Modern Love: Perfect Perfume Picks for Valentine’s Day


Perfume is the perfect present to give for Valentine’s Day, whatever your partnership preference. It may require a little research to get right, but if you hit the fragrant nail on the head, it will make a magical connection that lasts far longer than a box of chocolates and says much more than a bunch of roses.

And for modern love, perhaps more used to the harsh reality of dating sites and commoditised beauty, perfume makes an intimate, almost retro, connection. Who could resist a suitor who sought out such a sensuous present?

Perfume is also generously inclusive of gender, with more fragrances than ever being marketed as ‘unisex’, although if you do want to be specific, there’s ample scope for that too. The key is to pick a good one, which is where we come in. We’ve selected fragrances that you can count on to impress.


What would Amal give George? Mr and Mrs Clooney might be the most stylish couple out there, but the pressure of constantly looking and smelling fabulous must get a bit wearing and even they must need a bit of scented inspiration now and again. Uber-cool perfume brand Byredo’s Mister Marvelous for George (or any other marvellous man) would work a treat. As well as stating clearly what you think of him on the label, the scent is a herby, botanical citrus, brightly sparkling on the first spray, eventually warming down to a classy and subtle spiced woody orange which smells delicious on skin. Recognisable notes include mandarin, lavender, sandalwood and amber.

Amal, on the other hand, might like Stilettos On Lex, from possibly the most romantic brand on the planet, Jul Et Mad (read about them here). The fragrance is inspired by Julien’s first glimpse of his wife-to-be, Madalina, on Lexington Street New York, as she walked passed him in her high heels and left behind a trail of her captivating scent. The fragrance is a sensuous fruity floral, with hints of pear, violet, lily of the valley and carnation, nestled on a bed of patchouli. Subtle and very sexy, the scent is the brand’s best seller.


Modern love requires a modern scent. Just as relationships are no longer constricted to old fashioned gender rules, so fragrance is updating to appeal to love across all boundaries. A delicious new scent from Heeley Paris is  Chypre 21, a reworked version of the classic chypre-style (often considered the most ‘classic’ of fragrance mixes). Traditionally, chypres can be a bit powdery, but this swaps old-school dustiness for a clear-as-a-bell modern version of the genre. We had a bit of a girl-crush on perfumer James Heeley when we met him, he’s a dedicated modern perfumer and this rosy, mossy, woody scent would smell good on boys and girls.


What would David buy Elton? We’ve no doubt that neither David not Elton would hesitate to give each other enormous bunches of roses at any time of the year, but for anyone unsure how a bouquet of flowers might go down, a rose in perfumed form might be a smart alternative.

Roses smell delicious on both men and women, some of our favourites include the Miller Harris range of contemporary, unisex rose fragrances. Rose Silence is exactly that, a quiet, clear rose with a sound but gentle grounding in patchouli, which works well as a day scent. Think more ‘single flower’ than ‘giant bouquet’. For something weightier – a proper bouquet full of smell- Rose en Noir is a bigger, velvety Turkish rose, rich with hints of sweet red berries, violet and a earthy slick of vetiver.

Diptyque’s L’Ombre dans L’Eau is a rose with a green mossy base and hints of amber. It’s stylish and crisp and ideal for both men and women.


If you want to send an unambiguous message to your man this Valentine’s then Dear Rose’s I Love My Man could be the perfect choice. Despite its bold name, it’s a subtle combination of rose and cinnamon, making it drier and less sweet, with a gentle intoxicating dry down character that might suit partners that prefer a quieter, more sensuous fragrance.

We could say the same about English Rose from Royal Apothic, a charming, romantic rose, possibly more suited to girls, which conjures up country walks rather than grand rose gardens, it’s a dainty floral posy of a scent.


It doesn’t matter what your partner’s gender is, for Valentine’s we all have the same thing in mind; a little love, a little romance, and maybe sex. So 4160 Tuesday’s The Sexiest Scent On The Planet (IMHO) cuts to the chase and tells it how it is. Despite its very forward name, it’s a remarkably velvety mix of creamy vanilla, a touch of citrus and a quiet wood base; it’s understated sexy, which is always the best. Also, think how good your partner is going to feel with this on their bathroom shelf – it’s beautifully unisex too. A little shot of this every morning would boost anyone’s self esteem.

Whatever you choose, fingers crossed for a happy Valentine!