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Is there anything better than a new fragrance? Indelibly linked to our memories and identity, scent is perhaps the most powerful of the senses. So, with lockdowns and travel limited once again in 2021, MECCA beauty lovers instead chose a new kind of adventure: a scent journey through the evocative world of fragrance.
A mix of sensual classics, zesty newcomers and zeitgeist-capturing social media stars – one of them even got a shout-out on Gossip Girl – this year’s bestsellers list is as unique as 2021 itself, and there’s something for everyone.
Here are the bestselling personal and home fragrances you discovered – and adored – in 2021, and we’re (not so quietly!) confident you’ll be coming back for more in 2022…
Wood, wood and more wood – that’s the raison d’etre of this standout unisex fragrance, courtesy of avant garde Japanese/French maison Comme des Garçons. Grounded cedar and cypress meet sultry sandalwood and incense in a luxurious blend that’s as sexy as it is outdoorsy. A walk in the woods, or a roll in the hay?
“Wonderwood is the dark, mysterious scent of a smouldering fireplace, liquified,” says Laura Curtis, MECCA’s fragrance education manager.
Truly one-of-a-kind, renegade German perfumer Geza Schoen’s debut fragrance for his brand, Escentric Molecules, ensures no wearer ever smells the same. Formulated with a single, pheromone-enhancing note – Iso E Super – it reacts with the body’s chemistry as well as intermingling with other fragrances. Naturally, it still intrigues to this day!
“In the words of Molecule 01’s perfumer Geza Schoen, this scent lends the wearer an ‘indefinable radiance’. It can also be layered with other perfumes to ‘fix’ them to the skin, enhancing their longevity throughout the day!” says Curtis.
With its clean, vegan fragrances, petal-washed bottles and great value discovery sets, Floral Street was the first choice of many when it came to finding their new scent in 2021. The big winner? Blushing beauty Wonderland Peony – deliciously sweet and juicy, and bursting with its namesake note blended with pink berries.
“Wonderland Peony is a whimsical fragrance that captures the scent of a bunch of fresh peonies – perfect to wear for a romantic date night, or to gift for a special birthday or anniversary!” advises Curtis.
One of Parisian maison diptyque’s most-loved fragrances, the enchanting Do Son whisked many away to where they’d rather have been in 2021: on the shores of a Vietnamese beach. Floating on the whispers of breezy, heady tuberose, pink pepper and jasmine, you can almost picture the sand and deckchairs…
“Do Son is an ode to one of the diptyque founders’ childhood memories of summer holidays with his mother, and the tropical, summery aroma of her favourite flower – the tuberose,” Curtis explains. “A beautiful gift for the mothers and mother figures in our lives.”
Opulent, mysterious and utterly compelling, Portrait of a Lady is the scent of the woman you wish you were. For those nights you want to remember – and be remembered – spritz this unapologetically luxurious, sophisticated fragrance (courtesy of visionary perfume house Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle) and prepare to make your entrance.
Curtis says: “Portrait of a Lady is one of the great masterpieces of the perfume world – a modern classic composed by one of the most legendary perfumers of today, Dominique Ropion.”
What do Sienna Miller, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Kate Bosworth all have in common? Style, fame, enviably understated-yet-expensive blonde hair – and Byredo’s Gypsy Water as their signature scent. Inspired by nomads, it’s an everyday fragrance for the free spirits of the world, blending forest-fresh pine and juniper berries with warm, alluring incense and vanilla.
“This irresistible scent will whisk you away to memories of sleeping under the stars, or dancing around a bonfire – fresh, fun, and carefree,” reveals Curtis.
Taking the top spot in the fragrance section at this year’s MECCA Beauty Election, Maison Margiela’s By The Fireplace, from its transportive REPLICA collection, has a hold on many MECCA beauty lovers. And no wonder – undeniably nostalgic, this unisex fragrance brings back memories of winter nights in the mountains surrounded by the scent of smoky wood, chestnuts and vanilla.
“For anyone feeling nostalgic about snowy mountaintops or frosted windowpanes, By the Fireplace captures the wintry scent of chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” notes Curtis.
