You won't smell of Old Spice, promise
Thumbing their nose at tradition, the best new perfumes for women include men’s scents such as myrrh, rum and incense in their ingredient line-up.
It’s not a big surprise, seeing as 70% of women’ s top-voted female fragrances in the UK now contain muscular woody or spicy notes.
Men’s scents smell just as good on women…
Best perfumes for women this autumn
Not too macho, not too girlie, these are some of the best perfumes for women that strike just the right balance. They play to the winter months by replacing our crisper best summer perfumes with something deep and warm. And in a very modern twist, they capture the zeitgeist of empowered, strong women, too.
With chart-topping singer Dua Lipa as the face and ‘freedom to express yourself’ as the campaign message, Yves Saint Laurent Libre, is a good example. It cleverly reworks fougère, a style of men’s cologne, and makes the signature herbal lavender note more feminine.
At first spritz you get a hit of seriously fresh and floral lavender before jasmine and orange blossom step in for added sensuality. ‘It’s radiant, bright and powerful, which is how I want the woman who wears it to feel,’ says Anne Flipo, the perfumer behind Yves Saint Laurent Libre.
Another stand out is Bvlgari Splendida Tubereuse Mystique. Men’s scents often feature tuberose buds, which are picked in the morning when they are still closed, for their camphor-like smell. But here perfumer Sophie Labbé used night flowering tuberose for the very first time ‘because the buds are open at twilight and the scent is creamy, fruity and you get more of the orange flower part.’
You still get a feminine scent but it is anything but delicate and packs more of a punch. Want in? Here’s our pick of the best men’s scents that every woman should wear…
Myrrh: Here the faintly woody, balsamic smell of myrrh meets geranium, violet and vanilla to conjure up warm silk and breathless exchanges.
Night flowering tuberose: Creamy and animalic, these flowers picked at twilight create a sexy vibe, especially when undercut with brandy rum and leather.
Lavender: A fresh, flowery version of this herb is blended with jasmine and orange blossom before segueing into the traditional ingredients for cologne such as musks, citrus and woods. People will stop you on the street to ask what you're wearing.
Patchouli: Earthy poppy, bright white flowers and dark patchouli – not your typical female fragrance, right? It’s the slightly sweet, slightly musky-earthy smell of patchouli though that still gives this fragrance its edge.
Incense: The first-ever Nars scent and, of course, it’s provocative. Smoky incense smells less church-like and more nuzzly with the addition of white frangipani, tiare flower, sandalwood and white musk.
Guaiac wood: Your typical perfume fare of jasmine and vanilla is given a liberal helping of fiery spice and woody smells. The slightly smoky scent of guaiac wood mellows everything down nicely.
Cognac: Creamy, fresh magnolia and a boozy cognac note? A little outside the norm but when you think about it, who wants to smell the same as everyone else?
Zero flowers: The idea, says perfumer Jérôme Di Marino, is to reinvent femininity by eliminating all floral notes from the fragrance. In its place, sea salt rubs together with tonka bean for a fresh woody scent that’s anything but frilly.