Fragrance is very personal, and finding a signature scent can be a journey. But if you like to sample perfumes, body mists, and colognes to see what aromas can transport you back to different times and places, it can be a blast, too. In general, fragrances tend to fall into roughly five categories, and they all pretty much smell like what they sound like they would: woody, earthy/spicy, floral, fresh/citrusy, and sweet/gourmand.
That said, fragrances can contain ingredients that straddle these classifications. Beyond that, your unique skin chemistry mixes with the top, middle/heart, and base notes of every scent, meaning that the perfume you love smelling on your best friend or sister might not wear the same way on you. Here’s the thing though: There’s a fragrance out there for everyone, and the best of the best are formulated to work on most people. It all comes down, then, to personal preference. Do you want to smell like a day at the beach or an evening spent in front of a fire? Are you a fruity or a floral person—or both?
You could spend hours at a perfume counter to hone in on your perfect match, or you can sample smarter with this list that’s composed of a mix of beloved best-sellers and newer, soon-to-be classics. Read on for scent profiles so you can pick a few perfumes to try before you buy, or go all in on a big, splurge-worthy bottle for your vanity. The only catch? Be prepared to repeatedly answer the question: “What perfume are you wearing?”
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
Best Floral Fragrance
Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum Spray
- Lasts all day
- Updated take on a floral
Well before the quilted Chanel classic flap purse became one of the most covetable handbags in the world, the French fashion house’s fragrances were prized for their allure. If Chanel No. 5’s a bit too full-bodied for you, try the more modern best-seller Coco Mademoiselle, a sexy, citrusy blend that pairs orange with bouquet notes like jasmine and rose. This scent finishes with vetiver and patchouli for a layered, unique take on a floral.
Best Fresh Scent
J’adore Eau de Parfum
- Unique packaging
- Crisp, clean scent
- If you’re not a fan of florals, it might not be for you
If you’re a fan of crisp, cleaner floral scents, Christian Dior’s most iconic fragrance, J’adore, won’t disappoint. With notes of rose, jasmine, and ylang ylang, a spritz of this pretty potion goes a long way for date night or a special evening out.
Most Unique Scent
Stella Eau De Parfum
- Not overpowering
- Great to make a unique impression
- May be too out there for some
This one has been around for more than a decade, but its fresh scent remains relevant because it’s so distinct—blood orange mixed with freesia and spicy lily.
Best For Summer
Light Blue Italian Love Eau de Toilette
- Light, citrusy scent that’s great for summer
- Classic scent
Maybe you remember the ads from master perfumer Olivier Cresp’s original Light Blue Eau de Toilette: A white-swimsuit clad couple frolicking in the crystal-clear sea. Well, not a lot about that vibe has changed, and that’s probably for the better. The latest iteration of Dolce & Gabbana’s famous fragrance, Light Blue Italian Love, takes those top notes you know and love—tart Granny Smith apple and zesty Calabrian lemon—and marries them with jasmine sambas, white rose, Virginia cedarwood, and vetiver for a blend that you’ll never tire of, particularly if you’re a fan of the OG scent.
Best Luxury Fragrance
Santal 33 Eau de Parfum
- Perfect for date night
Le Labo’s smokey, sensual Santal 33 fragrance became a cult classic last decade after being introduced around 2011, and it’s still going strong. Yes, it’s on the pricier side, but a little of this complex, almost leathery, warm scent goes a long way. Along with cedar and sandalwood, you’ll also get notes of cardamom, iris, and violet.
Best Bold Scent
Libre Eau De Parfum
- Very fresh scent
- Bold fragrance
Moroccan orange blossom and musk mingle with French lavender in Yves Saint Laurent’s Libre, which launched just a couple years back with popstar Dua Lipa as its face. Bold but not at all off-putting, the nuanced nose might also get a whiff of vanilla in Libre as well, but it’s not as prominent as its use in YSL’s other blockbuster scent, Black Opium.
Best Designer Scent
Bloom Eau de Parfum For Her
- Medium intensity
- Mid-range price for designer scent
Looking to wear a full-on garden party on your wrists and neck? Then Gucci Bloom should be your daily spritz. Natural tuberose and jasmine combine to give this fragrance a rich, floral body, while rangoon creeper, a color-changing vine that blooms, provides a slightly powdery finish.
Best Fruity Floral
Alibi Eau de Toilette
- Doesn’t overpower
- Looks beautiful on your vanity
- Bottle design makes spraying slightly difficult
Inspired by the iconic Alibi Bag, this pretty in pink fragrance from Oscar de la Renta is a flirty mix of fruity and floral notes ranging from mandarin and pear blossom to peach and peony. Offsetting all that sweetness is a touch of amber, so this scent still wears like a musk.
Best Budget Buy
Brazilian Crush Body Fragrance Mist
- Alluring tropical scent
Compared to traditional perfumes, you get a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to Sol de Janeiro’s best-selling Brazilian Crush Cheriosa ‘62 Hair and Body Mist. It’s the same sweet scent as the brand’s cult favorite Bum Bum Cream; Notes of salted caramel, pistachio, and vanilla mingle in a mist that’s basically summer in a bottle.
Best Patchouli Scent
Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum
- Long-lasting scent
- Perfect for patchouli lovers
What more can be said about this dynamic fragrance, which was forever memorialized in the song “Lotus Flower Bomb” by rapper Wale (featuring Miguel)? Just that it smells that good, particularly if you like your floral scents (cattleya orchids, freesia, sambac jasmine, and rose are at work here) with a side of patchouli. Reviewers of this 5-star perfume at Nordstrom call it “comforting” without being cloying.
