Award-Winning Fragrances That Will Become Your New Signature Scent

Prepare for endless compliments.

by TZR Beauty Team
TZR Beauty Groundbreakers Awards 2024
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Few things are as intimate as personal fragrance. It’s like a handshake — the notes introduce you, describe you, before you even offer your name. That’s why choosing a new perfume can be such a consuming task. Think of this crop of olfactory Groundbreakers as the chance to try on a new identity or an amplification of your personality in a fresh, compelling way.

Is this evening one for sultry, mysterious depth, using the creamy jasmine-musk-incense blend of Fame By Rabanne? The way the carefully layered notes slowly reveal themselves feel like shedding a jacket to reveal a slinkier top beneath. Maybe the day calls for added vim, in the form of the spicy, bracing Relevant: Your Skin Seen’s 13 Stems, a fresh compilation of green peppercorn, cucumber, and French mimosa that screams confidence.

Above all, these Groundbreaker fragrances use unique note pairings and innovative ingredients to illuminate the different facets of you — maybe they were already there, or maybe you’re discovering a whole new side of yourself. Either way, the discovery and experimentation is part of the fun.

Best Floral Fragrance

If traditional floral perfumes aren’t your thing, reach for this fresh and inviting take on the scent category. It’s the fragrance version of an impossibly chic bridal bouquet that looks like it was scooped up fresh from a wild garden, filled with simple greenery and peonies. Housed in a stunning white bottle accented with a delicate gold butterfly, this perfume has main notes that include white peony accord, violet leaves accord, and white musk. It gives off a slightly powdery yet earthy aroma that’ll stick around all day.

Best Fruity/Gourmand Fragrance

Indulging in a gourmand fragrance doesn’t mean you have to smell like candy or a vanilla cookie — this one has alluring notes of incense, musk, and jasmine. It’s strong and incredibly sweet without falling into the food category. “I’m not normally a gourmand fan, but this fragrance dried down to a balanced scent that wasn’t sickeningly sweet,” says TZR Deputy Beauty Editor Erin Lukas. “I was impressed by its staying power — it lingered on my skin all day — and the bottle. Aside from the unique robot shape, it's refillable and also comes with a QR code that sends you to interactive games and content.”

Best Skin Scent Fragrance

Skin scents can be clean, barely there, warm, slightly sweet — while the exact descriptors can depend on the formula, you can count on them to be perfectly subtle and not at all overwhelming. This aromatic creation from Ellis Brooklyn is a fresher, more modern take on a classic vanilla fragrance. Some prominent notes include, of course, vanilla (the brand used two different types of vanilla extract), upcycled cocoa shell extract, creamy milk accord, rich amyris, and peony rose. A true skin scent, it’s specifically formulated to smell the best when it’s on you — give it a whiff eight to 10 seconds after you spritz it on your wrists and see for yourself.

Best Spicy Fragrance

Spritz on 13 Stems if you’re looking to subtly spice up your (fragrance) life — without a whiff of traditional savory notes like cinnamon and clove. The well-rounded scent includes freesia, green peppercorn, cucumber, and French mimosa. “This is earthy and complex without feeling heavy,” says BDG staffer Sarah Aswell. “Floral and spicy and comforting, it smells like walking into a warm plant store that is also filled with handmade knickknacks run by an old lady wearing a lot of scarves and wooden earrings. I love it.”

Best Woodsy Fragrance

With notes like grapefruit, ginger, eucalyptus, rose absolute, and akigalawood, Future Society’s Invisible Woods is calming and energizing all at the same time. Its duality is unique, along with the inspiration behind it. Each of the brand’s scents are created with biohacked DNA sequences from extinct plants. Since fragrance is notoriously confusing to recycle, we appreciate that this scent includes thorough directions on how to recycle the packaging and each part of the bottle.

Best Candle

The Esker Travertine Plantable Candle makes upcycling incredibly easy. Each candle comes with a dust cover made of seed paper (to grow culinary herbs) and a pressed soil pod you can place in the ceramic container when it’s empty. Then, all you have to do is water it. The soy-based candle itself releases earthy and woody notes of patchouli, rosemary, and amber. BDG testers note that the scent quickly envelopes a room in a pleasantly powerful (read: not overwhelming) way.