Finding a new fragrance is always a gamble—blind-buying perfume online is risky, while shopping in person is a whole new level of overwhelming.
However, Fragrantica.com—a sort of fragrance encyclopedia and perfume community board—makes shopping for fragrance actually fun. Its Wikipedia-meets-Letterboxd vibe makes it easy for even the most fragrance-sensitive buyers to get excited about the perfume world, and the site has garnered a devoted following known for its extremely enthusiastic reviews that border on poetry.
The enthusiasm has spilled over to Twitter, where a community of niche perfume lovers is also thriving—"FOTD" (that would be Fragrance Of The Day) photos and passionate Lucky Scent sample reviews are just as common as selfies from a certain sect of E-girls. It's easy to see why brands like Marissa Zappas and Regime de Fleurs are so popular on the app—no hate to Santal 33 or Glossier You, but when your signature scent seems to be everyone else’s too, it starts to feel a little less… signature. It’s refreshing to see someone hyping a fragrance that half of TikTok doesn’t already have dabbed behind their ears.
I wanted to get the lowdown on the unsung heroes of the perfume world from the accidental influencers on fragrance Twitter. “I've found myself hopelessly addicted. I cannot stop. I'm on Fragrantica every day, thanks to Twitter friends who introduced me to the site,” says Gabby, who goes by @DoctorMILFie on the app. She’s right. Fragrantica is addicting. It’s also a seemingly endless resource of fragrance knowledge. You can search by note, perfume group, or brand. It's also host to plenty of lyrical reviews to look through from other perfume lovers.
I asked the unofficial officials of fragrance Twitter and devout Fragrantica users about their go-to scents—keep reading for the best perfumes you've never heard of.
Universal Flowering Heliotrope Milkbath
“I tried Heliotrope Milkbath by Universal Flowering a few days ago and immediately decided I need a full-size bottle. It's floral and soft and creamy without being cloying, a great daytime scent to welcome spring,” says Gabby. Universal Flowering is definitely a favorite perfumer in the Twitter fragrance scene, fragfluencer Minka (@minkahunter) snatches up anything perfumer Courtney Rafous creates. Other faves from the brand include Cool as Christ and Holy Hell.
Fragratica's notes: musky, powdery, almond, floral.
Marissa Zappas Annabel's Birthday Cake
A Twitter-loved favorite, Marissa Zappas is another perfumer who Minka says “consistently make[s] beautiful, exciting fragrances that align with my tastes… I will buy anything [she] put[s] out because I know it will be something special.” This sentiment is echoed by Margot (@margotlebitch), who loves Zappas's scent Petrichor ($150) as well.
Fragrantica's notes: sweet, vanilla, honey, cacao, rose, citrus, perfectly balanced mashup of cake, rose, sugar, and lemon.
Regime de Fleurs Little Flower
"I love Little Flower, Chloë Sevigny's collaboration with Regime de Fleurs," says Bora, who goes by @clickholebot on Twitter. "It has the mass appeal of being a gorgeous rose scent, with the sophistication and uniqueness that RDF brings to all their scents. It makes me feel like a beautiful woman."
As if being associated with Chloë Sevigny wasn’t enough to make us buy it immediately, Fragrantica user @midoriland describes it as "a candle in the first floor half-bath of the cutest girl you know. Would-be frumpy floral wallpaper that she's somehow transformed into something chic and clever. Afternoon light coming in through the white painted shutters of the small window that overlooks the backyard. A pop of a champagne bottle outside…”
Fragrantica's notes: rose, citrus, floral, fruity, green, fresh, fresh spicy, woody, aromatic
Mancera Tonka Cola
I nearly overdrew my bank account buying this perfume because Minka says it smells like “God’s Coke Remix Machine” (which is honestly a kind of amazing name for a perfume itself). I’m a Cherry Coke girl, what can I say? The scent is cherry-forward in the opening, for any Tom Ford Lost Cherry ($395) fanatics.
Need more convincing? Fragrantica user @Vamp1kel says, “Like you’ve taken one of those restaurant concentrated soda bags of cherry coke mixed with lemon Pepsi and bathed yourself. Spicy, warm, cloying in a good way. Perfect cold sweater weather fragrance."
Fragrantica's notes: coca cola, cherry, warm spicy.
