5 Fresh Scents to Transport You to Faraway Places

Get swept away to Antigua, Tokyo, Paris and more by the power of fragrance.

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Fragrance has an incredible power to evoke memories, alter our moods and connect us to places we may never even have visited. So now, with most of the world in lockdown and our passports gathering dust instead of stamps, we’re swapping a real journey for an olfactory one to these far-flung locales.

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Giorgio Armani has added five floral and citrus scents to his Armani/Privé Haute Couture collection of fragrances this season, including a tribute to his “haven of peace” Antigua.

“Antigua is quite simply one of the most scenic islands in the Caribbean, with lush areas of countryside juxtaposed against a myriad selection of beaches,” the designer told Architectural Digest. “Antiguans are the warmest, most welcoming hosts, who immediately make you feel at home.”

These same qualities come to life in Gardénia Antigua, a celebration of the summer and powdery gardenia flower. Perfumer Dora Baghriche also turned to mandarin, neroli and patchouli essences as well as white musk notes to evoke the island mood. The other new destination-inspired additions to Les Eaux collection are Thé Yulong, Rose Milano, Jasmin Kusamono and Rangerie Venise.

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Described as creative director Ben Gorham’s “love letter” to Africa, Byredo’s Bal d’ Afrique collection celebrates the continent’s myriad cultures and their influence on dance, art and music.

“My father lived and travelled in Africa for about 10-15 years. I would read his diaries; the way he travelled on freight ships, met all kinds of different people,” Gorham recalls. “For me, this was the fantasy of arriving in Africa through somebody else’s words. Bal d’Afrique reflects that; it’s an imaginary journey as well as a complete celebration of how I see African culture and its influence.”

Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, Bal d’Afrique is available as an eau de parfum, body cream, roll-on oil, hair perfume and more, with top notes of African marigold, bergamot and bucchu, a heart of cyclamen and violet, and a base of Moroccan cedarwood and vetiver.

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“Prestigious, dazzling Paris. The blaze and sizzle of your fireworks make the world sparkle. For this new perfume, it is your name I chose because there is no other as beautiful. Because I love you. My Paris.” So wrote Yves Laurent at the launch of Mon Paris in 1983.

Now Yves Saint Laurent Beauté introduces a new and more intense version of the signature scent in Mon Paris Intensément. Bursting with a precious absolute of Rosa centifolia, the scent also features notes of creme de cassis, raspberry accord, white peony and Rosa damascena.

Even the packaging, with its bold fuschia ribbon inspired by a YSL lipstick shade and leather ties accented with gold, is inspired by the rock-chic aesthetic of the contemporary Parisian woman.

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Cherry-blossom season may be in full swing right now in Japan, but social distancing means most people won’t be able to gather and celebrate as they normally would. Thankfully we can all still enjoy its scent in the comfort of home with the Ritual of Sakura collection.

“The fragile blossoms of the Sakura tree (Japanese cherry) are often described as spring snow by Japanese poets,” according to Rituals. “For the Japanese, cherry blossom has symbolised the rebirth of nature and purity since ancient times. The delicate fragrance is wonderfully relaxing.”

Ritual of Sakura is a wide-ranging collection that includes body mist and lotion, hand wash and balm, haircare products, scented candles and fragrance sticks, and even anti-perspirant. The other key ingredient besides cherry blossom is rice milk, known for making skin soft and supple.

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The Emerald Triangle

No, not the cannabis-producing region of northern California, but the lush crossroads of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. This Southeast Asian locale inspired one of the first perfumes created by French perfume house Isabey: La Route d’Emeraude. The delicate floral scent was first launched in 1924, the same year Baron Henry James de Rothschild created the company, and has since been re-edited by perfumery house Panouge.

“Although this perfume is embodied with a bouquet of florals, the jasmine flower is definitely the main,” according to Parfumerie Trésor. “The jasmine flower represents love, beauty, appreciation and good fortune in many cultures and religions around the world. Its snow white colour also represents purity and beauty.”

Other ingredients in this eau de parfum include bergamot, cinnamon, rose, orange blossom, tuberose, ylang-ylang, amber, musk and vanilla.

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