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Fragrance Friday: What Are The Best British Perfume Brands?
— Updated on 5 July 2023

Fragrance Friday: What Are The Best British Perfume Brands?

— 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 week we focus on the best of British perfumery by highlighting our favourite UK fragrance houses from Clive Christian to Atkinson.

Postured, classic, traditional and sometimes a bit too stuffy. Everyone has an idea of British perfumery as a distinguished category simply because it’s been around for so long. You’ve got brands like Floris and Atkinsons that have been synonymous with nobility for centuries now; the former was founded in 1730 while the latter has been around since 1799.

The art of niche perfumery was perfected in the UK and has since created a legacy that has been refined by some of the best labels in the entire industry. Highly-sought luxury labels like Clive Christian and Penhaligon’s can easily stand toe-to-toe in terms of popularity with some of the most renowned houses in continental Europe such as Creed, Aqua di Parma and Guerlain.

In the past few weeks, I’ve highlighted some underrated French fragrance brands and some of the best Italian fragrance houses. There’s even a piece on three of the best Australian perfume brands to get across. So to keep on that theme, here are the best UK fragrance brands you need to be paying attention to if you want to build up your signature scent with only the finest niche perfumes for men.

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Best British Perfume Brands

Clive Christian

I was only familiar with Clive Christian by reputation up until recently when a bottle of the label’s new Jump Up & Kiss Me Hedonistic landed on my desk. The poetic, incredibly potent and pleasant scent has since been one of the best perfumes I own and a reliable head-turner for special occasions.

And special occasions are what I’ll likely associate Clive Christian with first and foremost. These are expensive perfumes that successfully build up an air of exclusivity and exceptionalism. I’ve since tested quite a few from this luxury brand, which was founded in 1999 and has since become known for producing some of the most expensive perfumes in the world based on ultra-rare ingredients and impeccable chemistry.

Highlights: Jump Up & Kiss Me Hedonistic; Rock Rose Masculine; Crab Apple Blossom


Throughout the 1800s, Atkinsons was widely established as the favoured perfumer for many European royals, including King George IV. Even now the time-honoured label has an air of nobility around it, perfectly structured with primarily fresh and dependable fragrances that skew towards opulent and traditional like the famous Atkinsons English Eau de Cologne.

Don’t go mistaking classicism for stuffy, though. Some of the best Atkinsons fragrances are far from plain and prototypical, projecting plenty of personality with highlights including the super-polished Oud Save The King and the brilliant 24 Old Bond Street.

Highlights: Oud Save The King, 24 Old Bond Street, The British Bouquet

Roja Parfums

Roja Dove, the former in-house perfumer for France’s iconic Gurlein, has established a pure powerhouse with Roja Parfums. Many of these incredibly complex fragrances dance on the tradition of niche perfumery and manage to walk the very fine line between minimalism and maximalism. Unsurprisingly, it’s probably the most French-like of all these British perfume brands.

Apex is a great example. I’ve written about one of the newest Roja fragrances a few times before. It’s got 25 listed notes which could have easily spelt disaster for a lesser perfumer, yet its a testament to Roja Dove’s craft that he was able to present something so elegant and layered that it’s one of the few examples of a niche perfume that well and truly manages to rise above its peers and justify its $519 price tag.

Highlights: Apex, Vetiver, Elysium


Most people with only a passing interest in perfumery would be familiar with Penhaligon’s. Much like Atkinsons and Floris, the history of this brand is deeply rooted in the UK, dating back to 1870 when William Henry Penhaligon established the house in the heart of England.

Penhaligon’s is also one of the more diverse and inventive labels on this list of the best British perfume brands. Its various collections are always well worth checking out like the Trade Routes series which has produced one of my favourite gourmand scents to date – the addictive Babylon.

The brand also has some of the best-looking perfume bottles around, some of them are fashioned as oversized collectable chess pieces and look great as part of any collection.

Highlights: Babylon, Halfeti Leather, Racquets.


Floris has been around since 1730, making it one of the only examples of a house that has retained its reputation for generations without really compromising on what made it so renowned for being with. It’s that unwavering commitment to classicism that really most people would readily associate with a label like Floris, embodied perfectly by signatures like 1988 and new ones like that slightly peppery, James Bond-inspired No.007.

Although if you want a great example of the kind of studious balance that defines Florence look to Honey Oud. I do disclose my bias towards gourmand perfumes, but this one is dialled in so perfectly with opening notes of English honey and bergamot bleeding down into a base of amber, labdanum, oud, musk and vanilla. The oud in this is the most interesting part, skewing towards a lighter and more restrained variant that lets those gourmand notes really flourish towards the end without coming across as too cloyish or sickly. That’s art right there.

Highlights: Honey Oud, Vert Fougere, No. 007

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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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