Fall Top 10 Perfumes : Back-to-School Edition

Elisa’s round up of autumnal favorites.

If summer is a time for frivolity (tropical “beach scents” whether or not one is near a beach) and winter a time for comfort (rich meals and equally rich orientals), fall is, for me, a time for looking and smelling put together.

Perhaps it’s the diehard spirit of “back to school” – I no longer live by the semester system, but when the September issues come out, I start lusting for collegiate looks and their professional equivalent: sweater vests, schoolboy blazers, plaid trousers. I also reach for perfumes that I think of as “smart,” i.e., conducive to getting down to business. To me, that means ladylike woody florals, chypres, and the dry note of leather (a structured handbag/briefcase to top off the look).

perfume-books

Here are my ten favorite autumnal perfumes for smelling clever and in control.

Donna Karan Signature

Like a low-cut silk blouse, DK Signature sits right at the juncture of “office-appropriate” and “sexy.” This leathery, resinous floral reads as complex but still incredibly sleek, with something like the subtle metallic rasp of a snare drum.

Miller Harris Geranium Bourbon

This underrated gem is, to my mind, the perfect geranium fragrance: spicy and aromatic up top, and rich without being sweet. Somehow it achieves a dramatic darkness few “dark roses” manage to, without making patchouli the star of the show. It would be devastating on a man in a sharp suit.

Balmain Jolie Madame

I enjoy the contrast between the name (“pretty lady”) and the scent: a butch (by today’s standards) leather chypre full of bitter quinoline notes, not all that far off from Aramis. The “jolie” part comes from a nosegay of green violets.

Agent Provocateur

This “modern chypre” feels a lot like an old-fashioned chypre, opening dry and almost sharp. What makes Agent Provocateur special is the very long, lush drydown, full of earthy vetiver, patchouli, and musk.

Natori Eau de Parfum

The high-end lingerie brands have done a commendable job putting out sexy-but-classy perfumes. Natori is a hazy, plummy floral musk that feels like a Serge Lutens in training. (And it layers beautifully with Serge Lutens’s Chergui.)

Guerlain Rose Barbare  

Rose Barbare is softer and sweeter than Agent Provocateur, with the distinctive creaminess of certain chypres and a tangy, slightly sour fruit note that, bolstered by fizzy aldehydes, reminds me of Belgian lambic beers.

Cuir de Lancôme

Probably my #1, all-time favorite perfume, Cuir de Lancôme is just perfect: caramel-colored leather with buttery iris and saffron on a base of styrax. Nothing makes me feel more elegant.

Bottega Veneta

I was initially resistant to the idea of Bottega Veneta as a leather fragrance, as it lacks the usual smoky facet. But smoky or not, there’s no denying that it smells great: the most seductive, sophisticated sweet patchouli this side of Chanel Coromandel.

Amouage Journey Woman

Osmanthus, all by itself, manages to smell like everything that represents togetherness to me: delicate floral notes and suede. In Journey Woman, there’s a lovely balance between the leather, apricot, and lemony jasmine aspects of osmanthus (in contrast to, say, The Different Company’s version, which is more soapy), all rendered soft and feminine with saffron and honey.

Sonoma Scent Studio Champagne de Bois

Champagne de Bois is one of my favorite fall-into-winter scents. A take on the aldehydes-and-sandalwood structure of Bois des Isles, it has marvelous sillage and smells terrific on scarves and coat sleeves (where traces will linger all season).

What perfumes are you bringing into the rotation this fall? Please also see lists made by Grain de Musc :: Now Smell This :: The Non-Blonde.
Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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109 Comments

  • Jamie K.: Bottega Veneta really is beautiful, isn’t it?

    Have you tried the new Narciso Rodriguez EDP? Both that and BV will be fall staples for me this year. September 12, 2014 at 7:14am Reply

    • Elisa: Hi Jamie, I haven’t yet! But I’m going on a little sniffing expedition with a friend this weekend. That and the new BV Knot are at the top of my list to try! September 12, 2014 at 10:03am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Your list was surprising: on the picture I saw 2 Lutens and something else.

