If you’re staring longingly out the window wishing you could be somewhere far, far away, we feel you. Self-isolation and social distancing have given new meaning to the term ‘wanderlust’. But what if we told you that you could journey around the world in a matter of minutes, all thanks to a bottle of perfume? 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, all thanks to it being a whopping 10,000 times more sensitive than our other senses.
As Jose Eisenberg, creator of Eisenberg Paris explains, “Scent is so closely connected to emotions. The olfactory bulb is part of the brain’s limbic system, otherwise known as the ’emotional brain’ because it’s responsible for feelings and memories.” It’s little surprise that when concocting a fragrance, creators are inspired by special places they have visited. So, if travel bans have ruined your holiday plans and you’re longing for an escape, join us on this olfactory adventure that will take you around the world – without a plane ticket in sight.
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 scent of an English summer. 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. I was inspired by the aromas of tea leaves steeped in hot water.” Pop the kettle on, please.
Jo Malone ‘Earl Grey & Cucumber Cologne’
If you associate Cuba with spices, cigars, and classic cars, you’re not alone. This unisex creation from Berdoues is a celebration of the island’s rich tobacco history and the sweet scent that wafts from the fields as the sun warms the air, and it will transport you there faster than you can say, “Havana ooh na-na.” Full of fresh spices, honeyed tobacco, smoky vetiver, and woody accords, it is deep and warm – and totally addictive. Plus, its beautiful bottle is guaranteed to look pretty on any bathroom shelf or vanity table. The only problem? Your other half might fight for you for it.
Berdoues ‘Hoja De Cuba’
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…
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 Greek summer’s day at Mount Pelion, where groves of fig trees marked the way to the seas’ shores, it combines the milky flavor 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.
We now make our way to Morocco, a land of mystery and splendor filled with grand palaces, lush gardens, and bustling bazaars. It’s here that Aerin Lauder tells her tale of ‘Tangier Vanille d’Or’, a rich and hypnotic blend of saffron myrrh, cashmere wood, tonka bean, sandalwood, and crystalized amber. But at its heart lies an unexpected secret comprising crisp, sun-drenched bergamot, juicy black plum, and rich Bulgarian rose, which is wrapped in the softest of musks to shroud the scent in a veil of mystery as intriguing and alluring as Morocco itself.
Aerin ‘Tangier Vanille D’Or’
Memo was born in Paris, so it’s only natural the brand wanted to capture the scent of the French capital for its ‘The Flying Collection’. Created by co-founder Clara Molloy, it centers around the flower that defines the city – the rose. “We wanted to create a really pretty yet strong rose scent, so we used gaiac, which smells a little bit like fresh tar, but we used it with rose,” her husband revealed in a recent interview. “Clara actually wrote a story about what a Parisian is, and a Parisian is not by birth – it’s by attitude. Anyone who goes there can take up that Parisian attitude. It’s like a rose, but with thorns on the stem. Pick it up the wrong way, and it can really hurt!”
“It was in Japan one spring day that I came across the astonishing cherry blossom. Tiny and fragile though it is, it nevertheless releases a perfume with incredible presence evoking the breathtaking landscape of thousands of cherry trees in bloom,” describes François Demachy, nose of Dior. “With ‘Sakura’, I wanted to pay tribute to it by interpreting its gently lingering, tender perfume with rosy nuances.” Alongside Japanese cherry blossom, this pretty pale-pink juice is brimming with floral notes, including rose, jasmine, mimosa, and violet, as well as a touch of white musk.
Sail to the shores of Sardinia with Tom Ford’s captivating ‘Costa Azzura’ fragrance. It’s here that the cool, salty sea breeze blows along the beaches, mingling with the scents of dry herbs, evergreen trees, and dense green forests to form the unique Mediterranean ‘macchia’ scent – a tantalizing tangle of juniper pines, oaks, and herbs. It’s this scent that Mr. Ford recreated, mixing seaweed with fresh lemon, yellow mandarin, and myrtle notes. But no Sicilian scent would be complete without that sensual smell of warm sun-kissed skin, so he added incense, vanilla, ambrette, and cardamom. Warm but fresh, crisp but sensual, it’s that holiday feeling – bottled.
Tom Ford ‘Costa Azzurra’
Longing to hit the streets of Manhattan? Well, with Bond No. 9’s New York-inspired perfume, you’ll soon be strutting down 5th Avenue in your Manolos. A celebration of the city’s dazzling skyline at night, filled with the bright colors and shapes of the soaring skyscrapers, it starts off sweet with a hit of caramel before revealing a slightly spicy and invigorating shot of coffee. The dry down, however, is sultry and sophisticated – a creamy blend of jasmine, sandalwood, and patchouli that lingers on skin from dusk till dawn. Carrie Bradshaw would approve.
Bond No.9 ‘New York Nights’
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.
We could all do with a tropical vacay right now, so this gentle-as-a-beach-breeze scent wins our vote. An intoxicating cocktail of Jamaican lime, bergamot, coconut, mandarin, ginger, and sugar cane, with a heart of tropical woods, hibiscus, and ylang-ylang, it was created by master perfumer Oliver Creed following a sailing trip in the Virgin Islands. “Smelling a fragrance you love changes the way you feel, just as seeing a beloved painting or sculpture does,” he says. Pair a bottle of this with a fruity mocktail and a pair of sunnies, and you’ll find yourself soaking up that Caribbean sunshine in no time.
Creed ‘Virgin Island Water’
Montroi doesn’t just travel the world looking for craftsmanship and the finest ingredients – it also uses these trips as the source of inspiration for its scents. As founder Paul Bowles says, “I feel that life is very short, and the world is there to see and one should know as much about it as possible.” Offering a boost of Brazilian beauty, this fragrance captures the vibrant spirit and passion of Rio de Janeiro thanks to a combination of exotic flowers, citrus notes, and aquatic accords. The next best thing to experiencing the energy and colors of a fiesta, it instantly awakens the mind and spirit with rich, exciting notes of cacao, vanilla, dried fruits, ginger, and smoky tobacco. Did someone say carnival?
Montroi ‘Rio Santa Teresa’