This Christmas' hottest perfumes are strong florals that harken back to a boozier time.
Still looking for one more Christmas gift? Pick up one of the latest perfumes, which are mostly floral, mostly strong and not at all dainty.
Tuberose, an intoxicating white flower that had its heyday in the 1940s, is back in a big way. Boozy and giddy, it smells like being drunk underneath a disco ball. Lustiness in general is all over the season’s new bottles. Perfume as ornament has returned. All are available at major department and beauty stores.
Gucci Bloom ($72–$124). The first perfume released under Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele is an unapologetic tuberose and honeysuckle bomb that smells like being trapped inside a hothouse.
This is a hypnotic floral that whispers of a headier time, of velvet jumpsuits, sateen glamour and 1980s power shoulders. It is a mishmash of perfumes past, smelling at once like the superflorals of the 1920s and the drunken heavies of the 1970s.
Twilly d’Hermès ($79–$130). Twilly d’Hermès is the first scent from the venerable fashion house to fling itself directly at the heart of the millennial market, and without apology. It made the juice dusty pink, tied a teeny-tiny Hermès scarf around its neck, and topped it with a lacquered miniature bowler hat — a presentation destined for Instagram.
The fragrance, too, was designed as millennial catnip, using just three notes — sandalwood, ginger and tuberose — to represent the tight-knit packs of 20-somethings who cavort around Paris. The three notes follow a linear progression: First comes a swoon of flowers, followed by a ginger snap, and then it all dries down to creamy comfort.
Tiffany & Co. Tiffany ($75–$130). For its new signature scent, Tiffany paired iris with orris butter, mandarin and a quiet base of minty patchouli. Iris can smell like old lipstick in perfumery, but here, it presents as powdery, expensive and yielding.
Chanel Gabrielle ($105–$135). Gabrielle is Chanel’s first original new scent in 15 years. It is also a Chanel debut for the perfumery scion Olivier Polge, who took over for his father as the house’s resident nose in 2013. Polge has already formulated several blockbusters, including Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb and the Lancôme hit La Vie et Belle.
Chanel Gabrielle is intended for all-day wear, with a collage of white florals including ylang-ylang, tuberose, jasmine and orange blossom. It is designed to diffuse on the skin, shimmering away from the wrist like heat on a pavement. There is an undeniable elegance to it, but it is so delicate that after a few hours the scent is no more than a whisper, a gossamer reminder of a more glamorous morning.
Byredo Velvet Haze ($150–$230). Velvet Haze is meant to channel the countercultural moment of the 1960s, as well as the more contemporary youths camped out at Coachella. It contains coconut water and hibiscus, making it smell not unlike an L.A. smoothie bar, and it closes with a lactic murmur of cacao, which leaves the collarbone smelling like a berry dipped in chocolate.
This is the sort of scent that works best after dark, perhaps as one walks along a California beach, with the heartbeat sound of bass thumping somewhere in the distance.
Jason Wu ($70–$145). Clean, clean, clean. Whereas many of the fall perfumes smell like tipsy opulence, Jason Wu swerved in a different direction for his first scent. Though the main note is an essence of jasmine sambac, the scent is as cool as slices of cucumber laid on the eyelids.
This is perfume as understatement, everything tailored just so, but never fussy or high maintenance.