    I use Iris Silver Mist a lot.
    Femme is always there.
    And certainly Bois d’Enscens.
    Never without Mille.
    I don’t know the perfumes on your list, so there is plenty to discover again. September 12, 2014 at 7:22am Reply

    • Elisa: The photo is Victoria’s. 🙂 But the bottle on the right is definitely a Nicolai. I wonder which one? September 12, 2014 at 10:04am Reply

      • Victoria: They are my “back to school” perfumes–Serge Lutens Boxeuses, Nicolai Odalisque, and Diptyque Eau Moheli (not the original bottle, though). September 12, 2014 at 12:05pm Reply

        • Elisa: Perfect. I love Odalisque! September 12, 2014 at 12:09pm Reply

          • Elizabeth: Me too! And Sacrebleu! However, I have dug out an old bottle of Alchimie by Rochas and it is so comforting and warm and just right for autumn 🙂 September 13, 2014 at 6:24am Reply

            • Carla: Odalisque is one of my favorite perfumes of all time. But I like it best in spring and summer. I’ve put it away now that fall is here. Nicolai is so talented! October 20, 2014 at 1:00pm Reply

  • Marsha: I’m not really enough of a perfumista and do not have a large enough collection to have a “rotation.” I’m still doing the exercises to improve my sense of smell. But during fall, and early winter, I always bring out two of my favorites that remind me of the season: Ginestet Botrytis and Frapin 1270. September 12, 2014 at 7:43am Reply

    • Elisa: Hi Marsha, I don’t physically “rotate” my collection because sometimes I want a floral in winter or an amber in summer, but I do tend to gravitate toward different bottles depending on the season. If memory serves, both your fall choices have a boozy quality (which I love). September 12, 2014 at 10:06am Reply

  • Sandra: Fall is hands down my favorite season! The crispness of the air, leaves changing, apple picking, hot drinks with more spices! 1 large hot apple cider for me please with a apple cider donut- 🙂
    ( that’s my order at the union sq farmers market)
    For fall I love coco noir (has anyone tried the perfume version that was released recently? How does it compare to the EdP?)
    I also love Coromendal. No 19 poudre is like slipping on a nice warm cashmere wrap. I love the perfume version of coco mademoiselle- the stopper is great for a dab of scent behind the ears.
    Dune is another favorite of mine for the fall, as well is la fille de berlin September 12, 2014 at 8:25am Reply

    • Lauren B: I second Coromandel and La Fille de Berlin. I love that SL took something as traditionally springy as a rose soliflore and made into something so hauntingly comforting. And Coromandel is like sinking into puffy bed on a resined wood frame. September 12, 2014 at 10:06am Reply

      • Sandra: I am happy to find another fan of those two!
        I am not sure how it is in you- but coromandel lasts a long time on me, especially for a eDT September 12, 2014 at 11:26am Reply

        • Elisa: I actually need to sample Coromandel again — years ago, it didn’t work on my skin, there was a woody amber material that got amped and gave me a headache (Sadly!). But these things can change, and I love the idea of it. September 12, 2014 at 11:29am Reply

    • Elisa: Summer has always been my favorite, but as I get older I think summer and fall are pretty much tied. I love apple picking too!

      La Fille de Berlin sounds like a lovely choice for fall — I will have to wear that soon! September 12, 2014 at 10:08am Reply

      • Sandra: There is nothing like an apple right off the tree! September 12, 2014 at 11:28am Reply

        • Elisa: Yes, they’re never as crunchy when you buy them in the store. September 12, 2014 at 11:30am Reply

          • Lauren B: I’m always on the lookout for a perfume that reminds me of that apple crunchy/sweetness. Most apple-y perfumes lean towards the tart Granny Smith variety. September 12, 2014 at 2:09pm Reply

            • Elisa: I’d like that too! There’s a pretty apple note in Rose d’Ete — but I’m not sure I’d describe it as crunchy. September 12, 2014 at 2:18pm Reply

              • Sandra: There is also some apple notes in By Killians in the Garden of good and evil series September 13, 2014 at 10:15am Reply

      • zari: I complained a while ago that I wasn’t too satisfied with La Fille de Berlin, but it’s what I’ve worn numerous times this summer, and I looking forward to the fall. Today, I’m put on Narcisco Rodriguez EDP and Tocca Colette (My absolute favorite) this afternoon. My fall will include Lalique, NR EDP, Colette – cozy but elegant scents for the fall :). September 12, 2014 at 3:30pm Reply

