It's safe to say that I adore perfume. It has the unique ability to transform your frame of mind with just one spritz—evoking nostalgic memories and lifting your mood like no other beauty product can. However, having such an emotional connection to fragrance means that I tend to play it pretty safe when it comes to the perfumes that I wear. Unlike my makeup bag which I switch up regularly to experiment with new colours and textures, my perfume wardrobe stays pretty much the same all year round. I know which types of scents I like—musky vanilla, heady patchouli and modern rose, FYI—and I gravitate towards them time and time again.
This year, however, something has changed. I'm not sure if it's those first glimmers of spring sunshine or the promise of warmer weather to come, or maybe it's the sheer monotony that 2021 has brought with it so far, but I've found myself wanting to step out of my fragrance comfort zone and reach for something fresh. But where to start? With so many perfumes launching all the time, choosing a new scent can feel overwhelming to say the least—so I thought it was the perfect time to consult some experts.
Keep scrolling to see which scents they predict everyone will be wearing this year and to shop the very best perfumes of 2021 so far.
Opulent Floral Bouquets
Florals for spring might not be groundbreaking but the warm, comforting bouquets that perfume houses are fashioning right now are a bold departure from the types of light, bright flowery scents that we've come to expect. "Velvety and powerful," is how master perfumer Mathilde Bijaoui describes them. Yes, floral perfumes in 2021 will provide a dose of reassuring luxury—a welcome reprieve from the precarious times that we are living through.
"The scarlet poppy accord is very voluptuous and floral, with blooms that bring a rich intensity at the heart of the scent," explains Bijaoui.
A celebration of florals, this new launch from Gucci is both rich with ylang ylang and sandalwood and green with tuberose for a fresh, natural finish.
A cocktail of orange blossom and golden gardenia make a dramatic pairing, while sparkling bergamot and vanilla lend a creamy richnesss.
Modern Oriental Scents
Traditionally warm with amber and heady with spice, oriental fragrances look set to be reinvented for 2021 with conventional musky bases being married with refreshing twists of fruit and sweet hints of vanilla and ginger for more gourmand results.
Inspired by Gabrielle Chanel’s totem animal, this sophisticated fragrance combines amber accord with sparkling lemon and creamy sandalwood for a soft yet powerful aroma.
Spicy gingerbread, juicy Italian mandarin and Madagascan vanilla combine for a new perfume from Valentino that's genuinely mouthwatering.
A sweet-yet-spicy oriental perfume with traditional notes of myrrh and sandalwood and a herby freshness from cypriol. Oh, and let's not forget to mention that dramatic crocodile cap.
Grown-Up Fruit Fragrances
Forget what you think you know about fruity perfumes—2021's offering is all about the piquant, zesty notes of nature's harvest. "There is a move towards the freshness of plants, embodying a quest for naturalism and a certain simplicity," explains the Maison Margiela Fragrances olfactive team. Forget sugary-sweet scents, this is a decidedly more grown-up approach to fruit fragrances.
Freshly-picked lemons and fragrant jasmine create a holiday-ready perfume that smells like holidays in the very best way.
This is like the grown-up cocktail of the fragrance world right now. As the name would suggest it has notes of bitter peach, sweet blood orange and rum-infused davana oil for depth.
With blackcurrant nectar at its core—the signature note of the Sì fragrance family—this new launch is a fresh, spicy fruit scent with notes of rose, patchouli and benzoin resin.
Move over freshly-laundered linen, the best new perfumes in the clean category have had a contemporary update. "There have been significant developments in the creation of clean notes, with various interpretations," explains the Maison Margiela Fragrances olfactive team. "There is a move towards the freshness of plants...with multisensory textures of skin-like notes." Think just-cut blossoms, lush greenery and organic cottons.
A chypre accord lends this feminine fragrance its breezy, linen notes while an innovative blend of rose petals lends it a floral air.
Freesia, Egyptian jasmine and oak moss are just some of the "comforting clean accords" in this lightweight, clean skin perfume from Maison Margiela.
Green leaves and fragrant tomato create a bright, natural perfume that captures the essence of a greenhouse.