The best perfumes for women – 40 sensational scents loved around the world

Our beauty experts pick the best perfumes for women for every taste and budget, from fruity to floral, spicy and fresh

Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady, Gucci Guilty for Her Intense, Jo Loves Mango Thai Lime
(Image credit: Frédéric Malle, Gucci, Jo Loves)

On the hunt for one of the best perfumes for women? Picking a new fragrance can seem daunting at first, but nothing compares to that feeling when you finally get a whiff of The One. When it comes to scent, you don’t think, you feel

If you're not quite sure where to begin, you're in luck. The beauty team has tested a myriad of scents over the years, from intense ouds to the best rose perfumes and the best Jo Malone fragrances – making finding your next signature scent as easy as one, two, spritz. 

With such a hold over our feelings and personal experiences, it's no surprise that the best perfumes for women is one of the most subjective topics in beauty, as personal as, say, your favorite food or go-to romcom. We can objectively agree that the best foundation should look like your skin, only better; but what makes a fragrance "the best" and worthy of a spot in our top 40? 

We've included a mix of niche brands that are loved by cool-girl celebs and Beauty Editors, undeniable and iconic crowd-pleasers, as well as a few notable new launches we think will make future classics for good measure. If you think it's time to update your signature scent, you'll hit the right note with one of our below picks of the all-time best perfumes for women. 

How to choose the best perfumes for women

With so many fragrances out there, it's not always easy to learn how to choose a perfume. We've divided our list into five perfume styles to help you choose. 

  • Floral: Feminine with an ingredients list packed full of blooms. Great for fans of iconic floral perfumes like Givenchy L'Interdit and Marc Jacobs Daisy.  
  • Fresh: Citrussy, clean-smelling or with sparkly ‘aldehydic’ notes, these perfumes will suit lovers of Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche and cult-fave Bobbi Brown Beach.
  • Fruity: Juicy and tasty, fruit-forward scents. If you or whoever you're buying for likes Jo Malone London Blackberry & Bay or Prada Candy, they're probably a fruity perfume fan.
  • Unisex: Technically, every perfume is unisex. But spicy or clean notes and gender-neutral packaging define this style. Classics include Le Labo Santal and CK One. 
  • Spicy: Heady and warming with woods and patchouli. The best oud perfumes come under this category and wearers of YSL Black Opium or Chanel Coco are likely to fall in love with a spicy perfume. 

The best perfumes for women, as chosen by our experts

Floral perfumes

Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin Eau de Parfum

(Image credit: Serge Lutens)

1. Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin Eau de Parfum

Overall best floral perfume for women

Specifications

RRP: $150/£110 for 50ml
Top notes: Rose, Geranium
Middle notes: Palmarosa
Base notes: Honey, Moss, Patchouli

Reasons to buy

+
Aesthetically pleasing
+
Rose-forward
+
Good longevity

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite heady

This amber floral is all about the classic rose, from the dusty pink-colored juice to the floral top and heart notes. What strikes you about this fragrance is how natural it smells. It evokes childhood memories of plucking garden rose petals to bathe in water to create a personalized perfume concoction. This is no powdery, fuddy-duddy floral blend—it is delicate and elegant, and a sure-fire hit with fans of rose scents. 

Diptyque Eau Rose Eau de Toilette

(Image credit: Diptyque)

2. Diptyque Eau Rose Eau de Toilette

Best floral rose perfume for women

Specifications

RRP: $145/£75 for 50ml
Top notes: Lychee, Blackcurrant, Bergamot
Middle notes: Rose Centifolia, Rose Damascena, Geranium
Base notes: Cedar, Musk, Honey

Reasons to buy

+
Refreshing and light
+
Modern interpretation

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as long-lasting

This is a modern, bright take on classic floral fragrances. The added green accords give not just an impression of a freshly cut rose, but the whole garden blooming in spring. The fruity elements of the perfume are subtle, so it’s not overly sweet. What you gain in light, fresh notes you may find lacking in longevity—a spritz lingers for a couple of hours—so this feels like a perfect rose perfume for day wear.

Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia Eau De Parfum

(Image credit: Gucci)

3. Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia Eau De Parfum

Best fruity-floral perfume for women

Specifications

RRP: $65/£55 for 30ml
Top notes: Pear Blossom
Middle notes: Jasmine, Gardenia
Base notes: Brown Sugar, Patchouli

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful bottle
+
Mass appeal

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as long-lasting
-
Quite sweet

If you’re looking for a safe bet scent, this is it. It’s classed as a white floral fragrance and hinges on the white gardenia flower. But it’s the pear blossom note that strikes on first spritzing. The dry down is given a creamy sweetness from sweet brown sugar accords. It’s a pretty scent, not especially long-lasting, but certainly joy-filled and pleasantly simple. If you are worried about how to buy fragrance online without smelling it this is the sort of scent that you could quite happily buy blind for a friend or relative, safe in the knowledge that they would gratefully receive.

YSL Black Opium Eau de Parfum

(Image credit: YSL)

4. YSL Black Opium Eau de Parfum

Best long-lasting floral perfume for women

Specifications

RRP: $77.30/£56 for 30ml
Top notes: Pear, Pink Pepper, Orange Blossom
Middle notes: Coffee, Jasmine, Bitter Almond, Licorice
Base notes: Vanilla, Patchouli, Cedar, Cashmere Wood

Reasons to buy

+
Great staying power
+
Beautiful bottle
+
Good projection

Reasons to avoid

-
Very popular

With an ingredients list that includes black coffee, long-wearing patchouli, and warming vanilla, this is one addictive floral gourmand fragrance. It has over 13,500 5* reviews online and was the most googled fragrance of 2020. So what more can we add? This is an alluring, rich, and mysterious juice, especially as you start to appreciate the sensual dry down of vanilla and woods, which makes this feel a little more geared towards a winter fragrance wardrobe. 

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum

(Image credit: Viktor & Rolf)

5. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum Spray

Best warming floral perfume for women

Specifications

RRP: $107.70/£78 for 50ml
Top notes: Tea, Bergamot, Osmanthus
Middle notes: Orchid, Jasmine, Rose, Freesia
Base notes: Patchouli, Musk, Vanilla

Reasons to buy

+
Stellar staying power
+
Warm dry down

Reasons to avoid

-
Might be too sweet for some

A bottle that remains instantly recognizable over a decade on from launch, this amber floral certainly captured the zeitgeist of the mid-noughties. The first impressions are sweet, not sickly saccharine but certainly a little sugary. The floral heart is elegant and actually surprisingly subtle, given the perfume’s name. The dry down is comforting, with a milky-like accord that lingers on the skin for hours and hours.  

Dior Miss Dior Eau de Parfum

(Image credit: Dior)

6. Dior Miss Dior Eau de Parfum

Best luxurious floral perfume for women

Specifications

RRP: $69/£58 for 30ml
Top notes: Italian Mandarin
Middle notes: Rose, Egyptian Jasmine
Base notes: Patchouli, Musk

Reasons to buy

+
A slice of luxury
+
Good projection
+
Long-lasting

Reasons to avoid

-
Less overtly floral

Don’t let the ‘Miss’ fool you. This is no frothy teen scent, in fact, it's generally regarded to be one of the best Dior perfumes of all time. It’s a mysterious and sensual floral fragrance, which has been masterfully blended to create an elegant, luxurious, and ladylike juice. The mandarin is a fleeting accord, and soon makes way for the soothing, intoxicating jasmine heart. This is a fragrance with great projection—you’ll make an entrance before even stepping foot in the room. It has a cosseting, musky warmth, which makes it great for bedtime, and equally an effervescence that plays well on balmy summer days. 