        • Sandra: I love Colette too! Great perfume at a resonable price September 13, 2014 at 10:16am Reply

  • sarah: I look forward to bringing back Arpège – my signature scent from my early 20s – to my scent wardrobe. Also Marni will be great for fall – and last, but not least, my all-time favorite and absolute signature scent during the last 12 years, Christopher Sheldrake’s discontinued Space NK Woman. Also seriously considering buying my first gourmand ever – Rahat Loukoum. September 12, 2014 at 8:47am Reply

    • Elisa: Intrigued by Space NK, which I completely missed! What’s it like? September 12, 2014 at 10:10am Reply

      • Sarah: Good question! It’s actually the kind of almost waxy dry down I am absolutely crazy about, and after trying Arpège again after so many years without it, I think the two have something in common. The headnotes are -to me, anyway – very generic “classic perfume”, but it’s autumnal and warm without getting heavy or cloying, adult, but not stuffy. Love love love it. (And shouldn’t even talk it up – it will lead to cometition over the few remaining bottles on ebay….) September 13, 2014 at 1:57pm Reply

        • Elisa: I know how you feel! I will save them for you 🙂 September 13, 2014 at 2:33pm Reply

  • Patricia: Great list, Elisa! I look forward to trying a few of them that I’m unfamiliar with.

    For fall, I bring out (among others) my Lutens: Boxeuses, Daim Blond, La Fille de Berlin, and Un Bois Vanille. September 12, 2014 at 8:55am Reply

    • Elisa: Thanks Pat! Lutens scents are perfect in fall and winter. Santal Majuscule is on my to-buy list and I’m starting to crave it. September 12, 2014 at 10:12am Reply

  • Feline Hebert: Many Serge Lutens perfumes make me think of autumn. I just purchased a new bottle of Feminite du Bois. Glad to see Miller Harris Geranium Bourbon in your list! September 12, 2014 at 9:26am Reply

    • Elisa: Glad to see that you’re glad to see it!

      FdB is gorgeous. I have a very tiny bit of the parfum that I’m hording. September 12, 2014 at 10:13am Reply

  • solanace: This is a great list, and I´m happy to see my beloved Jolie Madame in it. We are heading towards spring, and I just discovered another beautiful Balmain, Vent Vert. September 12, 2014 at 9:32am Reply

    • Elisa: Thank you Solanace! Do you participate in the group SOTD polls over at NST? Today we’re supposed to wear something green, so that Vent Vert might come in handy! September 12, 2014 at 10:13am Reply

      • solanace: Sure! Wearing it today, and feeling oh so chic, even in sweat pants! September 12, 2014 at 1:39pm Reply

  • Lauren B: Every time BdJ make one of these lists, I end up adding ten more perfumes to my own “to-smell” list. It’s unrealistically long these days, y’all!

    Chergui screams autumn to me. It’s the honey and tobacco creating a spicy warmth I find very comforting. September 12, 2014 at 10:00am Reply

    • Elisa: I agree, Chergui is perfect in fall! It’s like being in a fancy cigar bar. September 12, 2014 at 10:14am Reply

  • Ilia: One perfume that always remnds me of school in Septemebr is, bizerrely, Artisan Parfumeur’s Dzing! – it kind of smells of cardboard and pencils and glue stick and books, but better than all those things.
    Other autumn perfumes would all be vanilla and edible, like Lutens Jeux de Peau and Nicolai Sacrebleu. September 12, 2014 at 10:05am Reply

    • Elisa: Ilia, MiN recently released a perfume called “Old School Bench” which smells like paper and desks and ink and will really take you back to junior high! It’s uncanny.

