The best destination-inspired perfumes with scents of place.

By Hana Hong
July 01, 2020
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Fun fact: It’s proven science that our sense of smell is the one that lingers in the brain the longest. Because scent and memory are so deeply connected, certain smells can trigger internal memories in a way that simple souvenirs can’t. While dream destinations in the physical world are temporarily beyond our reach, we can still journey there in an olfactory way. These destination-inspired fragrances are made with ingredients from a specific region or inspired by a particular place in the world, making it the perfect way to feed your wanderlust craving. Whether you’re missing the lush seaside or bustling city street culture, bring sensual travel to your vanity with our favorite picks below.

After visiting Japan, the perfumer behind Dior’s Sakura fragrance wanted to capture the aroma of thousands of cherry trees in bloom. This bottle is his tribute to the gardens by interpreting its sophisticated aroma with rosy nuances.

To buy: $220; dior.com.

There’s nothing like a little greenery to revive the senses. A glamorization of the Romany lifestyle, the scent of fresh soil, deep forests, and campfires comes together in Byredo’s Gypsy Water to help you feel a bit closer to nature.

To buy: $180; neimanmarcus.com.

Fans of the original, iconic Brazilian Bum Bum Cream will love Sol de Janeiro’s newest fragrance. Blended with addictive gourmand notes of salted caramel, pistachio, jasmine, and vanilla, the scent evokes all the right smells of summer and will whisk you away to a Brazilian beachside in just one whiff. 

To buy: $78; sephora.com.

If you open a bottle of L’Occitane’s Terre de Lumière, you can inhale a fresh and pungent breath of the South of France. Its signature fragrance captures the special fleeting Golden Hour moment, filled with zesty aromas of lavender, honey and almond taken straight from the region.

To buy: $80; qvc.com.

This floral oriental composition is heavy with the scent of champaca, a magnolia flower used in incense in many temples in Bali and in the Balinese street offerings of flowers, fruit, and burning joss sticks. These rare and expensive blooms are farmed by the thousands to produce a single bottle of the fragrance. 

To buy: $240; sephora.com.

The newest from Armani is his interpretation of the ocean—and even the bottle itself looks like a breath of fresh air. Inside, a woody musk base is topped with the aquatic freshness of water jasmine and the juicy notes of sparkling pear for a delightfully salty accord. 

To buy: $58; sephora.com.

Close your eyes and think of a place you visited recently. If you’re like me, the smell of food wafting in the air is one of the most memorable smells you experience. Demeter’s fragrance is inspired specifically by the spices and flavors of the open-air markets in Thailand. One spritz is reminiscent of the warm, gentle breezes carrying streetside spices, but don’t worry—it’s subtle enough to not be overpowering.

To buy: $34; demeterfragrance.com.