Beauty Editor's top 3: The best perfumes of 2020

These are the new fragrance launches that really impressed this year

Cosmetic bottle surrounded by pink roses
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In the fourth instalment of our Beauty Editor's Top 3 series, let's take a look back at the best perfumes of 2020. 

Did your perfumes gather dust during the year when leaving the house was a rare treat and parties a distant memory? Or did you, like me, take solace in the transportive mood-boosting powers of fragrance?  Just one spritz of scent can  conjure feelings of  escapism, nostalgia and memories of holidays, special people, places or moments in time. God knows we needed all of the above in 2020. 

Now for the caveat I'll put on all of my end of year top threes, which is that the headline is a lie. Not a great whopping porker, just a white lie to make things a bit a more exciting - like the whole Father Christmas thing (apologies to any eight-year-olds reading this)  

Of course, of the thousands of perfumes launched this year these aren't unequivocally the three very best, forsaking all others. What they are is my subjective personal picks, the ones that I feel most deserve a shout out amongst many, many brilliant new innovations that also could have made the list. And - let's be honest - they are also the ones that made enough of an impact at some stage in the year that I am able to call them to the front of my foggy end of December brain. 

Formalities over, you are now ready to discover my pick of the best perfume of 2020. These are the products I think you need to know... 

Read more Beauty Editor's top three:

Jo Malone London Lavender & Coriander Cologne

(Image credit: Jo Malone London)
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Jo Malone London Lavender & Coriander Cologne, £52

If you told me a year ago that one of my favourite perfumes of 2020 would be a lavender scent I would have responded with similar scoffy eyebrow-raising as if you'd told me about most other things that happened this year. But here we are, with this ultra-modern cologne that turned my opinion of the trad botanical on its head. Fresh and herby with a warm mellow base of tonka bean, this is the sort of unexpected, cool scent that will have friends of every gender asking what you're wearing. 

View Jo Malone London Lavender & Coriander Cologne, £52 for 30ml, Johnlewis.com (opens in new tab)

Sol de Janeiro Sol Cheirosa '62 Eau De Parfum

(Image credit: Sol de Janeiro)
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Sol de Janeiro Sol Cheirosa '62 Eau De Parfum, £78

I'll level with you: The fact I had booked the trip of a lifetime to Brazil this year (subsequently cancelled, of course) definitely played it's part in how much I love this perfume. But even if you aren't pining for Copacabana Beach it would be hard to sniff this sun-drenched scent without smiling. 

The first fragrance from my favourite Brazilian-inspired body brand takes their signature pistachio, caramel and vanilla accord and transforms it into something less sweet and more sophisticated with spicy woods and exotic flowers. Addictive, transportive and seductive - what more could you want on another rainy afternoon indoors?

View Sol de Janeiro Sol Cheirosa '62 Eau De Parfum, £78, Cultbeauty.com (opens in new tab)

Atelier Cologne Clementine California

(Image credit: Atelier Cologne)
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Atelier Cologne Clementine California Limited Edition Cologne Absolue, £98

Strictly, the perfume itself isn't brand new - in fact it's one of my all time favourite summer scents that I have been wearing for years. However, this giant 100ml limited edition bottle designed by artist Quentin Monge launched in 2020 and in my book that still counts. 

The scent combines the best of traditional cologne - ultra zesty, juicy citrus with earthy vetiver - with a high concentration of perfume oils that's pure modern luxury. As the name suggests this is summer holiday escapism in a bottle (you'll notice a theme with the perfumes I was drawn to this year) executed with grown-up sophistication. Plus, would you look at that bottle? This work of art won't be around forever, but the regular 30ml at £55 (opens in new tab) will. 

View Atelier Cologne Clementine California Limited Edition Cologne Absolue, £98, Selfridges (opens in new tab)

Fiona McKim
Fiona McKim

 As woman&home's Beauty Channel Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about brilliant finds on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair experiments and cute shih-tzus). Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013 under industry legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know (learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism). She has since covered every corner of the industry, from interviewing dermatologists and celebrities to reporting backstage at Fashion Week and judging the w&h Beauty Awards.