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The Perfume Lover’s Guide to Finding Your New Favourite Fragrance

Feature: Long Read
Words by Anna Lao-Kaim

The bestselling fragrances in the UK have all found fame for a reason. Whether you turn to a sparkling floral to make you feel perfectly prepped for the day ahead (bonjour, Coco Mademoiselle), spritz on YSL Libre for a confidence boost or turn to Tom Ford Ombré Leather after dark, the most popular perfumes all have one thing in common – they’ve got an unmistakable identity. Chances are that most of us could pick the likes of Thierry Mugler Angel out of a fragrance line-up with only the most cursory sniff, but how about if you fancy something fresh and new without straying too far from a much-loved scent that’s both comforting and familiar? Allow us to play fragrance matchmaker.

Knowing what you like in perfume is a fantastic springboard for fragrance discovery. It could be that you’re committed to a particular fragrance family and crave a new, niche scent within it. Maybe your signature scent is running empty and you’re in the market for something that smells like Chanel Chance or will turn heads as an alternative to Creed Aventus. Perhaps a particular fragrance house or even perfumer has captured your heart (and nose) and you’d like to explore lesser-known fragrance brands with a similar vibe. Whatever your reasoning for looking for a new fragrance, we’ve got your ultimate guide to perfume alternatives that you might not have thought of, based on seven bestselling fragrances. 

New and Niche vs. Signature Chic

Woody Fragrances

If you like Le Labo Santal 33, try Sana Jardin Sandalwood Temple
As Le Labo alternatives go, Sana Jardin Sandalwood Temple is a beautifully rich fragrance that’s similar to Le Labo Santal 33, the brand’s standout bestseller. A unisex scent inspired by American westerns, Le Labo Santal 33 is an addictive blend of rich woody notes spiked with aromatic spices and soft leather – it’s one of those shapeshifting perfumes that can be worn by everyone and anyone (and likely has, given that it’s one of the world’s most popular perfumes). If you’re already a fan, Sana Jardin Sandalwood Temple will go down a treat – Indian sandalwood essence and cedarwood deliver the same woody backbone, with vanilla, neroli oil and orange blossom delivering a slightly sweeter finish.

Lancôme Ô de Lancôme Eau de Toilette and Parfums de Marly Darcy Eau de Parfum
Citrus Fragrances

 

If you like Ô de Lancôme, try Parfums de Marly Darcy 
Ô de Lancôme Eau de Toilette set the bar for refreshing, zingy citrus fragrance when it launched in 1969. Top notes of lemon, bergamot and mandarin fuse with herbal heart notes, with base notes of sandalwood and oakmoss for woody depth. It’s no wonder it’s still considered the perfect scent for spring and summer. For a fragrance similar to Ô de Lancôme, we prescribe Parfums de Marly Darcy Eau de Parfum. The sweet citrus perfume also has woody base notes and lemon and orange top notes but is slightly more floral thanks to the addition of rose, jasmine and patchouli. Wear Ô de Lancôme during the daytime and layer Parfums de Marly Darcy on top when the sun goes down.

Jo Malone London Pomegranate Noir Cologne and Bottega Veneta Parco Palladiano XIV Eau de Parfum
Fruity Fragrances

 

If you like Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir, try Bottega Veneta Parco Palladiano XIV 
One lap around the Beauty Halls and you’ll no doubt get a waft of Jo Malone London Pomegranate Noir Cologne – it remains a Jo Malone London bestseller since its launch in 2005 and the genderless perfume is at once familiar and distinctive. It’s fruity without being too sweet and top notes of pink pepper, combined with woody base notes, give it a spicy edge. If you’re after a Jo Malone London Pomegranate Noir alternative, Bottega Veneta Parco Palladiano XIV Eau de Parfum could soon become your new special occasion scent. Like Pomegranate Noir, it’s a unisex scent that goes big on ripe pomegranate with cedarwood base notes to anchor the fragrance and create intensity.

