As a beauty editor, I’m lucky to have tried a lot of perfume. Fragrance is one of my all-time favourite things, and during my career I’ve amassed an extensive selection of the best perfumes (my current collection stands at around 60 bottles, and new scents are always being added into the mix).
For me, perfume can be a powerful force. A spritz of a fragrance can set the tone for how you want to feel that day. It’s also strongly tied to memories, which is why so many people choose a special perfume for their wedding day, or proclaim a scent as their “signature” fragrance. And, of course, it’s always fun to switch up your choice with the seasons. Summer fragrances and autumn perfumes are amongst some of my favourites in my collection, and I rotate these like I rotate pieces in my wardrobe as the temperatures change.
While perfume is totally personal and subjective to everyone, there are certain brands that always generate compliments from others whenever I wear them. Or, if I happen to ask a friend what perfume they’re wearing, it’s often one of a handful of very specific brands or niche perfumes that are mentioned time and again. And who doesn’t love being complimented on their fragrance?
I’m not one for gatekeeping, so I’ve made note of the best perfume brands that have garnered the most compliments from others.
I’ve never met a Diptyque perfume that I didn’t like. The French perfume brand has created so many beautiful and chic scents, which have become just as iconic as its candles. In fact, Diptyque has a number of celebrity fans, including Victoria Beckham and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
When I think of Diptyque fragrances, three words come to mind: Fresh, chic and intriguing. The brand’s scents are unlike anything else I’ve tried. One of the most popular is Philosykos (a beautiful take on fig, which encompasses the entire woodiness and greenery of the fig tree as well as the sweet fruit), but I’d highly recommend trying one of its newer scents, L’Eau Papier, which is inspired by paper and has a sweet yet woody quality—I’ve had compliments whenever I’ve worn it. And if you like rose and patchouli fragrances, try Eau Capitale. I’ve even had someone chase me across a restaurant to ask me what I’m wearing.
Key Notes: White musks, mimosa and blonde wood.
Key Notes: Fig leaves, fig tree sap and fig tree wood.
Key Notes: Rose, bergamot and patchouli.
Most fragrance lovers have a history with Chanel. It was maybe the first “grown-up” fragrance that they were bought, or for some, No.5 might have been the signature perfume of a loved one. There is a Chanel fragrance for everyone—and any of the bottles will look chic on any dressing table. Chance is one of my personal favourites (my mum wears it, and it always makes me feel chic and pulled together when I do), but there are also some under-the-radar gems that I need to share with you aside from the brand’s well-loved favourites. The Les Eaux de Chanel line features a collection of eau de toilettes that are inspired by Gabrielle Chanel’s travels, but the latest addition and ode to the city she called home, Paris-Paris, is a mainstay in my collection. It’s bright like a bouquet of roses and has a twist of citrus—it makes me feel like I’m in Paris during springtime when I wear it. However, if you’re someone who likes to make a statement, you have to try Le Lion de Chanel from the Les Exclusifs collection. Inspired by the founder’s star sign (Leo, in case you were wondering) and is bold, courageous and majestic—a real statement perfume.
Key Notes: Pink pepper, jasmine, amber, patchouli, white musks and vanilla.
Key Notes: Pink pepper, lemon, Damask rose and patchouli.
Key Notes: Amber, labdanum, vanilla and bergamot.
There’s a reason why so many choose Jo Malone London for their wedding scent. I’ve pointed many brides in the direction of the brand, which creates incredibly elegant perfumes that are based on just a couple of fragrance notes, and I think it’s this simplicity which makes it one of the best perfume brands. English Pear & Freesia is a best seller, which smells like freshly picked, juicy pear with a spring breeze of white florals. However, one of the most under-rated scents from the brand (and one of my most-complimented perfumes, hands down) is Myrrh & Tonka. It’s dark, sensual and sweet without being overbearing. And, I have to mention one of the brand’s most-loved scents, Wood Sage & Sea Salt, which is a universal crowd-pleaser.
Key Notes: Lavender, omumbiri myrrh and tonka bean.
Key Notes: Pear, freesia and patchouli.
Key Notes: Sage, sea salt and ambrette seeds.
Scroll through any in-the-know influencer’s grid and you’ll spy a bottle of Byredo amongst their collection. Loved by fashion and beauty aficionados alike, the black-domed bottles have become somewhat of an icon thanks to their dream-like names and brand founder Ben Gorham’s abstract yet intriguing interpretations of scent. So, which should you try? Ask any beauty editor and they’ll rave about Bal D’Afrique, a woody scent that captivates anyone who smells it. Prefer something lighter? Mojave Ghost is as mysterious and beautiful as it sounds. It’s laced with creamy ambrette, sandalwood and musk—it radiates off the skin and practically asks for compliments. A personal favourite of mine is Bibliothèque, which is inspired by old libraries and the sweet scent of the pages of leather-bound books. It’s an autumn/winter scent I loyally return to every season.
