Our connection to fragrance is intimate, mysterious and difficult to explain, much like the alchemy of infatuation. It's no wonder that once we find a scent we love, we tend to be loyal. But there's also something about the flush of a new romance, so why not become besotted with a new fragrance for 2014?
When it comes to fragrance shopping, you can either stick with what you know you like — look for a perfume with similar notes, in a familiar family of scents, to the one you currently use. Or, you can branch out and really try something new. You might feel more comfortable in this if you stick to the same perfumer — for instance, Bond No. 9 and Jo Malone both make beautiful, hard-to-go-wrong fragrances and have a wide enough variety to allow for expanding tastes.
Whichever tack you choose, we've got some advice. Don't let being daunted by the wide world of fragrances keep you from experiencing something new! Remember, sometimes there's no accounting for attraction, olfactory or otherwise!
If you like this, try that
Based on a few popular scents, here are some guidelines for lesser known perfumes you might enjoy!
If you're drawn to the "happy and youthful" fruity top notes, floral heart and musky vanilla base of Daisy by Marc Jacobs, you might enjoy the sparkling floral of Azzaro Azzura. Or, of course, Marc Jacobs has introduced Daisy Delight (out this spring) and Daisy Eau So Fresh for 2014. This is one of those perfumes that has done so well it has a few flankers every year to keep your nose interested.
Rosie Huntington-Whitely turned a lot of us on to Burberry Body when the fragrance first came out. The floral woody amber scent is a pretty everyday scent with good lasting power. If you have it on your counter, you might also like Guerlain Chamade for something more old-school classic with similar sophisticated floral notes. Perfume snobs would say you're definitely trading up.
One love-it-or-hate-it note in perfumes that's less celebrated by flashy big names is leather. Bond No. 9's Perfumista Ave is a scent made for scent lovers and features an orientalist, leather-tinged take on Rose. If you like the less girlie option, you might also like Gucci Guilty Black. The peppery oriental is an edgier take on the original Gucci Guilty, of which I am a fan.
Try something new
There are several olfactory "groups" that perfumes are categorized by: Aromatics, Chypres, Citrus, Florals, Leathers, Orientals and Woody scents.
While there are many hundreds of fragrances in each of the groups above, there are literally thousands of florals. It is by far the most popular and easiest to wear of the groups, and therefore the most often used. But how about something different? If you like florals, try an Aromatic. It's like switching from a flower to an herb, but you can still pick a pretty herb like lavender if you don't want to go too different with something like sage. Try Christian Lacroix Absinthe for orchid and freesia with woody accords or go further outside the box with Volutes by Dyptique, a blend of iris and tobacco.
If you go for woody scents like patchouli and sandalwood, take a whiff of another warm and sensual group: Orientals. These fragrances feature notes of amber, musk, vanilla and, yes, wood. Check out Bvlgari Omnia with its spicy, woody, peppery blend. Or get truly earthy with Prada No 10 Myrrhe, but it's hard to find.
Any perfumer worth their salt (an ingredient in Moschino Glamour, by the way) will know their olfactory groups and easily guide you from one to another.