What are Oriental Fragrances & How to Choose One

What are Oriental Fragrances & How to Choose One

Oriental fragrances have been a popular choice for evening wear and the winter months, thanks to their warming and long-lasting scents. Oriental fragrances for men and women are often inspired by the first fragrance creations in places like India and ancient Arabia.

No fragrance collection is complete without an oriental fragrance; it can smell and feel a little more grown-up than other scent families, with a rich and sensual combination of notes.

Over the years, oriental fragrances have evolved into many different forms, with so many perfumes and aftershaves to choose from. Warm, sweet and even a little spicy, oriental fragrances are a stunning choice for after-dark.

So, with that in mind, how do you recognise an oriental fragrance and how do you choose one?

How to recognise an oriental fragrance

Both perfume and aftershave can have an oriental scent. Oriental fragrances are usually a little richer than others, but can vary between floral oriental scents and woody oriental scents. You can usually recognise this through the different notes you smell in the perfume or aftershave.

Oriental fragrances usually use more exotic and unusual notes, including vanilla, cinnamon, orris, jasmine, orchid and orange blossom. For this reason, they often smell beautifully indulgent and luxurious.

A wonderful example of a floral-oriental perfume is Donna by Valentino. This perfume brings together Italian bergamot with Bulgarian rose and iris, before giving way to a base of patchouli, leather and vanilla. The combination is light but distinct, making it a perfect choice for day or night.

Other examples of floral-oriental perfumes for women include Paco Rabanne Pure XS and Jean Paul Gaultier Classique.

To understand a woody-oriental fragrance, the classic Organza by Givenchy is the perfect perfume example. Created in 1996, it uses bergamot and gardenia alongside honeysuckle, jasmine and iris, sitting on a base of vanilla, amber, cedar and guaiac wood.

Some other great choices for woody-oriental perfumes include Truth by Calvin Klein and Aura by Thierry.

The difference between the two is quite distinct. Floral oriental fragrances are typically lighter, which are perfect if you want a memorable perfume without it being too strong or intense. On the other hand, woody oriental fragrances can add extra depth, with an earthy and warm base.

Oriental fragrances for men

Oriental aftershaves are the perfect male counterpart. You will find less floral-oriental aftershaves, instead with the focus on the woody scent family for a more masculine finish.

Joop! Homme is a great example of this. Launched in 1989, it continues to be a cult favourite in a stand-out fuchsia bottle. It has been created with familiar notes in a classic combination, including orange blossom, bergamot, jasmine, cinnamon, sandalwood and vanilla.

Other popular oriental aftershaves for men include Spicebomb Night Vision by Viktor & Rolf, created with a powerful combination of notes. Opening with fresh green apple, grapefruit and cardamom, the aftershave opens to reveal red chilli, clove, nutmeg and sage before finishing on a base of tonka bean and almond.