19 best perfumes of 2018
Trigger your senses with a treat from the best fragrances of the year
Out of all our senses, smell is the one that triggers our memory the most. While many things in life can evoke nostalgia, nothing quite has the power to make us relive the past like a fragrance – the scent of honeysuckle on a hot day, the smell of petrol on concrete, the scent of someone important to you – there are scents that become entwined into specific moments in your life.
Giving the gift of fragrance can be a tough task. It is considered incredibly personal, but it is also often the symbol of romance. Fragrance can also act as a time capsule to a happier place and can boost confidence levels. Times have changed, though. Through the years we’ve seen perfumes evolve, with many formulated for both men and women alike, mixing floral feminine scents with masculine musks and it works.
That’s why we have rounded up some of the best launches of this year, but have also given love to the ones we feel everyone should hold close to their hearts, dressing tablets and bathroom shelves.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Aerin Tuberose Le Soir Parfum Spray: £230 for 100ml, Selfridges
For the more decadent among us, this humble-looking bottle oozes sophistication. Petals of the Tuberose flowers are found in India and are harvested only at midnight, completely changing the scent altogether. With sparkling mandarin, bergamot, ylang ylang, smooth sandalwood and vanilla, its fruity combination with rich floral make this fragrance perfect for dancing into the night.
Givenchy Eau De Givenchy: £51 for 100ml, John Lewis & Partners
Givenchy’s modern interpretation of this classic was created in collaboration with perfumer Francois Demachy. The new Eau de Givenchy, which launched earlier this year, is a citrus scent with floral and musk undertones.
Considered a unisex scent, its notes of orange blossom, sea breeze and a bunch of citrus fruits, such as bergamot, mandarin, lemon and orange, along with greenery, create a gorgeous concoction that lingers on the skin. The idea behind the scent was to capture the scent of summer throughout the year, making it an evergreen fragrance to carry with you all year round.
Dior Joy: £110 for 90ml, The Perfume Shop
Yet another masterpiece from perfumer Francois Demachy, who with Dior, launched this light fragrance as an ode to pleasures and to life. It is considered a scent of energy, liveliness, and softness and of happiness. The beautiful blend of floral, citrus fruits and smooth caress of woods and musks, the fragrance has plenty of sharp edges that lead to an expression that is self-evident.
Agent Provocateur Signature Eau de Parfum: £23.50 for 100ml, Amazon
Agent Provocateur, with its lingerie-pink bottle, is one of the sexiest choices on our list, mainly because its slightly powdery rose scent changes with every sniff. It has the ability to boost your confidence no matter what time of the day you spritz it on. Since its launch in 2001, it has conquered the fragrance world with its notes of Moroccan rose oil, Egyptian jasmine, magnolia, ylang ylang and white gardenia. It delivers a certain kind of va-va-voom one needs to feel irresistible.
Map of the Heart White Heart V.7 Eau de Parfum: £150 for 90ml, Harrods
One of the most romantic bottles we’ve ever come across, Map of the Heart White Heart V7 has a sharp opening of French Lavender, aldehyde and cardamom, giving way to a calm gardenia and Australian sandalwood. Each fragrance from this collection is unisex, conjuring stories from both place and character and exploring what it is to live.
Coco Mademoiselle Chanel Intense: £116 for 100ml, John Lewis & Partners
In perfume-nerd circles, any Chanel fragrance deserves its own cabinet purely for its iconic status. But Coco Mademoiselle, a younger scent than its counterpart No.5, has been going strong since 2001 and is one of the world’s biggest selling perfumes.
Earlier this year, it was given a makeover and voila, thus Coco Mademoiselle Eau De Parfum Intense was born. It retains its original orange and bergamot zest, with a backbone of wood, but the proportions of double distilled patchouli have been increased, with added Tonka bean and vanilla to lend Coco M a particularly irresistible quality. You kind of want to eat it, but that’s not advisable.
Gucci Bloom Eau De Parfum: £89.10 for 100ml, Debenhams
Intensely fresh, the latest instalment from Gucci is a rich floral scent that represents youth transporting its wearer to a colourful and diverse garden verdant with flowers and plants. Blended by master perfumer Alberto Morillas with direction from Alessando Michele, the rich, white floral scent blends natural tuberose absolute with a fresh jasmine bud extract, creating a lingering, soft aroma on the skin.
One of our testers, however, found that the scent dissipated not long after the first spritz, but another tester's experience was different. It’s probably prudent to pick up a sample and test for yourself first.
Clean Reserve Amber Saffron: £82 for 100ml, Space NK
Amber Saffron by Clean Reserve launched in 2016, but deserves a special mention for its incredible light fragrance that is suitable for both men and women. With top notes of bergamot, Artemisia and mandarin, blending with middle notes of rose, lily and raspberry and finished off nicely with base notes of musk, saffron and amber. A sexy scent, this fragrance is perfect for transitioning from day to night.
Nuxe Le Soir Des Possibles: £49 for 50ml, Look Fantastic
French skincare brand NUXE launched their new duo of fragrances ‘Le Matin de Possibles’ and ‘Le Soir des Possibles’ this year and the latter has to be one of our favourite launches. The Le Soir Possibles is the perfect evening companion; with its cocktail blend of peach, bergamot and tangerine that is so fresh it could be delicious to drink. It’s not a raucous night or, nor a silky boudoir experience. Instead it is an easy going fruity floral that lingers on the skin leaving a musky, patchouli smell.
