Eau de professional: Clean fragrances to wear to the office

At first whiff, this perfume has the light freshness of an elegant baby lotion.

Amanda Chai

Amanda Chai

The Straits Times


Tory Burch Essence of Dreams collection. PHOTO: TORY BURCH

October 21, 2022

SINGAPORE – They may not generate memes the way Elon Musk’s Burnt Hair perfume, launched last week, did, but clean fresh scents are having a moment.

If you find yourself gravitating away from headier aromas these days, you are not alone.

In an interview with Allure magazine, American perfumer Mandy Aftel observed that “a longing for fresh air and the outdoors in our post-Covid world” has led to a spike in demand for “green”, herbaceous notes in perfume.

Market research firm Fact.MR estimated in a report on the booming perfume market that global sales would reach US$40.4 billion (S$57.2 billion) in 2022. This is driven in part, the report noted, by increased consumer focus on personal grooming since the pandemic, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

And with much of the world now back in the office, clean-smelling, office-safe scents have been creeping into the spotlight. For a signature scent that will not disturb your colleagues (or the commuters on the train), The Straits Times rounds up some new options.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian 724

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris 724 Eau De Parfum PHOTO: MAISON FRANCIS KURKDJIAN

In a fragrance fanatic’s world, every new launch from French perfumer Francis Kurkdjian’s eponymous brand is an anticipated calendar event.

The latest from the nose behind cult-favourite Baccarat Rouge 540 is 724 (from $200 for 35ml to $653 for 200ml), a luminous fresh scent inspired by the city of New York, where Kurkdjian lived and worked for almost five years.

A play on “24/7” for the city that never sleeps, this fresh, musky-floral eau de parfum is heavy on the aldehydes (an ingredient often used to make scents more airy), but balanced out with citrusy Italian bergamot, white musk and sandalwood.

Think soapy, starched clean linens, but from a Four Seasons hotel instead of your own humble abode. A “rich girl” favourite in the making.

Info: Maison Francis Kurkdjian Flagship Boutique, B1-35 Ngee Ann City, Escentials stores and escentials.com

Dior J’adore Parfum d’Eau

Dior J’adore Parfum d’Eau PHOTO: DIOR BEAUTY

The French maison’s first water-based, alcohol-free perfume made a splash when it launched globally in September. No alcohol? Will the perfume’s scent still hold? Surprisingly, it does.

A concentration of water and florals, this new addition ($192 for 50ml, $275 for 100ml) to Dior’s J’adore line is a bouquet of fresh neroli, sunny jasmine sambac and velvety Chinese magnolia. The unique formulation spritzes as a milky white mist, almost like a watery lotion, that you can dab gently into skin.

Consider it the soapier, lighter little sister of the original J’adore. At first whiff, it has the light freshness of an elegant baby lotion. Give it a few minutes and it dries down to a muskier, more sensual scent that lingers for a couple of hours.

Info: All Dior Beauty Boutiques and counters, shop.dior.com.sg, Sephora stores and sephora.sg.

Gucci Flora Gorgeous Jasmine

Gucci Flora Gorgeous Jasmine PHOTO: GUCCI BEAUTY

A flanker of the brand’s Gorgeous Gardenia, this soapy eau de parfum (from $145 for 30ml to $245 for 100ml) centres on jasmine for those who like their clean perfumes with a touch of sweetness.

It is a classic white floral scent with citrusy mandarin and magnolia cutting through. The bright floral notes in the initial spray will keep you perky at your desk, before drying down to a soft, grounding sandalwood.

Additional base notes of patchouli and benzoin (a balsamic resin used to add sweetness) lend a slight haziness to the perfume that makes it daytime-appropriate too.

Info: Gucci counters including Tangs, Metro, BHG and Takashimaya, and on sephora.sg

Maison Crivelli Absinthe Boreale

Maison Crivelli Absinthe Boreale PHOTO: ESCENTIALS

For niche perfume lovers, French perfumery Maison Crivelli is officially available in Singapore via luxury multi-brand retailer Escentials. The four-year-old fragrance house has a stunning line-up of 10 eau de parfums and four extrait de parfums (the most concentrated form of perfume) inspired by founder Thibaud Crivelli’s many travels.

A standout crisp, clean scent is Absinthe Boreale ($311 for 100ml), inspired by the time Mr Crivelli took a shot of icy absinthe under the Northern Lights, or aurora borealis.

The notes are as green as they come – among them artemisia, lavender, eucalyptus and mint – but blended into a fresh, light perfume that in no way leans herbal, and accented with a zing of alcohol from juniper. It is a sharp signature scent suitable for both genders.

Info: Available at Escentials Paragon and Ion Orchard, and escentials.com

Tory Burch Essence of Dreams

Tory Burch Essence of Dreams – Electric Sky PHOTO: TORY BURCH

New to the Singapore beauty market is American fashion brand and designer Tory Burch’s fragrance line.

Developed in collaboration with Shiseido, the Essence of Dreams collection ($125 for 50ml, $175 for 90ml) is inspired by dreams and specific feelings – Divine Moon and peace; Electric Sky and freedom; Mystic Geranium and joy; Cosmic Wood and magic; and Sublime Rose and love.

Burch was inspired to blend fresh notes drawn from nature, resulting in a cohesive set of scents that smell uplifting and ethereal, no matter which one you pick.

If there was a perfume that smelt like the colour blue, it would be Electric Sky. Described as “the energy after a storm”, it brings to mind cloudy days with top notes of blue sage and violet mingled with lavender and wood. Dewy cactus flower and saltwater lend a mineral quality that gives it a fresh-out-of-the-shower feel.

Sinking straight into skin, this crisp skin scent makes you want to bury your nose in the person’s arm and sniff for hours. It would smell good on any gender, though men might prefer it.

Info: Metro Paragon, 02-28, 290 Orchard Road

Prada Paradoxe

Prada Paradoxe Eau de Parfum. PHOTO: PRADA

Prada’s first fragrance in years rides the current trend of feminine, sweet, white florals – but it may tickle the fancy of younger girls starting their first office job.

The burst of neroli, orange blossom, vanilla and amber will give you the bounce in your step to take on the corporate world and rise above pesky e-mails.

Info: Available at Prada stores

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