Picking out a fresh, new scent is the best way to usher in another season, because sometimes a little pick me up is all you really need. Whether it’s the first ever Miu Miu scent, another addition to Jimmy Choo’s ever-popular perfume collective, or the debut blockbuster from Alaia, autumn’s launches range from sprightly florals to brooding, oriental scents that linger on deeply.
The concept of having a signature scent is dated because having fun with a multitude of scents, to suit your every whim and mood, is so much more fun. Why stick with just one when so many can entice you? And, while you might be tempted to say ‘not just yet,’ you ought to know that fragrances do expire far more quickly than you’d think. Franco Wright, the co-founder of the Scent Bar in West Hollywood, says, “After a couple of years, regular exposure to light, air, and extreme temperatures can begin to degrade and alter a fragrance. No scent lasts forever.” Franco adds on a tip that will help you extend the life of your personal favorite: store the bottle in a drawer or cabinet, with minimal exposure to light and temperature fluctuation.
Whether you need an excuse to splurge a bit, are planning your holiday vacation, or are just trying to beat the Santa Ana winds, there’s a certain appeal to trying on a rich, spicy, full-bodied fragrance this fall. Here are 7 avant-garde scents that are reflective of fall’s casual elegance, are easy to travel with, and will lift your mood long before the blustery El Nino rains blow into town.
The designer immortalized by Clueless, Azzedine Alaïa, just launched his debut scent—after 30 years of being in the fashion business. This scent has fresh, aquatic notes of pink pepper, freesia, and peony, and feels airy on the skin. The scent is beautifully blended and wears so lightly, it’s a good scent for a day of shopping or an outing in the countryside.
Interestingly inspired by the spice trade between Japan and the West in 1618, Nanban by Arquiste is unlike anything you’ve encountered before. It’s a robust, rich combination of spices (like black tea and saffron) and pungent leathery notes, warmed by sandalwood and smoky myrrh. Over time, subtle coffee notes take over. Considering the woody bent, it’s oddly sexy on a woman—and it’s anti-floral, which I like.
Lauder scents tend to smell a bit mature. But one delicate waft of Estee Lauder Modern Muse Le Rouge won me over with its spicy rose-magnolia blend—with a hint of musk and vanilla. The opening has an irresistible pink pepper and black currant combo that leads to a beautiful, tough, and slightly dangerous finish. Definitely a head turner.
Jimmy Choo Illicit is doubtlessly feminine from the opening notes to its final flourish. Think of pretty, sweet cupcakes, and you’ve envisioned this creation. It’s got caramelized, honeyed notes with a twist of orange. I promise it won’t be overpowering, but rather it’ll meld into skin nicely, like a great scented body lotion—but better. One sniff will have your man craving more.
Decadence by Marc Jacobs. The bottle! Enough said? I think so. It’s so chic I almost don’t care what the scent actually smells like. But you do, so know that you’re getting a smooth, woodsy scent, tinged with vanilla, that will appeal to the masses. I find the medley of Italian plum and amber to be a bit more sensual than expected. But, the scent does dry down to a green finish from the vetiver. It’s not for the heavy handed, as it can become a bit too in-your-face.
Whereas most designer scents veer towards the safe and sweet blends, Miu Miu relies on the discernible, bright notes of lily of the valley. It is a subtly succulent mix of white florals, rose, and jasmine, but I could hardly detect the latter. If you can conjure an image of fields of French flowers blooming with green notes on a dry, woody base of Akigalawood (an extract of patchouli), you’ve pinned this strangely alluring perfume.
Launching next week as an exclusive to Barneys New York is a classic oriental scent, Vilhelm Parfumerie Fleur Burlesque, that’s well worth hunting down. Though the gardenia and jasmine are listed as the top notes, the first whiff from the bottle cuts straight into the sandalwood and amber notes, without a trace of sweetness. Franco says, “We’re noticing that people are increasingly open to deeper, spicier, creamier, more resinous florals, which we imagine is due to the continuing popularity of Middle Eastern-inspired scents.” This fits the bill. The scent isn’t for the polite, precise, prim Kate Spade girl: it’s fit for the Gucci-loving fashionista who likes her scents (and bags) brazen and bold.