Florals probably make you think of a few things: your grandma’s bedspread, carnations, your high-school signature scent. Poor florals. They’ve gotten the short end of the stick—especially when it comes to fragrances, where they’re notorious for being a little…boring. That’s exactly why these new, spring-ready floral scents will surprise you. They’re paired with weird, unexpected ingredients that make them cool, modern, and (dare we say it) fun!
1. YSL Black Opium eau de parfum ($67, yslbeautyus.com)
The Secret Ingredient: Coffee
Calling all caffeine addicts. This scent is actually laced with coffee—but it’s no skim vanilla latte. Crazily enough, the java accord brings to mind intense black coffee, the kind people drink not because they like the taste but because they need an energy boost. The team of perfumers wanted to play with dark and light, so they paired it with more traditional white florals like jasmine and orange flower blossom. The result is a weird, rich, why-can’t-I-stop-sniffing-my-wrist fragrance that’s still, somehow, incredibly feminine. Here’s a good way to think about it: If Marvel superhero Jessica Jones wore perfume, this would be it.
2. Ex Nihilo Sweet Morphine eau de parfum ($225, saks.com)
The Secret Ingredient: Madagascar Vanilla
We know what you’re thinking: It sounds like the beginning of a really great dessert. (If only.) But the Madagascar vanilla accord is what balances out the fresh, super-girly mix of florals. “It gives the creation its powdery and sexy feel,” says perfumer Nathalie Cetto. That warm, leathery quality gives some gravity and earthiness to the otherwise flower-heavy fragrance—unexpected but totally appealing, like the equivalent of wearing your LBD to a whiskey bar.
3. Paco Rabanne Olympèa eau de parfum ($75, macys.com)
The Secret Ingredient: Salt
Any girl worth her…salt (sorry) knows that adding a little is the fast way to bring out flavor. Same goes for fragrance. The thing is, salt doesn’t really have a scent. Instead, imagine a super-salty French fry or pretzel (resist drooling). There’s a briny, almost metallic feel in your mouth. Perfumer Loc Dong managed to turn that into a scent, which you can almost taste when you sniff it alone. “In the region of Vietnam where I was born, salt is harvested through the evaporation of sea water,” he explains. “Salt to me was the starting point and the symbol of freshness for this.” He mixed it with vanilla to get that decadent flavor (think salted caramel, but turned down a notch). It balances the strong florals like lily and jasmine that could otherwise be a little much.
4. Annick Goutal Rose Pompon eau de toilette ($148, neimanmarcus.com)
The Secret Ingredient: Rose Pepper
Sugar and spice and everything nice is kind of what this fragrance is made of. The top note (aka the one that hits your nose first—and also fades most quickly) is pink peppercorn. There’s not a ton of the stuff in here, but it’s still enough to balance out the fruity notes (like raspberry and blackcurrant) and two different kinds of rose. “Pink peppercorn adds the spiciness that gives the perfume its character and counterbalances the sweetness of the fruits,” says perfumer Camille Goutal, daughter of Annick. Like any respectable spice, it shouldn’t be underestimated.