Over the past few years I’ve become victim to date-tainting my favourite perfumes. That is, to say, I’ve made the mistake of wearing my favourite perfumes on dates, only to be left disappointed by the date, and worst of all, reminded of said person every time I go to wear it again.
With the number of dates I’ve been on this year, I quickly learned it’s not sustainable to wear my current favourite fragrance on each new date, which inevitably ends with me putting it on the subs bench until the memory fades.
Admittedly, while there is some satisfaction of knowing that a past relationship can’t smell Baccarat Rouge 540 without being reminded of me, I’m not out here looking to waste seriously good perfume (and money) until I can bear to wear it again.
When it comes to choosing your preferred scent, don’t fall into the trap of wondering ‘what will the other person find sexy?’ Everyone’s perfume preferences are unique, so instead of chasing the unattainable, choose notes that feel most like yourself. Trust me, nothing is as distracting as wearing a scent that doesn’t feel right for you, whereas finding the perfect perfume can give you the ultimate confidence boost.
The best perfumes to wear on a first date
Like the Gen-Z, perfume-obsessed version of Carrie Bradshaw, I’ve set out to find the best perfumes that you can count on as your designated first date perfume to prevent any more time-wasting or date-tainting of your other beloved fragrances.
Remember, keep this one just for your first dates (if, like me, you’re forever trapped in the groundhog day scenario that is London dating, it’s a good return on investment), after that, proceed with perfume caution.
Glossier You, from £28
I’ve not met a single person that hasn’t fallen in love with Glossier You, and it’s one of my only perfumes that always gets compliments from both men and women. It’s so loved that one of the Eliza girls wrote a whole love letter to it, which then prompted the rest of the office to get one for their desk.
Much more than just a clean woody musk, this fragrance is a skin-scent enhancer, meaning it reads slightly different on everyone. Pink pepper, iris, ambrette and ambroxan are the main notes, but you have to try this on your own skin to appreciate its true charm and allow its uniqueness to unfold.
Maison Margiela Replica On A Date, £55
Unlike literally any date I’ve ever been on, when I discovered this soft, romantic scent over dinner, I knew it was love at first sight (and sniff). This perfume conjures up a delicate floral and fruity bouquet that’s reminiscent of walking through a vineyard, with fresh and aromatic notes of blackcurrant, rose, and grape. A couple of spritzes of this instantly give a ‘first date’ flourish.
Byredo Gypsy Water, £140
If you want to come across as mysterious and not give too much away on your initial date, Byredo’s Gypsy Water will transport you straight to that headspace. A complex perfume with an air of mysticism, notes of pine needle, citrus, sandalwood and amber come across in a sophisticated and enveloping scent that will have your date wondering in which direction this could go next.
Phlur Not Your Baby, from £26
Okay, the name might not scream first date (or for my fellow avoidant attachments, maybe it does), but hear me out. This is one for the understated daters, who want something soft yet inviting. On first smell, I thought this was too floral for my liking, but it settles quickly into notes of powdery violet, warm spice, creamy vanilla, and tonka bean. This is a modern classic, with an alluring twist that makes you smell, quite frankly, irresistible.
It also comes in a 9.5ml size which is perfect for popping in your bag, should you want to top up later in the evening (or following morning…).
Beauty Pie Angelique’s Letters, £28 with membership
The perfect fragrance to wear to a date in a hidden-away speakeasy or candlelit whiskey bar, Angelique’s Letters is an enchanting and unique fragrance that unveils itself as you wear it.
Notes of lemon and bergamot greet you straight out of the bottle, followed by jasmine, cinnamon and clove. Once on the skin, this settles down into a warm, moody scent, with vanilla musk, cedarwood, clove and sweet tobacco lingering on the skin.
Kayali Vanilla 28, £73
If you want to smell good enough to eat, Kayali’s Vanilla 28 is one of the most alluring, true-sweet scents out there. This is a true gourmand vanilla rather than a synthetic version- think fresh-out-of-the-oven cupcakes.
A delicious blend of vanilla and brown sugar gives this fragrance its rich opening scent, while classic notes of jasmine, tonka bean, musk and amber add depth and a hint of sultriness.