Favorite Fall Perfumes 2010 : Seasonal Scents


Each year I fall in love with autumn anew. The near-miracle of an overnight transformation of leaves into a variegated tapestry of gold and sienna, the mellow scent of bitter chrysanthemums, the melancholy music of rain playing in the fallen foliage… All of these changes in the weather prompt me to change my fragrance wardrobe as well in order to match the new scents in the air. Although some of my favorites continue to dominate my selections—Annick Goutal Neroli, the ethereal orange blossom, is my favorite morning fragrance year round; Frederic Malle Carnal Flower is one of my constant passions — some fragrance make their reappearance this time of the year. Below is my list of current favorites, in no particular order.


The earthy darkness of roses in Rose de Nuit is not for everyone. In fact, it is less rose dominated than one might expect based on the name. Wood, moss and animalic notes create the main impression, while roses play a supporting, although important role. Somewhat challenging, but alluring fragrance.

The rediscovery of Diptyque through their newest additions has been the main surprise for me this fall. In contrast to the somewhat one-dimensional and roughhewn compositions dominating the line, Eau Duelle is an elegant oriental. Very comforting and soothing on those cold fall mornings when the last thing one wants to do is get out of bed.

This Belle Epoque reminiscent composition works best for me in the colder months when its warm facets no longer strike me as overly sweet and rich. Furthermore, the contrast between the luxurious woods of the base and the chilly iris in the heart is simply magical.

The peppery roses of Caron Parfum Sacré have done a great deal to influence a whole trend of spicy orientals. Even though the fragrance may seem a bit dated given its large dose of eugenol (clove like aroma material present naturally in clove, allspice, pepper and other spices), I find it enchanting. Above all, like Frédéric Malle Noir Epices, it avoids the heavy sweetness that tends to accompany this genre of fragrances.

Le Labo Poivre 23

Pepper and frankincense are a perfect match, because these two notes share a number of common element (in perfumery school we grouped them in the same category.) I love Poivre 23 for its ability to showcase this marriage—luminous, spicy, woody, delicately smoky. A simple, uncluttered composition.

Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire Cologne Noire

I fell in love with Cologne Noire almost immediately upon smelling it at the store and did something I hardly ever do these days—I bought a bottle on the spot! It orchestrates sandalwood, cardamom and incense into an airy construction, much like the carvers of the Taj Mahal manages to make stone appear as delicate as the finest lace. Really quite extraordinary!

L’Artisan Mechant Loup

Maple syrup sweetness contrasted with smoky woods give Mechant Loup a pleasing richness. There is something about it that makes me crave this fragrance whenever I smell the damp, musty scent of fallen leaves. Dark, yet wistful.

Chanel Coromandel

Sandalwood and patchouli comprise the main elements of Coromandel, a fragrance that I see as an oriental accord of Chanel Coco. A nod to the grand perfumes of the past, but rendered in a thoroughly modern manner. Like Coco, Coromander is a season fragrance for me which I wear in the colder months.

Estee Lauder Private Collection

Out of all Lauder fragrances, Private Collection stands out for its incredible elegance paired with dramatic impact. After all, it is hard to find another fragrance where galbanum is used with such a free hand (reformulated Balmain Vent Vert and Chanel No 19 no longer have the same effect for me). Its marvelous bitter green note lends the composition depth and complexity. An American classic!

To see other Top Ten of Fall lists, please visit: Grain de Musc :: Now Smell This :: Perfume Posse :: Perfume Smellin’ Things.

Painting : “October” by Yuri Skachkov.



  • sweetlife: V, I have been totally uninterested in exploring new perfumes of late, but you have refreshed my interest with your references to Diptyque and Arpels! A lovely post. I always look forward to your seasonal lists. October 29, 2010 at 10:18am Reply

  • flittersniffer: Since my Eau Duelle epiphany the other day, I have managed to acquire a 5ml decant of it from a Wiki splitter, and declare myself totally smitten. I do believe I could wear this all day and evening for quite some time before I would get tired of it. It reminds me a bit of one of those light versions of Shalimar (the original one, perhaps?), and a bit of Prada L’Eau Ambree and a bit of Guerlain 180 Ans de Creations, which I wish they had released commercially.

