BEAUTY

The Best New Fragrances of 2021

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Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images

Deciding on a new fragrance has always been a deeply personal choice. There are, of course, several elements that come into play when selecting a scent you love. The nostalgia component when choosing certain notes factors in greatly—and we’ve all learned that fragrance usually needs an hour or two to settle onto your skin to properly smell the way it’s intended to, based on your personal body chemistry. If you’re thinking of changing up your scent in 2021, there’s never been a better time—perfume houses are coming out with fresh offerings at a rapid clip. Below, we’ve put together a handful of some of the chicest, newest fragrances to launch—from sultry and musky to fresh and floral—from some of the most renowned fashion and beauty brands.

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A sophisticated fusion of scents that also emit a feeling of soothing warmth when worn, Ébène Fumé—the latest fragrance to debut from Tom Ford’s Private Blend fragrances brand—draws inspiration from the traditional palo santo rituals, providing leathery notes among a blend of warm woods and invigorating herbs. There are evident hints of floral rose that pair seamlessly with African ebony wood and pine needles to give a pleasing aroma. It’s an overall earthy perfume that fits especially well in fall and winter: chic and cozy at the same time.

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Rose petal, pine needle, and bergamot oil blend together to delightfully mimic the aroma that emerges at the end of fresh rainfall. A little goes a long way when applying this unisex fragrance—which starts out on the cleaner floral side and, after lingering on the skin throughout the day, transforms into a stronger, more aquatic note. It’s a rich scent that is ideal for this time of year, when more flavorful scents are desired.

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A clean, jovial, floral fragrance for winter that, fortunately, remains soft and not overly candied. The charm in this scent lies with the heart note of honey, which is super subtle—blending seamlessly with the tangy top notes of mandarin, then evened out by coumarin, the base note, which provides a warm milky tone. The essence conjured up many festive images when we wore it.

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This thoroughly gorgeous, genderless scent will be beneficial for your mood and mental clarity. Using patented olfactory technology, Mind Energy was created specifically to stimulate the neural pathways with a set of combined notes to clear brain fog and increase alertness. In doing so, The Nue Co. also managed to create an appealing scent that will resonate broadly with individuals who favor different fragrance tones—whether floral, earthy, green, or woodsy. The base scent is soft velvet with whispers of juniper, pink peppercorn, and Egyptian geranium oil. The newly launched vegan, plathate-free and cruelty-free scent is formulated using sustainable and upcycled extracts sourced from community-focused projects around the world.

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This clean and festive scent is unisex and, frankly, perfect for all seasons and times of the day. It’s floral with spice undertones to appease those looking for something with a little more spirit than just a simplified flowery perfume. Launched and reformulated this December, Grand Larceny is the newest rendition of the beloved St. Rose eau de parfum line. It adheres to clean beauty standards, incorporating the base note of upcycled rose concentrate that is shared with St. Rose’s sister fragrance, Vigilante.

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The latest Bulgari scent comes across cool and earthy at the same time, denoting a woodsy hue that emerges fresh to the nose. The sleek bottle was inspired by the pyrite gemstone—signaling a chic, genderless fragrance. The unisex scent is austere and lasts surprisingly long. It’s perfect this time of year, during lavish winter nights.

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On the muskier side, Aprés is a fuller scent that evokes all the holiday feels, bringing forth images of pristine snow surrounded by tall, evergreen trees reaching up to the wintry sky. Woodsy notes of cedarwood, sandalwood, and patchouli are softened with notes of bourbon, vanilla, and soft suede allowing it to be worn during the day and well into the evening. You will be drawn to this scent if you prefer the woodsy, spicier fragrances; it captures these essences very well.

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Swaying on the stronger side of fragrances, the newly launched Bandit Supreme was created as an ode to the 1944 Robert Piguet fragrance Bandit, using base notes of leather, oakmoss, and patchouli. The scent contains mid notes of orange blossom and jasmine and very light touches of Tunisian neroli and galbanum. This is a full, genderless scent we think most appropriate for evenings out.

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To heighten your mood (and libido), Dusted is a seductive scent that uses the power of terpenes and aromatic oils to stimulate your senses. The sexy notes of African lavender, bergamot, and ylang-ylang work together to create a soft, light scent that is unmistakably alluring and can be worn day or evening. This fragrance is not only gorgeous in its simplicity—it has an ecological conscience in that it’s cruelty free, sustainably packaged, non-toxic, vegan, and phthalate-free. The roll-on fragrance oil is ultra-feminine and captivating.

