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An Alluring Strawberry Fragrance That Won’t Give You Y2K Mall Flashbacks

We swear by this Strawberry collection that has little to do with actual strawberries. In collaboration with Malin+Goetz.

We Tried It
Malin+Goetz Strawberry Candle on a Mantle

The idea of a strawberry scent calls to mind syrupy Y2K lip gloss, Suave shampoo, or an aggressive plume of body mist wafting from Bath & Body Works. That saccharine-sweet summertime scent is a one-way ticket to an olfactory memory of adolescence in the late 2000s, the smell I associate with speed-dialing my mom on a Motorola Razr to ask if she can pick me up from the mall. When smelling like, as Janis Ian so deftly described as, “a baby prostitute” went out of vogue, the result was a tsunami of Santal 33. Earthy, woody, leathery, warm, spicey—perfume trends of the last ten years made clear that sweetness was off the menu.

As Gen Z grew up in the wake of musky, tobacco-y, unisex scents like Le Labo, there’s been a renewed interest in Y2K trends, sweeter scents among them. Vanilla seemed to be back in the mix, along with floral, sweet, and more classically feminine smells. Since we were all too triggered by the idea of smelling like a Victoria's Secret store again, the return of sweet smells has matured alongside our own sensibilities. Current scents are grounded, naturalistic, and increasingly unisex as we dip our toes into the previously verboten territory of—dare I say—a berry-scented candle.

With Malin+Goetz’s newest release of their strawberry collection—consisting of an eau de parfum, a perfume oil, and a candle—M+G promises this isn’t “your garden-variety strawberry.” With their marketing hook that it’s “designed to be everything it’s not,” M+G is nipping our reflexive aversion to sweetness in the proverbial bud. With the copywriting displaying “strawberry.” in lowercase with their signature period, this isn’t your happy-go-lucky Lip Smacker scent. This scent ends with a period. Is it mad at me? No, but this strawberry means business.

With bright top notes of mara strawberry, bergamot, and pink pepper paired with floral middle tones, the first whiff of the perfume is soft and flowery before fading into an unexpectedly androgynous musk. As it wears on the skin, base notes of cedarwood, oakmoss, captive musks, and orris root mute the flower notes with an earthy, fresh, summery garden smell. The scent is sophisticated and unpretentious, with just a cozy yet cheeky hint of freshness. For a comprehensive review of the products, I asked Coveteur’s Creative Director, Talun Zeitoun, for his opinion on the new Malin+Goetz strawberry collection, scentscaping your home, and challenging your preconceived notions of the typical strawberry.

Malin+Goetz Strawberry Fragrance

How does fragrance play a role in your personal style? What scents are you typically drawn to? How do you use different fragrances to transform an ensemble?

“It really depends on the mood I’m trying to evoke, regardless of whether I’m entertaining in my home or going out at night. For me, fragrance is paramount to complete how style should appease at least four of the senses: smell (that’s a given), sight (also a given), touch (the way fabrics feel on your skin and how you want people to react when they hug you), and hearing (how your jewelry clinks or your shoes sound against the ground—this has everything to do with the energy you’re giving off). And, if you get exceptionally close, the fifth sense may be on the menu. The right fragrance is like the right wine pairing with the whole meal; it has to complement the other elements of your style or the scene you’re trying to create. When it comes to what I’m wearing, I tend to naturally gravitate toward modern and predominantly all-black looks, so I’m typically drawn to worldly oud and musk scents, which are traditionally richer and more provocative than other scents, and easily lend themselves to my signature dark apparel.”

In terms of self-expression and interior design, how do you curate a scentscape to suit the ambiance?

“I’d base it on the room in my home. Let’s take my bedroom, for instance. It’s strictly for rest… among other things… so there are no screens or any form of blue light, blackout shades block out any artificial outdoor light at night, and any scents within need to promote this idea of familiarity and relaxation, while still evoking a sense of sultriness. The strawberry candle does just that: it has an inviting aroma that transforms my bedroom into a comforting oasis and eases my mind after a long day.”

In a “Prout’s madeline” sense, what does the smell of strawberry evoke for you? Any particular memories?

“My grandmother has a little island home off the west coast of France. When I was young, I’d go every summer for about six weeks and she used to make these big lunches every day for my family. She was always cooking and it seemed so effortless for her to do so. She wore an apron, drank a bottle of beer, and rolled dough for tarts while whistling French oldies and preparing the seafood we caught that day off the rocks. She’d always make some kind of dessert—the easiest (although, to me, everything her hands touched seemed so easy to do) was a tarte aux ‘insert-some-fruit-here,’ like a tarte aux pommes (apple tart) or a tarte aux prunes (plum tart). It’s not so much the actual fruit tarts themselves that Strawberry reminds me of, but it’s this sense of daytime ease, in-the-flow creativity, and burgeoning love.”

As a man, what is your relationship to floral or fruity smells? Would you consider this scent genderless?

“I love the smell of florals and fruits, but I’m turned off by the essence of florals and fruits, if that makes sense. Basically, I need to see where the floral or fruity smell is coming from—like an actual food or flower—in order to appreciate it; on its own without the source, I’m incredibly particular. The only place a very small percentage of these scents would work in my life would be my kitchen, if that. But Malin+Goetz’s Strawberry isn’t floral or fruity at all despite its name; it’s totally unisex.”

What season, occasion, or ambiance best suits this candle?

“Light it whenever you need some daylight and growth. We’ve been getting a lot of gloomy days in LA recently, which is incredibly rare for us, so it’s a wonderful scent to let the sunlight in when there is none around; naturally, it would work wonders during gloomy winters, summer rainstorms, and whenever you need a bout of creative energy—rain or shine.”

Strawberry is usually associated with sweet, feminine, or youthful products—how does this candle play with/subvert these expectations?

“You know that beautiful episode in The Last of Us—episode three, I believe—when Frank surprised Bill with a garden of strawberries? Funnily enough, the emotions captured in that scene mirror how I react to this strawberry scent. It’s not so much that it’s sweet—you think it will be given the name, but it’s not at all—it’s pleasantly surprising, indulgent, and intimate, just like that scene between two older men during the day. It’s completely unexpected, but once you surrender, it’s seamless, natural, and very complimentary.”

If this scent was an actor/actress, who would play them?

“Brad Pitt in his Fight Club era.

If you could describe the scent in three words, what would they be?

“Intriguing, provocative, uplifting.”

Would you light this candle for:

  • a bath
  • reading a Victorian novel
  • Max and chill
  • all of the above

“Definitely all of the above.”

Shop The Collection:

Use code coveteur15 for 15% off + a special gift

Strawberry Candle

Malin + Goetz Strawberry Candle
Malin + Goetz
Part of the series:

We Tried It

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