Gardenias and woody florals are among the favorite notes of perfumers these days, as are scents that add a bit of masculinity to an otherwise classic female fragrance.
The purposeful clashing of manly and womanly smells probably can be traced to Thierry Mugler’s Angel, says Luca Turin, a scholar in olfactory science.
“It was a 5 o’clock shadow and chest hair on a floral with a touch of vanilla,” Turin says.
Turin and Tania Sanchez, a perfume collector and reviewer, reviewed more than 1,500 perfumes and colognes for their “Perfumes: The Guide” (Viking, 2008).
“Florals never really go away. We’ve seen a number of gardenias—which is rather unusual—but at least they smell like gardenias this time,” Sanchez says.
Turin, meanwhile, says the interest in fresh, woody, transparent florals started in the niche fragrance market—mostly small producers—and has now gone mainstream.
“Fresh and woody, that’s a hippie scent,” Sanchez adds. “It’s for people who say they want to be conscious of the earth.”
Here’s a sampling of what’s new this season:
- Very Irresistible Givenchy Summer Cocktail. This scent, with notes of star anise and crushed mint leaf, is intended for sun-drenched skin. There’s a companion men’s fragrance with a signature accord of “fresh attitude.”
- Hanae Mori Butterfly Eau Fraiche. This is Hanae Mori’s lightest formula thanks to the citrus scents of tangerine and grapefruit that have been added to the traditional berry and woody notes.
- Ralph Lauren Romance Eau Fraiche. Eau Fraiche is a limited edition intended for summertime getaways. It’s a tweak to the original Romance with notes of lotus flower, guava and waterlily.
- Dreaming by Tommy Hilfiger. Dreams are a product of imagination and creativity, says Hilfiger. The scents he uses to embody that include peach, white flower petals and white woods.
- Hermes’ Un Jardin Apres la Mousson. Kerala, India, is place where land and sea merge and it serves as the starting point for this floral-spicy concoction intended as a unisex fragrance. It favors green notes as well as watery ones and cool spices like coriander.
- Bond No. 9’s Andy Warhol Union Square. Bond bottles different neighborhoods of New York City, but this one isn’t interpreted through the modern nose. Instead, the inspiration is Warhol’s brightly colored flower screenprints made at his Union Square studio with green floral notes.
- Michael Kors’ Island Capri. Sold as part of a trio with the reintroduced Island Fiji and Island Hawaii perfumes, Capri uses basil, bergamot, cypress and jasmine blossom to capture casual glamour.
- Pure White Linen Light Breeze by Estee Lauder. The focus is on the environment—the Mediterranean seascape—that is recreated with darjeeling tea, citrus, florals and a touch of honey.
- Vera Wang Bouquet. Wang first made her mark in wedding gowns, and the bride serves as her muse here. She imagines a lush bouquet with paperwhite narcissus and lavender with dew drops that is both spirited and romantic. Meanwhile, Vera Wang Flower Princess is flirtier with notes of green ivy and orange flower petals.
- Chloe. Three rising stars are used to embody the new signature scent: actress Chloe Sevigny and Clemence Poesy, and model Anja Rubik. The themes of self-assurance, irreverence and elegance are translated into notes of powder, peony, lychee and freesia.
- Sheer Stella by Stella McCartney. The fragrance itself is tinted rose, giving a hint to the heady garden inside. There are ethereal floral notes, a bit of pink pepper and an unusual raspberry-infused base scent.
- Marc Jacobs Basil, Grapefruit and Pear splash scents. The fashion designer matched his new seasonal fragrances to the light old-Hollywood palette of his ready-to-wear collection.
- Burberry’s The Beat. Designer Christopher Bailey taps into the energy of music, dance and fashion while highlighting the brand’s British roots. His muse was punkish model Agynes Deyn and the scent is infused with tea.—CK One Summer. This is a poolside fragrance, according to the company. The notes of watermelon, cucumber and watermint are supposed to remind you of a playful day of fun in the sun.
