10 Spring Fragrances, Tried and Tested


Omg it’s almost Spring. THANK YOU LORD, I’M READY. We’ve (almost) made it through one of the worst winters ever! With this in mind, it’s time to do something really cheerful and desperately needed: try out lots of over-the-top, lovely new spring scents! I know it’s still bitter cold out there, but let’s get in the mood now, what do you say?

After collecting ten fragrance testers (I have a hard life) and spending at least a day wearing each one, I recorded my own thoughts and the reactions of those around me. Here’s how it went.

1: Sonia Kashuk Pink Innocencia Eau de Toilette | $19.99

When I first spritzed this new fragrance by SK on my wrists, I literally made a squealing “oooh!” noise. Could this scent be more springy? Pink Innocencia is just deliriously happy. It’s a heady, bubbly mixture of tuberose, magnolia, and lotus blossom on top of a musky amber base. I loved it. LOVED IT. It’s the opposite of the grey slush outside and fairly screams for a long, gauzy skirt and strappy sandals. It fades to a very gentle tuberose after a few hours, just a hint left on the skin.

My (female) lovah said: “I like whatever you’re wearing today, you smell good, like a lot of flowers.”

My (male) friend said while hugging me: “Mmm, I want to, like, rub my beard on your neck.”

2: Gucci Guilty Stud Eau de Toilette Limited Edition Spray | $80

HAVE A COOL BOTTLE, why don’t you? Easily the most fabulous bottle I’ve seen in a while, it has over 400 gold metal studs surrounding clear glass cutouts of interlocking letter G’s. Oh, and the fragrance inside smells great, too: there are pink pepper and juicy mandarin top notes, along with geranium, peach, and lilac middle notes, and an amber and subtle patchouli base. It doesn’t really smell super-fruity or flowery, though—folks, this fragrance just smells like a rich woman, which I’m seriously, seriously into. Like the scent of burying your face into a sparkly capelet that a young starlet has casually tossed on the back of a gilded chair at an Academy Awards after-party. Did you get all that? It’s all true.

A guy sitting next to me on the bus said: “Hey, I’m not trying to be weird or anything, but you smell really nice. I’m not hitting on you.” I said, “Thanks!” He continued, “Yeah, you smell nice...your coat makes you look like a grandma, though.” KBYE.

What I think: I wore Gucci Guilty several days in a row because I got obsessed with it, and spent moments during work meetings weirdly tucking my chin down into my shirt to smell myself. And the bottle looks posh as hell on my vanity.

3: Kat Burki Freesia & Pink Grapefruit Eau de Toilette | $48

You win the award for adorable packaging, Kat Burki. This fragrance comes dressed up like a fancy lil’ present wrapped in a springy green box, and the bottle itself is a ladylike, classic rectangle with a gold lid. And hello, this scent is practically edible—it literally smells like a lovely fruit candy with a hint of flowers, and features cheery top notes that sing, like fresh orange, bergamot, and grapefruit. It has a heart of jasmine, lily, and freesia, and base notes that leave behind a sweet, light piney smell. Freesia & Pink Grapefruit is the bottled incarnation of what riding a two-person bicycle with your crush along a sandy boardwalk feels like.

My female friend said: “This is really sugar-sweet but kind of weird because if you smell it again, it’s like citrus? And then if you smell it again you just want to eat it and keep smelling it.”

A different female friend said: “I know it would taste gross to lick it, but I want to anyway.”

4: Fresh Life Eau de Parfum | $88

This small bottle holds a fragrance that will be of extreme interest to people who love super-clean, just-got-out-of-the-shower scents. Fresh Life is supposed to be “the scent of earth, the scent of air, the scent of sun, and the scent of water” all blended together. It’s immediately crisp-smelling, with velvety bergamot, grapefruit, magnolia, lilac, silk amber, and sweet cucumber notes. Have to say, I didn’t like this one at all when I initially sniffed the top of the bottle, thinking it was much too clean-smelling for a mess like me, but Fresh Life tricks you. It has a delicate sexiness that comes out on the skin. In the bottle? You’re sitting in a clean house with sunlight spilling onto the hardwood floor next to a pile of freshly folded laundry. On the skin? You’re sitting in a giant, white-gauze-draped bed in an open-air Fantasy Suite as you wait for The Bachelor or Bachelorette to come ravage you.  

A male coworker said: “This is the first one I’ve liked so far. I hate flower perfumes, so this one’s the winner for me.”

My girlfriend said: “This one is funny because I thought I hated it at first, but it sort of reminds me of white hotel sheets. So. It kind of turns me on.”

