In the beauty world, nothing feels more personal than fragrance. There's no rhyme or reason to what appeals to people — you either love a scent or you don't. And yet, many times — subconsciously of course — there are other factors beyond, well, scent, that guide our choices. Everything from the designer behind the perfume to the shape of the bottle can influence your decision, whether you realize it or not.
And since fall is traditionally the season when beauty brands launch the most buzzed-about new scents, we figured it was the ideal time to conduct a little experiment of our own. Inspired by Open Sky's Untitled Series project with Chandler Burr (each month the famed perfume expert chooses a fragrance, which is then sold in a blank, nameless bottle so users can judge it purely on scent) our blind sniff test consisted of seven new fall perfumes placed in unmarked tester bottles, which were all evaluated by our editors.
Here, you'll find their unfiltered first impressions of each scent, as well as picks for their favorites in the bunch. There are some pretty surprising observations and not all of our editors agreed on which ones they liked. But, they were all surprised when we unveiled each scent. Turns out, you really do have to throw all of your preconceived notions out the window when it comes to fall fragrances.
Once you take away the branding and fancy flaçons, a scent becomes much more personal — less about who you want to be or the image you want to convey and more about what truly resonates with you. Read on to see the surprising results, including what Lady Gaga's fragrance really smells like, and what less-than-luxe brand actually has a fragrance worth checking out.
Illustrated by Laurence Jaccottet