Fragrances have the ability to evoke visceral recollections of times we’ve experienced them before. There’s something very significant and romantic about having a consistent personal scent, but there’s also nobility in testing out a new fragrance based on mood or season. Like with one’s wardrobe, Spring is an experimental and transitional playground in terms of scents, as we can begin to test out more aquatic floral palettes and fresh citrusy notes.
Discovering and applying scents is a personal, intimate practice and once you understand the science of fragrance, you can begin to experiment with inventive layering to craft your own sensual scent story. First thing: moisture is key as scents adhere much better to well-hydrated skin. Second, applying perfume to pulse points (like your chest, neck, and wrist) makes all the difference in terms of how much impact your scent will have as it wafts past others. It’s also important to keep in mind that the smell of deodorants and soaps applied prior to using your fragrance will factor into your overall personal scent profile.
Regardless of method, it’s better to dab scents on and not to rub vigorously — doing the latter prevents the scent from properly drying and settling naturally onto the skin so that you can experience its full body. As we look at ten fragrance recommendations for Spring, I suggest observing the different notes implemented by the perfumers (separated by distinctions of top, middle, and base). From niche companies to designer houses, many of these perfumeries offer sample sets and trial sizes of their fragrances, so you can test out the scent’s wear without feeling too committed.
A unisex, vegan line made in Los Angeles, DedCool offers many of their fragrances as eau de parfum, as well as air fresheners, laundry detergents and roll-ons. Their aptly-titled Spring fragrance is meant to evoke that balance of woody, musk, and floral associated with the onset of slightly warmer weather. Prominent notes include bergamot, lemon, and vetiver.
Maison Louis Marie is a clean and vegan perfumery with a compelling heritage and niche appeal. Their best-selling fragrance, No. 04 Bois de Balincourt, falls under the earthy and woody category with the top notes of sandalwood and cedarwood making an instant impression. This scent is available in myriad formats from body oil to candle to deodorant.
This scent by Italian perfume house Tiziana Terenzi is one I wear quite regularly; it’s a memorable blend of vanilla, cacao, orchids, and sandalwood. Al Contrario veers into the gourmand category without being too overpowering. It’s got a hazy decadence to it that fades nicely throughout the day and keeps one grounded as seasons transition but old sentiments linger.
Sweet honeysuckle is at the heart of this fragrance from London perfumery Jo Malone, with earthy moss and fruity davana balancing out the profile. With such a large library of scents, Jo Malone London offers multiple suggestions for how to layer this scent no matter the weather.
Very notably, every fragrance in Margiela’s ‘REPLICA’ line is meant to evoke a super specific memory of an event, experience, or place. Therefore, Under The Lemon Trees has all of the bright and earthy goodness you’d expect from a crisp spring day. This scent is available as an eau de toilette, which is a formulation with a higher ratio of water and alcohol to perfume oil.
This London-based company takes signature scents to a whole new level by offering the experience to create a bespoke fragrance. Experimental Perfume Club’s core collection features various notes for the wearer to purchase and make their own scent at home — with recommendations from the formula finder on their website. Bergamot Incense is a citrusy top note that would bode well with EPC’s Rose Rhubarb for a daytime spring scent.
Mimosas conjure imagery of celebration and positive company, which for the springtime would mean celebrating the end of cold and dreary days. Commodity’s scent of the same name is meant to chalk up similar feelings with a mix of vibrant citrus notes and soft florals. This unisex fragrance, crafted by perfumer Olivia Jan, is also available in a sampler set direct from Commodity’s site.
This refillable perfume by Kilian Hennessy (yes, that Hennessy) falls into a more aspirational price point, but it’s understandable once you see the luxurious, shimmery Klimt-inspired carrying case. Woman in Gold is a part of Kilian’s The Narcotics collection; the intoxicating florals in this scent include rose and gardenia, with a balance of bergamot and vanilla notes.
The title of this woody and floral fragrance speaks to both the individuality of the presumed wearer and the spirit of Paris perfumery Etat Libre D’Orange. In this scent by “nose” Daniela Andrier, you’ll find a blend of iris and fresh white flowers amongst musk, vanilla, and sandalwood.
All of the fragrances by Olfactive Studio are inspired by “photo emotions” and the bottles have a sleek camera design. The gender neutral Chypre Shot takes its name from a branch of perfumes that feature a woody, mossy mixture of bergamot, oakmoss, labdanum, and patchouli. This scent in particular also includes notes of saffron, peonies, and coffee.