There is much to love about spring—a shift from heavy coats to lighter and brighter knits, a joyful colour palette that shakes off the gloominess of winter and an excuse for some fresh nail art to celebrate the changing seasons. Though, there's one seasonal switch-up that excites me above all others, and that's the chance to bid farewell to my heavy winter fragrances (you know, the ones that are as warming as your favourite cable-knit jumper and as heady as your nan's sherry at Christmas) and hello to lighter, brighter spring perfumes.
However, as someone who truly loves all the spicy vanilla and warm wood aromas that come standard in typically autumn-winter scents, it has taken me a while to get my head around what constitutes a great-smelling spring fragrance. Typically, spring perfume equals floral. And while that's great if you love a big bouquet of scent, if your tastes verge more on the clean, crisp or even sweet side, then you might find yourself not sure where to start when it comes to choosing a seasonal scent.
But worry not—over the years, I've amassed quite the collection of perfumes, and I think I've become a connoisseur at sniffing out crowd-pleasing spring perfumes that retain the classic sunny optimism of a new season with some unexpected twists that mean you won't be smelling like everyone else.
Ahead, keep scrolling for the 12 best spring fragrances ever—from new launches to classic perfumes that I always come back to.
As someone who generally gravitates towards warm, cosy fragrances year-round, I tend not to love traditional fresh and floral spring scents. This new launch from Chloé, however, provides the perfect middle ground with citrus-fresh bergamot and heady jasmine mingling with sweet vanilla and warming sandalwood. It's a delight.
The original Marc Jacobs Daisy launched the summer before I started university, and I wore it loyally through the final years of my teens and into my early 20s: It therefore already holds that nostalgic sense of spring optimism for me. I was dubious about whether I would like this new version now that I'm in my 30s, but I have to say that it's a delight. It's fresh with surprising hints of seaweed and quince that lend it a botanical edge while remaining playful and sweet thanks to violet (both the leaves and the flower) and lotus flower. I'll be wearing this all spring.
I love rose perfumes anyway, but I know that they have a bit of a reputation for being old-fashioned. This is nothing of the sort. Originally launched in 2014, À La Rose is one of Maison Francis Kurkdjian's most iconic scents. Yes, it's jam-packed with roses (no fewer than 400 per bottle, in fact), but there's also violet, magnolia blossom and a musky base. Plus, the Damask roses used have a naturally juicy fragrance—think fresh pear and lychee—so you're getting some spring sweetness too.
For me, this is a late-spring scent—one that you reach for when the nights start drawing out and we've switched out our winter jackets for some lighter layers. It's more opulent than some of the traditionally zingy spring scents that I've already mentioned, with rich rose, spicy amber and warm patchouli at its heart. Simply put, it's stunning, and someone will be sure to ask you what you're wearing when you step out wearing this.
I'm a sucker for a Byredo perfume and have amassed a carefully curated edit over the last few years. The next on my list is La Tulipe, which I discovered last spring and shed a tear when my last sample vial ran out. Byredo's founder, Ben Gorham, says that this perfume is based on the idea of a tulip, as lots of people say that the flower itself doesn't have a scent. Ben, I'm into your fantasy. This is a happy scent bursting with sharp rhubarb, freshly cut freesia, green vetiver and blonde woods. It's modern, vibrant and unlike anything else in my collection.
To be honest, the entire Zara Vibrant Cities perfume collection screams spring-summer to me, but if I had to pick just one to wear now, it would be Stunningly Venice. It's light and fresh and steers clear of the overtly floral stereotype of a traditional spring fragrance. There are bergamot and mint leaves, which provide a clean, green edge, and red berries for a mouthwatering finish. Plus, it smells way more expensive than its £20 price tag would have you believe.
The eye-watering price of the Dior fragrances means that I cherish this bottle of perfume almost more than my first-born child. However, I was lucky enough to be sent a bottle of Holy Peony for work about three years ago, and when it finally runs out, I will happily hand over my hard-earned cash for a new bottle. It's actually sweeter than I'd normally go for, with lots of strawberry and raspberry, but it remains grown-up thanks to rose, lily of the valley and some musky base notes. I bring it back out every single spring without fail, and it brings me instant joy.
The name really says it all with this perfume—a wistful floral scent that, like all of Maison Margiela's Replica perfumes, really transports you to a specific time and place. In this instance, it's a springtime stroll through a blossom-strewn park in Shanghai. It's delightfully pretty and optimistic thanks to a bursting bouquet of rose Damascena, lily of the valley and jasmine alongside mouthwatering pear and blackcurrant. A spring perfume classic.
The entire Loewe Aire collection is inspired by the purity of fresh air, so for me, these scents really come into their own in spring. As well as that trademark clarity that runs through the whole edit, Aire Sutileza has hints of pear, mandarin and blackcurrant and subtle floral notes running through its heart. It's complex yet lightweight, and I doubt you will have smelt it on anyone else.
I'll admit I was sceptical when a PR friend recommended this as a contender for my list of best spring perfumes—claiming it to be more of an evening scent but perfect for when the weather starts warming up. However, I can see exactly where she's coming from. Sure, ginger and leather don't exactly scream spring, but as well as a spiciness, there's uplifting orange blossom and Maninka fruit. It's chic, sophisticated and unexpected—and I can't stop spritzing it.
Probably one of the most-hyped fragrance launches of 2021, Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia is a homage to the white gardenia flower. Mixed with jasmine, pear blossom and a sprinkling of brown sugar, it's a sweet-yet-powerful perfume that celebrates new beginnings—perfect for spring. Oh, and the beautiful bottle is worth the money alone in my opinion.
There's nothing new about Chanel's incredibly popular Chance offering, but it wasn't until I was trawling through my perfume collection for this piece that I realised how frequently I return to Eau Fraiche in spring. It's lighter and sparklier than the original version—zesty with citron and clean with jasmine—and I adore it.