I Tried Almost Every Perfume in Liberty, But These Ones Get the Most Compliments

There are a few places in this world where I’m in complete and utter bliss, and one of those is the perfume department at Liberty. Perhaps it is because I live outside of London without regular trips to the iconic department store, but I know that fellow beauty lovers will agree with me when I say that it’s one of the best places to shop and discover beauty, particularly perfume brands.

Tucked away from the bustling Oxford Circus, the Liberty store (which is a Grade II–listed Tudor building built from old ships) is a tranquil haven from the throngs of crowds outside. It’s quieter than other department stores, and it has curated a brilliant edit of fragrances in its beauty hall. From the little-known niche fragrances to the perfumes worn by celebrities, it really is a fragrance lover’s paradise. Some of my favourites brands that Liberty stocks include Byredo, Diptyque and Frédéric Malle, but you’ll also find under-the-radar fragrance brands that are exclusive to Liberty too.

Recently, I popped into the store to find a new signature scent. I hopped from counter to counter to spritz and test new favourites and older classics, and got talking to the perfume experts at each brand, who know everything there is to know about fragrance. I got talking to the expert on the Le Labo counter who asked me what fragrances I’m usually drawn to, to which I replied that I love a musky or woody scent. He encouraged me to try Santal 33, which is has both sanalwood and musk notes, and it was amazing. He told me that Another 13, which is another of Le Labo’s best-selling fragrances, smells a little bit different on everyone, and it take a little while to react with your skin. Those were just some of the fragrances I tried on my way around the store, and I came out with a handful of perfume tester papers. Of all the ones I tried, the below 10 stood out the most, and they are some of the best-selling fragrances in Liberty that are guaranteed compliment generators. Some are loved by celebrities like Rihanna, whereas some are a little more experimental and unusual (see more on the fragrance enhancer from D.S & Durga). Thankfully, if you’re not able to make it in-person to visit the store, the online perfume edit is just as brilliant and easy to shop if you’re blind-buying a new perfume. Here are the best Liberty perfumes that are guaranteed to have everyone asking what scent you are wearing.

Notes: Iso E Super. Nope, that isn’t a typo—there is just the one fragrance note in Molecule 01, which is Iso E Super. This fragrance molecule is unique in that it’s almost unnoticeable to the wearer, but it will have everyone around you asking you what you’re wearing. I’ve been wearing it the past couple of weeks and I’ve had a lot of people ask what fragrance it is. The beauty of this scent is that it smells a little bit different on everyone; think your own unique smell but amplified and perfected.

Notes: Turkish rose, blackcurrant, raspberry, clove, patchouli, sandalwood, frankincense. When I headed over to the Frédéric Malle counter, I learnt that this is another of Liberty’s bestselling fragrances, and I can see why, because it smells like sophistication bottled. It’s a grown-up rose fragrance that commands the room of the wearer, thanks to the addition of clove, patchouli and frankincense which elevate it into something truly special. It’s also very long-lasting. In fact, the tester that I sprayed a couple of weeks ago still smells intense. It’s expensive, but if you want to invest in a signature fragrance that makes a statement, then this is it.

Notes: Violet accord, cardamom, iris, papyrus, ambrox, cedarwood, leather, sandalwood. Ask any beauty editor about their favourite perfumes, and Le Labo Santal 33 will probably pop up in their shortlist. In fact, this fragrance gained so much popularity in New York City that article were written on the scent which had seemingly taken it over. I’m ashamed to admit it,  but before my visit to Liberty, I hadn’t actually experienced this sandalwood-based scent for myself, but it’s a great choice if you like woody scents, or just want to smell downright expensive. It’s one of those unisex scents that just smells great on everyone, and it works for both daytime and evening. And if it works for the fashion set of NYC, then we can totally get on board with it too. 

Notes: Musk, ambrette seed, iris, pink peppercorn. Diptyque perfumes never fail to get my pulse racing (Philosykos and Eau Capitale are some of my favourites) but I hadn’t yet tried Fleur de Peau, which is another top Diptyque bestseller at Liberty. And it did not disappoint. The name translates to ‘flower of the skin’ which perfectly describes its scent; its creamy and skin-like thanks to the musk and ambrette notes, and is given a gentle aquatic floral twist with iris and aldehydes, which make it smell crisp and clean. Sprtiz and watch the compliments roll in.

Notes: Bergamot, lemon, pepper, juniper berries, incense, pine needles, orris, amber, vanilla, sandalwood . It’s no surprise to me that this Byredo fragrance is a bestseller. I’ve not met anyone who doesn’t like it. I’d recommend it to those who prefer a perfume that whispers rather than shouts. It’s airy, whimsical and feels like filling your lungs with the fresh scent of pine deep within a forest. I have the hair perfume version of this scent and it’s one of those scents that you will occasionally catch a waft of. Although it’s light and breezy, the amber, vanilla and sandalwood base notes are present enough that you can still detect it after a day of wearing it. 

Notes: Bergamot essence, iso E super, vetiver, acetate, civettone, firsantol, ambrox super. The name drew me in at first, but when I spotted ‘fragrance enhancer’ I was even more intrigued. Liberty describes it as a “fragrance enhancer with transparent radiance that can be used with any perfume, essence or oil to give it a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’.” If you want to smell totally unique and unlike anyone else, then this could be your way to secure your signature fragrance as yours and yours alone. It has very few notes, but it does smell woody, musky and like warm skin. It will elevate your current fragrance or will work worn alone for something a little more minimalist.

Notes: Fig leaves, fig tree sap, fig wood, black pepper. Philoskyos is loved by many on the Who What Wear UK team. While you might believe this fig-based scent is sickly sweet, it’s anything but. Diptyque was inspired by the whole fig tree, from the earthy bark to the herbaceous leaves, so it’s both creamy from the fig fruit but also beautifully down to earth with a twist of green leaves and bark. It makes a great scent for year-round wear and works for both daytime wear or as something a little bit different for the evening.

Notes: Black pepper, aniseed, French peony, Turkish rose absolute, incense, wild cedarwood. I had an idea of what this scent would smell like (perhaps a little like Jo Malone London’s Peony Blush Suede), but it was not at all what I was expecting. Think a vase of blooming peonies, but sitting next to a smouldering smoky candle on the mantelpiece—it’s a pretty floral but with a moodier twist that unfurls as you wear it. A sprinkling of black pepper and Turkish rose makes it feel decadent to wear.

Notes: Ambrette, Jamaican nesberry, violet, sandalwood, magnolia, chantilly musk, crisp amber, cedarwood. Where do I begin? Mojave Ghost is one of Byredo’s most-loved scents, and it’s a must-try if you gravitate toward warm amber scents that are not too heavy and cloying. What I will say is that it does have a transient quality to it, so you might think the scent has ghosted you, but it somehow magically reappears by radiating off the skin in such a beautiful way. It’s hauntingly beautiful.

Notes: Neroli, orange blossom, marshmallow. According to reports, this is one of Rihanna’s favourite perfumes. If that wasn’t enough of a sign to try this best-selling scent, then keep reading. It’s a sweet gourmand floral, which is is almost like candy floss but in the chicest way possible. So it’s safe to say if you love a sweet aroma, then this one has both Liberty fans’ and Rihanna’s approval.

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