As our homes and neighbourhoods have become the borders of our lockdown worlds, wanderlust has perhaps never been so poignant. We’re scrolling Insta feeds, drooling over images of the picturesque harbour of Portofino, dreaming of Grecian fare or daydreaming of a spiritual journey through India.
While these pleasures must wait, for now, there’s time to explore fragrances that can deliver the next best thing. The sense of smell has the power to change your mood, evoke memories and whisk you off to an exotic locale with just a whiff.
Tom Ford Neroli Portofino EDP
Sail to the shores of the Italian Riviera with Tom Ford’s captivating Neroli Portofino. Conjuring cool breezes, sparkling water and lush foliage through crisp citrus oils, floral notes and amber undertones. Splashy yet substantive, this perfume is a touching interpretation by Tom Ford of magical Portofino contained in a clear turquoise bottle. Capped with a gold-tone metal inset, the 50ml flacon has the sleek, architectural look of a chess piece, adding monumental beauty to any dressing table or grooming area.
Jo Malone Earl Grey & Cucumber Cologne
Is there anything more English than a cucumber sandwich and cup of Earl Grey tea? Hint: no. Celebrating the best of British traditions, this scent from Jo Malone London combines sparkling bergamot with cool cucumber and the rich, honey tones of beeswax with just a touch of tobacco to capture the scents of an English afternoon tea. As Christine Nagel, the nose who brought the British tradition of high tea to this bottle, says, “The ceremony of tea is a timeless, simple and authentic practice. This fragrance was inspired by the aromas of tea leaves steeped in hot water.” Pop the kettle on, please.
Diptyque Philosykos EDT
Celebrating the smell of sun-soaked fig trees lingering in the Grecian summer air, Diptyque’s ‘Philosykos’ fragrance is an olfactory ode to all things fig. Inspired by the memory of a day at Mount Pelion, Greece, where groves of fig trees marked the way to the seas’ shores, it combines the milky flavour of the fig fruit with the freshness of fig leaves and woodiness of the dense tree to create a soft but intoxicating scent. And, in true Diptyque style, there has to be an ‘olfactory accident’ that, in this case, happens to be a touch of spicy black pepper. This one will leave you smelling good enough to eat.
Penhaligon Cairo EDP
Transport yourself to the streets of Cairo with just a whiff of this Penhaligon’s creation. Perfumer Christophe Raynaud was inspired by his travels to Egypt and the Louvre’s vast Egyptian Antiquities collection to create a scent that is reflective of the city’s rich history and diverse mix of cultures and traditions. A melting pot of notes, it features spicy hints of saffron, exotic burning incense, decadent Damascan rose, sweet vanilla, aromatic cypriol and sensual woods of Sri Lankan sandalwood and Atlas cedarwood. Just like its muse, the city of Cairo, it captures you instantly but develops to reveal deeper treasures.
Goutal Le Temps des Reves
Inspired by Grasse, a town on the French Riviera that’s known as the city of orange trees and the birthplace of perfumery, Goutal’s floral perfume is just like a walk through the streets of the French village. The scent is created in collaboration with two expert perfumers from Grasse itself, Mathieu Nardin and Julie Massé. Their feminine perfume opens with a gorgeous honeyed neroli note, which is lifted by sunny bergamot and balanced with the aromatic nuances of myrtle. The heart develops into orange blossom, a joyful and sweet white floral note that celebrates Grasse. Finally, the base reveals a more sensual, cosy mood as seductive white musk pair with creamy sandalwood to caress the skin.
Byredo Encens Chembur
Paying homage to the birthplace of his mother, Byredo founder, Ben Gorham, sought to capture the spicy, exotic smells of Chembur – a picnic spot just outside of Mumbai – and bottle them for everyone to enjoy. A place where warm incense and spices scent the air, mingling together to create a comforting, familiar feeling evocative of a spiritual space, this is so much more than just an incense-inspired scent. Sparkling top notes of bergamot and lemon and a heart of ginger and nutmeg add light and freshness to the heady incense note, which is enveloped in labdanum, amber and musk. It’s so unique that you can’t quite put your finger on it, yet so familiar that it offers much-needed comfort.
Le Labo Citron 28
For 2020, Le Labo includes Seoul to its City Exclusives itinerary. Named Citron 28, the acidic fruit was chosen to anchor and represent the vibrant city. Also befitting as the refreshing zest appears in its citizens’ diets too. Citron 28 is more than just lemon. Coined “Citron Boheme” as its initial codename, the scent blends freshness and structure, original and the conservative. Aromas of lemon, ginger and jasmine lead while resting on cedar and musk reflecting a cross-section of a city that embraces tradition and history while being at the forefront of forward-thinking.