Scents can lift the spirit, bring back memories, and carve out moments of reflection, connection, and joy. For this Mother’s Day, we’ve selected a variety of products both nostalgic and forward thinking, and for both the body and home. From upgrades of classic perfume styles to new flights of fragrant fancy, these are sure to delight, surprise, and show how much you care.
Scents have the magical ability to collect memories, framing moments in time like an invisible scrapbook which reopens the moment you take a sniff. For this reason, wearing a new fragrance can be the perfect way to turn the page on a new season, perspective, or outlook on where we’re headed.
Our top 10 scents this spring share an energizing, vibrant quality, perfect for clearing cobwebs and conjuring an optimistic outlook. Featuring a variety of raw materials in relatively lighter compositions, they’re perfect for the warm-but-not-yet-steamy days to come.
SPRING SCENTS SAMPLE PACK
Our favourite scents for spring share an energizing, vibrant quality, perfect for clearing cobwebs and conjuring an optimistic outlook. Sample the fragrances mentioned in this blog post by purchasing our Spring Refresh Sample Pack!
Known for her avant-garde silhouettes and flashes of punk-infused fantasy, the aesthetic world of Naomi Goodsir balances inspiration with French savoir-faire. Founded in 2012, her namesake collection of perfume extends her uncompromising vision and impeccable craftsmanship to the realm of fragrance. These are statement perfumes of the highest order, and must be experienced to be believed.
Unique, polished and achingly beautiful, the fragrances of Naomi Goodsir are not for smelling like everyone else. However, for those willing to take the plunge, they are sure to hypnotize and delight all who enter their trail.
Founder Naomi Goodsir is a true original. Born in Sydney, Australia, avant-garde milliner Naomi Goodsir has created pieces for the English National Opera and Kanye West’s eponymous label, and has been exhibited by museums around the world. With creative director Renaud Coutaudier, she crafts perfumes as detailed and unmistakeable as her accessories, in collaboration with perfumers such as Julien Rasquinet, Bertrand Duchaufour and Isabelle Doyen. Her collection is an idiosyncratic olfactory ecosystem, full of emotion and mysterious textures.
“Bois D’Ascèsce” smells like the most expensive country fireplace in the world, crackling in comfortable silence as a story begins to be told. Mysterious, slightly mystical, and quietly very confident, this is one of the most well-balanced, romantically polished woodsmoke fragrances we’ve smelled.
A vivid recreation of clean saddle leather saddle that blurs the line between racehorse and racecar. Dark, dry resins mingle with something akin to burnt rubber, infusing the scent with animalistic alertness. It’s intense but also polished, crisp, energizing, and even, in a strange way, refreshing.
A langorous take on leather, with fruity facets of immortelle sparkling in the long rays of afternoon sun. The brooding atmosphere is playfully subverted with a whiff of sweet tobacco and… lipstick? Like lounging in a luxurious pied-a-terre awaiting a hedonistic summer’s eve.
A portal to the earthy soul of iris root, with its green and buttery aspects in full display. It wears like an invisible texture, both fudgey and feathered, surreal and edgy, as if Alexander McQueen and Iris van Herpen traded notes. A poetic nature documentary filmed in visceral virtual reality.
An avant-garde scent both reckless and controlled, gritty and operatic, with milky, humid tuberose anchored by pungent green galbanum and earthy woods. Wild, alchemical, hallucinatory, full of movement and bracing nature, it feels like wearing a sculptural piece of scent couture. Astonishing.
Though tobacco-inspired, to us this fragrance smells as cheerfully intoxicating as a hot toddy. Tangential references to oak, maple, rum and coconut are decadently set ablaze, but even with all that warmth, “Or du Sérail” remains comforting and approachable, imploring others to get closer.
SAMPLE THE COLLECTION
Shop Naomi Goodsir’s Discovery Set: A perfect way to immerse yourself in the world of Naomi Goodsir.
This set features 2ml spray samples of all six fragrances in the collection. It also includes illustrated blotters to experience each olfactory artwork in its purest form.
Most of us want to be alluring in some way, whether we’re single, partnered, or something in between. And there is perhaps no sense more tailored towards intimacy, or the prospect of it, than the sense of smell. Smell is a primal sense, hijacking memory and emotion, triggered by a poetic process in which a tiny piece of what you smell must breach your physical boundaries and enter your olfactory sensors in literal physical communion.