Tom Daxon Magnolia Heights Eau De Parfum

(Image credit: Tom Daxon )

7. Tom Daxon Magnolia Heights Eau De Parfum

Best uplifting floral perfume for women

Specifications

RRP : $225/£175 for 100ml
Top notes : Gardenia, ylang-ylang, violet leaf
Middle notes : Magnolia, jasmine sambac
Base notes: Musk, cedar

Reasons to buy

+
Uplifting scent 
+
Very delicate
+
Chic and feminine

Reasons to avoid

-
May be too light for some

A beautiful, delicate perfume that celebrates the scent of the magnolia tree, Magnolia Heights has only been around since 2016 but this chic floral is appreciated by many a floral fragrance enthusiast. As well as having a certain elegance, it's cheerful and uplifting, like a walk on the first sunny day of spring in fragrance form, and has a lovely musky drydown. 

Gucci Guilty for Her Intense

(Image credit: Gucci )

8. Gucci Guilty For Her Intense Eau De Parfum

Best amber floral perfume for woman

Specifications

RRP : $122/£83 for 50ml
Top notes: Mandora, lychee
Middle notes : Ylang-ylang, tuberose, plum
Base notes : Patchouli, vanilla, vetiver

Reasons to buy

+
Sweet but not too sickly
+
Warming
+
Lasts longer than the original

Reasons to avoid

-
Very popular 

An upgraded version of the classic Gucci Guilty for Her that you may already know and love, as its name suggests the Intense edition is the same sweet amber floral scent, just deeper and richer. Because of this it has good staying power, lingering for several hours. It is a very popular one, so you'll be far from the only person who wears it as their signature scent, but when a fragrance has won over the masses you know it's a good one. 

Fresh perfumes

Versace Dylan Turquoise Eau de Toilette

(Image credit: Versace)

9. Versace Dylan Turquoise Eau de Toilette

Best 'clean' fresh perfume for women

Specifications

RRP: $100/£84 for 100ml
Top notes: Lemon, Pink Pepper, Mandarin Orange
Middle notes: Guava, Freesia, Cassis, Jasmine
Base notes: Clearwood, Musk, Cedar

Reasons to buy

+
Mood-boosting
+
Smells clean
+
Evocative

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as long-lasting

The misty, cerulean blue bottle hints at what lies within a watery, fresh-smelling scent, suggestive of exotic crystal clear waters. Citrus notes will galvanize the mind like no other accord. Just think about what happens when someone unpeels an orange in a crowded train carriage—it cuts through the room like a knife. The top notes work in the same way here. Lemon and mandarin orange slice through a foggy mind, immediately enlivening the senses. The heart and base notes continue this olfactory escape to a distant isle, with an aqueous, youthful effect. It might not have the most longevity, but if fresh and sparkling is your fragrance bag, then spritz with abandon.

Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent

(Image credit: Estee Lauder)

10. Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent

Best escapist fresh perfume for women

Specifications

RRP: $57/£48 for 50ml
Top notes: Bergamot, Mandarin Orange
Middle notes: Tiare Flower, Magnolia, Jasmine
Base notes: Coconut Milk, Vanilla, Amber, Sandalwood

Reasons to buy

+
Holiday in a bottle
+
Good projection
+
Light and airy

Reasons to avoid

-
Very summery

For whatever reason, if an exotic holiday is off the cards, let this tropical scent inject that wanderlust spirit into your fragrance wardrobe. Pleasingly affordable, as perfume goes, this is definitely one of the best cheap perfumes that still looks and smells like a luxe designer scent. It’s lighter than your average eau de parfum, but it works with its light and airy holiday vibe. The warm and tropical blend of coconut, vanilla, and amber will transport you to sunnier climes, cocktail in hand, sand between toes. It is pure summer in a bottle. So much so it feels rebellious to spritz it in colder climes. But then rules are made to be broken, so there's no need to shove this in a drawer for half the year and then frantically google do perfumes expire the next time you want to wear it. You do you. 

