Fragrance

Our Favourite New Fragrances from 2021

Our favourite new arrivals reinvented the classics, and shared a versatile comforting warmth.

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.

Imaginary Authors
FOX IN THE FLOWERBED

A joyful, soothing ode to jasmine, diffused through the sepia lens of an early summer sunset. Colourfully nostalgic, like the films of Wes Anderson.
Escentric Molecules
MOLECULE 01 + PATCHOULI 

This reinvention of single-ingredient masterpiece Molecule 01 adds a moody, musky, spicy, sparkling patchouli layer to its skin-enhancing base.  
Arquiste
PEAU

Like sensual bass notes for the skin, with cedar air and an almost indescribable musk accord. Layer under everything: wide-eyed compliments will ensue.  
Meleg Perfumes
CIVET CAT CHYPRE

Meleg’s scents are unlike anything else on the market. Airy, buttery, and breathtakingly elegant; this is handmade perfumery at its best. 
Libertine Fragrance
SWEET GRASS 

A masterful recreation of the green tobacco pleasures of Canadian sweetgrass. A youthful fougère that’s equal parts prairie poetry and urban sex appeal.
Zoologist
MACAQUE YUZU EDITION

The tart-sweet bite of yuzu energizes the lemony facets of Hinoki wood, resulting in a dynamic and wearable composition with that trademark Zoologist twist.
Maison Crivelli
IRIS MALIKHÂN

A surprising reinvention of iris, with waves of vanilla pod crashing on an amber origami shore as a floral fog rolls in. This is fragrance as textural symphony.
Hiram Green
VETIVER

Two origins of vetiver lay rumbling at the heart of this all-natural ode to citrus and earth; so vivid it’s almost hallucinogenic. Perfectly balanced between wild and civilized. 

Indult
MY JU-JU

Like the creamy-woody smell of someone familiar, this scent deliciously evades description. Dewy green notes dance on a base reminiscent of cashmere donut icing.
Tauer
SUNDOWNER

Vivid but relaxed, and with “hygge” to spare, citrus and cocoa crackle over a layer of warm wood like an impossibly sexy bonfire. For venturing outwards with your sense of home intact.
L’Artisan Parfumeur
CONTES DU LEVANT

Damask rose illuminates a suspended geometry of pepper, patchouli and incense. Polished, gleaming, romantic, and much more than the sum of its parts.
2021 FRAGRANCE FAVOURITES SAMPLE PACK

Curious about this year’s top 10? This sample pack contains all the fragrances featured here. Grab one and find a new favourite!
Seahorse from Zoologist launches at Etiket!
Fragrance

Zoologist’s New Fragrance Takes Us Under the Sea

Zoologist's new fragrance has landed at Etiket. It's an inspired voyage below the ocean surface. Let's dive in...

If you’ve never encountered the fragrances of Toronto-based Zoologist, you’re in for a wild ride. Each extrait de parfum is inspired by a different animal, invoking its personality and even, in the case of Hyrax, actual (humanely harvested) aromatics from the titular creature. But no animal, humans included, exists in isolation. They’re but one part of the web of flora and fauna which collaborate on the unknowable art project that is their respective habitat. This is why, at least to me, Zoologist perfumes aren’t really about animals as much as the scent of wild landscapes. Panda evokes a misty bamboo forest; Chameleon a tropical island fantasy. Now, with their newest scent, Zoologist turns its attention to a world under the sea. 

When Pixar was developing “Finding Nemo”, the production team took scuba lessons to learn more about the look and feel of being underwater. They soon realized that even the clearest, cleanest water is filled with textures; little floating organisms, plant matter, bits of coral and sand floating by, glittering in the shafts of wobbly sunlight. Hours of painstaking animation ensued to add multitudinous sea stuff to each shot. This proved to be the elusive ingredient in making the underwater world feel real. 

Zoologist’s new fragrance Seahorse is filled to the brim with “Finding Nemo” textures. You can smell the colours of a richly animated oceanic ecosystem, pulsating like a garden of algae and alien wildflowers. Blue orange blossoms sway in the airless breeze, tides sluice around glossy grass, and all sound goes underwater quiet. In fact, in my opinion, this stillness is key to the uniqueness of this fragrance. Many aquatic scents take the constant churning motion of waves as inspiration, evoking sea spray on the shore where humans can greedily inhale its vapour. But there is something more serene and grounded about Seahorse — still playful but meditative, lapping instead of crashing, like touring the palatial gardens of an undersea empire. This scent doesn’t just take you to an oceanside view, it invites you to be fully submerged.

