A Wine-Lover’s Guide to Fragrance

We’re no wine experts, but we’ve sipped enough varieties to know that the aroma is a key part of the tasting experience. Is it any surprise, then, that the same tricks you use to choose a wine are the same ones you should be using to select a scent? We enlisted master sommelier Laura Maniec, owner of New York’s Corkbuzz Wine Bar, to tell us how to use our oenophile skills to sniff out the perfect fragrance.

Give Your Perfume Some Air

Every wine lover knows you need to give a good vintage some time to breathe before taking the first sip. “Just like you’d swirl wine in a glass several times before tasting it to let it aerate, you’ll want to do the same with a scent,” says Maniec. Wave your wrist in the air a few times before sniffing to let any strong alcohol tendencies dissipate.

Choose Fragrance Notes Based On Your Favorite Wine

Try to identify the favorite part of your go-to vintage. Whether it’s the musk of a sweet white or the peppery base of a smoky red, you’ll likely find an equivalent in a fragrance. “One of my favorite perfumes was fresh pear and apple, and you have those same flavors in some wines,” Maniec says. If you usually opt for a floral pinot noir, spritz a jasmine and rose-based scent like Oscar De La Renta’s live in love. To capture the citrusy brightness of sauvignon blanc, pick a scent like Harvey Prince’s Hello, which has notes of Meyer lemons and Satsuma mandarin.

Scents Are Seasonal, Too

Just like you would probably reach for a chilled rose in summer, or a buttery red in the fall, your scent should change with the seasons, too. “In summer you want something that’s citrusy, light and refreshing, while in winter you might crave cloves, cinnamon, and spice that’s more warming,” says Maniec.

Store Fragance Like You Would a Bottle of Wine

"Warm temperatures can essentially cook away the flavors in a good wine, making it smell and taste less fresh,” says Maniec. “Heat can damage beauty products in the same way. You don’t want to keep perfumes in a window where the sun’s going to get to them.” Once you’ve found a favorite scent, be sure to keep it in a cool, dark place so the formula stands up over time.

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