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Fragrance Friday: The Best Designer Fragrances Of 2022
— Updated on 5 July 2023

Fragrance Friday: The Best Designer Fragrances Of 2022

— Updated on 5 July 2023
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

Welcome to Fragrance Friday, where each week we’ll be keeping you abreast of the newest and most iconic releases in the dynamic world of men’s fragrances. Born out of the desire to showcase one of the most overlooked, yet versatile, elements of any discerning man’s style this weekly column will help you finesse your own signature scent. This weekas our final Fragrance Friday of 2022, we look at the best designer fragrances of the year. 

I’ve shown more than enough love to niche perfumery this year and not nearly enough to designer fragrances. Amongst those with more than a surface interest in scent, this is a common bias.

Niche perfumery is typically priced much higher, produced in much smaller batches, and cobbled together with better ingredients. These perfumes are offered by labels that only specialise in perfumery and not much else. By nature, that also means they are more divisive, giving perfumers full reign over the scent which leads to clearer artistic expression and creativity.

But I guess that’s always the difference between handcrafted goods and those produced by big-name designer labels. Understand that and it’s not hard to grasp the difference between niche fragrances and designer fragrances.

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Designer perfumes often get unfairly overlooked by fragrance enthusiasts. They are mass-marketed, priced lower to rake in the profit by volume and are typically less impressive than niche perfumery with lower-quality ingredients.

And yet, there’s always a place for them, and every so often you’ll come across a designer fragrance that doesn’t play into these pitfalls, hitting the mark and offering a tremendous amount of value. They are typically much safer choices as well, so would better suit your need for a day-to-day fragrance.

So let’s nod to those, shall we? The designer fragrances that manage to rise above the sea of middling scents and present something that belongs on your shelf right next to those Amouage, Creed and BDK bottles. There’s been a few of them this year, and I’ve rounded them up below so you can stay across the best designer fragrances available.

Anyway, I’ll go into detail about the difference between niche fragrances and designer fragrances in a later edition of Fragrance Friday. For now, here are my five favourite designer fragrances of 2022.

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Best Designer Fragrances 2022

Dior Sauvage Elixir

The strongest version of what is now the best-selling perfume of all time. Of course, Dior would want to keep that gravy train rolling along with an Elixir, dialling up the profile of Dior Sauvage and giving us something that projects brilliantly, lasts incredibly long and could easily go toe-to-toe with your favourite niche perfume.

Dior Sauvage Elixir is strong but not overwhelming. And that’s the most important part. Perfumer Francois Demachy has shown a great deal of restraint, working with notes like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, grapefruit, licorice and Haitian vetiver.

Top Notes: Cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, grapefruit
Heart Notes: Lavender
Base Notes: Licorice, sandalwood, amber, patchouli, Haitian vetiver

Acqua di Giò Eau de Parfum

Every if you’re not into perfume at all and your idea of fragrance doesn’t extend far beyond Lynx Africa, you’re familiar with Giorgio Armani’s legendary Aqua di Gio. The fragrance has been around for 25 years, and to mark the occasion Alberto Morillas returns to help the label create an Eau de Parfum version that reinvigorates the iconic marine scent.

Morillas hasn’t strayed too far from what made Acqua di Gio so popular to begin with, using sea notes and green mandarin at the top with clary sage, geranium and lavender to bridge through to the woody base.

The biggest difference I’ve found between this and the original is longevity. This doesn’t project too well, but it lasts a long time and you’ll get a lot of wear out of this one. Considering the price, I’d say that’s great value.

Top Notes: Sea notes, green mandarin
Heart Notes: Clary sage, geranium, lavender
Base Notes: Mineral notes, vetiver, patchouli

Montblanc Legend Red

I included Montblanc last week as one of my favourite brands of 2022 when it comes to perfumery. Legend Red was the reason for this, given it’s such a reliable, one-and-done fragrance that I could easily wear every day and not feel like I’ve compromised.

It’s my office fragrance right now. And there’s a lot of value in having a dedicated fragrance like this, and that you’d spray on before heading off to work without feeling like you’ve just wasted one of your more expensive niche perfumes on what is just another day.

The alpine-esque scent makes use of a lot of cedarwood, clary sage and tonka beans, although clary sage is easily one of the dominant characters here.

Top Notes: Blood orange, grapefruit, cardamom
Heart Notes: Cedar, clary sage, juniper berries
Base Notes: Atlas cedar, mahogany, tonka bean

Tom Ford Ébène Fumé

It’s hard to place Tom Ford between the two major categories of fragrances. Yes, what the label produces are 100% designer fragrances, but they are usually of such great quality that many consider them niche fragrances.

Tom Ford’s Private Blend is probably the reason for this since the collection was launched as a bit of a sub-genre in perfumery and focused on more concentrated, higher-quality fragrances like Lost Cherry and Tobacco Vanille.

Ébène Fumé is the latest from the Private Blend and translates to “smoked ebony,” with a very meditative, lightly charred profile that makes use of Palo Santo smoke flanked by ebony wood, leather, black pepper and citrus absolute. It’s an alluring fragrance, but like most of Tom Ford’s best perfumes, lacks longevity and projection.

Top Notes: Incense, Palo Santo smoke, black pepper, violet leaf
Heart Notes: Leather, labdanum, cade oil, papyrus, rose
Base Notes: Resins, ebony tree, guaiac wood

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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