    I own Private Collection and it is one that I keep forgetting to wear – so perhaps a galbanum fix is overdue! October 29, 2010 at 8:21am Reply

  • Celine: I love this list! So many fragrance for me to try. October 29, 2010 at 12:29pm Reply

  • Eric: I will share my list of fall favorites too:
    Lutens Un Bois Sepia
    Chanel Allure Homme
    Tom Ford Oud Wood
    L’Artisan L’Eau Navegateur (love the coffee note in it)
    Lalique Encre Noire (well, it is a cheat, it is my staple!) October 29, 2010 at 12:49pm Reply

  • Linda: Thank you so so much for this post: I love the painting and can almost sniff the autumnal air by looking at the brush strokes… Also: Estee Lauder Private Collection is a favourite – it is really elegant and retro in the best possible way. Now to sample Duelle..
    Best wishes to you! October 29, 2010 at 1:14pm Reply

  • Uella: I love Rose de Nuit but I find it more sexual on a hot summer night or warm and comforting in winter. My Fall favorites this year are Chypre Rouge, Douce Amere, Bas de Soie and L’Heure Mysterieuse. October 29, 2010 at 3:14pm Reply

  • March: What a great list! I’m almost to the bottom of my decant of Poivre (the only Le Labo I truly fell for) and am unsure if I can even get more. October 29, 2010 at 11:34am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Flittersniffer, I definitely see the resemblance between Shalimar and Eau Duelle. It has quite a classical oriental structure, and it is done very well on the whole. October 29, 2010 at 2:00pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: A, I no longer chase after every single new perfume release, only in so far as I need to in order to maintain the blog and be up to date. Cologne Noire is worth sampling. An excellent transparent woody blend.
    For some reason, I associate it very strongly with Paris, which is a good thing in my book. 🙂 October 29, 2010 at 2:02pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, it is probably my favorite too, and I am being very careful with my decant, knowing that I probably will not be able to find it again. October 29, 2010 at 2:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Celine, I am glad! 🙂 October 29, 2010 at 2:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Eric, great list! I was going to put Encre Noire on my list, but then again, I would worry that it might end up on every single one of my seasonal lists. It is a staple for me as well. 🙂 October 29, 2010 at 2:04pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Linda, I also really liked this painting, which is a modern one (1995) by a Russian artist. It captured the mood of fall for me. October 29, 2010 at 2:04pm Reply

  • SarahK: I love that your list includes a range of different fragrances, not just the latest launches. Seeing Private Collection on it is great. It used to be one of my favorites. October 29, 2010 at 6:31pm Reply

  • SarahK: Uella or Victoria, can you please describe L’Heure Mysterieuse ? I have never heard of it. October 29, 2010 at 6:32pm Reply

  • inkedtitan: I wish Poivre23 was global, maybe not, at $390.00 for 100ml October 29, 2010 at 8:39pm Reply

  • Carla: My sister gave all her bridesmaids a Lauder perfume as a gift when she married this April, and she gave me Private Collection. I enjoyed wearing it this spring and summer. Now I will have to try it with the fall weather. The chypre drydown has a lot of depth compared to the green top notes. It really is a marvel! October 30, 2010 at 6:38am Reply

  • Sveta: Yay, a list! I love this feature on your blog. Poivre 23 sounds great, but wow, expensive. I will not even try to look for a sample. LOL! October 30, 2010 at 10:21am Reply

  • Mark: You’ve made me very curious about Cologne Noire with that description. So far I’ve managed to avoid the temptation. :-)) October 30, 2010 at 12:04pm Reply

  • constance: Your list is very thoughtful and varied. It is fun to see Private Collection next to Eau Duelle. The latter has been my own discovery this month, and I am happily planning to wear it into the winter. October 30, 2010 at 12:13pm Reply

