Rihanna Reveals What Success and Falling in Love Smells Like

Fenty Eau de Parfum is her essence in a bottle.

Fragrance Wardrobe Rihanna

Fragrance Wardrobe

Your perfume isn’t just how you smell—it’s how you feel when you get dressed in the morning, for a night out, for a boardroom meeting. It's just as much of an accessory to how you present yourself to the world as your clothing (and let's not forget its close ties to memory and emotion). With that in mind, we’ve launched Fragrance Wardrobe, a scent series that highlights the rotating perfume "wardrobes" of our favorite tastemakers through key points in their life. Get to know them better via the scents they choose to wear.

Rihanna is by all accounts the multi-hyphenate GOAT: She is one of the highest-selling female artists of all time and the first Black woman to head a luxury fashion brand for LVMH (Fenty). She raised the bar on representation through her thoughtful 50-shade foundation range (Fenty Beauty) and inclusive line of lingerie (Savage X Fenty). And yet, with all of this mainstream success and A list-caliber fame, Rihanna has managed to remain mysterious to the general public. That's exactly why we all can't help but imagine what someone so smart, beautiful, and enigmatic might smell like. Luckily, Rihanna let us in on her scent secrets when she launched a limited edition scent—Fenty Eau de Parfum—in December 2022. Thanks to its success, the goddess has decided to keep it around permanently at Sephora (beginning officially on February 10).

Rihanna talked to us exclusively about her fragrance and why each note remains so special. She takes us through childhood scent memories as well as musings on comfort and falling in love. Piece by piece, question by question, we peeled back the layers of the ever-mysterious Rihanna and left feeling like we got to know her through scent. Ahead, Rihanna shares her Fragrance Wardrobe.

Rihanna Fenty eau de Parfum

Fenty / Design by Kaitlyn Collins

How would you describe your fragrance style?

"I've always been really specific about my scent. I would layer different notes and essential oils together based on my mood and how I was feeling, before Fenty Eau de Parfum. Scent is so personal, it makes each person feel different and elicits different experiences and memories. I've always been drawn to warm florals, but also spicy notes too. It's a balance—I love that duality of spicy and sweet, masculine and feminine. Fenty Eau de Parfum is all of those things."

How did you choose to incorporate the various notes into your fragrance?

"Selecting each note was unforgettable. I went to Grasse [a town on the French Riviera] and worked with the master perfumer, Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud. Going to Grasse felt like going into another world. I remember walking straight into the garden to find each ingredient, starting in its raw form. Then, Jacques and his team helped me explore each ingredient at different grades and levels. It was a [wild] experience: to capture my essence in a bottle, note by note, in the world’s center of fragrance.

The notes in this fragrance include musk, magnolia, Bulgarian rose, and more. Tell me about what each one means to you.

rihanna fenty eau de parfum

Getty Images / Fenty / Design by Kaitlyn Collins

"My mother had the most amazing natural scent. That’s one of the things I remember about my first experience with scent and my childhood—the scent of my mother. It was so comforting. So, I guess, in a sense, I’ve always loved musk, since it’s the very thing that comes off of a human's body. That’s the thing that makes this scent smell different on everyone because musk reacts differently with everyone. It’s very unique.

"Magnolia is one of my favorite notes—this is the one that really elevated the whole fragrance experience. Once magnolia was added, it was a no-brainer. This was the one. I would test the fragrances and wear it for a while with each version we made. I distinctly remember when I wore the version with magnolia added, I would get compliments from the jump; from the door all the way through.

"The energy of this fragrance is very vibrant. It’s spicy and sweet all at once, that’s where the fruit, vanilla, and other florals come to play. It incorporates Bulgarian rose, blueberry, tangerine, patchouli, coconut, vanilla, and hyacinth."

How does wearing this fragrance make you feel?

"I created Fenty Eau de Parfum because I wanted it to capture everything that I am and what I’m feeling. But, I wanted it to also do that for everyone else. That's what I love most about fragrance. It's connected to memories that are triggered by scent. All these notes can mean different things to different people. To me, that’s empowering—it’s my essence, captured in a bottle. When you wear Fenty Eau de Parfum, you’re letting the world understand that essence. That’s sexy, powerful, and honest.

If this fragrance were an outfit, what would it be?

"I created Fenty Eau de Parfum for anyone and any occasion. I spray it on before I go to bed, when I get dressed for a red carpet, or when I’m just hanging out. There is no specific outfit, moment, or mood—that’s the beauty of it. If I had to pick one, it would be something brown, like the fragrance bottle. Brown is my favorite color; it’s who I am and who I come from. So, if I’m gonna make a fragrance that represents me, I wanted the bottle to also represent that."

Rihanna Fenty eau de parfum

Fenty / Design by Kaitlyn Collins

Describe a time when a certain scent brought you comfort.

"I promise you, my mother had a natural scent that was so lit; it was everything to me. It was so comforting. And it wasn’t anything that she put on—it was just her. I remember I would just lay in her arms and smell her. Her natural scent was very comforting. The memory of that time in her arms as a kid, it continues to bring me comfort. I'll never forget that."

To you, what does falling in love smell like?

"You can fall in love with a place, with a person, with a moment. It’s warm, it’s comforting, it’s uplifting. I don’t think it can be defined by one specific scent."

What's another scent that reminds you of your childhood?

"I talked a lot about my mom’s scent, but my father’s scent was also a distinct memory from my childhood. I remember his beard was always a mix of his cologne and his favorite drink. I remember the scents of the beaches in Barbados—a mix of saltwater and fruits like coconut and Bajan cherry. It’s amazing how you hold onto memories for life through scent, no matter how many years go by or how many miles you travel.:

What memory does your new fragrance always bring you back to?

"This fragrance was really created at special moments throughout my life, all over the world. My childhood in Barbados, distinct career milestones in New York and L.A., creative and production meetings in Grasse and other places in Europe, and more. That’s the beauty of fragrance—there are so many memories connected to scents and you’ll be able to cherish those forever through fragrance."

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