“Thomas, AKA The Candy Perfume Boy, predicts the perfume trends of this year with his ‘Top 5 Fragrance Trends of 2020’, a visionary guide that gives you everything you need to know about what’s going to be big this year; here’s how to be a step ahead of the trends.”
One of the key trends we see now in perfumery is the prevalence of almond notes. It ranges from delicate touches of dusty almond powders to full-on marzipan decadence, with some cherry, nutty warmth in the middle; almond is very much the note du jour. To celebrate this trend, I’ve taken a deep dive into the Escentual back catalogue to pick out five almond fragrances you have to smell. Here they are…
It’s impossible to talk about almond notes in perfumery without mentioning Hypnotic Poison. Not only is it impossible, but I think it may also be illegal too (I’ll consult my lawyer to be sure). Launching in 1998 as the third instalment in the Poison franchise (following 1985’s Poison and 1994’s Tendre Poison), Hypnotic Poison played on the theme of deadly beauty in a new way with a signature that was innovative, unusual and undeniably hypnotic. The crux of Hypnotic Poison is the interplay between bitter almonds (which evoke the deadliness of cyanide) and creamy jasmine sambac flowers. Together, they create a milky, lactonic texture that is silky and dances between bitter and sweet, reminding us that the best (and most surprising) kind of beauty is always the most unconventional. Hypnotic Poison is a classic, and while it is now over 20 years old, its innovative nature means that it still smells as brand new and exciting as it did in 1998.
So how have almond fragrances evolved from 1998 to now? Well, an excellent example of the almond renaissance is Girl of Now by Elie Saab, which radiantly approaches the theme. In Girl of Now, almonds are present in their nutty, marzipanny (not a word but let’s go with it) and cherry-soaked glory, but are accented with the dewy freshness of pear to give them a solar glow. Girl of Now stands out in a similar way to Hypnotic Poison because it’s designed not to be a people pleaser. It’s not one of those scents that everyone will love and therein lies its attraction. Girl of Now is a fragrance crying out to be someone’s signature – someone who likes to be noticed and dares to be different – that’s the girl of now. p.s LOOK AT THAT BOTTLE!
Almonds are not just for girls though – in fact, this is one of those rare trends that we see traversing the worlds of both feminine and masculine perfumery, both of which usually evolve as separate entities. L’Homme Ideal is Guerlain’s modern masculine. Hailing from a house that created some of the world’s greatest masculine fragrances (Vetiver, Habit Rouge etc.), it certainly had hefty boots to fill but did so with ease and a cheeky smile. L’Homme Ideal is all about crunchy, juicy sweet almonds with an amaretto vibe, tailored neatly to the fresh floralcy of orange blossom and the unctuous warmth of tonka bean. Wood and leather intensify the base and add a masculine oomph. L’Homme Ideal has a twinkle in his eye – he’s good looking and well-dressed, but that’s not the main focus here. No, what’s attractive about this ideal specimen of a man is his personality and incredible sense of fun.
In YSL’s Cinema, almond is not the lead actress – it’s a supporting role. To put it simply, in Cinema mimosa is the Meryl Streep, vanilla is the Nicole Kidman and almond is the Anne Hathaway (if that doesn’t clear it up entirely, I don’t know what to say!). What will surprise you about Cinema is the fact that it is not a giant cinematic experience displayed on a towering IMAX screen. Instead, Cinema is a gently romantic tale of soft, powdery mimosa blooms shrouded in a silky dress of vanilla with just hints of warm, nutty almonds underneath. It is an entirely understated fragrance that often flies under the radar, but honestly, Cinema is a fragrance that deserves your attention.
Finally, we have L’Instant Magic (The Magic Moment) from Guerlain. And seeing as Guerlain is often referred to as the pastry chef of the perfume world, it’s no surprise that they have two entries on this nutty almond list! L’Instant Magic is a soft, youthful fragrance with hints of fluffy baby powder, sweet marzipan, vanilla and pink roses. It has sparkling freshness from bergamot, floral sweetness from roses and freesias, and an airy, billowy quality from white musk. L’Instant Magic is unashamedly feminine, and the perfect fragrance for someone who wants almonds served with some powdery glamour.