A beginner's guide to single note fragrances

Commodity Goods' refined simplicity is loved by many minimalistic beauty bloggers.

Commodity Goods' refined simplicity is loved by many minimalistic beauty bloggers. Photo: Instagram

Isn't it strange that we negotiate on our personal scent? Perfume is such a personal thing; there are thousands of combinations, and hundreds of companies vying to convince us that their geranium, daisy and sandalwood combo will make us feel like the best versions of ourselves.

There are some wonderful perfumes out there. Most of us own some. But many of us only find one or two that truly suit our tastes. With branded perfumes, we have to negotiate our likes and dislikes. Perhaps you liked the floral notes, but wish they hadn't put that citrus note there. A woody scent may appeal, but the hint of aniseed to it? Not so much.

The great news is: we don't have to negotiate anymore if we don't want to.

We know how our skin and body react to certain smells; what sits well on us, and what doesn't. Enter the world of single note fragrances. Single scent perfumes give you the ability to create your own scent that complements you perfectly. You can create a range of scents that you switch between, or create your 'everyday favourite' and know that no one else wears what you do.


Demeter Fragrances

Demeter were one of the first single scent companies on the radar. They are by far the biggest, most well known, and most comprehensive single scent company. Take heed, however: their ample range can often lead to customers being overwhelmed by choice, and accidentally buying 'Vanilla Cake Batter', 'Gin & Tonic', 'Sandalwood' and 'Dirt'… and mixing them all together. While this one might not be recommended for rookies, the library of more than 250 'life scents' will definitely push your parfum buttons if you know what you want.

Commodity Goods

These guys are newer to the scene, but their simplicity and refined nature is loved and appreciated by many minimalistic fashion bloggers, including STOP IT RIGHT NOW. They offer a women's range and a men's range, and scents come as simple as 'Rain', 'Tobacco', 'Whisky', and 'Tea'. Feel free to ignore the gendered divisions - male or female, all the scents are fresh, clean, and beautiful. And you can just get the tester kits if you're unsure.

Kiehl's Original Musk

Okay, okay, this isn't exactly a 'single note fragrance', but it's definitely one of the most well known 'musk' scents of all time. Go up to any Kiehl's desk in the world, and usually the staff can tell you about the ridiculous story about the creation of this iconic fragrance. Hint: it has to do with the scent being locked in an apothecary for a good long time for being 'too sexy'.

Uncommon Scents Parfum Oil

This roll on has long been a fave. It's quite cheap, and the range of scents is phenomenal (but not so big that you confuse yourself). Uncommon have scents that are completely unique; i.e. Dragon's Blood, Aloe Vera, or Temple Wood. All of their 50+ scents are cruelty-free, as well.  

Parfums Raffy

This company has a lot to offer, but their single note perfumes are one of their best products because you can layer the scents over one another without feeling like you might cause an asthma attack on public transport. They have some old-world scents to offer, like 'Amber' and 'Lily of the Valley', but they also have 'Baby Powder', basic floral notes, and fruit and vegetable notes. You can also get US$1 testers to try something new, and they have an ingredient search engine where you can find something just for you.