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It is increasingly common nowadays for perfumes to rely on outrageous packaging, celebrity endorsement or designer labels to boost sales. It seems as though the art of perfumery is dying out. And it is an art; our sense of smell is one of our body’s most remarkable tools, able to link memories and even emotions to certain scents.
Most perfumes are made up of three layers. The top note is the lightest and often brings freshness to a perfume, with scents such as lemon and aloe vera frequently used. It makes sense therefore, that the bottom note is made up of heavier scents, with woods and spices making up the majority of bottom notes. The middle note is the main scent of the perfume, often called the base note, and this is the first thing you can smell when you spritz a perfume.
The best perfumes subtly change scent the longer they last on your skin, as the base note fades and the top and bottom notes take prevalence. This gives you a more complex perfume with many layers and it also means you don’t get bored of the same perfume.
Perfume will smell different on each individual person due to variables such as skin temperature and composition, and certain perfumes will last a very long time on one person, but not on another. Similarly, the base note on one person may not be as strong on another, so what may smell very fruity on you may smell earthier on a friend. This is why it’s so important to try on a perfume before you buy it. Make sure to leave it on for the whole day, as you will be able to clearly smell all layers of the perfume and get a better idea of how it changes on your skin.
With this in mind, my search for the ultimate Autumn/Winter 15 perfume is lead not by cultish popularity or extravagant advertising, but which perfume complements my skin type and has the ability to make me think of or feel something.
Vanillary – Lush (£28 for 30ml)
As the name suggests, this perfume is an intense hit of sweet vanilla reminiscent of Christmas baking or melted ice cream. In fact, the sweetness of this perfume comes not from the vanilla, but the tonka bean. When eaten raw, tonka is a strong hallucinogen, but in diluted doses, such as in perfume, it lifts the spirits. Where to wear: while indulging in a bit of home baking or when wrapped up cosily by the fire with a hot chocolate.
Mood Lifting On The Go Mist – Neom (£8 for 5ml)
As the darker months close in it’s easy to find yourself stuck in a rut with your morning routine, opting for comforting perfumes to warm you up. However, Neom’s ‘Mood Lifting On The Go Mist’ is designed to boost your mood and put a spring in your step using mint, mandarin and buchu. The lightest of the perfumes on this list, it reminds me of bright days and crisp mornings.
Where to wear- Before those dreaded 9am lectures or on dark and rainy days.
1970 – Bella Freud (£75 for 50ml)
Bella Freud describes this perfume as tapping into ‘the spirit and freedom of the 1970s’, so think woody frankincense and spicy saffron creating an almost earthy fragrance. However, unlike some spiced perfumes which leave you feeling muggy, as if you’ve been assaulted with a cinnamon stick, this perfume has a clean finish reminiscent of fresh winter frost and lasts on your skin for hours.
Where to wear- While enjoying sophisticated cocktails on a meal out with friends or while listening to Fleetwood Mac on a chilled out day during the holidays.
Pomegranate Noir – Jo Malone (£42 for 30ml)
I’ll finish with my signature winter perfume, Jo Malone’s ‘Pomegranate Noir’. The clue’s in the name: this is a dark, sensual cologne using pink pepper and spicy woods to create a deep, rich fragrance. This is a perfume that makes you feel expensive, and so it should at £42 per 30ml! While the base of the perfume is a smoky, sensual spice, the key note is of pomegranate and plum, lightens the perfume and gives it a fruitier fragrance.
Where to wear: when surrounded by blankets on a freezing winter day, or as a warming and slightly hedonistic scent for a Christmas party.