So, if attraction is the goal, how to harness the sense of smell?
First and foremost, we need something that makes us feel confident. A study showed that women rated men’s attractiveness higher when they were wearing a scent, even if they only looked at a picture of the man and couldn’t actually smell what they were wearing. In other words, scent helps us feel like we’re projecting our best selves. But while confidence is key, for Valentine’s month, we decided to dig a little deeper. We dove into the history of sensory research, discovering which raw materials have been shown to be attractive, stimulating, and emboldening. From there, we curated a list of scents that are sure to make an impression.
Musk was one universal choice. It mimics an animalic rush of intimacy, warm and slightly forbidden. Arquiste’s “Él” is like wearing a tailored suit to a glamourous tropical disco, and dries down to an intoxicatingly sexy musk; never veering too far into old-fashioned funk. For a more carefree sex appeal, all-natural brand Abel manages to capture an addictive salt-kissed skin musk effect in “Cyan Nori” – and perhaps there’s nothing sexier than effortlessness.
Speaking of effortlessness, the abstract molecular aura of “Escentric 02” by Escentric Molecules takes the magnetic skin-enhancing magic the brand is known for and adds an effervescent freshness. It features hedione, a molecule similar to aspects of jasmine, which has been shown to possess aphrodisiac qualities. And like all Escentric Molecules scents, it smells even better to those around you.
The history of perfume is filled with winking nods to intimacy. The fragrance “1725” by Histoires de Parfum is a modern reinterpretation of the seminal perfume Fougère Royale, a civilized scent for nobility which, as scent writer Luca Turin has noted, featured an irreverently dirty drydown. This version, suitably dedicated to Casanova, is cleaner and more delicious than its historic reference. It adds a layer of elegant vanilla to the composition, an ingredient also cited for its attractive powers.
In fact, for some people, there is nothing more alluring than waves of unctuous vanilla. For this reason, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include a fragrance tailor-made for sex appeal: “Absolute Aphrodisiac” by Initio. Unabashedly swooning, the fragrance glows with an eternal, narcotic vanilla warmth, deepened by amber and musk.
It surprised us to learn that fruity notes have also been shown to stimulate attraction. “Habdan” by Parfums de Marly contains one of the most surprisingly well-structured uses of fruit we’ve smelled in fragrance, using the crisp snap of fresh apple to enliven incense with devilish panache.
Fruity notes also enhance the plush textural symphony of “Phi: Une Rose de Kandahar” by Tauer. The fragrance is a velvety ode to rose, a material which studies have shown increases the perception of attractiveness. In fact, the natural Afghani rose oil used in the formula is so unbelievably rare the perfumer himself warns it is sometimes impossible to produce. Even if you didn’t know what went into making it, the scent feels like an intoxicating, ultra-luxurious cuddle, and would make anyone want to get a closer sniff.
Rose isn’t the only flower that has been shown to have powerful emotional effects. Lilies, even in synthetic reconstruction, have been shown to have a stimulating effect. Long the realm of classical, stately compositions, lily becomes vibrant, ultramodern and achingly fashionable in “Lys Sølaberg” by Maison Crivelli. A smoky, wood and amber undercurrent cements the allure and keeps it wearable for all genders.
For those who want to make a seductive impression, woods and resins are an excellent go-to. “Autoportrait” by Olfactive Studio blends musk, incense and moss with vetiver, an earthy ingredient that has been shown to heighten attraction. It’s a versatile, daily signature with a coy excitement sizzling beneath the surface. There’s something about it that smells youthful and commanding at the same time, projecting spontaneity and confidence.
In the same family, “Pachuli Kozha” by Nishane might be one of the most lusciously sensual smoky fragrances we can think of. Top notes of aphrodisiac ylang-ylang brighten a delicious current of black pepper and honey, which pours lavishly over the brooding embers of incense and patchouli. It’s impossible to wear and not feel your confidence soar.
This year saw the arrival of some of the most memorable fragrances in recent memory. As we started compiling our favourites, we noticed many of our picks were united by a spirit of reinvention. Modern takes on chypres, fougères, and incense & rose, for example, mined old tropes for newly satisfying blends. In addition, most scents shared a sense of warmth, as if anticipating the extra comfort we’d need to stay grounded in our turbulent world.
