I Was a Perfume Novice, But This Is My New Favorite Scent, Hands Down

Sarah Yang
·6 mins read

In case you haven't been following, I've recently started moonlighting as a beauty writer in addition to my day job as the managing editor of Who What Wear's sister site, THE/THIRTY. As someone who was always interested in beauty and skincare but never really covered it in my 10-year journalism career, it's been an eye-opening experience. I've learned so much, including what exactly is hyaluronic acid, everything I've ever wanted to know about sunscreen, and the best way to exfoliate my skin. My brain has gotten heavier (in the best way possible) with knowledge, and my skin has never looked better.

One of the beauty topics I've enjoyed learning more about has been fragrances. I never really gave much thought to it mostly because I don't have a great sense of smell due to an accident a few years ago. (That's a story for another time.) So I didn't know that there is so much to perfumes and scents from all the layers of notes to chemistry to fragrance families. I recently talked to some perfumers about how to purchase a fragrance online, and it was one of the most interesting subjects to write about and consider, especially since most of our shopping is being done online at the moment.

Writing about the topic has really made me rethink my perfume choices. I always stood firmly in the florals camp, but now I'm looking to new horizons—mainly the musky scents of the world. I always thought the woodsy, earthy, grounding scent was a little too heavy and not really the vibe I was trying to give off. I've always gravitated toward light, natural, fresh, and sweet-but-not-too-sweet scents.

While I still love those notes, I'm ready to get a little more mysterious and serious with my fragrances. Maybe it's because I'm getting older and am solidly in my 30s now, or maybe it's wanting to shake things up when we're finally able to get out there and see our friends and family safely again. Whatever it is, I'm ready for a rebranding of sorts when it comes to my perfumes. And I think musky scents are a great place to start because they still have a natural vibe but with a little bit more sophistication and intrigue.

In my quest to find a musky perfume to call my signature scent, I've made a wish list. Take a look at what I'm eyeing below. Maybe you'll be inspired to try them, too.

Byredo Velvet Haze Eau de Parfum ($265)

I'm intrigued by the coconut water in this Byredo fragrance. It's an unexpectedly sweet and sort of tropical scent. It has base notes of cotton and wild musks and cocoa absolu, plus middle notes of patchouli leaves.

Tom Ford White Suede Eau de Parfum ($240)

With a name like White Suede, you know you're getting something so chic and a little bit mysterious. This fragrance from Tom Ford is warm and spicy with notes of saffron, thyme, maté, suede (of course), olibanum, and musk. I'm putting this on my list of perfumes to wear on a night out.

Aerin Amber Musk ($135)

A blend of florals, amber, and creamy musk, this fragrance is equal parts feminine, warm, and cozy. It also has coconut water, so consider me intrigued!

Vilhelm Parfumerie Dear Polly Eau de Parfum ($140)

The perfume is described as a love letter to the wife of Vilhelm Parfumerie's founder and is centered around her morning cup of tea. It's both fresh and grounding with notes of bergamot, apple, Ceylon black tea, oakmoss, musk, and black amber.

Glossier You Eau de Parfum ($60)

An interesting tidbit I learned through my perfume research is that scents can smell differently on everyone, so something that suits me might not be the best fragrance for you. Glossier's You perfume uses that type of chemistry to adapt to the specific user. It has base notes of musk, ambrette, and ambrox and has top notes of green irisroot and pink pepper.

Chanel Chance Eau de Parfum Spray ($135)

Chanel's Chance may seem like an ordinary floral perfume at first, but the jasmine is balanced with vanilla, pink pepper, amber patchouli, and white musk.

Sana Jardin Nubian Musk Eau de Parfum ($145)

The Nubian Musk perfume is described as "capturing the healing power of plants," so it has fresh scents of rose, jasmine, and Moroccan grapefruit. It's grounded with a musk base.

Hermetica Source1 Eau de Parfum ($225)

Source1 is where all the perfumes from Hermetica start. It's the base of all of its fragrances. It has scents of bergamot, dry amber, and fresh wood.

Clean Reserve Sueded Oud Eau de Parfum ($98)

Clean Reserve's Sueded Oud is warm, woodsy, and spicy. The fragrance is vegan and cruelty-, gluten-, and phthalate-free. Even the packaging is eco-friendly. The cap is made from sustainable wood, and the glass bottle is recyclable.

Yves Saint Laurent Libre Eau de Parfum Spray ($106)

A classic floral scent is taken up a notch with notes of lavender, orange blossom, and musk accord.

Abel Pink Iris Eau de Parfum ($150)

Spicy Sichuan pepper and aromatic basil are combined with florals like iris, rose, and jasmine in this fragrance. And it's all topped off with natural musk.

Kiehl's Original Musk Eau de Toilette Spray ($44)

Along with musk, Kiehl's fragrance contains citrus top notes of bergamot nectar and orange blossom; middle notes of rose, lily, ylang-ylang, and neroli; and a base of tonka bean and white patchouli. It's said to be a modern update of Kiehl's signature scent.

Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur Eau de Parfum ($270)

This scent is both fruity and spicy with tangerine, bergamot, and cinnamon. It has a creamy and rich base of vanilla, amber, and musk.

Skylar Isle Eau de Toilette ($78)

If you're looking for something that's fresh but still woodsy and grounding, you'll like this fragrance that is inspired by a day near the ocean. It has notes of cardamom, bergamot, and sandalwood.

Maison Margiela Replica Lazy Sunday Morning ($130)

With a name like "Lazy Sunday Morning," you know you'll get something easy, breezy, and happy. This fragrance combines traditional florals like lily of the valley and iris with white musk.

Huda Beauty Kayali Musk 12 ($118)

Huda Beauty's musk fragrance gives off soft and warm vibes. It has floral notes of lotus flower, freesia, and jasmine. These are combined with vanilla, sandalwood, and musk.

Charlotte Tilbury Scent of a Dream Eau de Parfum ($73)

First: This perfume has one of the prettiest and most unique bottles I've ever seen. Second: I love that it's a light and refreshing fragrance with lemon, bergamot, and florals and that it's grounded with musk, black pepper, and amber.

Burberry Her Eau de Parfum ($74)

Described as capturing the excitement and spirit of London, Burberry's Her perfume is fruity and bright with some musk-amber notes.

Next up, short-lived perfume is the worst, so I found 21 that will last all day.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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