Jo Loves Pomelo A Fragrance

(Image credit: Jo Loves)

11. Jo Loves Pomelo A Fragrance

Best zesty and fresh perfume for women

Specifications

RRP: $100/ £75 for 50ml
Top notes: Pomelo, Rose
Middle notes: Vetiver, Clove
Base notes: Patchouli, Suede

Reasons to buy

+
Unisex appeal
+
Distinctive
+
Long-lasting

Reasons to avoid

-
Sharp citrus notes

From the brand that makes some of the best scented candles in the business, this is the sort of unique, curious fragrance that would make people stop and ask you what you’re wearing. We have tested its unisex appeal and yes, in our household this is a scent we would gladly share. If you’re a fan of citrus accords, you will be enchanted by this bright and sunny blend. For others, the sharp top notes might be a little too intense. After the initial slurp of citrus zing, it deepens with rich, leathery notes, which stick around on the skin for hours. 

Clarins Eau Dynamisante Treatment Fragrance

(Image credit: Clarins )

12. Clarins Eau Dynamisante Treatment Fragrance

Best mood-boosting fresh perfume for women

Specifications

RRP: $39/£52 for 200ml
Top notes: Amalfi Lemon, Caraway, Coriander, Orange
Middle notes: Rosemary, Carnation, Cardamom, Thyme
Base notes: Patchouli

Reasons to buy

+
Tones skin
+
Mood-lifting
+
Great price

Reasons to avoid

-
May smell medicinal to some

In a Venn diagram, this splash-on spritz would sit in the middle ring between classic perfume and aromatherapy. First launched in 1987, it has the unique ability to tone, moisturize and perfume the skin in a single spritz. Its effect on the olfactory nerve is certainly enlivening, with a zingy blend of essential oils including lemon, patchouli, and ginseng that some may find a little green, herbal and medicinal-smelling. For us, the juice had an uplifting effect, and conjured up an image of a health spa, tucked away in the forest. 

Armani Acqua Di Gioia Eau de Parfum

(Image credit: Giorgio Armani)

13. Armani Acqua Di Gioia Eau de Parfum

Best crisp and fresh perfume for women

Specifications

RRP: $72/£53 for 30ml
Top notes: Crushed Mint Leaves, Limone Primo Flore
Middle notes: Jasmine, Aquatic Accords, Pink Pepper, Peony
Base notes: Cedarwood, Brown Sugar, Labdanum

Reasons to buy

+
Luxurious bottle
+
Uniquely bracing scent
+
Crisp and unisex

Reasons to avoid

-
Not overtly feminine

Imagine the clean, crisp and invigorating scent of the ocean. That’s what this floral aquatic number conjures up. It’s a bright and airy fragrance with aqueous accords of crushed mint, lemon and dewy peony, trailed by a warm and woody dry down. What is so striking is how clean this fragrance smells. A spritz before leaving the house will make you feel lighter on your feet. 

Issey Miyake L’eau de Issey Eau de Toilette

(Image credit: Issey Miyake)

14. Issey Miyake L’eau de Issey Eau de Toilette

Best timeless fresh perfume for women

Specifications

RRP: $78/£57 for 50ml
Top notes: Lotus, Freesia, Rose Water
Middle notes: Lily-of-the-Valley, Lily, Water Peony, Carnation
Base notes: Musk, Tuberose, Exotic Woods, Sandalwood, Amber

Reasons to buy

+
Clean smell
+
Ageless appeal
+
Suits all seasons

Reasons to avoid

-
Subtle projection

It’s hardly surprising that a fragrance with a roll call of aquatic accords was inspired by the freshness and translucency of water. After the delicate first impression, comes a swathe of white flowers and finally a woody trail that lingers on the skin. This is a clean and classic perfume that transcends age and seasonality. 