5: L’Occitane Cerisier Rouge Eau Intense | $50

Cerisier Rouge has little cherry blossoms twining up a pinky-red glass bottle, and it’s incredibly springlike. I’m sitting here being cheered up just looking at it. Because it’s “enriched with a cherry extract from the Luberon region of Provence” I expected it to be a pretty basic cherry fragrance. Mais non! One spritz of this exuberant scent consisting of cherry, lemon, black currant, raspberry, and lily of the valley, and I was suffused with the hope that perhaps, one day, the snow would melt. While it’s unabashedly fruity, there’s an interesting, almost-funk note that blends with the cherry as it fades, causing me to sniff my wrist over and over again. Cerisier Rouge Eau Intense would be at home nestled in the wrists of a fuzzy spring cardigan sweater with three-quarter sleeves. It wants to go with you to the Women in Business fundraiser brunch, it really does.  

The guy who came to fix my toilet (yes I made him smell me) said: “That’s nice, like fruit and maybe something else. It’s girly. I like girly.”

What I think: This was another one I kept reaching for over and over. I really like it, and it stays on all day.

6: Escada Born in Paradise | $75

Full disclosure: I judged this fragrance before I ever set nose on it. It comes in a colorful box with a picture of a tropical bird perched on the shoulder of a naked, coyly smiling white girl. When I pulled out the smooth, curved aqua and white bottle decorated with a wearable pink-flower-fabric ring—which I immediately tried on—I said “Nope.” Not for me. But you know what? I was wrong, looks can be deceiving, etc. I really liked Born in Paradise the second I sniffed it. It’s a hyper-fruity blend of pineapple, coconut, watermelon, and green apple on a base of musk and wood, and, well, it smells like you’re 19 and on spring break in Cancun for the very first time. It’s the essence of your first fruity cocktail drink when you’re underage and in a bikini. It fades quickly, though.

My male coworker said: “I LOVE THIS ONE.” (sniffed my wrist again) “YES.”

My girlfriend said: “It’s so...tropical and rich-straight-girl-on-vacation-who-might-make-out-if-she-was-drunk.”

7: Lavanila The Healthy Roller-Ball Fresh Vanilla Lemon | $19

I already knew, just reading the label of this all-natural, botanical-based perfume, that it was going to be a new love of mine, and it was. The blend of Madagascar vanilla and bright lemon citrus is lovely, and suddenly, after swiping it on, you smell like a warm sugar cookie with sass. I wore this over and over again, and because of the slim rollerball format, I stuck it in my bag so I could take it out and sniff it alllll day.

My male friend said: “You smell like cake. I like it.”

My female friend said: “WHERE DID YOU GET THIS??? I WANT IT.”

8: Chanel Chance Eau Tendre Eau de Toilette | $68

Why yes, I’m an elegant young person who enjoys expensive pastel macaroon cookies, why do you ask? Chanel Chance Eau Tendre is the latest Chanel Chance offering, but with extra fruit and flowers mixed in—it comes in the classic round Chance bottle and the perfume is pink-colored this time around. It’s extremely springy and youthful—at first sniff, I got a big dose of pear or quince and grapefruit, and then some jasmine, hyacinth, and musky cedar.

My female coworker said: “Wait, I really like this. What is it again?”

What I think: This scent is not exactly me, but it’s a happy, warm-weather scent. It would be at home on someone who can comfortably carry around a small dog in a large purse without a sense of kitsch.  

9 & 10: Elizabeth and James Nirvana White and Nirvana Black For Her Eau de Parfum Spray | $75

Best for last, BBs. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (yes!) have come up with a winning duo of perfumes under their clothing line moniker Elizabeth and James. I’M IN LOVE WITH both Nirvana White and Nirvana Black. White is the good girl of the two—it consists of peony, musk, and lily-of-the-valley, and it’s lovely, like getting caught in a sudden summer rainstorm while (oops!) wearing a white dress. It smells fresh and clean yet slightly edgy. But the Black is the one I want to really talk about here—this fragrance has a dark, woody heart and smells almost masculine, even though it has vanilla and violet notes. Nirvana Black, for me, is sex in a bottle, and my only complaint is that it fades too fast. I WANT TO SMELL LIKE THIS FOREVER, DAMMIT.

My male friend said: “This smells like it’s for men. But it smells really good. Wait, c’mere, I want to smell it again. Yeah. I really like this one.”

My girlfriend said: “Do you get to keep these testers? I want you to buy this.”

Featured Products