The Best Fragrances to Match Your Mood, According to Perfumers

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The Best Fragrances to Match Your Mood, According to Perfumers featured image
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There’s a perfume my mother wore when I was very young, maybe two. I found it years after she stopped wearing it, Elizabeth Arden’s Sunflower Eau de Toilette ($29.50-39.50)—I even remember how the bottle looked, down to the sunflower-colored liquid inside it. One smell and I was right back in her arms, young enough to feel safe and comforted knowing that my mom could handle everything. That moment was sparked by the relationship between fragrance and mood, and it’s a feeling that many perfumers are diligently trying to replicate.

But how do they do it?

How do you go from mixing ingredients like sunflowers and gardenia or tobacco and musk to invoking the feeling of romance, comfort or desire?

We dove deep into the world of fragrance creation to find out and to bring you the expert-approved mood board to help you find the scent that fits exactly how you feel.

How Fragrance and Mood Interact

The creation of a perfume is kind of like mixing magic. While some of them start with a scent in mind, other perfumers are trying to craft a place, a memory or a mood. Creating a fragrance that’s transformational or that takes you somewhere you’ve never been before is as close to magic as I can think of, anyway. And as you can imagine, it can be difficult to try to evoke a feeling through scent. As people, we’re motivated, inspired and swayed by a lot of different things, and fragrances themselves can smell differently from person to person.

“I think fragrance has changed a lot in the past few years,” says MOODEAUX founder and CEO Brianna Arps. “We’re not trying to aspire to one thing any more, especially since fragrances all smell differently on us anyway.”

According to Yvan Jacqueline President-Americas FFD for Parfums de Marly- Initio Parfums Privés, the art to connecting a fragrance to a mood involves combining the obvious with the subtle and unexpected. “Citrus notes like bergamot, mandarin and grapefruit are known for their brightness, versatility and freshness,” Jacqueline explains. “The secret is to associate those scents with the ingredients like geranium or vetiver to smooth the sharpness of the citrus while incorporating woods for depth and long-lasting sillage, as seen with Perseus.”

Why Start With Mood?

Starting from the point of view of an emotion can make it easier for consumers to identify the fragrance they’re looking for, and it also opens up the opportunity for that fragrance to be gender neutral.

“Flowers are for everyone, moods are for everyone,” explains vice president of global new product development at Jo Malone London, Celine Roux. “It can be daunting to search for a fragrance; it’s easier to say that you’re looking for something warm and comforting or uplifting and invigorating.”

“Expressing moods in the perfume world is limitless,” Jacqueline says. “At Parfums de Marly, we are extremely proud to offer a wide possibility of feelings and messages in our collection as you can wear perfume for so many different reasons such as to seduce (Delina Exclusif), to feel energized (Perseus), to feel happy (Delina), and to boost confidence (Haltane).”

Often, fragrances are built through storytelling, to help the consumer identify all key points the fragrance is trying to convey: it’s inspiration, it’s mood and it’s message.

“We begin by sharing a symbolic story linked to the desert,” cofounders of AYOND, Shani Van Breukelen and Porter Yates explain. “We use its ingredients or specific moments in time to create a unique scent that supports the desired emotional state. Rock Rose, for example, captures the desert’s ability to renew by depicting how the flower emerges after a wildfire, bringing life back to the arid landscape. The scent of Rock Rose has a quiet strength that revitalizes the spirit.”

I’m Feeling…

1 / 8


MOODEAUX’s Worthy SuperCharged SkinScent Dry Oil Perfume Spray ($32)

Notes: White Tea, Lavender, Red Rose, Dry Musk, Vanilla

Description: Formulated right after founder Brianna Arps lost her job, this scent was created to be the warm hug she needed at the time. The soft, reassuring scents create create a fresh, sophisticated feeling that you deserve.

BUY NOW – $32

2 / 8


AYOND Metamorph Eau de Parfum ($160)

Notes: Bergamot, Juniper, Clary Sage, Jasmine Absolute, Vetiver

Description: “Metamorph Eau de Parfum supports inner clarity,” explains founder Shani Van Breukelen. “The presence of frankincense and other ceremonial incense in Metamorph helps to refresh one’s perspective and bring about a shift in direction. It aims to open the mind and create a space for new growth and manifestation.”

BUY NOW – $160

3 / 8


Jo Malone Scarlet Poppy Cologne Intense ($225)

Notes: Ambrette, Scarlet Poppy, Tonka Bean

Description: Voluptuous and blooming, Scarlet Poppy is a floral with depth, just like romance. Fall deeper in love with this ravishing fragrance as notes of velvety iris and barley sweep you into a romance you can’t get enough of.

BUY NOW – $225

4 / 8


MEMO Cappadocia Eau de Parfum ($310)

Notes: Saffron, Jasmine Absolute, Sandalwood, Rose Absolute

Description: With a palette meant to be organic and primal, this Turkey-inspired fragrance is the warm, spicy shot of adventure that gets you wonderfully lost in a new city. The horizon is open and the ways to go are boundless: it’s all yours to explore.

BUY NOW – $310

5 / 8


Initio Parfums Privés Narcotic Delight ($380)

Notes: Vanilla Bean, Pink Pepper, Cognac, and Cigar Smoke,

Description: Awaken your inner desire with Narcotic Delight’s delicate, smoky finish. “The key lies in the overdose of Hedione,” explains a representative from Initio. “This is a compound known for its ability to activate the pheromone receptors, thus acting as an aphrodisiac.”

BUY NOW – $380

6 / 8


St. John’s Vetiver Cologne ($60)

Notes: Sandalwood, Cypress, Vetiver, Amber

Description: Some masculine scents can be overwhelming, but this one is the perfect confidence-booster. Vetiver’s complex aroma balances earthy-leathers with lemongrass lightness for a fragrance that walks the line between a cool breeze and a formal affair.

BUY NOW – $60

7 / 8


Maya No. 1 Perfume Oil ($72)

Notes: Coconut Water, Sandalwood, White Musk, Vanilla Orchid

Description:  “Maya no. 1 exudes sexiness with notes of amber and rich musk drawing out your natural pheromones,” explains founder Alana Shlenker. “This beach-in-a-bottle scent takes you on an olfactory vacation to the tropics.”

BUY NOW – $72

8 / 8


Parfums de Marly Paris Perseus ($365)

Notes: Bergamot, Cashmere, Vetiver, Geranium, Blackcurrent Bud

Description: All about brightness, Perseus is the energizing, uplifting pick-me-up created from classic masculine scents, re-imagined for anyone. The feeling of the first rays of sun and an early morning, Perseus aims to make you feel radiant.

BUY NOW – $365

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