Key Notes: African marigold, bergamot, buchu, cyclamen, violet, Moroccan cedarwood and vetiver.
Key Notes: Ambrette, nesberry, magnolia, sandalwood, violet, cedarwood, musks and vetiver.
Key Notes: Plum, cinnamon, leather, violet, birch woods, patchouli and vanilla.
Fashion and beauty editors fawn over Le Labo—you’ll most likely find one of these apothecary-style bottles on their desk or dressing table. Santal 33 is one of the brand’s best sellers—in fact, it was so popular in New York at one point that articles were written about just how many people were wearing it. So, what makes it so popular? The Santal 33 scent is based on sandalwood, and this take smells so luxuriously expensive yet understated. However, Another 13 and Thé Noir 29 have proven to be just as lusted-after as their super-popular sister scent, too.
Key Notes: Australian sandalwood, papyrus, cedarwood, cardamom, iris, violet and ambroxan.
Key Notes: Ambroxan, jasmine, moss and ambrette seeds.
Key Notes: Bergamot, fig, bay leaves, cedarwood, vetiver and musk.
You’ll have no doubt seen Maison Francis Kurkdjian all over your social feeds, mostly in part to the runaway success of Baccarat Rouge 540. The now iconic red bottle has become synonymous with smelling expensive, with notes of saffron, ambergis, amberwood and cedarwood—it’s quite literally a compliment-generator. However, there are so many other scents from the brand that are deserving of as much attention. One of its most recent launches, 724, smells clean, fresh and understated thanks to aldehydes, which give that freshly laundered scent. It’s the perfume equivalent of a crisp white shirt in your wardrobe—it suits any occasion. And for rose lovers, À La Rose is the prettiest modern take on the flower that I have smelt thus far. It’s worlds away from powdery rose fragrances, with a citrus twist and the greenness of freshly cut stems snipped from the garden.
Key Notes: Saffron, jasmine, ambergis, amberwood, cedarwood and fir resin.
Key Notes: Aldehydes, Calabrian bergamot, sweet pea, Egyptian jasmine, mock orange, white musk and sandalwood.
Key Notes: Calabrian bergamot, Californian orange, Bulgarian rose, Grasse rose, violet, magnolia, musk and cedar.
Dior is one of the most luxurious perfume houses in the world, and while you may be familiar with the brand’s iconic Miss Dior, J’Adore and Poison scents, there are so many other fragrance gems in luxe line La Collection Privée Christian Dior. My favourite by far is Eden-Roc, inspired by the French Riviera hotel of the same name (which was exactly where Sofia Richie Grainge got married, FYI). One spritz and you’re transported to this coastal location, surrounded by pine trees, fresh sea air and the sun beating down on the lush gardens that surround the hotel. If you prefer something more mysterious, try Oud Ispahan. With notes of oud, patchouli and rose, it makes you feel expensive in just one spritz and is seriously long-lasting. It will walk into a room before you do.
Key Notes: Sea salt, mineral notes, citrus, jasmine, coconut, pine tree and labdanum.
Key Notes: Iris, peony, lily of the valley, apricot, rose, peach, vanilla, musk, tonka bean, benzoin and sandalwood.
Key Notes: Labdanum, rose, patchouli, saffron, oud, sandalwood and cedarwood.
There is something about Tom Ford fragrances that scream luxury, whilst the tongue-in-cheek names add a playful tone (what other perfume house could name a fragrance F*cking Fabulous?). The juice inside the bottles is just as lust-worthy. Eau De Soleil Blanc remains one of my favourite summer perfumes, ever. It smells of sun-kissed skin, like you’ve spent the day on the beach getting your hair salty and applying coconut-scented sun cream. Vanille Fatale, on the other hand, is a go-to evening scent that attracts compliments like a magnet, with it’s hypnotic cocktail of rum, suede, vanilla and tobacco that makes you feel like you’re in a private member’s club. Another new discovery is Soleil Neige, which my best friend recently bought and now I’m hooked on, too. It’s a delicious white floral that leaves a trail wherever you walk.
Key Notes: Bitter orange, neroli, bergamot, citron, pistachio, petitgrain, cardamom, pink pepper, caraway, tuberose, Tunisian orange blossom, ylang-ylang, jasmine, galbanum, coconut, vanilla, tonka bean, benzoin and amber.
Key Notes: Rum, myrrh, olibanum, saffron, coriander, orange, lime, barley, coffee, plum, frangipani, narcissus, artemisia, rose, Madagascar vanilla, suede, tobacco, mahogany, patchouli, oakmoss, and violet.
Key Notes: Bergamot, carrot seeds, white flowers, orange blossom, jasmine, Turkish rose, benzoin, labdanum and vanilla.