Perfumes are like people—each and every bottle has a unique micro-personality. Some are heady and conceptual (one such scent, Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Féminin Pluriel, is my current indulgence) and others are utterly shallow (Burger King’s meat-scented launch sounds like pure eau de crap to moi). With small apothecaries and big retail perfumers selling their goods across the city, what’s the best way for L.A. ladies (and gents) to find scents that suit? Narrowing perfume profiles by neighborhood vibes is one place to start.
For the charming beach communities north of the heavily tattooed scene in Venice, Clean Summer Sun ($59) is fruity crisp scent that lets you smell like the beach when you leave it behind. The bottle’s sunny apple notes contrast nicely with its watery honeysuckle and light touches of soft musk and white amber. The scent feels a little bohemian, fully relaxed, and totally transporting.
Today’s Valley Girl (a.k.a. me) is anything but stereotypical. Prada Candy Florale ($70) is an ‘80s pop scent bursting with candied fruits, but it’s got more depth than a salon-tanned mall rat. The flirty fragrance is what a pretty young thing should smell like in the summer: notes of cotton candy and dainty peonies color me happy at first spray.
The Four Seasons Beverly Hills has the sole Krigler counter on the West Coast (read: it’s where you can pick up something ultra exclusively). Inspired by the magic of L.A., Charming California 215 ($220) has an old world heritage. The ritzy scent opens with a splash of coriander-tinged orange blossoms imbued with cedarwood and cardamom. It’s unapologetically androgynous and sophisticated, like Tilda Swinton in a bottle.
Rosie Jane hand blends Leila Lou ($49) in her Silver Lake studio. It’s cool and tart; the smell of freshly cut grass almost overpowers the scent of juicy pear. There’s nothing artificial about this perfume. A real people-pleaser, it has light and breezy tones that are striking despite their simplicity. It won’t interfere with your coffee sampling at Intelligentsia.
The fresh, bursting pomelo notes in Atelier Cologne Pomelo Paradis ($70) offer a modern twist on the citrus classics. Amber and vetiver bring an energetic feel to the overall finish, preventing the scent from turning sharp on the skin. Yes, it’s enveloping, but it doesn’t smother the senses and is arguably a sexy option for both men and women.
Stella by Stella McCartney ($68) is a coquettish rose that’s ladylike through and through. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the interesting combo of lemony rose and freesia quickly warms into a sweeter scent with an ambery backdrop. McCartney’s idea of taking the old fashioned flower and updating it is terrific. So is her execution—for once a scent lives up to its marketing spiel of being “youthful and radiant.” The unstuffy rose would be ideal for a bride-to-be.
The Blend by Fred Segal Custom Fragrance Blending Kit ($150), which offers travelers and locals alike ten rollerball perfume oils to blend into bespoke scents for your pulse points. The kit also includes recipe cards with suggested pairings. The 5900 Wilshire Blvd. Blend, Tropical Bloom plus Citus Zest, is as long lasting as it is effervescent. I could not stop sniffing my wrist.