Gardenias and woody florals are among the favourite 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.
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.
>> 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.
>> Hermes’ Un Jardin Apres la Mousson. This floral-spicy concoction is intended as a unisex fragrance. It favours green notes as well as watery ones and cool spices like coriander.
>> Bond No. 9’s Andy Warhol Union Square. Bond bottles different neighbourhoods of New York City, but this one isn’t interpreted through the modern nose. Instead, the inspiration is Warhol’s brightly coloured flower screenprints made at his Union Square studio with green floral notes.
>> 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.
>> 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.