No time of the year offers more opportunities for reinvention than spring. It is a season of romance and renewal; its optimistic mood calls for experimentation, particularly where fragrance is concerned. After a winter craving all things warm and cozy, the change in scenery and weather allows for greater creative expression. Whether that means trying out one of the notes of the moment (orange blossom, pistachio) or trading your gourmands for an airy aquatic scent, the moment for change is upon us.
Naturally, brands have responded to this by launching fragrances that tap into our desires. Inventive, inspiring, and created using innovative new techniques or ingredients, they represent the future of perfumery. Even the old-school releases worthy of attention provide fresh twists on the expected that allow wearers to test out a fragrant new persona. If you want to unleash your inner goddess, feel like the chicest girl in Manhattan, or add some sizzle to date night this season, there is a perfume that can tap into that energy.
Parfums de Marly Valaya
Great fragrances don’t have to shout; they can capture your attention with an aura. Parfums de Marly’s latest Valaya is soft and subtle yet unmistakably powerful; perfumer Quentin Bisch contrasts juicy tart notes like mandarin and white peach with orange flower, musk, and a series of molecular elements like nympheal (a synthetic similar to muguet blossom) and Ambrofix (a woodsy amber) to create an ode to femininity. Inspired by fashion underpinnings like 18th-century petticoats and modern silk slips, it wears like a luxurious second skin.
Bond No. 9 New York Flowers
Nothing tops Manhattan in the spring. The season brings out the city’s best qualities, encouraging locals and tourists alike to venture outdoors and take in the beauty of its many public gardens and parks, as well as events like the annual flower show. This botanical culture inspires Bond No. 9’s latest New York Flowers, an elegant blend of Rose de grasses, jasmine, and iris complimented by the effervescent addition of Anjou pear and a splash of Kir Royal accord. As lovely as a brisk morning walk through Central Park as blooms take over the scenery, it’s a sophisticated take on the feel-good fragrance.
Tom Ford Electric Cherry and Cherry Smoke
In 2018 Tom Ford added Lost Cherry to his Private Blend collection and created a blockbuster fragrance category. Since then, many brands have attempted to follow in Ford’s footsteps by releasing juicy, stone fruit-focused gourmands, but the designer’s interpretations of the note are unique. This year Ford expanded the range with two new additions, Cherry Smoke and Electric Cherry; the first is a sweet-tart take on the note with ginger and musk amplifying candied Morello cherries. The second incarnation goes sexy with smoked woods and osmanthus, adding a captivating darkness that deepens as it dries down.
Liis founders Leslie Hendin and Alissa Sullivan understand how to create a cult-favorite fragrance. So naturally, when the duo joined forces with perfumer Jerome Epinette, the man behind hits like Byredo’s Gypsy Water, the result was bound to be epic. Lucienne, the newest addition to Liis’ lineup, is a marine mix of pomelo, dragon fruit, magnolia, and waterlily that skews ethereal. Striking a balance between the personal—Lucienne is named after Alissa’s mother and Leslie’s son—and the universal—inspired by French pop supergroup Stereolab—it’s an uplifting crowd-pleaser.
Mind Games Caïssa
Chess serves as the starting point for niche brand Mind Games’s evocative new fragrances, each of which takes its name from a term associated with the competition. Caïssa goes in a mythological direction, referencing the Thracian dryad from Hieronymus Vida’s poem Scacchia Ludus, which details a match between Olympian gods. Keeping with this classical theme, perfumer David Apel bottles ambrosia by contrasting cardamom, pink peppercorn, and black licorice with a bouquet of white florals, including ylang-yang, gardenia, and jasmine.
Kayali Yum Pistachio Gelato 33
If you’ve ever finished up a balmy spring day with a scoop of aromatic frozen dessert, Kayali’s Yum Pistachio Gelato 33 will feel like a treat. Founder Mona Kattan and perfumers Olivier and Sebastien Cresp’s blend of hazelnut, sweet rum, and pistachio offers a fresh take on gourmand decadence. While Yum’s note list reads like the ultimate dessert menu, its use of zesty Mediterranean bergamot and marshmallow keeps the scent light, airy, and utterly addictive no matter the weather.
Each fragrance in Commodity’s range comes in three intensities—personal, expressive, and bold—allowing wearers to choose how strong they want their perfumes to project. Whether you choose the bracing juniper berry-infused Bold version or the green citruses of Moss’ personal blend, each incarnation is earthy and inviting. Focused on oak moss, cedar, and petitgrain, Moss conjures thoughts of the moments after a rain shower and the pleasures of immersing oneself in nature.
Creed Spring Flower
Few fragrances have the pedigree of Creed’s Spring Flower. An effervescent and unapologetically feminine blend of woods and white flowers immediately became one of Creed’s best-loved scents when it was launched in 1996. This year sees the classic relaunch for a new generation who will appreciate the fruity grapefruit and apricot opening and the modernized matte pink bottle with its fully recyclable silver zamac cap.