      I love Sacrebleu. September 12, 2014 at 10:15am Reply

      • Ilia: Thanks – I’ll have to check that out, I like the sound of Old School Bench!
        I forgot to Mention Ambre Russe and the classic autumnal Mitsouko. But that’s a given, isn’t it? September 12, 2014 at 12:20pm Reply

        • Elisa: It practically is! And Ambre Russe is beautiful, though I usually save my big heavy-hitting ambers for winter. September 12, 2014 at 12:22pm Reply

  • FeralJasmine: I am beginning to see gold leaf tips on the cottonwood trees, which means that soon I will start wearing L’Ambre des Merveilles. For some reason I wear it only during the brief season when the cottonwoods are gold. It keeps the scent, and the season, special. September 12, 2014 at 10:13am Reply

    • Elisa: I love having perfumes that are particular to occasions that way! I try to wear Gucci Envy on St. Patrick’s Day. 🙂 September 12, 2014 at 10:17am Reply

      • Patricia: Oh, I’m wearing that one today! But now will also wear it for St. Patrick’s Day, September 12, 2014 at 5:24pm Reply

  • iodine: Being a teacher, back to school “smelling clever and in control” is my plan, too!
    I’m slowly leaving my Summer staples- florals and fruity-woody- towards drier, deeper notes: woods, tobacco, leather and my favourite note, patchouli…
    The fragrance that depicts a perfect Autumn day for me is Patchouli Patch by L’Artisan: osmanthus, leather, spices and patchouli. September 12, 2014 at 10:24am Reply

    • Elisa: Iodine, I’ve never tried that one, and it sounds fantastic! I’ll have to get a sample. I also love patchouli in fall. I could have added Noir de Noir to my list — beautiful rose/chocolate/patchouli. September 12, 2014 at 10:27am Reply

  • Katerina: Interesting ideas! My mood follows always the temperature oudside. So my early fall perfume collection (20°C) includes Timbuktu, Vapeurs de Opium, Eau des Merveilles, Voleur des Roses, Dune, Bois d’ Iris. Happy fall September 12, 2014 at 10:30am Reply

    • Elisa: I’m a bit of a slave to the temperature too — these fall scents are better when it’s cooler than 60 degrees. Today will be the first day like that in a while, but we’re supposed to be back in the 80s this weekend. September 12, 2014 at 10:33am Reply

  • marini: During the cool, cold nights (LOVE THEM) for sleeping, I wear my Big fall scents: Arpege, Aromatics Elixir, Knowing, and Habanita. And Joy, to honor Joan Rivers, RIP. I’m sometimes too shy to wear these in the broad light of day, as I tend to spray liberally.

    During the day, (and today we have 5 inches of snow from yesterday) I love Diaghilev, Beloved,
    Amber Aurea (from Profumum). (ironically, these are huge hitters, too, but that doesn’t stop me from wearing them anywhere, anytime. I still spray like a banshee. I just wait a while before mingling with mankind.) September 12, 2014 at 10:39am Reply

    • Elisa: Wow, snow already? Whereabouts?

      I love those rose chypres in fall. I haven’t worn Joy all summer and should do so soon! September 12, 2014 at 10:52am Reply

  • Cybele: Very exciting list Elisa! I always think we have similar taste! So happy to see Signiture and Rose Barbare there. Both really smell incredibly good! On my list would also be Cuir de Russie (I have never smelled Cuir Lamcome!), Homage Amouage, and SL Borneo comes to mind. I am also exited about that you included Journey, I have tested it briefly and liked it and urgently need to get a sample. I m not familiar with Natori and the Miller Harris, will have to try them now! September 12, 2014 at 10:57am Reply

    • Elisa: Thank you Cybele! Signature is beautiful and rarely mentioned. I think if you like that, you will also love Cuir de Lancome; they have a similar elegant feel.

      Along the lines of Borneo, I love Andy Tauer’s LE Dark Passage. Such a gorgeous rich, chocolate-patchouli. September 12, 2014 at 11:09am Reply

      • Cybele: I forget to add Eau d’Hermes to my list! Thanks for the Tauer suggestion. September 12, 2014 at 11:14am Reply

  • Aisha: I’ve just recently discovered Bottega Veneta, and it is beautiful.

    My Fall scents are usually Cuir de Russie, Safari or Dune, and I save gourmands for Winter (I bake a lot during that time of year, so why not?). But our Winter seems to be getting a very early start, so I’ve been in the land of caramels. chocolates and anise.

    I love your list. Champagne de Bois is one I’d like to try someday. September 12, 2014 at 11:05am Reply

    • Elisa: Aisha, I’m wearing Safari today! Such a pretty golden/green hue.

