Julia McEwen, Fashion & Beauty Director, Canadian Living


As we gear up for the 2016 Canadian Fragrance Awards, get to know our panel of expert judges.

Meet Julia McEwen, Fashion & Beauty Director, Canadian Living
Twitter @JuliaPJMcEwen
Instagram @juliapjmcewen

What’s your all-time favourite fragrance? I can’t get enough of Tom Ford’s spicy oriental unisex Tobacco Vanille. I discovered it—along with the 11 other perfumes that launched within the Private Blend collection—the summer of 2007. The press event was housed in one of the suites at The Hazelton Hotel in Yorkville, and after smelling all those fragrances I kept going back to this heady juice, infused with creamy tonka bean, vanilla, cocoa and sweet wood sap. Eight years later and I still wear it. When my nose gets lazy—because I’m wearing it too much—I take a break and have my partner wear the scent, and I fall back in love with it, and him, all over again. 

What’s your best new find? When I’m not wearing Tom Ford, it’s a three-way tie between Maison Martin Margiela Replica Jazz Club, Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt and Dolce & Gabbana’s Dolce. Jazz Club isn’t that new—it’s from 2013—but the masculine scent is the perfect blend of balmy and cool. The key notes are tonka bean, vetiver, tobacco leaf and a shot of rum. The scent is sort of like a seedier version of Tobacco Vanille—totally my jam. Jo Malone’s Wood Sage & Sea Salt came out last year and it’s the perfect layering scent—however, I do wear it solo in the warmer months. The scent has a simple note structure: ambrette seeds, heart notes of sea salt and base of sage. It really does smell like fresh sea air, so if I need a little Zen in my life it’s the perfect juice to spritz. Finally, Dolce was a surprise to me. I usually gravitate toward masculine scents, but this gentle, feminine mix of fresh neroli leaves and white flowers works beautifully with my skin’s chemistry. 

How many bottles are in your fragrance collection? I have seven bottles in the bathroom, all Jo Malone. I have around 15 in my bedroom on a silver tray, mostly a mix-match of masculine, unisex and a few feminine scents—my boyfriend and I share these juices. All the prettiness lives in my spare room. I think I’m up to 25 bottles I’ve hoarded purely for appearance and not for substance. 

What’s your signature spritz style? I wash my hair every seven to 10 days, so spritzing fragrance in my hair isn’t an option, it’s a necessity. I also layer fragrance, starting with the heavier, usually more masculine scents on my wrist and neck, and then the lighter ones on top. I start a new fragrance when I travel to a new country or city. When I wear it again when I’m back in Toronto, it immediately transports me to the memories tied to that location.