Sphere Curates: Foolproof Artisan Fragrance to Gift for Valentines 2023

Words by
Sphere Editors

13th February 2023

Here SPHERE Curates the best of the best artisan fragrance, each one is a classic and all are beloved by both sexes. Rest assured each in the list is iconic, and will earn you a gold star for perfect gifting.

Selecting a luxury fragrance for someone you want to show love to (and impress with your insider knowledge of their preferences and elevated taste level), can be a tricksy business. Perfume is a highly personal gift, but selected purely with luxury and artisanship in mind it loses its awkwardness and becomes an opportunity to open up a new sensory conversations, after all 75% of all our feelings are triggered by scent.

Fortunately, there is a small group of iconic artisan perfumes out there that are recognised winners for both sexes. From Tom Ford's iconic Tobacco Vanille, to Escentric Molecule's Molecule 01, SPHERE Curates the fragrances gifts - with just one aimed solely at women - that will succeed this Valentines Day 2023.

Orange Leaf by Lyn Harris of Perfumer H
Orange Leaf
Orange leaf, £400, created by Lyn Harris, available at Perfumer H

Lyn Harris may well be London's most famous "nose". Not only is Lyn an incredible perfumer, she has an unerring eye for detail, craft and sustainability. Having introduced a re-filling station at her London store, the latest addition to her offering are exquisite hand-blown bottles by glass artist Michael Ruh. While we recommend a visit to her laboratory in Crawford Street for the pure pleasure of experiencing the atmosphere and the aromas, we also highly recommend Orange Leaf, which offers an instant emotional uplift, and makes a wonderful gift.

Top notes: Orange, eau de brouts absolute
Heart notes: Petitgrain, Basil 
Base notes: Angelica seed, Elemi, and Cedar wood

From Perfumer H:

An eclectic citrus bouquet created around the majestic orange tree. A base of elemi (Iran), encens and cedar wood (Virginia), Orange (Valencia), extracted from the fruit, eau de brouts absolute, extracted from petitgrain water, and petitgrain, extracted from the leaves and the twigs, are enhanced with green leaf, basil and angelica, completing my homage to this beautiful tree.

Discover Orange Leaf 

Tom Ford's Most Loved Scent, Tobacco Vanille
Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille
Tobacco Vanille, £265, Tom Ford

Widely considered to be the masterpiece scent within the Tom Ford Private Blend collection, Tobacco Vanille steers towards a masculine aroma, but is equally loved by women who appreciate its multi-layered vanilla and gourmand accords. Ford's perfumes are famous for their extended sillage (pronounced sill-ahge), which refers to the trail created by the perfume when worn on the skin. It was created by Olivier Gillotin who is also the creator of Dior Higher and Ralph Lauren Polo Red.  Fans include Harry Styles.

Top notes: Tobacco Leaf, Spicy Notes
Heart notes: Vanilla, Cacao, Tonka Bean, Tobacco Blossom
Base notes: Dried Fruits, Woody Notes

From Tom Ford: 

"Tobacco Vanille is opulent, warm and iconic. Blended with rich spices, vanilla and tobacco flower, it leaves a powerful impression."

Discover Tobacco Vanille


Magnetic 70 - a Perfume to Inspire Magnetism 
Magnetic 70
Magnetic 70, £135, by Vyrao

Magnetic 70 is a fragrance formulated by Vyrao, which creates scent for emotional wellbeing - this one to inspire feelings of magnetism, protection and attraction. The warm blend of vetiver, cedar wood, iris and elemi has gained a cult following among men and women in Los Angeles where spiritual teacher Lalah Delia has shared about the fragrance to her alost 600,000 Instagram followers, "It creates a warm energy field around me," she says of magnetic 70. "It magnetises warmth and protection and a feeling of comfort for myself and those around me when I wear it. It is a beautiful social fragrance. Also, when I’m by myself, it gives me a sense of grounding and comfort so it’s beautiful to work with in that way. I also use it for a room spray."