      Champagne de Bois is a must-try — it’s rare to find such high-quality materials in a reasonably affordable scent. September 12, 2014 at 11:10am Reply

      • Aisha: I will really miss Safari once I finish up the bottle I’ve had since way, way, way back post-college. I still have half a bottle left, so I think I’ll be OK for a while. 😉 September 12, 2014 at 12:43pm Reply

        • Elisa: I have a 20 ml purse spray and it’s lasted me a long time so far. It’s rich stuff! September 12, 2014 at 12:44pm Reply

  • Melissa Pham: Thank you for your sharing. I like this blog so much! September 12, 2014 at 11:13am Reply

    • Elisa: Thanks on behalf of all of us! September 12, 2014 at 12:10pm Reply

  • Robin: We usually have at least some overlap between the 5 (well, 4 so far today) of us, but this year unless I missed one, we’ve ended up with completely different lists. September 12, 2014 at 11:18am Reply

    • Elisa: I think you’re right — no overlap! Just proves there are too many perfumes 🙂 September 12, 2014 at 11:22am Reply

      • Robin: Also maybe because so far there’s no universally loved new fall launch this year…so far. September 12, 2014 at 1:38pm Reply

        • Elisa: True — I’m a little surprised no one else mentioned Journey but I think a lot of people didn’t find it very Amouage-y and maybe they don’t associate osmanthus with fall like I do. (No idea when osmanthus is actually “in season.”) September 12, 2014 at 1:55pm Reply

          • Robin: Ack, and some of us are so behind we haven’t even smelled it yet! September 12, 2014 at 10:27pm Reply

  • Adriana: For this fall I have a strange crave for Iris! God knows why, on Prada Infusion D’Iris plus Omnia Chrystaline EDP this time. I too am one sometime middsummer craving for ambers and mirs or other times around end of Christmass days I love to wear Arpege or Noah. 🙂 September 12, 2014 at 11:34am Reply

    • Elisa: I think of iris as a transitional scent too — best in spring and fall. September 12, 2014 at 11:37am Reply

  • Hannah: I was about to be going back to school…but the master’s program de-accepted me because my enrollment form came 1 business day late even though I mailed it the day after I received my acceptance letter and I paid extra for it to arrive faster. But I already purchase the flight ticket, so I’m going to Berlin for a month long German course to get a language certification, which is kind of like school!
    I’ve already decided what I’m bringing. The ones I’m bringing to wear to class are Costume National 21, Fourreau Noir (is that the bell jar in the picture?) and MyQueen. I don’t know if they’ll make me smell clever and in control, though….I’m also bringing Black Cashmere, Mazzolari Patchouli, Idole de Lubin, YSL Nu, Sumatera, Rose Oud, Incense Oud, Plum Japonais, and Interlude Woman. September 12, 2014 at 11:45am Reply

    • Elisa: Oh no! How disappointing and aggravating. I’m glad you are making the most of it anyway.

      Wonderful list! I love many of those, especially Black Cashmere and Nu, which I wore earlier this week. And oud is great in fall. September 12, 2014 at 11:48am Reply

      • Hannah: I’m also bringing my sample of Trayee! I’m not sure how I feel about that one, so I want to try it another environment. September 12, 2014 at 10:06pm Reply

        • Hannah: Yesterday was a cold, rainy September day and I wore Lyric Woman. Which was a good choice, so I think I’m going to bring my sample of that too. September 14, 2014 at 8:47am Reply

  • Kimberly: The temperature dropped dramatically this week in Chicago and, as a result, I started wearing Guerlain Cuir Beluga, a soft leathery scent. I find it quite comforting.

    Cuir Beluga and Rose Barbare are from the same Guerlain collection and I heard that Cuir Beluga and Cuir de Lancome are similar. So I feel like Cuir Beluga could have easily made this list.

    Elisa, have you tried Cuir Beluga? If so, how does it compare to Cuir de Lancome?

    Very excited to try Sonoma Scent Studio Champagne de Bois (they are not selling online right now!). Sandalwood is one of my favorite notes. Thank you for the recommendation, Elisa.

    Athough I am not willing old man winter’s arrival, I am looking forward to your top winter fragrances list. September 12, 2014 at 11:59am Reply

    • Elisa: It’s much cooler in CO too!

