Scents and Mood: Can a Luxe Perfume Improve Your Outlook?

Words by: Parfum Muse    |    Estimated reading time: 5mins


Many of us know that a spritz of a familiar fragrance immediately makes us feel 'put together' or instinctively reach for an old favourite for a chilled Sunday and a more intense, special occasion scent for a date or celebration – but did you know there's a very real scientific reason your perfume affects your mood?

Our olfactory senses are far more sensitive than we might assume and can connect even the subtlest scents with a mood, a place, or a point in time, just as a memory can make us feel happy, sad, or content.

Understanding the connection between scent and mood doesn't just help you pick the perfume guaranteed to improve your day but can apply to home fragrances when you know which accents will foster a sense of calm and relaxation and those that will give you a bit of get up and go.

The Link Between Scent and Emotions

Fragrance and mood are closely linked, and although we might sometimes be surprised at how quickly perfumes can transport us into a happier mindset, it’s actually quite simple when we consider the power of aromatherapy. Once thought of as a pseudo-science, modern therapists recognise that aromatherapy can be incredibly effective.

Scent molecules, especially those in essential oils, reach our olfactory nerves and travel into the amygdala, the part of our brain that controls emotions. Published scientific research evidences the therapeutic impact of aromatherapy, which can affect:

  • Neurotransmissions from the brain that stimulate our emotions
  • Release of natural chemicals like serotonin and dopamine
  • How we regulate and interpret our thoughts and mood

Although there is still work to be done to uncover the clinical applications of aromatherapy, there is no doubt that the scent of citrus invigorates us or that lavender is known to prompt relaxation—and that knowledge enables us to select scents on a more than preferential basis.

The basics are that fragrances stimulate our olfactory system, which includes the receptors in our nose that communicate with the neurotransmitters in our brain and stimulate the production of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine.

They also affect the limbic system, which prompts an emotional response based on memories and experiences, which is how a scent that feels similar to a home or person we love can have an emotional effect.

Fragrances for Calm and Relaxation

Lavender is a go-to for its soothing properties, but we’d also suggest vanilla and jasmine, all of which are associated with calmness, relaxation, stress relief and comfort. Long used within sleep sprays and bedtime tinctures, lavender is a powerhouse in the world of aromatherapy and is thought to reduce anxiety.

The sweetness and warmth of vanilla have a similar effect, making us feel cosy and comfortable and helping to promote a sense of well-being. Jasmine works equally well and can be used in perfumes or home essences to unwind after a long, tough day.

If you’d like to try these scents for yourself, there are several excellent fragrances to choose between:

Parfums de Marly produces Percival Eau de Parfum with heart notes of lavender and geranium, topped with mandarin and bergamot with a base of balsam fir and woody spice for a fresh, refined scent.

Another great option is the BDK Gris Charnel Extrait Eau de Parfum, which has a vanilla absolut base combined with cedar cardamon, black tea, and fig. It feels warm and textured yet has an amber-inspired depth that feels luxurious and comforting.

Perfume connoisseurs can also try an Elie Saab perfume gift set featuring Le Parfum or Le Parfum in White. Both have jasmine heart notes and a rich aroma of orange blossom, florals, and natural spices to elevate the fragrance into a feminine and tranquil scent.

Scents that Invigorate and Energise 

When it comes to energy, peppermint and citrus are top performers, with grapefruit, orange, lemon, and minty accents giving our mood and mind a boost —whether you'd like to use a fragrance during an afternoon slump or as the ultimate pick-me-up.

Our favourite fragrances for energy include:

BDK Citrus Riviera, which combines eucalyptus essence, orange blossom, jasmine, and Italian lemon for that jolt of feel-good energy you're looking for.

Banana Republic Metal Rain combines ferns, fruits, and green tea with tart-sweet lemon, sultry cashmere, and a musky sandalwood base to create a smooth and uplifting scent.

You can also try spritzing an elegant, energy-packed scent in your home, using lemon fragrances like the Sweeter Tings Candle to fill your space with sweet mandarin orange, lemon peel, bergamot zest, and white Italian figs.

Romantic and Peaceful Fragrances

Great fragrances aren’t always knock-out, powerful scents and a hint of a classic floral like rose is authentically romantic without being overpowering or sickly sweet.

If you'd like to get into the mood for a date night with your loved one, the classic rose petal can’t go wrong. We appreciate that rose essential oils can be a little strong, so we suggest a spritz of Delina Body Oil or the Delina Hair Mist, enriched with poetic florals and velvety accents.

Cooling Scents for Clarity and Focus

Finally, we'll consider scents that help clear your mind and can give you the edge to think clearly. Eucalyptus is one of the best scents for relieving congestion and helping clear the fog of stress when you need to focus, which is why you’ll find it in some top-quality scents.

We’ve mentioned BDK’s Citrus Riviera, which has eucalyptus heart notes. We’d also recommend the Blue Cypress Concentrate from Goldfield and Banks and the Parfums Frapin Bois Blanc Eau de Parfum, which encapsulates eucalyptus heart and top notes.


If in doubt, our Fragrance Family search tool will help you find the perfect scent at Parfum Muse. You can filter by floral, fresh, spicy, and woody scents to find the perfume that ideally matches your mood.