As a woman, the best perfume is all it takes to complete your look and decide the mood or the occasion.
Subtle and understated or bold and fearless, there’s no limit when it comes to delighting the senses with alluring fragrances. And few gifts for women, whether for yourself or someone close to you, have the magic to evoke memories the same way scent strikes a personal chord.
Narrow down the options from the sweet and fruity to the earthy and musky with our 2020 guide to the best perfumes for her.
Buying in a hurry? Here are the top five best perfumes for women right now:
- Jimmy Choo Signature
- Tom Ford Black Orchid
- Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud Cologne Intense
- Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium
- Chanel no.5
Jimmy Choo Signature: Overall best perfume for women
Tiger orchid and toffee caramel summon an empowering and seductive scent with an effortless click of the finger. Jimmy Choo Signature is charming and vivacious, evoking romanticism and seductive with top green notes that are heady and gourmand. An energetic boost with a wonderfully juicy appeal, it’s sexy and mystical with a unique bouquet. One spritz will lift it from the body to reveal contrasting sweet Italian orange and pear nectar with underlying hints of Indonesian patchouli.
Smells like: Biting into a chic, sultry, exotic pear.
Tom Ford Black Orchid: Best luxury women perfume
Stroll back into the world of old Hollywood drama with velvet curtains and a dash of red matte lipstick. Black truffle, bergamot and its namesake black orchid confidently take centre stage in this fragrance from Tom Ford, with an Art-Deco inspired bottle that demands attention. Black Orchid’s dark and oriental notes are the forbidden fruit of the fragrance world: plum, patchouli and vanilla smell good enough to eat. Melting dark chocolate and drops of amber, incense and balsam complete this perfume, in a beautifully unisex bottle that lasts forever on the skin.
Smells like: A bewitching chocolate flambé dessert on an exotic flower carpet.
Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud Cologne Intense: Best value perfume for women
Elegant, sophisticated and glamorous: Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud Cologne Intense blankets its wearer with a magnetic and decadent mix of woody oud and velvety sweet rose. Dipped in praline, it’s toasted with smoky oud wood and spiked with a hint of clove. Underlying femininity comes from a rich floral depth that’s sweet but fresh, powerful and pleasing and simple all at the same time.
Smells like: A dark, Arabian rose.
Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium: Most popular fragrance for women
Black Opium’s adrenaline-rich coffee mixed with sweet vanilla, orange blossom and jasmine will wake you up faster than any espresso ever could. A firm favourite, it’s sexy, feminine and bold, with a wide-eyed and awake sprinkle of notes gently complemented by a sugary softness. Its sweetness makes this perfume almost edible, with depth, warmth and longevity adding to its winning combination. Black Opium is well-blended and intoxicating with floral undertones that stay on the skin hours after the last spritz.
Smells like: Espresso Martini with a dash of sugar.
Prefer fruitiness over coffee scents? Calvin Klein Obsession is another best-selling choice, filled with passionate and powerful warm and fruity notes like mandarin, bergamot and vanilla. Intense and oriental, it’s another excellent choice that’s well-known for a reason.
Obsession Women Perfume
Tom Ford Vanille Fatale: Best perfume as a gift
Tom Ford’s Vanille Fatale is a force of nature in a bottle that’s beautiful on the outside and inside. It’s balsamic and sweet, stirring in a spoonful of spicy vanilla, saffron and a snippet of fresh coriander. Take a deep breath into earthy Africa with deeper notes of Madagascan vanilla and roasted barley. A subtle hint of Mahogany lingers for hours, merging together for a wonderful blast of timeless glamour.
Smells like: The perfect storm of maturity, elegance and seduction.
Diptyque Eau Capitale: Best classic women perfume
Picture this: you’re wandering through the streets of Paris, admiring iconic Art Nouveau buildings surrounded by a cloud of soft rose and comforting patchouli. Diptyque Eau Capitale is exactly that: a genderless floral scent that’s young and slightly sweet without being too delicate. Its brightness brings out blue skies on even the cloudiest days, with a potent blend of bergamot, pink peppercorns, rose, ylang ylang and cinnamon.