      I have a sample of Cuir Beluga on my desk right now. To my nose the leather note in Cuir Beluga is much softer than in Cuir de Lancome — CdL has more birchtar. Cuir Beluga is also sweeter and more powdery.

      Indie Scents has some SSS scents available, but it looks like they do not have Champage de Bois right now. You could get a little from Surrender to Chance, though! September 12, 2014 at 12:07pm Reply

  • Julie: Cuir de Lancome is probably my favorite on your list. I wear it year round, but can see that it works very well for colder months.
    I also just got a sample of Champagne de Bois and plan to spend some more time with it over the coming weeks.
    The other favorite I look forward to wearing with the change in temperature is PHI Une Rose de Kandahar and 31 Rue Cambon.
    Lovely list! Thank you! September 12, 2014 at 1:03pm Reply

    • Elisa: Julie, I also think CdL works year-round. Offices are usually the same temperature! 🙂

      Une Rose de Kandahar is very pretty and I should spend more time with it this fall too. Une Rose Chypree is another fall staple. September 12, 2014 at 1:08pm Reply

  • Mel: I’m currently baking in a SoCal heat wave with the added non-sequitur weirdness of HUMIDITY, which is generally unheard of around here – so “Fall” sounds like a vicious untrue rumor! But I can dream. Parfums Delrae Bois de Paradis, ELd’O Like This, and even though I wear it all year round my favorite time for Tauer’s Incense Rose is the mythological season known as Fall. September 12, 2014 at 1:21pm Reply

    • Elisa: The weather has been weird around here (Denver) too — quite damp and rainy! I really love Bois de Paradis and have been wanting more ever since using up a decant several years ago. And Incense Rose is a year-round favorite for me too. September 12, 2014 at 1:23pm Reply

  • Judy: Still above 90 degrees here in the South, but I’ve started wearing a few Fall scents because I hope to bring in on faster! Bottega Veneta is an all year long favorite for me, but the few “Falls” I’ve worn lately include Amber Russe, Poivre 23, Rozy (not sure what season it is…probably all), and Speakeasy. I’ll begin wearing some old favorites like Botrytis, Amber des Merveilles, and Caravelle Epicee when the temps drop. I adore Black Cashmere, but usually save it for Winter. This has been fun…Thanks. September 12, 2014 at 1:24pm Reply

    • Elisa: Hope your tactic works! I’m extremely curious about Rozy. September 12, 2014 at 1:27pm Reply

      • Judy: I have fallen head over heals for the VDE version of Rozy. On my skin it is gorgeous, but I’ve read several bloggers who really don’t like it and/or like the EDP better. I’m not equipped to describe Rozy down to the last note, but it seems to vacillate on me between the slightly sweet floral/rose notes and the sort of musky powdery later scent. Please don’t take my description to heart though, because I seriously can’t pick apart notes yet. The overall sensation for me, when getting a nice waft of scent, is just to go AAAHHHHHHH! September 12, 2014 at 1:34pm Reply

        • Elisa: I see on Fragrantica that people who liked it also liked Mona di Orio Musc — one of my favorites discoveries of the past year or so! I definitely want to try it. September 12, 2014 at 1:36pm Reply

  • Judy: Hope you love it. September 12, 2014 at 1:40pm Reply

  • Daisy: Terrific list for fall! I’m much more a fall girl than a summer gal. Fall means I get to pull out all the incense without fear that I will smother someone on the subway with my fragrance. On heavy rotation right now is FM Dans Tes Bras! September 12, 2014 at 2:34pm Reply

    • Elisa: Your collection seems much more friendly to colder weather! It’s a good thing you live in the Northeast 🙂 September 12, 2014 at 2:36pm Reply

  • rainboweyes: Although I’m not very keen on autumn – it mostly gets pretty nasty here in Germany, grey skies and loads of rain – I absolutely love my fall scents. My current early fall rotation of transitional scents includes Ann Gérard Cuir de Nacré, Atelier Cologne Silver Iris, VC&A Bois d’Iris and Parfums d’Empire Equistrius.
    When the temperatures drop, I usually reach for earthy scents like Iris Silver Mist and Heeley’s Iris de Nuit.
    I like the idea of leather scents for autumn but I prefer soft, buttery iris perfumes, such as Cuir de Nacré. I’m wondering what other scents might fall into this category. Maybe the new Hermessence Cuir d’Ange? Have you had a chance to try it? September 12, 2014 at 4:17pm Reply