  • constance: Victoria, “A perfume for every mood” sounds very nice. The idea of wearing a single fragrance is very foreign to me. Yet, sometimes having a signature fragrance seems so appealing to me. I would like my children to associate something specific with me, but I doubt I will ever be loyal enough to a single fragrance. October 30, 2010 at 3:33pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Uella, great fall choices! I used to wear Rose de Nuit more in the summer as well, but not this summer for one reason or another. In general, because of perfumery school training and some other perfumery projects, it is hard to wear as much perfume as I would like. I need to give my nose a break time to time. October 30, 2010 at 12:52pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Sarah, it is great to see so many Private Collection fans here!!! October 30, 2010 at 12:53pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Here is a great review from NST:
    http://www.nstperfume.com/2009/12/16/cartier-les-heures-de-parfum-fragrance-reviews/ October 30, 2010 at 12:53pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Inkedtitan, yeah, no kidding! The price point on that perfume is crazy. October 30, 2010 at 12:54pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Carla, your sister has a great taste! I love the idea of a giving a perfume gift. Originally, I was thinking of creating something myself, but frankly, I had no time at all. We had a lot of different things happening at the same time. Plus, having a wedding in another part of the world is hectic enough!
    Why did your sister chose Estee Lauder specifically? It is a good choice, at any rate–a wide range and very good quality perfumes. October 30, 2010 at 12:58pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Sveta, these lists are fun. Did you read others too? Everyone’s lists are so fantastic. October 30, 2010 at 12:59pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mark, just succumb to the temptation and stop torturing yourself! 🙂 October 30, 2010 at 12:59pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Constance, I like to have a perfume for every mood, I guess. Eau Duelle is one of my favorite Diptyque fragrances, and I am also planning to wear it a lot this season. October 30, 2010 at 1:01pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Constance, I cannot fathom the idea of having and wearing a single perfume! It is like wearing the same outfit over and over again, rain or shine. October 31, 2010 at 8:11am Reply

  • Carla: Hi Victoria, Diana and I went shopping together for her wedding scent, just to the main department stores, no niche. After hesitating between Boucheron and Bulgari pour Femme, she chose the classic wedding perfume, Lauder’s Beautiful. So she decided to give us all a Lauder perfume. The reasonable prices helped make this wonderful bridesmaid gift possible. November 1, 2010 at 3:18am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Carla, Lauder Beautiful is definitely a classic. A gorgeous fragrance! I cannot smell it without thinking its amazing ads campaigns, especially the ones with Paulina Porizkova. November 1, 2010 at 10:06am Reply

  • Mimi Walker: I love fall best of all the seasons and I love to wear Bal a Versailles, Michelle, Knowing and Deneuve. I really love reading your lists and the readers’ comments; I always get inspired to wear something or try something new. November 2, 2010 at 1:48pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mimi, I am glad to hear it. I also get so inspired by other bloggers’ lists. Thanks to March, I am now wearing Santal de Mysore. 🙂
    Your list speaks of utter elegance. You, in turn, have inspired me to find my Deneuve bottle. November 2, 2010 at 2:15pm Reply

  • Carla: The ad campaigns for Beautiful also sit strongly in my mind, but the funny thing is that Diana hardly knew what ads I was talking about! The SA at the Lauder counter was excellent. I think that’s what swayed the wedding scent decision. November 3, 2010 at 7:22am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: You know, I am convinced more and more that the poor fragrance sales in the US have to do a lot with badly trained staff. Lauder trains its own SAs, and it usually shows. They know the line and can make shopping experience very pleasant. November 3, 2010 at 9:30am Reply

  • Lidia: Dear Victoria,
    do you know if Caron Parfum Sacre has been reformulated and if it has, does it stand up to the old one? Thank you so much November 9, 2010 at 2:30pm Reply

  • Victoria: Lidia, I have not smelled the latest version, but I have a bottle from a couple of years ago. It has definitely been reformulated, and the clove note is not as strong as before when I compare it to a much older bottle. However, it is such a spicy, gutsy fragrance that its character is pretty much intact. I will try to smell the fragrances at Bergdorf one of these days and will report back. I did smell Narcisse Noir the other day, and it was a shadow of its former self. Granted, I smelled the EDT, which was never that great, as compared to parfum extrait. November 9, 2010 at 5:18pm Reply

  • Lidia: Victoria, thank you so much for your answer and looking forward to your update. I love your reviews! Have a great day! November 10, 2010 at 1:28am Reply

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