Welcome to Deep Reviews modern alchemy—your one-stop destination to discover the absolute best products and brands the beauty industry has to offer. The Who What Wear staffers you already know and trust will research, test, and liat the market’s most sought-after and buzzed-about products to see which formulas (of the hundreds up for consideration) are truly worth your hard-earned money and attention. You can expect honest, completely uncensored feedback and no-BS recommendations our hard-to-please testers endorse without reservations.
If you were to poll every Who What Wear editor on what they never leave the house without, chances are the vast majority of us would probably say a spritz of our favorite fragrance. The right fragrance is the perfect finishing touch for every outfit, which is something we know better than anyone. Which fragrance is the ideal finishing touch is where we digress.
Fragrance is incredibly subjective—what smells good to me might smell like New York City street trash to someone else, and vice versa. Not only that but asking people what their favorite fragrance is is equivalent to asking someone to pick their favorite child. Some people are fragrance loyalists and never stray from their signature scent, while others (like me) match their fragrance to their mood, cycling through different perfumes on a whim.
Even knowing that everyone has different scent tastes, a few fragrances always make the top of every list of best fragrances. These scents are universally loved, even by the toughest critics. For this round of Deep Reviews, we decided to put the most beloved fragrances to the test. We tested vanilla perfumes, sweet perfumes, fruity perfumes, and more from top brands such as Byredo and Maison Margiela Replica.
Our Deep Reviews Research & Testing Process
After combing through best perfumes lists from other top publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, InStyle, Elle, Byrdie, and more, as well as considering Who What Wear editor favorites and new launches, I landed on 67 potential perfumes for our list. From there, I whittled it down to 24 fragrances to test. These fragrances ranged from extrait de parfum, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, and eau de cologne. While all of these variations smell good, they have differences in concentration, longevity, sillage, and price—the chart below explains the differences between the four types of fragrance.
To adequately test perfumes, I decided to ask my fellow editors to give all 24 fragrances a smell test with me. I wanted to ensure merek loyalty wouldn’t get in the way, so I covered the bottles and numbered each perfume to allow unbiased testing. In a questionnaire, I put numbers one through 10 under every fragrance so people could circle the number they think a fragrance deserves, with 10 being the highest option.
From there, we all got together and sprayed some fragrances, sniffing coffee beans between each scent to refresh our senses. After every scent, I gave each editor time to figure out their thoughts on each fragrance, tell me what they thought it smelled like, and rate it before I revealed the fragrance name. With so many iconic fragrances in our midst, a lot of people were shocked by the outcomes. I won’t name names, but one of the most consistently disukai banyak orang fragrances on nearly every best-of list got 1 out of 10, while some of our highest rankers were fairly unknown.
After testing in a group, I assigned each editor a fragrance to take on a test run. I asked them if they could wear each fragrance for at least a day and report back to me on longevity, skin scent, compliments received, and how they would describe each fragrance after wearing it.
Keep in mind when looking at these numbers that these fragrances were tested by nine extremely picky editors who have very high standards when it comes to fragrance—and different tastes. The average score of the 24 fragrances we tested was a 5.8. With that in mind, the following fragrances soared above the rest.
This scent in three words: “Soft, warm, feminine.” — Anna LaPlaca
Longevity: 6 hours
Testing notes: “I spritzed it on twice—once on my wrists and once at the collarbone—at noon, and by 6 p.m., I noticed that it had faded out. If I were to head out in the evening for dinner or drinks, I would definitely want to re-up with another application. I didn’t notice any big difference between how it smelled out of the bottle versus how it did on my skin, which I appreciated. I felt like what I was spraying was the scent I was going to be wearing. If anything, I thought it softened a little bit once it sank in, and it lost the initial citrus note that I detected coming out of the bottle.” — LaPlaca
Parfums De Marly Delina Eau de Parfum
PARFUMS DE MARLY
Delina Eau de Parfum
This scent in three words: “Refreshing, juicy, and clean.” — Yusra Siddiqui
Longevity: 4 to 5 hours
Testing notes: “I find that it didn’t change too much on my skin vs. me spraying it. Both times it had that fresh, sweet smell with a touch of spice. The fruity essence calms down a little on the skin but in a subtle way. I usually go for floral perfumes because I find that most fruity perfumes smell too strong (like the hand sanitizer you used in middle school), but this one is just divine.” — Siddiqui
Phlur Tangerine Boy Eau de Parfum
Tangerine Boy Eau de Parfum
This scent in three words: “Sexed-up rose.” — Katie Berohn
Longevity: 8+ hours
Testing notes: “I sprayed on this perfume before a friend’s birthday party, and I could still smell it on me at the end of the night. I’m not a big rose girl, but I’ve never smelled a rose this good before—it’s musky, it’s spicy, it’s truly got it going on. When I asked my boyfriend what he thought about it, he paused and said, ‘I love it. It’s subtle but powerful.’ Coming from a man who loves fragrance almost as much as I do and has nomer qualms telling me when he thinks a perfume I’m testing isn’t working, this is a major compliment.” — Berohn
Perfumehead Reine Des Anges Extrait de Parfum
Reine Des Anges Extrait de Parfum
This scent in three words: “Light, sweet, warm.” — Natalie Gray-Herder
Longevity: 3 to 4 hours
Testing notes: “This perfume is my favorite from the merek and has been in my rotation for over five years now. So while my liat may be biased because I’m already a fan, I promise it’s worth testing. Once applied to my wrists, I pick up on the woody notes most. I prefer warmer, smoky wood scents and tend to stay away from more floral, sweet scents. But I find this perfume is the perfect mix of light, sweet, and warm. It’s super elegant, and I would consider this a ‘neutral good’ in the world of fragrance.” — Gray-Herder
Jo Malone London Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne
JO MALONE LONDON
Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne
This scent in three words: “Victoria’s Secret Angel.” — Ana Escalante
Longevity: 4 to 5 hours
Testing notes: “Straight out of the bottle, it’s like an ode to 2010 malls, Victoria’s Secret Push Up Bra campaigns, and ‘Umbrella’ by Rihanna. A lot of my fragrances are from niche houses, so going with something more commercial, I expected to be put off by the overly floral and citrusy scents found in most mass-produced scents, and yes, to some degree, it is that but it feels a bit more refined and glamorous in my opinion. Sometimes, I want to smell like Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan on a red carpet in 2007 and be okay with it!” — Escalante
Carolina Herrera Good Girl Eau de Parfum
Good Girl Eau de Parfum