After years of floral fragrances, lately I’m gravitating to more smoky, woody, and unisex scents. They’re complex and dark and suddenly they seem so right, right now.

While fragrance is often thought of as the final stage of dressing, that invisible message you give to the world, things are different now. With recent events keeping us apart on the whole, suddenly perfume is just so much more personal. It becomes a talisman, a mood-changer, or just a little treat for your senses.

In a search for some kind of normality (and to rise above the so-so emotional status of top knot ‘n trackpants) I’ve been wearing fragrance at home. Whether it’s a little spritz in passing after a bath or before a cheeky “quarantini” with my husband, it adds a sense of occasion to a day that otherwise has had none.

It’s actually been a revelation. Using scent like this gives it a ritualistic energy, it’s something that’s purely for you, to be sniffed and savoured whether or not you’re setting foot outside.

Fragrances like these are ideal for that inward enjoyment. They’re comforting and complex, warming and intimate. These are the seven perfumes that have been on high rotation in my home throughout lockdown and beyond.

Armani Privé Bois d’Encens

Ever since I met Mr. Armani years ago and was told this woody, smoky, almost incense-like aroma is the actual scent he wears, I’ve been transfixed. He also mists it through his luxury hotels, so when I spray it I’m transported to my luxe cream fabric-walled room in the Armani Hotel in Milan – my favourite hotel of all time.

Olfactive Studio Chypre Shot

My husband and I fight over this scent, it’s so good. Chypre is a category of perfumes that combine citrus top notes with a mossy-animalic base. This delectable scent definitely has that but also smells to me like leather, patchouli, coffee, and cardamom.

Celine La Peau Nue

Translating to “The Naked Skin”, this soft scent does actually smell like very clean, freshly washed and powdered flesh. There’s a warmth to it from bergamot and a little bit of rose but it also smells a bit like finely milled face powder and lipstick. Great to put on straight out of the bath.

Chloe Nomade Absolu

Another chypre, but this one is fresher with juicy plum notes. It’s warm, sunlit, and a little bit sweet. The bottle completes the picture – I love the heavy base, the tan leather strap, and the gold cap.

The Ayu Souq

The only floral of the bunch, I’ve included it here as there’s something still dense and moody lingering beneath it. Wearing it is like being biffed in the nose repeatedly by a bouquet of rose and jasmine in full bloom. With the addition of sandalwood and musk it’s sexy and full on. In all the good ways.

Lumira Cuban Tobacco

Inspired by the crumbling beauty of Old Havana, this spicy, smoky scent is intriguing. I can’t stop smelling my wrist when I wear it, searching out the tobacco accord beneath the blend of cardamom, clove, tangerine, and patchouli.

Jo Malone Bronze Wood & Leather

This is definitely the most traditionally masculine of the bunch. Strong leather notes mixed with something a bit metallic and smoky. Not for the faint-hearted, or for floral lover but dark and mesmerising all the same.

Sigourney’s At-Home Style Picks

Story by Sigourney Cantelo. Photography by Alice Mahran.

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