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27th February 2024

My favourite fragrance

Looking for a new signature scent? Or just wondering what fragrance your library crush is wearing? Either way, our experts have weighed in on their favourite perfumes and colognes
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My favourite fragrance
Credit: Ulysse Pointcheval @ Unsplash

If you’re on the market for a new signature scent, look no further than our official list of recommendations! There should be something in here for everyone, so what are you waiting for? This is your sign to find a new fragrance for 2024.

True Amore by Zara

Credit: Zara @ zara.com, 30ml £7.99

February is the month of love, and this perfume, appropriately titled True Amore, only adds to it. Zara perfumes are some of the best around, because they’re affordable, long-lasting, and – obviously – smell divine. It’s fairly intense, which I prefer, and has a very warm feminine scent – which fits perfectly with the type of aura I’m trying to give off.

There are some citrus notes mixed with floral scents, and something delicious that I can’t put my finger on. I wear this scent every day, which shows just how versatile it is; whether you’re clocking in the hours at the Main Library or gallivanting around Fallowfield Sainsbury’s, people will definitely be complimenting you. Huge ego boost.

It also lingers, and you know what they say, it only takes seven seconds for someone to form an impression! It’s really affordable, clocking in at £8.99 for 30ml, but I picked up my second bottle in the sale for £5.99. A real girlboss bargain.

Words by Lexie Baynes (Head Opinion Editor)

Fleur de Mimosa by & Other Stories

Credit: Fleur de Mimosa @ stories.com, 50ml £28

I’ve been a loyal Miss Dior girl for years, but my sister bought me the & Other Stories Fleur De Mimosa perfume for Christmas and it smells amazing. I remember using the body scrub on holiday in Australia, and now every time I spray the perfume it reminds me of beaches and sunshine. The entire body range is great, but the perfume lasts forever and has such a light and summery smell, which is perfect if you don’t suit musky and deeper fragrances!

Words by Poppy Clayton (Fashion & Beauty Writer)

L’Interdit Rouge by Givenchy

Credit: Givenchy @ givenchybeauty.com, 80ml £115

My go-to scent for the last two years has been Givenchy’s L’Interdit Rouge, which I can rather pretentiously tell you has notes of sandalwood, ginger, jasmine, and patchouli (I literally just looked it up on Fragantica). The Givenchy website speaks of its “whisper of carnal excitement,” which I can’t say I’ve hugely experienced when wearing it, but I do always get a lot of compliments.

In my humble opinion, it’s the perfect fragrance for evenings and the colder months with its rich and woody scent: it’s sweet, but not Carolina Herrerra Good Girl sweet; it’s floral, but not Marc Jacobs Daisy floral; and it’s got depth without becoming too overpowering. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t feel too light and feminine, then you’ll love this.

It is definitely quite a heavy scent, which is why I don’t wear it in the summer, but it’s not suffocating like the smell of an Impulse body spray in a school changing room. The best thing is, the fragrance lasts so well; my most worn sweaters smell delicious for days.

Words by Eleanor Duke (Fashion & Beauty Writer)

Wood Sage & Sea Salt by Jo Malone

Credit: Jo Malone @ jomalone.co.uk, 50ml £82

There’s definitely something almost powerful about finding your signature scent. Gone are the days when we’d all wear the same trending Hollister body spray as teenagers. Now, finding a fragrance feels like an important caveat of growing up; choosing a favourite perfume is akin to selecting signature jewellery or your lipstick colour.

After trialling a few different fragrances over the years, my current obsession is Jo Malone’s Wood Sage & Sea Salt. Helpfully described on the website with minimal information: “Escape the everyday along the windswept shore. Waves breaking white, the air fresh with sea salt and spray. The mineral scent of rugged cliffs, mingling with earthy sage.”

I can assure you that it smells divine! Not particularly sweet or floral, which I think makes it less overpowering, and so a nice everyday fragrance. The cologne is a little on the pricy side, but they sell accompanying body mists and solid scents which are cheaper. They also stock a hair mist as using perfume on your hair is not advised. There’s definitely something powerful about having a signature scent and taking care of your hair.

See what else is in my beauty bag here!

Words by Imogen Mingos (Head Fashion & Beauty Editor)

N°5 by Chanel

Credit: Chanel @ chanel.com, 100ml £136

“The very essence of femininity,” or so they say. This is an iconic scent, and I cannot escape its allure. I was gifted this on my 17th birthday whilst on holiday in Spain and so its floral notes will always be infused with memories of an autumn summer for me – crystal seas, paella, and the hottest birthday I’ve ever had. 30 degrees in November? Yes please!

It really does have the ability to transform how I feel through its well-balanced sweetness. I have not ventured far in the field of fragrance, but Chanel N°5 will forever provide me with a sense of timeless sophistication, no matter the state of my hair, outfit, or makeup.

Words by Rosina Read (Co-News Editor)

You by Glossier

Credit: Glossier @ sephora.co.uk, solid perfume £32 and 50ml £62

My current signature scent is Glossier You. I was a little late to board the ‘You’ train, as the fragrance has been hyped for some time now, but I took the 2023 Glossier Black Friday sale as an opportunity to finally try it out. Since then, I have become so obsessed that I also bought the solid perfume in its adorable, heavy, tactile, pink packaging (which is perfect to slip in your handbag for on-the-go application).