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Patchouli lovers will revel in this fragrance, which uses two patchouli qualities to make it unique—but still loyal to the pureness of patchouli flavors. The main notes of this blend are patchouli coeur, a soft patchouli oil fraction with a camphor-like topnote; and patchouli oil sourced from Indonesia.

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Finally, an enticing floral scent for anyone that wants a feminine mix of sexy and fresh—without any heaviness or too-sweet tones. The top notes consist of sumptuous orange flower water, and the base notes contain tuberose and white Neroli. Flora Carnivora uplifts and transports the senses into a magical garden of flowers, which was precisely the inspiration for founder Michelle Pfeiffer’s latest scent.

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A distinct floral leather merges notes of black leather, violet leaf absolute, orpur, and cedarwood in this enticing fall fragrance that lands well on skin. Capturing the sensuality of the American West, the scent is unmistakably its own, mixing even, fruity undertones of honeysuckle with luxurious jasmine sambac absolute.

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This is an ideal scent for those who prefer deeper, herbal notes that are not on the sweet side. Drawing inspiration from the marine colognes of the 1990s, Aqua Viridi’s multi-layered fragrance utilizes plant and flower extracts to give intriguing woody, herb-infused notes. Self-taught perfumer Patrick Kelly created the aroma using rosemary, lavender, Tonka beans, and hay absolute.

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For those who love a great citrus scent that’s on the gentle side and is still fall-appropriate, there’s Cultus Artem’s Alba. High notes of geranium, magnolia blossom, red mandarin, and Italian lemon are rounded out with beeswax, hay, and Jonquil flowers to give a fragile, but still enchanting presence. Like Cultus Artem’s other scents, Alba is free of parabens, organosulfates, phthalates, color additives, and synthetic dyes.

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This is a beguiling, sweet scent that still encapsulates all the fall feels. The scent’s namesake is from the Diorama Gourmand dessert, an original, bespoke delicacy created by the legendary restaurant Maxim’s of Paris especially for Dior. Vanilla Diorama has an opulent array of Madagascar vanilla, rum, and patchouli to give it some edge and round out the fragrance—perfect for anyone who desires sweetness with a grown-up, enticing musk to it.

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Spell on You uses an alluring combination of notes to create a sexy mood. Created by Louis Vuitton’s Master Perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud, this scent draws its inspiration from the intoxicating tension and game-playing between lovers. The heart of the bouquet is an unmistakable rose and Sambac jasmine combination.

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This should be on the list of every fragrance collector in love with clean, green scents. Not heavy in the least bit, Venise is fresh, light, and undeniably intoxicating. The French candlemaker drew its inspiration from the city of Venice and the lush vegetation of the Serenissima Lagoon. The high notes are vetiver, basil, an unlikely green pepper, and tomato. Here’s a pro tip: Allow at least a minute for the fragrance to properly settle on the skin.

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This sexy gender-fluid scent is perfect for fall evenings out or a special occasion. High notes of the fragrance contain blood orange and Davana, with middle notes resting on patchouli (of course,) and finally settling with bottom notes of vanilla and caramel.

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Recently launched last month, My Way Intense is an excellent choice for those who love florals. This scent captures a more vibrant take on the original Armani floral—with celebratory fragrance notes contain tuberose, orange blossom, cedar, and vanilla.

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A spicier, woody fragrance to consider if you’re into the muskier fall scents. This subtle fragrance goes on strong at first, then dissipates into softer notes using tones of ambrette, styrax, and seaweed—all of which give the welcoming aroma of a cozy cabin getaway. Aesop’s newest cruelty-free, vegan scent is gender-fluid and health conscious with a Leaping Bunny certified stamp of approval.

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Fresh and exotic, this is a cultivated scent for floral lovers to consider if they want something soft and wispy. It’s delicately welcoming and not overwhelming when you walk into a room. The fragrance includes high notes of fresh green pea and peony, and a final hint of musk. Giungle di Seta is one of a four-part fragrance collection, Store de Seta, which launched earlier this year.

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Warm, sweet, and musky, this is a captivating scent that lays nicely on the skin without fading after the initial application. Alluring notes of vanilla and coriander with nutmeg and juniper berries give a pleasing, androgynous fragrance that can be worn from daytime well into evening.

