Beauty

The best floral fragrances that smell sexy, not stuffy

May 23rd 2019 / Anna Hunter / 0 comment

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No soapy, overpowering bouquets here - here’s our pick of the best floral fragrances for every taste and budget

Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking. It’s fair to say that Miranda Priestly may send this edit back to the cutting room floor but we’re sneaking it through because, in our view, florals are timeless and evergreen once bottled, plus the Chelsea Flower Show just kicked off this week so ‘tis the season in more ways than one. Sorry Miranda.

Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Cologne, £94 for 100ml

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Peonies may be in bloom all over your Insta feed but they’ve been at the heart of this fresh, smooth fragrance since its launch back in 2013. It’s become a firm favourite for brides looking for an all-day floral with a sensual edge - apple top notes bring a crisp feel, jasmine and rose mingle to create a well-rounded flowery hit and the suede base note prevents it from ever becoming sickly. It may only be six years old but it’s well on its way to becoming a classic.

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Byredo Heliotropia, £165 for 100ml

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An unusual musky mix of heliotrope (a purple flower from the borage family), gardenia, jasmine sambac and agarwood, this is fairly strong and not for everyone, but if you prefer your florals rich and a bit smokey rather than sweet, it’s a big hitter.

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Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady, £160 for 50ml

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A heady blend of rose and patchouli, there’s something very 70s about this banger - it’s a punchy EDP for extroverts rather than a delicate floral. Basically, subverting the traditionally sweet ‘portrait of a lady’ notion. It’s dark, intense and will last you for ages, but if your budget doesn’t stretch to a bottle the Portrait of a Lady Shower Cream, £45 for 200ml, is the next best thing - unlike some wash-off famous fragrance spin-offs, the scent really does stick around.

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Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Florale, £29.50 for 100ml

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And now for something lighter that really earns its keep. This technically isn’t a fragrance in the classical sense but you can certainly wear it as one. The dry oil can be applied to hair and body (it’s especially brilliant on cuticles) to add sheen and moisture while the scent plays on the sunny base of the original Nuxe dry oil with added botanicals including white flowers and fresh grapefruit. If you’re after something clean yet warm for summer evenings, this is just the thing (it smells a bit like the best load of laundry you ever did).

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Jo Loves Rose Petal 25, £115 for 100ml

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If you’re a die hard rose fragrance fan, it doesn’t get better than this. A fusion of soft rose de Mai and the bolder rose absolute, Jo Malone CBE created this ode to the rose to celebrate 25 years in the fragrance business and it’s a fitting tribute to the most iconic flower in the floral perfumery profile. A single spritz will leave a trail of olfactory petals in your wake.

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Liz Earle Botanical Essence 100, £54 for 50ml

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Liz Earle’s fragrances are vastly underrated and this zesty floral particularly stands out. It’s one of my mum’s favourites and reminds me of home so it’s likely I’m biased but the fusion of rose, orange flower, mandarin, bergamot and jasmine is the perfect moodlifter and sandalwood and vanilla base notes add a beautiful creaminess. In my book this never gets old.

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Armani Si Fiori, £54 for 30ml

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Another delve into my mum’s scent wardrobe here, this sweet take on the success story that is Si will appeal to those who like their florals fizzy and bright. The vanilla hits you on first squirt and blackcurrant is still prominent as it is in the original fragrance, but rose and white flowers take center stage. It’s less grown-up than its Si big sister but that’s no bad thing - it’s a playful rather than a sophisticated floral.

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Tom Ford Orchid Soleil, £57 for 30ml

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Intended to smell like sunshine on the skin, the whack of tuberose in this is seriously sexy while bitter orange brings some zing. Patchouli, vanilla and of course orchid evoke the heavier base of the original Tom Ford Orchid EDP, but the lighter top notes give it a breezier feel.

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& Other Stories Punk Bouquet Perfume Oil, £13 for 6ml

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A travel and festival-friendly rollerball, this neat scent also plays on orchid and vanilla to create something sensual, but it’s got a sweet finish thanks to the addition of rose, almond and tonka bean. The oil formula also means that it lasts far longer than other high street fragrances, which makes it perfect for sweaty commutes/ mosh pits (you won’t be put out if you lose it either at this price).

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Le Labo Rose 31, £127 for 50ml

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A much-loved spicy rose that’s not overtly ‘girly’, this cedar, vetiver, wood and musk infused scent takes an often ultra-feminine flower in a very different direction. If you like your fragrance aromatic and intriguing and aren’t usually partial to a floral, this could be right up your tree.

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Chanel Gabrielle, £86 for 50ml

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Initiated into the Chanel fragrance family in 2017, this future classic is described as a “pure floral”, constructed around four white flowers (the four angular edges of the bottle are intended to evoke the ‘four formula’). Within said scent equation you’ve got zippy orange blossom, elegant ylang ylang, delicate jasmine and a nice parade of bold tuberose. For a floral it’s very rich and full of body with a good lifespan - you won’t need to go in for another misting at midday.

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