By Grace Gargini




By Grace Gargini


Forget what you know about nostalgic scents like vanilla, oud, and fruits. There’s a new wave of not-so-sickly sweet gourmands, modern fruity explosions and new-gen ouds bottled ready for summer. Our senior beauty editor, Grace Gargini, serves up four tasty scent profiles to try now…


Worlds apart from the sickly-sweet fragrances and body sprays you may remember from the 90s, today’s take on vanilla is more complex and sophisticated. These gourmand scents are back in a big way – #vanillaperfume is still getting millions of views on TikTok.


Tom Ford’s grown-up fragrance Vanilla Sex blends two versions of vanilla accord with enveloping notes of amber and sandalwood. For the evening, try Initio’s Narcotic Delight which is grounded in creamy vanilla with juicy cherry and cognac. My personal favourite, Byredo’s Vanille Antique, features earthy freesia, plum and cosy cashmere wood to cut through smoky vanilla bean and give the scent its depth.


Notoriously rich, woody and lavish, oud is traditionally coined ‘black gold’ in the Middle East. And while its brooding musky quality is instantly recognisable, the most interesting and exciting oud scents right now are challenging expectations.


In Hermès Oud Alezan, delicate, dewy rose contrasts with heady oud for a unique, unisex fragrance. Maison Francis Kurkjian’s Oud Satin Mood, one of the most-talked-about ouds out there, is a striking blend of rose, violet, vanilla amber and rich oud wood that commands attention. Legendary make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury has entered the scent space with six fragrances powered by emotion-boosting molecules, including More Sex – a seductive mix of spicy black pepper, velvety musk and rich leather.


Old-school synthetic strawberry or cloying citrus have played a part in fruit-based fragrances getting a bad rep. But these fruity perfumes are reversing stereotypes with more complex combinations – take Phlur’s flirty and addictive Strawberry Letter parfum and Acqua di Parma’s Crystal Incense, which blends zingy grapefruit with spicy ginger and has a grounding base of patchouli and musk.


Maison Crivelli’s latest genderless fragrance, Cuir InfraRouge, is inspired by French founder Thibaud Crivelli’s memory of drinking a raspberry cocktail at a music festival. It blends jammy raspberry and bergamot with smoky cedarwood, deep leather and oud to make you feel like you were there too. 


If fresh, earthy scents are more your thing, there are lots of nature-inspired fragrances to get excited about. From the Garden by Maison Margiela bottles a sunny afternoon spent in the garden with notes of ripe tomato leaf and crisp mandarin, while patchouli and geranium bring a humid, earthy quality.


Equally outdoorsy is Dries Van Noten’s Santal Greenery, which balances lively green fig with musky sandalwood. As for florals? St Rose’s Juliet in White marries rose, jasmine and bergamot with woody amber for a modern tiwst.

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