The New Fragrance Line That Completely Changed My Mind About Perfume—And the Way I Shop for It

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If you rattled off the top, mid and base notes of the fragrance you’re currently wearing, I’d nod my head politely and tell you it smelled great, but the truth is, those details bore me. Tell me the tracks your fragrance has on its Spotify playlist to best describe it on the other hand, and that’s a different story—I’d tell you mine right back.

Did I lose you? I was utterly confused, too, when I first started to navigate the website for a new fragrance line I had heard about that set out to change everything we’ve been taught about scent, but soon everything fell right into place. Phlur (pronounced “fleur”), an Austin-based unisex fragrance line (also my newest obsession), not only reinvents the way we shop for perfume, but also how it’s made and how it’s described.

The line currently has six fragrances that each smell so unique you can barely describe them, and that’s just what Phlur is after. Under each fragrance description is its “Note on Notes,” which reads, “We believe there’s no wrong way to smell a fragrance—even experts sometimes can’t identify what’s in a particular scent. That said, if you’re craving notes, then who are we to stand in your way?” Elements that fill the sleek white-and-gray bottles—these recyclable, opaque bottles keep light from damaging the fragrance and eliminate the need to add harmful stabilizers—are listed here, and a Spotify playlist, better known as the scent’s soundtrack, is embedded nearby to truly understand what each scent is all about in a different capacity.

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The bottles are recyclable and refreshingly not clear glass and there’s a playlist to describe each fragrance, but that’s not all—Phlur also reinvents the way you wear your scent throughout the day, too. While most fragrances smell great in the store, they often smell a little different once you begin to road test them after purchasing. Why? Because the majority are created to be tested on a paper strip in the store, not on skin. Phlur’s lineup is specifically crafted to smell its best when it touches skin, and also to change ever so slightly with you throughout the day, boasting different layers and reserving its “most-lasting, most-memorable notes for those you allow to get close.”

Because a fragrant experience like this one can’t be tested on a strip of paper at a fragrance counter, Phlur is available exclusively on its website and offers a sampling program to help you find your newest signature scent. Choose three of your favorite scents and sample a 2.0 milliliter bottle of each (about a month’s worth) for just $18. Then, when you find your must-have scent (because trust me, you will), you can then apply your $18 toward the price of a full bottle ($85) within 30 days of purchase. 

If you’re anything like me, you’re hooked before even smelling a single scent, but just wait until you do. Once I received Hanami in the mail, I wore it the next day—and for the next 30 days for this story—and received more compliments than ever (for the record, the scent pairs beautifully with Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Cream). Since trying it, the scent has become by absolute go-to and still constantly surprises me. From afar, it smells like a chic, sexy sandalwood scent with a hint of musky florals, but the rich hazelnut aroma isn’t detectable until you’re up close and personal. As if the scent alone wasn’t enough to convince me to purchase another bottle once I run out of my new signature spritz, the bottle also gets me out of a migraine and being bombarded with hundreds of bottles pointing at me at department stores. I don’t think I could ever go back to buying fragrance “normally” again, and that’s more than OK with me. 

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