I need to live my perfume truth and get something off of my chest: I hate smelling like other people. Believe me, I know how ridiculous that sounds. First of all, when someone asks me what fragrance I’m wearing, I am of course undeniably flattered, but that feeling soon evolves into sheer annoyance. With every ask after my perfume, the less of a secret it becomes. And the more popular a perfume gets, the less I want to wear it.
You see, for me, perfume is so much more than just a daily spritz to lift my spirits; it is memories, emotion and a core part of my identity. So when I smell someone else wearing the same perfume as mine or see someone frivolously dousing themselves in one of my go-to scents, I feel as though I’m losing a little part of myself. It might sound dramatic, but it’s real, even though I wish it weren’t. I have passed on one too many much-loved perfumes in my time simply because I can’t learn to share.
And this has been exceptionally hard for me, as the fact of the matter is I like universally crowd-pleasing, fresh smells. Sure, there is a place in my collection for deep, heady scents, but day to day, I find myself reaching for light, fresh smells that evoke joy and happiness with just a single spray.
As a result of my snobbery and selfishness, my job (which involves recommending beauty products to the masses and sharing my daily favourites) has become increasingly more difficult when the topic of fragrance arises. I have made it my mission to create a perfume wardrobe full of unique scents, and sharing them with the rest of the world seems counterintuitive. However, I know that I am far from alone in my want for unique scents, and I have spent many years hunting high and low for bright and breezy perfumes that stand out from the crowd.
So because I am kind and I’m trying to work on overcoming my stunted attitude toward perfume, I think it’s only right I share my findings. Keep scrolling for the best fresh perfumes around, ideal for those that like something a little different.
1. Juliette Has a Gun Pear Inc. Eau De Parfum
If you don't like the fresh, fruity scent of pear, it's worth noting that you probably won't like this. At first, I was a little worried it might smell a bit fruity and cheap, but wow was I wrong. Yes, it's pear-like on first sniff, but it leaves a lingering scent on the skin all day long that leaves you smelling like you have just stepped out of the shower after a long day at the beach.
2. Jo Malone London Orange Peel Cologne
It's rare you come across a perfume that smells as good as it looks. This new limited-edition collection from Jo Malone London champions the marmalade-like smells of the British summertime. I'm a big fan of citrus scents, so I was instantly drawn to this. Like fresh orange juice but with a warmth to it that gives off a sort of sun-cream scent, it's the most delicious citrus I have come across in some time.
3. Valmont Palazzo Nobile Fizzy Mint
Before you get put off by the name, just know that this perfume has zero Mentos vibes to it. It's zingy on the nose, like lemon sherbet, but has the earthiness of fresh mint that makes it wonderfully wearable. It's like taking a sip of an ice-cold mojito on a blistering-hot day.
4. Estee Lauder Rose De Grasse Pour Filles
I'm not a huge fan of rose perfumes. I'm attracted to the freshness of them, but I don't like the powdery headiness. If you can relate, can I please turn your attention to this new launch from Aerin? It was blended with a younger wearer in mind, so it's light, soft and full of happiness.
5. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia Cologne Forte Eau De Parfum
I am a big fan of Maison Francis Kurkdjian's iconic Baccarat Rouge 540, which is warm, floral and a little bit spicy. So it's safe to say I was shocked when the brand launched this fresh spritz inspired by the beach and sea, and I actually liked it. It has the familiar notes of lemon, mint and lime, but when combined with a bouquet of florals and musk, it becomes an intoxicating dose of fresh sea air that has you longing to jump on a plane to the Mediterranean with a one-way ticket.
6. Byredo Open Sky
The latest addition from Byredo, Open Sky requires an equally open mind. On first sniff, the notes of hemp (it's a strong hit of herby freshness) smack you straight in the face. But finding unique notes that might not be typical of luxury fragrance and spinning them in a way that makes you weak at the knees is exactly what Byredo does best. It's totally unconventional, but after a few minutes, it starts to grow on you. It paints a picture of music festivals, lazing in fields of the British countryside with the sun beating down on your skin and an all-encompassing carefree nature. It's not for the faint-hearted, but it's wonderfully unique.
7. Penhaligon's The Ingénue Cousin Flora
The last time I wore this, I was nearly rugby-tackled by a passerby (okay, she just grabbed my arm) as she begged me to tell her what perfume I was wearing. It's citrusy and fizzy but has a creaminess that gives it a luxe finish. "It smells like a million pounds," she said. And she's not wrong. Sadly for my bank account, it smells great enough to justify every penny of the £204 it's worth.
8. Bvlgari Omnia by Mary Katrantzou EDP
I shouldn't like a single thing about this, but I do. First of all, the colourful aesthetic is not something I usually champion in my perfume bottles. Second, it's floral in every single sense of the word—like a strong bouquet of every flower you've ever come across. However, it has a richness to it that leaves you smelling, well, rich. It's sure to be my go-to for long summer nights (hopefully) spent out on the town.
9. Zara Amalfi Sunray
10. Maison Margiela Lazy Sunday Morning Eau De Toilette
11. Chanel Chance Eau Fraîche EDT
Okay, I know this is not a unique perfume, but Chance Eau Fraiche goes totally unrivalled when it comes to luxe freshness. It's botanical and rich and makes me go all fuzzy whenever I smell it on someone. It showcases the brilliance of perfume in a way that only Chanel can.
12. Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau De Parfum
Again, a popular choice, but Bronze Goddess can't be ignored when it comes to the most beautiful fresh perfumes around. It smells like liquid gold glimmering under tropical sunshine. To me, it's reminiscent of summer holidays in Greece and carefree relaxation.
13. Jo Loves Cobalt Patchouli & Cedar Fragrance
I don't particularly like giving fragrances genders, but I can't ignore that certain notes are more prominent in male colognes. So for the sake of painting a picture (which we're going to have to rely on until smell-o-vision exists), this is light and uplifting and harnesses traditionally masculine notes synonymous with summertime.
14. Miller Harris Lumière Dorée
15. Ex Nihilo Exalt Perfumed Hair Mist
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about hair perfumes, but this stuff is an exception. With white tea and citrus, it just smells clean. For days when I don't much fancy making a statement, a light misting of this through my lengths has me wafting a sense of expensive freshness all day long.
16. Diptyque Philosykos Eau De Parfum
If you have ever had the joy of experiencing a Diptyque perfume, you'll know that talking about specific notes doesn't really help in describing the overall scent. Diptyque has a way of blending notes to create something entirely new and indescribable, but I'll do my best. Coconutty and exotic but far from sweet, it has an earthy but milky freshness that can't be compared to anything else out there.