Like That? Try This!
Here is a fascinating fragrance fact: If you look at your very favourite fragrances to wear regularly, you will likely find one or two ingredients that are found in each. We’re drawn to certain aromas and will buy perfumes that contain them. For some people, it is the uplifting and fresh scent of lemon. For others, it is the sweet, comforting aroma of vanilla.
With this in mind, we decided to research notes that are similar to the most popular ingredients in today’s fragrances. It will give you the opportunity to switch it up a little but still maintain the overall scent and mood of your favourites.
If you like lemon notes, try yuzu
Lemon is one of the most loved ingredients in perfumery worldwide. That’s because the fresh, clean, uplifting aroma has been proven to boost your mood and make you feel more optimistic. It’s interesting to note that the lemon oil used in fragrances is cold-pressed from the lemon rind and not extracted from the flesh itself. Perfumers love it because it blends so well with other citrus notes like mandarin, bergamot, grapefruit along with flowers such as rose, lavender and peony. Perfumers call lemon an “astringent”, describing the scent as sour with a sweet undertone with an aromatic nuance. It’s cheerful and bright.
Yuzu is an Asian citrus fruit that is used in culinary recipes and beverages. The fruit is extremely tart so it isn’t a citrus you would peel and eat like an orange. Perfumers describe the scent as tart with sweet and bitter nuances. It has a delicate character to the aroma which can be almost meringue-like.
Try it in Versace Bright Crystal.
If you like vanilla notes, try benzoin
Vanilla is currently the most popular ingredient used in modern-day women’s fragrances. That’s because the sweet, gourmand note is comforting and reassuring. So many people visit cafés and Starbucks each day and inhale the scent of vanilla in lattes and frappuccinos. Perfumers describe vanilla as having a creamy, warm and cocooning facet. Good quality vanilla has an almost dry impression with a complex character.
You’ve likely never heard of the ingredient ‘benzoin’, but we can almost guarantee it is in many of the fragrances in your collection. Benzoin is a rich gum resin obtained from the bark of a group of trees called styrax. Surprisingly, this resin has a rich scent that is sweet and smooth like vanilla. If you close your eyes and inhale, you’d never imagine it wasn’t good quality vanilla. Perfumers love using it as it gives ‘body’ to a scent and blends beautifully with other base notes like cedar, patchouli and musk. The first reference of benzoin is in the 14th century when Arabs used it in pot pourri, incense and soap. Benzoin can often have a hint of cinnamon to it.
Try it in: 19-69 Higher Peace
If you like lavender, try clary sage
Lavender has a long tradition as a calming and restful note in perfumery. It’s most famous in France where it has been used in sachets to scent bedroom dressers and linens. Sleep experts often recommend spritzing your pillows with lavender if you are having trouble falling asleep at night. Lavender is a soft, powdery floral note with a sweet facet. It can have herbal or balsamic undertones depending on where it is grown. Perfumers often use a variety in men’s fragrances that has an evergreen, woody character.
Try clary sage
Clary sage has a similar character to lavender: soft, sweet and herbaceous with a balsamic or ambery nuance. It blends so well with lavender that you often find them used together in fragrances. Some varieties of the flowering plant can have fresh green notes with a slightly earthy aroma.
Try it in: Jimmy Choo Man Blue
If you like guava, try dragon fruit
If you’ve ever bitten into a fresh, juicy guava fruit, you’ll know it has a sweet, tropical taste that has both bitter and sweet flavours. It’s the same with its aroma. Guava has a fruity-floral scent that can contain a hint of lemon. Perfumers use it because it has a ripe, full aroma that instantly reminds you of sunny beaches and tropical islands.
Try dragon fruit
Dragon fruit is most often found in summer editions of your favourite brands. It’s the fruit of a species of cactus that exudes a sweet tropical aroma with a watery facet. The flower of the cactus actually has a heady floral scent. But perfumers are often fascinated with the colour and shape of the fruit and will add a hint of the note into a light composition.
If you like blood orange, try calamansi
Blood orange essential oil is a secret ingredient that perfumers use when they want to create a sparkling opening to a perfume. It has a radiant, tangy, sweet and fruity aroma that comes from the rind of the citrus fruit. It can have a berry-like facet as well – which means it blends beautifully with lemon, bergamot and red berries.
Extracted from a rare citrus fruit from the Philippines, the bright calamansi is actually a mix between mandarin orange and a kumquat. It has the tartness of lemon mixed with the sweetness of an orange. The essential oil is cold pressed from the rind and smells a little like a lime but more tart. It’s uplifting and joyful.
Try it in: Bvlgari MAN Terrae Essence