Vacation by Vacation Eau de Toilette
You can finally capture summertime in a bottle thanks to perfume house Arquiste’s collab with the iconic sunscreen brand, Vacation. Fragrantica columnist Adam Forziati predicts that themes of “relaxation and recreation” will rule the perfume scene soon in fragrances that “tell stories of carefree times spent under the sun, by a pool, the ocean, or engaging in similarly lighthearted recreational activities.” This won’t be too surprising to fans of the ultra-popular Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Cheirosa perfumes. Besides, who doesn’t want to smell like summer vacation?
Fragrantica's notes: sweet, fruity, tropical, coconut, sunscreen
J-Scent Roasted Green Tea
The award-winning Japanese perfumery’s most popular scent, Roasted Green Tea is often described as “photorealistic” by its fans (and its haters, too.) The perfume house tends toward this kind of natural realism—one Fragrantica user says it literally transports them to a tea roasting shop in Japan—over a more interpretive approach to scent, which can be a refreshing principle for anyone who doesn’t want to come on too strong in the scent department. Like a good cuppa, Roasted Green Tea needs a second to hit the nose in its full effect: fans encourage new buyers to be patient and let the perfume dry down before judging.
Fragrantica's notes: green, vanilla, coconut, nutty
Maybe it’s partially due to their adorable bottles, but Zoologist Perfumes are all over the Fragrantica Readers’ Choice Awards. Zoologist is one of the more polarizing perfume brands out there—some describe this beeswax-forward scent as a “savory gourmand,” a perfume genre Twitter account @sinus_infecti0n says is gaining popularity. According to her, “we are moving back into an era where a loud challenging ‘statement fragrance’ is desirable.”
Fragrantica's notes: beeswax, vanilla, honey, powdery.
Frederic Malle En Passant
According to fragfluencer Audrey, who goes by @foldyrhands, "Every girl should find a Replica fragrance that embodies her personality by 23, a Frederic Malle fragrance that embodies her allure by 27, and a Guerlain fragrance that embodies her soul by 35.” Frederic Malle is another brand the fragrance girlies swear by (recommendations also include Portrait of a Lady and Synethic Jungle), but the nose behind En Passant is acclaimed perfumer Olivia Giacobetti. Giacobetti is adored for her light, earthy and fresh fragrances, and En Passant is a perfect collaboration between the mainstay niche perfume house and all-star Giacobetti.
“This scent transports me to my Nana’s old garden that was charming and full of lilac bushes," adds Fragrantica user @Aprettyflower2. This isn’t just a fragrance, it’s an emotion, it’s a memory of happier times, and I have to thank the perfumer for her treasures.”
Fragrantica's notes: floral, aquatic, fresh, green, ozonic.
Hilde Soliani Buonissimo
Fragrance Twitter cannot get enough of Italian perfumer Hilde Soliani’s dessert-y and decadent gourmands, especially the cafe-inspired scents like Buonissimo. It’s coffee-forward and has a milky smoothness that truly makes you feel like you’re a slice of tiramisu. When I wear this one, I envision myself at a little Italian cafe with a cappuccino and a croissant before me. “Buonissimo is warm and comforting, morphs wonderfully and the dry down is the epitome of autumn at Nana's," adds Fragrantica user @Roge.
Fragrantica's notes: sweet, coffee, lactonic, caramel, savory, vanilla.
Timothy Han/Edition The Decay of the Angel
“I’m obsessed with what I always call ‘dirty-filthy-musky’ scents," Twitter user Alexandra (@alxndra1998) tells me. "For example, I recently bit the bullet on Timothy Han/Editions’ Decay of the Angel, which essentially smells like a wet ashtray mixed with dead roses. It’s so sexy. I want to smell magnetic and a little odd,” she says. It’s another example of the shift back towards “statement” scents, albeit in a different direction—a sultry fragrance perfectly suited for a date, but not a first date.
Fragrantica users also can't get enough of this one. “It sparked feelings of delighted novelty and bittersweet nostalgia in equal measure," says user @MistressEva. "It isn’t for everyone; you have to listen quietly to hear the story the tale it tells. But if it speaks to you, it’s profound.”
Fragrantica's notes: woody, fresh spicy, aromatic, patchouli, amber.