On the skin, the scent can feel like bioluminescence, the green notes waxing and waning, a foamy floral warmth anchoring all that freshness. Transparent tuberose adds touches of neon coral, and vetiver and ambergris conjure a sheer vegetal earthiness, evoking the sandy sea floor at the base of everything. Those for whom aquatic scents are solely for the heat of summer, take note: the lifelike nature photography in this scent gives it enough depth to wear all year round. If each Zoologist scent is conceived as a voyage into an unknown world of unspoiled nature, Seahorse might be one of their most fully realized. It’s a transportive fragrance, thrillingly foreign and, perhaps from the films of our childhoods, also strangely familiar.

Can Perfumes Have Textures?
Fragrance

Can Perfumes Have Textures?

When speaking about perfume, we often use words borrowed from other senses. 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.

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

Is Fragrance Giftable?
Fragrance

Is Fragrance Really Giftable?

As the holiday season rolls around, we’re often asked about the best way to select a fragrance as a gift. Here are some steps to help you achieve a fragrance gifting triumph.

As the holiday season rolls around, we’re often asked about the best way to select a fragrance as a gift. Many people like the idea of gifting fragrance, especially for a loved one who’s often within smelling distance. But the wide variety of fragrances available and the personal nature of scent make it a particular challenge, especially if you’re not a diehard fragrance lover yourself. However, contrary to popular belief, it is possible to get them a fragrance they’ll love! In a perfect world, you could just buy them another bottle of their favourite, in which case, you’ll be done before you know it. Assuming that’s not an option, here are some steps to help you achieve a fragrance gifting triumph.

1. Don’t think so much about ”notes” or ingredients; think about personality

Perfumes are often described by what fragrance “families” they belong to. Are they sweet? Floral? Woody? Animalic? And while knowing your recipient’s taste in ingredients can help, often fragrances can vary just as much within families as between them. Instead, we suggest thinking first about the personality or style of the person you’re buying for. Are they bold? Reserved? Dramatic? Fun? Distinctions like fancy or casual, and for work or for play, can often help narrow the field better than deciding between cedar and vanilla.

To this end, we’ve compiled a Fragrance Gift Guide with nine categories of fragrance lovers (or the fragrance curious). Look for ones that feel like they describe your recipient’s disposition, taste in clothes, or the way they greet the world.

2. Stick to the safe bets (and beware some tricky ingredients)

There are two reasons that ingredients do matter a little for gift giving: skin chemistry and scent associations. Scent is closely tied to memory, which can make the exact same smell feel different to different people. Additionally, perfume changes subtly once it hits skin, making it harder to estimate how certain perfumes will smell on any particular person. To maximize your chances of success, we recommend sticking to more versatile scents with crowd-pleasing ingredients and styles.

Try: Escentric Molecules

This brand is a hit for a reason. Without getting too technical, many of their most-loved perfumes aren’t really “perfumes” in the sense that vanilla isn’t really a cake. Instead, their line of “Molecule” scents (numbered 01-05) are suspensions of a single versatile base note in alcohol. Translation? They’re the frame, not the painting. This means that they adapt to anyone’s skin and amplify the best qualities of their natural scent. The result is a wear-it-anywhere automatic jaw dropper that can also layer beautifully with any other scents in their collection.

Try: Malin + Goetz

These fun, modern fragrances are a nice bridge between “nice smell” and “proper perfume” (and we mean that in the best way possible). They’re inspired by easily-identifiable smells, and evoke them in an accessible way. They’re already well loved for their addictive body products, and their packaging is effortlessly chic. And worst comes to worst, buying someone a fragrance named “Cannabis” is sure to at least make them smile (but it would also smell great on almost anyone anyway).

Be careful with: buying something ”fresh”

“Fresh” is a concept in perfume that’s become such a cliché it hardly means anything. If they’ve told you they like “fresh” fragrances, or you have a memory of them smelling “clean”, this could be helpful, or could be a trap. Because of the way scent is tied to memory, “fresh” could mean anything from citrus to mint, light flowers to aquatic, and even white musk. Try to narrow your search by thinking of their personality, or if “fresh” is all you have to go on, consider any Heeley fragrance with a white label.

Be careful with: Floral for the sake of floral

Flowers are foundational to the history of perfume. They also could be the most polarizing ingredient of them all. Not only can people have strong reactions to heavily floral scents, but the way that flowers show up in a composition ranges from “shrieking” to “invisible”. This doesn’t mean you should stay away from any fragrance which lists flowers among the notes; most will have some somewhere. However, if a fragrance is described as both rich/intense and predominantly floral, you might want to get them to try a sample first (unless you or they are experienced fragrance buyers).

One exception to this rule is if you know they have a favourite flower. If so, find a fragrance that doesn’t just include it, but is overwhelmingly and exclusively inspired by it. Lilac lovers will likely love A Lilac a Day, orange blossom enthusiasts will likely swoon over Histoire d’Orangers, and if they grow real roses in their garden, Lustre should remind them of home. 