Smells like: The sophisticated Frenchwoman who leaves an airy scent of rose in her path.
Calvin Klein Euphoria: Best women fragrance according to men
A double take goes hand in hand with Calvin Klein Euphoria. Woody and warm, it’s inviting in a way that demands attention and draws out confidence. The luscious fruit notes are glamorous and sexy, merging exotic fruits and seductive florals with notes of pomegranate, succulent persimmon, amber, black violet and mahogany wood. It’s impossible to go unnoticed when wearing Euphoria, with a beauty and quality that seems to almost encourage intimacy.
Smells like: Your secret weapon for a seductive first impression.
Vera Wang Princess: Top rated women’s perfume
Apricot, mandarin orange, water lily, dark chocolate and tuberose make Princess by Vera Wang good enough to eat. This go-to fragrance embraces its wearer with a gentle soft fruitiness that manages to be sweet and sophisticated at the same time. The “Princess” name might highlight the comforting and delicate hints of this fragrance but it promises a darker and complex scent that makes it stand out from the crowd.
Smells like: Your favourite fruity-sweet fragrance from the past, modernised and sassy.
Carine Roitfeld George: Most sensual perfume for women
Inspired by a fictional London lover, Carine Roitfeld’s George is an aromatic, earthy and woody stranger that you’re dying to get to know. It was designed to draw influence from both London and Paris, combining vintage leather with smoky Galbanum and tobacco. Its spicy, green top notes of violet leaf absolute and cannabis might suggest one intention but base notes of oakmoss will keep you guessing. This is a genderless perfume that exudes a classic austere, intriguing mood with a hint of florals as you pass by.
Smells like: A combination between the Sex Pistols and The Royal Family.
Michel Germain Sexual: Sexiest women perfume
Sexual sparkles with desire, promising a world of French sophistication, romance and mystery. It’s made up of warm, oriental, spicy and feminine layers just waiting to be stripped back with a deep base of incense, myrrh and sandalwood. Unwrapping these layers reveals a smokier and darker edge to Michel Germain Sexual. Cinnamon and vanilla lighten the mood while underlying notes of wild berries and passionflower add an innocent sweetness. Honeysuckle and freesia complete the bouquet, contrasted by a creamy undertone.
Smells like: A candied, spiced floriental bomb.
Montblanc Femme Individuelle: Confidence booster fragrance
Class and sophistication combine in this feminine, oriental perfume. Montblanc Femme Individuelle is the bottle hastily picked up from the dressing table with confidence, for the busy woman who wants a new signature scent. It’s elegant and warm, with an injection of sharp pink pepper and sour blackcurrant to add a pop of colour and heart notes of lotus blossom, hawthorn and rose reminiscent of a bed of petals. With a patchouli, amber, musk and vanilla base, it’s a perfume with the confidence that removes the need for second-guessing.
Smells like: A woman not to be questioned.
Kenneth Cole White for Her: Best perfume for young ladies
The first glimpse of sunshine through the curtains; freshly laundered white bed sheets; Kenneth Cole White for Her. Its light floral scent is pretty and sweet and is as wearable as it is unique. Clean and comforting, with notes of plum, mandarin, freesia, orchid, lily of the valley, iris and amber, it’s the definition of a Sunday morning fragrance. Florals and fruits merge with linen and a hint of musky vanilla. Versatile and gentle on the skin, it’s a go-to fragrance for the woman who wants something different from super sweet or sugary scents.
Smells like: Tanned skin on fresh bed sheets during golden hour.
