Portland Perfumes for Any LGBTQ+ Pride Celebration

Let these locally produced perfumers guide you to your true signature scent.

In Love With Everything. (Courtesy of Imaginary Authors)

Perfume might have some loose gendered rules, but perfumers and consumers can flip expectations, using scent to make standout first impressions and turning otherwise mundane moments memorable. Some women pull in guys while wearing department store cologne, while some guys use rose and cupcake accords to subversively enhance their masculinity, like pearl necklaces. And if you’re part of the queer community, you probably already know to switch it up.

Naturally, Portland perfumers have a wild array of concoctions designed to make you stand out and smell your best on any occasion; except, perhaps, for natural musk appreciation parties, you’ve got us beat there—and yes, that’s a thing. LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations are as varied as members of the community, and no two people have the same scent strategy. Whether your plans skew mild or wild, our suggestions should help you set the mood for any sort of festivities you get into this summer.

Tumbleweed | Delas Botanicals Musks, sweet tobacco Tumbleweed recalls a cowpoke’s first rodeo. They’ve kicked up barnyard dust before, they’re spicy as a chili pepper, but their boots aren’t broken in yet, and they’re not as mucked up as the other ranchers. Maybe they’re listening to Orville Peck, Maren Morris or Lil Nas X before hitting up a Stomptown country dance night. There’s something a little different about them, and sister-owned Delas Botanicals (starting at $12, delasbotanicals.com) captures their essence with personal sprays and oil roller ball sticks. There’s no listed pepper notes, but Tumbleweed packs a little heat that dries into something off of Little House on the Prairie. Delas’ roll-on vials contain a perfume-suspended plant remnant, customizing each dose on a molecular level.

Prince | Roman Ruby Botanicals Red ginger, saffron and Egyptian amber Indeed inspired by the late and great Purple One, Roman Ruby Botanicals’ luxury oil-based Prince perfume ($25, romanruby.storenvy.com) is a warm, sensual unisex experience that would glow under summer heat. You might wear it to a polyamorous pagan wedding, or anywhere you want to be a hot thing making sweet and spicy connections. That said, Prince is a compliment magnet, no matter what room you enter.

The Couple Found Dead in the Fragrance Hotel | Julia Barbee Studios Spikenard, leather, patchouli, sandalwood Julia Barbee’s perfumery began as an art practice. Barbee created The Couple Found Dead in the Fragrance Hotel (starting at $4, etsy.com/shop/juliabarbeestudio) for the Ace Hotel’s Content installation art series. It releases a viscerally sticky feeling, despite its smooth application. It’s more like remembering an old jam jar at a chain smoking aunt’s house from a childhood visit: not immediately pleasant, but not repulsive enough to stop sniffing either. Spikenard is an ancient, complex aroma used in sacred rituals across cultures and religions. Its appearance here, among animalistic and earthy-sweet smells, comes off as taboo and thrillingly profane.

Trash Queen | Black Rabbit Perfumery Haitian vetiver, oud, rose, patchouli, amber Trash Queen (starting at $24, etsy.com/shop/blackrabbitperfumery) is one big, heady girl made mostly of traditional base notes, which yield a perfume’s final and longest-lasting stage, so a little of her goes a long way. Black Rabbit perfumer Elljay Walker was inspired by over-the-top femme queens from Dolly Parton to Courtney Love while making Trash Queen. Its perfume pyramid reads like a dumpster of prom corsages, with roses crushed by heavier debris. If you’re a budget queen who still wants to wear premium ingredients—Haitian vetiver is unique and popular in the perfume world—then a dab of Trash Queen will do you.

Courante | Siela Fragrances Orris, myrrh, black tea, candle smoke, amber, white musk It was hard to make a decision for the twin houses of Olo and Siela, though it’s not clear if Olo will ever have anything as gay and Pride-appropriate again as their limited edition (and long sold out) perfume made with drag artist Pepper Pepper to smell like ass. Siela’s Courante (starting at $6, olofragrance.com) is the exact opposite. It’s clean, sexy, romantic, and utterly opulent thanks to the star of the show, the candle smoke accord. They bottled the moment when dinner candlesticks are blown out, and the air is thick with cursive smoke. It’s giving upper echelon Dynasty drama.

In Love With Everything | Imaginary Authors Raspberry, citrus pulp, coconut palm sugar, Madame Isaac Pereire, sandalwood, tropical punch, stardust The Miami memoir entry in Imaginary Authors’ literature-inspired perfume collection instantly transports the nose to South Florida’s best beach parties and tourist towns. In Love With Everything (starting at $6, imaginaryauthors.com) slowly cycles from a red berry, coconut and banana-forward blend into a warm wood-floral, never losing its exuberant sparkle along the way. In Love With Everything is part of IA’s “sunshine in a bottle” series that immediately parts the clouds with their tropical and coastal ingredients. It’s alive with vibrancy, youthful without smelling like a mall kiosk. In Love With Everything’s joie de vivre works the best with sunscreen and outdoor adventures.

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