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IN FOCUS

Empowering Fragrances That Will Bolster Your Confidence

BY Alice du Parcq

As we still, still continue to navigate this longest and weariest of paths, I can see in my friends and family (and myself) a grieving for our past lifestyles.

We exist through the day a bit like an unplugged phone on Low Battery Mode with a dimmed screen, unable to emotionally-upload anything exciting and only able to perform an automated set of tasks: fill the fridge, cook another meal, get the home-schooling done, apologise for your inbox neglect, scrape through work, scroll Insta, go to bed. Everyone’s ride on this rollercoaster comes and goes at different times, making it a very lonely place when you’re in a dip and the filter’s extra bleak. It’s not a long-term solution, but what I can prescribe right here, right now, is a perfumed cheerleader to pull you through the dips.

A fragrant friend who replaces the hug you’re craving but can’t have. A scented sister who will immediately make you feel taller and more confident, who will stoke the embers deep within and tell the dark filter to do one. She’s the perfume who, in a breakup, would say ‘you are beautiful and interesting and valid; thank goodness you’re now free for someone worthy to discover that,’ and buy you three margaritas. We all need a pal like that. These beauties below are what I call scented shoulder pads; they’re big, they’re bold and they empower your whole being.

01

Acqua Di Parma

Signatures of the Sun Sandalo Eau de Parfum, $258.50

I’m putting it down to pure witchcraft how Acqua di Parma can take a woodsy note like sandalwood and turn it into something so hypnotic. The deep, penetrating notes of chopped, damp-hearted trunk melded with intense lavender oil and warm tonka bean are lifted by a golden blast of fresh citrus. It is lung-expanding, full of promise and emotionally empowering – as if the original Cologne just won a Best Actress Oscar and walked into the Vanity Fair after-party.

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02

Byredo

Night Veils Tobacco Mandarin Eau de Parfum, $330.00

At first this is bordering on pharmaceutical – like you’ve popped into the chemist’s feeling utterly horrendous and they’ve waved a magic wand of wellness over you. That’ll be the blend of invigorating mandarin peel, spikes of cumin and crushed coriander seeds. You’re then taken somewhere quite spiritual with resinous labdanum – a sticky shrub sap with ancient, church-incense vibes – and a sooty trail of leather and tobacco leaves that’s curious and moreish. It is inspiring, curious and challenging; it is the awe-inspiring art gallery visit you’re craving right now, but in scented format.

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03

Tom Ford

Lost Cherry Eau De Parfum, $475.00

We are in deepest Cherry Bakewell land here chaps, so you’re either in or out. Still in? You are in for a treat. And I mean that in a literal way. The combo of black cherry liqueur, fleshy fruit, sour cherry syrup, bitter almond, Turkish rose and roasted tonka is mouth-watering and addictive, creating a physical (sorry I have to use this word) moist bite on the palette. It’s practically dribbling down your throat in a frankly filthy and delicious way. In the depths of the third lockdown, this really is the perfume to bring a naughty, knowing smile to your face.

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04

Clean Reserve

White Fig & Bourbon Eau de Parfum, $125.00

Spicy, shimmering and warming, this is the perfect level of ‘cuddle’ without being too heavy as we crawl out of hibernation and into Spring. In fact, this is the hopeful hand reaching down to you in your self-pity pit (we’ve all been there recently, right?), ready to hoist you somewhere safe, gentle and joyful. Happy, bright sparkles of black pepper and bergamot blend with soft-sweet dried fruit, and the most delicious boozy haze of bourbon rum and cedarwood create a reassuring and enveloping finish.

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05

Kiehl's

Musk Eau de Toilette 1.7fl.oz, $58.00

This is a scent of two personalities that switches from one to the other like a perfumed Jekyll and Hyde – but both are here to make you feel amazing. It is animalic, skin-biting and filthy with exotic petals such as ylang-ylang and lily pulsating with rich swirls of musk and tonka bean. But on another day, it smells invigorating with a botanical blend of clean, innocent blossoms and soft dried herbs. It is basically Sex Panther dressed up as a timid pharmacist and depending on your mood when you wear it, you’ll either bounce into a raunchy energy boost or let the medicinal wellness glide over you like you’re on a spa day. Either way – good times are definitely to be had in this bottle.

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06

Sisley-Paris

Izia La Nuit Eau De Parfum, $135.00

If you’re a fan of rose fragrances, think of this as the richest, most opulent and ravishing version imaginable. It is an evening rose weighted with the warmth and lushness of the whole day pumped through each petal. It reminds me of a deep crimson, velvety textured and tightly packed rose on a long thorny stem in a Tim Burton movie, swirled with intoxicating otherworldly powers that snake all the way to the ends of your veins and ignite your cells with a dizzying elixir of superhuman powers. One spritz and you can conquer the world.

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Posted: Thursday, 11 February 2021
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