It's easy to find the one with our guide to the best perfume on the market right now
With a plethora of fragrances to choose from it can be a daunting, almost impossible, task to find your signature perfume. But we’ve made it easier for you by rounding up the best perfume for women.
Once you do land on one that you love, it’s an incredible moment. And that’s because of the power of fragrance – it has the ability to evoke emotion, bring back important, yet forgotten, memories, and remind you of your very best days (we’re looking at you, wedding day perfume).
Types of perfume
There are quite a few types of fragrances – from the potent perfume oil to eau Fraiche (the lightest type you can get), but these are the most common types…
Eau de Cologne
This is a really light type of perfume, with a small concentration (between 2-4%) of perfume oil in the juice. It’s commonly considered to be a masculine formula, but that’s mainly a marketing thing. It lasts for a short amount of time – up to two hours – so the bottles tend to be bigger, as you need more. It’s not as common as an EDT or EDP.
Eau de Toilette (EDT)
This is the most common and popular type of fragrance. It’s more affordable than the below EDP. If you’re after something light and airy, then this is the formula you should be looking at. It has between 5 and 15% concentration of perfume oil and lasts between two and four hours. A handbag essential for top-ups throughout the day.
Eau de Parfum (EDP)
This is a punchier juice because the concentration of perfume oil is greater than in an EDT – a whopping 15 – 20%. It tends to last longer too (approx. six to eight hours), so if you’re after a stronger scent with longevity an EDP might be just what you’re looking for.
There are four perfume families – woody, floral, oriental and fresh – and within each family you’ll find common notes that should help guide you toward finding the right signature perfume for you.
Common notes: Oak, Sandalwood, Cedarwood
Common notes: Jasmine, Rose, Iris and Lily of the Valley
Common notes: Amber, Tobacco, Spices, Vanilla and Orange Blossom.
Common notes: Lemon, Grapefruit, Neroli and Bergamot
What perfume should I buy?
How do navigate through the beauty halls and their endless bottles of scent? We recommend doing your research. Take stock of what you enjoy. What have you smelled in the past and loved? What memories resonate with particular aromas? All these things will help you choose the right perfume for you.
‘You should always be looking for the notes that resonate with you, and only you’, says fragrance supremo, and founder of the Fragrance Society, Lorna McKay. ‘For instance, if you enjoy the smell of freshly cut flowers, you should look for notes of white flowers. If you prefer something warm, that almost hugs you, try something with amber.’ Choosing a new perfume is completely personal.
Once you’ve got that down, then you can spray – but take your time. Start with a blotter first (you don’t want to end up with a scent you hate on your skin), if you still like it then move to a spritz your wrists. Oh and don’t rub your wrists together – that’s a cardinal sin in the laws of how to make perfume last longer.
One thing we would urge you to avoid is being drawn into the gendering of fragrance. Some of the very best perfumes for women aren’t marketed as such but are in fact unisex. Because it shouldn’t matter your gender, if you like the scent, then you like it.
And don’t worry about being without your favourite fragrance when you’re off on your travels, the best travel fragrance kits will see you through.
The best perfume for women in 2022
Whether you’re looking for a signature perfume or drawing inspiration from the most popular perfume on the market to choose your signature, here are all the best perfumes for women you need to know about in 2022.
To get you started, we’ve pulled together the best perfume for women on the market right now, along with everything you need to know about them. From the go-to Bvlgari to super cool Byredo, as well as Aesop (you’re probably obsessed with their hand wash) and one of the most popular perfume brands, Jo Malone London, let us help you find a new scent the year ahead. And when you’re done here, read how perfume became the soundtrack to one editor’s lockdown.
Consider the hard work done for you.
The latest addition to the fabulous Comms Des Garcon fragrance house is Rouge. An enigmatic blend of beetroot (yes, you read that right) which delivers an earthy tone, pink peppercorn which adds brightness, incense and patchouli which adds the spice. This is not a fragrance for wallflowers. For me, captures the energy of a cold evening and the excitement of getting dressed up for a big celebration - which quite frankly, is a welcome thought.
Top notes: Beetroot, pink pepper
Middle notes: Ginger, mint
Base notes: Incense, patchouli, labdanum
Fronted by Lady Gaga, Valentino’s 2021 perfume hit is unapologetically bold and fierce. It has a distinct crisp citrus scent defined by Italian Bergamot and Mandarin essences at the top, which are then undercut with Orange Blossom absolute at the heart, and a creamier, cooler feel (with Vanilla and Tonka Bean) at its base. You’ll be just as proud showcasing this bottle on your dressing table as you will be to wear the glorious elixir within it.
Top notes: Italian Bergamot essence, Mandarin essence
Middle notes: Orange Blossom absolute, Golden Gardenia accord
Base notes: Crystal Moss accord, Vanilla, Tonka Bean
Ostens is a fragrance house like no other. Founded by Laurent Delafon and Christopher Yu, two guys obsessed with perfum, they encourages you to explore the range by playing with the scents, layering to discover new and unique ways to wear them. With ingredients course by LMR these are some of the best (and most sustainable) in the world.