Diptyque Ilio Eau De Toilette

(Image credit: Diptyque)

15. Diptyque Ilio Eau De Toilette

Best fresh fragrance for women for a holiday

Specifications

RRP : $150/£107 for 100ml
Top notes: Prickly pear
Middle notes: Bergamot, jasmine
Base notes: Iris

Reasons to buy

+
Smells like sunshine
+
Wears down nicely
+
Beautifully illustrated bottle 

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite light

Back for another limited edition run for the second year in a row is this fresh, almost delicious, Eau De Toilette from Diptyque. Inspired by the sun-soaked of the Mediterranean, to us it smells like pure sunshine – hazy and slightly creamy, but not too sweet. If you don't have a last minute hot holiday to the Med lined up, spritzing this through the last of the summer months feels like the next best thing. Don't miss your chance to get your hands on it...

Caudalie Thé des Vignes Fresh Fragrance

(Image credit: Caudalie)

16. Caudalie Thé Des Vignes Fresh Fragrance

The best affordable fresh fragrance

Specifications

RRP : $39/£28 for 50ml
Top notes : Mandarin, bergamot, ginger
Middle notes: Jasmine, neroli
Base notes: White musk, woods

Reasons to buy

+
Very juicy
+
Not too sweet
+
A great summer holiday perfume 

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite light

Caudalie might be a brand we think of for excellent skincare products, but they also have a selection of fresh fragrances. Our favorite is Thé Des Vignes, a juicy and slightly sweet number. If you close your eyes while spritzing you could almost picture yourself drinking wine in a vineyard as the sun starts to set. Glorious!

Fruity perfumes

Jo Malone London English Pear & Freesia Cologne

(Image credit: Jo Malone London)

17. Jo Malone London English Pear & Freesia Cologne

Best high-end fruity perfume for women

Specifications

RRP: £95/£70 for 50ml
Top notes: King William Pear
Middle notes: Freesia
Base notes: Patchouli

Reasons to buy

+
Good staying power
+
Elegant blend
+
Understated 

Reasons to avoid

-
Too delicate for some

All too often, the idea of a fruit-filled fragrance conjures up a sickly-sweet perception. In classic Jo Malone style, this interpretation is elegant, understated, and downright classy. It won’t surprise you to learn that it’s bagged the number one spot in the best Jo Malone fragrances, as voted for by customers. On first spritzing, you’re greeted with a burst of juicy pears, with white freesias hot on its tail, trailed by woody patchouli.  “When you smell English Pear & Freesia, you’re instantly transported to an orchard where juicy fruit mingles with blooming flowers. There’s something unexpected about the combination of key ingredients and it’s got that freshness and elegance we’re known for,” says Celine Roux, Global Head of Fragrance at Jo Malone London. We agree. The overall effect is understated and graceful, mirrored in the design of the beautiful fluted glass bottle.

Jimmy Choo Eau de Parfum

(Image credit: Jimmy Choo)

18. Jimmy Choo Eau de Parfum

Best sweet and fruity perfume for women

Specifications

RRP: $102.64/£75 for 100ml
Top notes: Pear, Mandarin Orange, Green Notes
Middle notes: Orchid
Base notes: Toffee and Patchouli

Reasons to buy

+
Long-lasting
+
Reasonable price point
+
Good projection

Reasons to avoid

-
Very popular

If ever a fragrance could come to embody the unbridled glamour and femininity of a Jimmy Choo stiletto, it’s this, the debut fragrance from the fashion house, which launched in 2011. Part daring, part sensual, refreshing in summer, cosseting in winter, it’s a fragrance that quite understandably earned mass appeal. It’s classed as a fruity gourmand, the latter referring to synthetic edible notes. The juice is warm, creamy, and confident with notes of exotic tiger orchid, patchouli and sweet toffee. 

Jean Paul Gaultier So Scandal! Eau de Parfum

(Image credit: Jean Paul Gaultier)

19. Jean Paul Gaultier So Scandal! Eau de Parfum

Best statement fruity perfume for women

Specifications

RRP: $124.20/£90 for 80ml
Top notes: Orange Blossom
Middle notes: Jasmine, Tuberose
Base notes: Milky notes

Reasons to buy

+
Long-lasting