We all know someone who is hopelessly devoted to one fragrance. Maybe it’s your best friend, your mother-in-law, your DH, or even yourself. There’s nothing wrong with having a favorite perfume, of course, but let’s face it, wearing the same scent for years (decades even!) gets boring. So, in the spirit of shaking things up, we went to the expert herself. Here, Sniffapalooza Founder Karen Dubin shares her inspired picks for fresh — and often unexpected — swaps for eight of the most popular standards. Get ready to be surprised.
GO-TO: Beautiful by Estee Lauder
TRY: Acqua Nobile Rosa by Acqua di Parma
Beautiful, a lush floral with a hint of fruit, has been wooing romantics since the mid-80s. Acqua Nobile Rosa is equally easy to fall head over heels for, sharing the same notes of rose, freesia, and musk, as well as black currant. Made in Italy, it’s that rare rose-based fragrance that is exquisite and complex without being matronly nor syrupy sweet. It’s available at AcquaDiParma.com and Nordstrom.
GO-TO: Poison by Christian Dior
TRY: Chinatown by Bond No. 9 New York
It was created in the same year as Beautiful, but suffice to say they didn’t share the same fans. You either loved or you hated provocative Poison. Know someone who loved it so much she’s still wearing it today? Introduce her to a new minx: Chinatown, a spicy, heady, and exuberant floral with a gourmand flourish. It shares Poison’s notes of cedarwood, orange, honey, and tuberose. Bonus: the bottle is funky and fabulous.
It’s at Bond No. 9 boutiques throughout New York City.
GO-TO: CK One by Calvin Klein
TRY: Déclaration Eau de Parfum by Cartier
CK One – a fresh, clean citrus with a warm, comforting finish — was created by Alberto Morillas and Harry Fremont in 1994. The fragrance had — and still has — many devotees among both genders. Fast forward to this month’s newest perfume, Cartier’s Déclaration Eau de Parfum created by perfumer Mathilde Laurent. This sensual scent bridges an alliance between cool cardamom (appearing for the first time in a Cartier perfume) and woody notes. It has cedar, jasmine, nutmeg, and that cardamom in common with CK One.
It’s just been released at Cartier.com
GO-TO: L’Air du Temps by Nina Ricci
TRY: Malabah by Penhaligon’s
L’Air du Temps was born all the way back in 1947, so this is a fragrance that many of us remember our mothers and grandmothers adoring. That kind of sentimentality makes it a remarkably popular pick to this day. It’s an intense floral with a warm, sensual base spiked with notes of orris root, clove, and aldehydes. Malabah shares those same notes, while getting an edge from green tea, ginger, and lemon. And it’s worth noting that both L’Air du Temps and Malabah have striking dresser-worthy bottles.
Malabah is available at Penhaligons.com
GO-TO: Curve by Liz Claiborne
TRY: Un Jardin Sur Le Nil by Hermes
Curve is a bright, green-citrus floral scent that somehow works equally nicely for the office, a picnic, or a first date. For legions of teens in the late 90s and early aughts, it was a pleasing, cheerful (and budget-friendly) fixture of their fun lives. So it’s easy to see how it might be hard to give up. But those now grown women may well be inspired to branch out for Un Jardin Sur Le Nil. It has that same young, fresh, carefree feel — with the lotus, pink peony, orange, grapefruit, musk, and iris notes of Curve — but goes on a more grown-up and more sophisticated olfactory trip.
Grab it at Sephora stores and Sephora.com
GO-TO: Cool Water by Davidoff
TRY: Aqva Pour Homme by Bvlgari
Cool Water has been a top-selling guy’s casual fragrance for decades. If your boyfriend, brother, or dad won’t leave home without it, consider gifting him the equally outdoorsy Aqva Pour Homme, a fresh aquatic with a clean, green, woody base. It shares notes of mint, neroli, cedarwood, sandalwood, and seaweed accord with Cool Water.
Pick it up at Sephora stores and Sephora.com
GO-TO: Opium by Yves Saint Laurent
TRY: Bottega Veneta Knot Eau Absolue
Warm and sensual, with a mixed spice-laden accord, Opium is the grand dame of aphrodisiac perfumes. But the new Knot Eau Absolue offers equally intoxicating opulence. The floriental opens with essences of lavender and orange blossom, finishing with Opium’s notes of jasmine and myrrh. And the vessel is a stunner, inspired by Venetian glasswork and the traditional Italian carafe.
It’s available now at Bergdorf Goodman.
GO-TO: Fahrenheit by Christian Dior
TRY: Musc Imperial Cologne Absolue by Atelier Cologne
The intense men’s fragrance Fahrenheit brings the heat. For something with a similar vibe — sexy, woody, musky — look to Musc Imperial, a pure perfume concentrated at 15 percent. It has those same attributes and notes of cedarwood, lavender, bergamot, leather, and violet leaf grown in Provence.
You can find it at AtelierCologne.com.
If you’ve been in love with one fragrance forever, or you’re tired of gifting that friend or relative the same perfume over and over, it may be time to get acquainted with one of these new sweethearts.