Best new fragrances in 2021

Are you ready for some new, new new? The past couple of years have turned the perfume world upside down, with many new releases going by the wayside, and people reaching for old favourites to feel safer. The industry has responded to these new pressures in different ways, so here’s my Best of 2021 roundup.

This year’s current crop of big fragrance releases has been a curious mix of subtle, comforting, relaxing skin scents and a group of louder, bolder and frankly sexier attention grabbers for those who are ready to get dressed up and party. Some of these are brand spanking new and original, and others are reformulations of classics, or ‘flankers’ that are supposed to be variations on an existing theme. Be warned though, some of these flankers are almost nothing like the originals.

To make it easier to get the gist of these latest releases, I’m going to talk about the fragrance categories they fall into, their strongest notes, and who might wear them and when. Information you never see in the crazy ads, but that’s incredibly useful when deciding whether to part with your hard-earned cash.


Best new perfumes 2021

I’ve picked out six of the newer department store type fragrances here, because they’re reasonably easy to get hold of and/or find testers, and despite their newness it’s possible to find some good deals on them at this time of year.

Musc Noir Alien Goddess YSL Libre EdT
Best perfumes of 2021: Musc Noir, Alien Goddess, YSL Libre EdT

Narciso Rodriguez – Musc Noir For Her Eau de Parfum

Fragrance type: fruity musk. Top notes: plum, heliotrope, middle notes: musk, base notes: leather suede accord. Strongest notes are musk and plum with a touch of leather.

The sort of fragrance that’s been created for going out to dinner on an autumn evening, or heading off on a weekend away. Popular, sexily musky without turning screechy/filthy, and generally well received.

RRP £45 for 30ml bottle, best price £36.00 at Boots or Amazon. RRP £75 for 50ml gift set, best price £57.75 at FragranceDirect, next best £60.00 John Lewis or Debenhams.


Mugler – Alien Goddess Eau de Parfum

Fragrance type: amber floral, also described as floriental woody. Top notes: coconut water, bergamot; middle notes; jasmine, heliotrope; base notes: bourbon vanilla, cashmeran. Strongest notes are vanilla, coconut water and cashmeran (a warm, woody, musky amber).

This has very little in common with the original Alien in the purple bottle, apart from a little of the distinctive Mugler jasmine note, but it’s a pleasant, sunny fragrance, with marketing mainly geared towards the 20-something and 30-something age groups. The bottle is refillable, and the vanilla is sustainably sourced.

RRP £57 for 30ml bottle, best price £45.50 at AllBeauty, followed by £45.60 at Mugler UK. RRP £60 for 30ml gift set (which actually contains 40ml), best price £45.90 at Escentual with discount code: BLACK10, followed by £51.00 at AllBeauty.


Yves Saint Laurent – Libre Eau de Toilette

Fragrance type: fresh floral. Top notes: lavender, bergamot, mandarin orange; middle notes: white jasmine tea, orange blossom, jasmine; base notes: musk, vanilla, ambergris. Strongest notes are jasmine tea, orange blossom and lavender.

Yes, the Eau de Parfum (EdP) version of Libre is already a bestseller, but the eau de toilette is not just a watered-down version of the original – it has new notes added and has been formulated to be less sweet. Light, airy and fresh, leaning unisex and best suited to daytime wear.

RRP £66 for 50ml, best price £43.89 with code: CYBER at LookFantastic, followed by £49.50 at YSL UK.


Miss Dior EdP 2021 A Drop dIssey JPG La Belle Le Parfum
Best new perfumes 2021: Miss Dior EdP 2021, A Drop d’Issey, JPG La Belle Le Parfum

Dior – Miss Dior Eau de Parfum (2021 version)

Miss Dior EdP has been reformulated once again for a modern audience, making it lighter and softer. Fragrance type: amber floral. Top notes: iris, peony and lily-of-the-valley; middle notes: rose, apricot, peach; base notes: vanilla, tonka bean, musk, benzoin, sandalwood. Strongest notes are vanilla, rose and apricot.

Pleasant, powdery and comforting, youthful, and best for inoffensive daytime wear. Mostly aimed at the late teens to early 20s.

RRP £59 for 30ml, best price £47.20 at John Lewis.


Issey Miyake – A Drop d’Issey Eau de Parfum

Fragrance type: fresh floral musk. Top notes: almond milk, damask rose; middle notes: solar lilac, jasmine, orange blossom, star anise; base notes: vanilla, musk, ambroxan, atlas cedar. Main notes are realistic lilac with a touch of almond milk, and a little clean musk rounding it out.

A long lasting fragrance for light, clean daytime wear, such as around the home or the office. Probably best not to do a blind buy with this one, unless it’s for someone who definitely loves lilac. Contains ethically-sourced ingredients.

RRP £39.95 for 30ml, best price £30.25 at AllBeauty, followed by £30.40 at John Lewis. RRP £69 for 50ml gift set, best price £49.16 with code: CYBER at LookFantastic.


Jean Paul Gaultier – La Belle Le Parfum Eau De Parfum

Fragrance type: gourmand oriental, could also be called an amber vanilla. Top notes: green pear, jasmine; middle notes: white vanilla, vetiver, cherry, leather; base notes: vanilla bean, tonka bean, hazelnut, orchid, amber. Strongest notes are tonka and vanilla.

Described by many as ‘better than the original La Belle’, Le Parfum is stronger and more well rounded than its predecessor. A strong, sensual date night fragrance with sweetness and a touch of spice, best for autumn and winter evenings. Ooh la la!

RRP £54 for 30ml, best price £36.95 at Parfumdreams.


Honourable mentions at lower price points

Slightly smaller budget? For recent high street cheapies that are either completely original or inspired by higher end fashion favourites, your best bets are the various Jo Malone for Zara offerings and the & Other Stories perfumes.


Will you be buying any new fragrances for yourself or anyone else in the run up to Christmas? Have you tried any of these new releases from 2021?


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