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Who knew a perfume could not only uplift your mood but also be good for your health? From clean supplement and beauty company The Nue Co., comes a unique fragrance whose scents mimic phytoncide compounds—the fragrance released trees in a forest. Inhaling phytoncides has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety and boost the parasympathetic nervous system. Using clean resin and tart citrus notes of vetiver, cedarwood, pine, patchouli and bergamot, this gender-fluid scent is welcoming, woodsy, and instantly calming.

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This whimsical yet delicate scent is inspired by Coco Chanel’s time spent in the Scottish Highlands during her storied love affair with the Duke of Westminster. The fragrance, which launched in May, pays delicate homage to the green valleys and lush fields in the region, with subtle notes of juniper berry, cypress, and vetiver.

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Honoring the 151st anniversary of the South of France’s famed ground zero of glam, the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Dior created its new fragrance by drawing on the renowned pool area’s pale rocks, sun, and sea air—using salty top notes infused with jasmine and Mediterranean mastic. The scent is a perfect travel companion that can take you from day into evening without too heavy a presence.

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The new scent from Etro, which debuted last month, is a jovial summer scent ideal for anyone who loves floral with an extra touch of musk. Calabrian bergamot mixed with citrus and hints of amber make for a light but memorable summer scent.

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Inspired by Narciso Rodriguez’s original For Her scent, Musc Noir is a sensual fragrance launched in April set out to magnify the powers of a woman, using rich leather suede notes, white cedar, rose, and luscious hints of plum. The scent can work wonderfully well as an accessory for summer nights and flowy wardrobes.

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Drop d’Issey, launched in April, is the newest chapter in women’s fragrance from Issey Miyake after nearly thirty years. Ultra-feminine, A Drop d’Issey utilizes “silent flowers” such as lilac, which is at the heart of the fragrance, along with almond milk for the top notes and delicate orange blossom with rose, which create a striking bouquet. With touches of star anise, lilac, and jasmine, the overall fragrance has a cozy feel to it.

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When creating this fascinating floral scent, Liis founders Alissa Sullivan and Leslie Hendin envisioned a fragrance that evoked “big rose energy.” The resulting scent is clean but powerful, allowing it to be worn all year long, from day into evening. The top notes use tangerine and cassis, mid notes contain matcha tea with dry notes of rose centifolia, and musk.

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Floral lovers will be enchanted by this charming scent for the summer—and even through fall—because of its versatile mix of elegant notes. Just launched this past May, the top note fragrances use cheerful Magnolia, white tea, and green mandarin. Center notes use Lily of the Valley and peony, and finally, the base uses a musky oft sandalwood that gives the final notes refinement.

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Newly released this month, Dolce & Gabbana’s newest fragrance has a brand-new twist on the original Light Blue Forever Pour Femme, using Italian and Mediterranean white florals, orange blossoms, and even crisp green apple. The resulting transformed fragrance epitomizes days on the coast of Capri with subtle wood notes appearing at the very end—symbolizing an ode to afternoon sunsets.

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Warm, sultry, and layered, Lancôme’s newest fragrance launch from this past April uses three stronger notes of jasmine, orange blossom, and ylang ylang, plus vanilla and a sprinkle of coconut accord to give it a creamy, sweet scent. Iris and patchouli are also added into the composition to give the textured notes a calming but celebratory feel—perfect for evenings in and out on the town.

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Krigler, the old-school fragrance brand beloved by the elite European jet set for decades, has just launched Eau de Parfum #67, an aromatic, spring-fresh citrus scent with notes of lemon, mandarin grapefruit, sage ,and lavender. The soft scent gives off an invigorating, fruity but not-too-sweet vibe that works well for mornings and late, breezy afternoons.

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Happy and uplifting, Louis Vuitton’s newest fragrance—which launched this month—has managed to capture the whimsical scents and feels of a sunny day at the beach, utilizing an array of yuzu and neroli notes balanced with hints of citrus as well as more profound floral backdrops. Multimedia artist Alex Israel designed the bottle and packaging—with the local beaches of his hometown in Los Angeles as his inspiration.

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Giving off chic Malibu vibes with its light scent, Windows Down reminds you of all the women who look fabulous effortlessly, using simplicity and good taste. Henry Rose’s latest fragrance—launched this month—utilizes soft notes of grapefruit, bergamot, and a hint of Earl Grey tea for a casual yet graceful perfume. This works as a versatile fragrance from day well into those summer nights.

