Heavenly Scents: Choosing the perfect luxury fragrance

More than a mere fragrance, a scent is an artistic expression that encapsulates stories, emotions and inspirations.

by Ros Woodham
Words Edel Cassidy

A captivating luxury fragrance has the power to transport us to far-off places, enhance our well-being and evoke cherished memories.

Perfumers can create distinct and complex scents by layering ingredients from different olfactive families. Starting at the bottom, the base note constructs a strong foundation for the fragrance. The middle and top notes are then built on top of that.

The top notes are what you smell when you first sample the perfume. They evaporate after five to ten minutes to reveal the middle notes. The base note is finally revealed when the fragrance has dried. This sequence allows perfumers to design their own unique scent and sensory experience.

Every new fragrance presents us with a novel human experience that only exists in its specific formulation. Even a slight alteration to the proportions of the notes can result in a completely different scent. Fragrance creation is a true art form, and here I introduce you to some of the world’s most luxurious fragrances, their makers and the experiences and thoughts that inspired them.   

Purple luxury fragrance purfume bottle with silver label and lid

Forgive Me  

Carine Roitfeld

Former iconic fashion editor of Vogue Paris and model Carine Roitfeld launched her perfume brand in 2019. Forgive Me, the latest addition to her glamorous portfolio is a sensual classic dedicated to all the women who enjoy bending the rules. It’s a fragrance that expresses feelings of duality, passion, irresistible attraction and an urge to escape. With legendary perfumer Dominique Ropion, she has created an enigmatic scent with character and captivating nuances. A bouquet of enchanting white flowers – tuberose, orange blossom and gardenia – combine with a provocative trail of patchouli and ylang-ylang to create a complex and alluring scent.

Luxury fragrance by Chris Collins in brown and gold bottle

Vide Cor Meum  

World of Chris Collins

When it comes to designing a fragrance, the sources of inspiration can be endless. Vide Cor Meum, for men and women, was inspired by an aria based on Dante’s first sonnet and composed by Patrick Cassidy. Former Ralph Lauren model-turned-perfumer Chris Collins describes his process: ‘I create fragrance the way a composer writes music. The notes are the lyrics. The way they mix together is the music and melody.’ Classic Armenian-style rose, herbaceous thyme and sweet vanilla create an atmosphere of seduction, while resinous incense adds a layer of mystery. 

Simple perfume bottle with black lid and red label

Paradis Nuit  


Bastille prides itself on using 95 per cent natural ingredients – the other five per cent is made up of quality ingredients that respect the planet and the body. They work with talented perfumers who formulate fascinating unisex niche fragrances. Nicolas Beaulieu, who is responsible for Paradis Nuit, the latest addition to the collection, describes it as ‘reassuring, bewitching, sensual’. It’s an exotic fragrance with floral notes – the depth of sandalwood and the warmth of bitter cocoa mingle with the comforting light of Marseille soap and cassia flower.

Elegant luxury fragrance perfume bottle with decorative closure

Promenade Sur Le Rocher 

Grace de Monaco

Princess Grace of Monaco’s style and timeless beauty has had a lasting impact; she will always be remembered as a true icon. However, her passion for the arts and her desire to help others is her true legacy. Promenade Sur Le Rocher is inspired by notes from her favourite flowers. ‘Love of flowers has opened many doors for me,’ Grace wrote in My Book of Flowers. That love of flowers continues to open doors for others as all profits from Grace de Monaco products support the stars of tomorrow through the Princess Grace Foundation.

Highly decorative perfume bottle

Limited Edition Eau du Soir  


It’s important to Isabelle d’Ornano, who launched Sisley in 1976 with her husband Hubert, to promote young artistic talent. In 2020, the Sisley Beaux-Arts de Paris Prize for Young Creation was launched. This year’s winner, Ymane Chabi-Gara is the latest guest artist to adorn a limited edition of Sisley’s iconic fragrance, Eau du Soir. An enticing and timeless scent, the freshness of citrus fruit mingles with the sensuality of flowers, accentuated with an elegant chypre signature. one day painting 2, the piece chosen by Isabelle for the packaging, gives the fragrance a modern feel with a distinctive style and character.

Fragrance by Guerlain in a honey-coloured bottle

Tobacco Honey  


The first of a legendary dynasty of perfumers, Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain began creating custom fragrances for high society Parisians in 1828. This year, almost two centuries later, Maison Guerlain has added a new fragrance, Tobacco Honey, to its L’Art & La Matière collection of olfactory masterpieces. Raw tobacco exudes its most beautiful facets by combining with delicious honey to form a powerful meeting of opposites. For both him and her, it’s the perfect sensual fragrance that invites you to get closer. Reflecting Guerlain’s commitment to sustainability, the L’Art & La Matière bottles are refillable at selected Guerlain boutiques.

  • ‘Heavenly Scents: Choosing the perfect luxury fragrance’ is published in Anthology Volume 20. Read more features from this volume or buy it now.
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