There are some fragrances that you just save for those special events, whether it’s a wedding, an anniversary, a birthday dinner… [insert fancy occasion here]. The perfume could be associated with a special memory or moment (like your grandma’s favorite scent that you wear to family gatherings or the fragrance you wore on your first date with your fiancé). Or it could be a fragrance that just makes you feel fancy, luxurious, and good about yourself. Whatever it is, you might have one of these that you keep on hand, or maybe you’re just hearing about these “special-occasion perfumes” and want to get one for yourself.
Now, it’s important to note that there aren’t really any rules for what constitutes a special-event perfume. It’s totally up to personal preference. In fact, someone’s everyday, go-to fragrance could be someone else’s special-occasion perfume. To each their own!
I was curious, though, about what people’s favorites were, so I asked my colleagues for their picks. See what they had to say below, plus some other highly recommended scents. Maybe you’ll get some inspiration here.
“I think St. Rose is the only fragrance line to exist where I would honestly and truly wear every single one of its six scents. That said, Juliet in White is so beyond and special that it almost feels wasted on any ol’ normal day. I love both floral and woodsy perfumes, and this one combines the best of both worlds—white tea, pepper, and tangerine on top for just a little bit of fizz; sambac, jasmine, rose, and bergamot at the heart for that floral component; and sandalwood and ambrette at the base to keep it nice and grounded. Over 98% of its ingredients are natural and naturally derived, and unlike lots of natural perfumes I’ve tried, the scent actually lasts and lingers beautifully.” — Erin Jahns, Senior Beauty Editor
“Whenever I need an extra dose of confidence for a special occasion, I lightly spritz Tom Ford’s Ébène Fumé across my décolletage. It was love at first sight when I inhaled the powerful and seductive fragrance. Holding a strong earthy and woody scent that is backed up by a splash of rose, this one definitely makes an impact.” — Sierra Mayhew, Associate Editor
“My go-to for special occasions used to be Stella by Stella McCartney, but it’s sadly been discontinued. Luckily, I found that I love Byredo’s Gypsy Water, which is a soft sandalwood and citrus scent. It’s hard to describe, so just trust me and go smell it (or just order it—it’s impossible not to like).” — Allyson Payer, Senior Editor
“Not to be dramatic, but this perfume is quite honestly one of my most prized possessions. Not only is it the exact scent that Audrey Hepburn wore, but it’s also one of the most unique fragrances I’ve ever come across. This fragrance somehow bottles each ingredient in a way that jolts your memory through smell. It smells like each scent note was freshly plucked from the vine at peak season. The overall effect is electrifying on the skin and reminiscent of sun-drenched days in a garden. I’d wear this fragrance on my wedding day—that’s how special I think it is.” — Katie Berohn, Associate Beauty Editor
“Whenever I have a special occasion, Gucci Bloom is always my go-to scent. I’m a fan of fresh and floral scents through and through, and while my everyday scents include Maison Margiela’s Bubble Bath and Marc Jacobs’s Daisy, Bloom stands out as special to me. Not only does the bottle just make me feel fancy, but the sweet notes of tuberose and jasmine will also last throughout any event. It smells like you’ve bathed in florals, but not in an intense way. Isn’t that what everyone wants when they’re at a special occasion?” — Yusra Siddiqui, Assistant Market Editor
“Honestly, I just love everything about this fragrance. It’s so fresh, floral, and clean that I would wear it both for a special occasion and just every day. It also has this beautiful sweetness to it that subtly complements the other notes—it’s never overpowering and never smells too saccharine. It’s just light but simultaneously incredibly noticeable. Plus, wearing anything Chanel feels right for a special occasion, right?” — Shawna Hudson, Associate Beauty Editor
“My fiancé got me this perfume for my birthday the first year we started dating, and now, it reminds me of him every time I put it on! Any time we have a special date night or event, I’ll spritz it and will be immediately transported back to the first few months of us going out. It definitely lives up to its name—it’s sweet, sultry, and straight-up decadent. Plus, the sleek matte-black bottle makes my bathroom counter feel incredibly luxe.” — Anneliese Dominguez, Editor, Branded Content
Light and fresh, this floral fragrance from Chloé is just so graceful and elegant. It’s perfect for events like a wedding (whether you’re the guest or the bride) or a garden party. In addition to a rose scent, it’s infused with notes of bergamot, magnolia accord, white musk, and amber.
Yes, this was on our list of everyday perfumes, but remember when I said someone’s everyday perfume could be someone else’s special-occasion scent? The rich and luxe fragrance is a warm and spicy blend of jasmine, saffron, cedarwood, fir resin, and amberwood. Bring this out for those extra-fancy events.
Mugler’s warm floral fragrance is so unique and intoxicating. It has key notes of bergamot essence, jasmine grandiflorum, and bourbon vanilla. Some reviewers say it smells like coconuts, so this will come in handy during summer gatherings and parties.
I always hear about this fragrance from my fellow editors, and it always gets amazing reviews. Described as a “modern classic,” the perfume contains notes of Turkish rose essence, patchouli, benzoin, cinnamon, sandalwood, musk, and frankincense.
Mon Paris is a scent that’s both romantic and modern. The fragrance contains sweet notes of red berries and datura flower, and it’s grounded by white musk and patchouli. It’s a fruitier scent than most florals, so choose this if you like something a little more playful and sweet.
Leave it to Tiffany & Co to create a luxe fragrance that you’ll want to wear during any celebratory moment. The sparkling scent has a top note of vert de mandarine, a middle note of iris, and base notes of patchouli and musks.
If you’re looking for a statement-making scent, try this one from Marc Jacobs that is so rich and bold. Seriously, it’s not one for those who shy away from the spotlight. It’s a unique blend of floral, oriental, and woodsy scents. Top notes include roasted almonds, pink pepper, and pamplezest; middle notes include daffodil absolute and jasmine sambac; and base notes include sesame oil, New Caledonian sandalwood, and cashmeran.
First, let’s just talk about the unique bottle that features a panther—that’s just luxe, right? Second, the Cartier perfume has sweet gardenia scents that are paired with musky notes, so it feels balanced but still very rich.
Inspired by “the scents wafting throughout a Brooklyn jazz club,” this perfume is warm, spicy, woody, and a little sweet all at once. When you sniff it, you might recognize notes of pink pepper, rum absolute, tobacco leaf absolute, neroli oil, rum, and vanilla perfume.
Tom Ford’s Black Orchid is a warm floral fragrance that is sensual, sumptuous, and sophisticated. Key notes include black orchid, ylang-ylang, and patchouli. Plus, the gold bottle is just so glamorous. It’s a modern interpretation of 1920s and 1930s architecture.