Chanel no.5: Best fragrance for women over 50
“A woman’s perfume, with the scent of a woman” is what Chanel herself called this iconic perfume that lingers with an ever-changing subtlety. There are few perfumes quite as classic as Chanel no.5: a long-standing favourite that promises a mysterious yet familiar scent that exudes the very essence of femininity. This legendary perfume is a cult icon and offers a refined, elegant bouquet that’s softly inviting with an underlying and steely power. Breathe in its jasmine, rose, sandalwood and vanilla deeply.
Smells like: Self-assured, opulent, mature and revered.
Hugo Boss Orange: Best women’s perfume for the workplace
Monday mornings get an enthusiastic shake up when paired with Hugo Boss Orange’s incredibly light citrus scent. A burst of freshness turns up the vibrancy of an everyday routine with an uplifting spritz of crispy apple and bergamot. Its modern scent is the urban, natural, feminine woman, filled with enthusiasm and energy. Base notes of sandalwood, olive wood and creamy vanilla accompany a brisk walk to the office. It’s a passionate fragrance that highlights a strong personality and is the best tonic for Monday to Friday.
Smells like: An unforgettable part of your weekday beauty routine.
Kenneth Cole Black for Her: Best evening women perfume
Bright city lights and loud, chattering conversation walk alongside Kenneth Cole Black for Her. The intense and captivating sibling to White for Her, this is an exotic perfume that’s best paired with clinking cocktail glasses and a smudge of lipstick. Its slightly masculine, yet sexy and fresh scent is strong, refined and complex with notes of florals, jasmine, and sambac. Wear it with confidence at night time, bringing out unexpected characteristics with a spritz or two.
Smells like: Unique and intriguing with plenty of mystery.
Calvin Klein CK One: Best women perfume for the summer
The ghost of summer past appears every time you pack a suitcase and forget to include Calvin Klein CK One. Along with sunglasses and a bikini, it’s a holiday essential that promises to take you back to footsteps in the sand and sea salt on tanned skin. Clean and contemporary, its top notes of pineapple, mandarin orange, papaya, bergamot, cardamom and lemon remind you of sunny days at the beach and warm evenings wandering to dinner. CK One is a versatile scent that perfectly complements destinations all over the world.
Smells like: Feeling the sunshine on your face while sipping cocktails.
Philosophy Fresh Cream: Best women perfume for fall
The comforting and cosy nature of Philosophy Fresh Cream acts as the perfect antidote to crisp evenings and not enough layers. Its sweet, floral and musky notes are a warm knitted jumper, soft and promising against outside’s cool winds. Captivating and deliciously sensual hints of creamy vanilla, sweet macadamia and spun sugar fight for attention as the leaves on the trees turn golden. It warms from the inside with a reassuring depth.
Smells like: Cosy knitwear and whipped cream stirred into hot vanilla.
Tom Ford Velvet Orchid: Best women perfume for winter
Evoke the carnal grandeur with Tom Ford Velvet Orchid’s breathtaking combination of Italian bergamot, rum and honey. Akin to the cosy feeling that comes from throwing on your warmest coat, it’s an easy first choice when winter comes tapping on the walls with frosted fingers. An oriental floral fragrance, it promises a unique character and essence with warming notes of Peru balsam, sandalwood, suede and vanilla. Dip into the most daring roots of femininity while the spicy hints make a statement with a sharp earthiness.
Smells like: Sensual, smooth, creamy and enticing all at once.
Oribe Cote d’Azur: Best women perfume for spring
Oribe’s sun-drenched blend of Calabrian bergamot, white butterfly jasmine and warm sandalwood comes together in a signature scent that’s both romantic and delicate. It embodies the luxe coastline with citrusy, woody, aromatic and floral notes in one bottle. Pick it up to bring back memories of previous springtime, with notes that’ll remind you of blossoms on the trees, dreamy blue skies and a fresh and sunny start to the day. Wear Oribe Cote d’Azur on those Sunday mornings when popping to the farmer’s market.
Smells like: The first glimpse of sunshine.
