The shift in seasons brings with it a rush of new and evocative scents. For fall, think warm apples, pumpkin treats, burnt wood and hearty herbs. Just like we transition our homes and wardrobes, don’t forget to make room for fragrances that complement the incoming change in climate. It’s time to ditch the fruity-florals and sheer citrus notes and settle into something heavier, fuller and richer.
As a guide, seek out scents that are spicy and woody to mimic the outdoors or wrap yourself in something sumptuous like leather. Try letting the season’s color palette be your guide or simply allow autumn’s warm and comforting flavors to be a source of inspiration. Here are five of our favorite fragrance notes that speak to the fall season.
As a piece of jewelry, amber’s natural golden glow evokes a sense of warmth. As a perfume, its earthy and spicy notes provide a sense of comfort. During the cooler months, one sniff of an amber fragrance can stir up visions of a crackling fireplace or fall foliage crunching beneath your feet. On its own, amber gives off a sweet and woody aroma but its powerful scent can easily be layered for a lighter finish. Typically, you’ll see amber paired alongside similarly warming fragrances such as patchouli, moss or sandalwood.
Even if you don’t like the taste, most of us find the smell of freshly brewed coffee irresistible. Its compounds touch on many different (and attractive) aromas including sweet, spicy, fruity, floral and smoky. This fall, as you reach for your PSL, consider warming up with a coffee-scented fragrance. On the skin, coffee notes include dark wood, a pleasant bitterness and an equally addictive and invigorating richness—just like taking that first sip. Depending on your preference, coffee can take center stage as a sultry, nutty scent or act as a subtle, sugary undertone in the background.
In the midst of autumnal flavors like maple, honey and cinnamon popping up in baked goods, vanilla smells every bit as delicious as it tastes. Vanilla is considered a “gourmand fragrance,” which means its base aroma is characterized by edible notes. The reason we’re attracted to gourmand fragrances is because we can relate to them in some way, whether it’s a memory of fresh-baked cookies coming out of the oven or sitting in the living room sipping hot chocolate. But vanilla’s cloying sweetness can sometimes give it a bad wrap when it comes to fragrance. When considering a vanilla perfume, don’t go the single-note route (that’s when the smell tends to lean towards synthetic). Something toasty can give vanilla qualities of caramel or praline, while mixing it with cedar or incense adds a creamy yet masculine feel.
Men: MAISON MARGIELA ’REPLICA’ By The Fireplace
Women: Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensée Cologne Absolue Pure Perfume
Whether it be car interiors, a designer handbag or your go-to motorcycle jacket, leather can instantly stir up specific memories or moods. It’s a classic in its own right, commonly known for its masculine edge and undeniable sophistication. While your autumn wardrobe tends to take a turn for the darker, your choice of fragrance should follow suit. Despite its association with fellow sensual scents such as tobacco smoke and spice, leather fragrances have seen a resurgence due to their non-gender specific aromas. Today, they’re oftentimes cut with soft floral notes for feminine appeal, or created with just a touch of leather or musk for intensity.
Unisex: Tom Ford Ombré Leather
While orange blossoms in essence sound summery, they’re known for blooming in the spring and bearing fruit in autumn and winter. Despite their obvious sweetness, orange blossoms tend to give off a mossy, tangy darkness and are said to be a cross between a grapefruit, orange peel, sugar cane and floral aromas. For anyone who prefers a fruit-forward scent, this makes switching to a fall fragrance that much easier. Orange blossoms are both refreshing and cozy, making them the ultimate antidote to cooling temperatures and crisp breezes.
Men: Maison Francis Kurkdjian APOM homme Eau de Toilette
Women: Elie Saab Le Parfum Eau De Parfum