Our Favourite Fragrances Then and Now



National Fragrance Week is all about celebrating the importance of perfume in our lives. It’s there to remind us that fragrance is so much more than just a smell we throw on without thinking – it’s a sprayable style, mood or atmosphere with unbreakable links to both memory and culture. A decade can be defined by the scents that were worn and our memories can be conjured to the front of our minds with just one spritz. So perfume really is a lot more than just smelly water – it’s a myriad of emotion all inside a bottle.

We each follow somewhat of a journey with our fragrances, with everyone acting as a scented marker in our lives. We all remember our first fragrance and those that accompanied us through life’s big events – the dates, holidays, weddings, births and more. We have our old flames and our current obsessions and each of them is a prominent checkpoint on our scented journey through life.  To celebrate National Fragrance Week I have challenged Escentual’s Beauty Team to share key fragrances in their journey, from their very first fragrance to their current obsession, and I’ve even thrown mine in too!  So let’s celebrate this fragrant week with a look at some scents that are important to us.

My First Fragrance Love:  Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male

I’d like to tell you that my first fragrance love was some obscure, intellectual art scent that nobody else was wearing. I’d like to tell you that because it would make me seem edgy and cool, but the truth is that my 18-year-old self was neither of those things and the scent I wore was something much more conventional. In fact, my first scent was one that many other gents in my generation wore: the one and only Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male.  I loved Le Male because everybody else did, but also because it’s an incredibly fun and handsome fragrance. It’s an excessive barbershop fougere for those with bold personalities. To me, it’s the smell of nights out on the town where one too many blue WKDs were consumed under hot lights to a soundtrack of forgettable pop music. It’s too much hair gel and tight t-shirts – the smell of being handsome, youthful and more than a little bit rebellious. Best enjoyed with one spray too many, I find.


My Current Fragrance Obsession: AURA MUGLER

If you’ve followed my writing you will know that I am die-hard MUGLER fan and it’s true when it comes to MUGLER I am non-discriminatory, I love them all, Angel and Alien alike. So it’s perhaps a surprise to nobody that my most recent fragrance obsession is MUGLER’s latest launch ‘AURA’. I adore AURA because it mixes the brand’s glamazon style with olfactory innovation. MUGLER are known for creating new genres with their fragrances (the oriental gourmand with Angel and the solar, woody floral with Alien) and for AURA they have crafted something really special – a botanical oriental. AURA blends juicy rhubarb leaf with orange blossom, tiger liana, bourbon vanilla and wolfwood to create an entirely unique olfactory experience. I’d describe AURA as juicy, fresh, green, junglesque, smoky, woody, dewy, sweet, creamy and neon.  It’s a whirlwind of contrasts and I’m already on my second bottle…



My First Fragrance Love: Ralph Lauren Ralph

Whenever I smell Ralph by Ralph Lauren, it always makes me smile/smirk and I have no shame in telling you that either. The first fragrance that wasn’t borrowed from my sister or a hand me down from my mum, Ralph was mine. I gunned for this fragrance as soon as I smelt it on my godmother – and birthday list after birthday list, this became a trusty signature of mine from the start of high school (I was an early fragrance bloomer) onwards; its poignant fresh floral aroma reminds me of summertime crushes and unfiltered happiness – oh to be young again!


My Current Fragrance Obsession: Alaïa Paris Nude

Donning a more refined fragrance palette with age, thankfully my taste in signature scents has evolved and expanded since my high school days; instead of looking for anything girlie, I always steer towards animalistic scents with a twist and this is why I love the Alaïa Paris Nude Eau de Parfum Spray. As a dedicated lover of all ALAÏA fragrances, in my possibly biased eyes, ALAÏA can’t ever do any wrong. I love the dominance of Paris and the reserved side of Blanche, by my favourite ALAÏA to date has to be Nude, it’s subtle yet provocative side is just what I look for in a fragrance; Thomas nails it in this review, where he says it’s ‘the perfect starter scent for someone looking to enter the olfactory universe of ALAÏA.’



My First Fragrance Love: GIVENCHY Ange ou Démon

My very first fragrance wasn’t really my own, I just liked to pretend it was. GIVENCHY Ange ou Démon was my mum’s perfume, but while she was out there was nothing I loved to do more than douse myself in it, while I danced around the house to the latest pop hits of course. A dark floriental with sensuous vanilla facets, Ange ou Démon appealed to the part of me that was so desperate to be ‘grown up’ at 13 years old. These days, this fragrance makes me think of my mum and also the carefree attitude I had as a teenager.


My Current Fragrance Obsession:  GUERLAIN Mon Guerlain

If you’ve smelt GUERLAIN Mon Guerlain then you’ll know why I love it, and if you haven’t, well, you’re missing out. Feminine and delicate, yet long-lasting and seductive, it’s a perfume that’s appropriate for every mood and occasion. I could be having the worse morning, and a few spritz of this fresh oriental will make me feel like a million dollars. A more grown-up vanilla than that in Princess, Mon Guerlain marries lavender and jasmine petals with creamy drops of sandalwood and vanilla, a fusion that feels elegant but still youthful and fresh. Mon Guerlain is a perfume I can imagine wearing for years to come.



My First Fragrance Love: Yves Saint Laurent Baby Doll Paris

When I turned 16, I graduated from my weekend job taking orders at the local Chinese takeaway and stepped into my dream role: a sales assistant in a perfume shop. Talk about a glow up. From there I was exposed to Scent with a capital ‘S’; shaking off the spectres of Charlie and Exclamation, I set off in search of my very own signature perfume so that I could be just like all of the glamorous women and men that I worked with. After much careful deliberation, I found a bit of myself in Yves Saint Laurent Baby Doll, a joyful fruity floral in an amazing bottle shaped like a spinning top. I’d keep it in my bag at all times and share it around with my friends when we’d go out – I’ll never forget how chic I felt!


My Current Fragrance Obsession: Valentino Donna

Fast forward 13 years and I’ve found myself on yet another mission to find a new signature fragrance, this one to scent two very different new roles: as a wife and a mother! Valentino Donna is a perfect fit for this more tender and content time, with its soft yet statuesque character that calls to mind a buttery-soft leather makeup bag complete with the iris and rose tones of lipstick and powder. It’s an incredible fragrance that’s so very different to the frenetic fruity tones of Baby Doll, but they’re both me!


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ALAIA Paris Nude

Your Spring Fragrance Update

  • Samuel Armstrong

    So happy that you love Aura too…..I was slightly underwhelmed at first sniff but it’s a scent you need to live with. I find I am discovering new facets of this all the time and it’s a stunningly well engineered fragrence.