Diptque Oyedo Eau de Toilette: £90 for 100ml, Space NK
Diptque’s offering has never let us down and it sure as hell didn’t with Oyedo. Named after the ancient capital of Japan, Yedo (now known as Tokyo), the fragrance starts with a strong, fizzy citrus scent that reminds us of an effervescent in a glass of water. At first it can come across as saccharine sweet, but is saved by the cool blend of mint and thyme, giving it a nice herbal kick tied with the prominent woody undertones. It’s perfect for winter when you want to be reminded of those early summer nights when the sun sets late in the evening.
Prada Desert Serenade: £220 for 100ml, Selfridges
Prada released three new fragrances as part of its Mirages collection – Moonlight Shadow, Babylon and Desert Serenade – this year. The latter is a darkly elegant scent of honeyed leather, which represents a moment when dark turns into night and an omen of elegant love story on the horizon. Its rich concoction of cumin and saffron reign supreme yet blends beautifully with the base of cypress and musk. Ideal for both men and women through the wintery months.
Elle L’Edition Eau de Parfum: £49 for 100ml, The Perfume Shop
Elle fashion and lifestyle magazine started a new chapter with its first launch into fragrance with Elle L’Edition earlier this autumn. It’s playful and inspired by careless and bold femininity, much like its readership. The scent comprises of a floral composition with citrus and fruit accords at the top and a woody-musk base (we are seeing a trend here, aren’t we?) that is perfect for every day wear. Stay chic all year round.
Le Labo Santal 33: £125 for 50ml, Selfridges
Considered cult among many beautephiles, Le Labo’s Santal 33 has built a reputation of leaving passersby running after its wearer in a bid to find out what it is. But the perfume has a rich history; born from the memory of an old Marlboro advert, its image of the spirit of the American West and all its implied ideals of masculinity and personal freedom. In fact, it’s a unisex scent, which opens with cardamom, iris, violet and ambrox, while spicy, leathery, and musky notes bring an addictive comfort.
Tiffany & Co Tiffany Eau De Parfum: £90 for 90ml, Debenhams
If you love the romance, luxury and glamour of New York City then this scent was made for you. Tiffany is a modern scent that opens with vibrant top notes of vert de mandarin, but at its core, is the precious iris flower that adds strength and femininity. The crystal bottle itself looks like a gemstone, making it the perfect gift for someone special. And who wouldn’t be pleased with a gift from Tiffany?
Jo Malone Honeysuckle and Davana: £94 for 100ml, Jo Malone
This scent from Jo Malone evokes summertime, yet feels perfectly fresh to wear all year round. The British-born brand is known for its must-have formulations that have the perfect balance of pungent and lightness. Its two notes of honeysuckle and davana work harmoniously, creating a warm and uplifting scent.
Estée Lauder Beautiful Belle: £99 for 100ml, John Lewis & Partners
This is perfect for the die-hard romantics. Estée Lauder launched this floral-oriental scent in the summer, making it the ideal date for balmy summer nights. Its fresh cocktail of lychee, mimosa, rose petals and orange flower blends beautifully with the oriental notes of blush suede accord, marzipan musk and ambrox, a modern take on the iconic Beautiful.
Byredo Eleventh Hour: £160 for 100ml, Space NK
Byredo is known for its bright and bold scents, which makes Eleventh Hour yet another contender for cult status. It’s spicy, but in a soft way and lingers beautifully on the skin without having to top up during the day. The scent was inspired by the Nepali highlights, encapsulating the essence of adventure and danger thanks to its blend of ban timmur, cashmere woods and wild fig. It can be worn day to night and perfect for feeling confident before a big day ahead.
Sri London Amethyst Oud & Saffron: £220, Harrods
If you’re not so keen on a full floral fragrance and fancy something a little edgier, this is worth investing in. At the top end of the price scale, you get what you pay for. A deliciously, delightful harmony of Oud, jasmine, amber and musk encapsulates warmth. The scent lingers, but is not overpowering. While Oud scents can often be pungent, the floral top notes calms it down ever so slightly, settling with a stunning mix of rose and amber. A small spritz and it will last all day, which is great considering how big the bottle is; it’s bound to last for ages.
Tom Ford Lost Cherry Eau De Parfum: £218, Selfridges
The latest installment from Tom Ford has kicked off a trend even the most beauty-savvy didn’t expect: cherry. While it is quite a surprising choice of fragrance, the meaning behind the formulation suits Tom Ford down to a tee. Lost Cherry – slang for “lose your virginity” was bound to hit the headlines with its cheeky, yet vulgar sexual connotations, but the fragrance itself is warm, less acidic and sour than you might think and deliciously sexy. Think of the maraschino cherries you get on top of an ice cream or cocktail; a tasty ending to an otherwise perfect day.
The Verdict: Best perfumes of 2018
Aerin Tuberose Le Soir has to be our favourite scent of the year purely for its rich combination of fruity and floral notes and its ability to linger on the skin all day and all night. The elegance of the bottle and the strength of the scent makes it an ideal gift for you or someone you love. The pungent Sri London Ameythst Oud & Saffron comes in at a close second for those who love something a little different than every day floral. While it is at the top end of the scale, its edgy yet chic fragrance is definitely worth investing in.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.