As a beauty writer knee-deep (quite literally at times) in fripperies, I have secretly enjoyed eking out every last drop of my depleting supply of beauty essentials. This enforced paring back has brought into stark contrast which products enhance my life and which I can forgo.
Even though I have nowhere posh to go (other than Waitrose), the one luxury I’ve been clinging to is my perfume collection. Perhaps this is because smell is the most emotive sense we have, instantly transporting us back to our fondest memories, whether that’s a whiff of just-roasted chicken or the powdery, maternal smell of iris.
Proudly lined up on my bathroom shelf as a visual cue to to enjoy them daily, my fragrance wardrobe includes Chanel’s No.19, No.19 Poudré, Les Exclusifs 1957, Les Eaux Deaville, Biarritz and Venise, followed by Prada’s Les Infusions Fleur d’Oranger, Byredo’s Slow Dance and Ormonde Jayne’s Frangipani.
Much like following a renowned chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant or the designer in residence at a distinguished fashion label, the reason I adore Chanel scents, in particular, is down to the perfumers Olivier and Jacques Polge. While it might seem sensible to choose fragrances that include notes you like, this is a flawed idea as it’s the quality and signature of the composition that sets one perfume apart from another.
Even if you are loyal to one brand, make sure they employ an in-house perfumer, as Chanel and Dior do, which is not a dead cert as many perfumers work across different labels. This is why insiders follow their favourite perfumer, as it’s the smartest way to connect the dots.
For instance, Prada’s Fleur d’Oranger is created by perfumer Daniela (Roche) Andrier, who is also behind Maison Martin Margiela’s Untitled, another understated scent I admire. Frangipani by Ormonde Jayne is the brainchild of Geza Schoen, the genius who created the insanely popular Escentric Molecule 01; Byredo’s Slow Dance is the handiwork of Jérome Epinette, the nose behind & Other Stories’ perfume line (Fig Fiction is addictive) and Floral Street, a sustainable British brand I’m also fond of.
As fragrance is a comfort in unsettling times (sales are soaring), if you are searching for a new (but similar) scent, type your favourite fragrance into a specialist perfume site, such as fragrantica.com or perfumesociety.org, and discover what else falls under the perfumer’s portfolio, as it’s most likely to lead you to your next best spritz. Discover my five favourites of the moment, below.