Maison Margiela Replica On A Date
The name of the latest addition to Maison Margiela’s Replica range may allude to courtship, but On a Date is about all varieties of love. Drawing inspiration from his career beginnings in Provence, perfumer Carlos Benaïm looked to the region’s many vineyards when creating the fragrance’s intoxicating blend of wild rose, blackcurrant liquor, and essence of patchouli. Romantics will appreciate the sensual aspects of the scent, but Margiela’s date is alluring even when you’re wearing it for yourself.
Hermes Un Jardin à Cythère
Hermes’ Jardin collection offers a fragrant trip through the world’s great gardens. After trips to Egypt, China, and (of course) Paris, the latest addition lands in Greece for a journey through the sun-soaked fields of Kythira. Working during the COVID-19 lockdowns, the brand’s in-house perfumer Christine Nagel envisioned a poetic escape to the Peloponnese that nodded to the Ancient goddesses. Working from memory, Nagel dreamed up a creamy, comforting, and daring mix of olive wood, pistachio, and wild vegetation.
Tiziana Terenzi Talitha
Tiziana Terenzi’s Paolo Terenzi looked to the stars when he created Talitha. Named after the star system at the edge of Ursa Major, the Italian niche house’s fragrance is a shapeshifter that contrasts Mediterranean citrus with woods, leather, and ambergris. After an opening burst of Sicilian pink grapefruit, Calabrian bergamot, and Amalfi lemon, Talitha develops over time, gradually revealing new facets of itself. Perfect for free spirits—it’s easy to imagine the legendary Talitha Getty embracing such fragrance—Talitha is a celestial wonder.
Perfumehead is Daniel Giles’ fragrant love letter to Los Angeles, so it makes sense that at least one of the scents in his collection would share a name with a Sofia Coppola film. Somewhere, the 2010 movie is all about the ennui that can accompany lavish Hollywood lifestyles; the fragrance is every bit as complex but infinitely more optimistic. Giles’s bright and green creation expresses euphoric joy and intimate pleasure laden with vetiver, sandalwood, oak moss, and neroli. Somewhere is a fragrance fit for a star who has achieved the ultimate goal: a sense of contentment.
Gucci’s The Alchemist’s Garden, Where My Heart Beats
Butterflies and the joys of flight were the starting points for Gucci’s Where My Heart Beats, the house’s first foray into eco-friendly perfumery. The fragrance captures the sensation of being aloft, its use of diaphanous notes like white peony and violet leaves giving it a delicate quality. Created using vegan alcohol made from recycled CO2, the scent also represents a step forward in terms of sustainability.
The man who gave us CK One and Armani’s Acqua di Gio understands that clean, refreshing colognes will always be in demand, but they must evolve with the times. Master perfumer Alberto Morillas has been pushing the boundaries of what “fresh” scents can do for decades. His latest take on the concept is Mizensir’s aptly named Anticonformiste, which adds unexpected notes like Sichuan Pepper essence and mint into the equation. A spicy yet icy concoction that’s hard to define, Anticonfirmiste is fantastic, and unlike anything else, you’ll smell this season.
Nishane Time Capsule Collection
Time capsules can connect people across generations and offer insight into our shared history. Nishane founders Mert Guzel and Murat Katran’s latest offering is a sensory version of the beloved concept. They enlisted four of the world’s premiere perfumers to compose fragrances that could be experienced over time. Dominique Ropion, Anne Flipo, Carlos Benaim, and Jean-Louis Siuzeac each contribute an offering to the time capsule collection. Named in Esperanto, the universal second language is designed to be a middle ground between multiple dialects; each scent has something to say about how we live. The saffron and jasmine sambac filled Tempfluo is Filipo’s meditation on the passage of time and how it impacts our perceptions. Ropion’s Papilefiko is a cardamom and artemisia-laced ode to the chaos theory’s “butterfly effect.” At the same time, Benaim’s Tero reflects on the earth’s constant cycle of life, death, and evolution through notes of salty caramel and cinnamon bark. Kredo by Siuzeac tackles belief systems and interdependence with its calming mix of pink pepper, osmanthus, and suede.
Kilian Paris Can’t Stop Loving You
Kilian Hennessy’s fragrances have always paid homage to extreme passions. Love is a recurring theme within Hennessy’s eponymous brand, and his latest Can’t Stop Loving You continues that tradition with a scent that’s impossible to dislike. Crafted by Alberto Morillas, Can’t Stop features orange blossom, the moment’s buzziest floral note, honey, and vanilla absolute. The juice is sugary sweet, but the addition of Labdanum cistus and oak moss keep it from seeming saccharine; instead, it’s one of those rapturous romantic melodramas you can’t help but get sucked into and only gets juicier each time you enjoy it.