Different seasons have their own signature scents. In spring, it’s cut grass and blossom, summer sea breeze and zesty fruits, and winter is all about the Christmassy aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg and other rich food and drink.
Likewise, autumn has its own unique and heady mix. The earthy, woody smell of damp leaves as they fall from the trees and form drifts on the ground, the sweet, tart contrast of apples, the unmistakable scent of bonfire and firework smoke in the air as we approach November 5th.
The change of season of course brings with it plenty of other changes. As temperatures drop, we start to wrap up warm against the elements again. And as we change our wardrobes, many of us look for suitable accessories to suit the seasonal attire. New headwear, overcoats, gloves, handbags. And yes, perhaps a change of fragrance, too.
Part of the joy and magic of fragrances is the way they act on our subconscious minds to create a rich tapestry of associations. At a very deep level, we associate certain smells with times, places, half-hidden memories, feelings. We use fragrances to recreate and immerse ourselves in those impressions, especially the happier ones.
We also look to match aromas to times,places and occasions, which is why it’s so common for people to seek out new fragrances with the changing seasons.
If you’re mulling over investing in a new fragrance for autumn, here are five perfect examples to try as a starting point.
Tom Ford Oud Wood
Whether there’s an intentional play on the phrase ‘old wood’ in the name of this premium eau de parfum or not, the olfactory punch it packs can definitely be described as like walking through some ancient fantasy forest at autumn time.
This is largely down to the oud in the perfume’s name – an intoxicatingly rich and complex timber extract that is certainly woody, but also earthy, spicy and sweet. To some, there’s a hint of decay in the aroma of oud that can be off-putting, especially in too high concentrations. But as with all Tom Ford formulations, there is a sophisticated balance about this fragrance, with amber, rose wood, sandalwood, vetiver and tonka bean adding a warm, nutty, herbaceous richness which really does invoke the multitude of aromas you can expect walking through the woods on a damp autumn day.
Despite its origins in Australia, fragrance and body care specialists Aesop have a particular penchant for creating products that are great fits for the specific environmental conditions of autumn in the British Isles. This one even borrows from one of the ancient native languages of these islands, Welsh, with hwyl imperfectly translating into English as a powerfully stirring, uplifting emotion.
You might say that, as a fragrance, Hwyl captures the particularly uplifting emotions you get walking through the woods on a bright autumnal day. Again, it offers that heady combination of woodiness and spice – the earthy richness of oakmoss underpinning the pine-like scent of cypress and grassy vetiver, with thyme and other spices popping over the top.
Maison Margiela Replica By The Fireplace
The Maison Margiela Replica range sets out to literally bottle captivating scents from particular locations and moments so they can be enjoyed over and over again. As the name of this product suggests, the aim with this one is to replicate the experience of being sat by a roaring (and especially fragrant) fire.
So as you would expect, there are lots of highly aromatic woody notes, including balsam, guaiac wood and resinous, leathery cashmeran. This is tempered by the sweet aromas of chesnut and vanilla, with spicy complexity added by clove, pink peppercorn and citrussy orange blossom.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540
This hugely popular luxury perfume is well regarded as one of the finest unisex fragrances about, with a fine balance of floral femininity and musky masculinity that has widespread appeal.
But there is also a rich, spicy, resinous and woody quality to this fragrance that makes it a perfect choice to break out once the nights start drawing in again. Underneath top notes of jasmine and saffron, amberwood, fir resin and cedar again evoke lush autumnal woodlands on the turn, while ambergris, a little like oud, gives that touch of sweet, almost fungal decay that reminds you of drifts of fallen leaves.
Xerjoff Tony Iommi Monkey Special
Finally, if there is a music that captures the brooding majesty of the darkening nights and the blaze of colour that heralds the descent towards winter, it’s heavy metal. And no band captures the power of the genre like the seminal Black Sabbath, whose guitarist Tony Iommi collaborates on the creation of this awe-inspiring fragrance.
For fans of the band, expect the same kind of wizardry you get from the inimitable Iommi’s guitar – deep, heavily aromatic riffs of leather, sandalwood, ambergris and musk, offset by sweetly melodic notes of fruit and flowers.
Wondering which of these or any number of other options would make the perfect autumn fragrance for you? Don’t leave it to guess work. Why not order low-cost miniature fragrance samples online and try them all?