Possibly the original ‘It’ scent, Santal 33 (sometimes referred to as ‘fashion’s favourite fragrance’) is too-cool New York perfume house Le Labo’s most-loved for a reason. Intoxicating, musky and ruggedly individual, it’s the cult-favourite compliment generator whose popularity hasn’t dimmed its allure.
Explains Curtis, “Masterfully balanced between woody, leathery and floral notes, Santal 33 is a wholly inclusive scent that can be worn by all genders, for all occasions.”
TikTok’s done it again! While French house Maison Francis Kurkdjian actually unveiled this ruby-labelled beauty back in 2015, the social media scroll factor sent it soaring to the top of MECCA’s bestseller list in 2021. Deliciously elegant, it’s the type of long-wearing, day-or-night, go-anywhere fragrance you can’t wait to smell again. Main character energy? You, in Baccarat Rouge.
“Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 truly lives up to the hype,” enthuses Curtis. “Its luminous, addictive scent is the perfume equivalent of the little black dress or tailored suit – instant glamour and confidence in a bottle!”
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These fragrances – all of which were launched in the past three years – saw the biggest jump in popularity over 2021; take note, they could be the next Baccarat Rouge 540…
Need that Hinge date to text you back? This is the olfactory equivalent of a love potion. As the warmer and more sensual of Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Gentle Fluidity fragrance duo, Gold takes delicious notes of vanilla, musk and amber to the next level.
Notes Curtis, “The rising star of the Maison Francis Kurkdjian collection, Gentle Fluidity Gold is a MECCA staff favourite. We love it for its warm and alluring scent that embodies effortless Parisian chic.”
Who didn’t need a mood boost in 2021? And, like a refreshing-yet-comforting matcha latte, Maison Margiela’s latest had you coming back for a second shot, drinking in its zingy combination of bergamot, orange blossom, green tea and white chocolate.
Explains Curtis: “2021 saw a trend towards introverted, intimate fragrances that evoke a sense of inner peace and calm. Matcha Meditation embraces this new genre beautifully, inviting us to take time to reflect and be completely present in the moment.”
Ever felt tempted to press your whole face into a tub of Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bum Bum Cream? (Who hasn’t?!) As warm and sexy as a Brazilian beach at sunset, the divine dessert-but-better scent has been bottled in SOL Cheirosa ’62. Summer vibes, all year round – dive in.
“Did you know that ‘cheirosa’ means ‘to smell incredibly delicious’? SOL Cheirosa ’62 delivers – with mouth-watering notes of salted caramel and pistachio,” explains Curtis.
Combining sensual sandalwood with smoke and leather, this candle – complete with a personalised label – instantly adds a touch of minimalist luxury to every room. If you’ve ever pictured yourself sipping a Manhattan in a Nolita loft, this is the candle for you.
Says Curtis: “What could be a more thoughtful and stylish gift than a personalised Le Labo Santal 26 candle? If it’s good enough for Beyoncé…”
Cosy, comforting home scents were the name of the game in 2021, so it’s no wonder this warm, rich blend won a host of new fans this year. After all, a lockdown is far more bearable when you can pretend you’re in the wood-panelled library of your countryside manor! Belle who?
“Be teleported to a dream library: waxed wood floors, velvety paper and a bouquet of peonies and violets on the reading table. The perfect scent for booklovers or anyone who wants to create a cosy, contemplative vibe in their home,” says Curtis.
A crowd-pleasing favourite year after year, the Baies Candle by diptyque is a fail-safe gift – and mood-boosting self-care treat. Light it in the bedroom, the bathroom or the home office (read: kitchen table) and prepare to feel uplifted by the iconic combination of summer roses and cool, fresh leaves. Joy officially sparked!
Says Curtis: “Have you fallen head over heels for Baies and dream of taking it with you wherever you go? Its heartwarming scent is inspired by the green, fruity and floral notes of the diptyque classic, L’Ombre dans L’Eau EDT.”
Could your new signature scent be on this list? Start the year with your own journey of discovery by booking an in-store fragrance consultation at MECCA.