A fragrance’s magic is equal to the sum of its parts. But often, there’s one note that sits higher than the rest. From smoky oud to sticky white flowers, metallic aldehydes to synthesised suede, in the following pages you’ll find a selection olfactory marvels and the natural/man-made materials that make them as such. Note-taking has never been more interesting.
Paradoxe is a scent that hinges on multiple opposing notes, both natural and synthetic. There’s jasmine, ambrofix, serenolide, amber, musk. But it’s the crystallised freshness of neroli bud that we’re enamoured with. Distilled from the flowers of the bitter orange tree, it’s weightless, green, and adds a honeyed softness to the ambery base. Paradoxe indeed.
Dior J’Adore L’or
Described as an “ode to the flowers of Grasse,” J’Adore L’or is a rich, enveloping boutique of velvety white petals. Perhaps the most enticing is jasmine grandiflorum, with its sticky-sweet finish and captivating power. Harvested at Dior’s own Domaine de Manon in France, the jasmine ensures the voluptuous, well-rounded finish the J’Adore franchise is known and loved for.
Celine Bois Dormant
Hedi Slimane calls Bois Dormant the olfactory interpretation of an English double-breasted flannel blazer; the day opposite of black tie. This summary is in perfect synchronicity with its makeup: bergamot, cedar, white orris butter, vetiver. Juniper however stands out: sharp, aromatic, and deeply verdant, it smells exactly as Slimane describes it.
Memo Paris Argentina
Argentina is passionate, fast and unforgiving. So too is Memo’s olfactive riff, a rhythmic clash of ambrette, rose and oud. Rose often carries a sense of innocence, sophistication, but Memo’s ‘tango rose’ is mashed with oud, or the resin extracted from fungus-affected agar trees. The final product is just as one would hope: unexpected yet difficult to walk away from.
Tom Ford Rose De Chine
Tom Ford knows a good rose, but Rose De Chine is a little darker, richer and concentrated. The secret lies in a “rose-on-rose” distillation; a rose neoabsolute that has a smoky, provocative finish. If you want a rose that’s roughed up or singed around the edges, this is it.
Hermès Violette Volynka
This fragrance—a new addition to the Hermessence collection—marries sweet violet with volynka leather. The strength of leather (a calling card of the French house) anchors down the weightless, powdery violet, resulting in a fragrance that’s masculine but feminine and perfectly balanced all at once.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian 724
Inspired by the electric concrete current of New York City, 724 is crisp, musky and vibrational. There’s white flowers, Calabrian bergamot and sandalwood, as well as aldehydes, otherwise known as synthetic compounds that mimic soapy, or slightly metallic notes (in this instance, a mock orange). Think of it as bottled energy.
Guerlain Oud Khôl
Leathery, pure and deliciously hypnotic, Guerlain’s Oud Khôl is the olfactory interpretation of the colour black. The house specifically sources the oud sustainably from Bangladesh’s forests, harvesting the wood by hand and extracting the resin via time-honoured rituals. The resulting fragrance is dark, tempting and steeped in desire.
Byredo Eyes Closed
When commissioning Eyes Closed, Byredo founder Ben Gorham wanted to bottle up the smell of intimacy; those moments where your skin pricks, your breath sharpens and your heart vibrates. It has a cocooning warmth thanks to cinnamon, carrot and cardamom, but it’s papyrus—dry, mineral, earthy—that you’ll notice as it dries down.
Gucci Moonlight Serenade
Inspired by magic and alchemy, this watery cologne is as delicate as it is memorable. The most discerning note is lavender, with its soft, fluffy redolence. It’s layered with sage and tonka for freshness and depth, while a synthetic vintage accord fills in the base.
Dries Van Noten Fleur Du Mal
This juice juxtaposes honeyed osmanthus flower with buttery suede, in turn creating a fragrance that’s smooth, carnal and intriguing. Osmanthus in particular is a flower perfumer Quentin Bisch calls “almost animalic”, with an initial sweetness that diffuses into something deeper.
Paco Rabanne Olympéa Solar
The smell of sunlight, Olympéa Solar is bright, sweet and promising. The lightness of tangerine is tempered with the tiare flower, also known as the Tahitian gardenia. Sensual and smooth but without bulk, it’s a flower that encapsulates the feeling of last light on warmed skin. Radiant and steeped with energy, it’s a scent that takes you to Eden.
Photography Vladimir Marti
Creative Direction Marne Schwartz
Set Design Dané Stojanovic
Lighting Assistant Efraim Evidor
Styling Assistants Laura Jane Brown and Imogene Legrand