I love it because it smells great, has unexpectedly good staying power, and isn’t too intense. A lot of strong smells make me feel sick or dizzy, so I’m not usually a fan of perfume, but as this one is formulated primarily with base notes, it has a more muted scent and according to the Glossier website, this makes it a “Personal skin-scent enhancer,” meaning it smells different on everyone.

Its scent is soft, comforting, and feminine, with notes of pink pepper, iris, ambrette seeds, and ambrox. Some of the adjectives used to describe the smell on Glossier’s website are “sparkling”, “powdery”, “woody”, “warm”, and “creamy”. I know this is my favourite fragrance ever because it’s the first time I’ve wanted to put on a perfume just to go to sleep, it’s that addictive. Trust me.

See what else is in my beauty bag here.

Words by Maia Penny (Beauty Editor)

English Pear & Freesia by Jo Malone

Credit: Jo Malone @ jomalone.co.uk, 50ml £82

For me, perfumes are more than just a signature scent, often evoking particular memories. This particular one by Jo Malone is the bottle my mum would wear when I was younger, and the scent always reminded me of bubble baths. Now with my own bottle, the scent is more than just a perfume; it makes me feel connected to my mum wherever I am.

As described by the brand, English Pear and Freesia has scents of “orchards steeped in golden sunshine, warming the russet curves of luscious pears” and it’s certainly a perfume which makes me feel sunny despite the often dreary Manchester weather.

It must be noted that a bottle of English Pear and Freesia is reserved for special birthday or Christmas gifts – the price tag isn’t befitting of a student budget. However, for always smelling good on a budget, I would recommend Zara’s perfumes. The high street brand does numerous Jo Malone dupes for those wanting the high-end smell without forking out over a hundred pounds.

Words by Annabel Benton (Co-Culture Managing Editor)

Paco by Paco Rabanne

Credit: Paco Rabanne @ perfume-click.co.uk, 100ml £28.25

As a sports journalist, I’m far more accustomed to examining football and pace bowling than I am to analysing fragrances and perfumes. However, if I were to be asked what my favourite cologne is, I would have to say Paco Rabanne’s Paco Eau du Toilette

Now, I hear you ask, why is that your favourite perfume Tom? For starters, it smells nice, a central qualification for any desirable fragrance. It also evokes a sense of regional pride and identity, with the Spanish cologne being a necessary component of the outfit of any self-respecting, C.P. Company-wearing Essex boys such as myself on a night-out up central.

The £28.25 bottle of “woody, citrusy, sunny” liquid has also been somewhat of a permanent fixture in my life – much in the same way as watching Match of the Day on a Sunday morning – and has made consistent appearances under the tree at Christmas, while also regularly being bought for me by my mother or grandmother on many a slow trudge through London City Airport duty-free.

Words by Tom Woodcock (Deputy Sports Editor)

Gucci Flora Gorgeous Jasmine by Gucci

Credit: Gucci @ boots.com, 30ml £68

This is a gift to beg your bougie boomer grandparents for, because my god is it expensive. Intricately designed, both in terms of the packaging and the bottle, Gucci Flora Gorgeous Jasmine is my special once-in-a-blue-moon perfume. If I show up to a date with this on, it’s honestly a compliment. But, it makes me feel pretty, sophisticated, and like I have my shit together.

Boots describes this edition of Gucci Flora’s line as “Bursting with sensual Grandiflorum Jasmin. Its energy of inner joy is further enhanced by the elongated turquoise bottle, while the House’s distinctive Flora by Gucci pattern seals the design with a magical touch.” Its notes consist of mandarine essence, grandiflorum jasmine, magnolia accord, and sandalwood. It’s subtle without being scentless, and is worth every penny.

See what else is in my beauty bag here.

Words by Erin Botten (Co-Culture Managing Editor)

Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules

Credit: Escentric Molecules @ escentric.com, 100ml £95

Molecule 01, a slightly musky, woody, unisex scent is perfect for everyday (although I’m running low, so it’s become more of a TGIF treat). It’s made of just one lab-synthesised chemical, Iso E Super, which creates this delicious, light, and slightly sweet smell which combines with your skin to create a fragrance supposedly unique to you. This perfume ticks both my chemistry nerd and individuality complex boxes incredibly well.

Another reason I love this perfume is because it layers really well with other fragrances. Molecule 01 plus a teensy dab of oud makes me feel mysterious on a date, and somewhat makes up for the fact that I’m a massive over-sharer. Its only downside is its price point, so I usually head to eBay to find it.

Words by Frances Briggs (Deputy Science Editor)

CK One by Calvin Klein

Credit: Calvin Klein @ boots.com, 200ml £43.33

Whilst I can’t say I’m that well-versed in the world of fragrances, I always make sure I have a bottle of CK One at home. It’s a light, citrusy scent which is very versatile and always freshens up a daytime outfit. It’s hard to get too passionate about this, but there’s a reason it’s been around since 1994, yet also a reason you can often find it for a very affordable price.

