It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas. We suggest leaving the cinnamon and ginger to the baking in favour of spritzing – and gifting – one of these new bottles.
Moncler Pour Homme
Both of the luxury French winter-wear brand’s first-ever fragrances (there’s also Pour Femme) riff on snowy adventure with woody notes. Here, the alpine spirit is conveyed via a predictable mix of fresh pine, pungent vetiver and invigorating clary sage. It comes housed in a textured metallic case reminiscent of a vintage expedition flask that also mimics the horizontal channel-stitch of Moncler’s status-symbol puffers. The largest bottle of the fragrance features a rechargeable scrolling LED display that can be personalized. Messages can be programmed using a smartphone app – though this year, the ticker “Meet me in Gstaad” still seems like wishful thinking.
$254 for 150 ml LED bottle, exclusively at Hudson’s Bay.
Ambre Sultan Confit de Parfum by Serge Lutens
Inspired by the North African approach to scent layering, Serge Lutens has created a noteworthy new texture for three of his celebrated Collection Noire perfumes: La Fille de Berlin, Chergui and Ambre Sultan, which was originally created in 1993. The goal of the unctuous Confit de Parfum – literally, “perfume syrup” – is to provide a sensuous, tactile gesture as one dots the nape and pulse points, but also to showcase the base notes. In this variant, the original’s medicinal edge is gone and it’s all smooth beeswax, vanilla and dry smoky labdanum, akin to the beloved but discontinued Tom Ford Amber Absolute. It’s sweetish and golden, like lingering liturgical incense – and tenacious.
$195 for 25 ml at Holt Renfrew.
Paradise Moon by Estée Lauder
For the new Estée Lauder Luxury Fragrance Collection, eight renowned perfumers each crafted a scent inspired by a moment in nature, using the unglamorously-named ScentCapture Fragrance Extender – a new technology that purports to ensure every spritz lasts 12 hours. They range from citrus to spice and come packaged in fluted glass bottles that are a throwback to the packaging of Mrs. Lauder’s game-changing Youth-Dew bath oil from 1953. Paradise Moon is the collection’s retro-classic sleeper hit, formulated by Mexican perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux (the nose behind Clinique Happy and Tom Ford Neroli Portofino). The lush fruity-floral facet of three Osmanthus bloom varietals dominates what’s billed as a leather floral, but is more of a velvety apricot.
$238 for 100 ml at select Hudson’s Bay Estée Lauder counters
Boule Papillon by Goutal Paris
Pioneering French perfumery Maison Goutal commemorates its 40th anniversary with a collector’s-edition bottle (sold empty) topped with the house’s emblematic golden butterfly. The elaborate atomizer encapsulates founder Annick Goutal’s taste for opulence. Fill it with favourites such as Petite Chérie, Mon Parfum Chéri and Eau d’Hadrien, which come packaged in the brand’s original ribbed bottle design. Don’t sleep on the reissue of Goutal’s sunny Eau du Ciel from 1985. It’s as airy as a languid summer’s day and the sort of signature scent agency head (and consummate Frenchwoman) Sylvie on Emily in Paris would wear en vacances.
Papyrus Moléculaire by Maison Crivelli
This emerging brand founded by industry insider Thibaud Crivelli has finally arrived in Canada. The niche Parisian range has stealthily built a following by wringing out the unexpected effects and facets of ingredients. Every scent in the collection shares the same unisex and understated aesthetic and, as the name suggests, Papyrus Moléculaire is a study in deconstruction. Normally powdery papyrus gets textured with freshness: tobacco leaf adds a vegetal nuance and stays crisply green with lemony-balsamic amyris for mild notes of cigar. It ends as an unflappable milky sandalwood, kind of like a brainy, next-level Santal 33.
$312 for 100 ml, exclusively at Etiket.
Sunflower Pop by Floral Street
The Art Institute of Chicago once commissioned a real-world recreation of the bedroom in Arles, France, depicted in several of Vincent van Gogh’s works, creating an immersive experience that allowed you to climb into a painting. In the new collaboration between clean beauty brand Floral Street and the Van Gogh Museum, the idea is to bottle this essence. The shifting scents and passage of time in the South of France are traced in olfactory shades as “sunny and optimistic” as the Dutch post-Impressionist’s famous sunflowers. The sparkling floral-citrus scent features sustainable components such as bergamot and mandarin, and a nature-identical synthetic vegan blend that mimics the aroma of fresh honey.
$101 for 50 ml at Sephora.
Santal Pao Rosa by Guerlain
Two new compositions join L’Art et la Matière, Guerlain’s haute parfumerie range that combines sourcing fine raw materials with innovative blending. Both focus on aspects of the rose, with Santal Pao Rosa’s floral-spicy interplay opening with cardamom and faintly vanilla-esque agarwood before intensifying with myrrh and sandalwood. It’s then wrapped in a graceful blend of three roses – essential oil from Bulgaria, Turkish rose absolute, and France’s Grasse centifoglia – that together bring out creamy fig and hazelnut notes. The additions also mark the range’s total redesign. The French fragrance house looked to the heritage glass-maker of its classic faceted 1870 bottle for an updated, refillable version. They’re meant to be customized at the time of purchase, with your choice of baudruchage (the cording around the neck) seals and personalized engraving.
$431 for 100 ml eau de parfum at Guerlain and Holt Renfrew.
Orange Bitters by Jo Malone London
One signal that the festive season has arrived is this tangy winter citrus cologne that was meant to be a holiday one-off but now returns annually as a limited edition. It’s a bright, ripe and juicy-sweet mandarin that quickly turns very green and tart, an aromatic sharp undertone not unlike the Angostura bitters that’s essential in a good Old Fashioned cocktail. Personally, I prefer burning Jo Malone’s home candle version to wearing the cologne, but both trigger the happy anticipation of the holidays.
$98 for 30 ml eau de cologne at Jo Malone counters.