groundbreaking to smell androgynous.

Malin & Goetz Synthesized Geranium Leaf, £37 for 30ml eau de toilette

Delightfully fresh. Cyclamen, geranium and coriander are subtle bedfellows.

Diptyque Vetyverio, £50 for 50ml eau de toilette

Two different types of vetiver – earthy Indonesian and a subtle, musky Haitian – blended with ylang ylang and rose produce a tropical scent.

Jo Loves Pomelo, £45 for 30ml

Confident and sharp, this grapefruit-infused scent smells as good on guys as on girls. Masculine vetiver and suede is lifted by rose and warmed by clove and patchouli.

Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel, £65 for 50ml eau de parfum

An earthy, masculine scent inspired by a small village in Brittany. With rosemary, clary sage, iris nobilis and moss.


Limited edition:

Jo Malone Ginger Biscuit Cologne, £38 for 30ml cologne

One fifth of the Sugar & Spice collection, this is suitably warm and reminiscent of grandma’s kitchen.

Carolina Herrera 212 Summer

0207 494 6220, £34.50 for 60ml eau de toilette

If you can’t decide if you prefer woody, fruity, citrus or floral perfumes, try this concoction, combining all four!

Escada Cherry in the Air, £24.50 for 30ml eau de toilette

If you are looking for an inexpensive gift for a teenage girl, choose this. It smells sweet and fruity and was inspired by cherry blossom.

Creed Millesime Imperiale, £187 for 120ml spray

Add a touch of glamour to your dressing room with a gold limited edition bottle of Creed’s Millesime Imperiale.

Clinique Happy in Bloom, £25 for 30ml parfum spray

Another inexpensive feminine fragrance, this is packaged in an eye-catching limited edition botanical-print bottle.



Dries van Noten par Frederic Malle, £110 for 50ml eau de parfum

Belgian fashion designer Dries van Noten and ‘nose’ Bruno Jovanovic have created this sublimely sexy fragrance, with a woody, warm scent.

Chanel 1932

0207 493 3836 from Chanel Boutiques, £205 for 200ml eau de toilette

This new fragrance – inspired by jewellery – features pear mingling elegantly with jasmine, iris and musk is a thoroughly modern classic.

Armani/Prive Rose D’Arabie, £175 for 100ml eau de parfum

Contains notes of Damascus rose, saffron, patchouli and amber, and is heavily influenced by the intoxicating scents of the Middle East.

Ormonde Jayne Tsarina, £280 for 100ml eau de parfum

This gorgeous blend of suede, cassis, labdanum and musk notes, by high priestess of perfume Lynda Pilkington, is just as opulent as the price tag. Get saving now.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud Silk Mood, £275 for 70ml extrait de parfum

Laotian Oud is the most expensive and rare Oud. This has a vibrant luminosity, with rose, chamomile and papyrus.



Chloe Love Chloe My Little, £25 for 20ml eau de parfum

Frequent flyers and perfume junkies will be thrilled to hear the three Chloe fragrances are available in mini versions.

Korres Iris/Lily of the Valley/ Cotton, £30 for 50ml eau de toilette

All Korres fragrances are free from mineral oils, silicones, and animal products. Smells nice, and rather inexpensive.

Neom Lavender, Jasmine & Brazilian Rosewood, £30 for 100ml

Body oils moisturise skin and leave you with a gentle glow. This one’s a bargain.

DKNY Art Men, £33.50 for 100ml eau de toilette

Connoisseurs will appreciate this quirky packaging. Its original Keith Haring artwork was inspired by New York’s energy, as was the fragrance.

4711 Nouv Eau Cologne, £13 for 50ml cologne

An update of this classic cologne with notes of blackcurrant, geranium and sandalwood. Napoleon was a fan of the original, apparently.

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