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This newly launched scent certainly lives up to its namesake—with visions of carousing up and down the Italian Riviera being called to mind immediately upon application. Simply put, it’s an alluring, light, and clean scent; it won’t overwhelm the room you walk into. Instead, it lingers nicely on the skin in a gentle manner.

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If cashmere had a signature scent, this sweet but not all-over-the-place scent would be it. Launched earlier this spring, it’s calm and surprisingly sophisticated for a fragrance on the sugary side with subtle notes of pink pepper, dark rum, and a luxuriously refined overall scent.

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Launched this spring, fashion designer Pamella Roland’s first foray into fragrance is a sweet scent inspired by her grandmother’s rose garden. The floral notes are as strong as the candied tones, to give an overall cheery, and upbeat scent.

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Celebrated perfumer Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Aqua Celestia cologne forte is one of three newly launched scents this May. All fresh and unique, Aqua Celestia stands out with citrusy and fragrant floral base notes using bergamot, black currant, Egyptian jasmine, and French mimosa which give a light citrus scent that denotes a cheery, happy impression.

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Ideal for anyone wanting a refreshing scent that manifests “clean” without any overbearing sweet notes. Just launched this April, Orange Peel is one of five limited scents from Jo Malone London’s Marmalade Collection—which uses three consistent notes of orange peel, orange bigarade and cashmere wood, to bring together a sophisticated fragrance.

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If refinement had a scent, this would be it. Blackcurrant nectar is the signature scent note, along with Turkish Isparta Rose—which provides an uplifting smell. This latest fragrance from Armani’s Sí line also contains subtle hints of patchouli, benzoin resin, and vanilla for warmth and to even out all of the different notes. We liked this one especially because while it was sweet, it wasn’t overpowering. Sí Intense launches on February 9; $126 for 3.4 oz.

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Light and musky, Tom Ford’s Tubéreuse Nue is the latest scent debuting from his Private Blend Fragrance line. The base of the fragrance is the Tuberose flower, which historically has earned the sobriquet “Mistress of the Night” since it requires nocturnal pollinators in order to bloom. Floral scents of Jasmine are blended with hints of pepper and patchouli to give the scent an edge at the very end. This fragrance is best suited for evenings out. Tubéreuse Nue launches Feb. 1; $350 for 50 ml, sephora.com.

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Fresh with floral and citrus tones, this limited-edition fragrance by Aerin is a twist on their best-selling Mediterranean Honeysuckle. Using vibrant tones of Honeysuckle, Tuberose and Miel de Provence (yes, honey—but it’s not overly sweet) the result is a clean and tasteful fragrance that works day, night, and frankly all year, regardless of the season. $135, nordstrom.com.

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Izia la Nuit, which launches February 1, unequivocally smells like rich woman. This is a bold, woodsy evening scent that contains rose, vanilla, and leathery notes—super chic and strong when first applied, then scent gradually lingers and settles softly with a mild hint of patchouli. Inspired by Sisley founder Isabelle D’Ornano’s own garden of roses, this is an ideal fragrance for evenings out and dressed to the nines. $195 for 50 ml, sisley-paris.com.

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Available since January, this Louis Vuitton scent feels and smells soft and willowy. If your goal with perfume is not only to uplift the senses but smell completely unique, then Louis Vuitton has nailed it for you. It’s subtle but dreamy, using as its base the Osmanthus flower from the Far East, a flower perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud has adored since his early childhood years. The second strong element to the scent is Magnolia along with notes of apricot, cassis and even a hint of strawberry. $265, louisvuitton.com.

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Amazing Grace Jasmine is a fresh, clean, cheery scent—released in January, this is a definite mood upper. Jasmine, the strongest note here, is blended with coconut water to give it a sweet edge. Bergamot and musk are faintly added. The scent is fresh but also warm at the very end. If your fragrance tastes are more on the clean and sweet side, this is an ideal perfume to take you all the way through summer. $52, ulta.com.

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Releasing February 3, Vanilla Woods, in a nutshell, smells like dessert. It’s a perfume oil that is made with an all-natural base of organic Jojoba oil and organic, fair-trade Madagascar vanilla, hints of pear, rose, and even soft caramel. The fragrance has a beautiful, playful, daytime feel to it. $79.

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This smells exactly like something Lady Daphne of Bridgerton would wear. This scent is a velvety interpretation of rose and peony and even subtle tones of pear and lychee. The scent has a base note of vetiver which also gives it a bit of a smoky, nutty scent. It’s a refined, ultra-feminine scent to be worn throughout the day. $295, nordstrom.com.