December 2022 will be the first December in recent years not to be in the shadow of Covid. Something tells us there’s going to be more reasons to celebrate than usual.
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Whatever your motivation, we’ve rustled up a selection of the best party fragrances for you. Whether you want to be super stylish or, ahem, stimulated, we reckon these scents cover all moods and budgets.
Where known, the perfumer is listed in brackets after the name of the fragrance.
Our Shortlist For Best Party Fragrances
Aramis EDT (Bernard Chant)
When all around you are losing their heads (to adapt the famous Rudyard Kipling poem If) and making fools of themselves (they don’t call it the silly season for nothing), you’ll be the embodiment of timeless elegance with this they-don’t-make-’em-like-they-used-to classic.
As with many releases from the era, there’s a lot going in this 1966 release, so let’s do a highlights package for you, starting with the bitter citrus of bergamot in the opening.
The musky herbaceousness of clary sage leads the way to the pièce de resistance that is the drydown: a rugged leather accord with earthy back-up from notes of oakmoss, vetiver and patchouli.
Oh, and did we mention it’s wonderfully priced? So best get two bottles while you are at it. You also can’t go wrong with Aramis Special Blend EDP and Aramis Tobacco Reserve EDP.
Juliette Has a Gun Lady Vengeance EDP (Francis Kurkdjian)
You’ve heard of “revenge travel”. Let’s add “revenge partying” to the list of pandemic-inspired buzzwords, with this 2006 release from the Paris-based niche brand as its poster-child.
It was created by Francis Kurkdjian, a few years before he launched his own eponymous, niche-leading brand.
There’s the fresh spiciness of bergamot and lavender in the intro.
Patchouli rose-combos are popular for a reason and this one is notable for its contrasts of freshness and earthiness, with a hint of the aromatics of geranium in the background.
Settling with wafts of the musky synthetic Ambroxan and the creamy sweetness of vanilla, it’s bold, distinctive and with rock ’n roll attitude to spare.
Officially a female fragrance, it’s one to try if you’re more open-minded about these things.
Lubin Korrigan EDP (Thomas Fontaine)
Someone is smelling delicious… Oh, that’s you! You must be wearing the 2012 release from the Paris-based heritage brand’s Talismania Collection. Always quality stuff! Come closer please…
The yumminess is there from the start. The fresh aromatics of juniper berries mingles with the spicy woodiness of cognac. Saffron adds spiciness to the mix.
There’s another layer of booziness from whisky distillate, all caramel-y, while ambrette, a leather accord and oud give sensual muskiness.
None of the boozy notes are overdone in this superb scent. Class in glass!
All the EDPs from the same range – Akkad, Idole de Lubin, Galaad and Upper Ten – are great options too.
Versace Eros EDT (Aurélien Guichard)
Love it or hate it, the 2012 release from the Italian fashion brand was one of the smells of the last decade, most noticeably wafting its way on many a sweaty nightclub dancefloor, pre-Covid. Its popularity was fuelled by the larger-than-life campaign featuring Brian Shimansky. You know the one…
Well, it’s just as popular as before.
The opening is immediately recognizable – fresh, fruity, spicy and green – thanks to notes of lemon, apple and, in particular, mint.
Tonka bean accentuates the sweet vanilla, with musky Ambroxan and cedar bringing depth to the drydown. Yes, it’s commercial, even synthetic, but there’s no denying its winning formula as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.
Bvlgari Man in Black EDP (Alberto Morillas)
The Bvlgari Man range was launched in 2010 and Man In Black is one of its best iterations.
This 2014 EDP opens with an irresistible trio of spice (slightly peppery on the skin), rum and tobacco notes. They’re perfectly blended and balanced. Sometimes, we get more of one than the other. And that’s the way we love it.
The sensual mood continues with smooth leather and a hint of powdery iris.
The tonka bean, guaiac wood and benzoin notes in the drydown have a sophisticated vanilla-ish facet.
The result? A snug treat. The sadly discontinued 2016 release, Bvlgari Man Black Orient EDP, with its combo of rum, Taif rose and oud notes, is also well worth hunting down online.
Yves Saint Laurent Tuxedo EDP (Juliette Karagueuzoglou)
In 2015, the French luxury fashion brand launched its Le Vestiaire des Parfums private fragrance collection, inspired by iconic items associated with the couturier. We’d forgotten how good Tuxedo is and how like its namesake from 1966, it blends the masculine with the feminine to perfection.
The coolness of cardamom is contrasted with the warmth of black pepper to create sensual spiciness. A hint of rose, with woody accents, adds to the allure.
The patchouli, smokiness on high, is paired with a musky ambergris-like accord and smooth spicy vanilla in the drydown.
Devastatingly chic and sexy, it’s one of the best YSL releases in recent years and well worth the extra expense compared to its more mainstream releases.
Orto Parisi Seminalis (Alessandro Gualtieri)
Two things first about this 2016 release from the Amsterdam-based niche brand:
1) It reflects the founder and perfumer Alessandro Gualtieri’s thing for bodily fluids. As the name might tell you, this one takes its name from semen. If you’re easily offended, perhaps don’t look at the pics on the website.
2) As with his other brand, Nasomatto, Gualtieri prefers not to list notes. So let the imagination run wild…
That said, this parfum is way more wearable than its conceptual inspiration suggests.
There’s definitely something milky in the opening, almost like condensed milk.
What could just be an overly sweet gourmand gets intriguing with a spicy floral-cum-creamy sandalwood and vanilla-cum-musk galore development. See what we did there?
