The rise of unisex fragrance & our top picks

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What makes a fragrance unisex, you ask? Other than a targeted marketing campaign and packaging, the pure scent is entirely judged by our own perception of ingredients that we associate with 'feminine' or 'masculine'. For example, musk, leather and spices are manly while florals and sweeter notes of vanilla are inherently feminine.

But as our fragrance palettes become more and more sophisticated, these boundaries are blurring as brands experiment with scents that challenge the status quo of what should be a fragrance for him or for her, which lends itself to more contemporary, intriguing results.

Take a look at our top pics of the gender-neutral scents that are not to be sniffed at - from new launches by Acqua di Parma and Jo Malone London to the iconic Tom Ford parfum and niche brand Escentric Molecules that paved the way for androgynous scents that followed. 

 

The latest offering from Italian perfume house, Acqua Di Parma, is a modern interpretation of the classic Colonia fragrance from 1916 that was allegedly worn by chic filmstars Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Colonia Pura is a fresh, sophisticated take on their classic citrus fragrance combining crisp bergamot, juicy orange and petit grain accents with warm patchouli and spicy coriander for a contemporary and refined cologne. 

Acqua di Parma Colonia Pura Eau de Cologne,  £91 (100ml); Available at Bond Street, Bracknell, Brent Cross, Canterbury, Colchester, Kingston, Newcastle, Tunbridge Wells, York

The English Oak & Hazelnut Cologne from Jo Malone London’s new The English Oak collection is an earthy, enticing fragrance for women and men. The warming base of roasted oak is infused with top notes of green hazelnut, while vertiver and cedarwood add a green woody layer to the fragrance that transports the wearer to an enchanted forest. 

Jo Malone London English Oak & Hazelnut Cologne, £88 (100ml); Available at Fenwick Bond Street, Bracknell, Brent Cross, Canterbury, Colchester, Newcastle, Tunbridge Wells

Arguably one of the original unisex fragrances enjoyed by both men and women, Tom Ford's Black Orchid has become a cult classic. This decadent scent blends rich black truffle, amber and ylang ylang with fresh bergamot, fruity blackcurrant  and floral notes of jasmine and gardenia for a tempting, sensual fragrance that smells just as powerful on both sexes.

Tom Ford Black Orchid, £112 (100ml); Available at Fenwick stores nationwide

Cult fragrance brand Escentric Molecules prides itself on their range of gender-neutral scents.  Their original, and most popular fragrance, Molecule 01, simply uses one aroma chemical, Iso E Super, that is designed to heighten the natural pheromones on the skin.  Although it may not always be smelled by the wearer, the engaging scent is often characterised as a modern cedarwood with a velvety sensation that's known to have a definite effect on others. Be prepared to be stopped on the street and asked ‘what perfume are you wearing?!’ 

Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 Eau de Toilette, £72 (100ml); Available at Fenwick Brent Cross, Canterbury, KingstonTunbridge Wells

The Elizabeth &  James Nirvana White and Black fragrances are new additions to our Fenwick of Bond Street Beauty Hall – and are quickly becoming a firm favourite. Nirvana White is an alluring floral musk with notes of peony and chic muguet that’s balanced with a rich musk. While Nirvana Black is a sensual, woody scent with notes of violet, sandalwood and vanilla that's a flirty addition to either gender's aresnal. 

Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black and Nirvana White Eau de Parfum, £95.00 (100ml); Available at Fenwick of Bond Street 

 Iris Céladon is the latest offering to the luxurious Armani Privé collection that heroes the rare signature iris flower. Blended with rich bergamot, musk, patchouli and cardamom, the elegant, sensual scent smells just as great on both sexes. 

Giorgio Armani Privé Iris Céladon Eau De Parfum, £170 (100ml); Available at Fenwick Bond Street and Newcastle

By Grace Gargini