It’s reliable and has fresh notes with everything from lemon and papaya to orris root (if you know what this is without googling then you deserve a prize). However, one of the most upvoted cons on the Fragrantica website lists it as reminding “some people of high school era.” Perhaps this is in reference to the lack of musky or woody notes you’d often find in male perfumes, or just because it’s been around for a while, but I will continue to wear it as a basic everyday accessory nonetheless.

Words by Daniel Collins (Co-Film Editor)

Peony & Blush Suede by Jo Malone

Credit: Jo Malone @ jomalone.co.uk, 50ml £82

When Jo Malone comes to mind, you might think of middle-aged parents strolling with their crusty white dogs, or hitting their morning spin class. However, the brand’s extensive array of scents caters to a broad audience. Among them, the peony and blush suede perfume stands out as a personal favourite. Striking a balance between mainstream accessibility found in department stores and a touch of exclusivity, it grants me the luxury of feeling like I have a signature scent.

Despite the less-than-ideal price tag, a mere one or two sprays suffice and it lasts for hours. In true middle-aged fashion, Jo Malone offers identically scented candles and hand/body creams, seamlessly integrating the scent into my daily life.

Words by Erin Ball (Marketing Team Member)

Chloé by Chloé

Credit: Chloé @ boots.com, 50ml £90

Chloé is a chic fragrance with subtle floral and powdery tones. For me, it bridges the gap between my actual and ideal self. When I wear Chloé, I feel like those cool women you see living in big cities, holding fresh baguettes under their arms hollering at taxis to come pick them up.

Although I’m not quite there yet – my life consists of late mornings and missed lectures – the second I pick up that vintage-esque bottle and spray it on my wrists and neck I feel feminine. Maybe it’s the fact that my mum saves Chloé for special occasions that I’ve come to associate it with the refined coolness of a woman who knows exactly what she wants.

Just the other day I walked past a stylish woman and immediately detected Chloé. At a Mancunian bus stop I was transported right back to my mum’s vanity as a twelve-year-old, watching her get ready and wanting so badly to be older.

Ten years later and there’s a strange dichotomy within me when I wear Chloé because I am an adult but inherently, I am that young yearning girl. The fragrance manages to hit the notes of youthful maturity spot on, and for that I can’t get enough of it.

Words by Daniella Alconaba (Co-Film Editor)

Fleur de Mûrier by Karl Lagerfeld

Credit: Karl Lagerfeld @ boots.com, 100ml £34

A combination of red currant and raspberry leaves with a base of musk, Karl Lagerfeld’s Fleur de Mûrier Eau de Parfum is perfect for the girls who have never been a fan of the coconut-vanilla scents that often line shop walls. These sickly sweet scents have never been my first choice, yet I have always struggled to find something a little muskier, without smelling like a boy’s locker room.

This aromatic scent is the perfect melody of violet petals and blackberry blossom, a light and fruity scent that is more refreshing than overly sweet. The fruity-floral-woody scent is described as “A sensual musky amber base (that) underlines the fragrance’s trail as it unfurls with a Sandalwood facet.” And it’s priced at an affordable £34 for 100ml – what’s not to love?

Words by Lucie Bellingham (Fashion & Beauty Writer)

Coco Noir – Chanel

Credit: Coco Noir @ Chanel 50ml, £99

My relationship with perfume is pretty synonymous with the standard markers of girlhood and graduating from it (early 20s retch). I had three ripped out magazine pages of Daisy by Marc Jacobs up on my wall when I was 12 and would make a nightly sign of the cross to whichever nepo baby was running through a field at the time. That obnoxiously chunky plastic lid was all I wanted, and the tween glory that came with it, of course.

Dad came home with Chanel Coco Mademoiselle on my 13th birthday. A fatherly fumble for the ages. This was not the obtusely packaged iteration of fruit and floral I wanted! Little did I know, it steered me onto the righteous path. When I finally hit 15 (far too grown up for florals now), I decided I needed a grungy-er scent. One that Matt Healy might sniff from afar and come running towards. Dad christened this transition with a move from ‘Mademoiselle’ to ‘Noir’.

I could feign originality here; invent some elaborate reason why the merging of my pheromones with Coco Noir produces its own super scent. Noir and I do have a secret thing going, and whenever I go running back to her after cheating with Lancome or Replica, she’s the same as she always was (if only a few quid more expensive).

She’s the perfect mix of musk, just teetering on the masculine, whilst not straying too far from my floral roots. She makes me feel like I drink Old Fashioneds at jazz bars and actually enjoy them. She makes me feel like I write about said jazz bar for the New Yorker. She makes me feel like I’m going for drinks with somebody I shouldn’t, but go home to read Joan Didion, because I am a good person, I just can’t help where smelling so good gets me. She made me the person I am today – an overly confident 20-something who is highly pretentious about the fact she never owned a bottle of Daisy.

Words by Libby Elliott (Editor-in-Chief)

Imogen Mingos

Imogen Mingos

Head Fashion & Beauty Editor 2023-24 | Winner of Best Newcomer (The Mancunion) at SU Awards 2023

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