Neroli № 18 Roll-on Aroma
- Great for perfume novices
If you like spicier scents and are on a budget, then Carter + Jane’s Neroli No. 18 Aroma might be worth a try. Don’t let the number after the name confuse you; this neroli- and orange-forward rollerball actually took 267 attempts to get right, according to the formulators. A swipe of it smells like a warm Moroccan breeze.
Best Vegan Scent
11 11 Eau de Parfum
- Vegan formula
- Not overpowering
Vegan and composed with a base of organic sugarcane oil, you’ll be delighted by the lightweight, sheer quality and watery, fresh scent of Lake and Skye 11:11. Think ocean waves meet white amber musk.
Most Sophisticated Scent
Allegra Spettacolore Eau de Parfum
- Unique bottle design
- Nice if you like citrusy florals
The main note in Bulgari’s splurge-worthy Allegra Spettacolore is iris, a flower prized for its preciousness in Italy. There’s nothing precious about this fragrance though; its floral quality is cut with citrusy accents and a little bit of myrrh, which gives it a sophisticated, almost mysterious quality — not to mention the bottle is total bedroom dresser or bathroom counter eye candy.
Best Traditional Scent
Signorina In Fiore Eau De Toilette Spray
- Fresh, fruity scent
- Classic choice
Celebrating its tenth anniversary as a fragrance family, Ferragamo’s Signorina is about as classic and traditionally feminine as it gets—the bottle even sports the Italian brand’s iconic grosgrain bow motif. The latest, Signorina in Fiore, definitely qualifies as a fruity meets floral fragrance, so it won’t disappoint if that’s your jam. Notes range from cherry blossom and pomegranate to jasmine and sandalwood.
Best Simple Scent
L’Eau d’Issey Eau & Magnolia Eau de Toilette
- Not too complicated
- Too much can be overpowering
Issey Miyake’s latest eau de toilette, Eau & Magnolia, has definite staying power when on. Its scent strength lies in its simplicity: Magnolia petals mingle with a sandalwood base to create an enveloping, velvety luxe scent.
Best For Sensitive Skin
The Healthy Fragrance Pure Vanilla
- Great for people with sensitive skin
- Natural formula
If you like scents but have sensitive skin, Lavanila The Healthy Fragrance Pure Vanilla might be your perfect match. “Healthy” can be a loaded word, but you can buy this sweet Amazon Choice pick knowing it’s gentle and formulated without phthalates, parabens, mineral oils, and several other known skin irritants.
Best For All Ages
A Thousand Wishes Eau de Parfum
- Great budget perfume
- Overall crowd pleasing aroma
This is the best budget party perfume. It’s upbeat and lively, thanks to the pink prosecco and sparkling quince in the formula. There’s a softness and smoothness to its sweetness though, which is likely owed to the amber and amaretto crème combo also at work in every spritz.
Best Multi-use Fragrance
Fleur de Peau Multiuse Fragrance
- Has multiple uses
- Fresh, clean aroma
Talk about a two-fer or a three-fer! If you’re a fan of Diptyque’s complex but beautiful fragrances, the luxe French brand’s Fleur de Peau Multiuse Fragrance is worth the investment. You’ll get a whiff of this best-selling cottony meets floral, pear- and plum-like scent wherever you spray it—on your skin, in the air, on linens; it’s specially made to work with the chemistry of all three.
Best Gift For Younger People
- Subtle, non-overbearing scent
- Priced well
Sure, Glossier is marketed to millennials and Gen Zers, but even fifty-year-old moms can get down with You, the brand’s one and only fragrance. It’s bright and peppery but won’t give you a headache while wearing it. Part of that may be attributed to its more subdued amber and iris notes, which give it long-lasting balance.
Byredo Gypsy Water Eau de Parfum
- Celebrity Favorite
Sometimes a fresh scent can also be woodsy, and that’s the lighting in a bottle that is Byredo’s Gypsy Water. A celebrity favorite, this complex fragrance blends juniper berries and lemon with pine needle and sandalwood to create something almost other-worldly.
Best Clean Fragrance
Sun Fruit Eau De Parfum
- Sweet, vacation scent
- Great for sensitive skin
- Fruity/floral scent might be overpowering to some
Looking for a vacation in a bottle? Try the latest from Ellis Brooklyn, Sun Fruit, which takes fresh fig and bergamot and mixes them with jasmine, cyclamen, and vanilla. Can’t imagine the smell from this clean brand? Then take it from one verified buyer: “This scent reminds me of a piña colada, and I love it! It’s not too strong, but the smell lingers in a good way.”
Best For Cooler Months
Black Orchid Eau de Parfum
- Warm scent that’s great for fall
- Trendy scent
- Scent can be slightly overwhelming
Is there anything Tom Ford can’t do? The brand’s Black Orchid was introduced in the early 2000s, and with its intoxicating blend of orchid, plum, and black truffle, it hasn’t waned much in popularity since. If you’re looking for a fall or winter special occasion fragrance that has spice and edge in spades, this is it.
Best Balanced Scent
Eau de Parfum
- Clean, fresh smell
- Well-balanced scent
- May not be exciting for some
Damask rose mingles with lilac in this bright, floral fragrance that also features touches of almond milk accord and orange blossom flower. Lest you think Tory Burch Signature is all traditional with no twist though, upcycled cedarwood atlas and vanillin come in as base notes to balance out this lovely everyday scent.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below