Great affordable fragrances. I never thought I’d have too many to be able to afford an intro, but here I am, so let’s go.
I’ve always been a great admirer of Lush’s bold, creative and pleasingly weird fragrances even though they haven’t (yet) instinctively been my poison. Turmeric Latte (£30 for 30ml) is another that represents my own olfactory hell, but is a nonetheless brilliant choice for lovers of sweet, puddingy goodness. As the festive name implies, it’s a cosying, creamy, spicy affair one might expect to fill a lidded paper cup. Steeped in vanilla but made less cupcake with warm, toasted spices, Turmeric Latte will appeal to those who buy vanilla/amber/tonka scents costing a great deal more.
A more reliably people-pleasing fragrance brand is Zara. Jo Malone has created a great-quality, elegant, affordable and wildly popular lineup of cologne-style scents for the fast fashion chain, and in her latest collection (inspired by global cities, from £5.99 for a rollerball scent), she’s micro-nudged things in a more complex direction. Fashionably London (£15.99, if you can get your hands on it – it’s forever selling out), is an initially sharp, bright citrus floral that dries down into something muskier, sexier and more powdery. It’s restrained, appropriate for work and incapable of annoying anyone. Elegantly Tokyo (£25.99), though, is Malone’s best for Zara so far. White flowers (green leaves and all) glazed in milky tree sap is what I’m getting, and I’m decidedly pro.
Finally, Roger & Gallet is relaunching, and you’d be plain foolish to ignore what are some of the greatest-ever wafts for your wallet. These are light, bright fragrances (named “Wellbeing Waters” by the 160-year old pharmacy brand), created by some of the world’s finest perfumers. Fleur de Figuier (£13) is comfortably better than 90% of expensive fig scents and was created by Francis Kurkdjian, now head of fragrance at Dior and one of perfumery’s greatest living noses.
Bois d’Orange is the baby of Dominique Ropion, the undisputed genius behind Frederic Malle’s (expensive but sublime) Portrait of a Lady. Bois d’Orange is a bright, crisp, unobtrusive fragrance that smells like a summer scent in warm weather and a wintery one in the cold. It’s wonderful on any gender, any age. And like its Roger & Gallet stablemates, it’s £13, for goodness sake! Cheaper than a bag of oranges at this rate.