It’s the three Ns for us: naughty, (oh so) nice, niche.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 Extrait de Parfum (Francis Kurkdjian)
In the unlikely event that Francis Kurkdjian had to submit a CV for the position of Dior in-house perfumer, you can bet Baccarat Rouge 540 featured prominently under list of achievements.
Apparently, this 2015 release is now the world’s most complimented / sought-after / copied scent.
Of course, as so often happens in fragrance-land, the more popular a perfume becomes, the more it’s hated online (let’s call it the Law of What Goes Up Must Be Pulled Down), and that’s partly why we’ve gone with the even more exclusive extrait de parfum version from 2017.
Whichever one you choose, kudos where it’s due to this blend of saffron, hedione, ethyl maltol and Ambroxan that was created for the 250th anniversary of the crystal company Baccarat.
Memo Tamarindo EDP (Sophie Labbé)
If this 2018 release from the Paris-based niche brand doesn’t put you in a tropical vacay mood, nothing will.
While many of the brand’s releases were created by Alienor Massenet, Memo Tamarindo has Sophie Labbé’s expertise with fruity and floral notes, as displayed in Versace Dylan Turquoise EDT, Bvlgari Splendida Tubereuse Mystique EDP and Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne EDP, all over it.
Taking its name from the Costa Rican coastal town, it opens with the spicy freshness of bergamot and cardamom.
Festive fruitiness is channelled via notes of pineapple and jasmine absolute.
With a drydown cocktail of patchouli, vanilla absolute and benzoin, we have a feeling this beach party vibe could last till dawn. And we’re not complaining.
Chopard Collecion Miel D’Arabie EDP (Alberto Morillas)
Everybody’s doing it – haute parfumerie collections – but not everyone is doing it as well as Chopard Collection.
Exhibit A: Miel d’Arabie EDP, a 2018 release from the Swiss luxury jewellery brand’s Gardens of Paradise sub-collection (also look out for their Gardens of the Kings and Gardens of the Tropics).
With master perfumer Alberto Morillas behind this creation, you’re assured of top quality.
It opens with the sumptuous contrasts of herbaceous tea and fruity pomegranate. Undeniably sweet, but supremely sophisticated, it’s balanced with a liberal twist of spice.
There’s no missing the honey accord – powdery and floral – which is given earthy depth in the drydown with notes of patchouli, incense and cypress.
Forgive us for not including this beauty in our recent best honey fragrances post.
Simone Andreoli Malibu Party in the Bay EDP Intense (Simone Andreoli)
This 2018 release is the first fragrance we’ve tried from the Italian niche brand and we’re impressed by how its travel inspiration is translated to produce the olfactory equivalent of a daiquiri.
The multi-facedness of lime is revealed in the opening in exemplary style: fresh, bright, invigorating, juicy, green, sweet and sour.
The tropical tones of coconut nectar and sugar are added to the blend for just the right amount of dusk-to-dawn sunny sweetness.
The rum, warm and fruity, comes through in the drydown, with creamy support from sandalwood.
What a deliciously uplifting cocktail from start to finish. Fantastically festive stuff!
Der Duft Bubble EDP (Alexandre Illan)
It’s always intriguing to see how one of our favourite tipples is interpreted olfactively.
This 2020 creation from the Munich-based niche brand opens with a distinctive and slightly fruity take on champagne. It already feels like a glass of the best.
It’s infused with a liberal dose of cassis, its green sharpness balanced by a note of fruity rose. There’s also a hint of slightly spicy chamomile in the mix.
A clean combo of white musk and ambrette meets sandalwood in the drydown. The pear-ish characteristics of the ambrette and the creaminess of the sandalwood perfectly complement the intro and give the composition complex continuity.
Carolina Herrera Bad Boy Le Parfum EDP (Bruno Jovanovic, Fanny Bal & Nicolas Beaulieu)
In an interview with Everfumed, Bruno Jovanovic explained how it took 12 years to find a brand that was daring enough to go with his idea of “something illicit that could turn ‘legal’ as soon as it became a fragrance”.
We’re pleased the American fashion house took the brave step as it brought the much-needed “bad boy” element to this 2021 release (we like the spiciness of the 2019 original, but it’s much too well-behaved for its own good).
It starts out fresh and aromatic with notes of cannabis (surprisingly robust) and grapefruit at the fore.
Black pepper adds hot spice, with a hint of green geranium in support.
Vetiver and a leather accord complete the composition with earthy smoothness.
Since its launch in 2016, the Wanted range has turned out to be one of the better designer fragrance franchises. Its success is based on a glamorously hedonistic aesthetic of never-ending nightclubbing and simple but highly effective fragrance compositions with the feel-good factor in abundance.
Four flankers in and with enough differences from its predecessors, the 2022 release Azzaro Most Wanted Parfum continues the winning formula.
The initial spiciness of ginger and warmth of woods sets the scene for a whole lotta vanilla of the sweet, creamy and slightly boozy variety.
It’s the best kind of crowd-pleaser.
Van Cleef & Arpels Orchid Leather EDP (Julien Rasquinet)
Gosh, isn’t this beautiful stuff! Which should come as no surprise.
The French luxury jewellery brand launched its private Collection Extraordinaire in 2009 and has kept the quality coming ever since.
Then there’s the fact that this 2021 release was created by Julien Rasquinet, the man behind top-notch Creed, Jusbox and Histoire de Parfums fragrances.
The EDP opens with an alluring combo of plum and orchid notes. The spice of incense (softly smoky), cardamom and vanilla leads the way to the leather accord drydown. Amber gives it an element of animalic muskiness.
Its sophistication lies in its admirable simplicity. No need to embellish it with olfactory distractions. Sensual doesn’t begin to describe it. And so reasonably priced too.