Perfume Powerhouses: 5 Mainstream Scents Worth Trying For Autumn

Beauty editor SARAH HALLIWELL road-tests some key new MAINSTREAM SCENTS to discover what’s ACTUALLY WORTH WEARING

We love discovering unusual perfumes by smaller, artisan perfume houses, and wearing something different from everyone else – but it’s always worth keeping an eye on the high street, too. Big campaigns for blockbuster scents are ubiquitous at the moment, making us curious to see what these big-name fragrances smell like. We road-tested some of the key new ones to discover what’s actually worth wearing, taking into account everything from bottle to longevity …

Woman by Ralph Lauren 

We were instantly impressed with the hefty roundness of this bottle with its neat flip-top RL embossed cap. And we also perked up at the nose behind this one – Anne Flipo, the master perfumer responsible for big hits like Chloé Love Story and scents for YSL to Paco Rabanne. So we had high hopes. And this is a properly grown-up eau de perfume for a sophisticated dressing table: it makes us think of a glamorous older woman getting dressed for an evening at the opera in a haze of Elnett and red lipstick. If you like creamy, long-lasting tuberose, that really rich white flower, with lasting warm woody sandalwood, this is for you. You have to really love this as it’s a big bottle, so wear a tester of it for a while before committing. €99.50 for 100ml, at Arnotts, Debenhams and select pharmacies nationwide from September 12.

Calvin Klein Women 

This new Calvin Klein fragrance – the first under creative director Raf Simons – refers back to the days of blockbuster success in the 1990s when EVERYONE wore CKOne. And it dries down to a lightness and transparency that’s familiar. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, this is big on orange flower and then it’s sweet all the way. The bottle, with its perspex disc on top, also has the young at heart. Personally, I still prefer CKOne every time, with its nostalgic icy 90s smell (I love jasminey Contradiction, too), but that’s just me – a modern audience will enjoy the added sweetness that’s never overpowering. From €49 for 30ml, at Boots.

Miu Miu Fleur d’Argent

I loved the LouLou-like cuteness of the original perfume bottle, and this latest one, Fleur d’Argent eau de parfum, is even more girly, with its pink disc-topped lid. Like the Ralph Lauren, it is very floral, with tuberose and white flowers. Again, this scent stays on the sweet side – it’s pretty and frivolous and not unlike Anaïs Anaïs, another scent we all wore in the 1980s. At counters nationwide from September.

Chloé Nomade

I have a soft spot for Chloé perfumes as the original eau de parfum always makes me think of my godmother, who would sweep into a room and radiate glamour and style, in a cloud of her signature Chloé. There have been various versions since, including the pretty orange blossomy Love Story, but Nomade eau de parfum, launched earlier this year, is the most grown-up version. Described as a floral chypre, it blends oak moss with freesia and rich sweetened plum. It’s as plush as velvet and rather elegant, super-long-lasting, and is priced accordingly. €59 for 30ml, at Arnotts, Harvey Nichols and selected counters nationwide.

Joop! Wow!

Joop! perfume has been around forever – well, since 1987 – and we confess we wouldn’t look twice at it for perfume when there’s so much else around. Try not to be deterred by the name. All those exclamation marks! It’s so off-putting! But we smelled this oriental, heavy on the violet and with tonka bean and vanilla and found it rather appealing. If you ever ate parma violet sweets as a kid, you too will find it somewhat nostalgic. I think this would be a quirky and original choice for a guy to wear – it’s a change from all the samey vetivers and soapy citruses, anyway. At Boots and pharmacies nationwide.


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