Beauty: Top 5 Perfumes

Our beauty editor Anna Bok reveals her new favorite fragrances. Included: Tiffany & Co., Aesop, and Hermès

There’s hardly anything as personal as your own fragrance – whether it’s one you’ve picked out for a short affair, something longer-term, or even for life. A close friend of mine, for example, has been loyal since her youth to Woman by DKNY, a wonderfully unpretentious, fresh floral scent from the 90s. We don’t live in the same city anymore, but whenever I encounter a hint of Woman in the subway or somewhere else, I feel as if she’s sitting right next to me.

I’m more erratic, on the other hand, and change my fragrance seasonally or with certain phases of life. At the age of 20, I loved Un Jardin en Méditerranée by Hermès and was constantly asked about it. When I ended the relationship with the man who had given it to me a few years later, I couldn’t smell it anymore. Maybe I should give us another chance now that such a long time has passed? (The perfume, not the man.)

Having said that, a new perfume is just so exciting because you can re-invent yourself a bit with it. In a subtle way, of course, kind of like a “lite version” of the radically short haircut. Considering the flood of new perfumes, the only problem is that you first have to find the right one! The following five perfumes are my current choices – and they definitely have the potential to blossom into long-term love.

 1. Twilly d’Hermès by Hermès

Hermès

Twilly D’Hermes, € 90.70 via Bonanza

It was love at first sight when this showed up at the office in its round, orange-colored bottle along with a colorfully patterned silk ribbon (a miniature version of the Twilly scarf by Hermès!). What great packaging! Thanks to notes of tuberose and sandalwood, Twilly d’Hermès smells pleasantly warm, soft, and subtly sweet. Additionally, a certain spiciness is added by ginger and refreshing citrus notes, which I personally really like. So after so many years apart, my personal chances for a Hermès revival are looking pretty good.

 2. Tiffany by Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany&Co.

Tiffany & Co., € 64.95 via Parfumdreams

When you think of Tiffany & Co., of course the first thing you think of is sparkling treasures. The reason that the New York luxury jeweler’s perfumes are lesser known probably has to do with the fact that the last one was launched 15 years ago. High time for a new addition! My first impression of Tiffany, with its diamond-shaped bottle, is wonderfully pure and fresh. Fruity mandarin notes come through immediately after spraying, drying down into iris blossom and finally into the warm essences of patchouli and musk.  

It may sound cheesy, but by that point Tiffany was reminding me of a cashmere blanket that you want to wrap yourself up in on an autumn day. Preferably on the terrace of a house on the coast of Denmark or Sweden – that would go well with this clean, timeless scent.

 3. Hwyl by Aesop

Aesop

HWYL, € 100 via Aesop

I’m a big fan of Aesop and was therefore all the more excited about the Australian brand’s third unisex fragrance. I first suspected a fashionable abbreviation was behind the ominous name Hwyl, but the word comes from the Welsh language and describes a moment of ecstatic inspiration. And in the case of Hwyl, it was a walk through a centuries-old Japanese forest that inspired perfumer Barnabé Fillion to create this fragrance.

And indeed, I think of warm wood immediately when I smell the heart note of cypress. Thyme extract and frankincense lend the fragrance a spicy, slight smoky touch. The smell of juicy green moss mixes with vetiver. When everyday life gets too hectic, I spritz Hwyl on my wrist, shut my eyes for a moment, and beam myself out into nature. Hello, new Zen ritual!

4. French Lover by Frédéric Malle

Frederic Malle

French Lover, € 185 via Mr Porter

Frédéric Malle’s perfumes are absolutely top class. The Frenchman’s talent is inherited: His mother was a perfumer, just like his grandfather, who founded Christian Dior’s fragrance line. Malle himself was born on the 17th of July – the same day of the year as Grenouille, the main character in Patrick Süskind’s novel Perfume. And Jean-Paul Guerlain was a previous resident of his childhood room at 8 Rue de Courty in Paris. Crazy.

Frédéric Malle introduced his Editions de Parfums, for which the best-known perfumers created exclusive fragrances, back in 2000. Practical: You can find your own signature scent with the help of the online questionnaire “Find Your Signature.” But since I found my favorite, Musc Ravageur, some time ago, Julia answered the eight questions. And because double-confirmation is even better, there was also a great fragrance consultation at The Corner with the same result: French Lover by Pierre Bourdon! Bourdon used patchouli, frankincense, moss, and cedar alongside other essences in this elegant, sensually masculine fragrance.

There’s a nice story behind the name French Lover, by the way: When Frédéric Malle was testing out the scent, he met a female friend for lunch who immediately exclaimed “Oh, là là, très French Lover!” while exchanging cheek kisses during their hello. And so the perfume was born.

 5. Gabrielle Chanel by Chanel

Chanel

Gabrielle Chanel, € 113.40 via Chanel

Just like Tiffany & Co., it also took Chanel 15 years to launch a new fragrance. Gabrielle Chanel is meant to symbolize the free, rebellious side of the French fashion designer – olfactorily translated by house perfumer Olivier Polge with a pleasantly clean, light composition. Fruity, fresh notes of orange blossom, tangerine peel, and cassis are the first to unfold. Afterwards, I smell jasmine blossoms alongside musk, tuberose, ylang-ylang, and the creamy-milky scent of sandalwood… and think of Coco Chanel’s famous words: “I decided to be who I wanted to be. And that’s me.”

Translation: Melissa Frost

Anna Bok was born and raised in Berlin. After stops in Freiburg and Florence, she made her way to Hamburg in 2007 to study journalism and art history – where she stayed and worked as a freelance journalist with various publications including Harper’s Bazaar, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and Blonde. She’s now returned to Berlin after nearly 10 years in the Hanseatic City. When Anna isn’t writing about beauty, fashion, or traveling, you’ll often find her on her yoga mat (recommendations for studios in Berlin welcome!).