Floral Fragrances

If you like Chanel No5, try Robert Piguet Baghari  
The most iconic fragrance on earth, Chanel No5 Eau de Parfum is immediately recognisable, both by its distinctive rectangular glass flacon and its oh so grown-up floral aldehyde appeal. At 100 years old, it’s timeless style, bottled. Coco Chanel’s first ever fragrance was designed to celebrate the verve and energy of the roaring 20s, with rose, jasmine and citrus notes mingling to create quite the sophisticated olfactory party. The scent’s recipe remains unchanged but if you’re looking to mark a new 20s decade with a twist on the original, Robert Piguet Baghari Eau de Parfum smells like Chanel No5, with top notes of aldehyde and heart notes of rose and jasmine. Base notes of musk, amber and vanilla give it a cosy, warm feel – this would make a wonderful winter season alternative to Chanel No5.

Hermès Jardin Sur Le Nil Eau de Toilette and Goutal Ninfeo Mio Eau de Toilette
Green Fragrances

If you like Hermès Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, try Goutal Ninfeo Mio 
A famous Hermès fragrance that’s as fresh as ever, Hermès Un Jardin Sur Le Nil Eau de Toilette may be a teenager in the perfume world (it was created in 2005), but it’s a lively, energetic blend that evokes a wander round an island garden with every spritz. Goutal Ninfeo Mio Eau de Toilette isn’t quite a Hermès clone (it’s modelled on the aromas of the Garden of Eden), but its mix of Mediterranean greenery and woody accords make it a magical alternative. Mist it on at midday when you need a lift.

Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de Parfum and Floral Street Wild Vanilla Orchid Eau de Parfum
Oriental Fragrances

If you like Tom Ford Black Orchid, try Floral Street Wild Vanilla Orchid 
If it smells like Black Orchid, we’re in. You probably will be too when you dab on Floral Street Wild Vanilla Orchid Eau de Parfum. Similar to Black Orchid in its patchouli and vanilla base notes, Floral Street Floral Street Wild Vanilla Orchid is creamier than Tom Ford’s original creation but no less alluring and sensual. All of the perfume ingredients used to create Floral Street’s fragrances are also vegan and sustainably sourced and we promised that the illustrated bottle will really pop on your dressing table.

Gourmand Fragrances

If you like YSL Black Opium, try Floraiku Sound of a Ricochet 
There aren’t many fragrances similar to Black Opium – it’s a mysterious, rich scent that its creators describe as “rock’ n ‘roll”. Coffee notes dominate the mouthwatering scent, with vanilla, bitter almond and liquorice for extra flavour. Black Opium alternatives may be hard to come by, but Floraiku Sound of a Ricochet should most definitely be on your scent shopping list if you’re a Black Opium lover. Sound of a Ricochet Eau de Parfum fuses oriental vanilla with delicious tonka bean for a scent to savour – plus it’s exclusive to Harrods so you can bet that one spritz will set you apart from the crowd and have admirers asking what you’re wearing. Whether you share your fragrant secret is totally up to you.

Discover Your New Favourite Fragrance

Take your fragrance search offline with a trip to the Salon de Parfums, where you’ll have the opportunity to meet a new scent suitor IRL (or choose one as a gift for a loved one). The world’s best fragrance experts are on hand to unpack your fragrance history and learn what you love before introducing you to exquisite new scents, many of which you’ll only find within the polished marble walls of the Sixth Floor fragrance gallery. Let the experts be your nose, or if you have something even more tailored in mind, visit the Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie. Here you can enjoy an haute couture fragrance ‘fitting’ to discover your innate fragrance preferences before the search for your perfect fragrance match begins. Crave an even more personal signature scent? The noses at Roja Dove can bottle your own semi-bespoke perfume which can only even be owned by 50 people at once. If you’re looking to fall in love with fragrance all over again, the Salon de Parfums is the place.

Discover Salon de Parfums
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