The Best Fragrances of 2020

Celia Shatzman
·6 mins read

Just a whiff of a fragrance can instantly transform your mood or mind-set. It can transport you back in time, as scent memory is known for being incredibly powerful. A fresh fragrance can lift your spirits, while a zesty one delivers an energy boost. The scent one chooses to wear can convey so much. Nowadays our perfumes aren’t getting as much play in public as they used to, but there’s no reason to stop wearing them. A spritz while working from home can put you into laser-sharp focus mode and a different eau preps you for a Zoom date night.

This year has had plenty of fragrance launches to fit every mood. If you find the options overwhelming, narrow it down by your personal preferences. Fans of light fragrances likely will prefer citrus or delicate floral scents, like Perfect Marc Jacobs. There’s a good chance foodies will flock to gourmand scents, such as Ellis Brooklyn Sweet Eau de Parfum, with notes of pear and marshmallow. Those with a tendency to go big and bold will want Gucci The Alchemist’s Garden A Midnight Stroll on their wrists.

To help you round out your scent wardrobe, these are the best fragrances of 2020.

1. Perfect Marc Jacobs

The muse behind the latest launch from Marc Jacobs Fragrances is the designer’s personal mantra, “I am perfect as I am.” Marc Jacobs has said, “I tattooed ‘perfect’ on my wrist to remind me that, when I’m looking at myself and wishing I could be stronger in this way or better at that thing, I can just say no, I’m exactly how I need to be right now. My new fragrance, Perfect, was inspired by my belief that we are all perfect as we are, which is expressed in the campaign through each of our amazing cast members.” The global campaign has an inclusive cast of 42, including Lila Moss, daughter of supermodel Kate Moss, Alek Wek and Mei Kawajiri. The floral juice is fresh and bright, a concoction dreamed up by perfumer Domitille Michalon-Bertier of IFF, with top notes of rhubarb and daffodil, a heart of almond milk, and a cedarwood and cashmeran base. The bottle’s crystal-cut topper is adorned with a whimsical assortment of charms all chosen by Jacobs to reflect his personal style.

2. Acqua di Parma Colonia Futura

The newest Acqua di Parma fragrance is inspired by nature, so it makes sense that the brand took a big eco leap forward with the debut of its first sustainable scent, setting the fragrance house on a new path. It is made with 99% natural ingredients and the packaging got an earthy-friendly revamp as well. Though the scent is intended for men, the light fruity and citrus scent works equally well for women with its blend of Italian citrus, clary sage, lemon and vetiver.

3. Gucci The Alchemist’s Garden A Midnight Stroll

The woody oriental smells just as beautiful as its bottle looks. Gucci’s The Alchemist’s Garden line, a joint creation between Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele and Master Perfumer Alberto Morillas, is all about sharing the story of a place, a moment or a memory through fragrances crafted with pure natural plants and flowers. A Midnight Stroll captures the mystery of nighttime, represented by the jaguar on the bottle, with incense, cade wood and cypress.

4. Ellis Brooklyn Sweet Eau de Parfum

Ellis Brooklyn unveiled its first gourmand fragrances this spring with Salt and Sweet, the perfect yin and yang. Sweet was inspired by relishing simple moments and the E.E. Cummings poem, “In Time of Daffodils,” hence the yellow bottle. The poem reads, “In time of daffodils (who know the goal of living is to grow) forgetting why, remember how.” However, the flower isn’t a note in the scent, but pear, ambrette, bergamot, violet, orris, cashmere and marshmallow are.

5. By Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad Eau Fraîche

Even perfumer Kilian Hennessy can’t resist a bad girl. Specifically, biblical figure Eve — the original temptress — and Old Hollywood icon Mae West were his muses for this sensual scent. An update on the original, cool and aquatic notes were added to this limited edition, making it perfect for summer nights. Ingredients were sourced from around the globe, with its top note of orange blossom from North Africa, roses from Turkey and Morocco and a heart of Egyptian jasmine sambac and tuberose.

6. Byredo Lil Fleur

Remember all those emotions you felt as teenager? That’s the idea behind Lil Fleur, which aims to capture teenage feelings. Somehow the unisex scent does that and will take you back with a floral juice that smells like optimism and innocence. The blend has top notes of cassis, tangerine and saffron with a heart of damascene rose and leather, and a base of blonde woods, amber and vanilla.

7. Tom Ford Rose Prick

Tom Ford has a knack for coming up with excellent tongue in cheek names and for creating addicting fragrances. Both of those talents are on full display with Rose Prick. It emulates a walk through the designer’s private rose garden, which provided olfactory inspiration for the seductive, warm scent. A trio of rose breeds take center stage: Rose de Mai, Turkish and Bulgarian roses.

8. Cartier Pur Kinkan

Cartier’s in-house perfumer, Mathilde Laurent, created Pur Kinkan as a piece of living fine jewelry. Just like Cartier’s jewels, this pure citrus scent absolutely sparkles. It brings a burst of freshness and energy from the very first whiff, capturing nature at its finest.

9. CK Everyone

If the internet had been what it is today back when CK One was first released in the 90s, the launch surely would have broken the internet. The groundbreaking unisex scent changed the fragrance scene and so much more. This year it got a modern makeover with CK Everyone when it became Calvin Klein’s first clean and eco-conscious fragrance. The bottle is recyclable and packaged with recycled materials, plus it’s formulated with naturally derived alcohol and ingredients. The vegan elixir’s familiar citrus scent welcomes a top note of organic orange and middle of blue tea accord.

 

10. Eric Buterbaugh Fabulous Magnolia Eau de Parfum

Eric Buterbaugh initially made a name for himself as an in-demand florist to the rich and famous. It was only a matter of time before he took his talent with blooms and bottled it up. His latest perfume, Fabulous Magnolia, is reminiscent of one of his bouquets, with top notes of lemon essence, lotus and laurel essence; heart notes of magnolia essence, tuberose absolute, ylang ylang essence; and a base of patchouli and sandalwood.

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