3. Smell for yourself, and even get a second opinion

It will not surprise you to hear that smells cannot be fully experienced through the internet (at least not yet). While many of our clients have learned enough about their personal taste to shop our fragrance selection online, buying a fragrance gift can put many of us back at square one. An excellent way to complete your holiday shopping would be to visit our Montréal boutique and sniff a shortlist of options. If this is a possibility for you, the same advice from #1 applies; when smelling each fragrance, try to think of the person’s energy, personality and style more than decide whether they’d like the actual ingredients.

For those who aren’t lucky enough to live nearby, we also offer the option to purchase samples online of almost any fragrance we sell. If you plan ahead, investing a small amount in an assortment of samples can help you seal the deal, or even sneak an option onto the skin of the actual person you’re buying for. And if the element of surprise is too important to give up, bring the samples around to someone who knows your recipient just as well (or even better) than you do. When seeking a second opinion, the question we’d recommend asking isn’t “would they like this?” as much as “do you think this smells like them?” Lastly, if you’re their significant other, remember to consider what scents you’d enjoy smelling on them as well!

4. Don’t forget the home!

If you’re still not ready to make a judgement call on a fragrance for skin, try a fragrance for space! Any room is enlivened by the invisible colour of a home fraIf you’re still too scared to make a judgement call about a fragrance for skin, try a fragrance for space! Any room is enlivened by the invisible colour of a home fragrance, and we carry a beautiful array of scents in various formats. Home scents are the perfect gifting sweet spot: something almost everybody loves, but many people often don’t buy for themselves.  

The range of diffusers from Culti Milano have been extremely popular, as well as their car sachets – a unique gift for anybody who drives to work. Local Montréal brands Les Citadines and T. Lees create artisanal, elevated scents for every taste, and Arquiste’s candles are vibrant, transportive and unique. Finally, for the ultimate luxury experience, the world-renowned house of Fornasetti makes candles which rise to the level of art objects – taking home scent from invisible accent to dazzling decor.

Finally, gifting fragrance with Etiket has one distinct advantage – free samples! Like most retailers, we can’t accept returns of used fragrance, even if it’s only been sprayed once. However, Etiket offers complimentary fragrance samples with every purchase. Simply request a sample of the scents you’re buying and we’ll happily include them so your recipient can try the sample on before they open the full-sized bottle. If it turns out it’s not for them, they can easily return the unused fragrance and get something for themselves. This also means that every bottle of fragrance you buy for someone else lets you try some free samples for yourself, and if that isn’t a reason to be generous, I don’t know what is!

Image source: @penhaligons_london

Meleg Perfumes just launched at Etiket
Fragrance

Niche. Unapologetic. Canadian-Made. Discover Meleg Perfumes.

We just launched a new fragrance brand called Meleg Perfumes! Learn more about this exciting new niche brand and why Simon decided to launch Meleg Perfumes at Etiket.

Meleg Perfumes was founded by Matthew Meleg, a self-trained perfume enthusiast, in 2020.

It’s impossible to consider Meleg Perfumes without taking into account Matthew Meleg himself. “There is no separation between myself and the perfumes. Each one has a story behind it, and they’re kind of like diary entries,” the Vancouver-based self-taught perfumer says.

Every component from the ingredients to the packaging is deliberate and conscientiously crafted. The box that holds each perfume is inspired by apple bins of the Meleg Orchard in Ontario. 

The goal? ”Thick, nuanced and layered with facets, I’m playing jazz here. Meleg Perfumes express liveliness and are recognized by their hedonistic character. Sometimes baroque and once in a while I’ll even throw a little Pop-Art as well – ode to fellow Slovak, Andy Warhol. And because I’m self taught, stubborn and unwilling to compromise with their compositions you’ll either love or hate my perfumes. My goal isn’t to please everyone. My goal is to make art, to celebrate being alive.” Matthew Meleg

As he suggests, his perfumes are mostly diary entries, they would detail a fascination with culture, history and sexuality. They also tell the story of a wayward journey – from growing up on a farm to a difficult family life to dropping out of Emily Carr University, to his decade of living in Japan. His scents are unapologetic, nuanced and complex, much like Meleg himself. 

What drew us to the brand?

We pride ourselves on being a beauty destination that features curated brands from around the world. Simon, Etiket’s founder, carefully selects beauty, fragrance and lifestyle brands that are well-established, or up-and-coming like Meleg Perfumes.

We asked Simon what prompted him to add to add Meleg Perfumes to our fragrance lineup. This was his answer:

I am always looking for new brands, especially Canadian brands to add to our assortment. I was excited when I had a call from Matthew to talk about his new fragrance collection because we don’t have that many Canadian perfumers. We already carry three Canadian perfume brands: Monsillage, Zoologist and Libertine Fragrance and Meleg Perfumes made a perfect addition. Matthew’s approach to fragrance comes not only from his personal experience and travels but from being a self-taught perfumer who has pushed himself to make innovative and beautiful fragrances often rooted in a Canadian heritage with inspiration from his travels around the world.”

