5 Fragrances That'll Change How You Think Of "Old Fashioned" Scents

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Fragrance: it's something most of us will have dabbled with in our life times, whether we're big beauty fans or not. We all remember our very first scent, or the one we wore to a special event, and certain scents will fill you with a great sense of nostalgia. There are an endless amount of ingredients used in fragrance these days, and some have gotten a bad rep over the years. For this reason, I've picked out five fragrances that will change the way you think about "old" scents, to prove that "outdated" ingredients can definitely be rocked in 2020 too.

Jo Malone London's brand new Lavender range (coming out next month, in March 2020), first inspired this edit. I've never been a fan of lavender, and have always associated it with Grandmas (sorry guys). But smelling the new line by Jo Malone has actually completely changed my mind. The fragrance brand has completely reinvented lavender, making it fresh, lightweight, zesty, and citrusy. And 100% modern.

Along with lavender, I've picked out four other perfume ingredients that have perhaps been stereotyped in the past, and offered modern-day alternatives that'll prove even the most ancient of ingredients can still be relevant today.


The stereotype: Rose is most commonly associated with romance, femininity, and strong florals. It has been around for centuries (classic myth says that when Cleopatra welcomed Mark Antony to her abode, there were roses strewn everywhere), so it makes sense it has a bit of an outdated reputation.

The alternative: These days, however, there are so many different modern interpretations of rose, and it's no longer a 'one size fits all' ingredient. In fact, The Perfume Society claims rose features in at least 75% of modern feminine fragrances, meaning there is plenty to play with.

Perhaps one of my all-time favourites is Rose Of No Man's Land by Byredo. The scent contains notes such as pink pepper, raspberry blossom and white amber, and offers a unique, slightly smoky take on classic rose.


The stereotype: Lavender is perhaps most commonly associated with sleep-inducing oils, relaxation, and grandparents! It is linked back to medieval times, so is another super traditional ingredient that can be seen as old fashioned.

The alternative: Luckily, plenty of brands are now playing with lavender in a thoroughly modern way, mixing it with other ingredients to create unique blends. Jo Malone London's upcoming Spring launch sees lavender combined with ingredients such as silver birch for a citrusy finish, and coriander, for something a little more fiery and spicy. The range of four lavender-based scents comes out next month (March 2020).

Rebecca Fearn


The stereotype: Sandalwood is a notably creamy, relaxing scent that more mature perfume wearers have typically enjoyed wearing thanks to its very grown-up, sophisticated vibe. It derives from India, and was used by ancient Arab perfumers.

The alternative: Sandalwood is often used in fragrance as it blends so well with other ingredients, from geranium to jasmine, patchouli to lavender. Because of this, its modern interpretations are really endless. This one by Atelier Cologne has a delightful seductive feel to it, and proves sandalwood absolutely can be sexy.

Orange Blossom

The stereotype: Not only can orange blossom be intensely sweet, it is also associated with weddings, as it's a firm favourite choice for many bridal bouquets. For this reason, it isn't always appealing to wear on a day-to-day basos.

The alternative: However, orange blossom still remains one of the most popular ingredients in fragrance, and cool brands such as Diptyque have revolutionised it. Their Eau Des Sens perfume is fun, modern and playful.


The stereotype: Musk is actually typically associated with sex and sensuality, so it's surprising that many still believe musk to be old fashioned. Well-established brands have always played around with musk, so it's not always seen as the most exciting, modern perfume ingredient.

The alternative: Glossier's You fragrance is one of the most standout new perfumes of the past few years. It is unlike anything I've ever smelt, and one of its main ingredients is, of course, musk.

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