    • Elisa: I can see you are a serious iris lover! I think suede is closer to iris than true leather if you’re looking for soft and buttery. You might try Daim Blonde, though truthfully that one doesn’t work for me — a little too soapy. Osmanthus scents tend to be on the softer side in general. September 12, 2014 at 7:50pm Reply

      • rainboweyes: Oh, I actually meant soft buttery leathers (must have been a Freudian slip 😉 )! I have quite a few soft and buttery iris scents (Cuir de Nacré being the perfect soft leather and iris combo) but I could do with a few subtle leathers in my collection (not necessarily combined with iris). I have great hopes for the new Hermessence, it is supposed to be a floral leather.
        I’ve tested Daim Blond once but I found it too sweet. I will revisit it, though.
        Are there any other soft leather scents that you would recommend? September 13, 2014 at 8:58am Reply

        • Elisa: Perhaps Cuir Beluga or Bottega Veneta? The leather notes in these two are very soft. September 13, 2014 at 11:37am Reply

  • Diane: I have just discovered Bandit (EDP) and am loving its green, leathery, spicy chypre ” ness” as we move into fall. Also find frederic Malle’s Une Rose, with its ambery dry down , great for fall. Getting ready to transition to some Chanel’s too–Bois des Isles with its sandalwood, and Sycomore, with its smokiness. Saving Cuir de Russie for the dead of winter!! September 12, 2014 at 8:23pm Reply

    • Elisa: If you like leather chypres, I bet you would love Jolie Madame! Smoky scents are great in fall, it’s that burning leaves vibe. September 12, 2014 at 11:40pm Reply

  • nemo: Your description of Geranimum Bourbon particularly caught my eye. The perfect geranium perfume, you say? I must try it! I find geranium to be quite comforting, and I imagine it will be perfect in the fall and early winter. Thanks for an interesting list! September 12, 2014 at 9:31pm Reply

    • Elisa: Oh, I hope you like it, if you can find it! September 12, 2014 at 11:40pm Reply

  • Nataliya: Thank you Elisa for inspiring “back to school” article. BV is one of my favorites for this fall and I am waiting to try the Knot. I sniffed yesterday G. Armani “SI” Intense, sensual and deep, it is on my list for 30 ml, not yet available in Rome. September 13, 2014 at 7:12am Reply

    • Elisa: I just tried Armani Si recently and I thought it had a strawberry note that reminded me of the original Miss Dior Cherie, which is now impossible to find. September 13, 2014 at 11:35am Reply

  • Andy: Just started on a new semester, so I can totally relate to the need for crisp and confident “back to school” perfume. Until I get bored and start wearing all my weirder stuff, that is. However, believe it or not, students on college campuses seem to really love the smell of Womanity. Who knew? I don’t wear it often, but when I do it elicits many compliments. September 13, 2014 at 9:33am Reply

    • Elisa: Hi Andy! How interesting! Thierry Mugler has an uncanny ability to find weird smells that people will love, doesn’t he? I have a bit of Womanity body milk — perhaps I’ll wear that this morning! September 13, 2014 at 11:36am Reply

  • Ann: I enjoyed your list so much!

    But I have to chime in for Champagne de Bois—I was lured into its trap by comments here and on NST and now I am totally ensnared. I loved it. I only purchased a tiny 5 ml spray of it from SSS, and it has lasted forever. It goes on like an extrait concentration, and is a bit much in warmer weather… but it gets under your skin (nose?) and is unforgettable. A fragrance not to be missed! September 13, 2014 at 2:38pm Reply

    • Elisa: I completely agree that her perfumes are extrait-strength, and the purse sprays last forever! I am close to needing more of both CdB and Jour Ensolleile, though! September 13, 2014 at 2:41pm Reply

  • Figuier: Lovely descriptions of several perfumes I haven’t tried and now need to sample – Natori and Journey especially. I lent my CdL to my sister and need to retrieve it ahead of the beginning of term; it’s a great, subtle teaching scent. Other than that, autumn means returning to the heavier perfumes in my collection: PG’s Indochine, Guerlain Attrape Coeur, Goutal Mon parfum cheri, and Tom Ford’s Shanghai Lily. September 13, 2014 at 3:28pm Reply

