But the perfumer has much more to consider than the changing seasons when developing a new scent — the vision of the fashion or fragrance house being pretty far up the list. Interpreting a nuance of character and mood of the theoretical woman who epitomises the perfume in question, using a carefully selected combination of raw materials — natural and synthetic — is as much art as it is alchemy. The name, the bottle, the packaging and the marketing all come together with this precious juice, to lure us into adding it to our wardrobe.
Choosing a new fragrance can and should take time — spray on your wrist then leave the shop for at least half an hour before smelling again is a good tip. But if you fancy you could make a short-list simply by knowing what type of woman the creator had in mind; what notes predominate and the mood conveyed, here are seven from the recent crop of launches. You may get a festive fizz, but don’t expect mulled wine...
Korres Rosewood/Blackcurrent/Cyclamen EDT (£38 - 100ml from Liberty, London and www.beautyexpert.com)
First impression: a dark, heavy, austere-looking bottle with, surprisingly, a pure white lid — simple, almost clinical in looks
Female inspiration: not marketed to a ‘type’ but all three of Korres’ first fragrances, launched simultaneously, would appeal to lovers of botanicals — there are no synthetic fixatives used.
Fragrance: a very ‘real’ and natural rose smell, with warm, woody overtones, takes on a sharp fruitiness and then finally settles on a rich, florally nature
Forever and Ever Dior EDT (£63 - 100ml from John Lewis and nationwide from January 15, 2010)
First impression: a tall and elegant bottle, with a silver thread entwined neck for this new Dior classic
Female inspiration: ideal for a young, romantic woman with a love of couture
Fragrance: the pale pink edt emphasises its fresh, floral sweetness — freesia, jasmine, Turkish rose, white musk
Si Lolita de Lolita Lempicka EDP (£45 - 50ml for stockists call 0845 769 7072)
First impression: with it’s burgundy polka dot and painted floral box, this has quirky, girlie fashionista written all over it. The bottle is shaped like a four-heart clover, with a scarf round its gold neck
Female inspiration: “artistic, natural, daring, feminine”
Fragrance: it opens with a prickly spiciness (pink peppercorn on top of fresh bergamot and mandarin)
Ricci Ricci EDP (£38.17 - 50ml for stockists call 0207 494 6220)
First impression: a really beautiful deep pink bottle with a swirling pink metallic ribbon lid
Female inspiration: “the modern urban heroine”
Fragrance: after the initial burst of sweet fruitiness (bergamot and rhubarb zest) there’s a softer, but still candy-like floral heart, which is really long-lasting
Marc Jacobs Lola EDP (£45 - 50ml - from Boots and leading department stores
First impression: this is a bottle with attitude - from its deep pink curvy body to its long gold neck and bold bloom lid
Female inspiration: “she’s sexy with a fun, flirtatious wink... relaxed, cool and confident”
Fragrance: an immediate hit of fizzy fruitiness — pink peppercorn and ruby grapefruit, followed by a floral heart — fuchsia, peony, rose and geranium (not for wallflowers!)
Idole d'Armani EDP (£48 - 50ml - Boots)
First impression: a classic, Art Deco style rounded bottle, with a satisfyingly weight gold stopper — it whispers grown-up sophistication
Female inspiration: a goddess apparently! She’s “serene, sensual, beautiful, enigmatic and graceful”... that’s all of us then!
Fragrance: ginger and bitter orange give a warm, sweet and spicy opening note, which gives way to something more flowery (rose and jasmine) and finally musky with a hint of pepperiness
Michael Kors Very Hollywood EDP (£46.96 - 50ml for stockists call 0870 034 2566)
First impression: lipstick pink box edged in gold; pink fragrance in a crystal bottle with gold lid — this oozes decadent glamour
Female inspiration: think gorgeous, sexy starlet on the red carpet, working the paparazzi
Fragrance: it’s immediately sweet and heady — bergamot and mandarin — with a fruity-floral heart (ylang ylang, raspberry, gardenia) and a dry down that’s sweet and musky, lasting all day.