Having a signature scent makes sense; it speaks a lot about your style and personality. And there’s a reason it’s your go-to fragrance when putting the final touches for your look. Maybe you’re into the floral notes? Maybe it’s the brand itself? Or maybe you love collecting the bottles? (Guilty on all three accounts here.) But, it’s never too late to try something new. There’s a wide world of fragrance out there ready to be explored.
Here, Deborah Fulsang, Toronto-based founder and editor-in-chief of The Whale and the Rose fragrance blog, shares her best tips for finding even more perfumes to “heart” right now.
Ask Yourself What You Love About Your #1
Are you actually obsessed with how it smells, or is it something more than that? If it’s more the brand that resonates with you, then looking within its wider range of scents will likely lead you to another scent you’re going to want for your #topshelf collection, stat.
Read the Fine Print
It may be a scent’s central note that’s got you hooked—so search out online descriptions to see what other scents share it. But beware, adjectives are everything. “In perfumery, you have Bulgarian roses, Damask roses, Turkish roses, Centifolia roses—some give an earthier and musky note, while others give off a fruitier or more myrrh-like smell,” says Fulsang. Plus, like food, a single ingredient can smell totally different depending on what else is in the recipe. You might love rose alongside wood and amber, which creates a somewhat smoky but also floral aroma. But you might not be as into it when it’s mixed in with fruity or candied notes, which cause it to magically morph into a more edible, delicious vibe.
Find Your Fragrance Fam
Aside from ID’ing your fave scent’s central note, you could do some sleuthing to suss out the larger fragrance group to which it belongs. Fulsang refers to nine common categories: Aromatic, Citrus, Floral, Fresh, Fruity, Gourmand, Green, Oriental and Woody. Once you know, you can shop within that family, or, take a minute to daydream about your favourite scents in general. “Think about your happy place,” she suggests. “If it’s the beach, then start with aquatic scents found in the ‘Fresh’ family. Is it cooking? Then maybe it’s ‘Aromatics.’ Is it in front of the fireplace at a cottage? Then look at ‘Woody’ as step one in your scent journey.”
The real secret to finding your sure bet? Figure out who created it. “I’ve discovered in my years of writing that it’s the ‘nose’ who created the scent that’s often the common link between the ones I love,” Fulsang says. “Like any other art, you’re drawn to one creator’s work more than others.” Through research, she discovered that perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena was the man behind some of her personal faves. After making the connection, Fulsang then realized that she also likes some of his other scents. (For instance, Ellena also created First by Van Cleef & Arpels).
Take it for a Test Drive.
Once you’ve done the research, Fulsang recommends going into a store and trying on the front-runner IRL. “Walk around with it. Experience it. Live in it. Does it make you feel better, happier, more confident?” And don’t get lost in all of the marketing. “Tune into the scent and its essence. If it makes you feel amazing, then you’ve found the one!”