For Cashmerean Velvet, they teamed up with Sophie Labbe and have created, in my opinion one of the best fragrances in the world. Cashmeran for me, bridges the gap between wood and amber. And is slightly creamy but not wet. It’s the kind of fragrance that lingers on your scarf and becomes part of the wearer. A true masterpiece.
Top notes: Amyris Oil, olibanum Oil, cashmeran velvet
Middle notes: Cedarwood oil, sandalwood oil, orris accord
Base notes: Vanilla bean extract, patchouli heart, musks
A warm spicy rose scent. The rose is kept light and green with the addition of pepper and vetiver. Perfect for the colder months.
Top notes: Vetiver, akigalawood, ambrette
Middle notes: Rose
Base notes: Spice, Black Pepper
Part of the La Route de la Soie (Silk Road) collection, Levant is a fresh floral scent. Opens with a soapy effervescence thanks to light citrus notes of Tangelo and orange blossom, is grounded by the creaminess of Lily of the valley and lightness of peony that all sits on a base of musk. A seriously smart and refreshing scent that lingers, which for me, is an Ormonda Jayne trademark.
Top notes: Bergamot, mandarin, tangelo, rose petals.
Middle notes: Lily of the Vallery, peony, orange blossom, jasmine
Base notes: Cedarwood, amber, musk.
This creamy floral was fronted with an incredibly cool campaign starring Miley Cyrus — and it smells just as good as it looks on screen. Sweet yet sexy, it’s ideal for lovers of sophisticated florals that are a little different. And just check out that bottle; it’ll look absolutely gorgeous on any dressing table or Instagram feed!
Top notes: Pear Blossom
White Gardenia, Jasmine
Base notes: Brown Sugar, Patchouli
Don’t you just love the bottle? The juice inside is pretty special too. Inspired by the Golden Citrine, expect slightly sweet notes from Ylang-ylang and peach, freshness delivered by way of Sicilian mandarin and a base of golden benzoin that radiates warmth and transports us instantly to sunnier climes. The scent of summer bottled.
Top notes: Sicilian mandarin, white peach accord
Middle notes: Ylang-ylang essence, jasmine duo absolute
Base notes: Rein of golden benzoin, cedar wood essence
This is the anti-floral scent. Not because it isn't inspired by flowers, but because the fragrance comes from the stem, soil and earth that create the fragrance. This is a fresh, spring day in a bottle. Divine.
Top notes: Mandarin leaves, wild freesia greens and hyacinth
Middle notes: Muguet flower stalk, rose centifolia stems and jasmine bud
Base notes: White cedar, vetiver, ambrox and musk
The premise of Armani’s biggest 2021 launch is that every woman who wears it should feel unapologetically free to live in her own way. For this reason, it is a celebration in a bottle, with an eclectic bouquet of floral notes, from citrus at the top to jasmine and tuberose at its heart. It’s easy to see why this elixir has gained such a following this year.
Top notes: Bergamia, Citrus Blossom, White Flowers
Middle notes: Jasmine, Tuberose, White Flowers
Base notes: Musk, Vanilla, Cedar Wood
Aesop’s new trio of fragrances dropped in 2021, and they’re just as much about emulating a certain way of life as they are smelling good. Created by nose Barnabé Fillion, Miraceti is designed to transport you to the wild seas, with peppery, herbal notes combined with woody, earthy accords. Made for all genders, the evocative scent is one for those who take their scents seriously.
Top notes: Black Pepper, Green Maté, Chilli Leaf
Middle notes: Labdanum, Ambrette, Styrax
Base notes: Myrrh, Cedar, Red Seaweed
Everyone’s favourite Instabrand Glossier made much noise when it announced a fragrance was coming. We waited with anticipation and when we finally got our hands on this, we fell-in-love. On me, the juice smells soapy clean and warm thanks to the ambrette, and on a colleague it was the perfect blend of musky and powdery with sparkling pink pepper.
Whilst it may be hard to pin down exactly how this smells, there’s no doubt that the intoxicating quality will leave you smelling great and everyone asking what you’re wearing.
Top notes: Pink Pepper, Iris Root
Musk, Ambrox and Ambrette
As well as its excellent range of shampoos and conditioners, styling products, body bits and home fragrancing, haircare brand OUAI is known for its crisp, cool girl scents that define every product in the range. Naturally, Jen Atkin’s beloved brand capitalised on this genius with a range of its very own perfumes, of which North Bondi has to be the standout. The light, refreshing spritz carries notes of bergamot, Italian lemon, rose de mai and violet, and smells just like OUAI’s bestselling products.
