Of all the countless new fragrances that hit the market each year, courtesy of
fashion houses and lingerie brands, pop singers and reality stars, car companies and fast-food chains, not too many of them are worth hanging onto longer than a seasonal fling. The ones that are deserve proper recognition — like the handful of new scents that kept us spritzing all of 2018 and earned a place in our 2019 rotation, too.
The past year’s crop of must-sniffs includes a hot-off-the-presses take on summer in a bottle, created by the nose behind Le Labo Santal 33 (and which you can snag for just $21); a patchouli that made us forget everything we thought we hated about patchouli; and the olfactory ode to a desert daydream that stole the category in our
2018 Beauty Innovator Awards.
Whether you want to spend the next 10 months smelling like the beach or just like yourself, but better, find the very best fragrances to scent your year, ahead.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of asking for a Beauty Pie subscription for Valentine’s Day, it’s time to bite the bullet: The company’s first foray into fragrance comes courtesy of Frank Voelkl, the master perfumer behind both Santal 33 and Glossier You. Those in hot pursuit of endless summer will find it in this bottle, which delivers a fleeting hit of sweet coconut before an earthy bouquet of florals takes center stage. What’s more, in addition to subscription fees, members pay just $21.06.
Beauty Pie Petals, Heliotrope & Ambrette Eau De Parfum, $125, available at Beauty Pie
It’s easy to forget there’s a purpose for patchouli beyond the cheap incense we once used to cover up dorm-life indiscretions. With this scent, Diptyque just reminded us that patchouli’s woody profile, tempered here with grassy violet, actually fits the classed-up sophisticate we’ve become (or aspire to become) — the one who hits the farmers’ market for fresh flowers, then clocks alone time sipping Japanese whiskey with a well-worn hardcover in hand.
Diptyque Tempo Eau de Parfum, $165, available at Space NK
In case you need a reminder that spring, in fact, is not too far away, a whiff of this sweet, fresh eau de parfum should do you good. Heady floral notes of Himalayan jasmine and Rose de Grasse are given new brightness and buoyancy with pear, raspberry, and apricot, making for one of the most sophisticated fruit-infused scents we’ve ever spritzed.
NEST Fragrances Wild Poppy, $74, available at Sephora
When we think “library,” we think leather-bound books, banker’s lamps, and an array of wooden surfaces that haven’t seen a Clorox wipe in God knows how long. Byredo’s take on the library, however, is far from dank; jammy plum and peach lift the rich, woodsy scent to something much more balanced than an expansive room of dusty old tomes.
Byredo Bibliothèque Eau de Parfum, $190, available at Nordstrom
This enhancer is made to play up any other scent — including your natural one — by dropping hints of bergamot, Iso E Super (a synthetic note thought to boost the nature of other fragrances and the body’s own scent), ambers, and musks. The layering tool is perfectly named: It does put a hard-to-pinpoint emphasis on whatever you’ve got going on.
D.S. & Durga I Don’t Know What Fragrance Enhancer, $260, available at Saks Fifth Avenue
If you were to ask someone what Arizona smells like, you’d hear responses ranging from earthy slot canyons to misogyny . But the cactus flower, jasmine, and orange blossom inside this bottle proves that Arizona represents any arid place with gorgeous, brightly-colored blooms, be it Amangiri , Palm Springs, or an easy, breezy state of mind.
Leave it to the brand who perfected your-face-but-better beauty products to create the most glorious whisper of a soft, musky scent, which somehow smells differently on everyone. Some get lasting notes of pink pepper, others a veil of warm amber — but no matter how it plays with your pH, it feels as natural as wearing nothing at all.
Glossier Glossier You, $45, available at Glossier
In his first fragrance for Calvin Klein, Raf Simons created something to celebrate the individuality of all women — which may be why a whole range of floral, citrus, and woodsy notes went into creating this multifaceted scent. No matter which element mingles most with your chemistry, be it jasmine, magnolia, orange blossom, lemon, lime, or cedar from Alaska, the scent remains fresh and light.
Calvin Klein Women Eau de Parfum, $106, available at Ulta Beauty
We had a hard time rationalizing a single $500-dollar expenditure for perfume, until we got a spritz of this intoxicating brew on our skin. The heady, long-lasting scent concocted from a blend of oud, amber, patchouli, mimosa, and rose hits all the spicy, incense-y notes of a North African bazaar, but swaps any mustiness for something fresh, thanks to sharp cuts of coriander and bergamot. The result is completely unique — and something worth saving up for.
We can’t tell you how many hair-care products we’ve tried over the years that have left us pining for a fragrance in the same scent . Stylist Jen Atkin must have known that her Ouai conditioners, Dry Texture Foam, and Wave Spray (among other products in the brand lineup) would trigger the same reaction, because she went ahead and released a fragrance that replicates the bergamot-, rose-, and lemon-scented hair products we can’t get enough of.
Ouai North Bondi Eau de Parfum, $56, available at Ouai
Coconut scents can be cloying — like “New Car” air fresheners and piña colada mix. But one spritz of this cruelty- and phthalate-free fragrance will make you forget all that, capturing the notes of the subtle, milky coconut you’d drink on a Hawaiian beach; bright, citrus-soaked air you’d find in the Med; and just-bloomed plants like lily of the valley, magnolia, and rose.
A hit of green tea one minute, an air-dried laundry vibe the next: This crisp blend of fresh musk and white ambers seems to shift as you wear it, the perfect choice for when you just want to smell clean .
Lake & Skye 11 11 Eau de Parfum, $98, available at Lake & Skye
Nobody does sex appeal quite like Tom Ford, so it only follows that the designer would have a formidable grasp on what it takes to turn musk , a fragrance note rife with sexual connotations, into something even sexier . Soft at first with notes of white musk and rich Bulgarian rose, the scent soon gives way to a hot, heady suede center before receding into a drydown that’s the perfect balance of feminine freshness and leathery warmth.
White Suede Eau de Parfum, $235, available at