This Fall, Fragrance Is the Key to Subtle Reinvention

Here are nine scents to consider for your rotation.

This Fall, Fragrance Is the Key to Subtle Reinvention
Photo: Courtesy of Colekt

When I think of fall, I think of Sex and the City’s season 4 finale “I Heart NY,” when Carrie traipses out of Mr. Big’s apartment and wistfully watches an autumn leaf fall after her partner-turned-paramour moves to California. Fall is the bookend to their (messy, dysfunctional, toxic) love story and it’s literally the most romantic thing I’ve ever seen. For a lot of people, fall is ripe with new beginnings, and with the plentiful possibilities in mind, I’d venture to say that it’s the sexiest season of all. And stepping into a new season with a brand new scent is a subtle way to revamp. It's kind of like microdosing reinvention.

And since we’ve already established that we’ve evolved past the idea of the signature scent, expanding your fragrance rotation is a no-brainer. On top of the pang of sadness that comes with having to retire your swimwear and break out your thermal underwear, anything can be tempered with a spritz of something of the warm, amber variety. The aromas that make up fall’s scent scape are woody, musky, and cozy, but never too on-the-nose—smelling like a Thanksgiving dessert is only fun in theory. For your fall fragrance refresh, read on for the scents that should join your roster as we bid summer a fond farewell.

Sweet Do Nothing Eau de Parfum

Interestingly enough, D.S. and Durga designed this perfume to embody the feeling of sweet summer laze in deep Texas. But when I spritzed it, the sweet, woody, slightly smoky scent instantly transported me to a crisp fall night—I could feel the caress of an infinity scarf. Since there are tinges of summer in the scent profile, it’s the ideal transitional fume to take you between seasons.

D.S. & Durga

Essence of Dreams Cosmic Wood Eau de Parfum

Cosmic Wood has a spiciness to it that draws you in, then it blossoms into a fresh, almost floral scent that’s lightweight but lingering—we have notes of cardamom, jasmine and vetiver to thank for that.

Tory Burch

Dark Is Night Eau de Parfum

Dark Is the Night starts off strong, but softens into a sweet, warm vanilla. But this is a vanilla that’s well-suited for the anti-vanilla crowd—it’s sweetness with dimension, depth, and a bit of darkness, with notes of patchouli, vetiver, and vanilla bean.

Henry Rose

Void Cologne Concentrée

Picture yourself on a fall hike: if you take a big whiff, this is what you’d smell. Void earthy through and through, with notes of dry wood, warm basil and rhubarb, but there’s a brightness to it that makes this the perfect daytime spritz.


Vanilla Milk Eau de Parfum

The latest addition to Ellis Brooklyn’s lineup of clean fragrances is the brand’s out-the-box take on vanilla. It’s vanilla for grown-ups, with hints of bourbon, musk, and upcycled cocoa shell extract.

Ellis Brooklyn

Earth Eau de Parfum

This was love at first whiff. If you’ve spent years mulling over whether or not to hop on the Le Labo Santal 33 bandwagon, this is a tamer alternative (with a less fervent fandom, if you’re worried about smelling like everyone else). You’ll catch notes of Goheung cypress, violet, cardamom, and vanilla in this Korean-inspired fragrance—you’ll also catch endless compliments.


Wonderwood Eau de Parfum

I’ve had my eye on Wonderwood since I heard that it’s the fragrance that Toronto designer Sean Brown swears by. Woody notes of incense, vetiver, cedarwood, and oud make it the perfect pick for fall, but the iconic bottle makes it a year-round nightstand staple.

Comme des Garçons Parfums

Sequoia Perfume

If you like your fragrances to be completely clean, Abbott is a brand to check out. As you’d imagine, their Sequoia fragrance is inspired by California’s Sequoia National Park—it bottles up the beauty of California forest’s beauty with deep, woody notes of smoky incense, cedarwood, and sandalwood.


Invite Only Amber Eau de Parfum

This is the kind of fragrance that makes everyone around you take note. The scent profile is the perfect balance of warmth, spice, and sweetness with notes of oud, benzoin, black cherry, and citrus leaf. It also has tobacco leaf as a top note, which has caused some to say it's a must-try for fans of Margiela's 'REPLICA' Jazz Club fragrance.

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