Juliette Has a Gun: Best light perfume for women
Juliette Has a Gun is a provocative yet effortless fragrance disproving the laws of traditional perfume in the best way. It ticks the box on indecisive days; a scent that you can’t put your finger on but will run to with a new type of elegance.
This famous perfume is minimalist and features a single note, called catalo, which is usually used in perfumery as a base note. Its ease and versatility makes it a great choice for both women who have hundreds of perfumes and those who only have one or two, but especially for those who value discretion over loud, bold scents.
Smells like: If whispering softly was a fragrance.
Christian Louboutin Trouble In Heaven: Most sophisticated women’s perfume
Christian Louboutin Trouble In Heaven lights a fire in the air with an intoxicating blend that’s mysterious and sexy. It’s a perfume with a personality that keeps you on your toes, changing moods as time passes. Suitable for those who love the finer things, it uses its notes of bergamot, cascalone, amber, patchouli, tonka absolute and labdanum to provoke anyone who comes too close. It’s a perfume that encourages its wearers to express themselves, with a distinct scent that’s powerful, compelling and seductive.
Smells like: The best first date perfume.
Michael Kors Rose Radiant Gold: Best budget women perfume
A hypnotic sensuality takes over with the mere aroma of Michael Kors Rose Radiant Gold in the air. Tantalising and multifaceted, it’s textured, romantic and versatile enough to wear on almost any occasion. With soft-to-touch musks and a floral, spicy sparkle, it floats through the air with hints of gardenia, jasmine and magnolia. This fresh perfume highlights the warmer seasons best, with a charming femininity that lasts on the skin for hours. The simplicity of the notes creates a perfect harmony fit for day or night.
Smells like: A classy garden party with a glass of Champagne.
Jo Loves White Rose & Lemon Leaves: Best floral women perfume
A delicate rose in the palm of your hand, Jo Loves White Rose & Lemon Leaves blooms on the skin quite unlike anything else. A beautifully feminine choice, it enlivens the senses with strong rose notes and fresh, clean lemon leaves. It soothes the soul with breezy notes that will immediately cause you to root through your wardrobe for a light summer dress. It’s young, innocent and delicate and will almost definitely win you over.
Smells like: A summer day in full bloom.
Byredo Bal d’Afrique: Best earthy women perfume
Feel the dry and spicy heat of the African savanna on your skin with a quick spritz of Byredo Bal d’Afrique. Inspired by 1920’s Paris and the cultures, art, music and dance from Africa, it’s an unusual combination that’s warm and romantic. With an intoxicating range of notes including neroli, African marigold and Moroccan cedarwood, it’s one-of-a-kind and vibrant, leaving a trail in its path with a sweet woodiness and a comforting earthiness. It’s subtly feminine with an uplifting vigour.
Smells like: An exotic and captivating ballroom dance.
L’Occitane Refreshing Verbena: Best citrus women perfume
“Invigorating” and “refreshing” go hand in hand with a zestiness that’s crisp and approachable. L’Occitane Refreshing Verbena is a beautifully energetic dream that makes you feel instantly purified. It’s green and herbal with a hint of sweetness, earthy and calming and avoids any sour notes in favour of a cool summer that’s luxuriously delicious. Lovers of lemon will adore this exquisite perfume.
Smells like: The perfect post-shower pick-me-up.
Jimmy Choo L’eau: Best fruity perfume for women
Jimmy Choo L’eau highlights the fun parts of life effortlessly with a fragrance that’s floral and fresh and almost thirst-quenchingly fruity. It’s radiant and feminine, like a gentle caress on the skin, ideal for the free-spirited woman with top notes of bergamot and hibiscus flower. Musk and cedarwood add an alluring depth while staying youthful with poppy florals that burst with flavour and an almost tropical finish.
Smells like: A sparkling fruit smoothie.