    • Elisa: Oh, I bet CdL does make a great teaching perfume. I feel like it makes me stand up straighter. September 13, 2014 at 3:36pm Reply

  • maja: I am craving cooler weather but will have to wait until late November probably in my part of the world. Meanwhile I am trying to use my fall scents (slightly dabbed) in warm late summer evenings and some of them work thankfully like Agent Provocateur, the glorious Shalimar and L’Ambre des Merveilles. I might experiment a bit more until some rainy days come. 🙂 September 13, 2014 at 6:38pm Reply

    • Elisa: I think fall/winter scents can be really nice in summer if applied lightly! The burn through more quickly and you notice different facets. September 13, 2014 at 10:12pm Reply

  • Soulmates: Autumn is the time that evokes by far the most perfume memories for me. This was the time when my perfume episode started years ago. In autumn I use to wear mostly familiar smells that I own for many yeras. The only new ones will be my two Ouds Sand Auod by Mancera for the rose/saffron combo with spices and also Perris’ Oud Imperial which is all dry-woody stuff. There will be Lonestar Memories as always in autumn; Bandit and Mitsouko (both Extrait) for the classy chypre-feel. As the lighter ones I`ll be taking CdG 2Man an Eau de Gentiane Blanche in the rotation. My go-to scent will be Antaeus. As a vintage smell there`ll be Anthracite pour Homme by Jacomo. The cozy scents will be Kenzo Jungle Elephant & possibly Zino September 14, 2014 at 3:05am Reply

    • Elisa: Lovely fall wardrobe you have! Another rose/oud I like in fall but didn’t mention above is Nasreen from Micallef. September 14, 2014 at 12:00pm Reply

  • Michael: Glad to see that the now discontinued Geranium Bourbon made the list. I find that it’s one of those fragrances that I can wear all year round.

    Can’t wait to pull out one of my favourite “sweater” fragrances for the fall – Dan Tes Bras … September 14, 2014 at 5:56am Reply

    • Elisa: I didn’t know it was discontinued! That’s a damn shame. September 14, 2014 at 11:58am Reply

      • Michael: Yes I think so too. At least I managed to get my hands on a 100ml bottle during the January sales so that will last me for awhile.

        Not sure if I should be making this enquiry here, but I have a quick question for you and everyone else: I have a friend who is incredibly sensitive to fragrance, so he is very picky as to what perfume he uses. He recently smelled Ormonde Man and seemed to like it, so I am wondering if there are any recommendations for perfumes that would be suitable for gentlemen in the woody genre that is subtle and tasteful?

        I happened to stop by at the Frederic Malle concession the other day and the sales assistant suggested that Ageliques sous la Pluie, Bigarade Concentree or French Lover would be suitable for him. I thought perhaps Dans Tes Bras would be an option too.

        Any thoughts, opinions and suggested would be most appreciated.

        Thanks in advance! September 16, 2014 at 7:20am Reply

        • Elisa: V does a regular “recommend me a perfume” series so that would be a good time to get recs from all her readers. My main recommendation for your friend would be to try before he buys! So he doesn’t end up with something he can’t tolerate. Maybe have him try Vetiver Extraordinaire from the Malle line — very subtle and sophisticated. September 16, 2014 at 9:55am Reply

          • Figuier: Michael, I’d follow Elisa and recommend a vetiver perfume. There are so many to choose from, but they all tend to be understated & woody-grassy. I haven’t tried Malle’s version, but I’m looking forward to it once I get a chance. September 17, 2014 at 8:29am Reply

  • Julie: Hi Elisa- Natori sounds lovely I had no idea they made perfume…
    I noticed the price is very reasonable on Amazon. I just sent a note to Victoria thanking her for your lovely post! I purchased my first SL Féminité du Bois last year and adore it. Natori seems more budget friendly, I hope to try it soon.
    🙂 Best regards! December 4, 2014 at 12:33pm Reply

    • Elisa: Thank you Julie! 🙂 December 4, 2014 at 1:15pm Reply

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