Functional fragrances are trending and Charlotte Tilbury clearly wants in. With the launch of her new Fragrance Collection of Emotions perfume line, here's our honest review

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Charlotte Tilbury doesn't do things by halves. She has launched not one but six new perfumes, created by master perfumers alongside fragrance tech experts, who have used mood-altering molecules to evoke different emotions. Launched 2 May 2024, the fragrances claim to tap into your emotional memory bank and cost £20 for a 10ml bottle, £25 for a discovery set with 6 x 1.5ml bottles and £130 for the large 100ml size. 

If you’re an OG Tilbury fan or a perfume fanatic, you’ll know that this isn’t Tilbury’s first foray into fragrance. Back in 2016, the brand launched a limited edition perfume called Scent Of A Dream, which was met with acclaim and sold out quickly. Many beauty experts couldn’t understand why she didn’t do another sooner.

So why now? The 'Fragrance Collection of Emotions’ (the group name for the scents) is leaning into the burgeoning functional fragrances market. These are scents that promise to tap into your neurological wiring and enhance and elevate certain emotions.

Tilbury has created the collection alongside the International Flavors & Fragrance (IFF) perfumery house. Over the last 40 years, it has been researching how fragrances affect people’s moods and emotions. Then using AI technology it has created an algorithm that, it says, can identify an emotion and suggest the exact fragrance accords to evoke that feeling. 

That tech was combined with the human expertise and real-life noses of three master perfumers - who between them have created iconic scents such as Calvin Klein Euphoria, Frederic Malle Lady Danger and YSL Libre - to create the six ‘emotional’ scents.  

Did they tap into my emotional memory bank as they claim to do? I gave them a try ahead of the launch. 

Charlotte Tilbury Fragrance Collection of Emotions: SJ’s verdict

Beauty Director SJ with the Charlotte Tilbury Fragrances Discovery Set £25

The love one: Love Frequency EDP, £20 for 10ml or £130 for 100ml

“This is heavy on the rose as it’s the note that is meant to connect your brain with love. The problem is I rarely love rose scents. They always remind me of Turkish delight and I find them quite artificial. This is a bit of that. It’s both sweet and powdery at the same time - it also contains cashmere wood, the other emotional molecule that links to feeling loved - as well as being quite full-on and in your face, as you might expect from Charlotte Tilbury."

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The energy one: Magic Energy EDP, £20 for 10ml or £130 for 100ml

“Before I sprayed, I assumed this was going to be stereotypical zingy and zesty citrus notes to make me feel energetic, like shower gels. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t. It’s more earthy and woody and, to me, more interesting for it. The notes that are meant to make you feel energised are lineally acetate - which is an element that makes up bergamot, which is quite similar to lime - along with palo santo which is often used to cleanse spaces from bad energy, and is woody and a little bit minty. The most unisex scent of the collection and far and away my top pick of the six.”

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The happiness one: Joyphoria EDP, £20 for 10ml or £130 for 100ml

“From the first spray, this made me think of being young and summertime, which are both very joyful moments - so in terms of the emotional connection this did exactly what it was supposed to do. It contains coconut water and jasmine extract (very holiday vibes) along with ylang ylang and vanilla bean extract which are the notes that are meant to enhance feelings of happiness. It’s light and fresh and I think the 10ml bottle would be a great addition to your summer holiday packing.”

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The calm one: Calm Bliss EDP, £20 for 10ml or £130 for 100ml

Iconic '90s men’s aftershave Davidoff Cool Water was ocean-themed and as soon as I sprayed this it reminded me exactly of that. It's not necessarily a bad thing as the neroli and the watery accord are doing their job, and the association of the sea is meant to make you feel calm. However, it made me feel like I was back in a sticky, seedy nightclub in Watford. It’s not new and refreshing, instead familiar and a bit retro. Whether that is a good or a bad thing is a matter of perspective.”

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The confidence one: Cosmic Power, £20 for 10ml or £130 for 100ml

“I predict this will be the most divisive of the scents because, on first spray, it's a lot to deal with. It is very reminiscent of Mugler’s Alien, which is a 'Marmite' perfume. The notes that are meant to give you ‘cosmic power’, aka confidence, are big ones; black pepper oil, cinnamon bark oil, clove oil, amber and vanilla bean extract. It is a ‘heavy’ scent. However, once it dries it changes. On some, it will smell sexy and alluring but on others, it might feel quite jarring - the same feedback Alien has always had.”

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The seductive one: More Sex, £20 for 10ml or £130 for 100ml

“I’m going to sound like a bit of a grandma here, but to me, this smells like obvious, cheap sex appeal - a one-night stand you immediately regret. You could argue that if it makes me feel like that then this perfume has done exactly what it has set out to do. It has all the ‘big’ sexy fragrance notes of sandalwood, musk and a leather note, which, according to the tech ,are the ones that enhance feelings of sexual attraction. But it’s not for me and I think Victoria Beckham’s perfume collection nails genuine sex appeal better.”

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