We currently carry 10 of the Meleg Perfumes in our store and on our website. If you’d like to test some of the fragrances, you can always purchase samples through our sample program, or stop by the store!

6 Fragrances Perfect For Fall/Winter 2015

The change of season is the perfect time to find your next signature scent! As ...

Read More →

screen-capture-857

The change of season is the perfect time to find your next signature scent! As the weather gets cooler, you may want to switch out your light, floral scents for something a bit warmer, heavier and just down right cozy. Here are our top fragrance picks for Fall/Winter 2015:

screen-capture-851The Italian Way To Vanilla

Eau d’Italie’s newest fragrance Morn To Dusk is a sensual fragrance that wraps around you like a veil of gold, from morning till the sun sets. Fresh and vibrant to begin with, this scent starts with a clean, energetic note of bergamot and gradually warms with bourbon vanilla until the shadows of the day deepen with cedarwood and musk. Intense, hypnotic and simply irresistible!

Eau d’Italie, Morn to Dusk EDT, 100ml – $175

screen-capture-852Lavender In All Its Bracing Charm

Penhaligon’s No. 33 was created to celebrate Penhaligon’s 145th anniversary and is named after one of their first ever boutiques on 33 St James’s Street in London. It opens in an aromatic burst of crisp citrus, rustic armoise and clary sage alongside a bracing lavender note. Incredibly smooth, the heart is enriched by warming pepper, ginger and cardamom and fresh, rosy geranium. Tobacco, cedar and vetiver add a dry smokiness, balanced by the restrained sweetness of tonka, amber and vanilla.

Penhaligon’s No.33, 50ml – $115

screen-capture-853A Celebration Of The Most Rare, Precious and Unexpected Ingredients

Oud Saphir is the latest fragrance from Atelier Cologne’s Collection Métal. It opens with citrus drops of bergamot, spiced with pink pepper and ambrette seed. Notes of suede, birch and jasmine in the heart creates harmony, accompanied with dark, deep accords of agar wood, birch and sensual vanilla in the base notes. A fresh take on the usual deep, rich and intense oud scent and perfect for the transition from summer to fall!

Atelier Cologne Oud Saphir, 100ml – $275

screen-capture-854Trade Routes

ARQUISTE Parfumeur’s newest fragrance Nanban is none other than the intoxicating spirit of a singular, extraordinary voyage of discovery. Imagine a galleon carrying a delegation of samurai charging through dark ocean currents and loaded with sweet-smelling tropical woods, tea, coffee, heady Spanish leather, frankincense, fine black pepper and other exotic ground spices. A gorgeous unisex scent that is perfect to wear now or when the cooler fall weather really settles in.

ARQUISTE Parfumeur Nanban EDP, 100ml – $225

screen-capture-855The Passion Of Andalusia

Celebrate the sweetness of an Indian summer with L’Artisan Parfumeur Aube de Séville! A fragrance that opens with a burst of spicy green and zesty notes. The heart notes include jasmine, sweetened with orange blossom and beeswax. The composition is intensified with calming lavender and dark frankincense. An addictive fragrance that will keep you wanting more.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Aube de Séville EDP, 100ml – $194

screen-capture-856The Dreamer’s Amber

Beautiful, strong and elegantly designed, ETRO Ambra is a seductive fragrance that blends together precious and mysterious essences, such as the black resin of the American amber tree, opoponax and sweet myrrh. The modern freshness of bergamot and the slightly spicy aroma of coriander dampened by labdanum makes this fragrance both exciting and provocative. Ambra is bound to keep you spellbound.

ETRO Ambra, EDT, 50ml – $118

SHOP ALL FRAGRANCES & ORDER SAMPLES

Perfume 101

You may already have a signature scent, or you may already know exactly what you ...

Read More →

You may already have a signature scent, or you may already know exactly what you …

Read More →

Renewal

At Etiket, the beginning of a new year is exemplified by the word RENEWAL. It ...

Read More →

At Etiket, the beginning of a new year is exemplified by the word RENEWAL. It …

Read More →

Stay in the Know
Sign up for our newsletter and enjoy 10% off your first purchase from the Etiket Shop
Stay in the Know
Sign up for our newsletter and enjoy 10% off your first purchase from the Etiket Shop
Gardons le contact!
Inscrivez-vous à l'infolettre d'Etiket et obtenez 10% sur votre premier achat sur Etiket.ca.
Gardons le contact!
Inscrivez-vous à l'infolettre d'Etiket et obtenez 10% sur votre premier achat sur Etiket.ca.