Subtle, exotic fragrances you can wear every dayjessie tan
When a fragrance is described as being exotic or oriental, you’d think of intensely warm, musky and spicy scents that make a big impact. Bold, or gourmand, notes such as jasmine, amber, musk, patchouli and oud are frequently used.
However, some perfumers have begun to rethink this no-holds-barred, even flashy, approach. They’re rendering this very classic class of fragrance in new ways.
Some temper the heaviness with notes that are fresh, green and herb-ish. Others balance heady floral-sweetness with smoky or earthy elements like incense and cedar. Then there are those that opt to play down the musk and oud elements, softening their effect.
The result is a more subtle, modern and versatile fragrance that you can wear every day. They’ll call to mind ancient Egypt, desert wilderness or smoky lounges, and transport you to wild terrains without overwhelming your senses (or anyone else’s). Here are the new ones to try now.
1. Gucci The Alchemist’s Garden A Midnight Stroll EDP, $520
This debunks the idea of incense-based fragrances being heavy, intoxicating affairs redolent of exotic palaces and harems.
Opening with aromatic incense, it becomes sharper and greener as it develops, with notes of smoky cade wood and fresh cypress coming to the fore. The unisex scent is dark, smooth and mysterious without losing wearability.
2. Aesop Miraceti EDP, $265
Another unisex perfume, this comes across as a little smoky, a little wild, and very nuanced – whiffs of incense and seaweed lead into warm ambrette and resinous- smelling styrax, while labdanum gives it a worldly, earthy quality.
3. Malin + Goetz Dark Rum EDP, $146
This gender-neutral reinvention of a traditionally masculine scent is refreshing. Plum, bergamot and anise give it a gentle warmth, and it gets a touch of sexy ruggedness from notes of leather and rum.
4. Aman Sei EDP, USD$286 (S$379.65)
The new addition to the Aman luxury resort chain’s collection of fragrances is inspired by nightfall in a desert, with its lingering warmth and open wilderness.
A sexy gender-neutral fragrance that makes an impression without being overpowering, it has cool notes of pine, juniper and clary sage, anchored by the woody scent of cedar and a tinge of lightly animalic labdanum.
5. Christian Louboutin Loubicroc EDP, $440
A fragrance that’s every bit as lavish and striking as the bottle it comes in. Evoking the mystery and romance of the Egyptian pyramids, this spicy Oriental is a blend of myrrh, cypriol (a herbaceous plant with a woody-earthy scent) and sandalwood.
The very feminine scent settles to an amber-warm, creamy finish that’s surprisingly soft and low-key after a little while.
6. Chloe Atelier des Fleurs Papyrus EDP, $175
The nose, Alexis Dadier, based this creation on the smell of Egyptian papyrus, which is lightly smoky yet refreshing at the same time.
The result is an elegant green scent with the bittersweet quality of dry wood – think expensive perfumed letter paper. An extremely easy-on-the-nose fragrance that can be worn day or night, by women or men.
7. Kilian Musk Oud EDP, $430
Despite its name, the fragrance’s opulence really comes from its heady floral notes. It opens with a strong blast of rum, then transitions to a syrupy bouquet of rose and geranium.
The dry down of oud, soft musk and patchouli rounds off a highly seductive and feminine rose-oud scent that’s likely to turn heads wherever you go.