Top notes: Vetiver, Cedar wood
Heart notes: Frankincense, Angelica seed
Base notes: Iris, Juniper wood & elemi

From Vyrao:

Magnetic 70 is formulated with vetiver for sensuality and grounding, cedar wood for positivity, frankincense for illumination and angelica seed for protection. Deeper notes of iris, juniper wood and elemi combine to create a woody and spiritual ether to remind us there is only now.

Discover Magnetic 70

The Cult of Molecule 01
Molecule 01
Molecule 01, by Escentric Molecule, £79, at Liberty

Molecule 01 exploded in popularity a decade ago, but unlike many other "fragrance hits" that come and go out of favour, this one has never waned because everyone who discovers it comes to love it, and becomes a repeat customer. This may may explain why Molecule 01 has been the best-selling fragrance at Liberty for years. 

It's secret is in the chemistry between its single lab-created molecule Iso E Super, created at IFF in 1973, and its interaction between the skin and the human olfactory system.

Iso E Super is traditionally used as a base in many fragrances, but the perfumer at Escentric Molecule, Geza Schoen, has managed to craft a scent from this single ingredient in such a way that no other perfume house has been able to come close to replicating.

The aroma is characterised by a hyper-modern cedarwood note with a velvety sensation that hovers close to the skin to create an indefinable aura around the wearer. It is also said to act like an pheromone on those who smell it, making it something of a fragrance unicorn, and has made multi-millionaires of its independent founders. Whether the pheromone effect is true, or not, users of the fragrance describe it as addictive in a "I can't stop wanting to smell this" kind of way, and those who smell it on others, want to get closer. 

Note: Iso E Super

From Escentric Molecule:

Iso E Super is one of those skin-sexy scents that makes you want to nestle into it. It's comforting, cocooning. Iso E Super has a marked intermittence. To the wearer, it seems to vanish and then re-appear. This is due to the way it bonds with receptors in the olfactory system, only slowly releasing to make way for a fresh charge of the molecule on the receptors.

Discover Molecule 01

Musc Ravageur
Musc Ravageur by Frédéric Malle, £145, 50ml eau de parfum
Musc Ravageur & Portrait of a Lady by Frédéric Malle 

Perfume aficionado's such as the writer of Scent Grail, puts Musc Ravageur in their top five fragrances of all time, and with its complex layers of bergamot, vanilla, and musk its considered a grown-up perfume for both sexes, and has been a cult purchase since its launch in 2000. 

Top notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Lavender
Heart notes: Amber, Vanilla, Musk
Base notes: Sandalwood, Musk

From Frédéric Malle:

“Musc Ravageur is sensual and sophisticated. Powerful yet perfectly controlled. Dramatic and mysterious. Musc Ravageur is a grown-up perfume, an uncompromising Oriental, which trumps current fads. Its explosive departure of bergamot and cinnamon is set against a lusty backdrop of vanilla, musk and amber. No flowers, just a refined and exalted skin scent.”

Discover Musc Ravageur

Portrait of a Lady
Portrait of a Lady by Frédéric Malle, £188, 50ml eau de parfum

Portrait of a Lady is the only truly feminine scent in this edit, because, well, it is a fragrance legend, as is the perfumer who created it, Dominique Rupion. Giving this scent is the ultimate gift of love to a woman. To those who know it, it needs no explanation. If you have never heard if it, rest assured this explosion of Turkish rose, layered with patchouli, frankincense and summer fruits is an icon, which once discovered rapidly becomes either a signature scent, or one kept for occasions in which the wearer wishes to be remembered.

Top notes: Rapberry, Blackcurrant, Rose
Heart notes: Sandalwood, Incense, Patchouli 
Base notes: Musk, Amber, Benzoin

From Frédéric Malle:

"Elegance personified. Consider perfume a portrait of its wearer: the sound of her voice, her gaze, the way she plays cards. At once timeless and resonant with today, here is a scent that speaks of her innate sophistication. Charm that emanates from within, boldly depicted without; an expressive portrayal of modern grace."

Discover Portrait of a Lady