Most commonly referred to as unisex perfume, now the scent you steal from your other half or the one you just love for its lack of overtly floral notes (traditionally thought of as feminine) is being redefined as gender neutral perfumes. While scents that are blended to be worn by both genders aren’t entirely new, what is refreshing is that perfume houses are now dropping the urge to classify their scents into feminine and masculine and are leaving it to the customer to define which one is for them.
Niche perfume houses and many natural perfume brands have led the way in this declassification. In fact, all the brands we sell don’t bother to define their fragrances in any way other than by ingredient descriptions – citrus, amber and the like. Brands such as Strange Invisible Perfumes, Edition Perfumes and Abel both package and formulate with no-gender bias. Timothy Han, the perfumer behind London based Edition Perfumes explains why he chooses not to define his scents by gender: “We make perfume that can be worn by a man or a woman, it’s really more about what appeals to the individual rather than being sold a predefined idea of what you should smell like as a ‘gender’. I think that this concept of masculine and feminine in perfume is a marketing tool that plays on the insecurities of those who lack confidence in their identity.”
You only have to look at history to see that how we have been steered into being categorised. Mandy Aftel, a custom perfumer and historian, told The New York Times that men have embraced floral scents since Roman times. “Back then, they put rose water on doves and had them fly around,” she said. “Roman men loved wearing rose, and the men I work with today still love it.”
Want to experiment beyond traditional fragrance limitations? Use our instore guide below to find a scent you love. Wear it and own it – who cares what the fragrance industry says you should wear.
Floral perfumes may have feminine connotations attached to them but the latest Timothy Han fragrance turns this notion on its head. The Decay of the Angel perfume achieves a genderless burnt floral scent that is both rich and exotic. The organic hydro-distilled gender neutral perfumes from Strange Invisible are also customer favourites. For a universal floral for him and her, opt for the Aquarian Roses. It combines hydro-distilled rose with orange, marjoram & sandalwood.
Warm and often layered, if you are searching for an oriental edge Abel Cobalt Amber Eau de Parfum is the answer. Its bright pop of pink pepper and juniper add a freshness to an old classic. Alternatively, set sail for the islands with Strange Invisible Perfume Atlantic. Amber here is complimented with Jamaican bay rum and balanced by a unique addition of refreshing English peppermint.
CITRUS & SPICE
It may read like a cocktail, but Strange Invisible Peloponnesian manages to bottle Aegean sea air, cypress, orange and mountain sage honey. It might just invoke a Greece holiday. Prefer gender neutral perfumes that add a little spiciness to their citrus? Edition Perfumes She Came To Stay matches clove and nutmeg to its lemon top note. As with all Edition Perfumes, each box is emblazoned with a limited edition print from an independent artist.
Does a caramelised woody finish sound like your natural fragrance match made in heaven? Abel White Vetiver is a mix of Haitian vetiver with notes of lime, ginger and a touch of vanilla. The Edition Perfumes On The Road was inspired by the Jack Kerouac novel. You’ll get a pleasant whiff of tobacco filled bars balanced with the open air scent of cedar forests – their road trip in a scent.