Top notes: Italian Lemon, Apple Blossom, Bergamot and Raspberry
Middle notes: May Rose, Violet and Jasmine
Base notes: White Musk, Patchouli and Sandalwood
Another brand that has in part become defined by its glorious signature scent, Sol de Janeiro is famous for its delicious-smelling Bum Bum Cream and extended range. For fans of the transformative fragrance, the brand now has a perfume so you can smell like Bum Bum all day long. Just like the cream, this concoction will transport you to a hot beach, with creamy notes of pistachio and almond, undercut by caramel, vanilla, salt, and sandalwood. Good enough to eat!
Top notes: Pistachio and Almond
Middle notes: Heliotrope and Jasmine
Base notes: Caramel, Vanilla, Salt and Sandalwood
Admittedly fruity fragrances have somewhat of a bad rep, but Louis Vuitton has come up trumps with, in our humble opinion, the most sophisticated way to wear fruit in a scent. It’s a real triumph; from the first spritz where zesty orange peel comes to life, followed by the-right-side-of-creamy magnolia and that satisfying lift that you can expect from Iso E Super.
Le Jour Se Léve not only smells expensive but it looks and feels it too. This is, quite possibly, the best orange perfume ever.
Top notes: Mandarin, Blackcurrant, Bergamot, Grapefruit
Base notes: Iso E Super, Vanilla, White Musk
2021’s newest addition to Jo Malone London’s Cologne Intense (the brand's version of an EDP) line is this glorious red bottle, which harnesses the seductive power of Asia’s Scarlet Poppy. It’s an intense, rich floral with a sophisticated hit of velvety iris, along with barley and tonka bean, which add a creamy yet sweet note. The fragrance is finished off with hints of fig, for a subtle fruity twist. And the deep red bottle? A collector’s item if we ever did see one.
Top notes: Ambrette
Middle notes: Scarlet Poppy
Base notes: Tonka Bean
You’ve probably heard about this scent already and everything is true, it’s rather fabulous. With notes of Orris Root (think grown up and super posh Parma Violets), creamy but bitter almond and smooth leather this is a real head turner.
Top notes: Clary Sage, Lavender
Middle notes: Leather, Vanilla, Bitter Almond
Base notes: Tonka Bean, Amber
A sexy fragrance packed full of personality. The creaminess of almonds are given a injection of energy with the addition of orange blossom, which atop a base of patchouli and tonka bean feels fresh. A real game-changer.
Top notes: Mandarin, pear and pistachio
Middle notes: Orange blossom, magnolia and almond
Base notes: Patchouli, cashmeran, tonka bean, almond milk
One of the biggest launches of the year in fragrance, Fenty’s very first perfume is finally arrived in the UK before Christmas. The gorgeous scent features notes of magnolia, musk, tangerine, blueberry, Bulgarian rose, and patchouli, and is “raw, sensual, spicy, and sweet all at once,” according to the brand. If you want to smell just like Rihanna (and who wouldn’t?!), this is the scent to reach for.
Top notes: Blueberry and Tangerine
Middle notes: Bulgarian Rose, Geranium and Magnolia
Base notes: Musk and Patchouli
An ode to Mumbai, Byredo’s newest scent combines warmth and tradition with modernity and coolness. One sniff will highlight the rich woody amber notes that sit alongside sophisticated leather, bitter coffee, and sweet tonka bean. It’s grown up, smoky, intense, and incredibly intoxicating.
Top notes: Davana
Middle notes: Tonka Beans, Coffee
Base notes: Labdanum, Sandalwood, Agarwood
2021 saw the arrival of beloved candle brand Boy Smells’ very first perfume line, and aside from the incredibly unique bottles that stand out for all the right reasons, the elixirs inside certainly do impress. One of the favourites has to be Tantrum, which features notes of peppercorn, cedar, vetiver, and orris. It’s bold yet flattering, as well as being sexy and suitable for memorable occasions and evening-wear.
Top notes: Green Pepper, Galbanum, Bergamot and Mint
Middle notes: Tagetes, Mate, iris and Sandalwood
Base notes: Ambroxan, Vetiver and Virginia Cedar
2021 saw Moncler release its first Pour Femme and Pour Homme fragrances, both of which promise to bring together the crisp cool of the outdoors, with the warmth and cosiness of being inside, which is perfect for this time of year. In fact, if you love switching your fragrance up for the winter months, this newbie is worth considering; it features white florals and a ‘powdery snow accord,’ to transport the wearer to mountain woods in winter. You know that feeling of going for a walk all wrapped up in the cold, then coming home to get warm in front of a fire? This is that in a bottle.
Top notes: Powdery Snow Accord
Middle notes: Jasmine Sambac, Heliotrope
Base notes: Mountain Woods Accord
A modern classic, Dior's Miss Dior looks almost as lovely as it smells, with a gorgeous pink bottle and accompanying silver bow. The fragrance is sweet and feminine, yet also sensual and creamy with a hit of vanilla, tonka bean, and sandalwood at the base.
Top notes: Lily-of-the-Valley, Peony accord and Iris
Middle notes: Rose
Base notes: Musks, Papua New Guinean Vanilla, Benzoin, Tonka Bean and Sandalwood