Jimmy Choo Blossom: Best musky women perfume
Sensual and sweet, Jimmy Choo Blossom is the bottled version of anticipation before a night out. It’s powerful, uplifting and delicious with a delicate heart of sweet pea. Its strong opening with red berries is blended with an invisible cloak of confidence and energy. Its base note of musk shines through along with light, rose, woody hints. Long lasting, it leaves a fruity, fresh scent on the skin as the hours pass, making it ideal for long nights or summer BBQs.
Smells like: A holiday romance.
Jo Malone English Oak & Hazelnut: Best woody women perfume
Jo Malone English Oak & Hazelnut is a jaunt through the woods, a light breeze through your hair and a hint of sunshine on your skin. It’s an immediate scent of garden moss, oak furniture and just-plucked-from-the-tree green hazelnuts. Spritz it for a long-lasting taste of the outdoors, with a sharp woodiness and tropical Elemi and Vetiver. While not a traditionally feminine scent, it’s refreshing, soft and warm.
Smells like: An enchanted walk through the forest.
Glossier You: Best minimalist fragrance for women
It doesn’t do Glossier You justice to say that, mostly, it just smells like you but better. The ultimate personal fragrance, it’s uniquely tough to describe because of its ability to change based on each person. Its unusual combination of warm, creamy base notes reflect differently on each person producing a truly one-of-a-kind scent. The result: a light and natural fragrance that’s neither flowery nor overpowering. It’s subtle and fresh thanks to its top notes of earthy, green iris root and spicy, sparkling pink pepper.
Smells like: The personal scent you’ve been searching for years.
Leaning more towards a minty yet subtle fragrance? Diptyque Minthé is a step into a beautifully gentle menthol world: a fresh and floral energetic burst with notes of geranium and a balanced and woody patchouli base. We’ll call this another favourite minimalist perfume.
Minthé Women Perfume
Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin: Best women’s perfume of all time
Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin is a cool glass of lemonade in a bottle: an old favourite with citrus, aromatic and fresh spicy notes. Gently ripped basil leaves produce a vibrant burst of green while a zesty squeeze of mandarin douses its wearer in an uncompromising freshness. Cool and sophisticated, it’s best suited to hot summer days. It finishes with a heavy dose of lime; sharp, fresh and clean with the perfect structure that’ll keep your skin feeling hydrated.
Smells like: A holiday by the Caribbean sea.
Clive Christian No1 Feminine: Most expensive women perfume
Wander into the garden of Aphrodite and take in a deep breath of pineapple, apricot, bergamot and cardamom. Clive Christian No1 Feminine is the long-grass, palm-filled jungle of dreams, filled with flowers that are rare and precious, rich and sweet, powdery and woody all at once. It’s aromatic and smooth; a multi-coloured outdoors adventure with a fine nuance and complexity and an exotic boost of tartness.
Smells like: A one-off treat that’ll leave you smiling to yourself.
Frequently asked questions about women’s perfume
No matter how much time passes, the most popular women’s perfume remains Chanel no.5, a classic and distinct fragrance filled with jasmine, rose, sandalwood and vanilla.
The number 1 selling perfume is Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium, a fragrance adored for its sweet vanilla and coffee notes.
The top 10 women’s fragrances are:
1. Jimmy Choo Signature
2. Tom Ford Black Orchid
3. Jo Malone Velvet Rose & Oud Cologne Intense
4. Calvin Klein Euphoria
5. Diptyque Eau Capitale
6. Montblanc Femme Individuelle
7. Vera Wang Princess
8. Tom Ford Velvet Orchid
9. Clive Christian No1 Feminine
10. Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin
The best smelling perfume in the world is Vera Wang Princess, an oriential-floral fragrance composed of exotic guava, Tiare flower, tuberose and a hint of dark chocolate.
The best smelling women’s perfume of all time is Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin. This citrus aromatic fragrance is sophisticated and luxurious with notes of mandarin, lime and white thyme.
The overall best perfume for 2020 is Jimmy Choo Signature, a fruity, spicy, smooth fragrance with pear, sweet Italian orange and Indonesian patchouli.