- YSL Paris Springtime Pont des Amours. This season’s limited edition scent mimics the vibe at a Parisian bridge known at the “Bridge of Love” in the early morning hours. The notes include rosebuds, full-bloomed rose and lily of the valley.
- Aqua Allegoria Figue-Iris by Guerlain. Figue-Iris emphasizes green fruitiness with fig and iris complemented by a powder note. Aqua Allegoria Laurier-Reglisse taps into the spicy sweetness of licorice and the freshness of laurel.
- Classique Summer Fragrance by Jean Paul Gaultier. Gaultier was inspired by the sun, heat and beat of Africa when developing an alcohol-free fragrance. The notes feature bright citrus fruits and a bouquet of exotic flowers, including Arabian jasmine.
- Ed Hardy by Christian Audigier. The company defines Ed Hardy as a “tattooed fruity floral,” a combination of colorful tattoo art and a sexy smell. Mango, strawberries and steamed apples help provide the fruit while freesia and muguet help with the floral.
- Alien Eau Luminescente by Thierry Mugler. The Tiara flower, native to Tahiti, is a key note. It’s mixed with amber in an effort to create a sunshine scent.
- Rose Absolue by Yves Rocher. Perfumers blended the scents of Turkish, Bulgarian and Moroccan roses to update the traditional rose accord.
- Sarah Jessica Parker’s Covet Pure Bloom. Bored with roses or mixed bouquets, Parker picked the royal Indonesian pikake as the floral note at the heart of her new perfume.
- DKNY Charmingly Delicious. There are two sister scents offered—Red Delicious Charmingly Delicious is full of red fruity notes mixed with vanilla and Be Delicious Charmingly Delicious is dedicated to the apple with a hint of bright citrus and watery dew.
- Blushing Cherry Blossom by Bath & Body Works. Cherry Blossoms usher in spring with a sweet floral scent while the air is still crisp. This aims to marry those two things in a bottle with notes including mandarin, melon and jasmine.
- Harajuku Lovers. There are five fragrances, each putting a scent—and personality—to the animated characters that are the “face” of Gwen Stefani’s secondary line. Love is cute and frilly; Lil Angel is sassy and sexy; Music is tough with attitude; Baby is girlie and sweet; and G, presumably for Gwen, is the leader of the pack.
- Deseo by Jennifer Lopez. “Deseo” means desire and Lopez says she hopes to inspire people to reach for their dreams. Translated into scent, there are notes of bamboo leaves, jasmine, geranium and warm amber.
- Spider Lily Eau de Toilette by Crabtree & Evelyn. Crabtree chose India Hicks, the goddaughter to Prince Charles, as a creative partner for body and home collections. This fragrance is based on her favorite island flower that grows straight from the sand.
- Lush’s Go Green. The blend of citrus and earthy oils is all vegan.
- Dolce & Gabbana: The One for Men. Matthew McConaughey is the face for this fragrance that the designers classify as a spicy oriental, heavy on the tobacco and hints of spices such as coriander, basil and ginger.
- L’Homme Design by Yves Saint Laurent. This citron zest-and-ginger scent aims to capture the contrast between luxury and industry. It’s bottled in a clear-glass, test tube-style phallic flacon designed by architect Jean Nouvel.
- Eternity for Men Summer. Green, fruity and fresh with its heart rooted in juniper berry. A women’s Eternity Summer also emphasizes freshness with notes of wet bamboo leaf, basil, midnight-blooming jasmine and ginger root.
- Boss Pure. This is intended for the man who wants to “become one with water,” according to the perfumer. Fig water, fizzy citrus and subtle floral notes of lily and hyacinth drive the broad aquatic accord.
- Curve Connect for Men. The intended audience for Curve Connect is those “motivated by social networks, meaningful relationships and staying interconnected,” according to Liz Claiborne Cosmetics. The men’s scent includes a mix of pepper, liquid ozone, tobacco flower and tonka bean. There is a companion—and much fruitier—fragrance for women with melon, cactus fruit, saffron and cinnamon bark notes.