There is no such thing as an essential scent. I love to recommend skincare that benefits everyone or update you on the perfect volumising mascara (formulas only get better), but when it comes to something as personal as fragrance, I cannot tell you anything you don’t know about your own taste in chypres, gourmands or aromatics. Ouds can divide a room like Kanye West: one woman’s adorable floral is another’s Glade plug-in, and an abundance of fruits are pretty rotten. So, I cannot tell you about your must-have scent for autumn, inconvenient as that is while you still can’t sample fragrances at most retailers. But there are a couple of launches this season that have quite broad appeal. One fiddly newbie even gives you seven choices in one bottle.
Judith Leiber made her name with evening bags shaped like crystal-covered cupcakes, insects, and many other things you wouldn’t usually suspend from your person. Remember the sparkly duck that Mr. Big gave Carrie Bradshaw? A Leiber made her say “I love you.” From this irreverent brand comes More is More! — a selection of perfumes that looks like one. French perfumer Jérôme Di Marino created three scents that can be worn alone: More Floral!, More Zest!, and More Gourmand! And he ensured they complement one another well enough to layer four ways. As you’d expect from the name, all seven combination options are quite strong. They are also extremely long-wearing and different notes become more apparent as the hours pass.
- More Gourmand! opens with blackcurrant absolute and mandarin. Rich gingerbread notes and rose petals create a sensual heart, while strong vanilla and cashmere woods carry the scent into late evening.
- More Zest! sparkles with grapefruit, fresh lemongrass, and green bergamot. After this citrus explosion settles, you smell orris and peony.
- More Floral! Is a white-floral bouquet. At first you smell fresh pink pepper and mandarin, which give way to a ylang ylang and orchid heart. Coconut wood adds creaminess, while patchouli makes it tenacious.
The adjustable, refillable flacon has three cylinders (two can be switched on at once for layering) and is studded with cubic zirconia. It is quite fun to play perfumer with it, though you may wish to follow Mr Di Marino’s advice at first instance. “I like comforting and warm fragrances when it’s cold. That’s why I would recommend a mix of More Floral with More Gourmand for autumn. The orchid and coconut facets blend perfectly with the gingerbread.”
Jo Malone London fans are old hands at layering fragrance — experimenting is usually part of the fun of visiting the brand’s counters. It may interest them to know that this new limited-edition pairs well with Wild Bluebell or Wood Sage & Sea Salt. English Pear & Freesia can easily hold its own, too. The fragrance is inspired by orchards awash with golden sunshine. The juicy scent of just-ripe King William pears is wrapped in a bouquet of bright white freesias and mellowed by amber, patchouli, and woods.
Maison Martin Margiela launched their Replica fragrance line in 2012, it takes its name from a capsule clothing collection featuring exact copies of great flea-market finds. The goal of each fragrance — to bottle a collective memory — seems far more ambitious than reproducing vintage fashion, but the eau de toilettes have outlasted the clothing line. I think it’s their unobtrusive pleasance combined with a good story that keeps gets us. Autumn Vibes was inspired by a walk through Montreal with golden leaves underfoot. It is a woody, spicy unisex fragrance and distinctly autumnal, though it also reminds me of Le Labo’s cult-hit Santal 33. It opens with cardamom and pink pepper; middle notes are carrots seeds and nutmeg and the base is moss and cedar.
Chloé Eau de Parfum Naturelle, €105 at arnotts.ie
Chloé is famous for its multi-faceted rose perfumes, and this may be its truest, warmest rose yet. Chloé Eau de Parfum Naturelle is vegan and formulated with 100% natural origin fragrance, naturally-derived alcohol, and water. The organic Bulgarian rose at its heart combines with sustainably-sourced neroli and citron to form a velvety bouquet. Sunny mimosa absolute blends a sensuous floral spirit with the distinctive vibration of cedar base notes.