My perfume collection is extensive. As a beauty journalist, I receive a lot of perfume. As long as any given scent doesn’t make me turn my nose up at first sniff, I’ll usually add it to my shelf. The reason for this being that my job is to try as many products as possible and get a feel for them, even if they’re not to my usual tastes. But when it comes to perfume, this can be tricky business.
In order to give each fragrance in my lineup a proper go, I try to mix things up every single day. While one day I might try a head-turning oud, the next I might opt for a light musk or spring-like floral. Not just because variety is, of course, the spice of life, but also because I have found that it is the best way to take others by surprise and gauge reactions. And so, after many years of subjecting those around me to hundreds of smells, I feel as though I am now at a stage where I can spot patterns. One thing I know for sure is that citrus perfumes are without a doubt my most complimented.
And it makes sense, I suppose. Citruses are, after all, fresh and inoffensive, tickling the nose with a type of zestiness that whisks you off to faraway lands. What’s not to love? Luckily, over time, citrus perfumes have become some of my favourites too. Keep scrolling for the 12 citrus perfumes that earn me the most compliments.
Narciso Rodriguez Néroli Ambrée Eau de Parfum (£65)
With neroli oil and orange flower petals, this spritz is fresh at first but has a musky, woody dry down that means it lingers on skin and is perfect for warm summer evenings. It's one of those perfumes that are virtually impossible to dislike.
L'Occitane Mint Verbena Eau de Toilette (£52)
New from L'Occitane, this eau de toilette is quite possibly one of the most mouthwatering, zingy perfumes I have ever come across. It combines lime and grapefruit with verbena and spearmint, so you'd be forgiven for thinking it might be sickly sweet. In fact, the mintiness mixed with woods and musk makes it irresistibly fresh, like an ice-cold mojito on a sweltering day.
Jo Loves Jo by Jo Loves Eau de Toilette (£115)
Jo Malone CBE actually made this delicious grapefruit perfume for herself (hence the name). It combines grapefruit and bitter orange with lime and spearmint to create the ultimate fresh fruity cocktail. But again, it doesn't have a sticky smell. Instead, woody notes and pepper mean it melts into the skin to leave behind a warm scent that oozes midsummer sunshine.
Penhaligon's The Ingénue Cousin Flora Eau de Parfum (£204)
Out of all of the perfumes in my rather extensive collection, this one is by far the most asked-after. One spray has people flocking over to ask what I'm wearing—and so it should for that eye-watering price tag. It combines zesty citruses with cool, green and earthy notes that together smell like a warm, beachy breeze. Enticing, comforting and slightly mysterious, this bottle has it all.
Jo Malone London Nashi Blossom Cologne (£105)
I'd say this is a floral fragrance first, with spring-like nashi blossom (think jasmine and peony) sitting at the heart. But it also has a lemony, fruity zestiness to it that leaves it sparkling on the skin like an ice-cold spritz. It's totally wearable but head-turning at the same time.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Vitae Cologne Forte Eau De Parfum (£165)
Francis Kurkdjian himself described this perfume as the feeling of laying down your head on a sun-drenched pillow, and quite honestly, I couldn't possibly say anything more fitting. With musk, sandalwood, mandarin and bergamot, it captures that sort of humid Mediterranean stuffiness while still smelling fresh and free. Not a day goes by that I don't at least give this stuff a sniff.
Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Passiflora (£63)
This is the first perfume on this list that I would probably describe as sweet. But not in a sickly, vanilla sort of way, rather like a sugared grapefruit sparkling in the sunshine. It's the sort of perfume I reach for when I'm a little bit bronzed and want to embrace my inner J.Lo, put on some gold hoops and wear a low-cut top. I don't think I have ever worn this without someone giving it a compliment.
Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue (£170)
The price is steep, but it's worth nothing that this is a 200-milliliter bottle, which is huge. But believe me when I say you'll get through it. Like drinking freshly squeezed orange juice in an Italian garden, it's impossible to spritz this without a smile.
Byredo Sundazed Eau de Parfum (£122)
Whatever citrus perfume you come across, just know that this stuff is the citrus perfume. It wasn't the first, and it might not be the most well-known, but it is in all interpretations of the word, a citrus perfume through and through. It's lemony but warm, fizzy but creamy, floral but sweet. If you ask me, no one has and likely ever will create a citrus perfume that comes close to matching the pure brilliance of Sundazed.
Sana Jardin Berber Blonde EDP (£95)
Unlike most citrus perfumes around, this stuff isn't particularly fresh. If you prefer strong, warm smells, this one is definitely for you. With orange blossom, neroli oil and musk, it has the same lightweight freshness as your typical citrus but also has the lingering power of musk. It's a citrus that can be worn just as easily in the winter as it can in the summer.
Miller Harris Rêverie de Bergamote (£163)
An herby blend of tangerine and bergamot, this spritz is earthy and grounded in nature. Imagine you're smelling fresh citrus fruit directly from the tree, and you might be able to conjure just a fraction of the joy this yellow bottle of greatness can evoke.
Ouai Dean Street EDP (£46)
Ouai's haircare products are renowned for their delicious scents, and this perfume, based on the uplifting, lively vibes of London's Dean Street, doesn't disappoint. With lemon, mandarin, grapefruit and apricot as well as a bouquet of delicate florals, this perfume is lightweight and clean-smelling—like a shower of summer freshness.
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
Read More from Who What Wear