Creamy dreamscapes, poetic forests, glowing auras of musk and smouldering incense helped us access serenity at Etiket HQ. But make no mistake: these scents are not just for winter! Instead, they prove that cozy, soothing or contemplative fragrances don’t have to be boring. Read on to discover our favourites, listed in no particular order.
When speaking about perfume, we often use words borrowed from other senses. Ingredients become “notes”, like ones you might play on a piano (which is why a perfumer’s desk is referred to as an “organ”). A fragrance can be too “light” for us, and while it’s sometimes unclear whether we’re describing physical weight or colour, our noses can’t truly perceive either. Scent is steeped in sensory metaphor.
To me, an important sense to invoke in our understanding of perfume is touch. Obviously, smells don’t have physical textures or temperatures. But thinking about the tactile qualities of a perfume can be a gateway to their emotional heart.
Perfumers thinking texturally has led to breakthroughs in the world of fragrance. It often requires a metaphoric leap in the mind of each nose; if one forgets about what an ingredient actually is, what might it make you think of? Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena uses a signature green tea effect to create a luminous quality, like transparent flowing water, which made hits of fragrances like Bvlgari’s Thé Vert and Hermes’ Un Jardin en Méditerranée (you can sample his work at Etiket in Dia Woman and L’Eau D’Ambre Extrême). Similarly, Olivia Giacobetti pioneered the use of fig and other fresh effects to make fragrances that seem airy and subtly cool to the touch, as she does in Premier Figuier and Passage D’Enfer.
On the other side of the spectrum, perfumer Sophia Grojsman’s work often feels fuzzy and thick because of her trademark “hug me accord”: an abstract blend of synthetic jasmine, violet, musk and cedar molecules which makes her fragrances seem cozy and warm (like in Lancome’s classic Tresor). And Andy Tauer has created a rabid cult following with his unapologetic waves of hot spice, which add a dry crackling heat to scents like L’Air du Désert Marocain and Cologne du Maghreb. Composed with care, a perfume can imply closeness or distance; glass, cloth, paper, powder or liquid; warm or cool; movement or stillness.
The fragrances of Maison Crivelli make brilliant use of texture, and they do so in a modern way. Many of them have what I call a “holographic” texture: lifelike, shimmery, and light-reflecting. Creating fragrances with this effect allows the rich amber notes of Lys Sølaberg to feel approachable and relaxed. It allows bold ingredients like woods and spices to seem almost weightless in Santal Volcanique and Bois Datchaï. And it gives rose, which can smell surprisingly thick, even jammy in isolation, a new, breezy lifein Rose Saltifolia, as if the scent were dancing across your perception on a seaside summer wind.
Maison Crivelli fragrances also use textural elements to evoke extremes of temperature, which form surprising contrasts with classic ingredients. A sparkling, icy freshness makes the lavender, juniper and musk in Absinthe Boréale seem enrobed in a delicate frost. The juicy heat of chili and the earthy depth of vetiver makes the orange and bergamot inside Citrus Batikanga sizzle in the bustling heat of a tropical market.
If all this sounds a bit far-fetched, like those sommeliers who tell you you must be able to taste butter in your chardonnay, don’t worry. The ultimate truism of fragrance is that all scent is subjective. But asking yourself which textures, colours or temperatures you sense when you smell a perfume, regardless of what you come up with, can help make sense of a fragrance’s energy, which will, in turn, hint at what it might feel like to wear it. For example, while everybody’s skin is different, a cool, airy or watery fragrance might leave a more casual impression on your skin than something dark, syrupy, sandy or hot.
Finally, looking for textures is a way to rediscover ingredients or scent families you thought you knew. If you love earthy and smoky notes, but you can’t imagine wearing them to the office, you could step away from the hottest, driest Tauer scents, for example, and towards a more liquid and transparent scent like Smoke Show. If light floral perfumes often feel aggressive and headache-inducing, but you love the scent of real flowers, you could try finding scents that are less cool, bright and sharp and more velvety and warm. And if you thought you hated powdery fragrances because they always feel too “classic”, meet Crivelli’s Papyrus Moléculaire or Iris Malikhan, which both take the concept of powder in richer, darker, edgier, and more contemporary directions.
– David, Director of Fragrance at Etiket
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