New beginnings in a bottle: Our top 7 spring perfumes of 2021

Warmer weather, bikes with baskets, lemonade with honey and wine with bubbles. There’s something to be said about the renewal, strength and beauty of spring. After a long, dark winter, spring always arrives with optimism and full of promise in spite of it all (perhaps a tad dramatic, but it’s 2021, so we’re allowed). Whether you’ll be focused on spring cleaning or spring flings, if you’re anything like us, you’re of the mind that the changing season is a time for a new scent. We’ve handpicked our top seven new fragrances that encapsulate spring’s ever-present blooms and blossoms, sprouts and tendrils, plentiful fresh fruits and the desire to spend more time outdoors. Pick your favourite and get spritzing! 

3 quick tips to keep your perfume fresh (especially in hot spring months) 

  1. Keep your fragrances in a dark, cool and dry place that’s free of both natural and artificial light. Unfortunately, they shouldn’t be kept as a centrepiece on your dresser, as the introduction of light breaks down a scented liquid’s makeup. Unlike eau de parfums, eau de toilettes and colognes can be stored in the fridge because of their more robust chemical makeup. 
  1. Don’t store your fragrances in the bathroom – the most common storage mistake. Bathrooms have extreme humidity and temperature fluctuations, both of which can alter the sensitive DNA and delicate chemical bonds of a fragrance. Instead, look for a cupboard outside the bathroom. 
  1. Be mindful of when you debut a new fragrance. After the first use, oxygen causes the scent inside the bottle to dilute and become oxidised. Naturally, with more oxygen and less scent in the bottle, the smell will diffuse. Shaking a fragrance also introduces oxidation via bubbles. 

Editor’s pick: Jo Malone London Elderflower Cordial Cologne 

Best for: Picnics and pink wine 

Fragrance family: Soft, powdery fruity-floral 

Ah, spring … bring on the picnics with a gingham tablecloth or patchwork blanket thrown out on the grass and, of course, the spread. Rosé wine, cheese and crackers as well a giant bowl of fruit salad with melon and berries. To match our picnic mood, trust Jo Malone London to deliver a note-perfect line of utterly delicious scents inspired by the British love of jam making that are as mouthwatering as you’d expect. Part of the limited-edition Marmalade Collection, this scent bursts with a hit of tart, fruity summer-green gooseberries, which quickly fades to reveal the elderflower – a soft countryside flower with an enchanting delicacy – at the heart of the fragrance. Base notes of dried fruits in fragrant syrup add longevity and a luxuriously rich texture, making it perfectly fitting for an alfresco lunch. While this is our personal favourite from the collection that consists of four seasonal scents along with a tried-and-true favourite, the full selection of colognes is delightful – Tangy Rhubarb, Orange Peel, Rose Blush and Blackberry & Bay. From the charming white ceramic bottles inspired by milk glass jam and marmalade jars to the vintage-styled blue font, this has to be one of our favourite fragrance releases this season. 

R995 for 30ml from Jo Malone London boutiques and select Woolworths stores 

Valentino Donna Born in Roma Yellow Dream 

Best for: A sunny escape on a salt-spray sailboat 

Fragrance family: Fresh and floral, with an emphasis on citrus notes 

If you’re in search of escapism, it doesn’t get much better than thoughts of azure waters, dramatic cliffside backdrops and palm-size lemons. The latest in the Valentino Donna Born in Roma family is the springiest and most verdant – this time, flowery Italian primofiore lemon snuck in for an unexpected olfactory experience. Zippy and seemingly fresh-squeezed, contained within the rock-studded, prismatic bottle inspired by sweeping Roman architecture is an airy, feminine fragrance. Contrasting the sparkling citrus top note is the middle note of Damascan rose essence and base note of rarified white musk, which combine for an invigorating but not overpowering blend. This floral fragrance is well-suited to daytime wear. Topping it all off with an Aperol spritz garnished with a slice of fresh orange is only fitting! 

R1,300 for 30ml, R1,650 for 50ml or R2,500 for 100ml from select Edgars, Foschini and Truworths stores 

Jimmy Choo I Want Choo 

Best for: Balmy evenings and rooftop cocktails 

Fragrance family: Sweet, luxurious amber-floral 

Spring is synonymous with romance – even in the age of social distancing. Enter the latest scent from Jimmy Choo, a tingling olfactory love letter that’s as sparkling and pink as a glass of rosé. The mystery of a love affair in a bottle, it wouldn’t be a Jimmy Choo fragrance without some white flowers in the middle, and I Want Choo is no exception. Red spider lily and jasmine are at the heart of this fragrance spiked with vanilla, but it’s the sweet peach and juicy mandarin that make it feel like a surefire future classic. The result is indulgent and invigorating. As you can tell from the play-on-words name, it’s perfect for anyone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. The beautiful bottle alone, featuring a bold gold spray cap with a hammered jeweled effect, is incentive enough to invest in this decadent fragrance. 

R1,099 for 40ml, R1,499 for 60ml or R1,899 for 100ml from Edgars, Foschini, Truworths, Clicks and Dis-Chem 

Giorgio Armani Cyprès Pantelleria 

Best for: Priming your mind for spring ahead 

Fragrance family: Earthy, woody and mossy chyrpe 

After a year and a half of being confined to our homes, this lively fragrance feels like a celebration of freedom and possibility. Built around a heady combination of citron, bergamot, floral neroli and mandarin orange, it makes for a compelling escape to Giorgio Armani’s luxurious holiday home on the Italian island of Pantelleria – known for its untouched nature and striking contrast between the sparkling light on the sea and its dark volcanic rocks. The crisp and herbaceous chypre (pronounced ‘sheepra’) scent opens with sparklingly spring-like notes. A refreshing wave of invigorating cypress trees and sea foam forms the heart of the fragrance, revealing clary sage mixed with water notes, while the base features oakmoss, vetiver, amber wood and patchouli. The terrific shared unisex eau de toilette is an olfactory portrait of the perfect spring afternoon; a must-try if you love the smell of being in nature. 

R3,200 for 100ml From Edgars 

NUXE Prodigieux le Parfum Floral 

Best for: Evoking the scent of a fresh spring bouquet 

Fragrance family: Simple, clean floral 

Florals? For spring? Why yes … hear us out. You’ve got your special-occasion scents, sure – but if you’re on the hunt for something you can wear every day, prepare to get hooked on this delightful fragrance made from 89% natural-origin ingredients. A classic reinvented, it conjures perfect spring days with a single sniff: As this feminine fragrance unfolds on your skin, it’s like lifting an assortment of magnolia and orange blossom to your nose, fresh from the garden soil. The floral notes are joined here by Calabrian bergamot, grapefruit and lemon, with creamy musk base notes that emerge throughout the day. If there’s ever a time to embrace floral notes that are all about sunny days in scented gardens, it’s now! This delicate blend is an ideal scent for someone who doesn’t like an overpowering perfume. 

R910 for 50ml from select Woolworths, Foschini and Truworths stores

Elizabeth Arden White Tea Ginger Lily 

Best for: A whimsical garden party 

Fragrance family: Floral woody musk 

The lure of white ginger lily, the scent of freshly-cut lilacs, the sparkling zing of bitter orange – this airy eau de toilette leaves behind a scent that virtually anyone who loves florals will want to bathe in. Ginger lily blossom and white cedarwood are the stars in this latest iteration of the Elizabeth Arden White Tea fragrance that bottles up all the most welcome aspects of spring. It’s like your favourite ultra-fine-knit cashmere wrap dress, but in a sheer chiffon texture with feminine frills to transition seamlessly into lighter nights and warmer weather. Although it’s soft, clean, fresh and surprisingly light on the skin, it’s definitely a scent for perfume-wearers who aren’t afraid of bolder notes. The skin-hugging musk and tiny hints of tonka bean round everything out with a touch of depth. It’s a lovely choice for a joyous garden party – think lemon tart, rose and pistachio cake, and lavender champagne cocktails. Salivating much? 

R625 for 30ml or R940 for 100ml from Woolworths, Edgars and Foschini 

L’Occitane en Provence Osmanthus 

Best for: Feeling like you’re in a field of flowers 

Fragrance family: Feminine, blooming fruity-floral 

It wouldn’t be a spring fragrance roundup without L’Occitane en Provence, famous for their creations featuring delicate flowers. Their newest one is inspired by the whisper-soft yellow Osmanthus flower, a symbol of good fortune, wealth, nobility and beauty. Sign us up. We’re all aware that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to this eau de toilette? The bottle, like a facelift for your vanity table, is a pretty good indicator that you’re getting into a truly cheerful scent experience. Easy, breezy, luminous … it’s all our daydreams in a spritz. There’s a massive dose of apricot, pear and bitter orange, all swirled up with Chinese Osmanthus, Mahonial and carrot seed oil. Cedarwood, sandalwood and Ambrettolide are what weave their roots together to create a gentle and happy scent that you’ll definitely reach for beyond spring. The roll-on is a fabulous handbag purchase for instant zest. 

R345 for 10ml, R565 for 30ml or R985 for 75ml from L’Occitane en Provence 

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